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Press Gaggle: Olivia Dalton Holds a Press Briefing on Air Force One - February 28, 2023

  • Olivia Dalton
    Person
  • Question
    Person
Unknown

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:00:00-00:00:13 (13 sec)
Good morning -- afternoon, actually. As you all know, the President is traveling to Virginia Beach today to lay out the stakes of efforts by MAGA Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicaid. 1

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:00:13-00:00:30 (17 sec)
Virtually every Republican budget in the last decade has tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicaid, and it's important to remember what that means. That agenda would raise healthcare costs for seniors, working families, and Americans with pre-existing conditions, and cause millions of people to lose their coverage. 2

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:00:30-00:00:48 (18 sec)
It means more than 100 million people with pre-existing health conditions could lose critical protections, that tens of millions of people could see their prescription drug coverage scaled back. Forty million people's healthcare insurance coverage would be at risk, including a million Virginians. That's one in eight people in -- across the commonwealth. 3

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:00:48-00:01:03 (15 sec)
And over 7 million seniors and people with disabilities could receive worse home care and nursing care. Millions of people could lose access to substance use treatment or mental health care. And over 500 rural hospitals would be at risk for closure. 4

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:01:03-00:01:10 (8 sec)
That is what Republicans are calling for by putting the ACA and Medicaid on the chopping block. And today, the President will call them out for that. 5

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:01:10-00:01:20 (10 sec)
We also have some late breaking news. Exciting news. Today, the President Bi- -- today, the President announced his intent to nominate Julie Su to serve as Secretary of the Department of Labor. 6

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:01:20-00:01:32 (12 sec)
Julie is a tested and experienced leader who will continue to build a stronger, more resilient, and more inclusive economy that pres- -- provides Americans a fair return for their work and an equal chance to get ahead. 7

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:01:32-00:01:41 (9 sec)
Julie has spent her entire life fighting to make sure that everyone has a fair shot, that no community is overlooked, and that no worker is left behind. 8

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:01:41-00:01:58 (17 sec)
Over several decades, Julie led the largest state labor department in the nation, cracked down on wage theft, fought to protect trafficked workers, increased the minimum wage, created good-paying, high-quality jobs, and established and enforced workplace safety standards. 9

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:01:58-00:02:05 (8 sec)
Julie is a champion for workers, and she has been a critical partner to Secretary Wals- -- Walsh since the early days of this administration. 10

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:02:05-00:02:22 (17 sec)
She helped avert a national rail shutdown, improved access to good jobs free from discrimination through the Good Jobs Initiative, and is ensuring that the jobs we create in critical sectors like semiconductor manufacturing, broadband, and healthcare are good-paying, stable, accessible jobs for all. 11

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:02:22-00:02:26 (4 sec)
We urge the Senate to take up her nomination quickly so that we can finish the job for America's workers. 12

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:02:26-00:02:29 (3 sec)
And with that, I will take your questions. 13

Question

Unknown
00:02:29-00:02:40 (11 sec)
Okay. I have a question about TikTok. So, I wondered if the President is encouraging Americans to follow the government's lead and take TikTok off the phones. 14

Question

Unknown
00:02:40-00:02:42 (2 sec)
Could you hear me? 15

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:02:42-00:02:49 (7 sec)
So, we've been clear about our concerns about apps like TikTok. As you know, there's a CFIUS review that's ongoing. 16

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:02:49-00:03:16 (27 sec)
The Biden administration is focused on the challenge of certain countries, including China, seeking to leverage digital technologies and Americans' data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks. That's why we're taking every step we can within the executive branch authority, including enacting the first-ever presidential directive defining additional national security factors for CFIUS to consider in line with this administration's national security priorities like protecting Americans' sensitive data. 17

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:03:16-00:03:23 (7 sec)
And last year, President Biden put forward an executive order to protect Americans' sensitive data from collec- -- collection and utilization. 18

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:03:23-00:03:30 (7 sec)
So, we'll continue to look at other actions that we can take, and include -- that includes how to work with Congress on this issue further. 19

Question

Unknown
00:03:30-00:03:52 (22 sec)
On student loans, I know that you know that arguments started today in the Supreme Court. Many legal experts have said, basically, that if this plan was released earlier, that it would have a stronger argument in the courts. I guess, could you explain why the administration didn't release it earlier, even though Biden promised on the campaign trail for debt cancellation? 20

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:03:52-00:04:08 (16 sec)
Well, look, the bottom line is: We're confident in our legal authority, which is why we've taken the case all the way to the Supreme Court on behalf of 40 million Americans who need a little bit more breathing room, who need an opportunity to get back on their feet coming out of this pandemic and preparing to restart their loan payments. 21

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:04:08-00:04:25 (17 sec)
So, you know, we are focused on -- on -- on that. We're focused on and we're confident in our legal auth- -- authority to carry out this program, which is why we rolled it out in the first place. And I think you heard the administration's lawyers making a very strong case in the court today. 22

Question

Unknown
00:04:25-00:04:28 (3 sec)
But why not release it earlier when we were still in the throes of the pandemic? 23

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:04:28-00:04:43 (14 sec)
Well, look, I think what's important to remember is that the emergency ending doesn't change the legal justification for the program. There was a national emergency. Millions of borrowers were nega- -- negatively impacted by the pandemic and faced the risk of default on their student loans due to that emergency. 24

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:04:43-00:04:50 (7 sec)
And, you know, our position is: Congress gave the Secretary of Education the authority to take steps to prevent that harm, and he's doing that. 25

Question

Unknown
00:04:50-00:04:54 (4 sec)
Olivia, should there be -- should there be a federal ban on TikTok? 26

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:04:54-00:04:56 (2 sec)
I don't have anything in addition to what I just shared with your colleague. 27

Question

Unknown
00:04:56-00:05:01 (5 sec)
But would the President suppo- -- when you say they're looking at other actions, what might that entail? 28

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:05:01-00:05:11 (10 sec)
I'm not going to get ahead of anything. As I just laid out, you know, we have serious concerns with apps like TikTok. There's a CFIUS review underway. And we're looking at what else we might be able to do, including working with Congress. 29

Question

Unknown
00:05:11-00:05:24 (13 sec)
Olivia, on the Energy Department analysis about the Wuhan lab leak theory, is the White House concerned about the leak, meaning the leak of the information? And are you doing anything to find out where it came from? Because it exposes some disconnect in the administration. 30

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:05:24-00:05:30 (5 sec)
I'd refer you to the White House Counsel's Office on that. I don't have anything additional to share on this at this time. 31

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:05:30-00:05:46 (17 sec)
I think, as you heard from my colleagues over the last couple of days, the President has directed the intelligence community to get to -- to get to the bottom of the COVID-19 origins. He believes it's critically important information that Americans need and that we need in order to prevent future pandemics and ensure we're all better prepared. 32

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:05:46-00:05:59 (12 sec)
That said, the intelligence community has not come to a consensus, and he has directed, you know, the intelligence community to continue to make any additional insights we pick up along the way available to Congress and the American public. 33

Question

Unknown
00:05:59-00:06:03 (4 sec)
Has he issued any new direction in the wake of this reports of Energy? 34

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:06:03-00:06:04 (2 sec)
I don't have anything new to share on that today. 35

Question

Unknown
00:06:04-00:06:12 (8 sec)
Olivia, is the President concerned that Senator Fetterman's health and absence away from the Hill will complicate Julie Su's confirmation process? 36

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:06:12-00:06:28 (16 sec)
Look, I think, you know, with respect to Senator Fetter- -- Senator Fetterman, I don't have anything additional to read out in -- in the, you know -- in the -- you know, in -- with respect to conversations with the senator or her -- or his team. 37

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:06:28-00:06:37 (9 sec)
But I would want to reiterate that as the President has -- and First Lady have previously shared, they're thinking about John, Giselle, and the entire Fet- -- Fetterman family at this moment. 38

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:06:37-00:06:43 (6 sec)
Millions of Americans go untreated with depression every day. Senator Fetterman did the right and brave thing by getting the help he needs. 39

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:06:43-00:06:49 (5 sec)
And we're grateful to Senator Fetterman for leading by example and taking the time he needs to get healthy. 40

Question

Unknown
00:06:49-00:06:52 (4 sec)
Just clarifying, he hasn't spoken to Senator Fetterman since he checked into Walter Reed? 41

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:06:52-00:06:54 (2 sec)
I don't have anything to read out for you at this time? 42

Question

Unknown
00:06:54-00:06:55 ( sec)
Or Giselle? 43

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:06:55-00:06:57 (3 sec)
I haven't -- I don't have any conversations to read out to you at this time. 44

Question

Unknown
00:06:57-00:07:11 (14 sec)
On the student loans: With the Court at 6-3 conservative bent, are there contingency plans in place or anything, given the fact that, you know, it could expire as early as June? 45

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:07:11-00:07:27 (16 sec)
Look, we're focused on plan A because we're confident in our legal authority to carry out this program, which is why, again, we initiated it in the first place. So I think you heard strong arguments from administration lawyers today in court about our legal authority to execute the program. And we're focused on that. 46

Question

Unknown
00:07:27-00:07:34 (8 sec)
But if the President is committed to seeing debt cancellation, why not even consider whether the Supreme Court will shut this down? 47

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:07:34-00:07:42 (8 sec)
Because we're confident in our legal arguments. And we're really focused on making those arguments in a strong way at the court, which is exactly what administration lawyers did today. 48

Question

Unknown
00:07:42-00:07:51 (9 sec)
Is the President aware of these reports that Rupert Murdoch showed campaign -- Biden campaign ads to the Trump White House? 49

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:07:51-00:08:08 (17 sec)
Look, here's what I'd say about that: Regardless of any new revelations about, you know, bias or behavior in the 2020 campaign, President Biden won the most American -- the most votes of any candidate in American history because he had the vision, message, and record that put the interests of hardworking Americans first. 50

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:08:08-00:08:13 (5 sec)
And these kinds of revelations aren't particularly surprising to anyone who has tuned into Fox News lately. 51

Question

Unknown
00:08:13-00:08:19 (7 sec)
Does it raise concerns about the upcoming election -- the presidential election, given if -- you know, what happened in 2020? 52

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:08:19-00:08:27 (7 sec)
You know, I'm just going to be, out of an abundance of cautious -- caution, very careful about commenting on elections going forward due to the Hatch Act. 53

Question

Unknown
00:08:27-00:08:38 (11 sec)
Olivia, two questions. One, has the President decided whether he's going to accept a bill that would overturn the D.C. Council's action on the criminal code in the city? 54

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:08:38-00:08:47 (9 sec)
Just a couple of things on that. I think you might be aware we issued a statement of administration policy on that. So I'd reference -- refer you to look at that statement -- SAP. 55

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:08:47-00:08:56 (9 sec)
But broadly speaking, the President has been clear that we have to do more to reduce crime and save lives. And he has outlined how he anticipates we should do so in his Safer America plan. 56

Question

Unknown
00:08:56-00:09:08 (13 sec)
All right. Second question. Is there any concern here? I mean, the President is going to rail against Republicans today for their plans that they've advocated in the past. Is there any likelihood that Senator Schumer would see to it that these bills wind up on the President's desk? 57

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:09:08-00:09:10 (2 sec)
Sorry, I didn't hear the end of that. 58

Question

Unknown
00:09:10-00:09:16 (6 sec)
Right. So is there a concern here that somehow Senator Schumer is going to put these bills on the President's desk? 59

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:09:16-00:09:17 (1 sec)
I'm sorry, which bills? 60

Question

Unknown
00:09:17-00:09:25 (8 sec)
The bills the President is going to be railing against today -- the Republican plans. I mean, there's no chance they're going to become a bill that would wind up passing the Senate, right? 61

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:09:25-00:09:27 (2 sec)
I'm not sure I'm entirely tracking what you're saying. 62

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:09:27-00:09:39 (12 sec)
But, look, the President is going to outline his plans to continue, you know, focusing on bringing down medical costs, protecting and strengthening programs like Medicare and Medicaid today. 63

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:09:39-00:10:05 (26 sec)
And he's talked about the fact that when he introduces his budget next week, you'll see that it will invest in America, lower healthcare costs, protect and strengshen [sic] -- strengthen Social Security and Medicare, and cut the deficit by more than 2 million -- 2 trillion dollars -- "T" with tr- -- trillion with a "T" -- over the next 10 years. And he'll do all of that by -- without, you know, having taxes go up by a single penny for people making under $400,000. 64

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:10:05-00:10:28 (23 sec)
So, you know, he'll contrast that with Republicans plans. You know, they've repeatedly put Medi- -- Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act on the chopping block. And, you know, call on them to put their plan forward. You know, they've said that they want to balance the budget. They've also put forward proposals that would blow up the deficit by $3 trillion. So how do you square the circle? 65

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:10:28-00:10:47 (19 sec)
And if past is prologue, we anticipate seeing Republicans put forward the same kinds of policies -- slashing Medicaid and the Affordable Health Care Act -- and jeopardizing these critical programs that so many millions of Americans depend on. And you'll hear from the President about that today. 66

Question

Unknown
00:10:47-00:10:51 (4 sec)
Any plan -- any updated travel to Ohio? Any plans to travel to Ohio? 67

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:10:51-00:10:52 (1 sec)
No new news for you there. 68

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:10:52-00:11:03 (12 sec)
But as you know, the President has been engaged from the earliest hours since the derailment. You see that Administrator Regan is back there today. The President has directed his team to stay on top of this, and they are. 69

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:11:03-00:11:16 (12 sec)
As of last night, 535 families have received direct outreach from federal response officials on the ground. So he's going to stay on top of this and make sure that his team is too. 70

Question

Unknown
00:11:16-00:11:25 (9 sec)
Just quickly, Julie Su has faced some criticism over her handling of unemployment benefits in California during the pandemic. How is the administration prepared to defend her on that? 71

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:11:25-00:11:37 (12 sec)
Look, when the pandemic hit, red and blue states were dealing with fragile, outdated technology. And under Julie's leadership, California took important steps to process a historic number of claims -- one in five in the entire nation. 72

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:11:37-00:11:46 (9 sec)
Julie believes that our safety nets must be strengthened. And during her time at DOL, she has worked with states to set a big-table national approach to these issues because they are a national problem. 73

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:11:46-00:11:55 (9 sec)
And I'll add that, since taking office, President Biden has prioritized combatting potential fraud relief funds just as he did aggressively and successfully as Vice President. 74

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:11:55-00:12:11 (16 sec)
The President has worked closely with DOL, empowered inspectors' general to strongly monitor programs, secured historic funding in the ARP to strengthen anti-fraud programs, and appointed a chief pandemic prosecutor at the DOJ to go after fraudsters and help better safeguard COVID relief money. 75

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:12:11-00:12:21 (10 sec)
Our administration also provided $2 billion in additional UI administrative funding to detect and prevent fraud, promote equitable access, and ensure the timely payment of benefits. 76

Question

Unknown
00:12:21-00:12:30 (9 sec)
I think I know the answer, but any comment on the McCaul legislation today, specifically the TikTok legislation that would allow the President to ban TikTok nationwide? 77

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:12:30-00:12:34 (3 sec)
I don't have anything additional to my previous comments. 78

Olivia Dalton

Unknown
00:12:34-00:12:40 (6 sec)
All right, thanks, everybody. 79