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tv   White House Press Secretary Holds Briefing  CSPAN  December 13, 2021 5:48pm-6:27pm EST

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>> at today's white house briefing, jen psaki answered questions about the deadly tornado outbreak in kentucky and other states. president biden's build back better social spending plan and the call for joe manchin to help. secretary psaki: let me start out with an update on the tornadoes.
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you just saw the president speak to this. he said our hearts go out to all of the families in the central united states. he is receiving regular briefing on the situation including the one this morning with the secretary may orchids. -- mae arcus -- secretary mae arcus. we have been working around the clock, through the weekends, most with governors of impacted states and local leaders to make sure they have everything they need to respond to and recover from this unimaginable tragedy. tragically, we are seeing fatalities across five different states, kentucky the hardest hit. the president mainly approved andy beshear's request for a
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disaster to let gratian -- declaration for the state. yesterday, the president immediately approved a major disaster declaration for kentucky, making federal funding available for temporary housing and home repairs to help individuals and business owners recover. many of you may have seen our fema administrator speak directly about helping people have places to the and state. disaster survivors can apply at www. disaster assistance.gov. the president's action makes federal funding available to the state and elbow to local governments. -- and also to local governments. he directed fema to lean forward with a proactive response. this requires governors questing
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assistance in order to get it. he wants our teams to be very engaged proactively about what the needs may be to make sure they have the information necessary to apply if warranted. the secretary of homeland security and fema administrator were in kentucky just one day after the tornado subsided. fema has rapidly deployed search-and-rescue teams, emergency management teams to assist response and coronation efforts. it has sent dozens of generators, 40,000 meals, 2500 caught and other critical commodities to help families in need. as you heard the president say, he is committed to meaning whatever the needs are in these communities. the president will sign an executive order today that will help promote fiscal stewardship
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by improving the way that our government delivers services to the american people. it outlines over 30 specific agency actions that will make it simple or for people to access government services and access. things like making social security benefits easier to access online service harry's don't have to go into offices they don't want to. saving them time and big headaches at time. allowing americans to fit new their passport online instead of having to print forms and pay with a paper check or money order and providing online tools that make it simpler to file your taxes. you can also update your address in there and not have to do it through repeated forms. i found that particularly excited. this focuses on the needs of the american people and spells out a process for agencies to continue to improve their delivery of services. brief updates for all of you.
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the vice president announced the bided harris administration -- the bided harris administration -- biden harris administration will move forward the limitation of the bipartisan infrastructure law establishing a joint electric vehicles office between the permit of energy and transportation, issuing guidance and standards for states and ensuring consultations with stakeholders including manufacturers, covenants -- government and environmental justice groups. also today, as a part of her role, the vice president will announce that investments in central america total over $1.2 million. these commitment are in response to the call for businesses and social enterprises to make new significant commitments.
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this is thanks to the unprecedented outreach campaigns and investment from the american rescue plans. 4.6 million americans have signed up for aca coverage since november 1. four out of five customers can find a plan. thank you for all of your work. the hardest working people in the building, some of them. why don't you kick us off? not them? i met some of the hardest working people in the building. as i was saying that i said to myself there are other hard-working people in the building. >> are we still doing the executive order cap? >> i believe it is 125. we have a little bit of time.
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i believe that is 30 minutes from now. >> this could be the last time that the child tax codes go out. what do you say to those families if this is the last check? >> the president was a this is why we need to move forward as quickly as we can in getting the build back better bill passed so we can ensure that families across the country who fitted from the child tax credit who would benefit from having child care costs cut will the relief they need. that is something that would take effect early next year in addition to the extension.
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i think he is referring to the status of the reserves. the reserves remain in excess about to the taliban. let me outline for you why that is. they are located in certain financial institutions in the united states and these institutions have put forward a risk mitigation strategy. there is a reason why these remain in accessible. the status of the funds is the subject of ongoing mitigation. these proceedings cannot be disregarded and have led to the temporary suspension of any movement of the funds. second, the united states continues to face difficult financial -- fundamental
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questions about how to make this available to benefit the people of afghanistan while making sure it does not benefit the taliban. it is difficult to determine how that would not go through and not benefit the taliban as it relates to these funds. a number of its officials are subject to the 1988 sanctions regime. this raises red flags for many state central banks and the financial committee more generally. we are continuing to review. it is a complicated and challenging issue but that is the status and the reason why there is not any update on that. >> i wanted to talk about the joe manchin meeting. what is the president's message to the senator? it is within a month and a half
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that you guys -- since you guys announced a framework that you thought would work. what is the message today? sec. psaki: the president looks forward to speaking directly with senator manchin about why you think this legislation should move forward. he felt that there connotations have always operated in good faith and he expects this to follow that same approach. senator manchin has been in touch over the last week with senior members of the white house staff and we specked this to be a continuation of that conversation. i will let senator manchin speak for himself. the president looks forward to communicating directly with him this afternoon. >> i just wanted to ask you about the january 6 committee.
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over the weekend they are showing some information about mark meadows and the use of the national guard after january 6. was there any reaction to that? sec. psaki: as the president said, january 6 is one of the darkest moments in our country's history. there is no question that this investigation is vitally important to get to the bottom of what happened that day and to prevent it from ever happening again. as you know, as we make decisions regarding request for executive privilege, our team has made them through the prism of the unique moment -- the dark day in history that january 6 was. we are very supportive of the work of the committee and the work of congress to get to the bottom of what happened here. i would veto right that the
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president has the utmost respect for the men and women that serve in our military and confidence in the armed forces leadership. this investigation is critical to providing a full understanding of what happened to prevent it from happening again. >> does the president think it is better to take a pause 1.5 which before christmas and wait until next year to have a bigger discussion on this? what is his thought on ship -- senator schumer looking to get this done before christmas? >> we are supportive of that. >> senator manchin said he has series reservations about this. sec. psaki: i'll not speak for senator manchin.
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we are supporting the leaders effort to put this forward. >> what about the case that this will not impact inflation? that seems to be a big concern of senator manchin's. sec. psaki: what we have been trying to do and i am sure this is part of what senator manchin would like to discuss. to highlight that it is not just us but it is a range of economists. 17 nobel laureates who have conveyed that this will help address inflation over the long-term. when we talk about inflation, this may be the way that the president and the senator can discuss this in a more accessible and human way -- how we lower costs for the american people. how people can plan their budgets for the first quarter of next year and figuring out how they can put food on the table.
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and this build back better plan will help lower costs for people across the country. that is fundamentally what they will do. we will make that case privately to senator manchin as well. >> is the president making the argument that he has been making across the last several weeks? he seems pretty unmoved in his positions right now. where do you see signs of potential movement? sec. psaki: this is not a negotiating table as much as a conversation between two people who have been in public life for some time and have had good faith discussions directly. >> it does seem that as if this deadline may come and go. is there anything the white house can do to provide relief for these families? sec. psaki: clearly the
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president wants to see the child tax credit extended. that is what he proposed in this package. the president supports that. we need the votes to do that. we are working through the process of getting there. >> that deadline does not seem to be enough so far to get senator manchin to come around. it does not seem that he is in a rush to compromise and put a certain deadline on this. does it look like this will happen before the holiday? sec. psaki: i don't think we are in a place to make that production at this point in time. the president supports this package. it will lower the cost of scription drugs, child care, elder care, housing. he things that is a pretty compelling case. the american public agrees. they like all of those components but he also understands how the legislative
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process works and we will work that day by day. we are not at that point right now. we are continuing to press to get back at her through the senate -- build back better through the senate. >> he also amassed -- i also wanted to ask about ukraine. if russia forays into ukraine, he suggested there were retaliations in the works. sec. psaki: as our national security advisor has touched on, there are a number of nato partner countries in eastern europe. if you look at what happened post when he 14, a lot of these countries were looking for reassurance. there were looking to bring more
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presence there. certainly that is on the table should russia decide to invade ukraine. >> there is another aspect to this. we are waiting on the problem and terry and decision but there are members of the democratic party saying ignore that. sec. psaki: the process that we are in now which you are very familiar with is we are awaiting -- the proletarian is doing her work and we are reviewing a number of components in the package. we have to wait for that to complete itself. you can't put a bill on the lore until that process is complete. >> who might run in 2024 --
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there are quotes from other democrats by people who work for them. what is the white house's message to them? sec. psaki: we are focused on what the american people elected the president to do just over a year ago. that is to get covid under control, put people back to work and to help give people some breathing room. we hope other people keep their focus on that as well. the president has every intention of running for reelection. >> the president said build back better not add one penny to the deficit. will president biden commit that these programs are not going to be made permanent?
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sec. psaki: what your talking about is a fake score that is not based on the bill that everybody is talking about. this is a request by senator graham to score a bill that is not currently being debated. that is her prerogative to do. our focus is now on the existing bill that will lower the deficit and pay for the $2 trillion tax cuts that republicans did not pay for. they are welcome for that. i would say that to your question, the president has conveyed very clearly that he would like president -- like this to be paid for. but this is a fake score about a bill that does not exist. we should really focus on the actual bill everyone is going to vote on and considering in congress right now. >> is vice president harris
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still in charge of addressing the root causes of migration from el salvador, honduras and guatemala? >> yes and she is announcing a commitment this afternoon. >> why has she not spoken to the president of guatemala since june? sec. psaki: i did see this strange report from the president of guatemala saying that he has had no contact with the white house which is inaccurate. >> he said president harris. he has not spoken to her and she is in charge. why is that? sec. psaki: we have had range of conversations as root elected in our readout. it was with the vice presidents national security advisor, our senior director, juan gonzalez. we will continue that high level of engagement. >> final topic, do you think it is possible that these cities
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are dealing with these smash and grab robin's -- robberies right now because the prosecutors are too soft on crime? sec. psaki: i would say that -- i will not attribute the reasoning from here. what i will tell you is we have seen an increase in crime over the course of the pandemic. there are a range of reasons for that and our focus is on what we can do to address it. the president has proposed additional funding in the budget to make sure that local police department and cops have the funding they need. we are working with police departments where they are seeing the greatest increase in crime. that is what our focus is on currently. making sure the funding is out there to the communities that need it the most. >> what good will it do if you're going to give police department extra money if they arrest bad guys and bring that to jail and then they are not prosecuted? sec. psaki: i think what our
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focus on is making sure that the local leaders, the please officers have the assistance and the funding they need. >> just in the last week, we saw a post about a pickpocket with more than 30 arrests back out on the street. we saw an arsonist burned down a christmas tree in new york city. does the president think that is good governing? sec. psaki: i have spoken to the president's concerns about retail theft. if you have any specific questions about the actions we have taken, i would point to the department of justice. >> -- sec. psaki: they will be conversing over the phone
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. >> is that typically just the two of them or will there be legislators? sec. psaki: sometimes there are one-to-one conversations between the two of them and sometimes there are additional staff involved in case there are follow-up questions. sec. psaki: the president >> >> -- the president -- >> the president is going to kentucky and he has not decided where just yet. do you know what sort of type of impact he wants to make by going in person? sec. psaki: he is very mindful. he does not want to pull resources away from the rescue and recovery efforts. i think that is what was on his mind. we did finalize the travel and announced that it is for campbell, kentucky. it is to survey storm damage.
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i would expect while he is there that he will receive an up to from local authority is about what their needs are, see local elected officials and discuss in person with them and make sure they are giving what they need -- getting what they need from the federal government. when he went to the northeast, he wants to hear directly from people. he wants to offer his support to them. people have gone through really incredible challenges. it is about losing parts of their community. i think he wants to offer support to them. i would suspect it is a combination.
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>> is the precedent suggesting he may have more to say on the filibuster? is there more as it pertains to voting rights? sec. psaki: i know they will be talking about a range of things. build back better is front and center to that. voting rights are a priority to the president. i don't have any update at this point. >> do you expect any announcement this week on the fed nominees? sec. psaki: i don't have a day for you but that is something we are looking to get done soon and hopefully before the president and everyone leaves for time with their families over the holidays. >> do you have any information
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on the next steps when it comes to diplomatic steps between russia and nato? sec. psaki: there are a lot of different moving parts at the same time right now. secretary glick and was at the g-7 foreign ministers meeting in liverpool to discuss cooperation on the conference a response to russia's military buildup. there was a joint statement released calling on russia to de-escalate, pursue diplomatic channels. the foreign ministers they were meeting were forced to change borders and that russia should expect further military aggression against ukraine would have massive consequences. that is what the president reiterated to president boudin and what he conveyed to the
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leaders last week through our secretary of state. -- she will emphasize that we can make make progress in ending the conflict in support of the enormity format. following that trip, she will travel to brussels to consult with nato allies and you partners. that is how we have a poster this. -- approached this. day by day, what we are working to do is keep the lines of diplomatic engagement open, have those conversations with the europeans but also the russians and continue to look and pursue a path -- a tip the medic path
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forward -- diplomatic path forward. >> there is a push in the uk2 -- u.k. to get booster shots. it has been very slow in the u.s. for elder people to get booster shots. is there any plan to get eligible people with your shots -- booster shots? sec. psaki: it is not nearly where it needs to be in terms of everybody eligible getting a booster shot and we know that can be protective against delta. that is still the predominant variant here. there could be increased protection against omicron even as we learn more. as you look at seniors, we have seen that about 60% of those eligible in nursing home toadies
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have received a booster. it is actually higher than that. 91%. we have also seen a number of states execute strong programs. we are continuing to press publicly, privately with governors as you have seen us talk a lot about this nationally. we thought more people will get boosted and protected. >> the president has had to address a series of natural disasters, wildfires, hurricanes . he said he should not be partisan moments but we also heard him talk about the demonstrated effect of climate change on many occasions.
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what can we expect to hear from the president when he goes to kentucky on wednesday about -- to talk about climate change? sec. psaki: that is about him receiving an update from leaders about what they need from the federal government. he will be trying to be a source of comfort to people who have gone through a devastating couple of days in their communities. i will note -- when he was in the northeast several months ago , what is striking is the sheer impact of the changes in the climate and the crisis on
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communities across the country, the cost to communities, these major weather events that have impacted such a growing percentage -- all right. we are getting a little groovy in here. i like it. that is exactly what we needed right now. it is all good. i was enjoying it thoroughly. we should turn it back on in a few minutes. there were some really startling statistics. i will get these to all of you about the percentage of people in this country who have been impacted by severe weather events. it has increased over the course of time and the president will talk about this more and it is not a political thing. look at the communities that have been impacted, red, blue, purple, no color at all. people that don't consider themselves political in any
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shape or form. this is why we need to do more to address the climate crisis. >> the president said on saturday that he was seeking some input from the epa about whether these specific tornadoes were caused by climate change. have you gotten any feedback on that? sec. psaki: i think he answered a similar question this morning. it is something he will continue to discuss with climate advisors and his teams. i don't think there is any new assessment of it. because of the climate crisis, we have seen more extreme weather events and that is a reason to act. >> has he been in touch with senator manchin and staff about his concerns? sec. psaki: we have been in
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regular contact with senator manchin including members of our policy team, our legislative team to address any questions he may have. without getting into private discussions, i can assure you that they have conveyed that acting now on build back better -- addressing the inflation concerns is why we should act on build back better now. a lot of the cases we have made publicly and the information we have shared privately as well. reporter: [indiscernible] sec. psaki: it is not currently being proposed or considered. the president has conveyed that he wants to see an extension of these paid for.
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i will not get into hypotheticals at this time. the last one here and then we will wrap it up. >> on this executive order -- what is the strategy to do this now? can you give us any sense of the specific timeline? sec. psaki: it is going to take six to 12 months to implement it. it is a priority for agencies. agencies will have a more direct and specific assessment about how long it will take but some of this is getting programs or online systems up and running so they can be implemented and i would say that the reason to do it now is the president is someone who has been in government. 36 years in the senate -- we can always make government work more
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efficiently. technology is a way to do that. to make it input and were accessible for people, whether they are seniors trying to get there social security benefits or people applying to new their passport. -- renew their passport. that is something he has long been a believer in. it is something that took a little work internally to make sure we had the systems to get it going. >> the canadian government wrote about retracting certain things. what is the white house reaction to this? is there any discussion about extending eligibility? >> we talked about this a little bit when the prime minister, justin trudeau was here. the president advocated for these tax credits because he wants to make it more affordable
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for the american people to purchase electric vehicles and he feels this is a huge opportunity for american automakers. we have a good, working relationship. thank you, everybody. >> this week, on the c-span networks, congress returns from the shorter workweek. the senate takes up a bill increasing the debt limit. once past, it will go to the house. today, at seven clock, is to on c-span, a house committee investigating the january 6 attack on the capital meets to consider mark meadows for
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criminal contempt of congress. tuesday at 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span three, the confirmation hearing for dr. robert to become the head of the food and drug administration. on wednesday at 2:30 p.m. eastern on c-span.org and the c-span now mobile video app, airline ceos discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their industry. watch this week on the c-span network or you can watch our full coverage on c-span now, our new mobile video app. or you can stream video, live and on-demand anytime. c-span, your unfiltered view of government.
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>> we are joined next by the education workforce and education security director of the government accountability office. here to talk to us about their new report on haight in u.s. schools and violence in u.s. . jacqueline nowicki, welcome to "washington journal." guest: thank you for having me. host: first, tell me the overall mission of the government accountability office. guest: gao is a nonpartisan congressional agency.

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