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tv   White House Press Secretary Holds Briefing  CSPAN  July 9, 2021 12:50pm-1:39pm EDT

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caller: hello, pedro. i have not spoken with you in a long, long time. i am for withdrawal. we have been there too long. they were very smart to use us and get money out of us. i think that was money we could have used here, so i'm glad president biden has done this. thank you very much. host: from twitter, this viewer says, "three cheers for joe biden." jen psaki: first, we welcome the unanimous adoption of the u.n. security council to extend the humanitarian lifeline to syria. this agreement will directly impact the lives of millions of syrians.
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it was the result of hard work among the council and intensive diplomacy following detailed discussion at the geneva discussion between president biden and president putin. today's resolution removes the cross-border agreement that would have expired in july 10 and will provide further humanitarian assistance to the people of northwest syria and is part of a broader initiative led by the united nations. a readout just went out that commended the work of their respective teams following the summit and welcomed the unanimous vote in the council. there is a readout that just went out of the call president biden did with president putin this morning. i am sure we will talk more about that. also today, the president will sign an executive order that will direct a historic effort to promote competition in the american economy. this effort has three goals, lower prices for consumers, higher wages, and more innovation and economic growth.
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lack of competition drives up prices for consumers. barriers to competition, there's less opportunity to bargain for a higher wage and to demand dignity and respect. higher prices and lower wages caused by lack of competition are now estimated to cost the median american household $5,000 per year. we want to work to address that. competition is the engine of our economy. this is just the beginning. we will be back in the weeks ahead to update you on the progress we are making on this executive order and a concrete benefits we are delivering to the american people. i also wanted to provide a quick update for you on our work in haiti. the united states remains engaged with our international partners to support the haitian people in the aftermath of the assassination of the president. and respond to the haitian government's request, we will be
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sending senior fbi and dhs officials as soon as possible to assess the situation. i also wanted to note in january, we announced a $75.5 million for a wide range of issues including democratic governance, health, education, agricultural development, and strengthening of pre-election activities. strengthening haiti's law enforcement capacity continues to be a priority. we provide assistance directly to the haitian national police. we are providing $5 million to strengthen the haitian national police capacity to work with communities to resist gangs. i also wanted to remind you that earlier this year, the department of homeland security redesignated temporary protected status for haiti for 18 months, something the secretary announced in may, something we are working to implement. and finally, haiti is one of the
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countries that will be receiving vaccines from the united states. we will be prepared to deliver those hopefully as early as next week. part of that is assessing what can happen with the airport and how we will be able to deliver these. sorry, two other updates and the week ahead. on global vaccines, today we are sending 3 million doses to end an osha -- indonesia. with these shipments, we have sent nearly 15 million doses to other countries. on indonesia, i wanted to add that in addition to vaccines, we are moving forward on plans to increase assistance for the broader covid-19 response efforts. we recognize the difficult situation indonesia finds itself
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in with the surge in cases. our thoughts are with those in indonesia affected. on monday, the president will meet with local leaders, including law enforcement, elected officials, and community violence advocates to discuss the comprehensive strategy to reduce violent crimes. that is here at the white house. on tuesday, the president will deliver remarks in philadelphia, the birthplace of democracy, on his administration's actions to protect the right to vote and the need to overcome anti-voter laws. he will make tomorrow case to the american people on why the right to vote is fundamental to who we are as a nation. on thursday, the president will deliver remarks to mark the day that millions of families will get the first monthly tax relief payment bank's the american rescue plan -- thanks to the american rescue plan. it provides $250 each month for
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every child under 17. thursday, the president will welcome chancellor angela merkel to the white house. her visit will affirm deep ties with germany. the visit will address our robust partnership on shared global challenges and identify areas to further strengthen cooperation. on friday, the president will participate in the asia-pacific economic cooperation leaders retreat remotely on the response to the covid-19 pandemic. friday afternoon, the president will travel to camp david where he will remain over the weekend. that was a lot of information. go ahead. >> on the call with president putin, can you tell us more about what prompted this? was it related to the ransomware attacks? what exactly did president biden
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say? the readout suggests it was a pleasant call. can you explain why it seems there are all of these ransomware attacks coming from russia? jen psaki: the president is a believer in face diplomacy when possible and leadership diplomacy would not possible. this is an example of that. even though ransomware attacks have been increasing over the past 18 months if not longer, this is the first time there has been this level of engagement at this level. the president knew even when they met in geneva there would be a need for ongoing discussions and engagement. the reason they commended the work of their teams is this is consistent with the president's
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view that diplomacy includes working together where there is opportunity and agreement and being clear and forthright when there is disagreement. this call is an example of that. because of their agreement and the discussion in geneva, the u.n. security council will extend access for humanitarian corridors, providing humanitarian assistance to people of syria. that is pivotal and is going to save lives. that is to be commended. at the same time, the president made clear, he underscored the need for president putin to take action to disrupt these ransomware groups. they operate in russia and other countries around the world. we do not have new information suggesting the russian government directed these attacks. we also believe they have a responsibility to take action. as you can see in the readout, the president may clear the
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united states will take any necessary action to defend its people and critical infrastructure. this is an example of leader to leader diplomacy, something the president feels is vital as he operates in the world. >> there seems to be a lot of confusion. schools are allowing teachers and students vaccinated not to wear masks. why make the recommendation to begin with? we are seeing an increase in the delta variant even with the vaccine. is there a situation in which the administration would suggest returning to virtual learning? jen psaki: the cdc laid out ways several months ago that all schools can safely return to in-person learning. that applies in areas where there are high levels of vaccination and lower levels of vaccination.
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thanks to the american rescue plan, $122 billion in spending, schools can implement these mitigation they may not have been able to prior. this guidance reiterated masks should be worn indoors by all unvaccinated individuals. schools should maintain at least three feet of physical distance, ventilation, handwashing, vaccination etiquette, contact tracing and these continue to be important. the guidance is in line with their public-health guidance they have provided broadly, so if someone is vaccinated, they are safe. if they are not, which applies to children under a certain age, then there are guidelines that remain in place. how those guidelines will be implemented has always been the purview of local school districts, that has always been
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the case with vaccines in general, before coronavirus. it is up to the school districts to apply and implement. reporter: some three weeks or so ago, president biden in geneva said he knows there are consequences, he knows they will take action. did he raise a similar volume in the call today or did he just repeat it? jen: i think as the readout makes clear, he reiterated the united states will take any action to protect its people and infrastructure and reiterated his expectation that president putin take action if it is because of criminal actors in his own country. i'm not going to give you a tone and tenor readout, but the president believed, and has always believed, that this is going to need to be an ongoing diplomatic engagement with the russians.
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we have had expert level talks focused on cyber and ransomware but also realizes there will be to be talks at the leader level. reporter: is there any new information russia was involved specifically? are they still meeting next week? jen: yes. go ahead. in the call with president boudin -- reporter: in the call with president and, did he indicate he would crack cyber criminals in the country? jen: i do not have a readout on the kremlin -- it's not an appropriate role for the united states to convey. i can convey what role president biden played in what he delivered to the russians. reporter: as far as chancellor merkel coming out on thursday,
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will president biden as germany and other countries to stand with him against russia -- [inaudible] jen: it was part of the g7 and his first foreign trip, that we need to stand together and work together to address the threat of ransomware and cyber attacks. it's not just an issue for the united states, it's an issue for countries around the globe. in terms of a percentage of the meeting, we will have more as we get closer to the meeting with chancellor merkel, but i would expect the rising threat of cyber and ransomware would be part of the agenda. reporter: one residual issue still to be addressed -- to what extent are you hopeful you might be able to reach some sort of
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agreement or promise from germany that would stave off the need to have tariffs or sanctions? jen: it will certainly be part of the discussion and the president's view, it is one that has global issues involved but i'm not going to predict what the outcome of the meeting will look like. reporter: real quick on haiti, there have been reports that the role haitian americans may have played, it may be premature, but any readout? jen: obviously the investigation is being led by haitian police forces on the ground. there have been reports -- i think you are referencing. reporter: would that be a serious concern?
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jen: i'm not going to get ahead of where the investigation is going. it is being led by haitians on the ground. reporter: did the conversation with president putin extend to the types of critical infrastructure -- has the increase in ransomware informed his view to expand that and should we interpret this call and warning again as a sign that the u.s. will act? jen: the president did provide a list of critical infrastructure when he met with president putin a few weeks ago. he did that because an attack on critical infrastructure that would take out a swath of the american economy would have a significant national security impact. he did not provide that list to say if the attack is not on critical infrastructure we are not going to take action. that was not the restriction he gave himself.
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in this call today, he was making clear that, again, attacks by criminal groups, by actors that may not be directed by the russian government, you still have a responsibility. in terms of actions, he made clear he's going to take steps to defend the american people and our own infrastructure and interests in the united states. while we are not going to preview operationally what that looks like or what he may decide to do, he made clear he reserves that option to take action. reporter: do you believe the president's intent was to send that signal that action could be imminent? jen: i think his intent was to make clear and reiterate that attacks by criminal groups, ransomware attacks on entities in the united states is not acceptable and we reserve the right to take action. reporter: did president biden specifically ask about the
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attacks and it did he say they were investigating? jen: i am not going to read out what president boudin said and i'm sure the kremlin will do their readout of what they invade. i can tell you broadly that the ransomware attack that happened over the course of last weekend was a big focus of the call, which was clear in the readout that we provided. i would reiterate on the rnc attack that the information we have two data is that that was on a third-party entity and is something the fbi is working with them on. reporter: did the president described when he was going to take this action? jen: i don't have any specifics on the readout of that. reporter: did the white house --
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to protect the purchaser's identity? jen: after careful consideration, a system has been established to allow hunter biden to work in his profession with reasonable safeguards. he has the right to pursue an artistic career like any child of a president has a right to pursue a career, but all interactions regarding the selling of art and setting of prices will be handled by a professional gal rest adhering to the highest standard and any offer out of normal will not share information about buyers, including their identity with hunter biden or the administration which provides quite a level of protection and transparency. reporter: as a private citizen, you is the white house doing anything to work with the owner to make sure there is not impropriety when it is
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ultimately sold? jen: i figure would be challenging for an anonymous person that we don't know and hunter biden doesn't know to have influence. that is a protection. reporter: on the call this morning from the russian president, did president biden mention the taliban in russia yesterday. jen: the conversation was prime early on these two topics. i will see if anything else was raised. reporter: on the afghan translators, did the president have any authority -- i know the president said [inaudible] this time -- [inaudible] jen: it is a different program,
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which i know you are conveying and we are trying to determine that u.s. facilities and bases located in different parts of the world where we can house these brave and courageous individuals while they are processing continues. that's what we are determining. we have not made a final determination. we are trying to protect for security and operational reasons what that may look like even when a final determination is made. i would see it as a different type of program and it is already law, so we are in a position where we can make a decision to relocate individuals from afghanistan to third-party countries. reporter: on the vaccine, pfizer requesting approval for a third shot from gliders -- from regulators. what is the timeline on when that would be recommended, especially as it pertains to
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meeting vaccination requirements to forgo things like masks? jen: you referenced this, but just for others, the cdc and fda put out a clear statement last night after the announcement by pfizer making clear that americans who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time. i would note they are constantly engaged in a rigorous process to figure when a booster may be necessary. that will be led by the data and the science. at this time, that not a determination they have made and we wanted to make clear that is not something the american people need to plan for at this moment. i'm going to jump around because i haven't gotten to a couple of people in this room and a couple of days. reporter: yesterday, the president said he denied the intelligent -- intelligence community that the afghan government had collapsed.
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did he not read the intelligence or is he denying the intelligence? jen: we abide by the intelligence presented by our own intelligence community. but the way the question was presented was is it inevitable and the president does not believe it is inevitable. the intelligence community has never said it was inevitable for the taliban to take over the country. his objective or what he was trying to convey is there is a responsibility and the responsibility now lies in the hands of the afghans. we have trained over 300,000, we provided $3.9 billion in humanitarian assistance, these are brave fighters who have taken on casualties and fought off over the course of the last several years. we want to equip and empower them and it's now in their hands. it is not inevitable nor has any intelligence assessment predicted it is inevitable. reporter: yesterday, he said the u.s. does not bear any
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responsibilities for dust that might occur after the u.s. withdrawal. [indiscernible] jen: i think the president was conveying that we have done everything we can to equip, train, and power the afghan security forces and we will continue to remain engaged not just through august but thereafter. it is ultimately their job and responsibility now to demonstrate their capabilities and their will to defend their country and that's what he was attempting to convey. reporter: was there a discussion about trying to accomplish those goals [indiscernible] jen: there is certainly value in legislation, it makes it permanent. the president is going to use the authorities every president before him has had -- executive action which allows him to take
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action to make industries more competitive and bring relief to the american people. i'm not going to rule out future legislative discussions with congress should they want to pursue them, but these are actions he can take that will have a huge, immediate impact on the american people. reporter: two quick questions -- i spoke with a number of justice organizations that want to know when the president is going to address the over 4000 inmates sent home due to the pandemic that have to go back? is he going to make a statement and how is he going to address it and and -- and is he willing to find them a way to stay at home to revisit the memo done under the trump administration? jen: that's a great question and something the president is following closely. a lot of it is under the purview of the department of justice by we'll see if i can provide you an update. reporter: on the campaign trail,
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the president said that the african-american community stood up again for me and they have always had my back and i will have theirs. on tuesday -- are we going to see them go to state to state like he did with infrastructure and having an in-your-face approach confronting some of these groups or pressing them a kratz when it comes to the filibuster? jen: the speech the president is delivering is about the fundamental right to vote in this country and the moral right -- moral obligation we have to stand up for that. it's not about legislative process. the issue is bigger than that. to those who are critics, we stand with you in wanting to make voting more accessible around the country and that's why the president finds a historic executive -- signed a historic executive order into
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law his first week in office. it's why his department of justice has taken action to double the funding and support around the country to fighting voter suppression. that is why he nominated and sought for the combination -- sought for the nomination of two civil rights activists who are now playing prominent roles in the department of justice. he said this would be the cause of his presidency and is delivering a speech next tuesday, and that's a continuation of his efforts. reporter: nobody is expecting a preview of what might be a retaliatory attack after a cyber attack in russia, but for political consumption or worldwide political consumption, we have to make some kind of show of it and point out that we have responded and that the
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president -- what the president would do? jen: the president doesn't make his decisions as commander-in-chief based on politics. he makes them based on what is in the interest of the national security and the american people. i know you alluded to this, but i don't think any one expects him to preview the punches. we are probably not going to preview that in advance. reporter: two questions on vaccines. you mentioned of fda and cdc said you do not need a third shot at this time, but is there a coordination to make sure americans are not confused? jen: they are a private sector company. i cannot speak to the motivation of their announcement. the role that we can play is to
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provide accurate information and public health information, which is what we ventured to do last night pretty rapidly in response to the announcement. reporter: there is still pushback about the president's comment going door to door to encourage vaccinations. enticing, coercing or intimidating anyone -- governor mcmaster said he would prohibit state health agencies from using these tactics. can you explain what is being done and what is not being done in this outrage? -- in this outreach? jen: the failure to provide accurate health information to people across the country, including south carolina, is literally killing people, so maybe they should consider that. what this is and what it is not
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-- this is not federal employees going door to door. this is grassroots volunteers, members of the clergy, these are volunteers who believe people across the country, especially in low vaccinated areas should have accurate information and information about where they can get vaccinated, where they can save their own lives and their neighbors life and their family members lives. that is exactly what this is. it's something that has been going on since april and it is something where we have seen an impact in states where there are lower vaccination rates, so it is something we will continue to work with local groups to do and it is a service to the country and to people who may lose their lives were family members to provide inaccurate information we are still fighting a pandemic. reporter: two questions on the president trade agenda. he has spoken a lot about why america, but when can we expect -- about why america, but when can we expect anything about lifting the trump tariffs or
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u.k. talks? jen: this is under the preview of ambassador tie, someone working every day to commute kate what our agenda is. i don't have anything to predict for you. as he looks at our economic approach, he believes we need to make sure we are making decisions through the prism of what's going to help the middle class in the united states. reporter: reaction on the imf on calls for them to lift the tariffs? jen: i don't have anything on that. reporter: on vaccines sharing, many humanitarian organizations [indiscernible] it is still not nearly enough to get the world vaccinated. does the administration have any
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plans to expand from the 580 million doses already pledged. and the government in indonesia has announced they are going to use the moderna doses to vaccinate health care workers who have already been fully vaccinated with sinovac's. could you comment on that? jen: there are no strings attached to the vaccines we are providing. we are providing them around the world to save lives and to be a contributor to the global effort to fight the pandemic. you are right that there are more doses needed beyond the billion. i would note the united states is far and away the largest contributor in the world to the fight against the pandemic, including specific doses of vaccine. the president has made clear we will continue to build from here and we are working on manufacturing capacity around the world and in the united
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states and we will continue to contribute beyond the billion doses. reporter: a key border crossing with iran today -- [indiscernible] at what point with the president reconsider the policy to include airstrikes on the tele-been or isis? -- the taliban or isis? jen: i can reiterate why the president made the decision he made based on a clear assessment of what the impact would be but at this point in time, what are focuses on is ensuring we are bringing our servicemen and women home from afghanistan on the timeline he outlined yesterday. that we are spreading counterterrorism capacity throughout the world where we see the biggest threats, that we are continuing to power, equip,
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support financially the afghan security forces. reporter: we are almost halfway through the 90 days the white house set for reduction efforts to analyze efforts about the origin of covid-19. has the president received any update on that? jen: i do not have any updates to provide you. reporter: delegates to the national education association called for the implementation of culturally responsive education for k-12 and higher education. i am wondering what are the president thoughts on antiracist curriculum in the classroom? jen: the president believes in our history that there are many dark moments. there's not just slavery and
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racism in our history, there is systemic racism still impacting society today. he believes, as i believe, as a parent of children, that kids should learn about our history. as someone who continues to believe children should learn not just that good, but also that challenging in our history, that is part of what we are talking about even as it has become politically charged. reporter: [indiscernible] a company that has gotten billions of dollars from the federal government, is it still not appropriate to coordinate on messaging to not confuse people? jen: the role we can play is to commute kate from the federal government and how we communicate accurate public health information to the american people. that is what we ventured to do as quickly as possible last night after the statement came out. reporter: on the eeo that the
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president is about to sign. especially on the infrastructure deal, concerned that the government is inserting itself too much into business dealings, the national association of manufacturers saying there is 8 -- that it is a solution in search of a problem by undermining free-market and workers are opposition for success. more broadly, are you concerned about the reaction coming from industry that they will try to push back? how are you planning to respond to that? jen: there may be, but the president's role is to focus on what is in the interest of american consumers. his view is when you have a lack of competition driving up prices
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for consumers, driving out wages for workers, lack of competition costing the american household $5,000 a year, as the president of the united states who represents middle-class americans across the country, he has a responsibility to act. we understand some may be opposed to that and that's ok. reporter: the follow-up to that is you said in a statement today that he's going to take decisive action against consolidation in a lot of industries? does that include media? we've suffered and is your administration going to break up large media conglomerates? jen: i don't have anything to predict or preview for you on that front. reporter: a question on haiti. jen: nothing crazy is happening. the pool has to gather. reporter: how will the arrest of
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two americans affect the assistance the fbi and dhs provide to the haitian government? jen: our mission is to help the people of haiti get through it is a very challenging time and it was long then even before the assassination of the president. as i announce at the beginning, we are sending, because supporting law enforcement efforts on the ground and making sure we are providing resources in terms of women and manpower but financial resources as part of what our objective is as well. reporter: how may law enforcement agents are we sending and has there been any 80 request for additional -- been any request for additional requests -- additional agents? jen: i will see if there is something more specific we can provide for you. reporter: is the government
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considering restrictions for vaccinated people to enter the u.s.? jen: there is an ongoing process , which i know is to the frustration of many, which includes working groups with countries that we can communicate and share information about what the criteria would be for easing travel restrictions. we certainly want to ensure families are united and i don't have anything to predict in terms of the timeline. reporter: [indiscernible] jen: they look at a range of criteria. public health experts on all sides. reporter: [indiscernible]
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germany is against the trips waiver and i am wondering if president biden is going to talk to her about that? reporter: there are a number of others, the number of doses come we've already started implementing them. there's a lot of interest in what will be on the agenda. lamy see if there more about the agenda to predict. let me go in the middle. reporter: voting rights -- is the speech in pennsylvania or [indiscernible] jen: he just had a meeting with civil rights leaders yesterday and i can't predict what the schedule look like beyond next tuesday, but this is an opportunity to go to the
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birthplace of democracy to make the case for the moral imperative of making voting more accessible to people across the country. reporter: it has been several months -- any update on when the president might make a nominee for that department? jen: i do not have a timeline for that. reporter: the average price of gasoline is $3.14, gas prices are up 40% since the beginning of the year. what is your message to motorists out there around the country concerned about how much it costs to get to work every day and how it's impacting their family budget? jen: i would say that gas prices do historically rise in the summer and that is particularly true even in moments like this where there is a spike in people
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traveling and even more people are hitting the roads now because of our success in defeating the pandemic. in the last years pre-pandemic, the average price of gas in july is nearly $.30 higher than it is in january. prices are higher now this year than last year because americans are able to travel. the president is quite focused on ensuring we are doing everything we can to keep prices low and keep the cost of living low for the american people, including the cost of gas, that's why he was vehemently against a gas task -- gas tax. we are not a party member of opec. we are engaged with a number of countries because we want to ensure we are remaining abreast of what is happening because that will have an impact. it is direct message to the american people as he is going to work, just as he worked to get the virus under control,
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he's going to create jobs and ensure we are doing everything we can to keep gas prices under control. reporter: [indiscernible] jen: i don't have anything to protect on that front. reporter: as the candidate president biden said -- i've never spoken about overseas business dealings, but photographs have called that into question. in 2015 -- he met with ukrainian business associations -- associates -- in 2015, the vice president hosted -- before hunter biden emailed these associates. a two-part question. was president biden indeed
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unaware his son was pursuing business opportunities with these people he met and according to recent reporting, when is he going to publish that customer -- publish that? jen: i am not going to respond to rudy giuliani's lawyer. reporter: i wanted to ask you about the executive order the president is going to sign on competition. most of that will be done through regulation of the agency through rulemaking. the office that handles regulation, can you talk about how the coordination is going to go to get this out the door
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without someone in a job that would traditionally do that? jen: omb is one of the agencies and the federal government also staffed by talented men and women from the career service. they can help make sure to implement government actions and that continues to be the case in this regard. as you noted, the order includes several actions agencies would take. those would be implemented within agencies, even independent agencies would make their own decisions. they are encouraging agencies to take actions even as they make those decisions. the federal government is designed in a way so we can function from administration to administration even as individuals need to be nominated and confirmed, and that is the case in this regard as well. go ahead. reporter: [indiscernible] jen: that wasn't on my bingo
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card today. reporter: when are we going to see other bigger events happening at the white house? jen: we have already started to have events. we've had some over the course of the last few weeks. we have welcomed one sports team to the white house and there will be more to come. i don't have a production of the timeline that we are starting to plan those events for the coming months. reporter: what is the president getting from the prime minister? jen: i don't have an update on that. why don't we go all the way to the back. reporter: [indiscernible] would we have a second round of talks? jen: that would be the intention but i don't have a timeline on this. reporter: on china, is the white
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house going to hold another phone call with the chinese leader. and at the g 20 in october, is president biden willing to hold talks with president xi? jen: that is quite some time from now in terms of the planning and what events might or might not be around it. we are in touch at a very high level with trainees leaders, but as far as an upcoming call with president xi, i don't have anything on that front. i'm trying to get all the way to the back. reporter: on the competition policy executive order, are there any additional steps that have already been taken at the interagency level so we are going to see a proposed rule from the department of transportation on airline fees tuesday? how much of this is presaged versus starting at the beginning
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of the process? jen: where appropriate, with agencies that are not independent agencies we have been working with, we've been working to develop policies and do that in alignment. the timing of proposed rules, i would point you to each agency. that takes some time depending on the complication of the role. but we developed this through an interagency process where appropriate and there is broad support for the competition agenda. reporter: the bipartisan policy center had a report on the debt limit. treasury had been unclear on when the day will arrive, but is the president going to be pushing congress to raise the debt limit or suspend it again before they leave for the august recess in early august? jen: i think the president certainly expects congress will take steps that they have three times during the prior
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administration to raise the debt limit. i think we have to wrap up because i think we are going to move to the president's remarks. thank you, everyone and have a wonderful weekend. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> coming up shortly, president biden will sign an executive order promoting economic competition in the u.s. you can see live coverage on c-span, online at c-span.org or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> this week marks the six-month anniversary of the january 6 attack on the u.s. capital. each night, we've been showing congressional hearings that occurred in the aftermath of the attack. tonight, we conclude with former trump adst

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