Photo of Karine Jean-Pierre

Press Gaggle by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Portland, Oregon

April 21, 2022

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Portland, Oregon

1:32 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Good afternoon, and thanks for joining us on President Biden's first trip to Oregon and Washington. I know you all got a background memo last night, but just a few points about this trip I wanted to highlight.

The focus of the President's trip is fourfold. One, to underscore the historic economic growth and nearly 8 million jobs created as a result of his and congressional Democrats' actions, including the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and his administration's work to lower costs for American families.

Number two, to emphasize the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law's historic $25 billion investments in airports, such as Portland International Airport, which is upgrading its south runway so that the runway can survive an earth- -- an -- sorry -- survive an earthquake. In 2022 alone, PDX will receive $20 million in funding from this program.

Number three, to mark Earth Day by speaking to the need to bolster our nation's resilience in the face of threats like wildfire, and the need to rapidly deploy clean energy. We will have more details on Earth Day announcements later this evening for you all.

And finally, President Biden will call on Congress to pass his plan to lower healthcare and energy costs. He has already taken important steps to lower costs -- from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve release and the extension of E15 gasoline to lower gas prices, to fixing the "family glitch" and enacting the Rescue Plan to save families that buy ACA coverage an average of $59 per person per month.

But he has also laid out an ambitious plan to continue to build on that work and lower the cost of healthcare, including prescription drugs. And Congress should act on that to ensure lower premiums; close Medi- -- Medicaid coverage cap [gaps]; cap cost-sharing for Insulin; and let Medicare negotiate the price of prescription drugs.

In Portland today, the President will be joined by Governor Kate Brown; Senators Ron Wyden, Jeff Merkley; Representative Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader; and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

And in Seattle tomorrow, he will be joined by Governor Jay Inslee, Senators Pat Murray and Maria Cantwell, Congresswoman Kim Schrier, and other state and local elected officials.

Today, as we get closer to the hot summer months, HHS is announcing more than $385 million to all 50 states, territories, and Tribes to help families lower their home energy costs through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program -- LIHEAP.

Together with the billions provided in the American Rescue Plan, this brings the total funding for LIHEAP this year to over $8.3 billion -- the most relief ever in the history of the program to lower out-of- -- to lower out-of-pocket heating and cooling costs for hard-pressed American families.

As you all know, we're headed to the Pacific Northwest, which experienced record heat last year. Extreme heat kills more Americans than any other weather-related event. Over the last 20 years, the frequency of extreme weather events, including extreme heat, has increased dramatically.

Today's announcement builds on previous LIHEAP funding allocated through the American Rescue Plan, which more than doubled typical annual appropriations. Oregon will receive a record total of $92.6 million in LIHEAP funding, and Washington will receive a record total of $151 million.

This month, President Biden has taken a number of actions to lower prices, including using executive action to fix the "family glitch" in the ACA. And he has taken action on student debt by freezing payments through August, providing immediate student debt cancellation for at least 40,000 borrows -- borrowers, and helping another 3.6 million borrowers move closer to debt relief forgiveness.

Okay. That was a lot. Thanks -- thanks for listening through that, everybody.

All right, Josh. What you got for me? Why don't you kick us off.

Q: Sure. Thanks, Karine. Two subjects. First, Ukraine: The President talked about military aid today, but Ukraine says it needs $5 billion a month to support its government. Is the U.S. and its allies going to get Ukraine that money? And what would that look like?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, this $500 million combined -- the $500 million today that was announced, combined with the $500 million that President Biden announced in March, is targeted to meet Ukraine's most acute needs.

We will also continue to work with Congress to find ways to get more resources to Ukraine and bolster their ability to fight the war and restore its economy.

The United States is also committed to working with other bilateral and multilateral donors. For example, the international community has provided and pledged considerable support exceeding $24 billion for 2022 and beyond. And this comes on the top of the economic support provided since 2014 until 2021, which exceeds $60 billion.

Q: And then, secondly, with regard to Florida, did Governor DeSantis overstep by penalizing Disney on "Don't Say Gay"?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, our view is this -- is that the "Don't Say Gay" bill is really crystal clear: It's wrong. That's our view: It is just wrong.

We oppose the governor taking action against a company because of their opposition to that bill. And we're just going to leave it there for now; we're not going to say anymore to that.

Q: Karine, a follow-up --

Q: Sorry, go ahead, Jeff.

Q: Excuse me, Josh. A follow-up -- are you sure?

Q: No, please. Yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You guys are so nice to each other today.

Q: A follow-up on Ukraine. The President said, in his remarks this morning, that he would be asking Congress for more money.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: Can you give us a sense of what dollar figure the administration will be asking for?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Anything in particular you're talking about? Just -- is it the security or the economic assistance?

Q: All of the above.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All of the above. Okay. So, you know, as the President just said today, as you mentioned: With this latest disbursement, we will have almost exhausted -- as we were talking about the security assistance -- almost exhausted the drawdown authority that Congress authorized for Ukraine in the bipartisan spending bill last month.

We are committed to continuing to provide Ukraine with weapons and equipment that they are using so effectively to defend their country. And the administration will be in touch with Congress, as the mention- -- as the President mentioned in his speech, next week on additional resource requirements to keep weapons and ammunition flowing without interruption to Ukraine.

So we appreciate the bipartisan support that we have seen in Congress, we -- so we have received so far, efforts to support Ukraine, and hope -- and hope that continues.

Q: So you'll be putting in a formal ask next week, but can you give us a sense of what that dollar figure will be?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don't have a dollar figure for you. I think the President was asked this question earlier, and he said that the Department of Defense is working on that right now. But I don't have a dollar figure to share with you right -- at this time.

Q: One other issue. Elon Musk has gotten enough -- has gotten funding for his attempt to buy Twitter. What is the White House's view right now on Musk and potential ownership of that company by one person?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I'm not -- I'm not -- that's something I'm -- we're not going to comment on. The SEC is independent and would handle any review process moving forward, but we're not going to comment. That is a private investor, and so we're not going to comment on that.

I do want to add one more thing because the funding information that I gave you, Jeff, was for the security component, but I just want to also give you the economic --

Q: It's the Treasury side of that as well. Yeah.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- the economic assistance to that too so we just get that on the record.

So, as -- what remains there -- there are some funds remaining, as it relates to the economic assistance. And the administration is working to get those out of the door quickly.

The administration will also be in touch with Congress next week, as I just mentioned, on additional resource requirements to continue delivering economic assistance to the Ukrainian people.

Just wanted to make sure that was clear.

Q: The Congress coming back next week -- obviously, a priority for the administration is pushing for a new COVID funding bill. Can you give us a sense of what you're doing on that? Is the ask still $10 billion? And is the administration open to joining that with the supplemental ask on Ukraine? Could it be the same funding bill?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, you know, as we have said time and time again -- is, like, we can't move forward with securing vaccine as we look at the fourth dose for all Americans. You know, at this time last year, we were in the process of contracting for a booster campaign in the fall. Now we can't and -- and risk not having adequate doses if needed.

If experts decide we need different vaccines, including a variant-specific vaccine, we don't have the funding to secure them, so our testing capacity won't be able to support surge demand.

Americans could, once again, face empty shelves, as we saw not too long ago. We can't buy any more treatments, including preventative treatments for the immune compromised. These treatments take six months to manufacture, so we -- so we're -- we risk losing out on supply that we intended to purchase.

So, we can't do more to invest in the next-generation vaccines and treatments that will help us be prepared for future variants and provide more durable protection.

And so, we just want to be very clear: If we don't purchase these vaccines and therapies for the American people, other countries will step in to purchase them for their citizens. They already are.

Without new support, we will quickly -- and we will quickly find ourselves at the back of the line for future vaccines, treatments, and tests.

So, this is something that we're going to continue to work with Congress on and push for that additional funding.

Q: Do you have a view on whether it can be rolled into the supplemental as well?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Say that one more time.

Q: Could it be packaged in the same bill with Ukraine aid?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don't have more -- I don't have more to add. I -- clearly, as I've -- we've said, that we need more for -- for the economic assistance and security assistance, as I just laid out. I don't have anything more on how we're going to be packaging any of that. What --

Q: And part of the need is the fact that you owe $5 billion to Pfizer right now for the -- to complete your purchase of Paxlovid. That would chew up half the $10 billion. Is $10 billion still the ask, or is twenty-two and a half still the ask? This -- the USAID money -- how much money are you seeking on COVID?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, are you asking about -- asked me about Plaxlo- -- Paxlovid as -- as it related to the funding?

Q: So, you -- yeah, there are 20 million courses of Paxlovid ordered right now. You've only paid for about 11 million out of that. Is that order at risk of going under, if we want to talk about that? But more broadly --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yup.

Q: -- what is the total dollar ask?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So it continues to be what we have discussed, which is $22.5 billion. That hasn't changed. But on Paxlovid, I'll give you an update.

There's plenty of supply of Paxlovid available. We get more delivered each week, which we are quickly pushing out to places like pharmacies, hospitals and urgent care centers, nursing homes, and community health centers. There are more than 17,000 locations across the country where people can get prescription filled. It's not -- it's not yet ubiquitous like vaccines are, but we're getting there.

We're working to make sure doctors and patients know about Paxlovid. After it was authorized, it was in limited supply. That's not -- that's not the case anymore. It's widely available, and the eligibility criteria are pretty expansive.

So, we're working to make sure providers and patients know that. And we're working to make it easier to access. One way is through our new test-to-treat program. It's just about a month since the President announced this program, so we already got 2,000 locations up and running. We're -- continue to expand it and working our partners to improve patients' experience.

We need funding to sustain this process to -- this progress and are actively working beyond these actions to increase uptake.

Q: The President finally was asked about Title 42 today, but he responded by talking about the mask thing. Can I ask the the Title 42 question again? Is the administration open to delaying that in order to get a COVID funding deal?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, let me just clear -- let me just kind of reiterate what the President said.

We sent out -- we sent out a pool note to all of you from him, which is -- he -- it says: "I want to clarify that in comments at the conclusion of my remarks this morning, I was referring to the CDC's mask mandate and there is no Department of Justice action on Title 42."

And just -- also wanted to just reiterate what Jen Psaki said yesterday: The CDC made a determination that it can be lifted on May 23rd. And we're working hard to implement a plan to do that.

She also -- she also noted that, "As we prepare for the implementation of the end of Title 42, there are a range of steps that we've been taking to prepare for that, including surging resources, that includes moving officer, agents, DHS Volunteer Force personnel to rapidly decompress points along the border and more effectively process migrants.

It also entails the deployment of COVID-19 mitigation efforts, including the use of -- continued use of PPE, providing the COVID-19 vaccines. It also includes expanding these efforts to cover migrants in CBP custody.

So, the point is there are a range of steps in this comprehensive plan that we have to be ready to go by May 23rd.

Q: Is that a "no" you won't consider extending Title 42 if that's what it takes to get COVID money?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, I mean, extending Title 42 is not our decision. As Jen said yesterday, as we've been saying, that is Congress's decision to make.

Q: I have a follow-up on Title --

Q: (Inaudible.)

Q: No, go ahead.

Q: No -- I just wanted to ask about the President's approach to masking. Does he still believe it should be a per- -- an individual choice, even though the Department of Justice is appealing the federal judge's ruling?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, a couple of things. I just want to lay this out, because I think it's very important.

So, first, you know, we've made a lot of progress on COVID. Thanks to vaccines, boosters, and treatments, severe cases of COVID and deaths are down 90 percent since the President entered office. Our economy is growing. Schools are open. People are getting back to work. We can feel much better about how things are today. But we know that this virus is tricky. It's a tricky virus.

There can be new variants, as we have seen. We have to be ready. So, we all know that airplane and train travel are different than most places. You are stuck next to someone for a long time, as we are currently right now. But we have our masks on. And if that person is sick -- if you are sick, you can spread the virus. And young kids can't get vaccinated -- kids five -- under five years old, as we all know. People with weak immune systems aren't protected and they need to travel safely.

I know that masks are uncomfortable. We understand that. But masking on planes and trains is a way to protect yourself and others. So, as the CDC recommends, the President thinks you should mask right now, especially as they learn more about BA.2.

The CDC should have the time and authority to make these decisions to protect the American people.

We're in a much better place now with -- on COVID as I just listed out. But if things get worse or in the event of another public health crisis, CDC must have the essential public health authority, now and in the future, and the principle that public health decisions should be made by public health authorities. That is what is at stake right now, and that's what the President stands on.

Q: Karine, the U.S. military is sending specialized weapons that suit Ukraine's military needs. We are asking for hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to send to the Ukrainians. The President is using active language to describe our involvement in this war. "…walk [speak] softly and carry a big [large] Javelin," he said this morning.

Is this a sign that Americans are going to continue to hear from him, even on a week-by-week basis as -- does this mean we're just going to continue to escalate our involvement in this war? And is this something Americans should just expect, even on a weekly basis? Where is this going?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, let me just say a couple of things there. You know, the latest -- the latest steps today that the President announced and talked about in his speech was to support the people of Ukraine, which is important as they're protecting their democracy; to hold Putin accountable for the brutal and bloody war. And I'm just very much reiterate -- reiterating what the President said today.

You know, Russia has launched a refocus campaign, as we have been talking about, to seize new territory in eastern Ukraine. And we are in a critical window that -- that will set the stage for the next phase of this war, as you have heard us talk about. So, you know, the U.S. and our Allies and our partners are moving as fast as possible to make sure that the Ukrainian forces have the weapons and equipment to defend their nation.

And so that is what we're supporting -- not just us alone, but in a -- with our -- again, our partners and Allies as we see a strong Western force here. And so this is why Ukraine has been able to stop -- to stop Russia from taking over their country. This is what we have seen because we have come together -- together to make sure to give them what they need.

And we're not sitting on the funding that Congress is providing for us to -- is providing for us to give to Ukraine. And so, this is -- this is what we're -- this is the announcement that he made today.

And he was asked -- the President was asked how much longer can we do this for. And he said, you know, we can sustain this; we can continue to do this. He said the most important thing is to make sure that we are continuing to be aligned with our partners and Allies. And so that is going to be the focus, and we're going to continue to help the Ukrainian people --

Q: And Jake -- sorry to cut you off, but Jake came out a couple of weeks ago in the briefing room, after the reports in Bucha, and talked about the evidence gathering that would be required to declare Putin a war criminal in Russia, culpable of war crimes. Reports of widespread rapes and sexual violence have been cropping up of -- about what's going on across Ukraine. Where is the evidence gathering -- what's the status of that, and what's going on?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I don't have that -- I don't have anything to provide to you right now. That's something that the State Department clearly has the authority and is handling that process.

But, as you've heard, the President has been very clear in calling it a war crime, and that is something that he believes. But I -- we're going to leave that to the State Department to go through the legal process.

Q: Karine, two questions for you. One, the President is going to Seattle later today and then to talk tomorrow about climate and his agenda. What is the President -- or what should Americans -- Democrats, voters -- expect to hear from the President? He came into office with this expansive proposal to fight and combat climate change. That seems to have stalled in Congress. This is a big priority for many Democrats, as you outlined in some of the announcements you're going to make.

But on the whole, the President's climate agenda has really stalled in Congress and in the courts, and so I'm wondering what voters -- Democrats, Americans -- should expect to hear from the President, given that the promises and the ambition that he showed running for President and then in the early months of his administration have largely not come to fruition?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, just to -- tomorrow is Earth Day, so we'll have -- we'll provide more information on what tomorrow will look like and what the President will have to say.

But, look, the President is committed to doing everything he can to address -- you know, to reach his climate goals. And so he is committed and will continue to be committed.

You know, he has mobilized a whole-of-government effort in every sector of the economy -- sorry, Jeff --

Q: It's fine.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: -- taking executive actions that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, accelerate clean energy production and deployment, and create good-paying jobs that strengthen the economy.

You know, tomorrow -- I mean, today, in just -- in a little bit, he'll talk about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which is a big part of -- which is a big part of his -- you know, reaching his climate goals.

But the administration approved the first largescale projects identifying new and energy areas in the Atlantic and the Pacific, and holding a record-breaking $4.3 billion lease sale in a New York Bight, putting his major new industry on track to achieve the President's bold goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore and wind by 2030, all while creating good-paying union jobs up and down the supply chain.

We fast-tracked clean energy projects to bring jobs and savings to communities by providing record levels of solar and other renewable -- renewables on public lands, helping local governments advance community solar projects and rooftop installations, and launching a new initiative to deploy distributed energy resources in disadvantaged communities.

President Biden rallied automakers and autoworkers around an electric transportation future, setting a national target of 50 percent electric vehicle sales share in 2030 and spurring investments in new American factories to manufacture EVs and batteries and chargers.

Last year, the administration also launched an EV Charging Action Plan to deploy $7.5 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as I just mentioned, to build out a national charge network that is -- that is convenient, reliable, and equitable through a new joint office of energy and transportation. And we finalized the strongest passenger vehicle standards in American history to increase average fuel economy to 49 -- 49 miles per gallon; reduce to -- reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and protect communities from pollu- -- pollution; and save drivers money at the pump.

So, it's -- we -- you know, we're cont- -- the President has climate goals, and he wants to continue to fight for climate control, and he's going to continue to do that. And he has used the power of his office to do that. So we're not going to stop at just -- what I just laid out.

Q: No, I hear that. But at the same time, the administration has issued a waiver on E15, which environmentalists are -- and climate groups are concerned will hamper those goals. The administration has opened up more leases for drilling in oil. And today, John Kerry told my colleagues that he doesn't see proof that nations are following through on their commitments to slow Earth's warming.

So are there concerns or concessions from the White House that it has not done enough to meet the ambitious climate goals that the President has set out?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: That is -- that is not what we believe. We are going to continue to meet our climate goals. I mean, look, you talked about E15. The President is committed to doing everything that he can to address the pain Americans are feeling at the pump. You know, that was one of the reasons he made that announcement.

You know, but our --

Q: Sorry, just to --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah.

Q: Is that in -- is trying to ensure that people don't feel pain at the pump, is that in conflict with the President's climate goals?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: No, we don't -- look, our strategy from day one has been to meet folks where they are. It's about delivering solutions that help people take on the real challenges of real life. Addressing the emergency supply crunch while accelerating clean energy efforts is fully consistent with the theory of the case and what we're trying to do.

We believe we can walk and chew gum, because families need to take their kids to school and go to work, get groceries, and go about their lives. And sometimes that requires gas today, this month, and this year. But at the very same time, we must speed up, not slow down, our transition to clean energy. So we are -- we believe we're going to reach our goals, and we are very committed to doing that.

Q: Karine, on masks, does the Biden administration plan to ask for an emergency stay to immediately reimpose the mask mandate on public transit? Is that something you all are considering at this point?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, (inaudible), I don't have "JD" at the last -- at the end my name. I'm not a legal strategist. I refer you to the DOJ; that is in their purview.

What I'll say is that the CDC believes masking is needed right now. And DOJ is appealing accordingly. DOJ has a duty to preserve CDC's authority in the event of the current and future public health crisis. And this is a route that ensures we do both.

Q: And then, on Title 42, just to loop back to that, what is the -- how is the administration going to help the smaller border towns who say they expect a large influx of immigrants crossing over the border if Title 42 is ended? What are they doing to help? Is that -- is that more agents? Is that more money? What is the plan for those towns?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, as we've been talking about, DHS has a plan. DHS is implementing a comprehensive strategy to address -- to address a potential increase in the number of border encounters. Their strategy includes acquiring and deploying resources to address increased volumes; that involves moving officers, agents, DHS Volunteer Force personnel to rapidly decompress points along the border and more efficiently process migrants. It also entails the deployment of COVID-19 mitigation efforts, including the continued use of PPE and providing the COVID-19 vaccines to non-citizens in ICE custody since summer of 2021.

Beginning March 28, 2022, DHS expanded those efforts to cover migrants in CBP custody so as to further safeguard public health and ensure the safety of border communities, the workforce, and migrants. And so that is what DHS has a comprehensive plan, and they'll be executing that, and they have been.

Q: And then last one for me -- I'm sorry if this is repetitive; it's hard to hear on the plane. But in terms of Ukraine, as it looks more likely that the war is going to be going on for quite some time, is there talk of allowing more complex systems like Patriot missiles that would take longer to train up but could have a bigger effect on protecting Ukraine and the airspace?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, any specific materials that you just laid -- that you just mentioned, I would refer you to the Department of Defense. I don't have anything here to preview on that.

Q: I just had another one. Increasingly, we're seeing talks from Republicans directed at Democrats, allegations of grooming around LGBTQ issues. There was that speech that went viral from a Democrat state lawmaker in Michigan that rebutted some attacks against her of allegations of grooming.

From the White House's perspective, these attacks that we're seeing from Republicans -- allegations, unsubstantiated -- against Democrats, does the White -- does the President plan to call out these attacks? Is this something that the White House is aware of, concerned about? Any comment that you might have on the increasing allegations that we've seen?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You mean like the attacks on the LGBTQ community and -- in particular? Or --

Q: (Inaudible) but even also broader on Democrats and allegations -- again, unsubstantiated -- about grooming and things of that nature, as we saw -- I don't know if you saw the video of the Michigan --

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: I'd have to say, I actually have -- I heard of the video, but I have not watched it in its entirety. I've only seen clips of it.

Look, the President has always stand -- stood with the LGBTQ community in supporting them and seeing them -- that community. Clearly, any attacks or -- that we are seeing -- you know, I was just asked about what Governor DeSantis is doing in Florida with Disney. And so, we think that type of behavior is wrong. And so, we've been very clear about that at the podium. We've been very clear about that anytime you all ask -- ask us.

I have not had a conversation with the President -- or we haven't -- about if he is -- you know, what -- if he's going to say anything himself.

But he has put out at least -- you know, behind a podium or at -- you know, at a mic, but we have put out statements in his voice when it comes to attacks that we have seen in that community specifically.

So we've been very clear on that.

Q: Just to follow up on Tyler's question: The point is not necessarily attacks against the LGBT -- the LGBT community; it's rather Republicans accusing Democrats of being sexual predators and making that a broad strategy as an attack on the opp- -- on the other party.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, you know, look, I asked if it was about the LGBT community. He said "yes." But I hear your question.

Look, it's -- what the Republicans are doing is unfortunate. You know, instead of talking about the issues that's going on currently, right now, with the pain the American families are feeling, and coming to the table and having a real discussion on how to -- how to make Americans' lives better, they want to have a culture war. And that -- and that is unfortunate to see. We're going to be steadfast and focused on what's at -- what's at hand.

Today we're going to be -- we're going to be in Portland, as you all know, and we're going to talk about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law -- which, by the way, as you all know, Republicans in Congress were able to come together with Democrats and we got something done -- something that was historic, something that's going to change the lives of American people, something that's going to create jobs, that's going to rebuild our infrastructure deal with supply chain as we're -- as we're trying to, you know, deal with this once-in-a-generation pandemic. That's what we want to see. That's what the President was elected to do -- is to bring people together and get things done.

And that's what we're going to talk about today, and that's what we're going to talk about tomorrow in Seattle.

Q: President Biden in New Hampshire and in Iowa and, perhaps today, has put his foot forward on the deficit a lot. He's talking a lot more about the deficit, including touting his proposal as an immediate deficit-cutting measure. I wanted -- I wonder if you can talk about that shift. BBB used to -- he used to talk about it cutting the deficit in the long term, and now he talks about it in the short term. Seems to be an olive branch to Senator Manchin. How big a priority is immediate deficit reduction for President Biden?

And -- because Manchin has talked about a bill that is sort of half deficit reduction. In other words, half the -- you know, only half the new revenue would be spent and, therefore, the deficit would be immediately driven down. Is that something he would support?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So, look, I -- you know, as we've been saying for the past several months, I -- we're not just -- we're just not going to negotiate in public. Clearly, this is -- when we think about Build Back Better -- we took it -- think about build -- building back a better America, that is something that's important to the President. And so, we're going to continue to -- continue to work towards that and continue to talk to folks on Congress, but I don't have any specific details to share.

Q: He's kind of negotiating in public though, a little bit, by telling Senator Manchin that he's open to it. Isn't he?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: You know, I -- right here, on this plane, I don't have anything to share or any specifics (inaudible).

Q: All right. Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right, thanks.

Q: Can I just ask one more, Karine, as we --

Sorry, a quick one. Does the President still have confidence that Mayor Garcetti has the support in Congr- -- in the Senate to be confirmed as Ambassador to India?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Yes, he has confidence in Mayor Garcetti to -- to move forward.

All right. Thank you.

2:05 P.M. EDT

Karine Jean-Pierre, Press Gaggle by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Portland, Oregon Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/355513

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