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tv   White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki Holds Briefing  CSPAN  March 30, 2021 12:48pm-1:32pm EDT

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, a service. here is how we split the lines. if you are an afghanistan war veteran, if you have served in afghanistan over the past two decades, (202) 748-8003. that is our special line set aside. otherwise, lines for democrats, republican, and independents as usual. go ahead and keep calling in. this is warren out of sydney, new york. a republican. good morning. caller: good morning. how are you? host: doing well. you are on with investiture wayne. caller: yes. my question is, isn't it time to bring the troops back? the cost alone and -- >> ok, i have a couple things of good news for the american people to kick us off. today, the president will sign an extension to the paycheck protection program which passed in the house and senate with wide bipartisan majority. since the beginning of the
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pandemic, 400,000 small businesses have closed for good, and millions more are struggling to stay open. in december, congress provided an additional 280 $4 billion for the paycheck protection program. in two months, we have approved over $200 billion of forgivable loans to more than 3 million small businesses. in this round, we have distributed a great around overleaf to small businesses. today, the president will extend the act into law. they have until may 31. -- may 31 to apply. as we did every week, we hosted a call with the governors from across the country. he provided them an update on what the president announced yesterday, that by april 19, 90% of the u.s. adults will be eligible for vaccination, 90% will have a vaccination site in five miles of where they will live. this will be made possible by increasing the federal retail pharmacy program from $17,000 --
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70,000 stores to nearly 40,000 stores nationwide. that has been very successful. he also announced there will be an increase of supply to 33 million vaccine doses, which will help meet the needs moving forward with eligibility timelines. another update in terms of getting the checks out to people, there have been -- there are a significant number of social security recipients who do not file taxes. as we noted earlier, a couple weeks ago i should say, erect payments went out quickly to those who file taxes every year and do it via direct deposit. next a collaboration between the irs and social security administration, they will soon announce we are on track to send those payments out this weekend. the majority of people should see them in their bank accounts wednesday, april 7. a very positive step forward. finally, as many of you saw her earlier this morning, the
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president announced his historic slate of judicial nominees of his administration, the first i should say, with 11 candidates overall. this is an unprecedented fast start for any president on judicial nominations. this is also a groundbreaking slate in many ways which includes four nominees who have served as public defenders, four as members of the api committee, a nominee who is confirmed who will be the first -- federal judge in history, 11 nominees are women, and this represents a paradigm shift in the type of people who can see themselves on the federal bench while maintaining the president's highest standards for the qualifications, integrity, and fairness of each individual considered. go ahead and kick us off. >> i want to start by asking on guns. it has been noted that four years ago today the attempted assassination of president reagan, several groups have
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begun disappointment -- have expressed disappointment in the president's comments last week's. -- last week. could you give us more on actions on guns? >> the president understands their frustration. he is somebody that has fought for gun safety measures since he was in the senate himself. he did that in an effort to fight for the brady bill and an effort to fight for a ban on assault weapons. in his leadership, putting in place almost two dozen executive actions on gun safety when he was in the biden/obama administration. right now, we are working on several levers. we are working with congress. there are two bills that have moved through the house. this weekend, chris murphy, a leader on these issues, someone who has been a leader since newtown and before, has -- sees a path forward. we have even seen openness from republicans on having a
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discussion. while there are discussions on that front and the president will be engaged in those, we are also continuing to review and consider what the options are for executive action. we hope to have an update on that soon and do not have an exact day at this point in time. >> i follow up on that and one other matter. on guns, does the department still plan to go to colorado after the mass shootings there? >> i don't have an update on the trip to colorado. that would be done in coordination with the leaders in the state, community impacted by this type of terrible tragedy, but i do not have any plans to preview for a trip to colorado at this point. >> obviously the presidential tradition of [indiscernible], which i'm happy to report is thursday, but the president declined the invitation to go this year. why is that? wisely choosing not to be there? >> first, let me say another president is eager to get to the national stadium.
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any beautiful baseball games ahead this spring. it is not on his schedule this week, but i expect baseball fans will be hearing from him in the next couple days. go ahead. >> question about your infrastructure bill tomorrow. will it focus more on shovel ready projects i could get underway right away or projects that would take a couple years to get started but will ultimately have a bigger impact? >> i expect we will have more to outline on how quickly things can happen once he delivers the speech tomorrow, but let's me say the speech tomorrow is about making an investment in america, not just modernizing roads or railways or urges. but building any infrastructure -- bridges. but building infrastructure of the future. some of it is shovel ready projects and some of it is how do we expand broadband projects. some of it is ensuring the needs of people in communities.
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there will be a range of things he will talk about when he proposes his ideas tomorrow, when he lays that out in his speech of his berg. >> how much more -- in pittsburgh. >> how much more should the wealthy americans expect to pay? >> i expect tomorrow, again the speeches about his vision, for creating jobs, good, paying -- good paying, union jobs and investing in the future, but he things the responsible thing to do, propose a way to do that -- a way to pay for that overtime. he believes there is more that could be done to make the corporate tax code fair. i expect that will be the focus of his remarks on texas tomorrow. >> what about the estate tax? is that something you're also considering increasing? >> i'm not going to get too far ahead of the president's speech and proposal, and we will be previewing into more in the next when he for hours, but he believes there is more that can
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be done to make the corporate tax code fair to reward work, not wealth, to ensure that we can invest in the future industries that are going to help all people in this country. >> 20 countries have signed on to the idea of the who treaty that would improve information sharing during future pandemics. why has the u.s. not signed on then? >> we believe it is vital in working with international partners in other countries and strengthening and reforming our international efforts as a relates to addressing pandemics and future pandemics. we have concerns primarily about the timing and launching into negotiations for a new treaty right now. we believe that could divert attention away from substantive issues regarding the response in preparing for future threats. that is our focus currently. we are open to collaboration with the global community and
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looking forward to it. >> does president biden believe the millions of americans who lost loved -- lost loved ones to covid-19 deserve a better response than they have gotten from the who? >> in terms of looking into -- >> origins of covid-19. >> i think he believes the american people, the global community, the medical experts, doctors, all of the people who have been working to save lives, the families who have lost loved ones all deserve greater transparency. they deserve better information. they deserve steps taken by the global community to provide that. there was an extensive statement put out by a number of countries, including the u.s.. but let me highlight -- and we are still reviewing the report, but let me highlight some of the concerns up to date. the report lacks crucial data, information, and access and represent a parcel an incomplete picture. there was a joint statement as i noted put out. we also welcome a similar statement from the e you and
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members, sending a clear message to the global community -- clear message the global community share these concerns. there is a second stage in this process that we believe should be led by international and independent experts. they should have unfettered access to data. they should ask questions for those on the ground and those of the states -- steps the who will take. >> the statement quite frankly is pretty bureaucratic and perhaps does not meet the moment of the seriousness of the crisis here in this country in terms of the death toll. so what is the actual reaction to the report from the who? was it simply inadequate? >> while the report is still being reviewed by our team of experts, 17 experts reviewing it . >> i know, but it is not sufficient. >> we agree.
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and we have long said, as i stated, it lacks crucial data, information, access, transparency. we certainly don't believe in our review state that it meets the moment, meets the impact this pandemic has had on the global community. that is why we also have called for additional forward-looking steps. i will tell you negotiating between 20 countries or so to get a statement out, sometimes it appears bureaucratic. >> [indiscernible]>> on the who report? i expect we will look for an opportunity for him to speak to it, but i can confirm for you he shares the concerns and they are coming directly from him and from our national security team, who has looked at with the report has presented to date. are still reviewing and shared concerns issued in that statement that made those concerns clear. >> i just want to piggyback off that as well. world health organization director, one of his concerns is
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that the report may have glossed over the possibility that the virus came from a lab. is that a concern of the white house as well? when you talk about cooperation, has china not cooperated enough in the white house's opinion? >> they have not been transparent, not provided underlying data. that certainly does not qualify as cooperation. the analysis performed today from experts, their concern is there is an additional support for one hypothesis. it does not lead us to any closer of an understanding or greater knowledge then we had six to nine months ago about the origin. it also does not provide guidelines aware steps, recommended steps on how we should prevent this from happening in the future, and those are imperative. >> so it hinges on the hypothesis that it comes from a lab? >> it doesn't lead to, doesn't provide us greater understanding of the origin of the virus. >> second question, just on the
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next legislative package, as the president started to reach out to moderate, centrist republicans as well to get ahead of some of these things we saw? >> i like it. the president will be directly engaged in this ever to move the package forward. what he views his role is is laying out a broad, bold vision for how we can invest in america, and american workers, our communities. we are also area and to hearing ideas and proposals from members of congress, democrats or republicans. we know 80% or more of people in this country, democrats and republican support investing in infrastructure. and of course they do, we are 13th in the world as a relates to infrastructure, where one of the wealthiest countries in the
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world, and that doesn't make a lot of sense to most people across the country. more than one third of bridges in this country need repair, 231,000, a lot of bridges. one in five miles or 886,000 miles of major highway roads are important in the -- are in poor condition. he believes investing, we canton for not to invest in -- cannot afford not to invest in infrastructure. people who have made ideas on how to pay for it, we are hoping to hear from them. >> the book out this week, what programs or agencies should we expect? >> i know people love the term skinny budget, but it is a discretionary guide. it should be out soon, but we will wait for to come out and i'm sure we will have an update from our own team. >> could you provide a bit more insight into why the white house felt the need over the last few days to really clarify the vice president's role.
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is that something she requested clarification on? >> i actually think members of the media deserve to have an understanding of what her exact role was, and the president when he was vice president played a specific role too, where he was running point on the northern triangle. he tells stories in the press conference last week on how the president called him back from turkey i think it was, and he was the vice president to play similar role in engaging with these countries, engaging with leaders, figuring out how to invest best, working partnership, figure out how to prevent corruption from taking over, putting steps to make the journey less desirable. that is a big assignment and one the president is confident the vice president will take on. >> [indiscernible]focus on the northern triangle countries, or stated -- or did something change? >> that was always the plan and that was the announcement. >> i would like to find out what the white house thinks about
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what is happening in san diego where public school teachers are providing in-person instruction at the san dieg convention center before their own public school students. these kids have been home doing online learning for about a year now. what does the white house think about that? >> i think there has been a fair amount of reporting done on that. i think the schools are opening in april. >> april 12 to hybrid learning. >> so students will be back into the classroom and this is related part-time. you know our objective for the white house, opening five days a week majority of schools for country. they are on spring break right now and this is related to volunteering or being paid, i'm not sure. you would have to ask the school district during spring break for these migrant kids. >> the san diego county supervisor says i think it is great there is in-person learning for unaccompanied minors, but i think every child in san diego county was allowed
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the same opportunity for in person teachings. i guess the question is, does the white house think this sends the right message to these 130,000 kids in san diego and their parents who have been stuck in the classroom? >> i'm saying context is important and these kids are going back to school. for hybrid learning, we want that five days per week and we are confident we will get there early next month. i believe they are also on spring break, so these teachers would be -- i am not sure if it is volunteer or paid, you will have to ask the local school district, but the kids are on spring break. which i think the context is important. >> one more question about states. the biden administration announced its intention to retain the national space council on top of the white house support for the space force and artemis program. these are three programs or policies that president trump and the trump administration put in place. would it be fair to say they have -- fair to say space
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policies is one of the few areas president biden agrees with his predecessor? >> that sounds accurate to me. i think the president believes the national space council, as you conveyed or asked about, provides an opportunity to generate national space policy strategies, secret eyes on america's space activities at a time of unprecedented activity. it is also an opportunity to generate by america's own activities in space. it is a program or counsel i should say he is excited to keep in place and one i think he fares to say he agrees with the past administration's maintaining the program. >> the white house but as -- house has been talking about a lot of interest trucks are last week -- a lot of infrastructure last week here. can you give us a sense on the projects for roads and bridges? >> i know we will have an
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extensive fact sheet that will breakdown everything for you. it is quite long. i don't want to get too far ahead of the president, but let me see if i can give you a little bit more of a breakdown. not in terms of numbers, but, so certainly investing, we have talked about this a little bit, roads, rails, and bridges as part of that. the president believes we can do that in a way where we can create good, paying -- good paying, clean energy jobs. that is part of his vision for investing in industries of the future. he also believes there is more to do on broadband, and ensuring that far too large percentage of the american people that don't have access have access, and we invest in that. there's a lot of ways to do that, and he is open to ideas coming from congress on how. they may have different perspectives on how, the right way to invest, and to do it, but he sees clean energy and clean
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energy jobs as central to his own vision and own objectives. you will certainly hear him talk about that tomorrow, and -- but the speech is really about jobs, about investing to the industries of the future, and about rebuilding parts of our communities that have long been forgotten. >> does the white house ever respond to the new chinese law finalized earlier today that essentially allows them to ban people from hong kong -- >> we have expressed concerns about the undemocratic steps of the chinese government in the past. i have not asked our security of about this piece, -- security team about this piece but we will get back to you. >> you are encouraging people to write in email the president in the white house in hopes that he would council student loan debt. why do you think schumer has
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such a fundamentally different reading of what the president can and should do, and if you could answer yes or no, has the president ruled out taking unilateral action on this? >> no, he has not. i will say i do have good student loan news for you. which you did not know you would too up for me but we will be expanding a pause on student loan interests and collections to the war than one million borrowers in default on a loan made by a private lender in the old space loan program. notice the family education program. this steps protects 800,000 borrowers at risk for having their tax refund seized. that is pretty significant step. the president continues to call on congress to cancel $10,000 in debt for student loan borrowers. that is something congress could take an action on, and he would be happy to sign. we are taking a closer look at options on student loans, including examining the authorities we have, existing
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loan forgiveness programs that are not working as well as they should, including borrower defense, total and permanent disability charges. there's a lot of steps we are looking at it and we will continue to review those and be in touch about the process. >> could you give us a sense of the timing, how long those reviews might take? >> i do not have an update on the timing. there is a legal and policy review. >> trevor, did you have a question? >> i always have a question. first, on the infrastructure question we were talking about, you said yesterday there would be a dollar per dollar accounting of how the measures would be paid for. >> yep, paid for overtime. >> paid for overtime. -- over time. >> paid for over time. >> the president believes it is responsible for paying for his vision and infrastructure and our economy and american workers. there will be a range of views,
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including how to pay for it. people will be for or against and some might not want to pay for it, and he is open to having those discussions. but the focus of his speech, his proposal, is on investing in america. we are talking about tax reform proposals that would help pay for it over time. the reason he is putting this forward is because he believes it is responsible to put forward a plan to pay for it as a means of discussing that, but it is really about investing workers -- investing in workers. >> [indiscernible] >> i think we have not proposed a speech. he is proposing a way to pay for his proposals over time, and we will look forward to hearing from members of congress on how they want to approach it, given their strong support for infrastructure across the country. >> a quick one on foreign policy . iran has come out and basically already rejected a proposal he has not even put on the table
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yet about relaxing some sanctions against them, to get them to come to the table. they say all of the sanctions need to be relaxed before they will consider changes on enrichment. is there any point to putting a proposal on the table, if it is already going to be a nonstarter? >> we remain committed to pursuing diplomatic processes to determine the way forward. sometimes, that takes time. we have found that, in the past relating to negotiations with iran, we remain ready to engage in meaningful diplomacy to achieve a mutual return to compliance at the jcpoa commitment. that offer to discuss and engages on the table -- and gauge is on the table -- and engage is on the table. >> [indiscernible] he has been involved in policymaking, and i know it is a new thing here, but will it be
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similar with involvement of space military? >> it's a quite -- it's a great question. i note that technically falls under the president paczki manned office. i will have to talk about the public facing role and i'm happy to do that. >> [indiscernible] any updates on the appointed timeline [indiscernible] >> i've seen a lot of names reported out there, which would be great choices, but i do not have an update on the timeline for announcing the nomination of ambassadors. >> is or anything broad? >> i certainly hope so, but i do not have an update on when the president will make decisions. >> a year ago i would say president biden put a black woman on the supreme court. it generated buzz. is there any update or anything on vice president biden's
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efforts for the supreme court? >> it will require there being an opening on the supreme court of course. >> there's not -- course. there is not an opening on the supreme court. the president announced today, as someone who served for 17 years on the senate judiciary committee as chairman and ranking member, he has a long history on judicial appointments. this is a priority for him. our focus is on getting the senate to confirm the group of nominees and continue to build a pipeline of additional, highly qualified nominees who are going to reflect the values the president has outlined. >> one of the commitments on the table? >> to nominate an african-american woman to the supreme court? it absolutely is. >> is the president appointed with the who? >> i think with the statement remains clear is that we -- that
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was issued by the state department is that we remain confident in the role of the who. we look to be a contributing member of the who. we have concerns, as i have expressed, about the announcement done so far about the reports, and we think steps can be taken moving forward in the second stage of the review to alleviate some of those. >> i want to ask a few questions. first, i want to follow-up up on what president biden said wednesday and vice president harris. he said that in addition to doing that, he has five other [indiscernible] could you clarify what those are? >> some of those we have not announced yet so i will not get ahead of those. vice president harris is playing an imperative role out there connecting with the american people about the american rescue plan. she has been traveling across the country, done a number of trips, and she will be part of
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the effort to communicate to the public covid and the importance and effectiveness of the vaccine -- importance and efficiency of the vaccine. we will have more soon. >> and more on the question i asked last week on the white house policy that has impacted some staff. [indiscernible] this president biden support that? >> he believes in decriminalizing marijuana and his position has not changed. >> do know if it will end the federal prohibition? >> i do not think his position has changed. >> regarding the who, the former president trump is accused of [indiscernible] does this report confirm that claim? >> we have expressed our concern about the lack of transparency
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and data that has been provided broadly to the global community. we believe there are steps taken -- that can be taken moving forward to ensure any independent investigation, that global experts are involved in the next eight of this process, but we also believe the who is a body the united states should be a part of, that in order to make changes happen, we need to have a seat at the table, and that is why we rejoined. >> thank you very much. i have one question. we know that the prime minister is coming. [indiscernible] they are said to host their south korean counterparts. your administration has focused on working closely with allies like japan and south korea on china but this country has a
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different relationship with china than the u.s. has with china, so how will you and your asian allies cooperate when they have different interests of the u.s.? >> i'm not sure if i understand your question. are you asking how we will discuss china and our relationship with china went the president and others -- when the president and others in the administration see leaders from japan? >> no. different countries have different interests than the u.s. has with china. how will you have your asian allies cooperate if you have different interests? >> i think just like the u.s. relationships of any country, there are areas of mutual interest, areas where we can communicate and work on together, and even have disagreements, whether it is security in the region, and i expect those conversations should cover a range of topics. >> we saw the fact sheet you
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released earlier, but it is not address the demand from the communities on leadership levels. what was more concerning during yesterday's interview, a senator said she was pushing for this, and the white house said to her "come on, you don't really need any other agents in the capital. [indiscernible] that is really offensive. you would not say that we have white male president. i would you say that to someone from the asian community?" what is your reaction to her statement? >> we have at a range of
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conversations with senator duckworth since that call, which happened a week ago, including a commitment to naming a high-level asian american member of the aaip community to the position in the white house. that is something we are working to do with a range of officials and elected officials as well. that person will be a commissioned officer and will be working on policy and outreach. as soon as we have a name, we will share that with all of you. a big part of our effort has also been on taking actions to address the rise in anti-asian violence and bias, and underscoring the commitment of our entire administration to working in partnership with the a api community. -- aapi community. there is an initiative launched, the doj is strengthening data on reporting on law enforcement
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trading so local law enforcement training can anti--- identify anti-asian bias. did ministration will meet with leaders to hear their input on how we can play the most constructive role possible in the community, and the president raised, because he felt it was comparative to elevate the continuing threats, the hate speech, and violence against asian american community and in his speech he gave a week ago. >> i follow-up from what he just said. we had a spike in carjackings in washington, d.c., and there has been a huge uproar about the carjacking and killing of a pakistani american by t -- by two teenage girls. does the president plan any outreach to the aapi community of washington, given this. -- this? >> the president and his administration, he have asked senior levels of his team to be engaged in a broad swath of
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leaders from the aapi community from across the country. i can check if there will be individuals from the part of that outreach. >> given carjacking -- carjacking in washington, has the white house put any concern toward staff, many live in washington. has there any been -- been anything on that? >> we would refer to local law enforcement guidelines on those lines. i'm not aware of any additional guidelines put out. >> during his press conference last week, the president was stern and expresses when it came to his opinion about voter suppression laws in georgia, and elsewhere, but what tangible action will the president take to turn that tide, particularly when talking about a federal bill? >> there is a number of actions. one, i would not call it so-called bias, because we know that in communities across georgia, there have been polling
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places that have been closed. those are in predominately african-american communities, so i think that is real bias. second, i would say we do not see these and we certainly know there is an up a battle for lots of legislation, but we are encouraged by the conversations happening about moving legislation forward to make voting more accessible, more available to people across the country. president believes it should be easier, not harder to vote, and he will look for opportunities to push that legislation forward. he also signed a number of executive orders a couple weeks ago because he believes this is a central cause and equity issue in his mind, and he wants to take steps from the white house, steps any president can take, to also make voting more accessible. but we also need to continue to work with local leaders. in met with stacey abrams in georgia a couple weeks ago. a lot of the power and activism will come from the grassroots and incredible leaders like stacey abrams who are ensuring people have the facts they need,
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the information they need to vote, and that they push back against suppressive efforts to make voting more difficult. >> how would the white house engage when it comes to gun control? >> many members of the community have been outspoken historically about the threats of gun violence, which have impacted communities across the country. that will come from our office of public engagement, who would lead these efforts to outreach to communities. i can check with them and see if there are specific meetings with faith groups in recent days. >> leslie, is there anything you read on the rebranding of the biden/harris administration? >> rebranding? >> when you look on the website, it says biden/harris, and that is not necessarily the norm of the past. is there any message said on that? >> i would take from it that
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vice president harris is an important partner. she is the first in the room and last in the room in most occasions. if she is not in town and traveling across the country, it is a reflection of the important role she will play moving forward. >> speaking with several governor's office is on the call with the white house this morning, there were not a lot of questions or any questions or pushback on the comments yesterday from the president and dr. wolinsky advising stan local governments rolling back mask mandates. given there were no questions or dialogue according to our reporting now, what is the level of concern from the white house that 24 hours after the president raised his voice on this the doctor is raising her verse on this -- voice on this? are governors going their own way and ignoring you all? >> i don't thing we see it that way, jeff, but one of the ways
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we can impact people across the country is by acknowledging this is hard. we have been at war with this virus for a long time. to reiterate as the president did yesterday, as dr. walensky did yesterday, that we continue to be at war with the virus. the way we feel we can be most impactful is not just through words but through actions. as we have seen an uptick, we have also taken -- an accelerated threat i should say, we have also accelerated our spots and have moved up the universal shot date for most americans by two weeks, doubled the number of pharmacies getting supply, more than doubled, opened more vaccination centers. the more people who can get vaccinated, the more accessible it is, the more effective we are going to be, and that is where we put our efforts. >> is there concern from governors faced on the call this morning? >> i was not on the call this morning. i think the president speaking not just a governors but across
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the country, business owners, local elected officials, and even in some states were governors have been pulling out the restrictions, there are local leaders and businesses or bigger businesses who have kept. . them in place it is important for people -- kept them in place. it's important for people to hear that we are still in war with this virus, that people need to be vigilant in order to return to normal. >> today, canada halted delivery of the astrazeneca vaccine. what does that mean for this administration posture -- administration's posture and vaccine approval in the u.s.? >> approval would of course be through the fda, and they have a rigorous and thorough process for doing that. i will leave that to them to undergo that process. i do not have anything to predict about the approval likelihood. >> you want to get one more? >> one more question. given the increasing uncertainty and fact millions of johnson & johnson vaccines are on the near
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term horizon, is the white house considering changing the way to poise those vaccines that are kicking in quicker? is there any thought about changing those descriptions? >> we think about how a lot how vaccines are distributed equitably across the country, but our message continues to be that you should take any vaccine available to you. there are three approved, all safe and effective, so we are not changing our approach. > thank you, everyone. ♪ >> c-span is your unfiltered view of government, created by america's cable television companies in 1979. today, brought you by these television companies who
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provides he spent of yours as a public service. ♪ >> tonight on c-span, how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted people's mental health. you will hear from mental health experts and children's advocates about the addiction issues, weight gain, and problems with children's socialization skills amid e-learning. that house appropriations subcommittee hearing is tonight at 9:00 eastern. tomorrow, we will take you live to pittsburgh to hear from president biden on his economic probably and -- economic plan, including infrastructure spending. i would live coverage begins wednesday afternoon at 4:20 eastern here on c-span. you can also watch online at, or listen on the free c-span radio
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