tv White House Press Secretary Holds Briefing CSPAN October 28, 2021 2:02am-2:53am EDT
overdose epidemic. the overdose epidemic has evolved and our strategy to combat is evolving as well. that's why the new strategy prioritizes prevention, harm reduction, evidence-based treatment and support during recovery. the holistic focus on harm reduction and recovery support in particular are new and innovative approaches. that includes actions like increasing access to medication treatment for people with opioid use disrecord. disorder. and expanding access to harm reduction services. with drug overdose deaths increasing by more than 30% last year, the severity and worsening nature of this epidemic requires an all hands on deck approach. this strategy from h.h.s. builds upon the biden-harris administration's year one drug policy priorities and is a key part of addressing that rising challenge
jen: this is another sign that the president's call for the private sector to step up and help get the transportation supply chain to move towards a 24/7 pace is working. it builds on announcements by the ports about 24/7 service that would move toward around the clock operations and leading great retailer announcements they made like wal-mart and shipping companies like u.p.s. who have committed to and announced plans to begin moving more containers at night and during the weekend. we have some improvement throughout the supply chain, not just at ports but also railroads which are reporting reduced congestion and higher capacity at key hubs. as i said yesterday, i think we are going to have a chart, we provide -- we'll provide it to you afterwards, this is in the
context of record breaking movement of containers through our biggest ports. and this is significant increases from last year. l.a. and long beach for example have moved for containers this year than any previous year. we are still in the month of october. this reflects strong demand as our economy roars back and americans have money in their pockets to spend again. operating at 24/7 pace will not only increase the number of containers moving out of the ports but also make the system more efficient and reduce emissions in the surrounding communities. combined with the announcement on tuesday that the ports will begin charging ocean carriers for keeping containers on the docks for too long, this announcement in our assessment will speed up the movement of gods from ship to store shelf. faster delivery times for american families and lower costs for goods. reporter: first. any updates on where things stand on negotiation, the president going to the hill
today and a general update. jen: last night as you know the president met with president sinema and senator manchin in the oval office and continued to make progress on finalizing details as we work toward an agreement. this morning we had a number of senior staff up on capitol hill, many of them may still be there now, of the key negotiators, susan rice as well, were up there having conversations with members to move the ball forward. the president remains open to going up to the hill. we haven't made a decision to do that. we are making decisions hour by hour and what would be most construckive to move things forward. reporter: allies seem to be coming around to the tie eye dedon't -- environmentalists circled. because they believe that the
bill -- the bill could be weakened to an unacceptable degree. what one-b young people who feel this has been watered-down so much and should the president have been more engaging in debate with senator manchin and senator sinema. jen: the reconciliation ak package protesting or the infrastructure bill or all of it? reporter: rick sillation. jen: what i would say first the president admires the activism, energy of young people or out there on advocating on what they believe n the changes he agrees should be made to how society functions, to long overdue investments in our climate. i think what we would say is, one, we are on track now to move forward once we get an agreement, which we are confident department we are going to move ahead to to have the biggest investment in addressing the climate crisis in history.
by the united states. it's not just the biggest, it's five times bigger than the second -- what would be the second largest, which would be the recovery act. this would be a historic investment and something that would make an enorm -- have enormous impact on addressing these issues. i would note that -- i don't know all of the things that are of concern to them, since you asked me about the framing. i don't know if climate is one of them, i assume it might be, let me start there. is that what we are talking about here is creating targeted manufacturing credits that will help grow domestic supply chains for solar offshore and on-shore wind. expanding rooftops top solar. expanding grants and loans to could he ops. expanding grants and loans in the agricultural sector. and we are talking about an historic effort to make critical investments in environmental justice. something that is long overdue, that is central, important to the president and important to our climate and our clean energy
team. i'd also note there's been some reporting about this as well. i don't know if they were talking about childcare. i don't know if young people are. happy to hear that. maybe they were. what we are talking about in terms of this package is also closing in on a deal that would make predk for 3 and 4-year-olds universal and free. this has never been done before, ever. right now just to give you some context, the average cost of preschool in the united states costs $8s ,600. only two million three 3 and 4-year-olds are in publicly funded preschool. this legislation is on track to enable states to expand access to free universal preschool to six million. and increase the quality of preschool for many children enrolled in funded preschool. we know the affordable care act was also its own piece of historic legislation. this would massively build on that. expand access, lower costs for health care, which is of utmost
concern to many activists and certainly a big priority for the president. i would say we are excited about this package. the president is excited about this package because it will do so much in a historic nature to address long-standing problems that are overdue. reporter: any reaction to the negotiator saying -- [indiscernible] jen: i know they have made similar comments over the last several days or week, i should say, our commitment remains pursuing a diplomatic path forward. i would leave it to the negotiators to determine when the next round of discussions will be. our framing continues to be compliance for compliance. and we'll leave it up to the europeans and our negotiators to determine the next step. reporter: the president is leaving for europe tomorrow. negotiations are still under way over some of the issues everything from a top line number to medicare, even the revenue options how to pay for this. is getting a deal by tomorrow
realistic? jen: yes. we'll see. i would say that there is another way to frame what you posed to me. i know why you framed it the way you did. there is also broad agreement in congress among democrats who we need to support a unified path forward that we need to address the care economy and take steps to lower the cost of childcare, of eldercare. of early childhood education and make it more accessible. we need to do more to make health care more accessible and affordable and cut costs. we need to do more to address the climate crisis. there is agreement on that. what we are talking about here is the nitty-gritty details as i like to say. that's always what the focus is on at this point in the negotiations. it's only 1:30 we have time. reporter: for days we have been hearing word very close to agreement from you guys and folks on the hill. yet so many of these issues are outstanding. wonder how it's possible that that could happen --
jen: have you covered a piece of legislation getting passed before? i think you have. as you know when it gets to the final stages of it, there is a discussion about how you can achieve the goals you all share and objective to achieve. that's what we are doing now. when you say -- we would disagree with your framing. as would anybody on the hill who is part these negotiations. we are really talking about here is agreeing on a range of revenue raisers as pay-fors that will make the tax system more fair. you have seen developments and progress on that front over the last 24 hours. what we are talking about is which components of cutting costs and making health care health care affordable and accessible, there is enough agreement on. those are the final details that need to be worked through. that's what our team is working on. reporter: let me ask you something when the president reportedly told congress last week. the president toll the lawmakers the prestige of the united states is on the line. he needs this. meaning the deal, to go represent the united states overseas.
does he still believe that the prestige of the u.s. is on the line? jen: he said since that time it certainly his preference. he would love to head on this deep tripp with a deal. i think our national security advisor yesterday also addressed this question several times and made clear that what world leaders are looking at and through his conversation was his counterparts, they are looking at the president's commitment to making a historic investment and addressing the climate crisis. to addressing some of the overdue infrastructure issues that we have in the united states that have made us less competitive. to making the global minimum tax a part of our law here. they are seeing we are making progress. they are sophisticated. they are seeing we are on the verge of getting to a deal. they don't look at it through the prism of whether there is a vote in one body of the legislative body before he gets on an airplane. reporter: one last one. cnn reported today on facebook that the company is struggling to stay on top of misinformation
about the coronavirus and coronavirus vaccines. is the administration in touch with facebook about the vaccine information on the platform? how concerned is the president about this latest report? jen: i'm not going to read out private meetings or conversations we are having in this space. what i will say we have seen the reporting, of course. it is unfortunately not surprising for us to hear that facebook knew of these problems. has known of the issue possibly as early as the beginning of this pandemic. that is what the reporting tells us. that does not surprise us. in july our surgeon general came to this briefing room to label misinformation a public health issue. importantly conveyed that social media outlets are a prime channel for the trafficking of that information given their enormous role in our society. since then we have continued to see platforms regularly amplify anti-vaccine content over accurate information. that's the basic problem. that's what we continue to see happen.
reporter: jen, we talked about this earlier. is the white house confident that it would stand legal challenges? is it legal? jen: we are not going to support anything we don't think is legal. will i tell you the president supports the billionaire tax. he looks forward to working with congress and chairman widen to make sure the highest income americans pay their fair share. i would also note there are a number of different components of pay-fors tore components tham more fair, including imposing 15% minimum tax to make sure large corporations pay their fair share. we saw a lining around that yesterday. also creating a global minimum tax. something i just referenced. that will make the united states more competitive and the race to the bottom around the world. somewhere the united states is leading to have a global effort on. closing loopholes that allows
some taxpayers like hedge fund medicares to escape a medicare tax. and cracking down on wealthy tax cheats. we are taking advantage of every honest taxpayer and investment in enforcement to stop the 1% from evading $168 billion in taxes. that's an idea that's out there. that's part of the discussion. we support that. there is another -- a range of options that are also under discussion and broad agreement around. reporter: elon musk the criticism [indiscernible] jen: i think our response to anyone who opposes is that we believe that the highest income americans can afford to pay lail bit more in order to make historic investments in our work force, in our economy, in our competitiveness. and that has a net benefit on people across the country. reporter: turkish leaders are reporting president biden will meet with president air erdogan.
jen: certainly understand interest and expect we'll have more on that in the next day or two. but i don't have anything to confirm yet. reporter: senator manchin expressed concerned it's too taryghted. targeted. jen: there is a discussion right now about key components of how to make the tax system more fair. the billionaire taxes, we short-handed it, different from the original propose posal that was proposed a year or soing a. there have been changes made. that's part of the discussion. i'll leave that in the negotiations. reporter: people would fly complie with these new rules. a lot would rely on them reporting their own income. their private assets. jen: we certainly expect american citizens to abide by the tax code. obviously we have taken steps, we will take steps that have been proposed to crack down on
anyone trying to cheat what they owe to the federal government. reporter: the sly chain. what's your message to americans who are so worried about getting their christmas gift on time, halloween, is this going to be happening? jen: i think our message is that, one, what's right now, i wish i had the chart, is that so many people across the country are purchasing more goods online, maybe some of it is from habits that developed during the pandemic when people aren't leaving their homes. some of it is because we have seen an economic recovery that has been under way for the last nine months where five million people are working. the unemployment rate is cut in half. that is leading to a massive increase in volume. that's what's happening at ports. what we would tell people is we are addressing and attacking the supply chain issues even with the increased volume, which is the root cause here, at every front. which means overseas, making sure people get covid vaccines, which means making sure ports are fully op operational. working with railroads.
truckers and labor unions to make sure we have more people driving trucks. more people moving goods. i think what people should know this is a top priority. we'll continue to stay at it. reporter: two questions. we werchlt through another day of grog hog day. in addition to the bill and what might be in it. there is another group outside the vice president's residence regard regarding imglacial anti-push for citizenship. the president ones again last night getting interrupted by immigration avoad cats when he was in virginia. what's the status of immigration in this legislation? is the president comfortable -- some element of the immigration policy? jen: i think as you know the president and vice president strongly support it, including immigration immigration components in the original package. they strongly supported and have efforts by members of the senate to put forward and come up with
alternative ideas that might be able to make its way through the parliamentarian. that work may continue. you should talk to members on the hill about that. we strongly support that as well. . lower the cost of elder care, have a historic investment in the climate, expand access to health care, that is what we are excited about in this package. we know it's not going to have everything we want. it's not final yet, and you know the president is very committed to getting immigration done. reporter: if the house can't pass the infrastructure bill, the hard infrastructure bill -- jen: bring back the -- reporter: by sunday, is the administration making contingencies for the expiration of surface transportation funding? jen: certainly we're in close touch with speaker pelosi and other members on the hill about the expiration of surface
transportation and so that is on our minds as well. go ahead. reporter: thank you, jen. [indiscernible] can you clarify the billionaires tax and i.r.s. enforcement might be out of the negotiation at this point? can you say whether that is true? and also, how can the administration say that this is paid for if that change happens? jen: well, i would say on the billionaires tax, which is one of the ideas that's been put forward and has been a part of the discussion -- i don't have an update at this moment on the status. it's possible changes can be made, as they have been to all components of the -- many of the revenue raisers and tax fairness components. i will say this will absolutely be paid for because there are a range of options out there that would more than pay for what we're talking about. that includes the corporate minimum tax, imposing a 15% minimum tax, it includes the global minimum tax, it includes closing the loophole for high-income americans. it also includes investing in
enforcement. so i think there's been some reporting, just for clarification, on reporting mechanisms, which is not the same as the i.r.s. enforcement component which is going after tax cheats who are evading paying taxes, which many outside experts have estimated is -- amounts to about $160 billion in taxes a year. so there's been some reporting about the reporting components and the caps on those. that's been an ongoing discussion. but there is no disagreement about the need to go after tax cheats. reporter: so is having it paid for a requirement for the president, the white house, in order to get this thing passed? jen: the president has been pretty clear that he believes that making the tax system more fair, that ensuring we are taking the opportunity to do that is a part of this package and what he expects to sign into law. go ahead. reporter: real quick, just in terms of the timeline for this -- jen: yeah. reporter: is there any feeling there was time wasted between the end of last month and the
end of this month given this president is traveling and it truncated that timeline and there's some questions about how long you can extend the surface transportation bill if they end up having to go that route? jen: well, jackie, as you know from your time covering the hill, nothing is more clarifying than some version of a timeline. now, it does not mean we will not continue our work if every component is not done, we will. we will get this done. it's clarifying. it focuses members on decisions that needs to be made. that's what we're seeing happen right now. that often happens as you get closer to the timeline, regardless of how much space you have in between. people -- legislators can be crammers, i guess, if you remember college. go ahead. reporter: there is some reporting that a compromise is coming together around paid leave. it would not include benefits for sick leave but would include benefits for new parents. is that consistent with your understanding of the latest
version of what the paid leave benefits would look like? jen: i don't have a moment-by-moment update, kristen. what i can tell you is paid leave is personal to the president. he proposed it in the very first iteration of the build back better agenda last year. he's been fighting for it ever since. there is an ongoing discussion what it would look like. his preference would be 12 weeks, as was in the original proposal. there is not enough votes for that in congress. that's the reality of legislating. right now we're fighting to keep it included, but i don't have a specific update on what it looks like in this moment. reporter: to follow-up on my colleague here who sat here yesterday -- jen: yeah. reporter: i don't know if we got a direct answer. would he support a final piece of legislation that would not include paid leave in full, benefits for sick leave and new parents? jen: i think it's important for us to understand, from the beginning we said the president is open to compromise. he's said that. he knew and he knows from legislating for 36 years, you're
never going to get every single thing you want in a package. we know that. reporter: is that a yes? jen: i think, kristen, this is an unconstructive, i would say, line of questioning in the sense what we're talking about here is getting a package that would make a historic investment in childcare, in elder care. we're fighting to have paid leave included in that. address the climate crisis. five times larger than anything that's ever been done before in history. and expands access to health care. there will be things that may not be in the package he wants to see. but what any president and any legislator looks like is the totality of the overarching impact. this is on track to be enormous, impactful, historic. reporter: to be clear, he's not drawing a red line? jen: i am not drawing new red lines today. go ahead. reporter: he is scheduled to leave tomorrow morning -- jen: yeah. reporter: could that timeline get pushed back if negotiators are still working and potentially close to reaching a deal tomorrow? jen: there's some flexibility in
the morning but i would not suggest he's going to delay his trip. he doesn't have the space to delay it much. go ahead. sorry. go ahead. and then i'll go to you next. reporter: as you know millions of catholics will be watching the president and pope francis meet. they'll discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity. question one, will that include the human dignity of the unborn? jen: well, owen, as you know -- although you ask me most often if not every time about abortion, but i will say there is a great deal of agreement -- let me finish my answer. there is a great -- there's not. you can ask anything you want. but what i wanted to note since you follow this closely, there is a great deal of agreement, an overlap with the president and pope francis on a range of issues. poverty, combating the climate crisis, ending the covid-19 pandemic, these are all hugely important, impactful issues that will be the centerpiece of what
their discussion is when they meet. the president has met with him. this will be their fourth meeting. we expect a warm and constructive dialogue. you are familiar with where the president stands. he's somebody that stands up for and believes that a woman's right to choose is important. reporter: understood. jen: the pope has spoken differently. i have to move on. alice. -- alex, go ahead. owen, i answered your question. reporter: abortion is murder and is like hiring a hitman, does the president believe in that? jen: the president believes in the woman's right to choose. we have spoken on this a number of times. reporter: senator manchin said he spoke to the president about that and does the president agree with him, is that accurate? jen: i think what we're talking about here is not i.r.s. enforcement and going after tax cheats. we are talking about reporting mechanisms. that is something senator manchin has talked about. i am not going to outline more specifics about where the
negotiations are at right now. sometimes it's short-handed, not with malintent. yeah. reporter: the president on the cnn forum, talking about gas prices, said he could raise the issue with the saudis. is that something he's planning to do on his trip? jen: i think there is no development since then. we're happy to keep you updated because we're assessing who is coming to these meetings. the president will look for an opportunity to certainly raise concerns about supply and opec needing to release more supply. but in terms of if and when that will happen we're just not there yet. reporter: finally, is the white house going to take any regulatory actions on methane emissions before this trip? there has been some talk about that. jen: i don't have anything to preview at this point in time. addressing methane issues is something has been talked about in the past. nothing to preview at this point in time. go ahead. i'll come to you next. reporter: just to follow-up on
supply and rising prices and inflation. a couple weeks ago you pointed to data indicating that the rate of inflation was decreasing month to month over the last couple quarters and you -- the forecast is expected to include in 2022. does the white house believe we've reached peak inflation or do we expect prices to continue to rise offer the holidays? jen: inflation is under the purview of the federal reserve. what i often point to is their predictions and their projections which they update as you know on a regular basis. what they have predicted inflation will come down next year. that remains the projection. the oecd has also projected -- made similar projections about inflation and when it will come back down. i've also said we also anticipated that there could be increases as the economy was turning back on. that's something the federal reserve and other outside economists have also predicted and projected. if you're talking about different costs for different components of society, there are different issues that are happening. whether it is the price of food,
we've talked a little bit in the past or i have here about the fact that there is meat conglomerates, who there is a lack of competition. we are addressing that issue. obviously, the price of gas is a separate issue. so we can talk about any component you are interested in, but in terms of the projection of inflation and data, that's under the purview of the federal reserve and that's what i would point to. reporter: one question about climate change. so the president, of course, is preparing for the meeting next week. what about the u.s. military reducing emissions, munition disposal, etc.? jen: certainly i know military leaders, members of the defense department in the past spoke about the threat of the climate crisis, the impact it could have on countries -- on our national security and countries around the world because of drought, because of famine and risks that poses. if the president wants to take on the climate crisis across government and ensure we are approaching it, not just in terms of what we're passing into law but what we're doing with
our federal fleet, etc., any additional appointments, i'd point you to the department of defense. go ahead. reporter: [indiscernible] is that entirely off the table in the build back better plan? jen: all of these tax components are under discussion. i have nothing to rule out at this point as there are live discussions. reporter: general milley talked about the [indiscernible] he said during an interview on bloomberg tv, what we saw was a very significant event of a test of a hypersonic [indiscernible] it's close to the sputnik moment. do you agree? jen: i've seen what general milley commented. we're concerned all about china's military modernization efforts. it includes increasing tensions in the region and we continue to have concerns about that. i think that was reflected in his comments. go ahead. reporter: thanks, jen. i want to ask, is there any more you can share on president
biden's perspective on progressive's concerns the framework for the social safety net and climate plan is not enough to move forward with an infrastructure bill? jen: well, the president -- first, i'd reiterate the president is absolutely committed to getting both pieces of legislation done. he's conveyed that publicly. he's conveyed that privately. as you all know, yesterday, he had a very good meeting with chairs and members of the congressional black caucus, congressional hispanic caucus, congressional pacific islander caucus, congressional women's caucus and they went to the stakeout agreeing this historic deal we're nearing would have triumphs to the constituencies they all represent. we would reiterate and he would reiterate his commitment to getting both pieces of legislation done. certainly what he's been working on is getting agreement on moving both pieces of legislation forward. but i would also note that if you look at the infrastructure package, there are components of
that that a lot of members are going to have to look inside their hearts and question what they are for or against. this package is for -- would extend high speed internet to every american. are you against that? would ensure children don't -- aren't drinking poisoned water. are you against that? would make the biggest investments in elect trick vehicle -- electric vehicle investment. these are key components of change, of progress, that many progressives have expressed support and excitement about that and we shouldn't lose sight of that either even as we're getting both pieces of legislation donnell. reporter: president biden may push to move the infrastructure bill first? jen: we are going to leave the mechanisms and order of events up to leaders in the house and senate. but we want to get both pieces done. i just wanted to note sometimes what's lost here in these debates is all of the components of the infrastructure bill that are progressive, that have historic impacts, that i think, you know, many have expressed
excitement and support for for good reason. go ahead. reporter: thank you, jen. president biden, over the past week or so, listed a number of ways which he's attempting to compromise. dropping free community college from the plan, reducing paid family leave to shorter -- to a shorter time frame than he'd like. he spent a lot of time with senator manchin. from the white house's perspective, in what ways has manchin compromised? jen: we'll let senator manchin speak for himself. what i would note here, it's not the president giving up or taking anything. the president is trying to unify a path forward between a range of members in congress. senators and house members. and what they are for or against or what they can support or what they're against. that's part of the role he's playing in this negotiating process. so we'll point you to senator manchin on what he feels he's given up or what he's for. he can speak for himself. reporter: secondly, the president is going to glass cow and hoping -- glasgow and
hoping -- [indiscernible] comments are coming from. absent a complete deal on any framework, is there any effort from the white house to achieve just the climate portion so he can go to glasgow with a framework within a framework? jen: i would just go back to what jake sullivan said yesterday which is that global leaders are quite sophisticated. they are watching and following and understand the fact that the president has proposed the most historic investment in addressing the climate crisis in u.s. history. five times larger than what was in the recovery act. and that is an example of the president and the united states leading on this issue. as we should. as one of the world's largest emitters. we have a lot of work that we need to continue to do. what they know and what he will convey to them, regardless of the status, is that we're talking here about fundamentally changing a range of sectors in the u.s. economy.
we're talking about make incentivizing rooftop solar, solar offshore and onshore wind with credit, decarbonization, rural co-opes. we're talking -- co-ops. we're talking about how industry and parts of u.s. society focus on climate and move toward a clean energy environment -- clean energy society. that's what we're doing here. and we're on the verge of getting that done. so i'm just going to reiterate that world leaders are not looking at, is there a vote in the senate or the house before the president gets on the plane. they're looking at what we're trying to accomplish, our commitment to doing that, the president's role in getting that done. reporter: just to follow-up -- reporter: so on the -- at the heart of the debate here -- jen: yeah. reporter: is a question that different groups of people answer differently as to how big this spending package ultimately
is in context, you know, in terms of history. jen: sure. reporter: the word was said -- the word historic was like 13 times. it was nine -- jen: should i tell you what's historic? reporter: here's my question, where does the white house -- the president talked a lot on the campaign trail about a c.r., about the great society, lyndon johnson. if some version of this, you know, in the range of what everybody is now sort of thinking about passes, where does the white house put this in history since you used that term so many times? is this on par with the new deal? is this on par with what -- does this go beyond what lyndon johnson tried to do? you talked now about the fundamental altering of society as it relates to climate change. how much should the people who are now debating this feel they are doing in the context of history? jen: well, i don't know that we
have a new label to put on it. maybe in the future people look back and say how does this compare to build back better, we'll see. but when i'm talking about with history here -- and i'll be short here. i'll promise. but creating infrastructures, that could be built upon. similar to what happened with the affordable care act. that's what we're trying to d with universal pre-k. that's something for decades to come could be built upon and become better. and as it relates to the climate crisis, maybe, hopefully we'll look back and this will be the moment where the united states, the president, congress takes an historic action that can change our trajectory here. that's what we hope to do with this package. and, of course, building on making health care more affordable and accessible is something that is a continuation of the historic work had a happened when the president was vice president but vitally important as well. so i don't have an historic effort. i'll leave that to outside
historians to do. the components we're talking about here and it's important and why i keep using that phrase is because it's important for activists, for democrats, and for the american people to know what we're trying to achieve here and what kind of impact it could have on their lives. reporter: to follow-up -- i assume the president is making that argument that you make to the people whose expectations are even more has been [indiscernible] how much is the white house planning and have you already started planning for an extensive sales job afterward, if this passes next week, tomorrow, [indiscernible] promise to make a similar kind of pitch after the affordable care act passed and by and large didn't happen and certainly wasn't very effective for a very long time, you know, what
lessons did you guys learn from that? is there some, you know, plan to sort of reset expectations after months of compromise and hearing about things that are not as big as you wanted? jen: well, i think you can certainly expect, not just the president, the vice president, but also members of our cabinet who have been fanning out across the united states for months now to continue to do that. and i would say one of the lessons learned is -- and having lived through iterations of the selling of the affordable care act, you know, what we learned, i think, by the end of that process is that you need to explain the components of the package and how it's impacting people's lives and that sounds patently obvious now but in the time we were selling it as bending the cost curve. i am still not sure what that means. by the end we were talking about ensuring that kids who are under 25 could get covered with health
insurance. that if you had a preexisting condition you didn't need to worry about it. i will say it's instinctual to president joe biden and this is why he's given the number of speeches he's given, why he's gone to michigan and connecticut to talk about different components of these packages to bring to life to people. if you care about the climate, this is going to have a huge impact on addressing the issue that's closest to your heart. if you are a parent struggling to make ends meet, we're going to give you some more breathing room. we'll make childcare more affordable. we'll make universal preschool a reality. the things that will impact people's lives is how we will continue to talk about this, and it is very clear once you have a final package and you have what those components look like, it does make it a little bit easier to do that, no question about it. go ahead. reporter: my colleague is reporting that a few dozen house progressives would only vote for this if there is a framework deal and legislative tax introduced, having verbal agreement from the president,
senator sinema and manchin wouldn't be enough. [indiscernible] before october 31 even if there is no framework deal in place? jen: i certainly understand your line of questioning, but, again, we're working with leaders, speaker pelosi, leader schumer. i don't have anything to predict for you in terms of the timeline or order of events here. reporter: is there any concern you would lose republican support that you have for this if congress waits to, you know, align passage? jen: i think speaker pelosi has quite a bit of experience calling a vote when she notes there are votes to be had. that's what we're working for. reporter: [indiscernible] jen: oh, go ahead. reporter: the national trucking association is urging the white house to push back -- [indiscernible] for the vaccine until after the holidays. they're warning some drivers would rather quit than get the shot. given the supply chain concerns,
is this something the administration might consider? jen: well, i think it's important for people to understand that the first step here is not firing or quitting. the first step is counseling and sometimes there are alternative options as well. so there isn't an expectation or anticipation by anyone who's been through implementation of this. many in the transportation sector. that that would be the impact. beyond that, i don't have anything to predict or preview for you in terms of a change of timeline. go ahead. reporter: you talked about the issues the president will talk about with the pope. can you talk a little more personally about the president's approach? does he have any sense of the history of being only the second catholic president meeting the pope? have we reached a point where that's just another routine meeting? jen: well, i think the president's faith, as you all know, is quite personal to him. his faith has been a source of strength through various tragedies that he has lived through in his life. many of you who have served on
pool duty know he attends church every weekend and certainly i expect he'll continue to do that. so the fact this is his -- this will be his fourth meeting, he has a very personal relationship with pope francis. we certainly expect it to be -- to be a warm meeting. and i would say yes, george, it absolutely has personal significance to him. in addition to being an opportunity to discuss the range of issues -- poverty, combating the climate crisis, ending the covid-19 pandemic -- where there is alignment in the ability to have deep substantive discussions. go ahead. reporter: thanks so much, jen. the president, as you said, supports the billionaire tax, from my understanding. senator manchin has expressed criticism of it. he said, quote, i don't like we're targeting different people. president biden has been pretty open about the fact that wealthier people in this country should pay more. i wonder what the president makes senator manchin criticizing the billionaire tax.
jen: the president knows there are some agreements and some disagreements which components of a range of tax fairness proposals are the best options. that's why there are so many out there that he's proposed, that others have proposed, that what we're doing now is working through what will be in the final package. as i said a little bit earlier, he supports the billionaire tax. it has changed from the version that was proposed, you know, a year or two ago that received understandably a lot of attention. we're working with congress and chairman wyden to make sure the highest income americans pay their fairest share. something he thinks that would not only make the tax system more fair but also will be a way to pay for this historic bill. i did that for mike. to get it across the finish line. i don't have a direct response. what we're trying to do here is align an agreement on making the tax system more fair while pushing forward a historic package. reporter: i wonder if you
could -- a bill could still be struck by tomorrow with the real issue that how to pay for it along with what's in it is still seemingly a big problem here, a thing that has not been resolved. jen: well, if we had a deal, as you know, we would be telling you about it. but i think what members of congress have conveyed to all of you and leaders in congress, as well as the white house and the president, is that we are very close. that's because we are very close. and it does require working through specific details and components that needs to be finalized before we have a final agreement. but that's how everybody feels who is a part of these discussions. that's why i think you hear everybody convey a similar tone about the progress. reporter: do you have confidence in the president that the department of transportation workers won't be furloughed, some public works won't be shut down? i wonder what his message is to those workers who are worried about sunday coming and possibly having to be furloughed? is he confident that will not
happen? jen: certainly, again, we're working with leadership, with speaker pelosi, leader schumer to work on an extension of the surface transportation bill. obviously, they're going to be in charge of determining when those votes will be and what it looks like. we want to avoid furloughs, of course, and protect workers and that's central to the president's belief system. go ahead. reporter: [indiscernible] i know there's significant [indiscernible] i know what jake said going to haiti dealing with missionaries. i wonder if you can respond to criticisms of the biden administration that there are deportations still happening and going on and people being sent back to hate eye amid -- haiti amid not only the fuel shortage but [indiscernible] jen: it's important for people to remember, one, we are doing everything we can to bring these missionaries, these u.s. citizens home safely. we have f.b.i. we have sent an enormous number of law enforcement officials to help assist with that. obviously our embassy in
port-au-prince is running point. these are u.s. citizens, we know, and have put out a warning in august and our embassy put o warnings, i think, over the past several months and even before then about the threat of kidnaping for ransom for u.s. citizens. that is different from the threats which are different and the challenges are facing haitians who are in haiti or who are deported back to haiti through the system we apply across the board through our immigration system. as you know, that's an assessment that's made by the state department and the department of homeland security. they have made the assessment that the conditions on the ground allow for individuals to return to haiti. they continue to assess that, but there's been no changes. it's important to understand there's a bit of a difference between the u.s. citizens, the threats facing the u.s. citizens, which we have warned before is a threat of kidnaping for ransom and of great concern to us. reporter: getting kidnaps, 200%, 300%. can you explain the difference between the kind matching threat -- kidnaping threat to
u.s. citizens versus haitians? jen: you were combining the things into one and i thought it was important for people to understand the threat of the 17 individuals that we're talking about is one that is we have warned about, has been a unique threat we have posed concerns about in the past. so i wanted people to understand, sometimes it's combined. i am not trying to explain -- i'm just trying to explain the policy. i would remind you, again, that we are an enormous contributor of assistance to the haitian authorities. we will continue to do that. i would also note on the oil shortage, what we're working to do and our focus right now is supporting the haitian national police, what they are trying to do is secure transportation corridors to allow for fuel deliveries. it is a challenge, obviously, because, as you know, there are parts of haiti where it's hard to get to. that's why these -- because of the threats of crime and -- on the ground and challenging circumstances on the ground. these transportation corridors
are meant to help enable these fuel deliveries to get fuel out to communities that need it. and we, obviously, in response to also the serious security situation, we've also allocated an additional $15 million to the haitian police, including $12 million, specifically, to strengthen their capacity to respond to gangs and we're looking to increase assistance even more. this is related to your other question about the kidnaping and threats and risks to haitians on