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tv   White House Press Secretary Holds Briefing  CSPAN  June 29, 2021 1:13am-2:08am EDT

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on c-span3, house armed services committee hearing on the army's 2022 budget with the army secretary, christine were myth and james mcconville. a house so committee looks at the commitment toward economic and racial justice. >> during monday's white house briefing, jen psaki answered questions on president biden's statement regarding the bipartisan infrastructure deal, u.s. airstrikes in iraq, the look fix and the building collapse in florida. this is 50 minutes. >> happy monday.
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just a couple of items for you at the top. as you all know, last week, the president and a bipartisan group of senators announced in historic info structure deal. it is the greatest deal since the interstate highway system. it will lemonade all that drinking water pipes. -- eliminate all led drinking water pipes. -- lead drinking water pipes. there is a lot of excitement out there. charlie baker came out in support. the american society of civil engineers, numerous travel communities, the national association of counties and many others area the president will travel to wisconsin tomorrow to
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keep actively making the case for this agreement and getting it over the finish line. he will continue to make the case for his american families pan -- plan, which we're also fighting to pass through the pass approach we've been discussing with all of you. also wanted to note for all of you today, thanks to the president's commitment to playing a leading role in ending the pandemic everywhere, two million doses of the pfizer vaccine will begin to ship to peru from the united states and 2.5 million doses of the moderna vaccine will be shipped to pakistan. over the weekend we announced
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we're sending 1.5 million doses of moderna to honduras and we'll announce more places the united states will be sending our doses. finally, i wanted to make sure you all saw today education secretary cardona announced the release of nearly $4 billion in funding to the puerto rico department of education, including $2 billion from the american rescue plan to help the island's continued recovery from the covid-19 pandemic. the secretary is in puerto rico meeting with students, government officials, and education leaders. josh, why don't you kick us off? reporter: thanks, jen. senator mcconnell today said that president biden should tell speaker pelosi and leader schumer the bipartisan infrastructure bill from any reconciliation. does president biden want to -- -- intend to tell them what to do on this matter? jen: the president has long supported the two-track approach and his view is that the american people are most interested what we're going to do to deliver for them. how we'll rebuild the roads and brijts, how they can have access to broadband, that we're eliminating lead from drinking water. that's where his focus will continue to be. the case he'll make in wisconsin tomorrow, he'll of course work very closely with the leaders in congress, leader schumer, speaker pelosi.
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i know leader schumer has noted he plans to bring up both the infrastructure bill and reconciliation in july, but he'll continue to work closely with them and other members. go ahead. reporter: secondly, senator murphy of connecticut said he's worried how the administration views constitutional article 2 authority. can you explain the administration's view on article 2 and kind of how he's thinking of that matter? jen: sure, let me say as a matter of domestic law, the president took this action. the air strikes that were announced yesterday by the department of defense, pursuant to article 2 authority to defend u.s. personnel. the targeted strikes were directed at facilities used by iran's backed militias involved in these ongoing attacks for purposes including weapons storage, command, logistics, and unmanned aerial vehicle operations.
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so article 2, the self-defense, the defense of the united states and our interests, is our domestic justification for these strikes announced yesterday. go ahead. reporter: just to follow up on that. has president biden been in touch with house speaker nancy pelosi or leader schumer following his clarification and issue over the weekend? jen: you're not talking about the air strikes, you're talking about infrastructure. we have been touch with a range of democrats and republicans, including leaders of both -- the democratic party in both houses, i should say, about the path forward, certainly. reporter: what was the hard line on this? \[indiscernible] senate passes a bipartisan bill and reconciliation bill. does the house feel they need pelosi to get on board with the approach president biden is taking? jen: the most impactful role, i should say, the president thinks he can play and i think it's safe to say leaders in congress, speaker pelosi, senator -- leader schumer, and including republicans that supported this want the president -- is to make the case to the american people, to the public about how
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officials are working together to deliver for them. that's exactly what he's going to do tomorrow. that's exactly where his focus will be. certainly we'll work in close coordination with leaders in congress, but it's up to them to determine the sequencing on the legislation. reporter: does the president plan to go to florida? jen: well, let me first give you an update on what we've been doing over the last several days. as you know because we issued a read-out yesterday, the president sent his fema administrator down to florida who had a meeting with governor desantis and others while he was in florida. the president received a briefing afterwards. in addition, we have 50 personnel on the ground coordinating closely with state and emergency officials and providing assistance. fema has building science experts, structural engineers, and geotechnical experts to support search and rescue proliferations -- operations and
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the u.s. army corps of engineers is also being mission assigned to provide debris removal and fema is involved in the response to the devastating incident. an additional fema, national urban search and rescue system teams are on alert to support personnel already on the ground. fema is coordinating with the state to support the opening of a family assistance center and is providing communication support to ensure information is available. in terms of a visit by the president, we always assess -- we always want to ensure we're not pulling from local resources. we don't want to draw resources that are needed in the ongoing search and rescue operations. we will remain in close contact with officials on the ground and certainly if there's a trip to preview or announced to all of you i'll go ahead and do that. go ahead, major. reporter: the statement the president released saturday, what was the need for that?
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did the president earlier miscommunicate or did senate republicans simply misunderstand on the infrastructure deal? jen: i think it was quite lengthy and detail in the president's name and the president's voice. a couple points he made in there quite clearly were that when he -- when -- last week when he had the press conference, as you all know, he -- understand -- he indicated he would not sign the infrastructure bill without the american rescue plan. the republicans were upset they did not see the two plans linked. the infrastructure plan as aiding passage of the families plan. as noted in his statement, he left the impression he was issuing a veto threat on the very plan he just agreed to which was not his intent and he wanted to make clear that was not his intent. in the statement he also reiterated his intention to move forward with advocating for, using the bully pulpit, making
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phone calls, working his heart out to get the american families plan through. his view is you can do both and should be able to do both and there can be disagreement even as he's pursuing the american families plan. i think he made pretty clear, major, in his statement this weekend that we issued this weekend that he did not send -- that was not the message he intended to send. reporter: you have said a couple of times the president will tell the country what's in it. even those that supported it said we like to know more about it. when will the details be available for those, for example, who live in flint, michigan, and every city in america who does have a lead pipe situation to know what is being spent, how it's going to be spent and the core legislative language he would be
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focused in? jen: i'll share any detail if you want to know about the package. major, you're right. it needs to be written. that's a key component. the president conveyed there is work ahead. writing this legislation, moving across the finish line. i will say, just because you asked me about these specific components of the package, to give a little bit more detail there, it will put work -- it will put americans to work, replacing 100% of our nation's lead water pipes. every single american child at home or in school can turn on the faucet and drink clean water. right now, as you may or may not know, up to 10 million homes and 400,000 schools and childcare centers get their water from lead pipes and service lines. so that is what it will aim to address. reporter: is that over the eight-year life of the bill or two-year timeline? jen: it needs to be written in the final legislation of the
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bill. but the president is eager to get it done as quickly as possible. reporter: another question about infrastructure. you're saying that the president was trying to clear up what he meant on thursday. and it was not his intention to issue a veto threat. he said if they don't come, the two bills together, i'm not signing. real simple. so did he change his mind? or did he make a mistake? jen: i will say, peter, i know we're quite focused sometimes on process in here. i understand that. though the process of a bill becoming a law is important. the president intends to sign both pieces of legislation into law. he's eager to do that, looking forward to do that. as you know, they are both moving forward on dual tracks this congress. reporter: cedric richmond said americans defunded the police -- the president never mentioned needing police to stop a crime wave when he was selling the american rescue plan? jen: the american rescue plan, the state and local funding,
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something supported by the president. a lot of democrats who supported and voted for the bill could help ensure local cops were kept on the beat in communities across the country. as you know, didn't receive a single republican vote. that funding has been used to keep cops on the beat. reporter: at the time, these local police departments might have a pandemic-related budget shortfall, not we need to keep cops on the beat because there is a crime wave. jen: i think any local department would argue keeping cops on the beat to keep communities safe when they had to because of budget shortfalls, fire, police, is something that helps them address crime in their local communities. reporter: the white house's argument was the american rescue plan will be $1,400 checks it
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will be vaccines, vaccinators. it's going to put us on a path to beating the virus. jen: it did those things as well. it was a pretty good bill and piece of legislation. reporter: one more. this weekend, gwen berry, who represents the united states as an olympian on the hammer throwing event, won a bronze medal at the trial and turned her back on the flag when the anthem was played. does the president think that's appropriate behavior when someone hopes to represent team usa? jen: i know the president has great respect for the anthem and all that it represents, especially or men and women serving in uniform all around the world. he'd also say, of course, part of that pride in our country means recognizing there are moments where we are as a country haven't lived up to our highest ideals and it means respecting the right of people granted in the constitution to peacefully protest. reporter: quickly on the covid crisis. jen: sure. reporter: you're planning a really large party at the white house.
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jen: yes. a party for frontline workers and men and women who served our country, yes. reporter: and also the national mall will be open. we are getting reports of increase cases of the delta variant. experts are now warning that those that got the j&j vaccine might actually need a booster shot. some experts got such booster shots to guard against the delta variant. is this too soon? are you being risky to allow many, many people to get to the national mall and fourth of july? is there a risk you could be, in essence, doing exactly what, you know, what criticized the trump administration? large gatherings? jen: let me first say we have been -- our north star has been data, has been scientists, has been the advice of our medical experts. at every point since the president took office. and just a few factual details. i'm not saying in addition to what you conveyed. the majority of delta cases are
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in people that were unvaccinated. we may have people that got vaccinated that get covid. they have mild symptoms. remain out of the hospital. the best thing to convey to people across the country to protect yourself is to get vaccinated. the higher percentage of young people, people under the age of 27, who are at a lower rate of vaccination than people who are over that age. so i would say, we, of course, will continue to evaluate. many steps that need to be taken to protect the public, protect the american people. but we have made significant progress, and we are confident in our plans moving forward for july 4. reporter: is there anything that would change your mind? if we see a speak spike -- if we see a spike, will you change the plans or curve it or limit it in some way? people who are coming to events
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like this \[indiscernible] jen: i don't anticipate at this point our plans changing. we, of course, are always driven by the advice of our health and medical experts, but beyond that, i don't anticipate that at this point. go ahead. reporter: the president going to be here today, what are the plans -- what plans do you have for the new government? jen: sure. reporter: what your goals are? jen: absolutely. so let me first say on the first question you asked, we are -- we do look forward -- the president looks forward to hosting prime minister bennett soon. today's visit is a chance to recognize the president's support for the bilateral relationship and for maintaining strong bipartisan support for israel. the visit is also an opportunity to highlight the deep ties and
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enduring partnerships between our nations as well as a chance for the leaders to compare notes and consult challenges and opportunities facing the region. overall, the visit will highlight the strength of the relationship from our shared interests in security and stability in the region and provide an excellent opportunity for high-level consultations on key issues and advance -- in advance of a visit we have with the prime minister at some point soon. so it's also building, i should say, on recent engagements we've had at a variety of levels. secretary austin and secretary blinken as well as our national security advisor. go ahead. reporter: senator romney told someone that his rating of the president's statement over the weekend, if the infrastructure bill reaches his desk and it comes alone, he will sign it. is that an accurate reading of that statement from the president? jen: the president looks forward to and expects to sign each piece of legislation into law. he's going to work his heart out getting both across the finish line. reporter: if the infrastructure bill arrives and the reconciliation package is not
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near yet, no one has clarified that, yes, he will sign it. jen: again, caitlyn, i know we're focused on process around here and hypotheticals. the president is focused on selling this package to the american people. both packages, i should say. that's what he'll be doing in wisconsin. we will work to move both of these pieces of legislation forward. the president expects to sign each piece of legislation into law. reporter: one more question on the air strike. if the united states feels the need to keep hitting these iran-backed militia groups, does the president thinks he needs to go to congress to ask for new authorization? jen: well, the president has talked about his desire to update and work with congress. senator kaine and others to update authorization parameters and legislation. i will say, as i stated earlier, that the president is confident, as is our team, in our -- our legal justification, i should say, through article 2 and our
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authority and our ability to defend u.s. security personnel, which is exactly what we did in this case. reporter: jen, was there any consultation with congress beforehand or our allies regarding the air strikes, and what's the next step? you have the air strikes. is there a reach out to iran? jen: we completed a number of staff and member notification prior to taking action and continuing to brief members of congress. we are in close contact with partners in the region. reporter: specifically, will there be outreach to iran? jen: i will say we are obviously working through. we just completed the sixth round of negotiations, as it relates to the iran nuclear deal. jen: the president's view is that it was necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action. these strikes designed to limit the risk of escalation we will take. and he believes he will and
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should take appropriate measures to defend u.s. personnel, partners, and allies in the region. certainly i would say in relation to this question over here, we continue to believe that, and have never held back -- click the president -- the president's view is that this was necessary and appropriate action. we will take necessary and appropriate measures to defend u.s. personnel partners and allies in the region. i would say this is relation to this question over here. we continue to believe that, and have never held back from noting that iran is a bad actor in the region. and they have taken part and
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supported and participated in problematic extremely problematic behavior in our view. at the same time we feel that we are moving forward and seeking the opportunity to move forward on negotiations to prevent iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. it's in our national interest. that's how we evaluate. it was not linked to a visit by the president of israel or elections in iran. reporter: in the president's briefing as he been given information to indicate that the transfer survivors still exist? and does he believe there is a federal role at examining the kinds of within that building questions that have now come to many people's minds after seeing what took place. jen: i would say on your second question that he does believe there should be an investigation and that fema, i don't know the resources fema is sending to the ground, officials from the national institutes of standards and technology.
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officials from osha. and the f.b.i. they have all been deployed surfside under their own authorities to help participate and provide expertise in that effort. certainly we want to play any constructive role we can play with federal resources and preventing it from happening in the future. in terms of the likelihood and potential for survivors, he would refer to local authorities in making that assessment. go ahead. reporter: quickly. the iraqi government. i'm wondering has there been a response to the complaint that was lodged? jen: i would refer you to the government of iraq on that specific question. i will say that the prime minister is a partner. he has a tough job. his statement calls for de-escalation from all sides.
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but the attacks again our troops need to stop and that's why the president ordered the operation last night. reporter: i wanted to ask about this treatment. my first question is the president concerns about the approval process which seemed to overrule the advisory board that we learned a lot about in the last year. and the approval -- jen: i know last week or the week before, i haven't spoken to him about this specifically, can i see if i can do that and send more back to you. reporter: i'm not sure full' have more on t now the question of considering the limited high price whether the government would impose particular restrictions on access to it. it was approved fully. jen: let me talk to our health people teem and see if there is more.
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we'll get back to you. reporter: the senate minority leader put out a statement today at a news conference which he said the president delinked the two bills. does the white house take issue with that characterization? or do you agree with that? is that what's happening here? jen: i think the president is eager to sign both pieces of legislation into law. and he is going to focus his time and effort on selling the benefits of these packages, what they would do for the american people, whether it's ensuring kids don't have lead in their drinking water. making sure families have additional benefit from the child tax credit extension. that's what his focus will be. in terms of the mechanics and process, we are going to work closely with leaders in congress, but he wanted to be clear that he did not intend to issue a veto threat. he remains committed to moving that piece of legislation forward just as he remains committed to moving the american
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families plan forward. reporter: one other question on article 2. what are the limits this white house sees in article 2? does it acknowledge there are limits? to what president does the field feels he needs to article 1. jen: the president takes legal authority and justification for military action seriously. certainly we consult our legal teams to ensure we have that justification. and we certainly feel confident we do. and when there are attacks against our -- that threaten our troops, our men and women serving bravely overseas and spending to those certainly qualifies as self-defense. reporter: thanks. when the president announced the bipartisan infrastructure deal last week, he said i know the senate and the house better than most of you do. he had long experience in congress and the white house. how does a situation like this arise where he has to issue a statement, a lengthy one, clarifying himself, you have to reassure people on capitol hill.
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did he underestimate the blowback he would get from the republicans by making statement he did wanting to do these bills? jen: i know there is a lot of interest in rehashing the last several days. i get t we are not going to do that. we are going to focus on our efforts moving forward. right now as you saw a number of republicans go out on sunday shows yesterday and talk about their commitment to getting this package forward. their commitment to delivering these benefits to the american people. i just started out talking about the broad support from governors, labor unions, others in moving this package forward. the president will go out to wisconsin and sell this package to the american people tomorrow. reporter: in terms of moving forward you mentioned earlier the white house is in contact with range of lawmakers on capitol hill. can you talk about outreach to liberal members of congress? have you talked to the progressive caucus? there's been concern about on the left about negotiating too many with republicans. what reassurances, if any, can
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you given to liberal members of congress? jen: we are in touch with members from all parts of both -- all parts of the democratic party, a range of members in the republican party, absolutely. some the president are directly in touch with. our legislative team, senior members of the white house team are engaged with, listening to, conveying, making the case for why there are key components of this infrastructure package that should be supported by a broad range of members of our party. i will note that there are a couple of components and some areas where there hasn't been probably enough information out there about the benefits and areas where i think a number of members of the progressive wing of the democratic party would be excited about and support. certainly i mentioned earlier removing lead from drinking water. that is something that as i noted in response to major, there are 400,000 schools, 10 million homes that could benefit. millions of kids who would benefit from that. also expansion of broadband. it's a national disgrace that
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african-american families are 9% less likely to have high speed internet than their white peers. latino americans are 15% less likely t will help address that. also access to transportation. americans who were trying to get to work, including people of color, twice as likely taking public transit often have fewer transit options. climate, an area where i think we still are going to continue to do more work making sure people across the country and care deeply about addressing our climate crisis know the components of what's in this package which the president considers a down payment, not the end. a down payment. 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations nationwide. that's what this would support with a focus on highways and rural disadvantaged communities. it would buy more than 35,000 electric school offices. the largest investment in clean energy transmission in history. it represents the largest effort ever to address legacy
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pollution. these are all areas that a lot of people in the democratic party are excited about historically, should be, and we'll continue to make the case and make sure we are conveying this and the american family plan and the components there are what we are going to continue to advocate for. reporter: how much of tomorrow will be about that deal versus the american family -- jen: tomorrow will focus on the infrastructure package and the components in the infrastructure. but the president will absolutely also be out there in the future continuing to make the case for why universal pre-k, something that makes it 50% more likely that kids will graduate from high school, should be law. making sure community college, two years, is free for people across the country. extension of the child tax credit. reporter: take you back to your article 2 answers here. they appear to be responsive to a specific incident or a set of
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incidents in which the u.a.v. were used against american troops. that begs a larger question whether the president believes he needs whatever replaces the authorization for these military force, something that is specific to the iran threat. this category of threats. and when you talk about having a longer and stronger element to the iran deal, are you also trying to now encompass this new use of u.a.v.? jen: i would say on the latter question, david, the focus -- as you have noted and just noted, certainly we want to look to build the iran deal beyond what
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it was in the past. we have been very clear about that. that's part of the discussions and negotiations. the next step would be the seventh round of discussions and negotiations. i would say that as it relates to responding to attacks on our men and women serving or threats, i should say, to our facilities that are in the region, that we don't see that on the same exact track. reporter: senator murphy, his statement, the reason he has concern about, i read it as less concerned about the article 2 element to what he said was that it now seems as if we have a low-level war under way with iran. this constant back and forth, is that an assessment you folks agree with? jen: our objective is to de-escalate. the president will reserve the option of responding when there is a threat against u.s. interest. go ahead. reporter: on the infrastructure. senator manchin suggested yesterday he could support $2
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trillion in a broader reconciliation bill. does the president consider that a sufficient amount of spending? jen: we are just at the beginning stages of these discussions. clearly as you noted or as you alluded to, there's disagreement. even within the democratic party about what the size of a reconciliation package should look like. as these discussions proceed, there will be disagreements to resolve. there will be compromises to be made in order to get a final package. i'm not going to do that from here. the president's going to continue to advocate for the inclusion of the american families plan and the key components in that package that he feels to be instrumental in helping the american public. he'll continue to advocate for the components of the budget. he recognizes there are important discussions, negotiations that will happen even between members of the democratic party. reporter: select committee the speaker is supposed to announce later this week, as the president spoken to her about the membership of the committee, who he would like to see on the panel?
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does he have a sense in when this report should be released? does he think it's important that the findings of this select committee come out around the anniversary, for example? jen: i think the president certainly supports the decision by the speaker to create the select committee, or to launch -- get the process started to form the select committee in terms of the timeline of the release of final report, i think you would refer to her and her judgment. in the middle. reporter: back to what you said about climate. even with the policies in the bill, there are pretty sizable that work with the campaigns that keep in touch with the white house that they and keep and their allies have frustrated that when it came to reach a deal, it was a lot of the big climate stuff that got pared down. what is your message to climate activit-- activists that say
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we thought president biden would be the most aggressive president ever on the topic. why is this first high profile bill whittled down? jen: i would dispute the notion it doesn't do anything for climate which some are arguing. i outlined key components that would represent historic investments in areas like addressing the legacy pollution and cleaning up communities across the country. preventing, that have relied on fossil fuels and others, especially lower income communities. it will take enormous steps in addressing, investing in clean energy transmission. it will include making sure electric vehicle buses are part of our force across the country. and make sure electric -- that purchasing electric vehicles which would be a huge contributor to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is something that can be a reality for millions of americans. whether or not everyone aware of those specifics, that's incumbent on us to keep conveying it, communicating it, listening, and making sure people understand this is a down payment.
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the president will continue to advocate for, press for, work for, even more on the climate as he will in the reconciliation bill and process moving forward. reporter: the white house want to see a clean energy standard in that reconciliation bails bill and fit into the parameters of what can and can't be included? jen: there is a lot to be negotiated and discussed moving forward. the president has conveyed he would like to see an investment in clean energy tax credits. something that would certainly be an additional step forward. there is more to discuss as it relates to the final reconciliation package. reporter: you mentioned the president likes to see an investigation into what happened -- can you expand just a bit. federally run? would he like to see consideration -- what should be the goal and who should be in charge? jen: the goal is to get to the bottom of what happened. and of course have it be an instructive guide on how to prevent it from happening in the future. i just conveyed all the federal
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resources we are sending down to be supportive of efforts on the ground. i don't think i have more than that. go ahead. reporter: really concerned this -- reporter: health experts are really concerned this will be a huge fallout if the federal moratorium is lifted next months. a lot of studies show that evictions make the threat of covid even worse, when it comes to black and brown communities. what's the president's response to that? can we see any type of changes? jen: first i would say the president absolutely is committed to ensuring that we continue to provide assistance whether it's rental assistance or assistance to make sure americans who need help to stay in their homes, to stay in rental units get the help they need. the moratorium was never meant to be permanent. obviously as an extension was announced just last week, but we will continue to look for ways
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through federal authorities, through working with congress, to ensure we are helping americans across the country. go ahead. reporter: follow-up on the question about the july 4 event. talk a little bit about what -- an outdoor event. what precautions are being taken, people have to be tested? vaccinated? masks even though it's outdoors, more broadly we have seen signs that things are going to -- getting back to normal a little bit at the white house. sometimes that they aren't. can you just tell us a little bit about our all staff here. is that 100%? are visitors allowed in? i believe there are still no tours. jen: sure. first our intention was always to bring staff back. i think we provided this publicly. at a slow pace to ensure we were integrating people back into the white house and we were taking all the necessary precautions. i think a lot of that will be done through the course of july and into the summer. that's our intention.
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in terms of the timeline for resuming tours and guests, i'll have to get back to you on the specific plans. in terms of precautions i'll have to check with our team. reporter: i believe on friday you mentioned that the president would be speaking about voting rights this week at an event. didn't see that on the schedule. can you talk about what that event is and what he'll talk about? jen: he has a meeting with voting rights advocates today and officials internally. let me note that first which i think you are aware of. we are working to determine when we can schedule remarks. it could move in just because of scheduling it could move into next week. i don't have anything to announce yet. he's looking forward to addressing the public as we get a final date locked in. i can preview it for you in more detail. reporter: the northwest are suffering through record breaking heat wave. -- waves. what's the president's message on climate who say he he's not doing enough? can we guarantee the public something will be passed by the end of this year?
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jen: first, i would state president is also meeting with governors from western states on wednesday to discuss exactly the threat of these wildfires. and what we can do from a federal level to help work in partnership. he's been quite focused over the last few months in ensuring we are not just preparing and working closely with governors who are in states who might be impacted by hurricanes, but doing the same with states and governors and leaders who might be impacted by wildfires. he got a briefing from fema just last week. i would say again that the president is absolutely committed to addressing climate. it is one of his four crises he's identified as central to this presidency. the components in the infrastructure package are a down payment on that. he will continue to advocate for, fight for additional steps in the reconciliation package and moving forward through the course of his presidency. reporter: i want to ask two questions. framework was announced last week policing, justice in policing act. with that said what pieces are in that the white house sought. what pieces are out that the
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white house wants back in? qualified immunity may or may not be in there. some parts may be enforced. jen: i understand your question, april. we are going to let the negotiators speak to more specifics of what is in the framework anti-next steps from their end. we are closely in touch with them. as i noted in the past the president looks forward to welcoming them to the white house at some point when appropriate. we are going to let them announce the details of their agreement or framework. reporter: in the debate where it comes to -- when someone is killed by the police hands. does he stand on the side of that? meaning that piece -- a large component of the nation feels
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that the intention should be put in to it. as well as if it just happens as they are in police custody. so both pieces should be in. is the president weighing one side or the other on that piece? jen: we are just going to let the negotiators speak to what's in the package. what's in the framework at the appropriate time when they are ready to do that. reporter: on voting rights. again, i'm going back to the issue -- is there concern the president with some republican members on the hill that could backfire on him? jen: in what way? reporter: in the way that they don't want civil rights. the president himself with the gravitas, if he leans in too much, is there concern from you and the president? jen: no. go ahead.
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reporter: i want to follow on anita's question. most members of the press who come in here now are vaccinated and don't have to be tested. is that also the case on the staff? is all the staff vaccinated? if you're going to come in close contact with the president do you still have to be tested? jen: yes. there are different categories of people who have leg contact with the president and otherwise. some are tested twice a week. some are tested once a week. as you know when there is travel that's a different circumstance. we still do have staff tested regularly. reporter: everybody has been vaccinated? jen: i don't know if every person has been. reporter: first u.s.-taiwan trade talks in five years are supposed to take place this week. china has responded through the government of beijing calling on the united states to stop any form of official exchanges with taiwan.
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how do you respond to the government in beijing pressuring washington like this about economic ties with taipei? jen: let the first say this is not a direct response, but let me convey to you what our policy is, which is that our support for taiwan is rock solid. taiwan is a leading democracy and major economy and security partner. and we will continue to strengthen our relationship across all areas, all the areas, including economic issues. we are committed to the importance of the u.s.-taiwan trade and investment relationships and we'll continue to strengthen our trade relationship with taiwan which is why we are looking forward to the upcoming trade counseling meeting recently announced. we have been clear publicly and privately about our growing
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concerns about china's aggression toward taiwan and the p.r.c. has taken increasingly course of action to undercut democracy in taiwan. we'll continue to express our strong concerns to beijing in that regard. and also our concerns about the p.r.c.'s attempts to intimidate others in the region. jen: go ahead. reporter: on iraq -- jen: go ahead. reporter: how do you balance the white house in this case the president duties to protect americans with civilians in iraq by hitting this militia, risking being -- violating countries like iraq? jen: well, i think i conveyed a little earlier let me try to reiterate it or state it in a different way. the president, his view, he agrees, i should say, with the prime minister's comments that he wants to de-escalate. that's our objective. we don't want to see iranian proxies threatening our interests in the region. certainly we would prefer that is not the case.
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at the same time, the president believes that when it is -- that we have to reserve the right to respond at a time and place of our choosing to protect and defend our people. that's certainly a balance that every president of the united states needs to strike. but it is one where he feels confident that the strikes he announced yesterday were necessary, appropriate, and deliberate actions designed to limit the risk of escalation. reporter: my question is two yemeni presidents -- considering it was the first act that president obama you remember -- jen: that is correct. i would say that the department of defense would have the best update on the timeline. it remains something the president is certainly committed to doing and eager to move forward on. reporter: infrastructure. does the white house think it has 10 republicans currently
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onboard for the infrastructure plan? jen: we'll continue to make the case. continue to convey to democrats and republicans why this package is something that will help their constituents across the country. in terms of vote counting i will lead that to leaders in congress. reporter: president folk spoken to senator mcconnell or does he plan to speak to him? jen: i don't have any calls with speaker mcconnell. i don't have any calls with senator mcconnell to read out. must be that time. briefing. reporter: the u.s. is going to send 37 blackhawk helicopters and some airplanes. do you have any comments on that? more broadly, is there any concern about the prospects of american-made weaponry falling into the hands of the taliban as they take over government positions as they have been doing? jen: it's something we have been cognizant of from our early engagement here, at least the biden administration and before that in terms of any reports of
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weapons i would point you to the department of defense.
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