tv CNN Newsroom With Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto CNN January 29, 2021 7:00am-8:00am PST
good friday morning, i'm jim sciutto. >> and i'm poppy harlow. we're keeping a close eye on the wouse where at any minute there will be a white house briefing. we'll take you there as soon as it begins. this as we are learning sadly that a third coronavirus variant is in the country. but also we're learning that a third coronavirus vaccine could soon be available in this country. johnson & johnson preparing to apply next week for the emergency use authorization for the vaccine. the company said the vaccine
candidate is 66% effective yet 85% effective against severe covid disease, that is lower in terms of efficacy than pfizer and moderna. both were authorized at por than 95% effective but dr. fauci hopes the one shot vaccine keeps people out of the hospital and helps alleviate the stress this pandemic has put on the health care system. >> the johnson& & johnson has te one vaccine and roll up your sleeves and get whatever vaccine is made available first. as more con tagious variants continue across america. the south african variant has been detected and a new model shows that the pandemic could claim nearly 654,000 american lives by may 1, we're up to 433. so disheartening to see.
let's begin with elizabeth cohen. so break down this data on the johnson & johnson vaccine for us. >> all right, poppy and jim. before i do, to just reiterate, bottom line johnson & johnson, we expect them to apply to the fda for authorization very soon and it is a good vaccine. it works. it does well. but it is not as effective as pfizer and moderna. if it does come on the market, markets say take this one aun could get pfizer and moderna later as a booster. they found when looking at preventing moderate to severe cases, johnson & johnson was 66% and moderna and pfizer was 95% effective. and that is a big difference. what matters even more which is preventing severe cases, keeping people out of the hospital and from dying, johnson & johnson was 85% and moderna and
pfizer -- sorry to interrupt. to the white house now. jen psaki beginning of the white house press briefing. let's have a listen. >> okay. i have several announcements for you to today. to begin, i know many of you and the american people are interesting in the news coming from johnson & johnson trial data. the president is encouraged by positive data on a potential new vaccine. he also knows that this is just new data and now is the time for the fda to do its job of evaluating the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. in the meantime he continues to urge all americans to mask up and follow public health guidelines until it is their turn to get vaccinated. now i know there may be a lot of questions you have for us about the trial data or johnson & johnson. i'm here to tell you i won't get ahead of the experts to you hear from in the next hour in our public health briefing from the covid response team. they will discuss this more with you and what everything means then. at wednesday's briefing i also
shared some of the engagement and outreach the white house is doing to move forward the american rescue plan. from the president and the vice president on down, that work has continued and accelerated. yesterday senior staff spoke again to governors about the challenges they are facing and the importance of relief. today national economic council deputy director david kayman will meet with the council of state governments, the office of public engagement will brief black civic groups and hunger advocates and key progressive groups to invite their feedback. these conversations are critical to building support and moving the president's bill forward. but we also saw evidence this week that the american people overwhelmingly want their elected leaders to work with the president to confront the pandemic and get -- put people back to work. according to a monmouth poll released wednesday, 71% of the american people want republicans in congress to work with president biden, that number is
up nearly 10 points from after the election. meaning the trend of support for working in a bipartisan manner with the president is only growing. finally, the president is committed to getting relief to working families, hence he has also meeting this morning with his economic team with the vice president and treasury secretary janet yellen for a briefing on the cost of inaction and the impact of a delay in moving forward with a relief package. millions of americans don't have enough food to eat and millions more have lost their jobs and their interest rate at the historic lows and it is a right toim to make smart investments. moody's said we could end up with 4 million fewer jobs this year if woe don't act on the president's plan, that is 4 million americans that could get back to work. we'll discuss this at the briefing later this morning. last thing, we are venturing to provide a week ahead to all of
you, our return to providing week ahead to all of you. so, a quick preview. next monday, the president will meet with the secretary of state at the state department. on tuesday president biden will deliver remarks and sign an executive order advancing his priority to modernize our immigration system. and friday is, of course, jobs day and the president will deliver remarks about the economy. we'll have hopefully more over the next couple of days but we wanted to provide as many details as we could with that, why don't you kick us off. >> with -- serving in afghanistan is the president still committed to winding down troop this is year. >> the i have not spoken to our national security team about this in particular but his commitment remains. >> and then at the top you mentioned that americans should follow public health guidance. what are the challenges has been over the course of the last ten months is that public health guidance from state to state
varies. some have maskin dates and others have school opens and others don't. what guidance should the american people follow? the governor's guidance or the president's? >> well, first, what we're venturing to do is provide more concrete guidance from the federal government, from the cdc, from health and medical experts on the important steps of the american people could take to keep themselves safe. that includes the importance of mask wearing, of course. and how vital that is to keeping us safe. it also included the importance of hand washing, of restricting travel. these are all guidelines that have come in recent days and weeks, i should say, from the president of the united states and from our medical and health experts. but in addition, as we discussed yesterday, there are guidelines including the safe reopening of schools that he signed an executive order on directing both the department of education
and hhs, and the cdc i should say, i'm sorry, to produce the guidelines to give more specific advice and markers to states and local school districts on what they should follow. so it will ultimately be up to states, to governors, to local school districts and others to make determinations but we do want to provide more clear guidance from the federal government based on the expertise of health and medical experts on what people should follow and what will help keep the american people safe. >> i just want to call -- the cdc study that was discussed a couple of days ago, one of the -- part of reopening schools was to close indoor dining and restaurants at bars, is that a part of the federal guidance that we should be expecting to see from the cdc in the information soon. >> well you get to hear from the director from the cdc in about 45 minutes and our medical and health experts and you could ask
them if there is any up dated guidance. go ahead. >> dr. fauci said that the u.s. may not be able to meet that goal of reopening most k schools in 100 days because of the trajectory of the pandemic. given that, is the president going to adjust his goal of trying to get all of the schools reopened in a hundred days. >> as we talked about a little bit yesterday, the president wants to not only to reopen the schools and he wants the schools to stay open and he does rely on the guidance of his health experts and he won't do anything that is not safe and doesn't keep teachers and students and in our school districts safe. but a key part is the guidelines as we mentioned. the executive order to ensure that school districts are getting the information they need and clarity they need on what steps that they should take to keep their students safe and teachers safe of course. but it is also funding. and we've talked about this quite a bit in here. and the american rescue plan is pivotal for a number of reasons
including that americans have food on table and we could get shot news the arms of people across the country but that public schools have the funding they need to take steps on everything from ventilation to ppe to testing. and the longer that is delayed, the harder it is going to be to meet that goal. >> and has president biden spoken to former president trump since taking office and if so could you give us an up dit on what president trump said in his letter to president biden? >> i don't have any calls to report on. there are no calls to report on, i should say. and i don't have any update on the letter. as i said, when we talked about this about a week and a half ago, it seems longer than that, i'm going to acknowledge, the president thought the letter was gracious and generous, but he plans to keep it private. go ahead. >> i understand you don't want to get too much into the johnson & johnson vaccine given the data that is out there. but this likely won't be the only vaccine that is less
effective than the pfizer and the moderna vaccines. and so i wonder what is the president's message to those americans who would be less -- more reluctant to get one of those less effective vaccines and are you concerned about that the impact that would have and how many doses have been already bought. >> well, first, when the president announced his plan earlier this week, to ensure that we have enough vaccines to give every american two shots by the end of the summer, with the purchase of moderna and pfizer vaccines. he was doing that without the need for additional vaccines approved. obviously, if additional vaccines, johnson & johnson and any others go through the fda approval process, that is a positive step. no doubt about that. but he purchased the large orders for vaccines that we'll have by the end of the sum tore get into arms of americans to ensure that we're able to do that without the steps going
forward. >> and so he would encourage any vaccine by approved by the fda? >> i'm not getting ahead of the fda but we'll rely on health experts to advice if there are additional vaccines. if and when i'll be optimistic that proof by fda and how that will impact our vaccine distribution plan. >> and secondly on the coronavirus relief bill, in his first month in office president obama traveled no a number of key states to drum up support for the recovery act. does president biden has any plans to do something similar to drum up support for his $1.9 trillion relief bill. >> then vice president biden also travelled to a number of states to dumb up support for the american recovery atd act at the time and we weren't dealing with a pandemic. so the circumstances were quite different. but he fully recognized as do we the importance of speaking directly to the american people about the components of this package. whether it is the importance of funding to get schools open or
get vaccines in the arms of americans or just ensure that people know they could put food on the table. so we're having to ache a number of creative steps to do that, whether that is direct television or local media or from the president, the vice president and others, we're doing that. whether it is engaging with governors and local elected officials to answer all of the questions they have and they could convey to the public. so we're taking a number of creative steps. his preference would be to get on a plane and fry around the country. >> president biden did travel a good amount in the final days of campaign and he's received both doses of the vaccine and a number of safety precautions are in place for his travel so why wouldn't he be travel. >> it is about keeping the public safe and we're not going to do an event, a rally with 20,000 people. that wouldn't be a recommendation made by health
experts. >> and without a crowd, to go out in the country. >> we may travel, but i have nothing to preview for you at this point in time. what i'm conveying is that it is vital for the president and the vice president and every member of our team to be speaking directly to the american people. and so we're looking for creative ways to do that. >> and on foreign policy, what alexei navalny, president biden said there was no doubt that the kremlin was responsible and he vowed to hold the putin regime accountable. this week you told us that the president conveyed his concerns to president put inbut has not taken any action to hold russia accountable. so i wonder does president biden hold president putin directly responsible for the poisoning and why hasn't he taken actions to punish russia for its actions. >> the president spoken with president putin this week and did he not hold back in his concerns about a number of the actions of the kremlin and of
the russian government. but there is a review underway that we have spoken about a bit in here by our national security team and we'll let that review carry forward. including the solar winds breech and the poisoning of alexei navalny and the -- i'm kind of losing my thought here, but it includes a number of steps, a number of concerning actions that they've taken. we want that review to carry forward and be completed and the president always reserves the right to respond and in the manner of his choosing and the time of his choosing. >> does he hold president putin responsible for the attempted assassination. >> we'll let the review come forward and then we'll have more to say about it at that point in time. go ahead. >> thank you. the new york attorney general released a report yesterday saying that the state had undercounted the number of covid deaths by as much as 50% in nursing homes. would president biden support a federal investigation into what happened and governor andrew
cuomo's role. >> i've seen those reports. i would say any investigation, would you point you to the department of justice. >> does the white house think that sh t should be looked into further. >> again, any investigation could be led by the department of justice. we're in a new age. they're independent and they will determine what paths they take moving forward. >> on immigration. i know you said yesterday that it was never 100% that today was immigration day, just an early d draft and things change and could you understand why it is taking longer for the executive actions on immigration to execute. >> sure. it is widely reported that the president is planning to announce his task force, or plans to announce his launch of a task force on reunifying families an children. something that he's personally committed to. his wife dr. biden is personally committed to and invested in and he will plan to do -- to make
that announcement next tuesday. the task force will be led by secretary of homeland security. once he's confirmed, mayorkas and we planned to sign that executive order today or at the end of the week, i should say. and the end of the plan does change and that was a draft plan and those change many times i could assure you, that we have planned to do it this week because we hoped that woe be confirmed but because of the filibuster of his nomination we expect him to be confirmed on monday evening and the president will sign it on tuesday and then secretary mayor kas could oversee that moving forward. >> and one more question. you could give us more of a time line in terms of how much longer you think it will take for the white house engage with iran on its nuclear program. because you had one of iran's top diplomats yesterday saying it believes the window is closing.
>> well i'm not going to give a time line on it. obviously it requires iran complying with the requirements of the nuclear deal. we've said previously, but i will reiterate here, that the president also sees it as an opportunity to build on the plan from there and i apologize, i want to make sure i give you the exact language. he believes that through following diplomacy the u.s. should seek to lengen and strengthen concerns including the ballistic missile program and regional activity. but again, iran must resume compliance with a significant -- with the significant nuclear constraints under the deal. now he's also talked and we've talk about how working with our partners and allies, including the europeans, members of the p-5 plus one is pivotal to any engagement moving forward including on what the future of the iran nuclear deal is. >> okay. >> go ahead.
>> thank you. just to follow up on iran, would the president consider meeting with his counter part and maybe following president obama's example for starting to have a television conversation with him. >> i think we're getting a little bit ahead of where we are in the process. the first step here is for iran to comply with the significant nuclear constraints under the deal. but i am certain we will continue to discuss this issue and at the state department and other parts of government. go ahead. steve holland. i didn't recognize you with your mask for a second. >> just to follow up on this question. does president biden specifically call on president putin to release alexei navalny. >> yes. as we have publicly, as our team has repeatedly called for, through the course of the last several weeks. in terms of the specifics of the conversation, i don't have any more details for you on that. >> we don't know what putin said or did he make any promises? >> i don't have anything to read out on president putin's comments. >> in wake of the game stop
trading incident, is there a public role the white house could educate people on the dangers of this kind of trading. >> i know the s.e.c. issued a statement this morning just before i came out here and i point you to that and others to that. and we of course respect the role of regulatory agencies. they are closely monitoring the situation but it is under their per purview at this point in time and part of the education is conveying that they are the regulatory body that could oversee this and speak to it further. go ahead. >> on capitol security, so the acting chief of police on the capitol hill has recommended permanent fencing around the capitol. i was wondering if president biden has any thoughts on this permanent fencing is the right answer or does it project the wrong picture to the american people? >> i'm not sure we'll have any
comment but i'm happy to talk to our security team with fef anything further to add. >> speaker pelosi said believe i it was yesterday that members are being allowed to carry guns and conspiracy theoryists among the ranks of the gop. do you and does the white house agree with that assessment that there is threats coming from inside of the house, has biden spoken to pelosi and is he worried about the physical safety of the members of congress. >> well he speaks with speaker pelosi on a regular basis and certainly has reiterated his support for her and members of the caucus. and he has spoken publicly about his concerns about the rhetoric around the events of january 6th but some of the rhetoric that has continued and the role of social media platforms. so he is in close touch with her about events on the capitol and the safety of members but i don't think i have anything more to read out beyond that. go ahead in the back. >> two quick foreign an one
ado domestic if that isso cave. you could confirm that -- has been appointed as special envoy for iran. >> i believe i can confirm it for you here, too. >> as you know, settlements have been a major obstacle to getting the palestinians to the negotiating table. would president biden consider -- does he believe that settlements are -- should be halted in the west bank so that the palestinians will come back? >> i don't have any new comments from president biden on this or the current circumstances. he's obviously spoken to this particular issue in the past and conveyed that he doesn't believe security assistance should be tied but i don't have anything more for you on the path forward toward a two state solution. >> and there is a fence outside here a temporary one around the white house up since last summer. president trump took a lot of criticism for it.
would president biden consider bringing the fence down so people could take photos in front of the white house again. >> i think we would all like that, including members of my family and people in washington. but i will talk to our security team and see if there is anything further to convey to all of you. go ahead. >> as you guys are thinking about the task force to reunite the parents and the separates children, what are you learning about the scope of that challenge, something that groups have tried to do in the past and failed. how many people do you think would need to be tasked to that to make it effective? >> those are excellent questions and i expect that when we announce -- when the president signed the executive order next week and when we put the task force together and when alan mayor kas is confirmed and i'm officially inviting him here today to come to this briefing room. but there is no question that we recognize this is going to be incredibly challenging. that there will be a lot of work to be done. that that is why this will be a
priority. it is not only a priority for the president but for secretary mayorkas but i will leave it to him and to others at department of homeland security to outline and preview for you the path forward. go ahead. >> thank you, jen. i know president biden and the first lady are acutely aware of the sacrifices that military families make. that being said, we have an incident in the garage with the national guard that was kind of embarrassing and now i'm hearing from spouses of guardsman that they had a covid outbreak and were not tested or vaccinated before they arrived in d.c. and i'm wondering if there is any concern about the president about how these guardsman are being treated, whether he could do anything specifically to safeguard their health before they arrive, while they're here. could he get vaccinations to -- and testing to governors for the
purpose of providing some health safeguards to these soldiers. >> well, as you noted at beginning of your question, but i would just reiterate, the role of the national guard and i've spoken to the president about this directly, and the incredible sacrifice they make is something that is personal to him given his family connection to the national guard. he had called the head of the national guard just last week when the reports came out about the treatment of the national guard and the fact that they had been -- many had been sleeping in garages and conveyed his dismay of the photos and treatment and offered personally any help that he could provide, even if it was boosting moral. and that line of communication is open should there be something that he could do from his end. in terms of specific prioritization of the vaccine, would you point you to the department of defense and leaders over there to speak to
that more specifically. >> and in a follow up to that, on the question of nancy pelosi, speaker pelosi's concern about the enemy within, has the president been briefed on such a threat? and does he agree that the national guard should be here until mid-march during the impeachment trial? >> i'll speak to liz sherwood randallond our department of homeland security colleagues here to see if there is more specifics from our end. but i would point you to the department of defense and the national guard team other wise. >> one question from wusa. the report asked i've learned that the irs employees are having telework suspended and being called back into the office. this despite an omb directive issue on tuesday ordering federal agencies to only allow 25% capacity in federal buildings. if irs employees have been doing
telework successfully, why is it now time to bring them back into the office. >> i would point you to the department of treasury for any further comment on that. >> on the defense production act, woof been asked a few times in the briefings about any specific intenses of the defense production act being used. yesterday ron klain suggested that it was being used as it related to the production of n-95 masks. is there anything specific you could tell us on that or any other companies where it is being used now? >> we're not going to get into specific companies. there are procurement processes and that take place at federal agencies and also we're still early in the process. it was invoked just last week but i could give you more details in terms of how we plan to use it on vaccine supply, i think one of the -- also the products that ron klain spoke about was syringes which are the key to getting the sixth dose out of the pfizer vile, pivotal
about getting it out into the public and masks and isolation gowns and nitro gloves and keeping people safe from infection and high absorbency foam swabs for testing and lipid nano particles that are key to the mrna vaccine and what the vaccine is mass produced in. as could you tell a lot of this is materials that will help ensure that the vaccine could be used by vaccinators. so there are several components of it and very specific materials that we're focused on. >> and then at the national security agency, michael alice, a trump appointee was installed as the general council which is a career position as you know. is there -- are you guys considering reviewing that decision or attempting to remove michael alice from his position as general council of the nsa? >> i don't have anything new for
you on that other than i don't have any personnel announcement. we're reviewing personnel across government, including political appointees, most of whom have left. but i don't have anything new on any decisions there. go ahead. i promised you. go ahead. >> thanks, jen. fema has requested active duty troops be used at vaccination centers when they are stood up across the country. does the white house support that request? >> i did ask our team about this. you or someone else may have asked about this the other day and i think i have something on it here, one moment. thanks for your patience. lots to say about covid. no doubt about it. so, let's see. let me talk to our team about.
i know i've seen the request from fema. part of the objective is ensuring that we have vaccinators on the ground and i know that is not what you're asking about, but the ability to move material and vaccines so we're tapping into any resource we can. but it is more predominantly focused on a health and medical core and that the ability to get those people into communities but i will check with our team and get you something more specific. >> and this word on double masking, there is increased discussion about that publicly. we've seen pictures of the president double masking and those around him. is that a personal preference or has he been advised by his medical advisers to do that? >> well going to talk to the medical advisers in the next, 15, 30 minutes and you could ask them. there has not been any specific cdc guidance. dr. fauci spoke to this i believe in the last couple of days and said if t was common sense or made sense, i can't re how he phrased it but there is
no additional medical guidance given. i've been around the president when he has been wearing one mask and sometimes not to get too detailed it looks like two masks because we put the n-95 one on and it is more comfortable to have this one on on top of it but i would encourage you to ask the health and medical team during the call that is coming up. >> jen, did the white house have advanced notice of the johnson & johnson results and did that effect the white house's decision to purchase $200 million from pfizer and moderna? >> the decision was made to purchase the pfizer and moderna doses to ensure that we had enough doses to give two shots to americans by the end of the summer. and we did our planning without the need for an additional vaccine to go through approval. now, remember, even though we saw the news this morning, it hasn't gone through the fda approval and we don't have a time line for when that will happen and we leave that to the fda. go ahead. >> thank you. a couple of questions on the
economy. starting with china. president trump signed a phase one trade deal with beijing. does president biden consider that deal still to be in effect and does he expect china to meet its commitments under that deal? >> well, the national security team, the newly confirmed secretary of state to president biden are all reviewing all aspects of our national security approach, including certainly our relationship with china. we are focused on approaching that relationship from a position of strength and that means coordinating and communicate with our allies and partners about how we're going to work with china and it means strengthening our economy at home and that means determining the best path forward to address a range of issues. not just economic but strategic and also security. so, again, everything is under
review. but i don't have anything for you on the more -- more on the china relationship. >> to clarify. so it is still in effect as the past administration left it? >> everything that the past administration has put in place is under review as it relates to our national security approach so i would not assume things are moving forward. we're just reviewing what the path forward looks like and doing that again from a position of strength, which means coordinating with our allies, members of congress, and makes a determination before we engage further. go ahead. >> you could confirm the political story about the president warning his family members to avoid any conflict of interest with his presidency and in their business ties? >> while i'm not going to get into private conversations between the president and his family members, we all have lots of conversations with different family members i'm sure. the president is committed to ensuring we have the most ethically vigorous
administration if history. and that includes restrictions on what -- how his image could be used and that is something that he's conveyed publicly and privately as well. so let me reiterate the policy which i think is the next question or proactively, it is the white house's policy that the presidents a name should not be used in connection with any commercial activities to suggest in any way that could be understood to imply his endorsement or support. he's issued the farthest reaching executive order with respect to the ethical commitments and is very proud of it and that is something that he is committed to conveying to anyone that it applies to. let me get to a few more in the back. all the way in the back. >> thank you very much. does president biden endorse the characterization of genocide concerning the chinese [ inaudible ]. >> yes.
the secretary blinken, i almost called him president blinken, gaving him a promotion, you never know. he spoke about that during the confirmation hearing so i would point you to those comments. >> president biden -- >> he was speaking on behalf of the u.s. government. did you have a question right there? >> the governor of puerto rico said he was in touch with the white house about releasing remaining disaster relief funds from the previous administration. do you an update on that? >> i don't. but i will venture to talk to our team about what the status of relief funds it for puerto rico. >> one question, is the white house tracking confirmed cases of the south african cases founded, have you been in touch with local officials there? >> certainly our health and medical team have been and gep they'll speak to it at their briefing coming up at 11:00 a.m. i ken au-- encourage you to joi that. our team has been monitoring developments around the world and the potential for them to travel here.
it reiterated the importance of getting vaccines into the arms of americans. something that will make people safer and also reiterate the need for getting the american rescue plan passed so that he with cohen sure we could expedite that effort. go ahead. >> thank you, jen. just a few quick questions for following up on the political question. to that degree, is the white house going to make a commitment that members of biden's family will not serve in the administration. >> we've made that commitment to so that continues to be the commitment. >> [ inaudible question ] . >> the reports from the west wing are not accurate. >> and on majorory taylor greene, does the white house have any concern about the qanon supporter, with a history of racist and anti-semitic, harassing school shooting
survivors serving on house committees. >> we don't want to elevate conspiracy theories further in the briefing room and i'll leave it that at that, and we'll leave discussions about committees to member of congress and we've seen speaker pelosi speak to that. go ahead. >> thank you. 24 remember senators sent a letter to president biden yesterday requesting a meeting after some of the executive orders and actions targeting the domestic energy sector. is that a meeting that president biden will take? >> well, president biden is committed to and this -- you could see this through his actions working an engaging with democrats and republicans to address the crisis we're facing including climate which is one of the crisisies that he's identified. and we don't have any plans for a meeting of that kind that i could read out for you at this point in time. it sounds like a lot of people to be in a meeting during covid. but he's certainly engaged on an individual basis with leaders in the senate and members of
democratic and republican senators and they could raise any concerns they have through that means. >> and one more question, apologies if you answered this in response to steve's question, but i want to be clear here. do you anticipate president biden to address the game stop controversy when he meets with his economic team later this morning? >> no. do i anticipate him addressing it publicly? >> no, just talking about it with his economic team. >> well the focus of the meeting is about the recovery plan, about the status of the economic recovery, about the data that we saw yesterday. i'm sure they'll cover a range of topics during the meeting but that is not the focus. >> it is a big story. >> i know it is a big story, but our focus and our big story is getting the american people back to work. go ahead. >> i know a lot -- hundreds of white house staffers have now been vaccinated with the coronavirus. and any specific updates on who has been covered by that and more broadly, because of that, does that give the white house sort of -- is that a model for
the rest of the country, schools for instance, should every teacher be vaccinated in the next 90 days so the president could meet his commitments to reopen schools. >> sure. well, on the first, i think we announced a couple of weeks ago that three dozen members of the senior white house staff including members of the cabinet and national security officials have received their fis dose which means around now people are receiving their second dose. we are also, as you noted, had released a couple of days ago that the objective and the plan of the white house medical unit was to vaccinate hundreds of additional staffers to create a covid safe environment here. as you know, there has been -- the president has and our team has spoken about the prioritization of teachers and educators and child providers. we refer to cdc on what that should look like and they may speak to that on this 11:00 a.m. call as well. but i'm not getting ahead of the
outlines or prioritizations or specifics. >> and one more on game stop. >> i love the effort. you are trying so hard on this. >> what is the broader message to the american public, to people around the world, that in large cases individual investors acting collectively against large financial institutions are shut down pretty much overnight while the big banks and financial institutions responsible for the 2008 housing crisis got a get-out-of-jail-free card. >> well the message is that the u.s. government is starting to work how it should. the s.e.c. is a regulatory agency that oversees and monitors development as long these lines. it is currently in their purview. they've put out several statements this week. we'll certainly defer to them on that. and i point you to them for further questions. go ahead in the back. >> thank you. jen, could we expect to see the president in his briefing room any time soon. >> are you eager to see him?
is that what you're saying? >> sure. >> you know, the president took questions earlier this week when he did an event and we certainly are going to look for opportunities to continue to do that. the location of where the questions will take place, i don't think i have anything further. but we'll look for additional opportunities to -- for him to take additional questions from all of you. go ahead. >> thank you, jen. what does president biden make of senate democrats, including bernie sanders, who chair the budget committee, are planning to expand the use of the budget reconciliation process for legislation that is not revenue directly impacting federal revenue like the $15 minimum wage. is that something that president biden is okay with? >> well, the president is going to leave it to congress to determine their parliamentary process for moving legislation forward as should be the case. i think it is obviously been broadly reported that there is
consideration on the american rescue plan of what the path forward will look like and how to expedite moving that forward and there is an urgency and we certainly feel that. but our view is that this bill should be bipartisan, 74% of the public support it and we want republicans to work -- to work with republicans on fighting covid and putting the american people back to work. but as we work on this bill, if we are going to -- our priority is on getting it through and not on the focus on what the parliamen parliamentary process is. >> what is the message to those that the $1.9 trillion should be the floor and not the ceiling and when he consider pushing a relief bill that is more than 2 billion. >> we've seen records and he's had conversations as our team has with members of the progressive caucus and other
progressive members of congress. and as i've said in here many times before, part of this process is that the president laid out his vision. he is getting feedback. a lot of focus in here has been members who have said it is too big. but some are saying it is too small and as part of the discussion, we have those engagements and determine how to improve the bill and what opportunities there are to do exactly that. so he welcomes their engagement and welcomes their ideas. but he's put forward his plan and his main bottom line is that we're not going to break it apart and the three comments of it or pivotal moving forward but the size and the scope of the package, this is the legislative process, this is democracy at work now. >> but certainly he has an opinion about the process, so would he think it is realistig so go above $2 trillion. >> i think the best place to look for what is realistic is the members of congress and the whip counts and i'm sure that the leadership could give you an
assessment of that. go ahead. >> is there any chance that the democracy which was mentioned during the campaign could happen before summer? >> before summer? >> yeah. >> i don't have any -- i know it was a campaign promise and something mentioned during the campaign but i don't have any more details on plans at this point in time. go ahead. >> yesterday we saw vice president harris do local media interviews in the states of west virginia and arizona. obviously there has been a lot of focus on efforts to get republicans on board. are you concerned that budget reconciliation even may not be realistic or that you may lose some democrats, is that why vice president harris is making those calls to shore up democratic support? >> vice president harris was making those calls because we want to make the case to the american people across the country and she not traveling to the states and holing big events or not big crowds but some crowd, and so this is a way to do exactly that.
>> why those states specifically? >> i think she'll do a number of additional -- of more regional calls and regional interviews as will other members of team. and including on national networks, of course, and that will continue in the days ahead. go ahead. >> one more on the topic of reconciliation. i know it is wonky but -- >> it is okay. that is what we're here for. >> the president as you said multiple times is reaching out to republicans in an effort to get a bipartisan bill. at the same time majority leader schumer and speaker pelosi seem to be aggressively moving toward reconciliation. do you think, does the president think that the democratic leaders push for reconciliation at this time is hurting his chances to get republicans on board? >> well, the president's focus is on the end goal of delivering relief to the american people. not the parliamentary procedures as we've said.
and we could imagine that the one in seven families who are hungry or the thousands who have lost a loved one to covid care much about the procedure either. so i would -- i would flip it the other way to you. i think a fair question you might ask our gop or republican colleagues is why they oppose proposals that have the support of 71% -- 74%, sorry, the american public. and even if this bill moves forward through the reconciliation process, again, a parliamentary procedure, it doesn't mean they can't vote for it and the president's objective and focus is to continue to have those conversations and pursue a path forward where he could gain bipartisan support. but again, the public, 74% of the public is with him in that endeavor and their constituent. >> is the president satisfied with the level of defense spending by nato allies? >> well, we did -- >> this came up in the conversation? >> i know we put out a read out
of that and a fun video if i may note of his conversation with the u.n. secretary general. he had spoken about the importance of nato allies and partners making that -- playing the role on contributing their fair share when he was vice president. that remains his commitment. but i don't have any more detail of the call than what has already been read out. thank you, guys. have a great day. let me do one more thing. so it is important to me but also to the president that everybody know everybody on the the press team. so i'm going to embarrass tj who you know and careen, who are two deputies in the press office, and deputy tj and careen who you all should know, the public should know. they're going to be pivotal faces and they play an important role. thank you everyone. have a great friday. >> white house press secretary jen psaki finishing a lengthy press conference. welcoming news of the johnson & johnson vaccine. although deferring to the health experts who will grace that
podium in about 15 minutes time. i mean, interesting to me, one, it seems like full steam ahead, does it not, on the stimulus bill. perhaps some trimming around the edges. but clearly the president wants something big and he wants it quick. >> how nice too, jim, to see reporters allowed to ask follow ups on challenging questions. >> yeah. >> i think it is just notable. and it matters a lot right now. >> it will always be a spin room. nature of the white house poed. >> there you go. >> but to not have the torrent of lies and deliberate attacks is nice. we'll be joined by john harwood and manu raju. john, i want to begin with you. because she did say, jen psaki, that it should be bipartisan, the stimulus plan but her priorities getting it through. i wonder what the level of confidence is from white house officials about getting
something big and quickly? >> reporter: very high. and it is also very high among democrats on capitol hill. this is a key dynamic here. joe biden earlier this week, when he was asked to define unity, he said unity is not going to be defined by whether it gets republican votes, it is going to bedefined whether it attracted support by the american people and economists will say it has an effect and we're seeing that ethos pushed by the white house, pushed by democrats on the hill saying we're going to talk to republicans, but we have the ability to pass it by ourselves and we're going to move as if we can. that makes it more likely not less that republicans will engage in negotiations, either way, i think there is a very high level of confidence they're going to get it done and get it done quickly and it is notable on that way that joe biden defined unity, kevin hassett, the trump top white house economic adviser, has embraced the package. the u.s. chamber of commerce has
praised the package. the polling shows as jen psaki cited today substantial support for significant action and aid in this direction. it is very difficult to get very narrow polling on legislative proposals but there is broad support of the american people for moving forward. and that is propelling this process right now. >> manu raju, what was your read on that? >> reporter: yeah, i think it is clear that they are not going to wait to try to get republican support. there are discussions that are happening with republicans in the senate side with his bipartisan group that is discussing what they could agree to. but that really is not seen as the serious effort here to try to get along. the serious effort is to get a bill through both chambers with democratic support only and they're say signaling that privately and publicly and the price tag that is too high for the modern at senate
republicans. but if they were to pair it back to win over republicans they could lose key support from the left and democrats have the procedural tools to move a bill through the senate without republican support by advancing it through the budget process. something that will dominate senate action and the house action in february. and already democratic leadership is paving next week to begin that process to bring a bill to the floor by end of next month that would essentially advance and potentially push into law this $1.9 trillion package. so the white house is not backing off. they are optimistic, the democratic leadership is, that even the most moderate, the joe manchin of the world will get behind this but they do believe more spending is needed. >> and for those with short memories, the signature and tax cut also passed through reconciliation. mark mcclennan. on the issue, there was a scott
mcclennan years ago. on the issue of the j&j vaccine, clearly the biden administration welcoming it. i wonder if big picture is an ambition goal to get 150 million people vaccinated quickly and now it has three options. >> it does have three options. they do have three options potentially. and just to be clear, this vaccine still needs to go through the fda review process, the results are going to be looked at very closely but it does look very effective, in preventing severe complications, hospitalizations and deaths and not only from the current versions of the covid virus but also from the very worrisome ones that are spreading around the world. those issues will be looked at in the short-term and for the administration that means with the additional doses that j and j could provide, we could have enough vaccines for all adult americans, everybody who is
potentially eligible for getting the vaccine by june and that do help get in control of the serious consequences of covid and the challenges and this is back to the stimulus package, too. we need to really ramp up our capacity to get shot news arms and engage with the public about the benefits of vaccine and make sure they understand the risk and the limitations. to get to that goal we need something more like 3 million vacs administered per day, not the 1 million or so where we are right now. >> dr. mcclalan, not only are you the former fda administrator, so you know what they will go flu next week to get that approval, you're also on the board of johnson & johnson. could you explain for people who may be given pause this morning by the j&j numbers of the 60%
efficacy but 85% for preventing serious covid ill? >> this is a vaccine tests across the united states and across the world, including if areas of world where there are now much more worrisome strains and more likely to cause serious consequences where we now there are concerns about whether the existing vaccines work quite as well. so the important thing from the results is that the vaccine is effective in preventing any kind of -- so the bar was 50% effective, above that and including for the more worrisome kind of coronavirus and especially effective in preventing the kinds of complications that have made this pandemic so bad for health and for the economy. so 85% effective, including against the variants or higher
in preventing very serious cases, meaning something that would lay you out for a few days, and in the vaccine group, in this clinical trial, no patients who got the vaccine had to go to the hospital and none died including across all of the variants, all across the world. and we need to contain this, this pandemic as quickly as possible. not only in the u.s., but across the world to prevent these alternative forms of the virus from developing and to hopefully get us all back towards a more normalcy. >> well we'll be looking forward to more data on the johnson & johnson vaccine as well. our thanks to dr. mcclennan and john harwood and manu raju. >> thank you, gentlemen, very many. and thank you for being with us all week. have a safe and healthy weekend, i'm poppy harlow. >> and i'm jim sciutto. "newsroom" with kate bolduan starts right after this break. so many ways to go pro at subway®!
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hello, everyone, i'm kate bolduan. thank you for joining us this hour. this is the second briefing from this team this week. moments from now dr. anthony fauci, the head of the cdc and other top officials will be taking questions from reporters and there are a lot of big questions with regard to the coronavirus, the pandemic and the vaccines today. we now have south carolina confirming two cases of a variant of the virus first identified in south africa. a more containous strain. what does the government do about this today. an this morning new concern about how well the current vaccines protect against this variant an