tv White House Press Secretary Energy Secretary Hold Briefing CSPAN April 8, 2021 12:44pm-1:49pm EDT
i think what is happening with the republicans is an earlier part of my life i was a republican, but they don't stand for anything, and they have no platform or program other than just negative stuff on the pandemic. that is why the prior president lost because of his handling of the pandemic, and you look at all the issues, health care, the border, foreign affairs, education, and there are big issues, issues americans care greatly about. >> we have another member of the president's job cabinet joining us today, secretary of energy. she is the second woman to lead the department of energy, where she will help america achieve president biden's goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. she will do this by advancing
cutting-edge clean energy technologies, and building an equitable, clean energy future. secretary was the first woman elected governor of michigan serving two terms from 2003 to 2011 and successfully led efforts to diversify the state economy, strengthen the auto industry, preserve manufacturing, and add emerging sectors. such as clean energy to michigan's economic portfolio. today, one third of all of electric vehicle production takes place in michigan, one of the top five states for clean energy patents and 126,000 michiganders were employed prior to covid-19 in the clean energy sector. she also served as the state top law enforcement officer from 1998 to 2002. she can take a few questions. i will turn it over to you. >> i get to bring my binder,
too. the double binder here. thank you, jen. i am privileged to be able to share the podium with you today. good afternoon, everybody. i think that president biden asked me to be the secretary of energy because i was the governor during a time when the auto industry was on its knees, and when auto workers were finding themselves out of work through no fault of their own. i feel like i have looked into the eyes of people who have been desperate and at a loss more times than i can count. i was also governor when we invested to diversify michigan's economy to build car 2.0, the electric vehicle, the battery, and here we are 12 years later and general motors is saying their entire fleet will be
electrified. it is a huge distance we have traveled. so much of that is thanks to the decision by the federal government to invest in saving the backbone of the manufacturing industry, which was at that point, the vehicle industry. the obama-biden efforts really made a statement and worked, and so, we can do so much more than what we did in michigan, and this is what the american jobs plan is all about. i feel so happy for america that we have a president who wants to invest in our country and in our workers and in our manufacturing. to me, the fact that there is a $23 trillion market for clean energy products, for products that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is a massive opportunity for this country.
you better believe that other countries are seeing that opportunity, as well and our economic competitors are working to corner the market. those opportunities, countries like china are pressing their foot on the pedal and revving up their electric engines, and they are thrilled to see that the united states is standing still while they are working to create jobs for their people. after i was finished being governor, i traveled to china to see their clean energy efforts. i was with a group, and we went to a city, and i was standing next to the mayor of the city in china, and during a demonstration, he leaned over and said, no, when do you think the united states is going to get a clean energy plan? at this point, this was several years ago, i said, i don't know.
there is so much polarization. it is difficult and congress to get consensus. he looked at me and smiled, and he said, take your time. take your time. because they saw our past committee as their opportunity -- our passivity as their opportunity. and it is in other countries, too. understandably, countries want to corner this market on clean energy because we have 195 countries committed to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. where are those products going to be built and two are they going to be built by? it will take a lot of work. we need millions in the united states working to lower greenhouse gas emissions. we all know in the 21st century taking sure that we have the right infrastructure is critical. infrastructure is, yes, roads and bridges, but it is ports,
airports, trains, and it is the pipes that pump water into our homes, and it is the broadband that brings the world and learning to our children. it is the broadband that brings economic opportunity to our businesses. it is the electrical grid that keeps lights on after what happened in texas. can anybody really doubt that the electric grid is part of the foundation of who we are as a nation? and we need to invest in it if we want to make sure power keeps coming to our homes. there is an interesting poll done in february by consumers reports, and they found that 76% of americans think that broadband is as important as electricity and water. how can we not agree that broadband is infrastructure?
yet, we have been dis-investing in infrastructure as a nation for decades, and infrastructure, research and development, and in manufacturing. all of them we have been disinvesting in, infrastructure is now the strongest share of our economy since world war ii. we are at a 72 year low with respect to manufacturing. research and development has dropped since the 1960's. china and our economic competitors are investing in research development because they want to see the future and surpassed the united states. if we allow that to happen, we will be weaker as a nation and fall. we cannot do that. that is what this american jobs plan is all about. we cannot just sit around and say we need to do this. it is bipartisan. eight is a joke in washington.
, cuts and republicans have been making that joke but it isn't a joke anymore. we need to get it done. there is bipartisan support for these basic elements. starting on inauguration day, to talk about what the department of energy has been doing, we have been rolling out efforts to research and develop and deploy clean energy technology with an eye toward creating jobs, and if the american jobs plan passes, this will be able to be put on steroids. in the past two weeks as an example, we made two announcements on research, one on research and one on deployment of offshore wind. the research on was to cut the cost of solar by half yet again in the next 10 years and on offshore wind, it was to add 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy on the atlantic seaboard within 10 years, so today we are announcing another two funding
opportunities for clean energy technology. one of them is to create next generation biofuels for airplanes and ships, which are very hard to electrify and the second is to announce clean energy technology and reducing methane emissions from the coal, oil and gas industry. as many of you know, methane is an extremely potent and dangerous greenhouse gas. these investments are a down payment on what we need to do as a nation and the american jobs project will take us the rest of the way. i would like to emphasize -- because i have been meeting with so many stakeholders on the true importance of ensuring that 40% of the benefits of the american jobs plan go to communities that have been left behind or unseen,
people who have been in the showers of powerplants plants and whose children have to gasp to breathe or use an inhaler. we need to remedy a moral wrong and make those investments and the american jobs plan that will allow us to do that. so once in a sentry investment to seize a once in a century opportunity. that is what people elected joe biden to do, and we waited for too long to do it, so we are going to get it done and put america to work. i'm happy to take any questions. >> thank you, secretary. one of the things if the infrastructure passes, one of the things i know you mentioned and reiterated during your confirmation hearing [indiscernible] where does the biting administration plan to store radioactive nuclear fuels?
sec. granholm: some of you may recall there was a bipartisan commission on what to do about spent nuclear fuel. there has to be a constant based process to be able to do that. we are beginning that work inside of the department of energy and have to find a solution, but it has to be based on community agreement. >> is there a timetable? sec. granholm: we will be making an announcement on that. not ready to say get. >> -- not ready to say yet. >> the last administration [indiscernible] with new and improved nuclear [indiscernible] a lot of that development falls under year department. sec. granholm: we have to modernize the nation's nuclear arsenal and keep and maintain the stockpile to make sure it is safe and effective. we will continue to do that to
ensure we can deter nuclear aggression from other countries, so i nuclear deterrent is important and embedded on that stockpile, and we will make sure our people are safe. >> thank you. i've heard you talk about the corporate tax rate and what they would like to do with the infrastructure bill. can it be successful with a 25% corporate tax rate? sec. granholm: the president has said this is a negotiation, and he really does want to hear from democrats and republicans about what would be acceptable to get this across the line, so there is room for negotiation. his point is it has to be paid for, so if it isn't a 28%, what else is it? we are very encouraged by those who have been bringing ideas fourth, and we are hopeful that when congress gets back next week, that those discussions can begin in earnest. >> thank you.
you are one of the five cabinet secretaries engaging with congress on this and you mentioned the president's willing to negotiate and open to ways to pay for this. have republicans put forth in your conversations and heard any alternatives? sec. granholm: i have. [laughter] yeah, i'm not going to make announcements for them. they obviously would like to bring forth their own ideas, but i've heard alternatives. >> the president asked you to engage the public in selling this plan. you haven't hit the road yet, is that something you plan to do in the coming weeks? sec. granholm: we will be taking our guidance from the white house in terms of what is safe, etc. we have been hitting the zoom in making our case through that and the phones. we will see how it goes. there is a period of time we have to be able to do this, but we would like to make sure it is safe. >> yes, in terms of negotiations
and discussions with congress, is there a deadline or timeframe where it turns into a pumpkin? or you just go to long? sec. granholm: yeah, i don't know if you want to answer that, jen? >> or will there be a briefing after this? sec. granholm: i know they said they would like to see progress by memorial and hopefully we can see that, with the meetings have to begin in earnest next week. >> what you say to americans working in the oil and gas industry in california and elsewhere? these are good paying jobs that have given them access to the middle class. what does the federal government do to ensure clean energy jobs like the one you described her as good as the ones they are replacing? sec. granholm: this is a great question and why the american jobs plan is very specifically targeting communities in coal and powerplant areas and gas and natural gas. there are billions of dollars in this bill for the technologies
that will reduce co2 emissions in those industries. for example, carbon capture sequestration. i do not mean to get too technical, but hydrogen employment and demonstration projects. i have been talking with my counterparts around the world. there is a huge appetite for a partnership with america on these next generation technologies that will reduce co2 emissions from that baseline power. those jobs and those kinds of technologies are good paying jobs. those are jobs that are going to be for welders, sheet metal workers and all of the trades. we are going to put out funding opportunities and ensure there are project labor agreements that the people who are working in them are paid and are paid prevailing wage, so we would like to create good paying jobs across the country. there will be millions of them
if this is passed. the opportunities, this is why we are having a huge number of discussions with our brothers and sisters in the labor movement and tilting trades to make sure that we do this in a way that gives that is why theye supportive of it. >> you mentioned next generation biofuels for airplanes. one can we expect that? sec. granholm: obvious the, we have to get started on it. this is a research opportunity, not a deployment opportunity. because funding opportunities really accelerate so much appetite for the technology and because there have been a lot of breakthroughs in fact the airline industry itself has been investing in next-generation i/o fuels to be able to demonstrate that it can be used. without saying specifically,
certainly within five or 10 years, we will see this deployed and available for shipping and for air. >> thank you. you were talking about the american jobs plan. i am wondering what leverage the federal government has to ensure that those jobs will be at a certain wage scale, benefits, what can you do to enforce that? sec. granholm: the federal government has many mechanisms for pushing out funding and that includes bidding on projects and passing it through and competitions, etc. in those new opportunities, you can attach strings to make sure that these are good paying jobs. that they have project labor agreements. it is true with respect to the federal government buying power as well. it is procurement power. we want to make sure we create good paying jobs for all kinds
of people in every pocket of america. that means good paying union jobs. we are going to use every lever possible to make sure we do that including if you bid on this, you have to make sure you have project labor agreement. >> thank you secretary for joining us. ms. psaki: a couple of items at the top. as president biden noted, in a proclamation noted on sunday, we are marking holocaust remembrance day this week. today, we rededicate ourselves to standing in solidarity with the jewish people around the world and to remembering the horrors of the holocaust. an estimated 6 million juice perished among many other innocent victims around the world. we honor the memories of precious lives lost, reflect
upon the incomprehensible wounds to our community. we embrace holocaust survivors, some of whom are still with us. you deserve our continued support to live in dignity. with that, i only had one today. go ahead. >> [indiscernible] congress to take action -- liability protections, when should we expect to see that sent to the hill and how much effort is the president willing to put into gun control right now when so much of the administration is structured -- focused on the infrastructure plan? ms. psaki: there has been legislation passed in congress and he is calling for members to
reintroduce legislation on gun liabilities for manufacturers. it is an issue that he talked about on the campaign trail and he continues to believe that addressing that holding manufacturers to the same account as other industries is pivotal in keeping our communities safe, families safe, and addressing the threat of gun violence across the country. what he is calling for is the introduction of legislation of which there has been past versions. i will say this has been an issue that the president has been working on for decades throughout his career. he helped pass the brady bill. he helped get -- ban assault weapons in the 90's. he believes that taking additional steps on background checks, putting in place on assault weapons ban again or pivotal in keeping our nation safe. he supports the background check bill. it is imperative for any president to walk and chew gum at the same time. the push for, advocate for, use the bullet -- pulpit of the rose
garden to push forward a range of agenda items and he will continue to do that on putting in place common sense gun safety measures. >> sequencing is important acknowledging -- [indiscernible] why are guns now going before infrastructure? ms. psaki: congress plays the role. the senate in the house in moving legislation forward. in any given time, there are multiple pieces of legislation moving their way through. there two pieces of legislation that have gone through the house. he is an advocate for those as well as moving forward on the american jobs plan. >> on afghanistan, should we expect to hear from the president about what he will do
with american troops there. time is running out for an order of withdrawal for troops there. will there be troops there on may 2? is it in americans best interest to have troops serving overseas? ms. psaki: i will not get ahead of the president's decision and announcement. i anticipate you will hear from him before may 1. he has made it clear it is challenging to get troops out by may 1 which is not a deadline he put in place. it is a timeline put in place by the prior administration. there are certainly conditions on the ground including diplomacy, efforts to negotiate with the taliban that have been underway for the last several weeks. you will certainly hear from him and once you do, we can absolutely have a conversation about where we go from here. >> given the narrow majorities
in the house and senate right now, does the president think enacting universal background checks this year is doable? ms. psaki: i think the president is going to lead the analysis of what is viable and doable to all of you and certainly, he is not vote counting himself. he is also clear right about challenges in moving forward with legislation that the senate. he will continue to advocate for that just as he did today is morning in the rose garden surrounded by some of the bravest and most courageous advocates for gun control, gun safety legislation in the country. he also is not going to wait. that's why he took action on announcing several steps that can be taken in the form of executive actions, guidance, and nominating someone to lead the atf because he feels you can't wait and he's going to use the power of his presidency to take steps forward. >> we have a jobs cabinet, we
have face-to-face and zoom meetings going on about infrastructure. should we anticipate a gun control cabinet or meetings with republicans about this issue? ms. psaki: i certainly would anticipate the president will arrange conversations with members of congress. this is obviously slightly different even the role of the attorney general and measures on gun safety as is evidenced by the fact that he was present there today. it is different from a jobs cabinet, but i can assure you where this is appropriate, for members of the administration in the white house and otherwise to communicate with members of congress that will certainly continue to be at the top of our list. >> the u.s. and iran are engaged in nuclear talks this week. will americans detained in around be part of those discussions? ms. psaki: americans detained in iran are an issue that we have raised with partners around the
world and those having direct discussions with the iranians. in terms of the focus and content of these discussions, i know they will do a readout when they conclude tomorrow. >> when will the secretary hold a meeting with families, can you give us a sense of what else is ongoing in this regard? ms. psaki: in efforts to get americans who are detained? the efforts would be led by our diplomats and our negotiators at the state department. hits your reference to secretary blinken. given that we are not currently having direct talks on issues like the nuclear negotiations, i am not going to have an update on that -- beyond that from here. >> the army corps of engineers will be at a hearing regarding the dakota access pipeline. will that construction of that pipeline continue? ms. psaki: we will look at each
individual pipeline separately and do an analysis of the cost and benefits on the environment and jobs. i don't have an assessment of that, but we look at each of them individually. >> [indiscernible] a delay given the administration asked for more time. trying to figure out if you make it that tomorrow. ms. psaki: it would not come from the white house presumably but i could check on if there is an extended type line -- timeline that we can share from here. >> on the manufacturer liability bill, the president said if there was one item on his to do list it would be to get this done so that gun manufacturers can be held liable. it is something he promised on day one, it is now day 78. what is the hold up? ms. psaki: there is no holdup herded legislation needs to be introduced. the president has shared his view on the impact and we encourage them to reintroduce
that legislation. >> it is clear you are waiting to see how this works way through congress. why not put out your own bill, lead the charge on this? ms. psaki: he is leading the charge by advocating for this moving forward by using the pulpit of his presidency and of the rose garden -- rose garden to advocate for this. it is the role of congress to push legislation forward to move it through committees and he is hopeful they will do exactly that on this issue. >> the president did suggest recently that tackling this is a long-term issue. given the recent shootings, does he still see it that way? as a long-term issue? ms. psaki: he certainly sees it as an issue that we will not serve -- solved overnight. he is encouraged are the actions that we have seen across states. take red flag laws. 19 states have implement to those laws. in many places, there is a
partisan support for that. one of the announcements he made today was that we will be putting forward guidance to make it easier for states to put forward those laws. he knows that sometimes, the first action doesn't happen at the federal level. it can happen at the state level. we encouraged by that but he knows it can be a long journey. >> has he been touched with -- in touch with leader schumer? >> ms. psaki: he has talked with leader schumer about the impact of gun violence on the community. he certainly discuss this among a range of other issues. >> among the list of promises he made on the campaign, obviously you are doing what you think you can unilaterally are these measures to work its way through congress. as the president feel he is
doing everything he can to meet the scope of these commitments? ms. psaki: today, the administration announced initial actions to address gun violence, there will be more. that is absolutely his commitment. he will use the power of his presidency, his voice, his political will to advocate for actions and congress. he also recognizes that there are incredible roles to be played by many of the gun safety groups and leaders that were here today who have helped pass laws in states across the country from everywhere from that context to red flag laws. inks that have had a memorable impact in states to reduce incidence of gun violence, homicide, suicide as the result of guns. he will remain engaged with those groups and leaders as well and he will work on this through many levers. >> with ghost gun's, they can be bought, printing, and assembled at home. how is the president confident
that this rule can be enforced? ms. psaki: it is a rule being put in place by the department of justice. it is a step to make that more difficult to regulate an area of gun production that his not been regulated previously. it will have to be worked through through law enforcement officials through the country through the department of justice. >> if you're doing it at your house, how will they know or be able to enforce this? ms. psaki: there's the purchase of kits. also to make it harder, to regulate to make it harder to gain access to ghost guns and ghost gun kits is certainly a step forward in our view. >> my other question is on the atf now many. when would we expect for him to not -- formally nominate this role? ms. psaki: i would expect quite soon. there is no reason for delay on that.
for others who are not as familiar with the background, there has been a twitter about him out there. he is -- has 25 years of experience at the atf. he has helped with the 1993 trade center bomb. while he was there. there were investigations into the world trade center bombing and oklahoma city bombing. he has overseen complex firearms trafficking cases and he is a firearms owner himself. the president believes there is no one better to leave the atf and he looks forward to putting his nomination forward. >> is the white house worried this will be an uphill battle to get him confirmed? ms. psaki: that's up to congress. he has been an advocate for gun safety measures, but he also has 25 years of experience at the atf. he has played a pivotal role in investigations. he is a gun owner himself. he has a broad swath of qualifications and would believe he is somebody who should be
seriously considered by conference. ms. psaki: you are confident he can get confirmed. that is up to the president. -- that is up to congress. it is up to the senate to decide if they move forward with the nomination. >> my last question is on the refugee cap that the president has proposed raising. he has not signed the paperwork yet. is the white house committed to raising that cap to 62,500 by this fiscal year? ms. psaki: yes. >> should we expect that from october? ms. psaki: i would not anticipate that it should change. the president remains committed to raising the cap. >> have you counted the votes, do you think that the nominate could be confirmed by democrats alone? there is one who may not support
and atf director. are there any republicans you could win over or is this going to be a nomination that languishes like so many other atf directors have in the past? ms. psaki: we are certainly aware of the history. the president would not nominate him if he didn't think it was someone that the senate should give fair hearing to. we just announced his nomination today so i don't haven't -- i don't have an assessment of what the nomination will look like quite yet. >> have you look at the logistics, what does it look like? ms. psaki: i can't wait until we can announce this. we are still working through and finalizing the date, the logistics, the president remains committed to delivering a joint session. we are working with leaders in congress to finalize that. help we will have more to say soon. >> gm has halted production in
north america at several factories and extended shutdowns because of this conductor chip shortage. it is disrupting the auto industry. i am wondering, are there any short-term measures that the federal government can take to help with the shortage? is there anything that can be done? ms. psaki: we fully recognize that this is an issue that is impacting industries across the country including the auto industry. earlier this year, the president held a meeting with a bipartisan bicameral group. he continues to work and he feels there is opportunity to work with members of both parties on addressing what is a very challenging issue for many industries. there is a 100 day review that is ongoing that we plan to share that outcome of with american people soon. we are working through that review undertaking the focus on undertaking the first ever whole of government approach to secure
a supply chain to help address the issue for the long-term so that we are not just dealing with the short-term emergency. the president has also included $50 billion to create an offer's -- office at the commerce department to securing industrial capacity because he recognizes this is an issue we will continue to address. next week, there will be a meeting led by the nec director and national security advisor with a number of companies. we should have more details on hopefully by tomorrow to discuss and get some private sector input on how to address this issue. this is something that there is a great deal of focus on at the highest level across government. >> the president is supposed to meet with the japanese prime minister. i am wondering if he will ask him to place restrictions on export of semi conductor chips to china. ms. psaki: he is meeting with
the japanese prime minister next friday. i certainly expect semi conductor shortage to be a product of that discussion but we will not get ahead of the agenda of that. i expect it will have remarks and take questions following the meeting. >> the president has said that he intends to host lawmakers in the oval office. i wonder if you could give us a preview of whether or not that will include democrats, republicans, what type of outreach that will look like? ms. psaki: i expect he will have both democrats and republicans joint. once we have confirmation of attendees, we will share that information with all of you. >> next week on semiconductors, do you expect that to lead to recommendations? ms. psaki: it is part of our effort. it is led by the national security advisor of the national economic council. that shows you what a priority this is to the president to have a discussion about best practices, how the shortage is impacting their industries. to take that information back as part of our 100 day review.
i am not predicting an outcome or an announcement immediately coming as much as it is part of our consulting processes we are working to address an issue that is impacting a range of industries. >> is there some complication to raising the refugee camp cap? ms. psaki: no, we create ash remain committed to it. -- we remain committed to it. >> there has been an escalation of violence in northern ireland. are you aware? ms. psaki: we are concerned by the violence in northern ireland . we joined the british, irish, and northern irish leaders in their calls for,. we remain steadfast supporters of a prosperous northern ireland in which all communities enjoy one voice. we recognize the provisions in the trade agreement and the northern ireland protocol which helps protect the gains of the
good friday agreement. i would expect that engagements and discussions are at the level of the state department and i expect my colleague over there we will see if he has an update on the engagement today in his briefing. >> governor ron desantis -- demanding that [indiscernible] the able to operate again. hhs pushing the order declared unripe -- unlawful. ms. psaki: we don't have a direct response to a lawsuit nor a legal action. i will reiterate that the cdc guidance is based on data and health and medical guide -- guidelines. that is where they put it out and why they readily updated. >> the president has said july 4 is the deadline he would like to
see people able to gather and log groups -- small groups. does the president think that is an appropriate timeline? ms. psaki: we would defer to the cdc on updated guidelines. i don't anticipate, but i would defer to them on any expectation they have of changing the guidelines. again, they base those guidelines on data. the president's announcement on july 4 has nothing to do with cruise lines. it is incentivizing encouraging americans to get access to the vaccinia -- vaccine. by may, we will have enough vaccine to ensure every adult american can be vaccinated. that is more about small gatherings in your backyard and is quite different from cruises.
>> july 4 is the date that norwegian cruise line is asking for. to be able to allow vaccinated individuals to be able to cruise. that is where the july 4 date comes from. broadly speaking, they're asking in this industry for people to be able to be treated the same way as those on airplanes and trains. is there concern the white house has about the date to be able to resume cruising? ms. psaki: again, we rely on the guidance of the cdc. there is a return to science in this administration. they have put guidance out on cruise lines. if they decide to update them, that is their prerogative to do but that is not a decision based -- made in the white house. >> [indiscernible] ms. psaki: jonathan, i recognize you by your voice. [laughter] i can't see your mustache. he has a good mustache.
>> on state-level tax adduction, speaker pelosi has -- the cap. new york and new jersey said they won't support [indiscernible] are you working with members of congress now to find a way to address their concerns of the adduction cap? ms. psaki: this is a proposal that a number of members have eliminating the -- returning the salt deduction. it is not a revenue raiser as you know. we are open to hearing their ideas whether it is this or different proposals were different numbers for the corporate tax rates. what it could be raised to or whether there are different ways we can approach expanding broadband access or rebuilding our roads, railways, bridges, and helping our caregivers.
we expect this to be a part of the discussion. we expect members to bring forward ideas including issues like salt and that will be part of the negotiations moving forward. >> before president biden took office, there were advocates who lost loved ones in truck crashes. they asked them to support certain technology to reduce crashes. those technologies including braking systems were recommended to the safety board. is that something the president supports to have people be able to look at -- ms. psaki: i would have to talk to him about it, but the secretary of transportation is coming here tomorrow so that's a good question somebody can ask him. we will try to get something before you as well. >> under the obama
administration, there was -- the reduce sleep apnea. ms. psaki: every number that. i would have to check with our team who works on rulemaking as it relates to transportation. again, these all sound like good questions for the secretary of transportation but we will work between now and then to get you some answers. >> back on the liability gun maker issue again, at the risk of flogging a dead horse. can you explain what changed between when candidate biden said he would send legislation himself on day one until now, day 70 whatever it is what your position is that congress should do it on its own? ms. psaki: we are not saying they should do it on their own. just like there is legislation on banning assault weapons that the president supports, there is legislation on increasing
expanding universal background checks which he supports. there has been legislation, many cycles of congress on holding gun manufacturers to the same liability standards as other industries. all i am conveying is that he would advocate for that as he did today. there is an opportunity to re-induce -- reintroduce legislation. we hope members would do that and he would advocate for that and use the power of the presidency to move forward. >> he rules out drafting something himself. ms. psaki: it's not perhaps necessary given their has been a range of bills proposed that would address exactly this issue and a range of leaders in congress who have been advocates for putting in place common sense gun safety measures. i would not rule anything out. i am just conveying that there has been a range of bills put forward in the past that he would support that have addressed exactly this issue.
>> there is a spike in cases in japan and vaccines are in short supply. with the prime minister coming next week and the tokyo olympics , that has been a huge priority for the japanese. is it still the u.s. position that american athletes should attend those games and are you persuaded is the president persuaded that they will be safe? ms. psaki: our position hasn't changed. we work in close munication with the olympic committee and our advisors on assessing, but our position has not changed in their attendance at the game. >> is there any updating for ambassadors who have to march which you said was one of many other ministrations had done so and you haven't put any big ones forget. ms. psaki: i don't have an exact update other than to convey that i would expect that nominees,
career nominees will be in the first slate of nominees for ambassadors. as you're planning. >> a couple of questions on the gun safety executive orders. does the administration have data on how many crimes have been committed with these ghost gun's that you can share? ms. psaki: i'm sure we can get you some data. the experts that are joining us today have a bunch of data that they could share with you as well. maybe even on their websites. >> the president said a moment ago we go to a gun show, you can buy whatever you want, no background checks. is there a special exemption of federal law or do dealers not have to give background checks at a gun show? ms. psaki: were you asking me if he was referring to a specific circumstance? tell me more about your question. >> is it the president's belief
that you don't have to undergo background checks when you are a gun show? ms. psaki: no, he believes that background checks should be universal. >> he said no background check. ms. psaki: let me reiterate his position which is that that ground checks are something that should be universal. they are supported by more than 80% of the public. he supported legislation advocating for that. he advocated against loopholes as well. that is your -- that is his position and i prescient you asking for clarification. >> with regard to -- what is the method -- message to people early on where this was an issue, law-abiding folks who bought these and were not nominal. there something like 40 million currently in circulation. what should the law-abiding american do as they await that
regulation? should they expect contacts or it should they be prepared to turn theirs and or is it a confiscation situation? ms. psaki: i don't think that is what we are suggesting. there will be time to put in place this legislation and take a close look at the most effective way to do that. the effort underway is put in place measures make the country safer and make community safer. obviously, there are impacts. every step that he announced today, we believe will do exactly that. >> in terms of the scheduling of schedule one, i know it is difficult issue. given that scheduling is set to expire in may, is the administration taking a closer look at the scheduling of analogs? ms. psaki: i'm sorry we failed to get you a good answer on this. we will venture to do that for may 1 is the deadline? not your deadline, but the timeline.
we will check that and we will venture to do a better job getting back to you on that. >> [indiscernible] -- because of covid restrictions, then a wildcard question. ms. psaki: i like the set up. [laughter] >> despite warnings anti-transgender bills are a legal form of sex discrimination. a number of states have enacted into law's measures against transgender youth including a measure by overwriting a big -- veto of the governor. will the president reach out to the attorney general for action against state measures? ms. psaki: i can't stand here and predict legal action. that would be a decision made by the justice department and attorney general. president's view is that all
persons should receive equal treatment under law, no manner -- matter their gender identity or sexual orientation. that is fundamental to how he will advocate for laws. how will he will communicate his views on the rights of transgender individuals in the country and certainly, what his view is as it relates to any actions by the government. in terms of legal action, i would point you to the justice department. >> why shouldn't the president be able to communicate? ms. psaki: he certainly can. i don't have anything to predict for you at this point in time. >> how involved is former president obama in the biden harris administration? ms. psaki: i'm certain we will have bipartisan portrait unveiling events when covid allows. i don't know when that would be, but i know the president was supported.
in terms of his engagement with president obama, they are not just former colleagues, they are also close friends. they talk regularly about a range of issues from policy to bouncing ideas off of each other to their families. they are in close touch, but we don't read out those specific calls, we keep them private. >> now my wildcard question. there is a lot of construction on the south lawn. what's up with that? ms. psaki: i like that. i'm happy to give you a more official response, it is more regular maintenance. we expect it to be going on for 8-10 weeks. >> new construction going on, it doesn't look like regular happenings. is it construction for a new event or a new thing? ms. psaki: no, it is not.
i can get you a more official statement from our team that is overseeing the updates and the maintenance. >> three questions on gun violence. this president biden have a deadline for congress to act and if they don't meet that deadline, is he prepared for more executive action? ms. psaki: the president is not going to wait for congress to act to take -- additional exec of action. this is the beginning and he will continue to have his team review from a policy and legal standpoint. expect additional actions to take. he led the effort to emplace two dozen executive actions under the obama biden administration and he recognizes the only way to put in place permanent long-term measures to keep our children, communities, and families safe is by passing legislation. he is also committed to that. he is not going to wait.
he can move on both levers at the same time. >> how soon does the president hope to see change due to the executive action today? ms. psaki: change in what way? >> some of his policies in place. ms. psaki: there are certain times of review for different components of this. things like the guidance on red flag laws, something that states could use as soon as that is prepared and distributed to move forward on putting in place red flag laws. there are components of this that require 30 days, 60 days, etc. it is based on the comments of what he proposed this morning. >> what role did fred and other gun safety advocates play in crafting this executive action? ms. psaki: people like fred gutenberg and shanann watts and abby giffords, these are people who are absolute heroes on
getting gun safety measures in place. they have led the effort and there was no appetite in washington and none at the federal level to putting in place laws around the country. the president recognizes that and he is -- has a huge respect and value for the role they have placed which is why they were here today. our team has had conversations at a range of levels with a number of these gun safety leaders through the course of the president's presidency and they have ideas, proposals, and that was taken into account as we were considering policy options to put forward today. >> german chancellor burkle spoke with vladimir putin today about troops on the ukrainian border. what is the u.s. position and has there been contact between the u.s. and russia on this issue? ms. psaki: i don't have additional contact to read out other than the last high level contact was at the defense
ministry level the took place at the end of last week. since you gave with the opportunity, let me convey that the united states is increasingly concerned by escalating russian aggressions in eastern ukraine including russian troop movements on russia's border. russia now has more troops on the border than any time since 2014. five ukrainian soldiers have been killed this week alone. these are all deeply concerning signs. the president spoke with president zelensky as you know last week in addition to reassurance to ukrainian officials, we are also discussing our concerns about the increase in tensions and a cease fire with allies. i don't have any discussions with the russians to read out. >> about the president calling vladimir putin a killer.
[indiscernible] does the west in general have any influence on vladimir putin? ms. psaki: i think that is perhaps in some way suggesting that just because someone does bad behavior we shouldn't hold them accountable unless it's going to immediately change their behavior. that's not how we see foreign policy or how we see our engagement in the world. i think our focus is on, there is still an ongoing review of weeks not months. we are assessing as it relates to the troubling actions of russia and this russian government. where there will be consequences as the president has conveyed seen and unseen and we hope to have more on that soon. >> to follow up on your answer regarding former president obama. you say they are in touch fairly regularly. can you more clearly defined that? ms. psaki: that would be violating their friendship.
>> is it fair to say he is regular in touch with any other former president? ms. psaki: obama is the former president he is most frequently in touch with. >> are we talking two times per week? ms. psaki: i am not going to define it more other than to say that they engage not just about important moments in our country, but also about their own families. they have a connection on a personal level. they discussed a range of issues when they connect. >> does the president agree with senator manchin that budget reconciliation should not replace regular order in the senate? ms. psaki: for those of you who read the op-ed today or didn't -- did you all read it? surprised to hear. [laughter] there are a couple of principles the president has as it relates
to engagement with congress and a house -- how democrats and republicans should work together. the time has come to end these political games and usher in a new era of bipartisanship. he also believes the issues facing our democracy today are not insurmountable as we choose to tackle them together. he definitely believes that republicans have a responsibility to stop saying no and participate in finding real compromise with democrats. those are all lines in senator manchin's opinion piece. the president believes that there is a path forward to get the american jobs plan passed with bipartisan support which is why he's going to invite democrats and republicans here. he's going to hear from them on their ideas that they have already put forward. we are going to leave it to the leaders in congress to determine mechanisms, but we believe there's every opportunity for them to do this on a bipartisan basis. >> can you rule out the root --
russian sanctions coming this week? ms. psaki: yes. i'm not going to rule out further. i'm just try to give you some sleep tomorrow. we already have the budget guidance tomorrow. we can't overload you on a friday. >> you mentioned secretary buttigieg will be here tomorrow. i will not be. with regard to the 20,000 miles of highways, roads, and main street and the president infrastructure plan, it said there will be significant -- in the country and it will repair the smaller bridges. the white house has not released any list of these. why isn't there a list that you can share with us and presumably, there is a list otherwise where did you get the
10,000 and 20,000 numbers? ms. psaki: in terms of roads and railways to get prepared -- repaired? we expect that the package and the funding will come through a combination of grants and competitive grants. formula grants are allocated to states based on certain criteria like the number of miles of an interstate highway or a population in a given urban area . most of our existing transportation funding flows through formula grants. with past infrastructure funding bills that have gone through congress in the last several decades. this gives states a lot of flexibility in covering how they repair roads and things that need to be repaired in their state. the other type of funding is competitive grants. those 10 bridges, they would be through competitive grants. direct funding through certain policy goals like the tiger
grant part of the recovery act. we expect that to be how it is structured. that will be discussed and finalized through our conversations with members of congress with leaders in congress about what the combination of those funding components should be. >> one final question. the president talked about his belief about the vice president leading -- with guns. what is the president think that this time will be different than any other time for this legislation and is he committing that it will be different? ms. psaki: he is committing that it will be different. if the president was just defeated, every time he was defeated on an objective oracle, he would not be president. here he is. he remains an advocate throughout his life to putting in place safety measures and it
is something he has been committed to not through words but through action. he believes that it is something that as president, he can help move forward and put in place more action. thank you, everyone. ♪ >> you're watching c-span, your unfiltered view of government. c-span was created by america's cable television companies in 1979. today, we are brought to you by these television companies who provide c-span to viewers as a public service. >> coming up, nancy pelosi holter weekly news conference. that is live at 2:00 p.m.
eastern. then proposals to change the federal court structure hosted by the constitution society for law and policy. ♪ > book tv on c-span2 has books and authors every weekend. saturday, a columbia university law professor looks at america's approach to individual rights in his book. saturday at 9 p.m. eastern, a professor talks about free speech and the free exchange of ideas in his book. sunday at 9 p.m. eastern on afterwards, in her new book, senator tammy duckworth talks
about her life and career in the military and in the u.s. senate. she is interviewed by politicos congressional editor. watch book tv every weekend. be sure to tune into in-depth sunday, may 2 at noon eastern with an author on book tv on c-span2. half-hour we will get your thoughts on this plan announcement by the biden administration, several executive actions when it comes to the topics of guns and gun violence. we will go through them and get your thinking as far as what you support or oppose it. if you support it, 202-748-8000. if you oppose it, 202-748-8001. and we will take up that when " washington journal" continues. before that though, he will go to a previous interview that we did -- we will