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tv   White House Press Secretary Holds Briefing  CSPAN  November 19, 2021 10:28pm-11:24pm EST

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government. we are sponsored by these and more. >> comcast is partnering with committee centers to create wi-fi in listings so that low income families can get information. comcast supports c-span as well as these other providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> the white house reacts to the package of the build back better plan. this is about 50 minutes.
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the -- >> good afternoon. ok. a couple of items for you today. not much going on around here, obviously. you have seen the president's statement he issued this morning on the house passing the build back better agenda for the
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middle class, which came three weeks after the bipartisan infrastructure deal also passed. since this came through today, i wanted to highlight and note for the american people a couple of the big benefits that are in this package that we are looking forward to, moving through the senate. families pay an average 836 dollars per year on pre-k. the average family pays 13% of their income on childcare. under the president's plan, no middle income family will pay more than 7% of their income. two parents with the taller making $100,000 per year will save $5,000. families making $80,000 per year will save roughly $3000 per year . on health insurance premiums, countless americans will save countless americans thousands of dollars by negotiating
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prescription drug prices, like cost-sharing for insulin products to make sure they are no higher than $35 for 2023. insulin is essential for many people around the country and it will be capped at $35. that's a big deal. one of the biggest burdens on family is -- costs. build back better will take steps to preserve one million homes. it also reduces the deficit by $12 million over 10 years and several economists and analysts have made sure the president's agenda will not contribute to higher prices. their findings echo 17 nobel prize winners in economics, who believe the build back better act will "ease long-term inflationary pressures." i wanted to give an update on
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covid. there's a lot going on in our effort to take on the pandemic. the fda authorized boosters for all american adults six months after primary vaccination. the cdc will make the final clinical recommendation. we expect this afternoon. this is a critical step to protect americans, particularly as we end the wind -- enter the winter months. our recommendation is you get the extra protection afforded by a booster as soon as possible. they are widely available across the country and accessible. thanks to the president operational plan, planning since august, over 32 million americans already have their booster and they are available at 80,000 locations. we are making strong progress protecting kids, with 30% of five to 11-year-olds getting their first shot. kids vaccinated this week will be fully vaccinated by christmas, and we are continuing to make a big push to reach parents and kids, innovative
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partnerships with dc comics and a white house visit earlier this week. we have shipped over 200 50 million vaccines through the world, more than all countries combined. we made the announcement of a historic opportunity for mrna manufacturers to produce another one billion doses next year. over 80% of 12 and older americans have now gotten one shot. this is a huge number and we are continuing to push for more vaccinations. finally, recent polling will show you that vaccine requirements work and recent polling indicates that 60% of companies are moving forward with a vaccine requirement, which is a big step forward. another little update of something happening here today, today, our job, infrastructure, and implementation coordinator and other departments responsible for implementation
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as outlined in the executive order, departments of commerce, agriculture, interior, and opm held their first meeting. also cochairing the task force, i have invited him to speak to all of you and he has conveyed he is putting his head down and getting to work, but will be eager to speak to you sometime after thanksgiving. finally, we gave a lengthy update -- i won't do that again -- on supply chains yesterday. we have new data from a leading freight indicator that i wanted to highlight, showing shipping prices have declined by almost 25% over the past two weeks, specifically the price of shipping a container between china and the west coast, which has declined for two straight weeks. this decline in prices and shipping costs help ensure we are cutting costs for consumers as well. in the week ahead, we did
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announce earlier that the president and first lady will travel to fort bragg, north carolina to celebrate thanksgiving, or friends giving, as some call it, as part of the joining forces initiative. on tuesday, the president, first lady, the vice president and the second gentleman will participate in a service project in washington, d.c. and the president and first lady will later travel to nantucket, massachusetts, where they will remain for the thanksgiving holiday. >> now that the bill has passed the house, what's a little bit about the game plan to move ahead to get it through the senate? and we were talking today, or over the weekend, to senator manchin and senator sinema. can you let us know what needs to be done to get this to the
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end zone? >> the president is committed to getting this through the senate, signing it into law, and making sure these cost-cutting measures are put in place as soon as possible. a number of these steps, including cutting childcare costs, could have an impact early next year, once we get this through the senate. we remained in touch, even as we have been working to get it through the house at a high senior staff level, senior white house officials with senator sinema, senator manchin, and other members of the senate. that's the most important step here and that will continue. the president will engage when it is the right moment to do that with them as well, but i don't have anything to predict over the next couple of days. >> the president announced today his intention to nominate two new members to the postal service board of governors. as you looking to remove postmaster to joy? -- is he looking to remove postmaster dejoy.
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>> this takes serious issues with the job he is doing running the postal service. as you know, the president does not have the authority to fire the postmaster general. it is up to the board of governors by majority. what is announced today is the presidents intention to nominate two leaders to the eye partisan board of governors to replace outgoing governors ron bloom and john barber. to reiterate, it's up to the board to make a determination about leadership, but we have continued concerns about postmaster general's leadership. >> i wanted to add a few questions. has the u.s. heard back from south korea and india on a correlated release of emergency stockpiles? >> i don't have any update to
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provide to you today. we have been in touch with a range of officials and leaders from countries, including china and including other countries around the world that are oil producers, about ensuring there is adequate supply out there, but i don't have any updates for today. >> is biden considering using authority under the 2016 budget bill to declare an emergency or stop -- of oil for years? >> we have a range of options at our disposal, but i don't have any new policy to introduce today. >> [inaudible] >> our message continues to be, privately, as well as publicly, of course -- it's good when it's consistent and important, that we want to ensure the opec member countries and opec as an organization meets the demands needs that are out there with the adequate supply. that is something we have pressed them on in the past.
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i don't have any new conversations privately to convey, but i will see if there is more we can report to all of you about the meeting. go ahead. >> can you provide an update on how the physical wind and the colonoscopy as well? >> we will have a comprehensive written summary that will be released to all of you later today, as soon as it is finalized. i will not get ahead of that, it is done by medical experts, as is appropriate, but we will release that all of you later this afternoon. as i noted in a tweet -- i hate to reference that, but here we are -- earlier this morning, the president had a conversation with vice president harris as well as chief of staff ron claims around 11:35 this morning. he was in good spirits and resumed his duties as president at that point in time. there are two sets of letters we released publicly, one was at 10:10 a.m. and the other was at 11:35 a.m. about the transfer of
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power under the 20 for the amendment and the resumption of power, but that is a reflection of how he is feeling. >> the mandate for the civilian federal workforce is set to take effect on monday. can you provide us an update on what implementation will be like and is there a concern about having possible staffing shortages? >> there is not. let me give you an update on this overall. november 22 is the deadline, not 12:01 a.m. that morning, but by the end of the day. but we don't see it as a cliff. we will be providing more guidance in days to come. we are the largest employer in the country, the u.s. government, that is, so we want to take some time to collect the data as it comes in that day. once we have it, we will share it with all of you publicly. especially as you know, we have seen there is a surge in
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vaccinations as we get closer to the deadline, which is certainly encouraging, but we want to have the final data monday, and it will take a little time to process. we do not anticipate facing any operational disruptions due to this requirement. in fact, the requirement will avoid disruptions, because vaccinations help avoid covid. >> the booster for pfizer and modernity, how will that factor into the vaccine mandates? >> we advised by the cdc guidance, which means we follow it and will continue to, which is two shots of an mrna vaccine or one j&j shot. that has not changed. we will not get ahead of any changes we can make it -- they might make in the future. >> does the white house have any response to representative mccarthy's eight hour speech last night to delay the vote? >> kevin mccarthy says a lot of
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words -- a lot of words, i want to emphasize that, over the course of 8.5 hours. for those of you who did not watch all of it, he wished he could have been in tiananmen square, he mused about whether or not abraham lincoln was actually assassinated. he shared his hopes, thoughts, or dream, i am not sure, at about america in world war ii after every other country. but what he did not talk about was cutting the cost of childcare, eldercare, what we are going to do around the country to bring more women into the workforce, to help our climate for generations to come. that tells you all you need to know about kevin mccarthy's agenda and what he supports. >> senator manchin -- you say he is still not decided on this bill. is there anything that the white house is doing to get him to come around on the bill? is there anything specific you
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guys are doing? >> we have been in close touch with senator manchin for several months now. that will continue. that will include answering questions he may have, hearing concerns he may have. we are in touch with him and his staff to senior white house officials at this point in time, and we believe he has been negotiating and operating in good faith. the next step is getting it through the senate, and i expect we will continue to have discussions and negotiations. >> [inaudible] >> i don't have any update on that, but a lot of this work happened, and co-a lot of congress -- and a lot of congress and staff members will tell you this -- it happened that a staff level. the president has had him here a number of times, but i don't have an update on the last call. >> the president has made it clear how important paid leave
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is to him in this bill. what he signed the -- would he sign the build back better act if paid leave was dropped? >> he absolutely wants to see paid leave in a final package, which is why he proposed it when he laid back his -- laid out his initial speech back in may. he things that will help wring more women into the workforce -- bring more women into the workforce, ensure that more women have a seat at the table, and it is something he would like to see in the package. you also need a majority of members in the senate, every single democrat, to support something and get it across the finish line. i will not prejudge what the outcome is here, but it is the totality of how american people look at things, the totality of packages included. everyone supports universal pre-k, cutting the cost of childcare, historic investment in combating the climate
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crisis, making sure eldercare is less expensive. there are disagreements, but he knows he is not going to get everything he wants in this package. if it is not in there, he will continue to fight for it. >> what is the backup plan if paid leave is dropped from the bill? >> we will continue to fight to make it law. >> and are there some lab results or test results we will not see until a later date or the president? >> i expect it will be a comprehensive summary of everything today. do not expect lagging results later. >> following up with the physical, why was it not on the schedule you gave us last night? why the secrecy there? >> if you look back on history, this morning, we notified the press pool, many of you are part of that and rotate through that.
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we called the white house correspondents association very early this morning. we called the network, the bureau, that's rotating. we notified them that not only with the pool be gathering, but the president would be getting a routine physical. we have put out many, many updates since 6:15 am and will put out a comprehensive written summary later this afternoon. that is pretty standard for sharing this information, follows protocols that have been followed in the past, and you will all receive a comprehensive summary later on this afternoon. >> will this president stop saying the build back better bill does not increase the deficit one single cent? we know that is not true. >> it is true. i think you are talking about
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the cbo score -- >> which joe biden himself in 2010 called the gold standard for democrats and republicans. >> since we are all here to communicate with the public about accurate information, is that i would note one of the components that experts, democrats, republicans, and former heads of the cbo have pointed to, is that irs enforcement is not something there is a lot of experience within the cbo. they scored it, but it is undervalued by the assessment of any economists and experts, including people who have been critical of us in the past, including former treasury secretary's of both parties, who estimate there will be significant savings, significantly higher than what is estimated currently. our assessment and the assessment by many economists out there is that there will be savings over 10 years that will actually reduce the deficit. >> the cbo's projection is that there is going to be at least a
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$160 billion increase to the deficit over 10 years. that is 16,000,000,000,000%. so the president was not telling the truth. >> to go back to the facts here, the irs enforcement component, something recommended by former sec. hank paulson, former secretary larry summers, democrats and republicans of both parties who feel there could be significant savings over this course of time, i will note something that trump appointed irs commissioner charles reddick said. the administration estimates 400 billion dollars in additional revenue can be generated from enforcement efforts shrinking the tax gap. hank paulson co. wrote an op-ed with another former treasury secretary saying if there is more revenue than we projected from the white house from this. this is an area where economic
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experts, neither of us our one, i think we can confirm that, have confirmed there are significant savings that will come from this. that's why moderate members of the house will tell you, many of them have spoken to this, including congressman schrader, have said they feel comfortable with it because of the expertise out there and the impacts of irs enforcement. >> when the last administration tried to [inaudible] you tweeted, watch mulvaney try to walk away from this. what's the difference between the trump administration saying don't listen to the cbo and the biden administration saying don't listen to the cbo? >> we have phrased the cbo for the work they have done on the build back better plan immensely, but in scoring irs
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enforcement, that is something economists across the board have noted, democrats and republicans have been briefed on for several months now, and that's why it is not a surprise to them as to why the vote moved forward. >> can you explain the timing of the physical today? what was behind it and the fact that the president is turning 79 years old? does that have anything to do with it? >> the president is well aware that his birthday as a matter of public record. we knew we were going to do this, he wanted to commit to do a physical before the end of the year, so this meets that timeline and we work through scheduling availability and requirements in order to do that, because any presidenti al physical typically takes a couple of hours. >> it was a late night for all of us --
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he obviously had a very full day yesterday. was there any last-minute decisions of his going in today? >> i'm sorry, i don't understand the question? >> to do the physical. >> i am not sure i understand the question. >> did you have plans days in advance? >> we had plans to do the physical, yes, but what's the root of there is a full day yesterday >>. >> as i would note on the scoreboard, maybe that is why you're asking, the meetings yesterday not and until afternoon. they were closely watching the vote last night. as we all are. maybe not through the totality of the eight and half hour missive, but he was watching closely let's night, as well. >> there was any question
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because he is commander of chief? sec. psaki: we will release a written summary that will have a summary from doctors and experts who were consulted that you will receive later today. >> i want to ask you, on a different topic, the country is waiting for or anticipating a jury verdict in the kyle rittenhouse case. what is the president's direct message to people who want to protest or express their opinion after the verdict. sec. psaki: i want to preface, and i will not prejudge a verdict on an ongoing to liberation, and clearly once it is concluded, there will be something we have to say from the white house, but, we have been in close contact with officials on the ground through law-enforcement channels to ensure we are supporting any efforts toward peaceful protest. we will continue to encourage that.
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regardless of the outcome. >> [indiscernible] sec. psaki: what is the president's favorite thanksgiving meal? >> it will happen on monday or tuesday. sec. psaki: the president has to make a decision, and i suspect we will have a decision before his departure. by process of illumination, there will be more reports early next week. >> i am wondering if the white house is looking for a cr by new year's or a longer government funding? sec. psaki: given the pure volume of administered of work this week, i have not had a let -- conversation with the legislative team about this. usually we would work with the leadership team about that p let me see if there's more we can report on that to you. >> what about the tax credit?
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[indiscernible] senator manchin says he doesn't support it. is that an accurate representation of what the conversation was or how would you characterize the message? sec. psaki: i think his message was what i conveyed publicly. there is a long history of using tax credits year to attempt to incentivize choices. the lower the cost, a letter vehicles bite $12,500 for middle-class families, that is something we want to incentivize in the united states as we feel it is an industry that will move towards a more clean energy future. that will help address the climate crisis that we share with the canadians. the canadian leaders felt it was an issue. they raised that and i will leave it to them to characterize further and the president will
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have a conversation. however, this is something that the president is deeply committed to because he believes good paying union jobs will help us move towards a clean energy industry in our economic and national interests. >> on the campus here. the cbo estimated that it brings in $12 billion. you are paying $40 billion. i wonder if you can tell us if you are throwing darts? [indiscernible] i am wondering why you disagree so dramatically with the cbo. sec. psaki: i would not characterize it in those terms. i would point to it as another person i have introduced here.
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you are all familiar with them. he directed the cbo from 2009 to 2015. he estimated the return on additional irs enforcement was challenging because the agency had little precedent. it was difficult to quantify the indirect effect of lower authors. i would note that we technically, i guess, have disagreements with economic experts who are projecting that even larger savings. not a bad disagreement, but our projections are not exactly the same as larry summers who says the proposal could result in almost $800 billion in revenue. the washington post op-ed talked about that where he talked about it. others have projected even larger statements. it is an indication of the difficulty, but what we are pointing to them what we think is an important indication for the american people and from any members of congress were concerned as the president is about deficit reduction, the build full increase the deficit over 10 years, is that this is not something where you will
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have the impact. it has a larger impact than we are projecting. we felt that was an important part. >> is anything you can tell us about the 85 minutes that vice president will be acting president? sec. psaki: i will leave that to her team to characterize. i know that other people have been talking about this and as a woman myself, i will note that the president, when he selected her to be his running mate, obviously knew he was making history that was long overdue in our view. part of that was selecting someone who would serve by your side as your partner, but also stepan -- step in if there was a reason to. that includes the application of the 25th them, and as was done this morning. we make history every time we are working together, every time she is out there speaking on
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behalf of the government as vice president of the united states, but certainly today, that was another chapter for women as we noted for young girls across the country. >> you have disclosed that the president is having a colonoscopy. are you able to disclose anything else? >> i will leave that to the medical experts to do that, they will do that later this afternoon. >> in a statement yesterday when he talked about purchasing from the covid-19 pill, the president mentioned that he wanted it to be [indiscernible] sec. psaki: as you know, vaccines around the country are largely free. there is a precedent for that. across the country, and you want to make sure it is available and accessible to people to protect them from covid. i think this falls into the category. falls into our expansive effort to fight the pandemic and get it
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under control and get on the others of it. in terms of how it would work with contracts, or --. >> insurance companies are pharmacies. >> let me talk to our covid team and find out what it would require. >> [indiscernible] sec. psaki: as things have been stated, i have taken a strong position to encourage americans to move as soon as possible via commercial travel while it is still ongoing because things can change in an instant, in-flight options could disappear. the state department goes to great length to assist u.s. citizens in crisis. want to ensure that americans are able to facilitate a military evacuation in a dangerous environment. there are no plans that people should understand on the ground
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with the u.s. military to facilitate evacuation. the state department is using every measure they have to communicate directly and broadly with americans there about the fact that it is falling apart. >> we were asked yesterday about about the chinese, and you had nothing to say. do you have any sort of update from the white house? >> we are deeply concerned by reports that thanks way seems to be missing after committing a sexual assault. we asked authorities to provide independent and verifiable proof that she is safe. i cannot speak, and i know you are asking this, but to the details of the kaser where she might be. obviously, i want to be cleared that the united states stands generally speaking we had there reports of sexual assault that should be investigated. is import and that women speak out and seek accountability either here or around the world.
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second, we will continue to stand up for the freedom of speech. there is no time for criticism, and we continue to connect those people. >> cagle back to some news from yesterday asking about diplomats ? any additional details that would defy your orders. >> i don't have any updates from here today. there is not been a final decision. at the outset, the of the structures -- keep right any additional details about what they were discussing or what their priorities are? >> i can tell you that going back to last friday when the cabinet -- when the president
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had a meeting with the cabinet, the focus was on infrastructure, limitation, he went around to each cabinet member who had a purview or was going to oversee a key part of the limitation to get an update from them on what their approach would be. some departments, as you know, are creating entirely new programs. some will have a level of funding, including the apartment of transportation. some will have a level of funding led to department transportation that they never had before. it is different from project to project. what i would anticipate is that they will -- their implementation court nader will receive an update on the work that is happening by each of these members, and these will be regular meetings. they will continue to ensure that there is ample mentation is effective and beneficial in and that we are reducing fraud abuse. >> caius one quick question -- can ask one quick question? about the turkeys? >> those turkeys. [indiscernible]
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sec. psaki: this is an important question. we will get to that after the briefing. i can confirm that part of it is staying in a hotel, which my daughter did not believe me, but that is accurate. they say in advance the turkeys to -- two. i think there are details put out, i think it is the tricky bureau, but we will get to it after the briefing. >> there people who are serving life in prison for marijuana, they would him to honor his commitment, are people going to get pardoned by president biden? sec. psaki: i have nothing you'd update you on, but the president is of course looking at the use of his clemency, and he is talking about his approach or his view on nonviolent drug offenders, but i do not have anything to update you on on that today. >> the president's physical and the topic of his health -- i
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political morning council poll said that 80% of voters did not agree with the statement that president biden is in good health and that voters are almost evenly spit's/split on the idea that he is a good health? where do you think these voters concerns are coming from? >> i cannot speak to the assessment of voters, but there are certainly quite a bit of conspiracy theories pushed out there on social media platforms and even through the mouths of elected officials, so that could certainly be a root cause. as you know. but i would say that we are not only following past precedent, with what has been done, if you look back, and i know this was noticed in the statement that was put out this morning, where there was a transfer of power under the bush and his ration. >> on build back better, how confident is the president that he will receive all of the senators on board with minimal
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changes, and in terms of changes, is there anyone -- any redline that you would absolutely not stay? sec. psaki: the president would like to see his original puzzle past, but he knows that that is not how it goes. he is in a position of compromise and that is not a dirty word. he sees consensus as a way to get things done, and that is certainly how we are going to approach the next few weeks, as well. his bottom lines have not changed. he wants to lower costs for the american people and give them breathing room. ease the burden on childcare care, health care. those are all components that are in this package. he will not raise taxes on people making less than $40,000 a year. those are her continued bottom lines. >> he is been declared not guilty by a jury.
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reckless endangerment -- what is the white house response? sec. psaki: this happened while i was out here, so let me talk to her team and we will get to statement as soon as we can. >> the victims in kenosha cannot be referred to as victims as protesters? sec. psaki: i will not give an assessment of this from here. let me get a statement as soon as we can. >> will you offer a full list of the people [indiscernible] sec. psaki: we will be referencing additional medical experts that the president spoke with, but i will not prejudge with a final comprehensive so many -- summary. >> [indiscernible] >> is the administration considering changing the definition and is there any
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concern about the case level that there will be confusion about people who are vaccinated, given that governors have changed the definition? sec. psaki: some governors have offered that in advance or at expanded that. i don't know if they have changed the definition, which is typically done by the cdc. follow cdc guidance. cdc guidance continues to be two mrna shots and one johnson & johnson. we don't prejudge, and i cannot preview for you if they will change that at any point time. but that is what we will continue to follow and that is what we will advise others to follow around the country. >> [indiscernible] >> the of any reaction to afghans who require better requirement? sec. psaki: i will have to look at a specific details but we have a thorough vetting process for a reason. we follow that to the letter of
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the law, and we ensure that we are not only welcoming to people who serve fireside for many years during a challenging long war, but also that we are big ensure the american people know they are safe. i would have to look at the specifics. >> certain declarations are underway for the meeting between president biden and five near burton. can you confirm that? sec. psaki: i have no meetings to preview at this point time. if something like that is confirmed or finalized, i will be happy to share the information. >> ahead of thanksgiving, i want to talk about hunger in the country. hungry from military families. reports say that as many as 15% of enlisted military families were suffering from hunger before the pandemic. someone is pushing the white
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house to a summit on hunger. is the white house considering that end is there anything the white house is doing about this? sec. psaki: because of the rescue plan, we have cut childhood hunger in half over the last year. when we look at that build back better agenda passing, the impact it will have on lowering childcare and lowering eldercare, the cost of elder care, the cost of health care, these are all costs on families that impact what they are able to afford in their daily lives. certainly, impact on military families as a military family himself, the president and dr. biden, that is heartbreaking. they continue to fight to do more to nature that there are not hungry families, whether they are military or not in the country. in terms of the summit, i have no plans to preview. >> to help military families overcome having a hard time, but is there a difference in the senate version. sec. psaki: the senate version
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would basically have a housing allowance is income which allows access to a lot of things in low income families. they are no longer qualifying with the needs allowance or or the military families not qualifying fracture money annex or health. [indiscernible] they need analysis if they support the conclusion, but any update on where the white house stands and that --. sec. psaki: our objective -- overarching objective is not to make it more challenging for anyone, including, especially, military families to put food on the table. making sure that is not the case essential to the president's agenda, but i will make sure the president has reported that. we don't need to scream or shout over other people here. go ahead. >> yesterday, the justice department filed a lawsuit
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against the former president. as a candidate, the president called for a repeal section 230. does the action of the justice department's -- reflect a change in attitude? sec. psaki: he called for reform of section 30, and that remains his position. brandt, go ahead. >> does the white house have any -- communist or any thing we are hearing yesterday? sec. psaki: i did see some of, terry and i also enjoy the pushback or malaise with warren. she is qualified and she is somebody who would represent the role of the united states effectively in the position and we are hopeful that she will be confirmed. >> i am not an economist, but i have been here for 10 years, and
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even if you are willing to go so far as to take the lower cbo that will be brought in and the bill back better act, does the deficit go on an annual basis for the american people and how does senator manchin in particular? sec. psaki: i don't want to speak for senator manchin. i can we speak for the president and the white house. what i think is important for the american people to understand, instantly senator manchin is that was noted a little bit earlier. the former head of the cbo can say how difficult it is to score irs enforcement. we have former treasury secretaries don't always agree with us. former secretary paulson, former secretary larry summers conveying that they were have much greater savings. what i'm saying is that our calculations and assessments from outside economists will
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reduce the deficit and it will also lower costs and reduce reflation rate pressures. >> follow-up. $17 billion a year is a drop in the bucket compared to the national deficit that is running up right now. do you think that is palatable to mansion and the american people. >> i cannot speak for senator manchin or the american people. what i believe is that our assessment is based on outside economists and assessments on what the savings will be over the course of time. it will reduce the deficit over the course of 10 years, and that is what we are communicating to the american people into senator manchin. >> a couple questions on ukraine and russia. the craning government -- the ukrainian government [indiscernible]
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[indiscernible] [indiscernible] sec. psaki: we go with what is in the interest of the united states. what is in our own national security interest. president putin, who you are referring to, has stopped a range of prospects, including u.s. russian relations. we need to maintain dialogue to address many to scrimmage. we agree. that is part of the important discussion, even if they have nothing to preview about what they will look like or what is next. we welcome president prudence -- putin's statement. we welcome efforts to reach a settlement and we want to restore the cease-fire. we also continue to have serious concerns about russian military activity and the harsh rhetoric toward the crane, and call upon
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mask -- call upon moscow to release tensions. we have been allies in recent weeks with ukraine, and we have discussed our concerns about russian military rhetoric towards the crane with the russians over the course of time as, well --, as well. we are not reacting to any component of vladimir putin speech. we are going to concede where we can wear is positive and convey concern where we hear rhetoric that is not in line with what we should feel is happy. >> what about the ukrainian request? >> i don't have anything to preview in terms of additional assistance. as you know, we have a range of assistance, military and nonmilitary assistance to ukraine, over the course of time. >> [indiscernible]
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it could be deadly. we have more than a thousand deaths a day. what is going on for people who are [indiscernible] get a third shot, and continue to get a shot? sec. psaki: we understand. we are tired and exhausted by the pandemic as well. what we can do is encourage action, and encourage every eligible american to get extra protection that a booster offers. it is readily available across the country. it doesn't take a lot of time. should be easy for people to do and that is what our focus is on. we are encouraging all people -- parents of children who are eligible. they need to get vaccinated. we have already seen 10% of kids getting protected. that is a key part of moving
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forward and fighting the pandemic. we also have taken actions like securing 10 million pfizer and 3 million merck antiviral pills. the american people should know that we are continuing to look for any way available and possible to get the pandemic under control and make sure that people know we are moving in a better direction on that. we are moving forward with requirements and other measures that will boost vaccinations as a positive step. we are moving into the winter. that is one of the reasons we are encouraging people who are eligible to get the boosters. we have been encouraging parents of kids to get their kids who are eligible to get vaccinated again. they can be fully vaccinated by christmas. or the holiday season. at this point time, that is where our focus is. we now believe we have strong measures to keep people safe and we need to continue to fast-forward and -- in committees across country. >> is there -- what powers you
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have to take more steps or is there really just on americans now? >> under the president's leadership, we not only have to purchase supplies to ensure the entire population is vaccinated, but we have made it readily available across the country. we have made an acceptable. we have also asked -- secured the pill. we have ensured that we have run mass vaccination communication campaigns across the country. i would say that the american government has been the number one priority, and we have done everything humanly possible, and at a certain point, it is true that people have to go get a shot, get themselves back say, and protect himself. we are going to do everything we can to make it as easy as humanly possible. let me go to the back. >> senior staff positions. there been confirmations that are unprecedented. you it wait this out a few
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months longer than expected? is president biden considering the possibility of recess appointments, at least for observational -- operational positions? >> i don't have anything on that front, but it is unprecedented. i would also note that there have been statements, including former secretaries of the state to to be, emphasizing how concerning the nature of this is. whether you are a democrat or republican or not political at all, most people recognize that we should have ambassadors serving around the world. we should have an ambassador to china serving in that country right now, and eminently qualified one that the president has nominated. we should have ambassadors posted around europe at a time where we are ensuring to support nato which is a pivotal message to center russia and other countries. these are not only being delayed.
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i said this yesterday, the fact is that many of these investors will move forward with bipartisan support once there is a support. what is happening now is that there is an insistence on a lengthy debate process instead of moving forward through unanimous consent which is just allowing for a vote going through a lengthy floor process that would use a lot of time on the floor. that can happen. there are a lot of ways that this can move forward and i don't have anything to preview in terms of recess importance -- appointment, but it is frustrating. >> although in the back. john. what you have for me? >> thank you. does the administration still recognize the government of the prime minister as the legitimate government of ethiopia and are they standing by it? >> i don't know if the state department has spoken to this and i don't want to speak out of turn, so let me check with them and see if they have an update
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on that front. obviously, we have expressed significant concerns, but if there are sanctions, i will see if there's something i can officially say. >> with the previous question -- ambassadorships. the president has not named anyone to the key ambassadorships in ukraine and hungary right now. this is not anything from the amiss ration. >> this is true. the president was to ensure that he has the right person to nominate for each of those vital and important positions, but there are dozens of qualified nominees who are waiting to be confirmed. we are certainly april and eagle -- able and eager to see that before. happy friday. [indiscernible] ♪
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