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tv   White House Press Secretary Holds Briefing  CSPAN  March 3, 2021 4:00am-5:02am EST

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johnson and measuring. this is just under an hour. jen: hi, everyone. hello. ok. quite a few things at the top. lots of news happening here at the white house. today in our covid teams' weekly meeting with the governors, we announced states, tribes and territories increase doses. 8.6 million when we came into
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office. states are receiving 2.8 of the johnson and johnson vaccine and receiving 18 million doses. president biden will deliver remarks on the stats tuesday of our covid-19 response and announce unprecedented historic steps to largest merck and johnson and johnson are coming together to expand production. and increase its finished capacity. this will be a partnership to expand that. the u.s. government will facilitate this partnership in several key ways and the defense covid act to the standards necessary to safely manufacture the vaccine and asking the department of defense to provide support to strengthen johnson
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and johnson's efforts. and also today, the biden-harris administration is announcing key conclusions from a the poisoning of in a van any and to hold russia accountable. the intelligence community assesses that officers of russia's federal security service poisonned in a va value any on august 20, 2020. it is against norms of civilized conduct and it falls into a number of and we are working with congress to ensure we are implementing the chemical and biological weapons act. the united states is announcing sanctions on seven members of the russian government and expansion of the sanctions and
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new export restrictions on items that could be used for chemical production and visa restricks. and the department of state, commerce and treasury will have releases out shortly. as demonstration of our unity and cooperation with partners over the ocean, many of the actions we are taking the steps the e.u. took in october and those additional measures. we it rate our call for the russian government to release mr. navalny. i know you are interested on what we are doing in the american rescue plan. i have an update. president biden continue to engage closely with congressional leadership and members about the american rescue plan including with republicans. yesterday, the president met with a group of nine democratic
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senators and meeting with the democratic senators. in the past two weeks alone we have engaged with 375 members and offices, over which 100 were bipartisan and starting the member briefings with the senate and house where we talk about the american rescue plan and impact it can have. one other item. item on the travel of the first lady and will get it to you after the briefing. >> what role does the white house have in making this happen -- [indiscernible] jen: as i noted in the opening, these are two companies that have been competitors and the fact they are coming together is speaks to the ability of this administration to bring them to the table and work together to address the pavepb and it was
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across the administration effort. imnot going to detail which person was in charge. when the president came into office and as soon as we learned about the fact that johnson and johnson was behind in manufacturing stips and efforts, we took steps to ensure we could expedite them and partner them with the world's biggest manufacturer. [indiscernible] jen: our objective is to build on the incredible announcement that we have three vaccines that the american people can have use to vaccinate them and protect them from the virus. we knew did you not early on that they were behind on their
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manufacturing capacity and we took steps to ensure we could capitalize on the scientific break through. , [indiscernible] jen: it was steps that helped ensure that johnson and johnson's vaccine can be expedited and the manufacturing of it and that is good news for the american. [indiscernible]
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jen: we have contributed to the international coordinating body to help provide assistance around the world and when we get to the point we want the global community to be vaccinated. that makes us all safer. reporter: [indiscernible]
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we have not heard from the president on that. should the president be lobbying ? and publicly going forward? jen: having traveled with the president on texas, he made clear it may feel a little bit better out there. if you go to the grossy store, there are more toilet papers and more warmer. people feel better. but we need to remain vigilant. the president will convey that publicly and privately in his conversations. reporter: just a couple of questions under the partnership. can we expect -- what is the time line when we can expect the
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first vaccine to roll off? and has merck working on this new vaccine already? jen: there will be more on the specifics after the president's announcement. reporter: the government is willing to invoke the -- [indiscernible] jen: we aleffyated the two biggest bolt next. the top that is put on these and drug substance and some of the components that make up the ingredients. those were pieces
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jen: we have ordered a set number. there was ag contract in process before the steps were taken. so that's what these actions will be focused on. reporter: on the covid rescue package, does president biden feel any need to reduce the unemployment benefits in the bill. lawmakers such as senator manchin support a more threshold in many ways of $300 per week. what is your position? jen: the position had a discussion with a number of
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senators. senator manchin and said he would be open to hearing ideas that makes the bill stronger. i don't have anything more to read out. >> russian sanctions that were announced, they didn't punish ca showingy's death and only those around them. how is that going to deter these leaders from this behavior in the future? jen: i would say first that our national security team as it relates to saudi arabia, let me take the pieces, made a determination that from the moment the president came into office, we are going to treat that relationship differently and didn't wait for the release of the unclassified report. and confirmed that we have long
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known he was killed in a horrific crime. our is to recalibrate the relationship and released this report and creasing our report for yemen and counterpart to counterpart and u.s. citizens who are released and took additional steps which were determined which our national security team to deter and change the waiver moving forward. sanctioning the deputy head of visa restrictions on 76 saudi individuals and designating the saudi rapid intervention force because fit addresses an unacceptable of threats to journalists and includeed the ca
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showingy rule. and our conversations made clear we expect additional reforms to be put in place and we have seen some evidence of that and we will continue to press on that. reporter: as it relates to russia if you don't touch putin why do you expect those leaders to stop this behavior? jen: these decisions were made on decades of experience and consideration by our national security on what would be what would be most effective in detering actions preventing this from happening again but also being able to maintain ar relationship moving forward. and we have important work we do with the kingdom of saudi arabia from intelligence sharing, to detering the actions of militants in the region and those are in the interests of
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ther united states. reporter: the department of homeland security secretary said we are not saying don't come to those mige grants we are saying don't come now because we will deliver a safe and and orderly. sounds like the message is come later. when should the mige grants come? jen: the president has put forward a package that will put forward a pathway to citizenship and there also is time and he talked about this yesterday that we need to dig out from the immoral and ineffective approach of immigration from the last administration. that is going to take time to process people at the border and get people on the right path of consideration for asylum seekers. now is not the moment for that. reporter: you are sending the
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message that the mige grants can come but they have to wait. jen: the majority of people who come to the border are turned away. even kids who come in at the border, unaccompanied minors. we want to keep them safe and treat them with humanity. they are not guaranteed to stay in the united states. we don't want to send them back and can stay here. it is still a difficult time and difficult journey and not encouraging people to come but we believe differently that we are not going to turn kids aquay kids under 18. reporter: there are 1,000 -- 1717,000 unacopped children will arrive in the u.s. will he learn about it today and
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that number seems like a crisis. how would we define a crisis? jen: i leave that to the secretary of homeland security to define. we have more than 7,000 unkpped kids who have come into the united states and there are a lot of children we are treating humanely as quickly as we can. that is not easy. and the president receives briefings and regular updates from his team and we don't confirm those publicly but he is briefed regularly by other members of his policy team. reporter: what about the time line coming out of this and j and j. will this new partnership help americans get the shots sooner? jen: it should.
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it will expedite having enough vaccines on hand to vaccinate. the president will give more specifics later this afternoon when he speaks to all of you, but certainly having three vaccines approved by the f.d.a. and used the full power of the federal government to expedite the manufacturing, that should expedite the process. reporter: you mentioned the first lady and is going to tour some schools. i wonder if you have any additional preview and two schools found a way to reopen. will she be talking? jen: i was intending to provide more detail on it. but i must have moved the paper out of my binder but traveling with the secretary of education who was just confirmed and will
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be having a conversation with the schools they are visiting what has been effective, what has worked, what are the lessons learned and what do they need assistance with. his number one priority is reopening schools and taking a trip with the first lady is an indication of his commitment. reporter: vice president harris is one of the most critics of justice kavanagh and i said i believe them, the women. but hasn't said anything about the three women and third accuser, she actually worked for the biden-harris campaign, what point is the vice president going to say something about
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this? jen: the benefit of doing a briefing every day i can speak on behalf of the president and vice president and let me reiterate, every woman should be heard and treated with dignity and respect. the new york attorney general will oversee an independent investigation with subpoena powers and the governor's office said he will cooperate. reporter: one thing to hear it from you and it's appreciated but another thing to hear it from the vice president or president himself. can we hear from them on this topic any time soon? jen: i'm speaking on their behalf. they view this as a situation where all of the women coming forward should be treated with dignity and respect and have their voice i heard. reporter: one question on immigration. i know you have said that you
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don't want to label this a crisis. the secretary was in here yesterday saying it's not a crisis. now you have axios reporting that the administration needs 20,000 beds to shelter these children. based on our own reporting, 97% of the bet beds are full. so i don't want to sound like a broken record but at what point does it become a crisis? jen: i would say -- i don't think we need to meet your bar of what we need to call it. we have the secretary of homeland security yesterday conveying it's a challenge. we've provided numbers, publicly, about how serious that challenge is. we of course, because we are approaching this humanely, and we are approaching this in a way where we will keep the children safe, and a great break with the past administration, and because we're doing this at a time of covid, that is even more challenging. because most of these facilities are at 40% capacity, hence the number of beds that are being utilized. but again, we're going to
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approach this without labeling, we're going to approach this with policy and with humanity. and with a focus on what we can do to keep these kids safe and keep them -- and get them in homes as quickly as possible. go ahead. reporter: i was wondering first on the johnson & johnson announcement. the administration in talks with any other vaccine manufacturers, either on the johnson & johnson vaccine or pfizer and moderna to get more doses out right now? jen: i don't think we have anything to preview for that. on that for you. i will say that the manufacturing process for pfizer and moderna does not allow for smooth transfer from one manufacturer to another, in the same capacity. so this was a step taken because the johnson & johnson vaccine is a more traditional vaccine and more experienced. the other vaccines will allow it to scale and produce the johnson & johnson vaccine. reporter: and a question yesterday about the johnson &
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johnson vaccine. you explained that it was being distributed by population state to state. but there's i guess a question of whether it might not make more sense to distribute more of the johnson & johnson vaccine to more rural states where they might not have the capacity for the -- where it might be tougher to ship something that needs to be stored in the extremely cold temperature, where they might only have centralized hospitals that couldn't distribute that. i'm wondering if you could explain the administration's strategy of why johnson & johnson isn't being sent out to places where it might logistically make more sense. you could balance that out by having more pfizer and moderna in, like, washington, d.c., where it's easy to get from one side of the city to the other? jen: those are all important considerations. the clear advice from our health and medical team is, they've looked closely at all of the questions you've raised, all important ones, is that if you have access for the american people, whatever vaccine you have access to, you should take that vaccine. and of course all of these
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vaccines are being distributed in communities across the country. as we've talked about a little bit here, we're going to have more than enough vaccine doses to distribute to communities across the country and to the american people. and we expect to have that done in an expedited pace from what we had been predicting previously. but the guidelines from our health experts, which is what we rely on, is that anyone -- that every american should take whatever vaccine they have access to in this -- in their pharmacy, at their health provider, at their community center, at the mass vaccination site, whatever it may be. reporter: the last one is, i know you've gotten some questions on this, but again, the chief of staff at the beginning, the administration what promised a clearinghouse internet for vaccine information and you've pointed to this effort where it -- jen: vaccine finder? yes. reporter: well, i guess this is my question. do you find that to be sufficient? because i think what we're hearing a lot from americans is
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that -- americans who want to get this vaccine, it's extremely hard to navigate. it's not really functioning and one promise of your administration was we're going to federalize this, we're going to be a central clearinghouse and -- [indiscernible] -- jen: you're right. the vaccine finder website is available in about a half a dozen states. there are also websites in many states that provide access and provide guidance for people looking for where they can get a vaccine and access. to that is true in different states across the country as well. one of the things we've also found and the prism at which we're looking at this through is that it's not just about people being able to go on websites. people also don't all have access to the internet, including many people who are in communities where there's higher level of vaccine hesitancy or rural communities and so we've also taken a number of steps, call centers, proactive outreach to communities from health centers, to get people to come
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and take the vaccine, because a website is not going to be the silver bullet that solves everything. it's a pilot. so our intention is to expand it, but it's not going to be the only thing that helps solve this for the public. go ahead. reporter: two questions, follow-up on the vaccine and then a following question, it i -- if i might. on the timing of the administration's efforts to help pull this deal together, you said that it was within i think the last few weeks, is that what you had said? we wrote our first story at "the new york times" about a possible partnership between maerck and j&j on january 21. that was when it published. my understanding is that talks between those companies have been in the works before that even in terms of sort of the corporate discussions between them. so, i mean, could you help explain how it is that the biden administration deserves credit for bringing these two
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together when it looks like the discussions have been under way long before you got here? jen: just to be clear. i'm talking about when it was finalized so we could move it forward. of course there are conversations between companies . but in terms of getting it to a point and obviously the johnson & johnson vaccine was only approved last weekend, right? and we were waiting on the f.d.a. to make the final approvals of the vaccine, but there's a difference between conversations and moving forward and the use of the defense production act, which is something this president and not the prior president committed to invoking. and also the commitment to help upgrade the -- or help get the manufacturing facilities to the place where they needed to be, in order to produce the vaccine. so i'm only conveying what got it acrosses the finish line and i think it's clear that that is only -- that only happened relatively recently. but certainly the history of conversations between maerc and
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j&j, even before the j&j vaccine was aproved, you might have more information on it than i do. reporter: second question on the timing of all of this. it's our understanding that the time that it's going to take maerck to spin up the production of -- is months from now. the phrase fourth quarter has been talked about. which would seem to undercut your assertion i think to a couple of questions earlier that this partnership in particular is going to have any benefit to to the 100 million dose pledge. if your 100 million dose pledge is by the end of july and merc production isn't going to get started until september, october, november, -- jen: the contract is by the end of june.
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reporter: those sanctions essentially were ignored. we now have the poisoning that came despite the sort of series of similar sanctions that were imposed. i guess the question is, i think maybe there was another question, what is it that gives your national security team a level of confidence that some different outcome is going to happen from essentially doing the same thing that was done before? is there something that we all don't know about why this is going to be effective, these limited steps, when essentially
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they weren't effective before? jen: first, the announcement we're making today was done in harmony with the e.u. announcement. it was not meant to be a silver bullet or an ending to what has been a difficult relationship with russia. we expect the relationship to continue to be a challenge. we're prepared for that. and we're neither seeking to reset our relations with russia, nor are we seeking to escalate. there's also an ongoing process, as you know, to consider a number of steps of concerning behavior taken by the russians that is still ongoing. and we made this announcement because we wanted to do it in a timeline aligned with the european union, which does send a powerful message. but we're not naive about the challenge, we continue to believe it's a challenging relationship. the president made that clear and made clear what our focus is when he spoke with president putin and that review is
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ongoing and we, of course, reserve the right to take additional steps and take an additional action at the conclusion. reporter: one final thing. is that essentially a concession that you recognize that the steps taken today are not likely to prevent further attempted assassinations by the -- by putin or the regime? jen: i appreciate the option. i'm certainly not making that concession. i'm conveying that it was taken today in order to be in the same timeline as the european union. there is an ongoing review. we reserve the right to take any additional actions at the conclusion of that review. and just reiterating that the tone and the tenor and the type of relationship that this president intends to have with president putin will be quite different from the last administration. reporter: sort of following up on that. you had mentioned
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also being able to maintain a relationship moving forward with russia, despite the sanctions. what specific areas are you considering, such as iran, syria, the start talks, can you be a little specific? jen: well, we of course -- we already signed the extension on new start a couple weeks ago. that is a good example. and that is an example of where engagement is in the interest of the united states, in our national security interest. there are also areas, some of which you touched on, of course depending on where things land with the invitation for diplomatic talks on iran, russia is a 5--- p5+1 plus 1 partner. they would be a key partner if that diplomatic process were to move forward. the point is, there are areas where we disagree and areas where there are significant challenges. there are also areas where we're going to work with the russians as we would with most
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global partners when we need to take steps that are in the interest of the united states. reporter: one more if i may. some unfinished business with the democratic party lawmakers who are still peeved about this lack of congressional notification. senator tim caine says i learned about -- tim kaine says i learned about it on the news. he's a member of the armed services and foreign relations committee. he said, i don't think i should be learning about it this way. what do you say to the senator and whorse are upset on the hill? jen: well, i know that statement grass a couple of days ago. i would say that there were notifications done of committee chairs. i don't have any more specifics on that. there was also additional notifications and conversations that happened on friday and we made an offer of classified briefings for anyone who would meet that bar. senator kaine is an important partner for this administration. he's somebody the president has known for quite some time and we look forward to continuing to work with him on a range of
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issues. reporter: thank you. we're seeing a couple of questions on covid. we're seeing reports out of kansas and missouri that small rural areas are receiving large quantities of doses and that larger urban areas are receiving smaller shipments of doses relative to their populations. i'm wondering if the white house is satisfied that local governments are doing what they need to do to ensure equity? jen: we certainly track when besee -- for example, if there were one of the vaccines that were distributed primarily into certain demographic communities or neighbors, that would be a concern to us as well. we track that closely. i'm not familiar with these specific issues. but it is something that our covid team looks at and as there are issues, they raise them directly with state leaders. reporter: on mobile vaccination
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sites. i wonder when the federal -- what the federal role is and if the federal government is helping to select the sites that these mobile sites are going. jen: we are working, as i noted a little bit earlier, our covid coordinator, has a weekly meeting with governors. he provides an under-- an update. they have a discussion. we're also engaged with local and state leaders on a regular basis and mobile vaccination sites and the implementation of those and where they can most effectively be utilized is something that is part of that discussion. reporter: i'm wondering what the administration is doing to avoid some of the problems that might arise with the j&j vaccine that have plagued the astrazeneca vaccine in europe, where in germany and france, the astrazeneca vaccine seems to be treated as a secondary -- [indiscernible] -- or second-choice because of the perception that it has a lower efficacy rate. is there a concern that that
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might be an issue with j&j? jen: one of the reasons that we've been very clear and why dr. fauci was very clear about this on sunday, on four sunday shows, is that these are -- we now have three vaccines that are safe, that are effective in preventing serious illness, effective in preventing death, and anyone in the country who has access to any of these vaccines should take them. but it is certainly something that we are aware of. in terms of that concern. and we are going to continue to communicate broadly and through a range of channels how effective all of these vaccines are. reporter: couple questions on new york and then one on russia. obviously this third allegation against governor cuomo has come out. this woman did work for president biden during the campaign. i'm wondering what the president thinks about the calls for governor cuomo to resign and whether he's spoken directly either to his former
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staffer or the governor about this situation. jen: the president believes, as i've noted, that every woman who comes forward should deserve to be heard and treated with respect. there is an investigation, an independent investigation, that's being overseen by the attorney general. which has subpoena power and we certainly support that moving forward. in terms of any other conversations, i did not work on the campaign. i know that she did work on the campaign. i believe she was an organizer and -- in southwest florida. i don't know -- i'm not aware of a personal relationship that they had or that he knew her pennel permy. but i don't have any other en-- personally. but i don't have any other engagements. i'm sure there are people she remains in touch with from the campaign but i don't have calls or engagements to read out. reporter: governor cuomo is also facing questions over the nursing home situation and covid. he's currently chair of the n.g.a. he came up to the white house in that capacity to discuss covid with the president.
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derosa, was also advising the administration with covid response during the transition. does the president believe he should step aside from the n.g.a. or are you still seeking advice from his administration on covid? jen: that's a decision for the n.g.a. not a decision for the president. or the white house. but i would say that new york, as you know, continues to be one of the hardest hit states by the covid pandemic. it's one of the hardest hit states by the resulting economic down turn and of course we're going to continue to work with officials in that state to help the people of new york, help get the pandemic under control and help get people back to work. reporter: going back to russia. ed michael was pointing out, we're now, i believe, right in the midst of a seventh anniversary of the crimea crisis. we have seen similar sanction before against the putin regime. i'm wondering if you're considering anything -- what's
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the next step, what could be beyond sanctions, and also as the discussion is happening, is the administration factoring in the captive americans in their response to this and in potential future actions? jen: of course we raise the fact that american citizens are held by the russians at every opportunity. and at every level. i would say that as i noted earlier, the review is still ongoing, under way, if several actions, concerning actions, including the reports of bounties being on heads of u.s. soldiers, of interessential or packing of the -- hacking of the 2020 election and of course of the solar winded cyberattack. that's all under way. the president, the national security team reserves the right to respond and in a time and manner of their choosing. certainly sanctions is a part of that. they reserve the right to respond once that process is concluded. reporter: thanks very much. jen: sure. go ahead.
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reporter: thank you. one question for me and then two for my colleagues who can't be in the room. first off, something that's on immigration and also on vaccines. we're five weeks into the new administration. and the president hasn't named a permanent f.d.a. commissioner. yesterday we heard from the d.h.s. secretary -- [indiscernible] -- agency dismantled by the previous administration. so far the president hasn't name adhanomify for -- nomify for director of immigration. -- nomify for director of immigration. -- nominee for director of immigration. jen: you're right. he's eager to fill all those spots. we need to find the right people and the right nominees and hopefully we'll have news on that in the coming weeks of the i don't have anything to preview for you unfortunately on personnel. reporter: very good. from the daily caller. interior announced yesterday it's giving out more than $260 million in grants to help green
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energy jobs. is the white house launching any programs to help -- [indiscernible] -- jen: i'm not familiar with the interior program. i'm happy to certainly check on that. as i've noted in here before, the president is committed to moving forward on the rest of his built back better agenda. we're going to wait until we're through the american rescue plan and that is signed into law, direct checks are going out to the american people. more money to get vaccines into arms, schools are starting to reopen with money. that's our focus now. he believes that we can invest in areas like infrastructure and do that in a way that creates good paying green jobs that are good paying union jobs and so i have nothing more to preview other than that remains his commitment. reporter: similar agenda issue type question from ella nielsen of fox. she's wondering where house democrats' anti-corruption
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voting rights bill, h.r. 1, falls in the biden administration's list of priorities. jen: it is certainly -- i believe we put out a statement of administration policy yesterday. if not, it's coming soon. but i believe we put it out yesterday. the administration and the president remains committed to protecting the fundamental right to vote and making it easy for all eligible americans to vote. that's something he talked about on the campaign trail and that's why we need to pass reforms like h.r. 1, the for the people act, and restore the voting rights act. and so it is a priority to the president, something he'll be working with members of congress to move forward on. reporter: quick follow-up. my question yesterday. you released the names of democrats -- democratic senators who were speaking with the president virtually. is there any discussion about making that standard operating procedure, as in he has a
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virtual meeting, you release the names, or should we expect to ask you each time there's a meeting? jen: we've proactively -- most of -- i can't even think of the meeting we haven't. but we plan to proactively release, as we did yesterday, i think when i said that it was released until i was up here, which was a magical moment, i didn't have anything to do with that. we were intending to release the names. we will release the names of members that he meets with, certainly we believe in being transparent and making that available to all of you. of course today it's a meeting with the caucus so that is whoever attends that. i don't have that list, you'd have to talk to the leadership about that. this is a little phone a friend on the first lady's trip that i can give more details on. go ahead. reporter: couple of questions. [indiscernible] -- very concerned about the phrase pregnancy discrimination in the equality act. you're familiar with that, i'm
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sure. that would force doctors to perform abortions even if it violates their conscience. they're also concerned that the bill would force doctors to perform gender transition surgeries and sterilizations even if it violates their conscience. what does the president, president biden, say about those concerns? jen: the president's been a long supporter of roe v. wade. it has been his consistent belief that should be law and he will fight to continue to protect that as being law. reporter: -- [indiscernible] -- is that a concern of his? jen: i'll state what the president's policies are. did you have another question? reporter: will president biden keep the conscious and religious freedom division in h.h.s. to receive conscious complaints from those doctors? -- conscience complaints from those doctors? jen: you'll have to talk to the secretary once he's confirmed. reporter: another subject on education. some kids are in school
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yearhand round, others face strictly virtually. the education gap is widening, no doubt about that. when fall rolls around, if some schools are still not in-person full-time, will the president accept that or will very a firm deadline in mind to get the kids back in the classroom? jen: the president wants schools to be back in the classroom. his wife is a teacher. he believes that not only does doe students want to be in school but teaches want to be in school and he wants them to be open five days a week. he put -- the c.d.c. guidelines were put out. we know,000 in have the secretary of education -- we now have the secretary of education. this will be his number one priority and certainly the president looks forward to having schools open across the country. reporter: a firm deadline in line for when kids should be back think? know he can't demand it, i realize it's up to school districts. but certainly he can say a sense of urgency. jen: one of the steps you can advocate for is the signing of the american rescue plan.
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which has $160 billion to help ensure schools can make the changes to their facilities, can hire enough teachers so that they can have socially distant kids in classrooms so, that they can have enough bus drivers. that's an important component of getting this done as well. reporter: i have two questions. the first one, i just want to go back on this concept of vaccination, vaccine diplomacy. we see that china and russia, by the tens of millions, are giving vaccines to african and south american countries. we understand -- [indiscernible] -- every day that the president wants first every american to be vaccinated. but at what point, at what moment -- aren't you worried that the u.s. are going to be left far behind and russia and china will have made major successes with these countries? jen: let me first say that we've also made a major contribution to could he vaccine, which is an -- covax, which is an international body
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coordinating the safe, equitable, fair distribution of saxes across -- vaccines across the world. that is the mechanism and the body that we feel this should be done through. they also ensure that these vaccines reach the standards and meet the standards that we would fully expect them to meet. of course we're concerned by russia and china using vaccines to engage with countries in a way where they're not holding them at times to the same standard the united states and a number of other countries would hold them to. on human rights, on freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of media, even. of course that's a concern. but the president's focus son making sure the american people are vaccinated. of course we look forward to engaging with and continuing to engage with and contributing to the global community's effort to do that. but our first priority is vaccinating the american people. reporter: my second question is on finish director chris wray.
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in congress today acknowledged, recognized, said that what happened on january 6 at the capitol was domestic terrorism. it sounds like the review is done, the review you talked about a month ago, you remember can dash jen: i do remember but the president also called it domestic terrorism on january 6. so he agrees. the review is not concluded. that's a 100-day review. they're looking at not just one incident but many incidents. they want to do it comprehensively, not through a political lens. when that's concluded i'm sure we'll have more to say. reporter: you're not ready to say that the proud boys is a terrorist organization? jen: again, i think we're going to conclude the review. we're looking at organizations, white supremacist organizations, a range of organizations across the country and their impact. we're no -- we're not looking at individual incidents on their own. it's important it's a
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comprehensive review. when that review's concluded, we'll have more to say. reporter: thank you. two vaccine questions. one from someone who is not in the room because of all of the social distancing. on the vaccine questions, if there are state, local governments, hospital systems who are having real problems with their websites and their implementation of vaccine registration systems, is the federal government offering assistance, technical contractor support, maybe using the defense production act, to require a federal contractor in the technology space to help them out? what's being done to help sort of fix some of these technical challenges that state and local governments are having? jen: it's an interesting question. i'm not aware of our engagement on i.t. support directly. i think which is what you're asking about with state and local governments. obviously i'm sure there's a lot of traffic in certain places and that may have an
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impact. i can see if there's more we can convey on that. reporter: and following up somewhat to a question from a little bit earlier. if there are areas where it seems like a governor may be giving preferential treatment, say to an area where there are more people who vote for one political party or another in terms of the allocation of the vaccines and the location of sites, is there anything that the federal government can do directly to sort of steer more vaccine doses to locations where the governor may not be allocating them? jen: one of the things we saw when we went to the pfizer facility and this is true for every vaccine is that they're tracked. we know where they go. and we certainly know if vaccines are going more lev i -- heavily to one part or one demographic over another. and that would be a concern. it would be something we would raise directly with leaders in that state. but it is something that we watch closely. reporter: are there any
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examples where that's happened or would that be something you would at this point keep under wraps if it had happened? jen: i'm not aware of a specific incident. but st it is -- it is something we track and watch closely. i think our first step in those scenarios would be to raise it directly with leadership in the state. reporter: the question i got from someone who is actually in california who was asking whether or not the president plans on engaging in the recall and in support of the governor in the event that there is a recall election in the california gubernatorial race. jen: we've expressed support for the governor. but i don't have any other plans related to the president to preview for you. reporter: a question about -- [indiscernible] -- it is national read across america day. dr. suess' birthday. both former presidents obama
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and trump mentioned dr. suess in their read across america day proclamation. but president biden did not. why not? jen: first, the proclamation was written by the department of education and you can certainly speak to them about more specifics about the drafting of it. but read across america day, which you're right, has not existed forever, it's only been around for a short period of time, elevates and celebrates a love of reading among our nation's youngest leaders. and the day is also a chance to celebrate diverse authors whose work and lived experience reflect the divert of our country. that's certainly -- diversity of our country. that's certainly what they attempted to do or hoped to do this year and as we celebrate the love of reading and uplift diverse authors, it's especially important that we ensure all children can see themselves represented and celebrated in the books that they read. reporter: did the omission have anything to do with the controversy about the lack of diverse characters in the author's book? jen: again, i think it is
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important that children of all backgrounds see themselves in the children's books that they read. but i would point you to the department of education for any more details on the writing of the proclamation. reporter: does the president have any reaction to the passing of jordan? jen: i expect he'll have a statement out shortly. maybe even as we speak. but shortly about his passing. reporter: a little bit of news on the media front. your predecessor has just signed on as a fox news contributor. wondering if you have any good wishes for her, advice, and if she does have a show, if you'd be willing to go on. jen: sure. i've done fox news sunday twice now. i'm happy to go on a range of shows. i will say that i knew kaley a little bit, not well. i met her when we were both cnn contributors and we did a few shows, i'm not sure how many, together. like many americans, we disagree on political issue but we talked about our families, our spouses, sports, all sorts of things in the green room. and i certainly wish her the
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best in her future endeavors. thank you, everyone. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] jen: sorry. can i do one more thing? i feel like i'm violating a rule here. i just want to give you more details about the first lady -- i actually woke up this morning and said, i want to talk about this and then i didn't do it. as you all know and we've talked about, the senate confirmed the president's secretary of education. in a wide bipartisan vote of 64-33. he will be sworn in by the vice president this evening. tomorrow the first lady and secretary will travel to his hometown in connecticut and to waterford, pennsylvania, to tour public schools that are open for in-person learning. so they're both life long educators they will highlight the c.d.c. mitigation strategies that the schools have implemented successfully
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in these locations. listen to the challenges they are facing due to the pandemic. including the academic, social and emotional needs of students. highlight the additional resources in the american rescue plan needed for schools to remain open and address the needs of students and thank educators for their work in supporting students and their families. as i noted, this is a top priority, reopening schools, for the secretary. i will expect you'll learn more soon on who will be running point on that in the department of education as well. so, thank you, everyone. have a good afternoon. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2021] reporter: [indiscernible] -- jen: i'm from stanford. not the same debate there. better bagels and sandwiches in the northeast for sure.ome frome
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