Aboard Air Force One
En Route Reno, Nevada

12:01 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Welcome to our three-state trip in two days. Exciting.

All right. This afternoon, in Las Vegas, the President will double down on his plan to lower housing costs for American families. Under his leadership, we have already taken action to lower housing costs and increase the housing supply by reducing mortgage insurance premiums, expanding rental assistance, and building tens of thousands of affordable housing units.

While on the ground, the President will meet directly with everyday Americans, everyday people who have been able to secure affordable housing as a result of these investments.

In this state alone, the President’s American Rescue Plan, which every Republican in Congress voted against, provided $1 billion dollars to boost affordable housing, lower — lower housing costs, and keep hone- — homeowners and renters in their homes.

Still, the President knows that more must be done to help American families who are still struggling with the cost of housing. That’s why he’s calling on Congress to pass his housing plan, which some of — some experts are calling the most consequential housing plan in more than 50 years.

The President’s plan would build on the efforts we have already taken to lower — lower housing costs by providing a $10,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers, cracking down on corporate actions that rip off renters, and building and renovating more than 2 million homes.

Republicans in Congress should pass the President’s plan to lower housing costs rather than try to cut taxes for the wealthy and large corporations. And you’ll hear that from the President later today.

With that, Seung Min.

Q Does the White House have a reaction to the spending deal that the congressional leaders reached? And is the White House satisfied with how that package approaches DHS funding, in particular?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we put out a statement this morning. You probably were not able to see it —

Q Probably in flight, yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, in flight — in flight.

So, this agreement on the six remaining funding bills, including DHS — this agreement abides by the Fiscal Responsibility Act and provides the remaining agencies with funding through the rest of the fiscal year.

The House and Senate appropriations committees are in the process of finalizing the text for Congress to review and pass as soon as possible to keep the government open, and the President will sign it immediately.

Congress must also pass the bipartisan national security supplemental. As you know, it passed overwhelmingly in the Senate. We want to see the — the — we want to see the Speaker put that on the floor and — this is — and — and also the border sec- — border agreement, which also came out on the Senate — obviously, wasn’t passed out of the Senate because of politics — politics was put — put in the way of even moving forward the border agreement — but to provide reforms and funding needed to secure the border.

And so, we want to see those two — the border — border agreement negotiations go through the process. And we want to see the national security supplemental that was passed by 70-29 out of the Senate go to the floor of — of the House so that we know — we know for a fact that we would see overwhelming support from the House. We want to see that movement as soon as possible.

Q And does the administration have any more specifics on when that meeting with the Israeli officials will take place with the administration —


Q — when, where, who?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah, so, we’re working on scheduling and preparations. It will likely be early next week, is what we’re anticipating. But obviously, we’ll let you know more when we have more to share.

Just to give you a little bit of what Jake said yesterday. So, ye- — so, the President asked Prime Minister to send senior interagency team r- — composed of military, intelligence, and humanitarian officials to Washington in the upcoming days, as I said, probably early next week.

As far as who on our side, it’ll be senior members from the administration acro- — across the administration will participate.

Q Karine, can you give us an update about the peace talks going on in Qatar today? And also a comment on — the U.N. Human Rights Agency said that because famine is coming closer or already there in Gaza, that would be a war crime by Israel. Does the United States view that as well?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, what I can say is this, as it relates to the report that we all — all of you has been reporting on. So, we certainly are deeply concerned about the report yesterday indicating, as you just stated in your question, about the imminent famine in Gaza. And so, as the report makes clear, despite ongoing and tireless efforts, including by this administration, the amount of aid reaching people in Gaza and particularly those most need — need remains insufficient.

So, we have been clear that there is more that needs to be done and that this report is a stark and devastating reminder of this.

Everyone needs to do more. Israel needs to provide sustained and un- — unimpeded access for assistance to enter both Northern and Southern Gaza. Donors, the international community also need to make sure that the right type of assistance is getting to the most vulnerable.

Obviously, this is why we’ve been working towards the hostage deal to make sure that — not only that we get a temporary ceasefire to get those hostages home — let’s not forget, there are also American hostages that are being held by Hamas — but also to get that all-important, needed aid to the — to the Palestinian people in Gaza.

So, we’re continuing to do that work. I know that Jake spoke to this as well when he was at the — at the podium yesterday. So, we’re going to continue to push forward and do everything that we can to get that hostage deal so that we can get more humanitarian aid and, obviously, get hostages home.

And we’re — we’re up — as you know, we’re increasing our humanitarian efforts into Gaza with the pier, with the airdrops. And, also, as you know, we also announced more funding — more humanitarian funding over the past week or so. So, that is — that is our — and we see that as an imperative, and we’re going to continue to do that work.

Q And — and specifically on the allegation that Israel is using hunger as a weapon, which would be considered a war crime?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I — obviously, I can’t speak to that. What I can speak to is the efforts that we are making to make sure that we’re getting humanitarian aid into — into Gaza. We’ve had conversations, as I’ve stated in — earlier, with the Israeli government to — for them also to do more in getting that humanitarian aid, getting the trucks in — right? — getting — and doing more, keeping — keeping those — keeping — keeping that going.

And so, that’s what I can speak to at this time.

Q Karine, Hong — Hong Kong passed its controversial new security law — Hong Kong.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Oh, Hong Kong. Okay.

Q An- — and I was wondering if you guys had any reaction or if you were at all concerned about the impact on American businesses that were operating there.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I — I saw that reporting. I haven’t had a chance to talk to our team yet so — so I can give you a full- — full-throated answer. So, I’m going to have to go back. But I saw that this morning. I just haven’t had a chance to have the conversation.

Q One other one on Ukraine. There have been a series of Ukrainian attacks on Russian energy facilities that are processing oil. Is that a concern that the U.S. has, that it could potentially lead to higher global oil prices? And is that something that you’ve conveyed to the Ukrainians?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, the President has done everything that he can to deal with — to deal with oil. Obviously, lowing down — lowering — the actions that he took led to lowering gas prices. So, we’re — we’re always monitoring. We’re always watching. I don’t have anything specific on — on what could potentially happen in that particular incident. But, obviously, this is something that we monitor and keep —

Q Karine, on Ukraine. There’s been some talk among Republicans about possibly making aid to them a loan. What is the White House’s thoughts on that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look — and I just said this moments ago: The House needs to pass the bipartisan national security supplemental. That’s what we need to see. We saw it come out of the Senate — again, I just said this earlier — 70 to 29. It is imperative that gets done.

Ukraine needs — needs the assistance. We have to continue our commitment to the brave people of Ukraine as they’re fighting and doing everything that they can to fight for their democracy. So, we got to — the Speaker has to bring it to the floor. He has to put politics aside. We know what happens when you don’t — when we don’t stop a dictator, when we don’t address tyranny.

And so, that’s what we’re going to continue to call for. And we’re going to stay steadfast on that.

Q In a — in a new book, former Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer expresses his concern about the direction of the Supreme Court. A new article in The Atlantic also calls for Justice Sonia Sotomayor to retire. Where does the White House stand, kind of, in a post-Dobbs world on Supreme Court reform? And has the White House considered asking Justice Sotomayor to retire?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Look, that’s a personal decision for her to make. That is something that — (laughs) — that she has to make. It’s not something that we make — we — we lean in on or get involved in. So, I’m not even going to address that — that question.

As it relates to the Supreme Court, look, we saw
what happened with Dobbs — the Dobbs decision. We saw, with that decision, it led to Republicans introducing three national — national abortion bans. And that has caused — because of the Dobb’s decision, because of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, it’s caused chaos.

You’ve heard us talk about IVF, how now there’s legislation — we saw legislation in Alabama to take away the right for a family to make a decision — right? — for — you know, for a couple or for an individual to make a decision on when to start a family. And that’s because of the chaos that — overturning Roe v. Wade.

And so, the Supreme Court made that decision. It was very clear what the last President said. He wanted to put — put together a Supreme Court that would do that, that would overturn Roe v. Wade. And so, we’ve seen their action. We’ve seen it with affirmative action, what they’ve been able to do there.

And so, I think that speaks — their actions speak for themselves. I’m just not going to go beyond that.

Q Karine, Chef José Andrés was pretty critical of the President’s efforts to get humanitarian aid and specifically food on the ground in Gaza. This is a person who obviously works to feed people all over the world, and he said the efforts from the White House weren’t enough, the maritime direction wasn’t the best way to go.

Who is the White House working with on the ground to get that sense of what the best way forward is to feed people in Gaza?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, as you know, there are organizations on the ground — right? — that — that we work with and that we know are — are helping and assisting getting more aid to — to Palestinians in — Palestinian citizens in Gaza. So, that is obviously a way that — that we have seen that process go.

Look, we have upped our — we’ve upped what we’ve been trying to do in getting more aid — more humanitarian aid into Gaza. We believe a mar- — the maritime — the pier is one way to do that. The airdrops is another way to do that. We are doing everything that we can to get that hostage deal.

We understand what’s happening in Gaza. There’s a humanitarian crisis that innocent Palestinians are dealing with, and so, obviously, we take — we’re very concerned about that. And we’re going to do everything that we can to continue those efforts.

We know we need to up our efforts. And so, that’s why you’ve heard us almost every week announcing new ways to do that.

We have to get this hostage deal. We are — we are doing — working 24/7, leaning in, and trying to make sure that we get that — get that hostage deal, so that we have a temporary ceasefire so that we can — we can get that all-important aid into — into Gaza. So, that’s been a — very much a big focus, as well as getting American — American hostages and hostages, obviously, back home to their friends and families.

Q Did you guys see the statement from the chef? Do you have a specific reaction?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I did not see the statement.

Q Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What I can speak to is our efforts here. And we’ve been pretty consistent. You know, we’ve been talking about ways that we’re trying to make sure that we get that aid in. We understand what the crisis that’s going on in — in Gaza. We see it, you know, and — and we want to do everything that we can to get that aid in.

And so, you’ve heard from USAID. You’ve heard from the State Department. Sec- — Secre- — Secretary Blinken right now is in the region, which is important — having important, critical diplomatic conversation. That’s going to include humanitarian aid.

And so, the President and his team has been really, really focused on that — that approach as well: getting humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Q We’re heading to a couple of border states. In Arizona and in Texas, they’re considering laws that would essentially make officers able to arrest undocumented immigrants they suspect crossed to the state illegally. Is there more that the White House can do to prevent these states from essentially setting up their own immigration enforcement laws?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, I’ve — I’ve mentioned this multiple times already. We got to get that border supp- — that border deal — that border security deal done. We need to provide DHS with more funding, more — with more resources to actually deal with the challenges at the border.

And so, that has been our focus. Let’s not forget, this se- — this — this border security deal was a bipartisan deal that came out of the Senate — Republicans, Democrats. It took us months to get the — to get us there.

The President directed his — his team to work with them. And — and we were able to get something done that was supported by the Border Patrol union, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This is something that you don’t see in this type of political discourse. Right? And we were able to get that done.

Now, Republicans blocked it because of politics, because of the former President. And if we want to be where a majority of Americans are — wanting to deal with the immigration system, wanting to deal with the challenges of the border — we got to get this done.

And so that’s our answer there: We want to move forward. We think that the Senate and the House need to — need to get that done. We have — we have a deal. We have a negotiation that took months to get done — months to get done that will actually address this issue or start the process.

It — if it is put into law, it would be the toughest and the fairest immigration border security deal that we have seen in years. And so, that’s what the President has been — continued to — to speak to, and that’s what we want to see.

Q Going back to the loan question. I mean, obviously, I know the White House’s preference is for that supplemental to pass the House. But is the loan option something that the administration has researched, whether it’s OMB or elsewhere, whether it’s even possible or workable in the way that some Republicans have been discussing it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, rather than go back to basics, we’re — we don’t — we want to see — we want to see —

(A reporter picks up a binder tab and returns it to Ms. Jean-Pierre.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Is that mine? Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much. My tab. (Laughter.)

We want see the bipartisan — the bipartisan nat- –national — national security supplemental. We — we don’t want to go back to basics. That’s not what we want to see, and time is running out.

We’ve talked about this over and over again. You’ve heard from Jake. You’ve heard from my colleagues at NSC. You know, we see that Ukraine — because of the inaction of Congress over the last couple of months, Ukraine is actually losing ground in the battlefield. And it is, you know, due to our inaction.

And so, they’re fighting for their sovereignty. They’re fighting for their democracy. And we know what it means if we don’t get involved here, if we don’t stop a dictator. You know, they’re fighting against a tyrant. And so, that is the best way to deal with what — to give Ukraine what they need is to get that national supplemental passed.

And we know — we know for a fact that there are multiple Republican congressional members in the House who have said that they would vote for it if it goes to the floor. We know where Democrats are on this. So, overwhelming support. The Speaker has to put it to the floor and not put — and not get — let politics get in the way.

Q Karine, former President Barack Obama was at 10 Downing Street yesterday. Did he give the White House a heads-up on that meeting? And do you know what he discussed?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, yes, we were aware in advance of the meeting, and President Biden’s — Pre- — pardon me, Presid- — President Obama’s team reached out to the White House ahead of the meeting.

But as we — and I think it’s been reported that this was an informal courtesy call conducted by a private citizen in his personal capacity. It’s — it’s not our — it’s not our conversation to speak to. We leave it to the pres- — the — President Obama and his personal office to speak to. But yes, obviously, we were given a heads up.

Q When was the last time President Biden and President Obama spoke?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don’t have a call to read out to all of you. But as you know, they’re close; they’re like family. They speak regularly. And just don’t have anything — don’t have anything else to share.

All right —

Q Karine, the admin- — the administration is announcing that it is soft- — is softening fuel economy standards, which will slow the — slow the transition to electric vehicles. Is there any concern in the White House that that will make it harder for President Biden to achieve his overall climate goals?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, we don’t have any concerns. Look, the President is really proud of the historic piece of legislation that he was able to get done as it relates to electric vehicles. Obviously, the Inflation Reduction Act is a part of that. The bipartisan infrastructure legislation is a part of that. And so, we’re — we’re going to stay really focused on — on the goal ahead. But no, we don’t have

Q But is the — the need to, sort of, be less stringent with the fuel economy standards an acknowledgement that the infrastructure just isn’t there yet and that the demand just isn’t there yet for EVs?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I mean, look, the Infla- — the Inflation Reduction Act was so critical and important because it was the — it was the most comprehensive piece of legislation — now, law, obviously — to deal with climate change. And the Pre- — the President is certainly focused on that. It is a — he called it, when he walked in, part of one of the four crises that we had to deal with not just as a cou- — a country but as a — the world — right? — which is the climate change crisis.

So, look, we know with these types of things it takes — it takes time. And we understand that, but we’re still going to stay committed to our goals.

Q The White House (inaudible) said the President would sign legislation to force ByteDance to sell TikTok. But has the President spoken with senators to ask them to vote for the bill? And is the White House encouraging the Senate to move on this quickly?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, we’ve encour- — we — we welcome the bill. We’ve said that. We’ve said that before — it — while it was going through the House, when it came out of the House. This is a divestment. This is not about banning TikTok. That’s how we see this bill, how — that’s how it’s written.

And so, obviously, we have provided technical support for — for this legislation. It’s in the Senate now. The Senate is — is taking a look at it.

I don’t have any calls to read out that the President has had with any members of the Senate or Congress or congressional members on this particular piece of legislation. But, look, we welcome it. We think it’s important to this — this legislation — this is a divestment bill, not a ban. And so, I’ll just leave it there.

All right.

Q I think when you first spoke to the TikTok legislation at the briefing, you mentioned the legal issues that the White House had raised and were working out with the sponsors. Have those technical issues, legal issues been fixed?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, I — I don’t have an update for you on that. Obviously, we think that’s important, right? And we’re providing those technical assistance, as I just mentioned. I just don’t have an update on where they are in that process.

But it’s in the Senate. The Senate is looking at it. We welcome the bill. We think it’s important to deal — to deal with the — to — and I think this is something that the National Security Advisor said — right? — just last week, which is we — it — it is incredibly important to know where data lives — where privacy data — where American data lives. Does it live here or does it live in China? Right? When we talk about ownership, is ownership here or is ownership in China?

And we want to make sure that — that we’re able to protect — it’s about national security, right? — protect that data. And so, that’s what you’re seeing.

It’s a divestment; it’s not a ban. And so, we are providing technical support.

Now, it’s in the Senate. And so, we’ll let it — we’ll let that process move forward.

Don’t have anything else to share.

Okay. Thanks, everybody.

Q Thank you.

12:22 P.M. EDT

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