Psaki brief: Russia, China, D-Day Anniversary 6/7/2021
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June 7, 2021

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On 6/7/2021, during news brief, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked White House press secretary Jen Psaki, “On COVID-19 origins: China has basically already said they think their part in an international investigation is done. So, why is Jake Sullivan still here saying he thinks it’s possible that they’re going to provide the preliminary data at some point?

Psaki: Well, I don’t think we just give up that easily. We are going to continue to press — in coordination with the international community — China to be transparent, to be forthcoming with data and information. We’re not going to just stand by and accept that they’ve said they’re not going to participate.

Now, at the same time, as you know, we’re also launching our own review and our own process. And I’m certain this will be a topic of discussion as the President goes overseas this week.

Question: And when you say that the White House is going to continue to press, what is that — what is that? What is
“pressing”?

Psaki: Well —

Question: What are you doing?

Psaki: Okay —

Question: No, sorry. I just mean like what — what mechanisms —

Psaki: What steps are we taking to press?

Question: Yes.

Psaki: Sure. We are engaging, certainly, at the highest levels, and we’ll continue to do that, whether it’s the Secretary of State or other leaders who engage on — through national security, diplomatic conversations. And we will continue to work through the WHO and also with our international partners to exert that pressure and ensure that we’re all going to keep pressing for them to release underlying data and participate in the second stage of this investigation.

Question: And then, just quickly, a housekeeping thing: Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump all commemorated D-Day anniversaries on D-Day — on the D-Day anniversary. Why didn’t President Biden?

Psaki: Well, I can tell you that, certainly, the value — his value for the role that men have — the men who served on D-Day, and the memory of them — the families who have kept their memories alive over the course of years on this day — is something the President has spoken to many, many times in the past. It’s close to his heart. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more we would have to say on it.
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Full Transcript

Okay. All right, well, what a good way to start off a full briefing room — our first full briefing room day since the President took office.

A couple of updates for all of you at the top:

Over the weekend, the Department of Health and Human Services released new data that showed more than 31 million Americans have gained access to quality affordable healthcare through the Affordable Care Act — a record high that demonstrates the strength, durability, and impact of the historic law after years of relentless attacks on Americans’ healthcare.

President Biden also reunited with President — former President Obama for the White House’s weekly conversation to share the news, discuss how the administration’s special enrollment period has allowed more than 1.2 million Americans to enroll in health coverage, and highlight how the American Rescue Plan has lowered premiums and healthcare costs.

Another update from the weekend: Over the weekend, the G7 finance ministers also endorsed President Biden’s plan for a global minimum tax of at least 15 percent. This is a historic unprecedented progress made possible by the President’s and Secretary Yellen’s commitment to a global tax system that is equitable and equipped to meet the needs of the 21st century global economy.

The G7’s endorsement is another example of America reasserting its leadership on the world stage — something we look forward to doing later this week. And establishing a global corporate minimum tax will help level the playing field for the United States, ensure fairness for the American middle class and working families everywhere, and focus competition for business where it belongs.

Last item for all of you: Today, the Department of Justice announced two new steps to stem the epidemic of gun violence in our country, following through on the President and Attorney General’s announcement in April of a set of initial actions.
First, the DOJ has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to strengthen regulations on stabilizing braces that helped convert pistols into dangerous short-barreled rifles, which it appears the perpetrator of the Boulder shooting used — now that we know more.

The Department is also publishing model legislation and guidance that will make it easier for states to implement red-flag laws — something that’s already law in a number of states across the country — which studies have shown can be effective in reducing gun violence, including by preventing suicides and even potential mass shootings. This is part of the President’s longstanding commitment to addressing the scourge of gun violence, which continues to claim far too many lives every single day.

Josh, kick us off.

I’m very thrown off by where everyone is seated. I’ll — (laughter) — I’ll adjust to it. Okay, go ahead.

Question: Thanks, Jen. Two questions. First, Senator Manchin laid out the argument that election reform should be bipartisan because anything partisan would, quote, “destroy the already weakening binds of our democracy.” Does the President agree with that sentiment, or is that sentiment untenable because of the state-level changes being pushed by Republicans?

Psaki: Well, first let me say that the President knows he was elected to deliver on — deliver for the American people. And his view is that that includes making voting more accessible for people across the country — making it easier and not harder to vote.

And he’s made clear that there’s a real need for federal legislation to protect the sacred right to vote, and we are not going to wait for Congress either. That’s why we’ve taken some steps through our Department of Justice and also why we’ve — he’s asked the Vice President to lead this effort both in working with Congress, but also at the state level. Because as you noted, there are a number of problematic laws that have been moved — that have moved forward in states across the country.

I think where we are at this point is, clearly, Senator Manchin has stated his point of view in his opinion piece over the weekend, which many of you, it sounds like, have read, as did we.

But the President’s view is that we need to move forward not just with the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, but also with legislation, like the For the People Act, which enjoys, I should note, broad support for — from the American people and — because it does a couple of things that he thinks are essential: It provides basic protections for registering to vote and how we cast a ballot; it will prevent politicians from drawing congressional district lines for partisan advantage; to ensure that people are choosing the representatives that will help end the corrupting power of money and politics.

Now, in terms of the path forward and what that looks like and the mechanics of how it moves forward in Congress, the President is quite open to and willing to work with anyone to enact commonsense reforms that benefit the American people. We will stay lockstep with Democratic leadership on what that looks like from here, but I don’t have anything to preview about the next steps.

Question: And then, secondly, the Justice Department has had a series of policy changes with regards to its relationship with reporters and pursuing reporters’ sources and possible prosecutions. I was wondering: Under this administration, will the Justice Department still be trying to compel reporters to name sources who are anonymous or unnamed in court? Will they continue to do that?

Psaki: Well, I think that the announcement from this weekend — or the statements from this weekend, which are entirely consistent with the President’s comments he made just a few weeks ago, make very clear that going forward, consistent with the President’s direction, the Department of Justice, in a change to longstanding practice, as many of you have noted in here before, will not see compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain source information from members of the news media doing their jobs.

That is entirely consistent with delivering on the President’s comments just a few weeks ago and entirely consistent with his policies now. It doesn’t mean — there are still — it’s an independent Justice Department. They will proceed, of course, with a range of investigations, which, as we noted in our statement on Saturday morning, we did not know about the gag order until minutes before the reporting came out on Friday night. So that’s appropriate, but at the same time, moving forward, consistent with the President’s policies, they will not be proceeding with those actions that have been consistent over the last several years.

Go ahead, Steve.

Question: The President is not happy with the Capito counteroffer. What happens now on infrastructure?

Psaki: A couple things, Steve. One: First, the President, I expect, will speak with Senator Capito before he leaves on his trip — today or tomorrow. I know we noted Monday in our readout on Friday, but we’re looking to schedule that call, and it’ll be prior to his departure on Wednesday morning.

As we noted also in our statement on Friday, the offer did not meet the President’s bar of growing the economy, tackling the climate crisis, and creating new jobs. And I would remind all of you — both in our counteroffer, but then in a lot of your reporting — it’s clear the President has come down by about a trillion dollars. What is — what we’ve seen on the other side is they only come up by a small percentage of that.

So, look, moving forward, he’s looking forward to having a discussion with Senator Capito today or tomorrow, and he certainly is eager to see what can — what that discussion can entail, knowing that in any discussion, any negotiation, both sides come closer together. That’s always the objective. He’s come down quite a bit. We’re looking to see more.

Now, at the same time, there are a lot of paths forward here, as many of you know, even though our muscles have atrophied a bit on this — on this front. One is, Congressman DeFazio, as we noted in our readout on Friday as well, is marking up — leading the markup of the House legislation that has a lot of overlap with the American Jobs Plan this week and a lot of — it’s a — that is a path that has a lot of opportunity to move forward in the House. As we know, sometimes the House and the Senate may move forward on different paths, and we’ve seen that take place on lots of pieces of legislation.

The third pathway I would just note is there are Republicans and Democrats who have been out there talking about their eagerness to be a part of this discussion and a part of an opportunity to move forward on the President’s bold ideas and historic investment in infrastructure. So we’ll look forward to seeing what they have to offer and what conversation we can have with them.

So all of these paths we expect to continue to make progress on this week.

Question: Separately, what is the status of the semiconductor reviews? Should we expect that today, tomorrow? When exactly?

Psaki: Soon, Steve. I would expect you will have more this week. I know there is a lot of interest and eagerness on hearing what the status of the review is and any policies that have — will come out of that review.

Question: On infrastructure, does —

Psaki: Go ahead. Go ahead.

Question: On infrastructure — back on that — does the President have an agreement with Senator Manchin that if the bipartisan talks fails, then Manchin will support the — using reconciliation to pass infrastructure?

Psaki: I’m certainly not going to speak on behalf of where Senator Manchin is. Obviously, he’s spoken to his interest in making historic investments in infrastructure. He’s also spoken to his openness to raising the corporate tax rate. Those are all positive signs, in our view. We’ll let him speak for himself on where he stands on any pieces of legislation.

Go ahead.

Question: Given the concessions that you just outlined that the President has made so far, should we expect this to be the final round of negotiations with Senator Capito?

Psaki: I think we have to see where the conversations go over the next day or so. And we’re certainly not going to prejudge them.

Again, look, the President has come down by approximately a trillion dollars. We’ll see where the conversation goes when he has the opportunity to speak with Senator Capito. And there are a number of paths where we can move these ideas forward at the same time.

Question: You mentioned your support for this markup that’s happening on Wednesday. Is that a signal — should we read this as some kind of signal to your Republican counterparts that you are ready to go at this alone?

Psaki: I think it’s only just a statement of what’s happening as a bill becomes a law, which is that a leader in the House is moving forward with marking up a piece of legislation that has quite a bit of overlap with the American Jobs Plan the President proposed.

So, the time is not unlimited here, as we’ve stated from the beginning, nor is the President’s willingness to compromise. He has areas where he wants to see greater investment. He made clear that the proposal — or the offer put on the table didn’t meet his own bar, but we’re very open to where the discussion goes from here. And he’s looking for the opp- — looking forward to the opportunity to talk with Senator Capito, as well as others who may come forward with ideas about how to move this forward.

Question: And just one more on this, sort of, big picture. Secretary Buttigieg had said that, you know, by today, you had hoped to see a clear path on infrastructure. Do you have a sense that there is an emerging clear path?

Psaki: We have several paths. That’s the good sign.

Go ahead.

Question: Is there a new deadline that the President has set for progress on infrastructure? I know there — you know, there was Memorial Day; now you’re outlining a few different paths. Is there a time in which he’s going to make a decision about which one he’s going to take, given the deadline keeps moving?

Psaki: Well, first of all, what we said is, by Memorial Day, we would hope to have a sense of where it looked like moving forward, and we do. We have a couple of paths forward. We don’t know what the end outcome will look like, as you typically don’t as a bill is moving its way to becoming law. And there are several paths forward as I’ve noted, so we’re going to continue to work on all of those lines.

I would also note that Speaker Pelosi has said she wants to move forward with legislation on infrastructure in the House in June. That’s exactly what’s happening here. Leaders — Leader Schumer said he wants to move forward in July. Again, the House and Senate can be on different timelines and pathways.

Question: And then, just a quick follow-up on the voting rights. Did Manchin give the White House a heads up that this op-ed would be coming out? Did you guys have any sense of how firm his position was on this legislation?

Psaki: I’m just not going to get into any channels of private conversation with Senator Manchin or any other senator.

Question: And then, just on the Vice President: Obviously, you know, last week, the President said that she was going to take a leadership role in —

Psaki: Yeah.

Question: — in voting rights. Democrats have warned that if, you know, if Washington doesn’t take action, that the midterms will be quite difficult given the changing voting laws. Is there going to be a more — you know, are we going to see signs of more urgency from the White House about taking action on voting rights? Obviously, the President has had a lot of lawmakers in the Oval Office to talk about infrastructure. Will we see more signs of an increasing focus on trying to make progress on voting rights?

Psaki: Absolutely. But I would also note that, early on in the presidency, the President signed into law an executive order that put in place a number of positive steps forward on voting rights, something — an action he could take without Congress. We’ve also empowered the Department of Justice, of course, to take actions to implement some of these policies. So, we’re not waiting.

I would also note that the fact that he asked his Vice President — well, or he — they agreed, I should say, since it was her ask — but that she would lead this effort moving forward tells you what a significant priority it is for this White House.

As you know, she’s currently on a trip to the Northern Triangle. She’ll be back, and I’m certain you’ll hear more from her soon.

Go ahead, Phil.

Question: Voting rights, Jen. Back on voting rights, real quick.

Psaki: I’ll go to you next, April. I promise. I’m just jumping around so I don’t forget.

Go ahead, Phil.

Question: I just have a bigger picture one, and then one more to drill down on infrastructure. What’s the President’s message, or what’s your message to Democrats, particularly progressives who’ve started to get a little bit antsy that, you know, the window is closing; we went through this back in 2009; it’s time for us to move; it’s not just infrastructure — if you don’t move infrastructure, the rest of the $4 trillion agenda doesn’t move either? What’s — how does the President, kind of, calm that down, if he does?

Psaki: I think — I think his message is: He remains absolutely committed to moving forward with a historic investment in infrastructure, and also to put — pushing forward the American Families Plan that will help level the playing field, lift up the next generation of workers, ensure there is universal pre-K and access to free community college.

These are all initiatives that he has a commitment to moving forward on. And part of the discussion, which we talked about a little bit last week, is also about tax reform and ensuring there’s a way to pay for a range of these ideas. It’s not that one is assigned by a blood oath to one piece of — you know, one piece of the agenda is assigned to one piece of a payfor.

There’s opportunity to move forward with several components of the President’s agenda. We do have time. We’re not going — we’re not using the timeline of the Affordable Care Act as a model here, Phil. But as you know, and anyone here knows, it takes time to move these things forward, to get Democrats on board, to get Republicans on board.

Ultimately, we’re looking to have enough of a coalition to move forward on these bold, historic ideas, and we obviously don’t have that at this moment, but we’re working toward that.

Question: And then, just to drill down a little bit on the — on June 9th markup. I mean, this is Surface Transportation package.

Psaki: Yeah.

Question: It doesn’t have — most Republicans are cool to it right now. Can you elaborate how that is a pathway — a viable pathway forward, given you’re looking for a bipartisan pathway right now? Or, kind of, what the thinking is behind that markup in that piece of legislation.

Psaki: Well, I think it’s important to note, primarily, because it has a great deal of overlap with the American Jobs Plan, and certainly it provides an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to vote to support a historic investment in infrastructure. Obviously, a markup is just the beginning stage of the process; there’s some time to go. But it’s important to note because it is a piece of legislation that’s moving its way forward, even as these negotiations are continuing.

Okay. Go ahead.

Question: And you said you’d come back to me next.

Psaki: Oh, I’m sorry. April, you’re right. I’m sorry. Go ahead.

Question: Yes. Back on the issue of voting rights: You said the President issued some executive orders on voting rights, but they don’t deal with the issue of Shelby vs. Holder 2013 when it comes to preclearance. So how do you equate that?

Psaki: Well, I wasn’t intending to equate it. The question earlier was broadly about voting, right? It was not about whether or not it’s essential to move forward with legislation that would make voting more accessible, ensure that everyone knew that every vote was counted.

I think it’s important to know and understand: The President doesn’t feel that, you know, the John Lewis Voting Act — Voting Rights Act is a replacement for the For the People Act, and that it is necessary to move forward with more than that.

Question: And a follow-up on that: Tomorrow, Joe Manchin is meeting — it’s reported he’s meeting with civil rights leaders, civil rights leaders who pretty much align themselves with this administration. What are your hopes? Because, I mean, they seem like they could be your last hope — if there is any hope – to move him on his opposition against the For the People Act.

Psaki: Well, look, I don’t know that I can speak to a meeting that has no member of the administration as participating in, April.

But I can tell you that the President is going to continue, and as are members of this administration who’ve been leading this effort — from Susan Rice to Cedric to anyone who’s at the highest level, and, obviously, to the Vice President, when she returns from her trip — to advocating for a path forward on how we can ensure that everyone knows their vote counts, that we make voting more accessible, that we make it easier and not harder. Those are fundamentals.

The President, the Vice President, and other members of the administration will be open to, eager to have that discussion with anyone who wants to be constructive in that, moving forward.

Question: Are you hopeful that his heart will change?

Psaki: I’m not going to make a prediction about Senator Manchin’s position on an issue. I’d point you to him to speak to that.

Go ahead.

Question: On the same topic: Could you speak more to the actual argument that Senator Manchin was making, which was less about the content of the For the People Act and more about the fact that it doesn’t have bipartisan support and that being behind it would be wrong for that reason alone?

Psaki: Well, I think the President’s view continues to be that making voting easier for people, making it easier to vote, ensuring people have access to that fundamental American right should be something that Democrats and Republicans all support. And he certainly will continue to advocate for that.

I don’t know that I have more of a comment on Senator Machin’s position. I would point you to his spokespeople for that.

Question: And then, given the fact that we’ve been talking about how a bill becomes a law, if he’s against the For the People Act, does that mean that for all intents and purposes — at least for right now — it is dead?

Psaki: I’m certainly not going to make that prediction. As you know, there can be many ups and downs of legislation moving forward. And as I noted earlier, he’s been — the President has been clear he’s willing to work with anyone to enact commonsense reforms that benefit the American people, that make it easier to vote. He’ll have those discussions with Democratic leadership, and we’ll work together on what the path forward looks like.

Go ahead.

Question: Thank you. On COVID-19 origins: China has basically already said they think their part in an international investigation is done. So, why is Jake Sullivan still here saying he thinks it’s possible that they’re going to provide the preliminary data at some point?

Psaki: Well, I don’t think we just give up that easily. We are going to continue to press — in coordination with the international community — China to be transparent, to be forthcoming with data and information. We’re not going to just stand by and accept that they’ve said they’re not going to participate.

Now, at the same time, as you know, we’re also launching our own review and our own process. And I’m certain this will be a topic of discussion as the President goes overseas this week.

Question: And when you say that the White House is going to continue to press, what is that — what is that? What is
“pressing”?

Psaki: Well —

Question: What are you doing?

Psaki: Okay —

Question: No, sorry. I just mean like what — what mechanisms —

Psaki: What steps are we taking to press?

Question: Yes.

Psaki: Sure. We are engaging, certainly, at the highest levels, and we’ll continue to do that, whether it’s the Secretary of State or other leaders who engage on — through national security, diplomatic conversations. And we will continue to work through the WHO and also with our international partners to exert that pressure and ensure that we’re all going to keep pressing for them to release underlying data and participate in the second stage of this investigation.

Question: And then, just quickly, a housekeeping thing: Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump all commemorated D-Day anniversaries on D-Day — on the D-Day anniversary. Why didn’t President Biden?

Psaki: Well, I can tell you that, certainly, the value — his value for the role that men have — the men who served on D-Day, and the memory of them — the families who have kept their memories alive over the course of years on this day — is something the President has spoken to many, many times in the past. It’s close to his heart. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more we would have to say on it.

Go ahead.

Question: Jen, I know you said you don’t want to read out any private conversations —

Psaki: Yeah.

Question: — but it certainly seems like the President and Senator Manchin are sending messages to one another in the public. You had the President, last week, expressing some frustration about — you didn’t name him, but senators in his party who vote with the other side. You have the op-ed from Senator Manchin this weekend.

Are these two men on the same page? Does the White House feel like it understands and knows what Senator Manchin wants out of this, particularly these infrastructure talks? And can you say when — how often these two have been speaking with one another — if not in person, by phone?

Psaki: Well, I can certainly tell you that the President and senior members of the administration are in close touch with Senator Manchin and his team about infrastructure and about a range of issues where there is an opportunity to work together, moving forward.

I’ll also note that I’m pretty sure Senator Manchin is pretty proud of his independent streak. And he made clear he took no offense to the President’s comments last week.

And he also noted — I think over the weekend — that West Virginia doesn’t usually get this much attention, so maybe it’s a — you know, that’s something he doesn’t seem to mind too much.

Question: Does the President see Senator Manchin as potentially an obstacle to his agenda? If he follows through on not backing changes to the filibuster, not wanting to pursue infrastructure through reconciliation, that pretty much grounds the President’s domestic agenda.

Psaki: Well, we’re certainly not ready to accept that — that analysis.

I will say the President considers Senator Manchin a friend. He knows that they may disagree on some issues, as they do on this particular piece of legislation. He’s going to continue to work with him, reach out to him, engage with him directly and through his staff on how we can work together moving forward.

Question: On the issue of healthcare, you mentioned the video of President Obama and President Biden over the weekend.

Psaki: Yeah.

Question: One of the remaining Supreme Court decisions we’re waiting on deals with the Affordable Care Act. Can you talk about the White House’s preparation for that decision — what we would expect to hear from the White House if they strike down the former President’s signature law?

Psaki: Certainly. Well, “reunited and it feels so good” for the Vice President and former President. Who — someone — someone gets this in here. Hey. (Laughter.) So, even a full room, no laughs. Okay.

Look, I will say that this is one of the roles that Neera Tanden, who has come in as a policy advisor, is playing — is planning for what the contingencies are.

As you well know, we don’t know what day this is going to come out or what the outcome is going to look like. And what we are staying rooted in is our fundamental view — the fundamental view of the President and the Vice President that the American people deserve access to affordable care — healthcare; we should continue to improve and build upon the Affordable Care Act. And that’s how we’re planning for.

But, you know, there’s a range of options. I’m sure when we know the outcome, we can — we can speak to that more directly.

Go ahead, Andrew.

Question: Thank you. So, you answered a number of questions about voting rights and people casting their votes. I wanted to ask you about counting the votes.

Psaki: Yeah.

Question: A number of the bills that have passed Republican legislatures and are pending before Republican legislatures take the voting and the counting of votes and the running of elections out of the hands of nonpartisan officials and put them in the hands of Republican state legislatures. This is what Donald Trump wanted done during the runup to when Congress certified President Biden’s victory. This is what a lot of scholars are saying Republicans as a whole are preparing to do in the event Democrats win close elections in 2022 and 2024.

The For the People Act does not address the issue of counting the votes and rigging or ignoring the counting of votes if a Democrat wins. How much of a concern is this to the President? And what — what’s he going to do to highlight this and find a solution?

Psaki: Well, Andrew, it’s a really important issue to raise. And as you’ve noted, there are pieces of legislation — putting the federal effort aside — that are moving their way through state legislatures, which would make it part- — a partisan — in some scenarios, in some cases, put the hands in the power of a partisan decision-making body or individual. And clearly that’s concerning.

We noted in the announcement about the Vice President’s role — is that her effort would be focused partially on federal legislation and moving that forward, seeing what path — the path looks forward — looks like moving forward, but also working with voting rights groups, working with state activists, working with others to see how we can address these challenges.

It is a priority. It is a focus. And again, the President’s fundamental view is that it should be easier to vote, not harder, and that we should ensure that everybody knows their vote is counted.

Question: Would the President support Congress amending the Electoral Count Act?

Psaki: I — I’m happy to see if there’s any specific statement of administration policy we have on that particular piece.

Go ahead, Francesca.

Question: Thanks, Jen. With the President leaving the country on Wednesday, is that the cutoff time for talks with Senator Capito’s group? Or is he advising staff, while he’s gone, to continue negotiations with those Republican senators?

Psaki: Well, I would expect, certainly, things will continue. We don’t know, again — we’ll see what the conversation looks like when the President speaks with Senator Capito today or tomorrow.

But either way, the President will certainly empower, as he has, his Jobs — Jobs, you know — Jobs Cabinet to continue to engage directly with members of Congress and leaders to continue to move his agenda forward.

The other piece of good news is that any White House is pretty well practiced in continuing to operate and work on domestic issues while they’re traveling overseas. And I expect the President will remain engaged on the American Jobs Plan, even as he’s overseas meeting with a number of global counterparts.

Go ahead.

Question: Sorry, and I have a quick follow-up.

Psaki: Yeah.

Question: How about Senator Romney? Is he one of the Republicans that you’ve alluded to that the President and the White House are also having conversations with?

Psaki: He has — Senator Romney has spoken publicly about his interest in engaging, so certainly he’d be a person we’d be happy to have that conversation with. And there are certainly others as well.

Go ahead.

Question: Thanks, Jen. If I can go to the Vice President’s trip to the Northern Triangle states for a minute.

Psaki: Yeah.

Question: What’s different about these announce- — this announced initiative that just landed in our inbox from the Justice Department, especially from what was already announced with Homeland Security a few weeks ago in terms of anti-smuggling, anti-trafficking? Is that just to give the Vice President something to point to today, given that there isn’t going to be additional aid announced in the Northern Triangle?

And one more thing.

Psaki: Mm-hmm.

Question: How do you respond to criticism from experts, as well as the administration’s own border officials, who say that the Title 42 policy is actually contributing to and exacerbating smuggling and trafficking at the border — with people trying again and again, taking more dangerous routes, kidnappers literally waiting at ports of entry?

Psaki: Well, first, I have not seen what the Department of Justice just announced, so I’d have to take a look at that.

I will say that the purpose of the Vice President’s trip is to meet directly with counterparts in these countries to discuss how we can work together on reducing the number of people who want to make the journey to our border.

And what — in terms of the due outs of that, of what will be announced, I will certainly leave that to her team to announce on the ground, but that’s broadly the purpose.

But — go ahead. Go ahead.

Question: And, sorry, one more. Jake just said that — in regard to Francesca’s question about the travel restrictions in Europe, he said that the administration is going to be following the science, following the public health experts.

There was reporting over the weekend that CBP has now been told twice that the Title 42 policy was going to be lifted in March and in May.

There’s also reporting that part of the Vice President’s trip is pushing Mexico to take back more migrants and asylum seekers who are expelled from the U.S.

You’ve got public health experts, including at the CDC, saying it serves no health — public health purpose.

So, all of this seems to indicate that it’s not actually about public health; it’s about immigration and political optics. So how do you respond?

Psaki: Well, actually, what Jake was referring to is the overall guidance by the CDC. And there may be individuals who have different points of view — we certainly understand that — within the CDC or other places, but we’re talking about what the overarching recommendation is from leadership and through their own thorough process. So that’s what Jake was referring to.

Question: And then, a sense of timeline on — on those restrictions on the southern border?

Psaki: I don’t have any sense of the timeline on that quite yet.

Go ahead.

Question: Thanks, Jen. To meet the President’s goal of 70 percent of Americans vaccinated by July 4th, there needs to be about 4.2 million adults per week vaccinated. Last week, there were 2.4 million, indicating a slowdown in the number of vaccinations. Is there any concern that the President’s goal will come close — high 60s — but not meet 70?

Psaki: Well, first, I would say we expected a little bit of a slowdown because of the holiday, but it is — there’s no question it’s a bold and ambitious goal. It’s one of the reasons that we launched this “Month of Action” to ensure that we were using every tool at our disposal to push these numbers.

I’ll also note that, regardless of where we are on July 4th, we’re not shutting down shop. On July 5th, we’re going to continue to press to vaccinate more people across the country.

So, what we’re looking at — just a couple more things here — are a couple of factors. One, there’s a difference in data, as you all know, as it relates to age. Right? So over — people who are over 40 have a much higher percentage of vaccination than people under 40. So, clearly, some of our focus needs to be on people under 40 for this period of time and this push. We’ve also looked at the fact that there are about 12 or 13 states who’ve already met this 70 percent marker.

So, we’re going to continue to push through the finish line, through the red tape here — not the finish line — through the red tape, to July 4th. But I can’t make a prediction weeks ahead of time where we will be; we’re just going to use every — every tool at our disposal to get there.

Question: And then one more on voting rights.

Psaki: Sure.

Question: Where does the President feel the Vice President can best be used? I know that her office has made an emphasis that this legislation is only one little piece — not little; it’s huge — but only one piece of her work on voting rights.

So does he see her as somebody who can be out in the country drumming up support, you know, alongside civil rights groups and private corporations? Like where does he see her strengths as a politician fitting into this issue?

Psaki: Yes, all of the above. And as she noted in her statement when this was announced, she intends to be engaged with voting rights groups and community activists, with leaders and states — as well as on the federal level.

And I think the important component of that or the important note of it is, even as we’re continuing to move — or press and advocate for legislation on a federal level, there are other areas where we can have an impact. I expect when she gets back from her trip, we’ll hear more from her on this.

Go ahead.

Question: I wanted to get a point of clarification on an earlier question.

Psaki: Okay.

Question: So, as it relates to the Supreme Court in the healthcare case, does that mean that the White House is starting to think about plan B legislation in the event that a plan B legislative path is necessary?

Psaki: You know, I think we are — Neera Tanden, again, is leading this effort, and we are planning for a range of contingencies of what the outcome might look like. But I’m not going to outline that quite yet.

Question: And on the surface transportation bill that you mentioned —

Psaki: Yeah.

Question: — working its way to the House, is that a signal that the White House and the President is okay with sort of breaking up these proposals into little bits and kind of just getting what you can get along the way over a much longer period of time than maybe this June and July grand, sort of, legislative path that the Democrats are on?

Psaki: He’s always been quite open to a range of mechanisms for his bold ideas moving forward. So, certainly, that’s been his approach from the beginning and continues to be what his view is on mechanics.

Question: (.)

Psaki: Thank you.

Question: Real quick, can —

Psaki: Let me — Brian, you got a question before. So let me — I’m going to abide by Josh here, but let me just do like two in the back because there’s new people here who haven’t — who have not asked any questions.

Go ahead, in the back.

Question: Thanks, Jen. I want to ask you a couple on infrastructure. Your statement that you put out on Friday afternoon — you said that the President indicated that the offer did meet his objectives to grow the economy, tackle the climate crisis, and create new jobs.

On the climate crisis component, can you outline what the President believes needs to be in an infrastructure package in a bipartisan deal on the climate front?

Psaki: Well, I think what that is a reference to is investment in areas like EV buses and EV charging stations and some of the components that are essential to investing in industries of the future and ensuring that we’re creating millions of jobs while also doing it in a way that protects our climate.

Question: So those are must-haves?

Psaki: I’m not outlining must-haves here; I’m outlining what the President would like to see more of in a piece of legislation.

Okay. Let’s do one more. Last, in the — right there. Right behind the green shirt, green sleeves. Yes, go ahead.

Question: Hi, Jen. I wanted to ask you, going back to the tax proposal from over the weekend — part of that was talking about the — where large multi- — multinational corporations are taxed.

Psaki: Yeah.

Question: Do you have an estimate at this point of what that would look like for revenue for the U.S.?

Psaki: Of the components the President put forward in his propos- — or which piece? Sorry. The global minimum tax or the —

Question: The other part of it, what the President —

Psaki: The bookend — the book ta- — yes. It’s in our — it’s in our budget. It’s outlined in detail in our budget, which is public. I’m sure we can get that to you after the briefing.

Thanks everyone so much. Let’s do this again tomorrow.

Question: Jen, real quick: Can you all set a deadline for when you’ll get a grant coalition together? Have you set one for yourself?

Psaki: I think somebody asked a similar question.

Question: Yeah, but it wasn’t answered. That’s why I asked.

Psaki: I’ll see you tomorrow.

1:43 P.M. EDT

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