Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Brunswick, ME

Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Brunswick, ME

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Brunswick, Maine

11:52 A.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Happy Friday.  We’ve made it.  We’re en route to Auburn, Maine, where the President will highlight how Bidenomics and his Investing in America agenda are revitalizing manufacturing and bringing investments and jobs to communities, including those that have too often been left behind. 

His visit to Auburn comes one day after we learned that the economy grew by 2.4 percent in the second quarter of 2023.  The GDP report shows that Bidenomics is working.  After a year of recession predictions, the economy grew steady while inflation fell significantly.

Business investment increased by nearly 8 percent and construction of factories contributed more to growth than it has in 40 years. 

While at Auburn Manufacturing, Inc., President Biden will also sign an executive order to prioritize America’s policy of “Invent it Here, Make it Here” to the benefit of American workers, communities, and global supply chain resilience. 

The — the order boosts the incentive to manufacture new inventions in the United States when those inventions are deployed using taxpayer dollars. 

Additionally, you heard from the President directly last night that, “Right now, tens of thousands of American — Americans’ daughters and sons are deployed around the world tonight, keeping us safe from immense national security challenges — but the senator from Alabama is not”; that there is a “growing cascade of damage and disruption” to our military as consequence of this extreme partnership [partisanship], hurting military readiness, freezing pay, and subject- — subjecting military families to outrageous pain. 

Senate Republicans need to do the right thing: put our country over party and speak out on behalf of our military and military families.

This morning, Retired Marine Corps Major General Arnold Punaro became the latest veteran to sound the alarm, saying, and I quote, “I have a huge problem with what Senator Tuberville is doing.  I don’t think people really understand how detrimental this really is on — on a day-to-day basis.”

And I just have a quick week ahead before we get into question — questions.  As you know, after the President visits Auburn Manufacturing, Inc., in Auburn, Maine, he will then go to participate in a campaign reception in Freeport, Maine. 

This evening, the President will depart Maine en route to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where he will remain over the next week.  And, certainly, we’ll have more to share over the next couple of days. 

Go ahead.

Q    Hi, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  (Inaudible.)

Q    About 200 million Americans right now are under a heat or flood advisory.  Some Arizona lawmakers are saying an emergency should be declared.  What would it take for the President to declare an emergency?  And would he consider declaring a climate emergency?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, one of the things that I want to be very clear about is: As you know, the President is taking climate change and the climate crisis incredibly seriously.  You heard directly from him yesterday, as he’s talked about what we’re doing with this extreme heat.

He put forth — he put forth three actions — one of them is the heat alert, obviously — using current — current policies or current — current policies that the Department of Labor has or enforcement that the Department of Labor has that they can move forward with to help make sure they keep workers safe. 

So, I don’t — don’t have anything to announce.  I know you’re asking me what it would take.  But I want to remember — remind folks that the President, just last year, used his emergency authorities to invoke the Defense Production Act to supercharge domestic clean energy manufacturing.  He then doubled down on that historic action by securing investments to go even further with the Inflation Reduction Act. 

So, he’s taking historic action.  You’ve heard me say this throughout the week about how his plans, his action have been ambitious to combat the climate — the climate crisis.  And he’ll keep doing that. 

I think what’s outrageous is that, at a time when millions of families and Americans are experiencing the impacts of climate change, you know, Republicans in Congress continue to try to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act and deny climate change.  And that’s actually what’s dangerous. 

The President has been very clear about what climate change is doing, that we’re in a climate crisis.  The Inflation Reduction Act was incredibly important as we look at investments to — to really deal with the climate crisis. 

Q    Karine, Prime Minister Meloni said in her press conference yesterday that neither the President nor his aides raised LGBT rights during her meetings in Washington.  Why not?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, what I can tell you — as you know, they put out a joint — a joint readout of the call.  I don’t have anything beyond that to share of what we’ve put out with both — clearly both governments.  I don’t have anything else to share beyond that.

Q    Karine, another — another question on climate.  Yesterday, you were at the Voters of Tomorrow Summit, and a climate activist interrupted your remarks to ask the White House to stop approving new oil and gas projects.  Did you speak with that activist after your remarks?  And what is the President’s response to her demands?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, I mean, I just laid out everything that the — first of all, I think it’s important — right? — that our young people speak up.  They are — they are the future.  Right?  It’s — it’s really — I was proud to hear what she had to say, and it was inspiring.  And that’s why I was there.  That’s why I was there: to speak on behalf of the — the administration and to hear what they had to say.

I didn’t have a chance to speak to her afterwards.  I had to go home and be with my kid.  I do have a family to — to take (inaudible), just like many of you.  It was late at night.  It was after eight o’clock.  And I wanted to make sure that she — she went to bed.  (Laughs.) 

But I’m always open and we are always open to talking to young people.  We have.  And I think you have seen — you have seen the President engage with young climate activist folks and the administration do that on a regular basis. 

But, look, here’s — here’s what I just want to lay out for all of you, because, again, this President has done more on climate change than any other — any other administration, any other president, when you think about the clean energy manufacturing and the jobs boom that we’ve been able to see — he’s going to be able to talk about that today — here at home; accelerating the global clean energy race abroad. 

His economic agenda has already led to over $100 billion in private-sector investments in domestic clean energy manufacturing.  He put the United States back on track to reach clean energy goals, reducing U.S. greenhouse emissions in half by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050.

These — these things all matter.  And these things are going to make a difference as we’re dealing with climate change.  Again, we’re always happy to have those conversations.  We accepted to be there at that summit because we believe in these young leaders and are always happy to have a healthy conversation on what the President’s (inaudible).

Q    Karine, what does the White House believe is the motivation behind House Republicans, including Speaker McCarthy, talking about a possible impeachment inquiry into President Biden?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, I’ve talked about this multiple times this week.  We’re not going to get into what House Republicans want to do or may not do — hypotheticals.  That’s on them.  That’s for them to speak to.

What I can speak to is exactly what we’re doing today.  Right?  We’re going to go to Maine.  We’re going to be able to talk about an issue that matters to Americans: investing in America; manufacturing; bringing good, union, paying jobs back to America and also manufacturing more broadly — right? — which leads to these good — good-paying jobs.  Look, that’s what matters. 

We just talked about — I just talked about at the top how Bidenomics is working.  We saw the GDP, the economy recovering much faster than was anticipated, when there was talk for over a year about — about recession.  And now look what’s going on.  The data is — the economic data is so much better than economists had expected. 

And so, that’s because of the work that this President has done.  So, that’s going to be our focus.  Our focus is going to be really foc- — on what — on what we can do to — to make Americans’ lives a little bit better, giving them that extra breathing room. 

And let’s not forget what the President has been able to do on the global stage.  We saw him in NATO.  We saw how he’s brought our partners and Allies together to really get behind the Ukrainians and how they’re fighting for their freedom. 

All of these things are important.  That’s going to be the focus.  And you’ll watch him today.  You’ll hear from him today, focusing on what Americans actually care about, which is lowering costs and making sure their lives are a little bit better. 

Q    Karine, one more on climate.  It’s not just activists.  There was a climate scientist earlier this week — published an op-ed, said that not declaring a climate emergency is anti-science.  So, what is stopping the President at this point from declaring —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, the President belie- —

Q    — a climate emergency?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, I — I mean, I just laid that out.  I don’t really have much more to add to what I just laid out about what we’ve been able to do.  But the President believes in science, which is why he talks about climate change, which he talk — why he said climate change — the climate crisis is real.  Right? 

When — I — you hear me say this all the time in the briefing room: the four crises that the President had to deal with when he walked into the administration.  Climate — climate change was one of them. 

So, the Pres- — this President has been outspoken.  But not just outspoken — he’s actually put ambitious policies forward to deal with this issue. 

And, you know, it is such a difference to what we see from Republicans who don’t even acknowledge climate change.  So, we believe in science.  We’re going to continue to move forward to do everything that we can not just here in America, but globally, to be a leader in fighting climate change.  And that’s going to be our focus. 

Go ahead.

Q    Did the President have any reaction to the additional charges his predecessor now faces? 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, we’re not going to comment.  The Department of Justice is independent.  You hear us say this all the time: We believe in the rule of law.  The President has been very consistent on that.  Just not going to comment (inaudible).

Q    One more thing.  Is there any status update on the ODNI review of the documents that are in question in that case?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have any updates for you.  I would refer you to ODNI. 

Q    And kind of dovetailing on that, I’m sure you’ve seen the images of the barricades going up in Georgia at that Fulton County courthouse.  Is the White House monitoring, from a security perspective, what’s going on in Georgia?  Are you — do you have a plan?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah.  I — I mean, I’m not going to speak to Georgia specifically.  But as you know, this is something that we always monitor.  We’re always going to be ready.  I just don’t have anything to — to say specifically about the — what you just laid out that’s going on in Georgia.

Q    Quickly on student loans —


Q    There is a number of senators who have sent letters to debt — lenders echoing some concerns about when the payment plans will come back — that these companies are understaffed, they don’t have enough experienced workers.  Does the administration — does the President share the concerns of those senators as well?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  About the restarting of payments more specifically?

Q    That there’ll be a big hold-up, long call wait times. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, this is something that the Department of Education certainly is — is tracking.  Right?  That’s why we made sure there was, like, that 12-month kind of build-in — right? — for — for folks, understanding that many people, it’s going to take them a little bit of time. 

This is why the IDRs are so important.  Right?  This is why the announcement that was made recently on giving some relief to millions of Americans across the country is really important. 

And I know the Department of Education just did a townhall to talk through how do we move forward and to hear also from — from — from — from educators, from other — from borrowers as well to find out — to figure out: How do we do this?  How do we move forward to make sure that we don’t leave anybody behind as we’re — as — as the pause is being lifted?

And people are — are going to have to clearly pay back —

Q    Besides the DOJ’s lawsuit —


Q    — earlier this week, since we first asked you on Monday, has there been — has the administration taken any other steps to remove the floating barrier on the Rio Grande?  Has there been any more progress from the Army Corps of Engineers or anyone else —


Q    — on trying to —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, I — I hear your question.  Look, we took action, right?

Q    Yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  The — not “we,” but the Department of Justice took action by a legal action, which is incredibly important.  That is an incredi- — an important first step.

I’m sure they’re going to have more announcements to make.  I just don’t have anything for you at this time. 

Q    Should we assume that they’re — that the administration has determined that legal action is really the only way to address this and there is nothing else?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — I — I’m going to let the Department of Justice deal with that — deal with that.  But legal action is important — right? — it’s important to make sure that we make ourselves very clear on what — what — what the governor is doing. 

And we’ve said this over and over again: It’s — it’s cruel.  It’s inhumane.  And it’s not surprising, because I — you’ve heard me talk about what — remind all of you what he did on Christmas Eve.  Below, you know, freezing temperatures, he let migrant — he — he brought migrants and left them on the — on the streets of D.C.  I mean, that is how he has moved forward on this. 

We’re doing this in a humane way.  We put together a plan where we have seen — we have seen the entry of illegal — illegal migrants go down at — more than it has two — than two years ago, and that — or in the last two years.  And so, that’s important. 

So, we’re going to continue with our plan.  And I’m going to let DOJ deal with the legal — legal action.

Q    And another question on manufacturing.  There is a shortage of workers for construction and manufacturing jobs.  Is that on the President’s radar?  And does he have any plans to address it?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, we’re — I — I don’t have any specific plans or policies to address your question.  I have it — this the first time I’m hearing it.  So, certainly I would want to talk to our team. 

But, look, the President is committed — he’s committed in bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.  I just talked about not just inventing it here, but keeping it here.  Right?  That is the focus of, certainly, our — our trip to Maine. 

And so, we’re going to create good-paying union jobs.  And so, look, it’s not going to be easy, as we all know, but certainly don’t have anything specific more to share.

Q    China has indicated that it’s having trouble getting the top official from Hong Kong entry into the U.S. for ASEAN in San Francisco.  Is the U.S. going to make it possible for that official to come or what’s the approach here?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — I know there are certain rules and regulations that we’re following here.  So don’t have anything specific on that particular — on that particular question that you have.  But I know that — that the participation of all delegations —

Q    (Inaudible) APEC.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — in APEC — right? — is that what you’re talking about? —

Q    (Inaudible.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  — events will be in cor- — in accordance with U.S. laws and regulations on the basis of the spirit and principles of APEC. 

And as — as I was saying before, we will work with Russian Federation and Hong Kong, China, and all APEC economists to ensure appropriate participation in San Francisco occurs.  So, that’s all I have there. 

All right. 

Q    Can I follow up on one thing from yesterday?  Did the U.S. want to have a press conference with the Italians?  You were going to get back to us with more information about that.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  All I can say — and I’ve said this before: There are a variety of factors that go into decision-making about press conferences during visits by foreign leaders, including what the other country wants to do, whether there is a time in the schedule, and what the level of protocol is for a visit.  You know, there’s state visit versus bilateral visit, which is what we saw yesterday. 

So, we make an effort to do press conferences as often as possible, as the President recently did.  He did one, as you all know, during his visit in Helsinki; with the leaders of the United Kingdom, India, and the Republic of Korea at the White House.  I just don’t have anything else to share for all of you. 

But that’s it.  All right, guys.

Q    Thanks, Karine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’ll see you on the ground. 

12:08 P.M. EDT  

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