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tv   White House Deputy Press Secretary Holds Briefing  CSPAN  November 4, 2021 10:07pm-10:52pm EDT

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companies and more, including charter communications. >> broadband is a force for empowerment. that is why charter has invested billions. building infrastructure, upgrading technology, empowering opportunity, in communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications supports c-span as a public service. along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. at the white house, deputy press secretary kareem john deere was asked about the state of president biden's social spending package, vaccine mandates, and the 2021 election results in virginia. this is about 45 minutes. and the 2021 election results. this is just over 40 minutes.
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karine: hi. i know it's been a >> i know it has been a slow news day, i know you have not missed a briefing. but good afternoon, great to see everyone. welcome back to everyone who traveled to europe with us. today's unemployment claim data are another welcome sign of our economy's strength as americans get back to work and the delta wave recreeds. both -- recedes. both this week's numbers are at the lowest level in nearly 20
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minutes months -- 20 months since the beginning of the pandemic. they are close to the levels we'd expect in a normal health economy. it's important to step back and consider the progress we've made. the week president biden took office, more than 800,000 americans filed for unemployment. this week, we're below 270,000, and the less volatile moving average has declined by over 60% since the inauguration. we're coming out of an unprecedented pandemic, and we knew the recovery wouldn't proceed on a straight line. but thanks to the president's success in getting americans vaccinated and getting economic support to the middle class, we've created nearly five million jobs, unemployment is below 5%, and we returned to the prepandemic size of our economy faster than our global peers. and we have an opportunity to build on our economic success by
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passing the president's historic agenda to make long-term investments in economic growth, creating jobs, and giving the middle class breathing room by addressing costs like prescription drugs, education, and housing. and with that, mary, do you want to kick us off with the first question? reporter: house democrats appear ready to vote on build back better legislation. some house democrats have demanded that the legislation receive an official cost analysis before the house takes it up for a vote. does the white house thinks it's wise to vote before understanding how it will be paid for? on the flip side of it, considering this week and what voters have said, do you need to do this now? karine: first, the president has been very clear he wants to get
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this moving. there's an urgency, along with the members of both chambers have been very clear on getting this done, making sure that we're giving relief to the middle class, that economic relief that they so deserve, and so this build back better jaend, along -- agenda, along with a bipartisan infrastructure bill, as we said, is transformational and historic and it's important to get this done. so the president is going to continue to work with members in congress to make that happen. look, the build back better act is paid for by having big corporations and the wealthiest taxpayer pay their fair share. the treasury posted a blog this morning dealing estimates from the administration and the j.c.t., which is the joint committee on taxation, that came out earlier this morning, where it actually released -- where it released the top line of what it's going to look like. but i do want to make clear the j.c.t., the joint committee on taxation, estimate does not include a number of important
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sources through which revenue is gained and money is saved. especially the increased i.r.s. enforcement to crack down on wealthy tax cheats and the savings to taxpayers from giving medicare the power to negotiate down the price of prescription drugs with pharmaceutical companies. both categories are scored by the c.b.o., not j.c.t. so the j.c.t. went first and then we'll see from the c.b.o. so we did put out an estimate, like i just said, the blog that the treasury put out. and so we are ready -- we are ready to continue to work as we have been with members to get this done. reporter: some of the moderates wants a little time to read what's in this bill. karine: we've been pretty clear. we put out a frame -- the president put out his framework almost a week ago, a week from tomorrow, that laid out the components, very popular components, as we've talked about for this kind of transportational, historical
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change, this investment that's so needed. and in that -- in that framework, it had the back and forth that he was having, those conversations he was having with members of congress that included what he thought would get that 50 -- the 50 votes in the senate, would get the support in the house. so it's out there. and the speaker's been working on this bill. there's language on this bill. we put out, as i just mentioned, a blog from the treasury, put out -- how this would be paid for. the revenue that it would raise. and so i think we're in a good place to move forward, and we'll continue to have conversations. reporter: the white house said the president has made some calls, congratulatory, conciliatory to democrats. i wonder if the president has spoken to the govern-elect of virginia yet. and if not, does he plan to do that? karine: so they have not spoken. the president congratulates
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governon -- governor-elect youngkin. the president talked to terry mccauliffe, would have preferred a different outcome but the will of the people is clear and the president has always believed in working across party lines for the good of the american families, and he looks forward doing that with governor-elect youngkin. the president is very proud of the race that terry mccauliffe ran. as someone that puts his heart and soul into everything he does, but now is the time to move forward. reporter: just briefly, what was the driving issue in virginia and around the country? republicans were focusing on critical race theory. karine: so, look, america, as you heard the president say before, is a great country. and great countries are honest. they have to be honest with themselves about the history, which is good and the bad. and our kids should be proud to
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be americans after learning that history, the president certainly is. fundamentally, we believe a school's curriculum isn't a federal decision. it's rightly up to communities around the country, the parents, the school, the school board, the teachers, and the administration. that means that politicians should be dictating -- should not be dictating what our kids are being taught. but we also need to be honest here about what's going on here. republicans are lying. they're not being honest. they're not being truthful about where we stand, and they're cynicalcally trying to use our kids as a political football. they are talking about our kids when it's election season, but they won't vote for them when it matters. you know, republicans did not vote for the american rescue plan. the american rescue plan in that plan it had funding to make sure that schools were open, to make he sure that our -- to make sure that our kids got back to school and they didn't vote for that. that was a key component of the
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american rescue plan. we know how important it is to make sure our kids have in-person learning for their mental well-being and also so they can actually learn. and so that is something that the republicans refused, absolutely refused to vote for. so we got to be honest here and they are not being honest. they are being incredibly dishonest. reporter: are you expecting a house vote on build back better? and what's the president doing behind the scenes? is he talking to senator manchin? what's he up to? karine: so as far as timing of the bill, clearly, the president supports speaker pelosi and is behind any timing she feels is right. the president has been in close touch with speaker pelosi and leader schumer and very strong agreement we need to get these both done for the american people as we've been saying as soon as possible. we cannot wait here. the american people cannot wait. he has -- he's been in touch, as i mentioned, with both members of the chamber. he's not spoken to senator manchin, but our white house staff, my colleagues have been
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in touch with him over the last couple of days. reporter: and separately, the opec members are saying the united states has plenty of spare capacity to increase oil supply to help keep the economy going. why is he not doing that? why is he not increasing oil supply? karine: america operates on a competitive free market system and companies has their own decisions. opec set supply levels themselves. they have capacity and the power now to act and make sure this critical moment of global recovery is not impaired. and, you know, to be clear, opec plus production is what impacts global oil prices, which is what has in effect -- which has an effect on gas prices at home. reporter: when the president announced a vaccine requirement for companies with more than 100, he said our patience is wearing thin. why wait until january 4 for the
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mandate to go into effect? karine: thanks for the question. the goal here is -- the goal here is that we wanted to kind of streamline things, if you could imagine. we know that some employers may have workplaces subject to requirements for federal contractors and other workplaces subject to the emergency temporary standard, e.t.s., as you heard us say. in order to make it easier for businesses and workers to comply, the administration is aligning the contractor deadline with the deadline for workers to receive their shots in the c.m.s. and osha rules across all three requirements. osha, c.m.s., and the executive order for federal contractors, workers will need to have their final shot no later than january 4, 2022, which is a date you were inferring on. this will ensure that federal contractors implement their requirements on the same timeline as other employers and their industries, leveling the
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playing field, and we believe more people will get vaccinated as a result of a clear and consistent deadline. additionally, osha has clarified that it will not apply its new e.t.s. rule to workplaces covered by either the c.m.s. rule or the federal contractor vaccination requirement. like i say, we wanted to make it easier. we wanted to avoid confusion, and so we wanted to even the playing field and this is why we moved that december -- i think december 8 deadline that you were talking about to january 4. reporter: are you concerned about the supply chain, workers quitting because of these mandates? karine: so if you're asking if we think the rules impacts the supply chain, the answer is, no, we don't think it will. first of all, vaccine requirements work. we have talked about that. we've given examples. like earlier doctors have seen strong compliance. 99% at united airlines. 99% at houston methodist. 99.5% at rutgers university.
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recently, tyson's food announced that 96% of the workers got vaccinated ahead of the deadline. so the temp standard is an even playing field for those 100 workers or more. for federal workers and contractors, we have weeks to go, as we mentioned, and it's important to mention the deadline, it's not a cliff. reporter: how confident is the white house these will hold out in court with a lot of -- karine: so we're pretty confident. the administration clearly has the authority to protect workers and actions announced by the president are designed to save lives and stop spread of covid. d.o.j. will be defining these laws. this is a once-in-a-generation pandemic. as we know it's taken more than 747,000 lives. that's what we're doing in this administration, we're trying to save lives. since you brought up the g.o.p.,
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i want to take a step back for a second. i mentioned, we have the legal authority. as i mentioned, over 740,000 americans have died. you know, people are sitting out of the workforce because of covid concerns, right? the worse disruption businesses have faced for nearly two years is their employees getting sick with covid. at the same time, we have tools that are at our disposal we know work. so these policies work. booster -- boost vaccination rates, as we have seen in short, and they protect workers and they save americans' lives. so, you know, the question we always have and we ask the republicans, why are they getting in the way? why are they trying to get in the way to try and proebb -- try to protect and save lives? that's what we are trying to do. we have an authority to do that. that was the osha -- that was given to osha, congressional authority, to get that done to make sure we -- make sure employees are not in danger, not
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in grave danger. this is the direction we're going because, again, this is about putting the pandemic behind us, making sure we continue to proekt it the lives of -- protect the lives of workers. [speaking simultaneously] reporter: democratic congresswoman from virginia, ms. spanberger, telling "the new york times," nobody acted him to be f.d.r. they elected him to be normal and stop the chaos. has he seen that quote and what is his response? karine: i don't know if the president has seen this quote. i will say, it's been reported, you know, the way we see it, one of the best arguments for the build back better act is that 17 nobel prize winners in economics agree it will reduce inflationary pressures. that's incredibly important, especially in the moment we are currently dealing with this
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pandemic. the wall street analytics from moody's said the same and they just put out another analysis today with the build back better framework that the president put out. and so, again, build back better, as we have said, is fully paid for and will even reduce the deficit over the long term. we cannot wait. we have to move forward. we have to get this done for the american people. we have to make sure that we invest in our infrastructure. we have to ensure we invest in our human infrastructure as we -- as we like to say it. and we're talking about childcare. you know, there are parents out there who are paying way too much out of their paycheck for childcare. so this makes sure parents don't pay more than 7%. we are talking about middle-class tax cuts. when you look at the child tax credit which has cut child poverty by 50%. that's what we're talking about. universal pre-k. this is incredibly important. and popular with the american public. reporter: the president is trying to do too much, has an
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agenda that's bigger than what voters wanted the president to do and why they put him in office. does he agree with that? karine: you know, i will say this, the president has been talking about his build back better agenda for over a year. 81 million people voted almost a year ago to put this president where he is right now to make sure we deliver for the american public. this was out there over a year ago. you know, we're trying to make sure, the president is trying to make sure that we continue the investment that we started with the american rescue plan. we are in the middle of a pandemic where millions of people have left the workforce, including women. where we need to make sure we have, again, childcare. we need to make sure we do this historical investment. and also climate change. historical investment in really tackling climate change. so this is not too much. this is what needs to happen and it should have happened decades
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ago. it's been some time since we've actually invested in our country and invested in the american public. reporter: just a quick follow on c.b.o. score question that moderate house democrats say they wanted to see before they commit to voting on this legislation. is the president saying they don't need the c.b.o. score? karine: that's not what i'm saying. we are doing our due diligence. we put our numbers out through the treasury blog to make sure people are aware of, you know, the revenue and how much this is -- this is going to raise. so we think that's important. so we're taking those steps as well. the j.c.t. is what i was just talking about. that's one part. c.b.o. will be next. i don't know the timing. that's something that happens on the house. but here on our end, we're trying to make sure we put out as much information as we can and be as transparent as we can be. reporter: last question on the president's schedule. will he stay in town this
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weekend if they do not pass these two bills yet? karine: i can't speak to the president's schedule at this time. reporter: back to steve's question of what he's doing today, has he spoken with lawmakers? is he speaking with any specific lawmakers, if not joe manchin? karine: so he's continuing to talk to members in congress today, as he did since he arrived from europe. that will be a continuing process that he'll be doing. i do not have any calls to predict for you at this time. as you know, we keep calls private between the president and the members that he's calling. reporter: the moody's report that you guys are using to point out economists are backing up your claims that it's all paid for and will pay down inflation. the most serious concern with the legislation is around execution risk. that is it is a complex piece of legislation, quote, with lots of massive moving parts.
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successfully organizing them would be difficult, even among the best managed private companies. scaling up existing programs is one thing. standing up new programs and tax is another. [indiscernible] addressing climate change. the last time the democrats introduced a big bill, this president had an expression for it. there was some implementation problems. what would this administration say about its preparations for implementing all this and ensuring lawmakers as they prepare to vote for it and the american public that all of this will roll out as prescribed in law? karine: as you can imagine, this is incredibly important to the president. this is something, as i mentioned to caitlyn, he's been talk about for over a year now. you know, we're going to do everything we can. once this gets passed, to make sure it's indeed implemented and that the american public gets the relief that they need. that breathing room that the president talked about yesterday
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and he continues to talk about. this is incredibly important. this is going to change the lives of millions of millions of americans. and we're going to continue to make sure that we get that implemented in a way that's effective and gets to the american public. reporter: one on immigration. he obtained a nine-page homeland security plan from july -- [indiscernible] operating covid-19 vaccines for all adult family members. but our reporting -- several presidential appointees, the plan was scratched because top white house officials, including susan rice, talked about -- [indiscernible] as the delta variant spread. what would you say to critics, the administration's immigration policy, medical professionals who say title 42 is junk science, even democrats, political considerations are guiding this administration's
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border policy? karine: as you know, the -- when you talk about the kind of the disagreement within the administration, first, i am not going to get into or respond to the gossip from here. that's not something in a we're going to do. you know, every single member of this administration -- reporter: presidential appointee. i wouldn't call it gossip. karine: ok. that's your opinion. but every single member of this administration, from the president on down, is committed to building a fair and orderly immigration system. that's what we're committed to doing, and in a short period of time, the president -- the biden administration continues to make considerable progress on turning the page and undoing the chaos the cruelty and the misplaced priorities of the trump administration. . our administration is based on ideas like addressing root causes, addressing the asylum process.
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the previous administration separated families and wasted tax dollars an an -- on an ineffective wall. we have been trying to undo that, and trying to make sure we do it in a moral way, a humanitarian way, that's going to be the foe dhowfs administration. reporter: and other considerations -- karine: we're not -- we believe it's gossip and i'm not going to speak to it. reporter: karine, i asked president biden yesterday if he thought it would have made a difference if his spending plan had passed before election day and he said maybe but he didn't know. when he went to capitol hill why didn't he call for a vote that day? karine: to your question about -- was it the economy? reporter: when he went to meet with democrats last week on capitol hill, why didn't he call for a vote, on that day. house speaker pelosi wanted it to happen. people familiar with the process
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felt they would have been able to rally the votes. why didn't they call for a vote? karine: i'm not going to get into priefs conversations -- reporter: what about reports of separating from family members garbage. the aclu says it's going to happen. karine: are you talking about the question you asked yesterday? reporter: yes. karine: so if it saves taxpayer dollars and puts the disastrous history of the previous administration and family separation behind us eric the president is comfortable with the department of justice settling with the individuals and families who are currently in litigation with the u.s. government. d.o.j. can obviously speak more
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to that process. the president was, what he was reacting to, as press accounts today indicate, there's been press accounts on this, d.o.j. made clear that the reported figures are higher than anywhere that a settlement can land. again, this is something that the department of justice can speak to. i do not having any more to add. reporter: if he's not ok with $450,000 how much money is he ok giving these -- karine: this is something the department of justice is going to handle. i just laid out what he was thinking and how the process was moving forward. the d.o.j. will talk to the specifics of that. reporter: what changed from yesterday. you say he would be perfectly comfortable settling with these families who broke the law to come here but yesterday he said that's not going to happen. karine: let's remember how we got here. how we got to a place where
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we're dealing with families being separate. this is coming from the last administration. cruel, inhuman, immoral, immoral policies, against just people. it's separating children from their families. 18-month-olds. 2-year-old. 5-year-olds from their families. that's how we got here. because of the last administration. this is what we're trying to deal with here in this administration. so let's be very clear of how we got here and what's happening. anything else you would like to know about this, i'll send you to the department of justice irk can't speak to specifics anymore than that. the speaker pro tempore: the question on oil. # given the administration has gotten a pretty clear rebuff from opec on the president's calls to increase oil output, will the white house, will the administration, commit to an s.p.r. release, a strategic petroleum release?
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and if not will oil prices go high her. karine: i'll say this and yao heard jen say this. we are not a party of opec. ultimately it will make its own decisions. we engage with relevant opec-plus members earlier as well to propose reduction which they did but more can be done. now is the time for majority country producers to stabilize energy prices an ensure high prices do not hamstring the current global economic recovery. as we have said we have been in conversation with energy consumer countries and we will consider the full range of tools at our disposal to bolster resilience and public confidence. reporter: does that include s.p.r. release? karine: i don't have specifics but we'll use every tool at our disposal. reporter: does this show the limits of american influence on some allies?
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the administration put a lot of pressure on some of the oil producing clint, saudi arabia, the u.a.e., kuwait, does this show the limits? karine: i wouldn't characterize it that way. we're going to continue to work on this. this is not the end, and have the conversations. reporter: senator manchin said the united states is not a left or center left country. the country is either in the center or center right. that fact needs to be -- that assessment needs to be taken into consideration. does the president agree with that? and where does the president see the country, does the country see it as center left, left or center right? karine: the president believes he's the president or all americans. you've heard him say that. he's not a president for only democrats or only republican, he's a president for the american public. the president sees this, when you think about his economic policy, he sees it as not leaving anybody behind.
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this is what's been happening for years and years and years. what we have seen these last 18 months is how stark it is. how much that everyday people have been hurt by this pandemic. and have been left behind. losing their jobs. not having a cushion. so this is what the president is trying to do. this is not about red or blue or even in between. this is about the american public and giving them a -- some breathing room. actually having an economic plan that delivers for the middle class. actually making sure that women can come back to the work force. actually making sure that we have universal pre-k for 3 and 4-year-olds. actually making sure that we invest in climate -- in ways to fight climate change. the largest investment that we will ever see as a country. that's what the president is trying to do and that's what he will continue to do and it has nothing to do with which side of the aisle you sit on. it has everything to do with the american public.
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reporter: building on the question about race and education. you mentioned that politicians should not be dictating what is taught. you said republicans are lying about those issues. but i wanted to ask, is there something that the administration can do because it seems clear that these kinds of issues about race and education, they're not going to go away. it's likely to be more significant. and is the administration talking and thinking about ways to address this in. karine: i think the first thing, the president talked about this yesterday, i believe he was asked this question. and it's -- we have to be honest. we have to be honest about where we are as a country and we have to be honest about, you know, it's -- i think what he was trying to say is that, you know, there's so much misinformation out there. there's so much disinformation out there that's actually taking our country apart. and one of the things that the
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president was elected to do is bring the country together. so that is what matters to him. to be honest about our past. to be honest about our history. but also not play into this misinformation. to call it out. to make sure that we're not going down the rabbit hole of misinformation that's actually going to hurt our country. so that's focus for the president. reporter: yesterday the president said and others that it was important to move forward after tuesday's election to pass both pieces of legislation buttal conceded he wasn't sure passing that -- that democrats could have performed better. looking forward the white house said that its focus is passing the legislation. what are other strategic steps or new steps the white house is going to take to try to address some of the concerns that were clearly raised by vote efers in virginia and new jersey and other states around the country
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or does it feel that passing those two are sufficient to make up some of it? karine: i think what the president was trying to say is voters were tired of the inaction they were seeing and want us to get things done. i think that's what he's trying to say. the president agrees which is why he has been calling for congress to vote on these pieces of his economic policy. but i do want to say one more thing is that, you know, we all know that no election determines the outcome of future elections. that the mid-terms will be determined by voters in 2020, in 2022 and this one election is determined by votes for the 2021. and the mid terms are still a year away. and a lot could happen over the next weeks and months which is what we're focused on. this is why we're trying to get -- move forward with the build back better ageneral dark the bipartisan infrastructure bill. let me remind you and remind us
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is that poll after poll shows, showed us that the components of the bipartisan infrastructure deal and the build back better framework are very popular. american families want historic investment in infrastructure in care, in competitiveness, in addressing the climate crisis. this is something they want to see happen. so this is what we're going to continue to do and we're going to make sure we move forward to do that. reporter: to follow up on that, polls show joe biden's approval rating plummeting. and also that most voters don't necessarily know what is in this package. maybe when you tell them explicitly. so two things. one, what does the white house show of the polls that biden's approval rating is going down and two, does the white house have a more robust strategy to kre re-claim the narrative about what's in this bill? karine: the president spoke to this at his press conference in rome on sunday. he was asked a question about the poll.
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he basically said that's not his focus right now. his focus is to get things dope for the american public. he also acknowledged that people are tired right now. right? they've been dealing with covid-19 for the past 18 months. it's exhausting. and you know, there's things that -- we're still trying to figure out as we're restarting the economy. americans are trying to figure out which is why we're talking about childcare. this is something that was critical and key for many families. which is why the child tax credit is so important which was in the american rescue plan which has given the middle class families that extra boost. again, cut poverty by 50%. and so the president came here with multiple crises. covid, the economy, the climate change, you know, dealing with race in america. those are the thing he is said himself were crises that he had, we all had to deal with come into the administration. so he has been focused on covid,
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making sure we're getting shots in arms. now we're seeing close to 80% of americans have at least one shot in arms. in their arm. which only started in the administration was about 5%. we are moving forward in that direction. the economy, we're starting that back up. we still have work to do but we are starting that back up because of the american rescue plan. so we still have work todo. in the last nine months we have accomplished a lot. i just gave a rundown of the unemployment benefits and where we are today. and how much -- how much, you know, how much we've moved forward. like where we were with our numbers. where we were 20 months ago. the prepandemic. that's where we are today. that is a huge, huge movement. so we're going to continue to do the work. we're going to focus on that. we're going to get his economic policies passed. >> on the osha rule, what's the -- reporter: on the osha rule
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what's the threshold for a private business to be fined? i'm unclear on that. how many violations can business kind of, you know, how many times can they violate this rule in order for them to be fined? and secondly has the white house been reaching out as well the past couple of day, today, to governors as well, either encouraging them to implement their own mandates or on implementation of this mandate? and then just one on immigration after. that. karine: so the goal here is compliance. and the administration and osha are going to do everything we can to maximize compliance. so that's going to be our focus. the vast majority of employers as they do every day with other workplace safety requirements will voluntarily comply without ever being inspected. however, if needed, osha can assess fines of $13,000 -- of $13,600 per violation. they can fine and additional $13,600 per day that an employer
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does not abate -- that an employer does not abate the violation. for willful or serious violation osha can fine employers $136,000. that's how the penalty is going to work here. and as you can imagine we have our office of intergovernmental affair, we have the covid team and they are constantly talking to governors on a -- on an array of issues and will continue to do that. reporter: on the president's comment in terms of financial compensation to families separated at the border. you just said that his main objection was to the amount of money. but you said he would be ok if d.o.j., you know, works it out and reaches a settlement he would trust that d.o.j. process. would he be ok if that settlement included a pathway to citizenship for those parents? karine: i'm not going to get ahead of this. i would point you to the department of justice. i laid out what he was thinking
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when he was asked that question by peter and tried to give some -- kind of some thoughts there. i don't having any more to add. reporter: if you're able to state publicly he would object to that $450,000 my question is if d.o.j. goes through their independent process and finalize assetlement that includes a pathway to citizenship would he object to to that? karine: d.o.j. made clear to plaintiffs that the reported figures are higher than anywhere the is thelement and land. that's what d.o.j. said today. the department of justice can speak to the process. reporter: you've been asked a couple of times about critical race theory. does the white house believe republicans had success in tuesday's election in part because of their messaging on critical race theory? was that one they have major reasons for why they had a good night and democrats had losses? or does the white house believe the critical race theory issue
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and messaging was not a major factor in what you saw tuesday? karine: i used to play a political pundit on tv. i'm not going to do that here. so i'll leave all of kind of the thinking and the speculation on the races on tuesday tulle of you and to the political pundits. but that's not something i'm going to do from here. reporter: karine, virginia, critical race theory, you don't want to go down the rabbit hole but many republicans and republican strategists are saying this was a successful strategy and they're intending to use it in other elections and campaigns. the president, as head of the party, how does he plan to combat this? we saw with trump the lack of truth, how does this administration plan to go
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against this. karine: you're correct, i'm not going to go into any type of political analysis from here. but you know, i just want to be really clear. the president -- president biden ran on bringing americans together. he ran on respecting the fundamental human dignity of every person. and that means addressing barriers that are holding americans back. and it means people should be treated equally and judged by the context of their character instead of the color of their skin. so that's something that the president truly believes and you know, april, he -- he talked about this yesterday as well. if you look at his view, these are his words, his view on criminal justice, his view if you look at the policies he's put forth, the american rescue plan, the economic policy even the covid response. they've had equity at the center of everything that he has done. so this is incredibly important as i talk about the economic
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policy and not leaving anybody behind. i think we believe that's why it's so important to move forward with the build back better act and also the bipartisan infrastructure because that is going to really have an economic effect on everyone and make sure no one is left behind. that is the message he's moving forward with. that's how he's going to bring the country together. that's his focus. reporter: a few weeks ago, the first black woman to be secretary of state, condoleezza rice, talked about not wanting to hurt white children because of facts, critical race theory. fact, truth hurts sometimes. but what does the president say about that? did he respond or think cey anything about what she said? she has a -- for her to say something about that -- karine: i do not know. i have not spoken to him about that. look, i said this earlier.
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america is a great country. and great countries, in order to be a great country you have to be honest with themselves. about this country. the good and the bad. that is important and that is critical. and he believes that our kids should be proud to be americans after learning that history and the president certainly believes that. and so you know, we should be honest as we publicly debate these issues. and as we teach our history. that's how we move forward as a nation. thank you so much. reporter: follow up. reporter: hi, i'm from "the wall street journal." i know you said you can't say more about the possible settlement for immigrantlies but i did want to ask was the president briefed by d.o.j. on the settlement discussion? was it appropriate for him to weigh in on a d.o.y. process when he's emphasized the department's independence? karine: the president believes in the department's independence, right.
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and that is something that he has been very clear about. the department of justice should be independent. he was asked the question and he answered it. directly. that's it. he was asked the question and he answered it. i mean there's nothing much more to add to that. any more specifics i would send you to the department of justice. thanks, everybody. thanks, peter. good >> a new mobile video up from c-span, c-span now. download today.
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♪ >> friday, a memorial service for colin powell, retired army general and former secretary of state, will be held at the washington national cathedral. watch at noon eastern on c-span2, on c-span.org, or watchful coverage on c-span now, our new video app. ♪ >>

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