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Message to the Congress on Designation of Funding as an Emergency Requirement in Accordance with Section 114(c) of division A of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2024 and Other Extensions Act

Sat, 09/30/2023 - 23:48

     In accordance with section 114(c) of division A of the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2024 and Other Extensions Act (H.R. 5860; the “Act”), I hereby designate as emergency requirements all funding (including the transfer and repurposing of funds) so designated by the Congress in the Act pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985, as outlined in the enclosed list of accounts.

     The details of this action are set forth in the enclosed memorandum from the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

                               JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

September 30, 2023.

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Press Release: Bill Signed: H.R. 5860

Sat, 09/30/2023 - 23:14

On Saturday, September 30, 2023, the President signed into law:
H.R. 5860, which provides fiscal year appropriations to Federal agencies through November 17, 2023, for continuing projects of the Federal Government and extends several expiring authorities.


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Statement from President Joe Biden on Passage of the Bipartisan Bill to Keep the Government Open

Sat, 09/30/2023 - 21:13

Tonight, bipartisan majorities in the House and Senate voted to keep the government open, preventing an unnecessary crisis that would have inflicted needless pain on millions of hardworking Americans. This bill ensures that active-duty troops will continue to get paid, travelers will be spared airport delays, millions of women and children will continue to have access to vital nutrition assistance, and so much more. This is good news for the American people.
But I want to be clear: we should never have been in this position in the first place. Just a few months ago, Speaker McCarthy and I reached a budget agreement to avoid precisely this type of manufactured crisis. For weeks, extreme House Republicans tried to walk away from that deal by demanding drastic cuts that would have been devastating for millions of Americans. They failed.
While the Speaker and the overwhelming majority of Congress have been steadfast in their support for Ukraine, there is no new funding in this agreement to continue that support. We cannot under any circumstances allow American support for Ukraine to be interrupted. I fully expect the Speaker will keep his commitment to the people of Ukraine and secure passage of the support needed to help Ukraine at this critical moment.


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June 2023 Visitor Logs Records Posted

Sat, 09/30/2023 - 17:00

Today the White House released visitor log records generated in June 2023. This set includes 94,836 records, bringing the total number of records posted to 762,452.

These records were posted pursuant to the White House’s policy to voluntarily disclose visitor log records. This release is consistent with the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to becoming the first administration to post visitor log records from its first full year in office.

To learn more about the policy, read our voluntary disclosure policy. To view visitor log records, view our disclosure page.


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Press Briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Office of Management and Budget Director Shalanda Young

Sat, 09/30/2023 - 14:16

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

(September 29, 2023)

12:41 P.M. EDT

(Ms. Jean-Pierre steps over a cable on the press dais.)

Q    That was — that was risky.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Very risky.

Q    You are feisty today.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I am feisty.  It’s Friday, folks.  It’s Friday.  Happy Friday.  Good afternoon.  We have the amazing Shalanda Young in the house, so this is great.

But before I turn it over to the OMB Director — and I’ll do that in a second — I want to recognize a terrible milestone that I know many of you are — are very aware of, which is it has now been about six months since American journalist Evan Gershkovich was wrongfully detained in Russia for doing his job, for reporting the news.

As the world knows, Russia’s claims are baseless.  It is clear that Evan is being held for lev- — for leverage because he is an American.  That should bother every single one of us — every single one of us.

The President has been clear that we have no higher priority than securing the release of Evan, Paul Whelan, and all Americans wrongfully detained abroad.

Once again, we call for Russia to immediately release Evan and also to release wrongfully detained U.S. citizen Paul Whelan.  Our efforts to secure their release are ongoing, and we will not stop until they are home.

I also want to take a minute to echo the President’s sentiments on the legacy of Senator Dianne Feinstein.  She was a history maker — a history-making trailblazer who dedicated her life to the people of California for over half a century.  From the city of San Francisco to the halls of Congress, Senator Feinstein turned her passion into purpose to benefit the lives of all Americans.

As the President said, he had his own close relationship with the Senator, forged over 15 years together in the Senate, and she was a cherished friend.

And finally, before I do turn it over to our guest, I wanted to make one more thing very clear, which we have been doing as an administration from here for the past couple of days.

Now, as you all know, extreme House Republicans are so- — are solely — solely to blame for marching us toward a shutdown. That is what we’re seeing right now.  It is a basic fact and one that many of you have already reported.

I know how much you will love when I quote, folks, so here we go.

Politico wrote, and I quote, “Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s choice to go back on the deal he made with [the] President is about a plunge — is about to plunge the federal government into chaos,” end quote.

Punchbowl says, and I quote, “McCarthy is the only congressional principal no longer abiding by the agreement,” end quote.

Washington Post writes, quote, “Of course, Biden has played no role in bringing Congress to the brink of a shutdown,” end quote.

And it’s not just what you all are reporting.  It’s also what Republicans are saying themselves.

Leader McConnell said, and I quote, “Shutting down the government is a choice.  And it’s a choice that would make the crisis at our Southern border even worse,” end quote.

Speaker McCarthy said, some individuals, quote, “just want to burn the whole place down,” end quote.

Represen- — Representative Garret Graves said, “The arsonists have li- — have lit their house on fire.”

Representative Matt — Matt Gaetz said, “We will have a government shutdown, and… We cannot blame Joe Biden… We cannot blame House Democrats.”

Representatives George Santos and Ralph Norman admitted in saying — by saying, “Shut it down.”  Those are their words.

But no one can explain what House Republicans are shutting down the government over.  It’s a serious question, and they don’t have a good answer for it.

As Nich — Newt Gingrich said, and I quote, “I frankly don’t understand it — I think it’s sort of nuts.  There are times people vote yes one day, and then they come back and vote no the next day and can’t explain why they switched,” end quote.

So, we are here today facing a possible shutdown.  Because even after Speaker McCarthy said that the bipartisan budget agreement would help “Congress work again to do their jobs, the appropriation bills,” he chose a different path — an extreme partisan path toward a shutdown — a Republican — extreme Republican shutdown.

So, for more on this, our speaker has — has brok- — has — has broken for —

So, let me step back for now.  For more on how the Speaker has broken his word and the impacts of the devastating cuts he is proposing, we have our OMB Director Shalanda Young to talk through those — those impacts.

All right.  There you go.


Q    Hello.

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Who all thought I’d be back here so soon?  (Laughter.)  Maybe you all did.  I certainly hoped I would not. 

It’s been just four months since President Biden, House Republicans, House Democrats, Senate Republicans, and Senate Democrats all made a bipartisan budget deal.  You all were there.  I was there.  You remember what it took to get to that deal. 

We shook hands, two thirds of Congress voted for it, and the President signed it into law — a commitment to the American people that reduced the deficit, protected critical programs, and ensured their government remained open. 

Today, four of those five sides I just listed are sticking by that deal.  The one side, House Republicans, are refusing to live up to their end of the bargain.  They have turned their back on the deal.  They are on an island entirely by themselves and entirely of their own making.  Their chaos — and their chaos alone — is now threatening to push us into a shutdown. 

This is not only a violation of the deal; the President signed this deal into law.  And let’s be very clear about what they are demanding as a condition of keeping the government open.  It’s all right there in the CR they’re considering right now — plain black and white.

Instead of working in a bipartisan fashion to keep the government open, they’re now tripling down on their demands to eviscerate programs that the American people rely on — the exact same ransom they sought for honoring the full faith and credit of the United States. 

Their bill includes devastating 30 percent cuts.  You heard me: 30 percent cuts.

And listen to what that means.  It would eliminate 12,000 FBI agents, almost 1,000 ATF agents, and more than 500 local law enforcement; kick almost 300,000 children out of Head Start; rob more than a million seniors of nutrition services, like Meals on Wheels. 

And guess what?  If they don’t get their way, if we don’t go along with the devastating cuts I just listed here, they want to force a shutdown that will hurt our economy and national security. 

What would a shutdown mean?  More than 2 million service members wouldn’t get their paycheck.  Long-term disaster recovery would be further delayed.  Nutrition assistance for nearly 7 million women and children who rely on WIC would be jeopardized.  Small businesses would lose out on more than $100 million a day in loans.  What kind of choice is that?

In addition to the more than 2 million service members who won’t get their paychecks, we’re talking about more than 1.5 million federal civilian employees, by current estimate — roughly a quarter of whom are veterans — missing paychecks.  Meat and food inspectors, Border Patrol agents, air traffic controllers, TSA agents — just a small example. 

On top of that, federal contractors have no guarantee of back pay.  None.  The thousands of federal contractors who serve the mission of this country to serve the American people, no guarantee that they’re made whole. 

Folks who I see around my office every day, people you see around here cleaning, who can least afford to miss a paycheck, no guarantee they will be made whole. 

Our message is simple.  House Republicans need to stick to the agreement we already reached and they already voted for, do the job they were elected to do. 

And we know it’s not a lot to ask for because just yesterday an overwhelming 76 senators, Democrats and Republicans, voted to move forward on a bipartisan bill to keep the government open. 

Enough is enough.  A deal is a deal.  Extreme House Republicans need to stop playing political games with people’s lives, keep their promise, and keep the government open. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  All right.  First question.  Go ahead.

Q    Thank you.  Thank you, Director.


Q    Hi, how are you?


Q    I know you mentioned a couple workers — cleaning staff, people in your office.  Can you give us a bigger picture of who at the White House will be affected?  Who will be deemed essential and — and who will be furloughed, including the press team for —

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Yeah, I think —

Q    — our purposes?  (Laughter.)

DIRECTOR YOUNG:   Yeah, no.  (Cross-talk.)

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  I’ll let them read out the specifics of who will be here.  But just like every federal agency, there are legal definitions about who can work during a time of shutdown.  No one, clearly, gets paid, but there are people who will be furloughed, and there are people who will be excepted, who —

And just at a macro level, about 800,000 people would be excepted across the government out of the one and a half million civilians I talked about, and about 700,000 [820,000] would be furloughed. 

I don’t want to get into specifics of different agencies and the White House.  We can read out — I’m sure you talk to the various offices later.  But that is a large amount of people who will be furloughed across the government.

The White House and OMB will feel the same as the rest of agencies.  We will do the best we can to continue to service the American people.  Clearly, our men and women in uniform will be at their duty stations — without pay, unfortunately.  So, we will keep vital national security things going — life and safety. 

But it will be hard to do everything government should do for the American people in a shutdown. 

Q    And then, quickly, do you and President Biden regret trusting McCarthy?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Look, I won’t go there.  (Laughter.)  And it’s not a trust exercise, right?  We passed a law. 

Q    Well — well, but you had —

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  It’s not a trust — I didn’t fall backwards in the woods.  (Laughter.)  It’s not a trust exercise. 

Q    But when you cut —

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Yeah, we’re not — we’re not — it —

Sev- — seventy percent of House Republicans voted for a bill.  So it’s beyond trust; we have a law.  What else are we supposed to do?

This President is committed to governing, committed to doing the right thing.  This is who the Republican Conference elected to be their Speaker.  He asked to work with us on the budget deal.  We did that.  We find ourselves here. 

Q    Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Colleen.

Q    I wondered if you could talk about the U.S. assistance to Ukraine in the face of a shutdown?  What happens to it?  How does it work?  Do you know?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Well, just like the rest of defense and our diplomacy efforts, we do as much as we can.  Clearly, there is carryover money to keep some things going.  But it’s impacted — just like if we don’t get further assistance, that is impacted. 

You cannot do more with less when you talk about a wartime effort.  It just doesn’t exist.  And there are rules for a reason.  You must have money to buy things. 

So, we also worry about our own stockpiles.  So, even if we could continue to deliver, what can we do to ensure American readiness does not suffer? 

So, I worry about that in a shutdown.  And I worry about that if we don’t keep the — the critical aid going to Ukraine, which is why you saw, on a bipartisan basis, the Senate move forward to keep that going. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  Hi, Director. 


Q    What do you see as the end game here?  Are you willing to make any concessions to the hardline Republicans?  And for how long are you expecting this shutdown to last?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  So, one, I think you get into real trouble in this town trying to play crystal-ball maker.  I will tell you what the fastest path is to make sure this does not happen.  You saw it in the Senate, with bipartisan vote to keep the government running. 

I think we have to remember what we’re talking about: 47 days.  Not a year, not two — 47 days.  The point of a CR — we call them “stopgaps” — you keep stuff going.  What did you do on September 30th as a government?  You should keep doing that on October 1. 

This is not hard.  It is not meant to come back and negotiate and — and redo things we just agreed to do three months ago.  It is to keep the government open to give congressional negotiators more time on long-term bills.  This is not an exercise in reopening negotiations.  We negotiated, at the Speaker’s request, three months ago. 

My life is still recovering from it.  I remember it very vividly.  There are no negotiations left to have on a 47-day bill. 

The conversation that needs to happen is with the Speaker and the Republican conference, period. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, MJ.

Q    Thank you, Director Young.  Given that FEMA is already only prioritizing urgent and life-and-death operations, in the event of a shutdown, how long can even just those operations be sustained?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Look, it depends on — we’re still in hurricane season.  People think that it ends in August, September.  So, my answers will be assuming no more major disasters happen.  Everything is on the — off the table if something really truly catastrophic happens.  But on due course, we think we can continue to do life and safety from FEMA. 

But you’re right, FEMA is holding over 2,000 projects in abeyance because of their current fiscal situation.  When did we tell Congress about this?  In mid-August.  It’s now late September.  We told them we cannot pay our disaster relief bills in mid-August.  It’s now late September, and they are now marching us towards a shutdown where those 2,000 projects just get longer and longer and longer. 

So, if you are my home state of Louisiana, if you are Puerto Rico, if you are Texas, anyone who has had a major de- — declaration in the past who are doing long-term recovery, we have to continue to hold to pay for those — those projects that are needed to continue to rebuild.

Q    But the life-and-death operations, though, they can continue indefinitely?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  They can continue.  But I want you to know, that statement applies if there are no more large, large events.  You know, I — we will have a different answer if there is a catastrophic event that pushes FEMA past the point of being — having enough money to do life and safety. 

Right now, if there are no catastrophic events, we can continue to do life and safety.

Q    But if there are, then that may not be possible?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  I mean, that is always the answer.  I’ve done FEMA budgets since I was a baby staffer on Appropriations.  All rules, all statements are out the windows when you have large, large events.  They just skew the numbers needed so greatly.

Q    Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Patsy.

Q    Thanks, Karine. (Inaudible.)  Do you have a — and I’m sorry if you mentioned this at the topper.  Do you have an estimate of how much does it cost when we have a shutdown and then we reopen the government again — an estimate of, you know, per day or per week or however long it goes?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Yeah, we’ll say — look, our analysis on a shutdown really is tied to how long it happens.  But one can expect, like, a 0.1 to 0.2 percent — I think most economists agree — hit to GDP. 

The hope is, though, during a shutdown, if that happened, the economy would be able to pick that GDP loss up in the next quarter.  So, it may not be a permanent loss. 

But why risk our economy for a manufactured shutdown, all a problem within one conference in Congress?

I say 0.1 and 0.2, and that doesn’t sound big — 0.1 percent of our economy is $26 billion.

Q    I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear.  That’s a hit to the economy.  But is there an actual cost to, you know, shutting down the government and then reopening again, like any kind of logistical admin costs?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  So, it will not cost anything that would be outside of our normal — our normal spin rate, like the people in the office on — not the 30th, because the 30th is a Saturday — on the 29th will do the work they need to do today.  They will pr- — be provided, like, four hours on their devices to — to send people —  and have out of office, send people last messages. 

But there tends not to be — we don’t have to go close major infrastructure.  There’s not a large spike in spending in order to close down. 

What is really expensive is the hit to — to GDP, the inability of people to access services like WIC.  And it’s not just new people signing up for things like WIC; it is people who are on WIC currently.  They cannot get access to the meals they would normally get.  That is the real impact to the American people. 

Q    Fundamentally, we’ve been here —


Q    Oh, I’m sorry — (inaudible), so I got excited.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Oh, no —


MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’ll come back.  I’ve just got to go back a little bit.

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Don’t let me get you in trouble. 

Q    No, no —


MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  And I promise I’ll come down.  But go ahead, Ed.

Q    Great to be here.  Thank you, Shalanda.  So, the Treasury Department now says the federal deficit is at $1.5 trillion.  You know, that’s more than the CBO projected.  The President has pushed the bipartisan infrastructure bill, he’s pushed the Inflation Reduction Act, the American Rescue Plan.  He signed into spending $5.8 trillion over the past two years. 

Spending is at the heart of this impasse.  So, does the President bear any responsibility for a shutdown?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Absolutely not.  And by the way, the deal was to ensure that we had a fiscally responsible plan — I think the name of the bill was the Fiscal Responsibility Act — that saved a trillion dollars over a decade. 

And, look, if House Republicans want to join us in the Fiscal Reduction Act, I’m happy to talk to them about the tax cuts they have pending in Ways and Means that add to the deficit.  I’m also happy to talk to any Republican who voted for two and a half trillion dollars of tax cuts, unpaid. 

So, the problem I have is when people vote for that, bust the deficit on tax cuts for the wealthy, and then come and say we’re doing too much for Head Start and childcare and cancer research.  Because that’s what we’re talking about. 

They’ve taken the smallest amount of spending, do nothing about taxes for the rich, and they want to cut the smallest amount of spending.  That’s not serious fiscal conversation.  Anybody in D.C. will tell you, you cannot get on a better fiscal path by going after these domestic programs.  They’re the smallest portion of our budget.  It ain’t going to happen.  It’s not serious.  Even cutting it 30 percent doesn’t put you on a better fiscal path. 

So, let’s just get real.  It’s not about that. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  All right.

Q    (Inaudible)_– has one more.  So the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says that he’s not going to take a salary during the shutdown.  Does the President plan to pause his salary also?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Look, I’m glad that the Speaker has made that statement.  By the way, members of Congress have to get paid, constitutionally, so maybe he’ll put it in a sock drawer.  I don’t know.  (Laughter.)  But they have to get paid during a shutdown.  That’s theater.  That is theater. 

I will tell you, the guy who picks up the trash in my office won’t get a paycheck.  That’s real.  And that’s what makes me angry. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Peter.  Thanks for your patience. 

Q    If I can ask you very briefly about — we’ve been — we’ve seen this show before where it goes down to the wire and then, at the last minute, something happens or several days pass before anything happens.  Can you just talk about, fundamentally, the impact — even if this were to be resolved — of playing this game where it goes to the last minute before there’s a short-term spending bill, how that sort of impacts the way our country runs?  Because a lot of Americans see that, and they know that that’s not the way it can work in their own homes. 

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  You’re right, and you’re right.  I mean, we have time — what’d the President say?  There’s nothing inevitable in politics.  We don’t have to go down this road; House Republicans don’t have to take us down this road. 

So, you’re right.  There — there is always a chance that people can do the right thing and the government remain open or have a quick reopening. 

Q    But even getting to this place, there’s already —


Q    — been a ton of money lost, right?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Not a ton of money lost.  The confidence in government is what I worry about.  People watching this — the dysfunction sowed.  And I think there are a small amount — small amount of people who know that.  You know, it’s the — it’s the carelessness by which people is like, “Oh, this shutdown is not much of government.”  Well, you tell people who live paycheck to paycheck that.

I know it’s not popular to defend federal workers.  I know it’s not.  But a lot of them live paycheck to paycheck.  “They get repaid.”  What are they supposed to do in the meantime?  What are they supposed to do?

And then people can’t get government services.  You go sign up for WIC.  You finally convinced this mother it’s the right thing to do, because a lot of families are embarrassed about taking aid from the government.  You finally convince this young mother to go do that.  Not available.  Confidence lost in government. 

It’s one more knock on democratic institutions.  And that worries me. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead, Joey.

Q    Yeah, as we get closer to a shutdown at the end of the week, does it remain the case that President Biden is unwilling to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as he’s suggested he would like to do?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  It’s not an unwillingness.  We’ve talked.  We talked a lot.  The President talked a lot to Speaker McCarthy.  We got a deal.  This is the easy part. 

Pe- — the debt deal was two and a half years.  Now we’re talking about 47 days to keep the government running, to give Congress time to work on full-year spending bills.  This is not hard.  This is just not hard. 

And, by the way, every day I read some other reason why they can’t vote on the Senate bill — the Senate bipartisan bill.  It changes every day. 

So, there’s not — not an unwillingness.  We’ve had this conversation.  The Speaker wanted to set toplines.  We set them.  Now he needs to talk to whomever he needs to talk to in the Republican conference and live up to that deal. 

Q    What will be the engagement from President Biden to lawmakers, particularly as we get, you know, closer, Saturday — tomorrow?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  You’re talking about a president who was a former senator for 36 years.  He has close relationships on the Hill.  He stays in dialogue with Congress.

Clearly, there’s going to be an uptick in that as we are led down this path by House Republicans.  And that’ll continue.  The President is constantly updated on what is happening. 

But I’ll tell you, we’re at the 29th.  We have until midnight tomorrow.  What needs to happen is the one corner out of five who is having problems with their votes and their strategies need to find a path to meet the other four — four corners at the deal we all signed up for in early summer. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Okay.  A couple more.  Go ahead, Michael.

Q    Thanks, Karine.  Director Young, can you talk a bit more about the impact a shutdown will have on the crisis at the Southern border?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  We asked for $4 billion to help deal with migration challenges at the border.  You wouldn’t know that to hear what Republicans talk about.  If border is an issue for House Republicans, where’s the dialogue on what the President asked for to help with enforcement, to help with transportation costs, to help with detention capacity?

You know, I’ve done this a long time.  This is just a new — a new, interesting time in our political atmosphere where we can’t get Republicans to really engage us on more money to help control migration issues at the border.  Almost no dialogue.  No interest in taking on the President’s requests.  No interest in dealing with the fentanyl issues that we asked for more money to deal with to put more equipment to find fentanyl coming through. 

So, there is serious, and there is not serious.  This president asked for money to help deal with the issues that hurt people: disaster, Ukraine, and border.  We appreciate the Senate meeting us to make sure Ukraine aid continues, disaster aid continues. 

But let’s not forget: This president asked for money to deal with the situation at the border.  And you’re absolutely right.  During a shutdown, not only do we not get the $4 billion we asked for to help, we’re asking CBP agents, ICE agents to go without pay.  How is that helping?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Go ahead.

Q    Thank you, Director.  I’ve been speaking to many mothers who rely on WIC for food for their babies, and they don’t follow the ins and outs of politics and whether a shutdown would be the fault of Congress, the White House, the President.  They just can’t believe that this country’s leaders would allow babies to go hungry.  So, what would you say to them?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  I’d go back to my answer earlier.  You know, I worry about people’s engagement and thought about their government.  It worries me tremendously that people will show up on Wednesday or Thursday, trying to decide whether they were going to even apply for this aid, because a lot of people don’t trust — like, their friends tell them to go get this, and they’re like, “Ah, it’s going to be difficult — a lot of paperwork.”  So, it takes convincing for people to go seek this aid.  And then to be told, “Never mind.  Never mind, the government is closed, shut down.” 

They don’t follow the ins and outs.  It’s a pox on all of our houses.  That’s why four out of the five corners are trying not to go there.  We’re doing everything we can to plead, beg, shame.  “House Republicans, do the right thing.  Don’t have this happen.” 

The cavalier-ness is what gets me.  I’ve heard people say in the Republican — in House Conference, “Oh, a shutdown is not that bad.  It’s not like the debt ceiling.”  Well, you go tell people who cannot pay their daycare bill.  You go tell people that.  You go tell men and women in uniform that they don’t get a paycheck when they show up to work every day.  You go tell that mother that she cannot get formula after having had to be convinced to even give government a try.  It’s the cavalier-ness that really gets me. 

And you’re right.  It’s — it sets an expectation for how people deal with their government throughout their lives.  And it’s something we should work really hard to avoid. 

Q    And to follow on that, could you clarify the total number of workers that would go without paying next week, and how many of them would still be required to show up to work?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  So, in civilians, 1.5 million — about 800,000 of them would be excepted and have to show up to the office.

As you know, depending on how long shutdowns go, people can be called back into work if their job and their duties, you know, start to fall into one of the categories that’s excepted.  So, there could be — there will be — would be changes in those numbers if a shutdown would continue. 

Q    And what about the breakdown for the military’s 1.3 million active-duty troops and the reservists plus DOD personnel?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Right.  It’s a little over $2 million — 2 million people who serve who are all expected to show up to their duty stations. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  All right.  Just the last two.  Go ahead, Aurelia.

Q    Thank you so much.  Thank you, Director.  You said this shutdown could be a knock on democratic institutions.  What about the international reputation of this country when it seems like the United States is going from one major fiscal crisis into another?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  I think you just answered it.  You know, this country, we owe services to the American people.  We talked a lot about one of those in WIC, we talked cancer research.  But our diplomatic efforts — this President has worked harder than most to hold alliances together that represent democratic institutions, the Western alliance, and ensure that the world knew America was back. 

I do believe we will continue to do most of our missions as best as possible.  We will show up where needed.  But it certainly makes that more difficult the longer and longer this goes on.  But in a very short-term situation, I think we will remain in the same — with the same posture across the world. 

Now the question is how we’re viewed.  You know, it — it is not the shining example we want to portray that we continue to have fiscal crises because other world leaders look at that. 

But I’m still hoping — I’m still remaining an optimist that we have a day and a half to work out in one corner what is needed to take the deal that is laid before them by the United States Senate.  So, there’s still a chance. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Last question.

Q    Thank you, Director.  Given that we’ve seen in prior shutdowns that some of these workers have to go to work without pay, including in the travel industry, FAA and others, that they might report — call in sick in greater numbers.  Do you have any guidance around that or any estimates as to how that might affect the shutdown period?

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Look, we don’t shut down often. 

(A reporter sneezes.)

I know it may feel like it, because we talk about it even if it doesn’t happen. 

Q    (Referring to his sneeze.)  Negative.  Sorry, I’m negative.

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  You sure?  (Laughter.)

So, it doesn’t happen often, so there aren’t numbers.  We certainly have anecdotal evidence that that happens on occasion.  And it goes back to what I talked about earlier: People make decisions that are best for their families. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  All right.  Thank you so much, Director.  We appreciate it.

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Thank you.  Thank you. 

Q    Thank you. 

DIRECTOR YOUNG:  Have fun.  I hope not to see you all for a little bit.  (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Thank you so much, Director Young. 

I do want to add to something that the Director said, which I think was really important, about how this affects families.  I think I’ve seen on some of the cable news networks this morning — if it was this morning — that you’ve seen, like, federal workers being interviewed and members of the military.  And you see people — I think one interview, someone was crying about how this is going to affect this — this shutdown that we’re — that Republicans in the House are barreling — barreling us to is going to affect them.

And we’re — this is real.  This is real-life — real-life changes and real-life impact on people across the country. 

And there was one military personnel who was interviewed who said that one of the reasons that they went into the military is to have that stability — right? — is to make sure that they have a stability in their life. 

And when you have one of the five groups who are taking away that stability because of a political stunt, because of their chaos within their own — within their own caucus, and they do that to a military member — personnel who is really, truly putting their lives on the line for this country and making a commitment to this country, and they’re saying that they no longer have the stability that they thought the military would bring them, I think that’s devastating. 

And that’s, you know — this should not be partisan.  This should be bipartisan.  This is supposed to be the basic, basic duty of Congress to do this — to do their jobs.  And it is going to have — if we do indeed have a shutdown, it is going to truly, truly hurt some of the people that we rely on every day, as well as cutting some key programs that families — that families need. 

With that, Colleen, you want to kick us off?

Q    Sure.  Can you say anything more about what the President’s plans are going to be this weekend in the face of the shutdown?  What’s he going to be up to?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I can say that the President is going to be in Washington, D.C.  And he’s going to continue to remain in touch with congressional — well, our team here is going to continue to remain in touch with congre- — congressional leaders and the members of both parties. 

Certainly, he’s going to get updates on what’s — what’s happening — what’s happening on — on the Hill.  But again, if — this is an — this is going to be the extreme part of the House Republican — this is going to be their shutdown.  So, we do not — I don’t expect any travel outside of D.C. from this president.  But of course, if that changes, we certainly would communicate that.  But the President will be here.

He’ll be getting updates from his team and the team more broadly.  As you saw, the — the Director was here. 

And — and also our Office of Leg Affairs is going to stay in close touch with members — with leaders — congressional leaders on the Hill.

Q    Would he be meeting with anybody in person this weekend?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I — no, I don’t have any — I don’t have any meetings or — to read out as it relates to — to Congress.  But what I can say: This is something — and we’ve said it over and over again, and it needs to be repeated — this is something that Congress can fix.  This is something that extreme — those extreme Republicans in the House can fix.  They know how to fix this. 

We just heard the process that the OMB Director went through — right? — earlier — earlier this summer, late spring on making that — helping to make that bipartisan deal become a law. 

And so, this — we should not be here.  We should — she shouldn’t have been here at this podium talking about a potential shutdown.  It should not have been this way.  And they can fix it.

Q    On the auto workers strike — so, it’s expanded now.  And I just wondered if the White House is concerned about broader economic impact of a strike as it, sort of, wears on — I think it’s two weeks in?  Two weeks in?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, a couple of things — and I’ve been asked this question about the potential impacts.  Look, we always — we always take a look at what a major economic situation — the potential impacts could have, certainly, in our economic — in our economy more broadly. 

But I will just go back to what I’ve said.  This does — as it relates to the shutdown, the shutdown doesn’t need — does not need to happen.  These programs that families need should be continuing.  This — we should not be in this position that we’re in. 

This is something that Republicans in Congress — in the House, more specifically — are heading — heading us towards.  And you — you saw there was a — there was a chart that was up when we were speaking.  And, you know, Senate — Senate Republicans, Senate Democrats, House Democrats, the President, we’re all on the same page.  We’re all on the same page here.  And for some reason, extreme House Republicans refused.  They refused to get on — to get on board here. 

And as it relates to the shutdown: should not be happening.  This can be avoided.  They can fix this if they choose — if they choose.

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  I hear what you’re saying, and —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  About what? 

Q    About Republicans —


Q    — and that they have to fix this.  “It’s their problem.  It’s not ours.”  And that’s exactly what the White House said before the deal was struck about raising the debt ceiling.  Initially, you guys weren’t going to touch any kind of negotiation because you said it was solely up to House Republicans, up to Congress to raise the debt ceiling. 

But then, the President did intervene to avoid the U.S. defaulting.  So, I’m just trying to understand at what point would the President intervene to avoid a shutdown?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I understand your question as well.  Here’s the thing.  And — and I think Director Young did a really good job laying this out.  What we are talking about is a bill — a bipartisan bill that became law.  That’s what we’re talking about.  Something that became law that was agreed by the five sides, right?  The House Republicans even themselves, two thirds of them voted for this. 

This is law.  This is an agreement that was already made, that multiple conversations were had about this.  This should be simple.  This should be easy. 

And that’s what we’re talking about.  We’re talking about something that already existed not that long ago that they all literally voted for in the House and in the Senate, in a bipartisan way — something that I’ve said before — that’s what Americans want us to do here in — in Congress and in the Whi- — in the White House — right? — in the federal government: to get things done in a bipartisan way so that it helps American families.

And what they’re doing — they can fix it.  There’s no conversation that needs to be had because they literally can fix this.  It is their chaos.  They can fix this.  And what they’re putting at risk is our economy; our national security, as we just talked about the military personnel.  It’s a — you know, and —

You know, we have been able — the President in the last two years have been able to get our economy back on track, right?  We’ve talked about the 13.5 million jobs.  We’ve talked about unemployment being under 4 percent.  And what they’re doing is incredibly irresponsible, and it is reckless. 

So that’s the difference.  When you’re asking me — you know, you don’t quite understand and are trying to figure out what we’re talking about.  We already made the deal.  That’s why we keep saying “a deal is a deal.”

And it’s not just — it’s majority of Congress that agrees with us, right?  When you think about what the Senate — the Senate actually moved forward and kept their deal.  When you think about 77 senators who are moving forward — who voted to move forward with their CR.  They are keeping the deal. 

We’re talking about a small fraction of Congress.  And that’s — and that’s reckless.  That’s irresponsible.  And that’s why we’re saying it is not us — for us to — it’s not on us to fix.  It’s not on this president to fix it.  It is on Congress to fix.

And it’s not just us.  You — I started the briefing listing out — listing out quotes from — from Republicans in Congress themselves. 

All right.  I’m going to —

Q    All right.  Thanks.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I’m going keep on.  Go ahead.

Q    Thank you.  Thanks, Karine.  On China, can you clarify if the administration is stepping up engagement with the goal towards a Biden-Xi meeting on the sidelines of APEC in November, including whether there are any plans for Vice Premier He Lifeng or Prime Minister Wang Yi to come visit in Washington or meet U.S. officials?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have anything to — to lay out for you on any meetings or any potential meetings as it relates to the President and — our President and President Xi.  The President spoke about this very recently and his expectations to have a meeting.

Don’t have a location for you.  Don’t have a timeline for you at this time.  We’re expecting — the President, as he said, is expected to do so.  Just don’t have anything to share. 

And once we do, we certainly will share that with you.

Q    And can I just follow up on that?  Just a few days ago, Wang Yi seems to suggest that the onus of creating the right environment for a Biden-Xi meeting lies in Washington, you know, to promote cooperation — a summit that promotes cooperation rather than provoke confrontation.  How would you respond to that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I mean, we’re — I mean, we’ve been very clear.  We’re not ha- — we’re not looking to have confrontation with China.  We’re looking to have competition, and that’s what the President has shown these last two years. 

The President spoke about this.  He’s — he’s looking forward to having that conversation with President Xi.  I don’t have anything to share with you at this time.  And I’m just going to leave it there. 

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you.  Does the President plan to take up McCarthy’s offer to meet, and does the White House see any value in that?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, I’m going to be very clear.  The per- — the person that McCarthy — or the people that McCarthy needs to talk to is his own caucus.  That’s who he needs to have a conversation with, not the President. 

The President had multiple conversations with Speaker McCarthy very early on to get this bipartisan deal.  That two thirds of the House — Republican House — Republicans House voted on.  The conversation is not between the President and McCarthy.  He needs to — he needs to —

Q    So, he’s turning it down?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  He needs — what I’m saying very clearly is the conversation needs to happen between Speaker McCarthy and his — and his caucus.  That’s where — that’s the fix.  That’s the chaos that we’re seeing.  And that’s where he needs to focus on. 

Q    And how would you describe the President’s relationship with Senator Feinstein in recent years?  When was the last time they spoke to one another?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I believe the President reached out back in August.  They missed each other, and so the President had a conversation with her chief of staff.  That is the last time that they were — that the President had reached out. 

I mean, the President spoke to this, you know, very — I think very deeply.  Right?  And — just moments ago, when you all watched his remarks.

And — and they were very close friends.  They served together for over a decade.  It’d be 15 years in the Senate together.  And — and he saw her as a close friend.

They — you know, one of the things that they worked on that is an issue right now across the country was assault ban weapons [assault weapons ban], right?  That is something that they worked together on in 1994 and actually saved lives for those 10 years before its sunset in 2004.  Right?

So, there’s been many things that they’ve been able to work on together.  And so, they find — and even as president as well.

And so, they were — he sees her as a dear friend.  It is a sad day for — certainly for — for us here and also for her family and, clearly, for the state of California.  And — and I’ll just — I’ll just leave it there. 

Go ahead, MJ.

Q    We just heard Director Young saying, “This is not hard.”  But Speaker McCarthy clearly is finding this difficult.  Can you give us any sense of how President Biden sees the situation that Speaker McCarthy is in?  Does he think that the Speaker is in a tough spot?  Have you gotten the sense that, you know, there’s any sense of sort of sympathy towards Speaker McCarthy?  Or is it all pure exasperation?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Look, I’m — I’m not going to go into just the President’s feeling about the Speaker or — or his situation currently as Speaker of the House. 

What I can speak to is what we’ve been saying all along, which is: A deal was made.  The President has — as you all know and saw this happening when — when these conversations were going on in person and trying to get that bipartisan deal very early on in the summer. 

And what the President believes is that many Americans are going to be hurt by this.  Many families are going to be hurt by this, by something that extreme House Republicans are barreling us down through.  Right?  They’re heading us down a road that is unfortunate, that is reckless. 

And that’s what the President is concerned about.  He’s concerned about the American people.  And this is something — again, they can fix this.  They can. 

Q    Can you confirm when the two men last spoke?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I don’t have a date or time — a timeline of when they last spoke.  What I can say is that, clearly, the OMB Director, congressional — our Office of Leg Affairs has been in regular touch with congressional leaders on this for the past several weeks, several months.  And I just don’t have a — I don’t have a conversation to confirm with the Speaker. 

Q    And just in the coming days, in the event of a government shutdown, does the White House believe that the President has a responsibility to offer any words of reassurance to people in the country who will be affected, will be worried about situation?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, look, I don’t have any previews of any remarks that the President is going to make.  But you can we- — either tomorrow or any upcoming days.  But, of course, the American — the President is always — when it comes to situations like this, you can expect to hear from him directly in the days ahead.  I just don’t have a date to speak to at this time. 

And the President — here’s the thing: The President is not going to stop working.  He’s going to continue to work, and he’s not going to stop delivering for the American people in the event of an extreme Republican shutdown. 

You’re going to hear from the President.  I just don’t have anything to lay out on a specific date or time.  But, of course, the American people are going to hear from him. 

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you.  Just on the auto workers strike, has the President spoken to automakers after he said he supports a 40 percent pay raise for UAW workers or just even broadly after his visit to Michigan?  We understand from sources that the chances of a deal in the near term have been complicated by the President’s remarks about him supporting a 40 percent pay raise. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, just want to — just give some clarity.  So, first, the President’s senior advisors, they’ve been in touch with all parties.  If — I’ll let you know if there’s any conversations that the President has or — to read out with the — with the — the automakers, more specifically.

As it relates to the 40 percent, look, he believes they should get a significant raise.  That’s why the President can keep saying, like, a record profit should lead to record contract, right?  This is — he believes that the UAW workers should get a fair share for — for profits they helped create.  And so, the President has been really, really clear about that. 

But as it relates to any negotiations and what they are asking for, he wants to make sure that he leaves that up to the UAW leadership.  And ultimately, again, members should be able to receive a fair and just deal. 

And the President is going to be consistent about that.  He has said that recently when he was in Michigan, when you saw him on an active picket line, who was — he was very proud to be there in solidarity of the union workers. 

And so, that is something that he has said throughout his career, and he’ll continue to be very clear about that. 

Q    And so — so, just on the automakers part —


Q    You said his team is constantly in touch.  We’ve known that.  Are there any specific, sort of, conversations after his visit, specifically after those comments that he made?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Well, they’ve been in regular touch.  I don’t have, like, if they talked today or — or on Tuesday or on Wednesday.  But they have been — the senior — senior advisors have — certainly have been in touch with all parties.

They are not — I want to be clear — they’re not part of the negotiations.  They’re not convening all sides.  They are just there to offer any assistance that the parties might need. 

We are very — we’ve been always very clear.  It’s — it’s up to the UAW leadership, it’s up to the union to have these — and all parties involved — to have these negotiation conversations.  But, again, we’ve just offered any helpful assistance that they might need. 

Go ahead.

Q    Can I circle back — thank you — to a question that was asked, I think, of the OMB Director, which is, essentially, if we could get a sense of what the White House will look like during the shutdown and who all folks can anticipate will be here specifically from the press side, but broadly what the White House will look like.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah.  So, look, you know — and — and not going to have much more to share than what the OMB Director said.  You know, many people are going to be furloughed.  That’s kind of, unfortunately, how this all works. 

The process that we are, kind of, dealt with here, as we’re dealing with this potential — potential shutdown.  But we will do our best, certainly, to communi- — to continue communicating with all of you.  We will have a press — a press briefing during — during, you know, next week.

And, look, you know, again, they’re going to be furloughed, and some will be expected and continuing to work, as the — as the Director said, and — and that’s going to be across the government.  That’s going to be the same case here at the White House. 

And, you know, that’s just kind of the way it is.  And we will — we’re going to continue to deliver for the American people, but it’s not going to be as — business as usual when you have the majority of folks furloughed.  And — and that’s kind of where we are, sadly, unfortunately, in this — in this time.

But as it relates to the press team, certainly, we’ll be holding press briefings, and we’ll certainly have more to share if this is where we head down to, which is a shutdown. 

AIDE:  Karine, you can take a couple more.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Okay.  Go ahead.

Q    Thank you, Karine.  Just a follow-up to Aurelia’s earlier question.  We know that you say it’s their problems, not ours.  From the outside — outside of the U.S., we see the government as more of a “one thing.”  With, you know, the tension with China towards Allied — in the war in Ukrai- — in Ukraine, what can the President say to reassure leaders who are worried at this — at this moment?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, you know, I think Jake Sullivan got this question a little bit when he was here last week.  And I think the question came to him as has he heard any concerns from any leadership.  And he had said he wasn’t aware of any conversations to — to that effect. 

What I can say is, you know, when you have this type of — this potential chaos and unpre- — unpredictability, you know, countries around the world are seeing from this — this Republican House, it’s not something to be proud of.  It’s not. 

But what the President and our team have done for the past two years is rebuild those relationships with our partners and allies.  And — and so, at the same time, trying to carry out the work of the American people. 

And that’s something that you’ve seen the President do over the past two years, whether it’s here at the White House or whether it’s at a summit that he’s attended.  And you’ve seen the President build that confidence back into the United — back into the world — right? — the confidence that allies and partners had of the United States. 

And so, that’s important.  We have rebuilt those relationships.  We’ll continue to do so.  But obviously, when you see this type of chaos — you know, chaos and potential recklessness — right? — from House Republicans, it doesn’t — it’s nothing to be proud of. 

But we’re going to continue to have those — it doesn’t stop us to have — continue to those — those diplomatic conversations and continue to build those — those relationships. 

Go ahead.

Q    Thank you.  This time of week, we’re usually talking about the week ahead.  (Laughter.)  And I wonder how that’s impacted by the government shutdown, if the President has any plans for next week.  And I’m assuming that people who would facilitate his travel would be essential —


Q    — but is that impacted at all by the shutdown talks?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, it’s a really good question, Matt.  This is something that we have been internally trying to figure that out — what it’s going to look like if we have a — a extreme House Republican shutdown.  That is something certainly we’ve been very focused on. 

Look, as I said, the President is going to be staying in D.C.  You could — you could be assured that the American people and you all are going to hear from him on a regular basis in the next upcoming days, because he’s going to continue to work for the American people. 

I can’t speak to travel right now.  Right now, we’re going to focus on — focus on just the next couple of days and what that’s going to look like.  Again, he’s not — he’s going to stay here in D.C., and we’re going to continue to work for the American people. 

Yes, people are going to be furloughed.  It’s not going to be business as usual.  But we’re going to continue to do our best to work on behalf of the American people. 

Q    And then, it’s — it also sounds like you guys don’t view there being any need for a negotiation from the White House perspective.  So, in thinking about, like, what is he — what is the work that he needs to do, in your eyes?  Is the work communicating to the American people about this?  Or is there any — I mean, is he going to be in touch with anybody on the Hill? 


Q    Like, I’m trying to think through the weekend and what he’s going to be doing.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, it’s a good — it’s all good questions.  Look, the President is going to say what — privately what he’s been saying publicly, right?  And he has spoken to this almost every day this week, about the shutdown, about what Republicans in the House are doing.  He’s been very clear about this, right? 

He’s talked about the economic impact.  When he — when he was doing the meeting with HBC- — HBCU board of advisors — his board of advisors, he talked about the impact on — on the Black community specifically.

He’s talked about impacts just broadly with — with American families and Americans.  So, he has been very clear about this, and we are going to continue to be clear about this.  And the reason why — just to go back to what I stated earlier to — to Weijia — the reason why we’re not negotiating is because we already did that.  We did negotiate. 

The President spoke multiple times with congressional leadership on this.  And there was a bipartisan piece of legislation that was agreed upon, that was passed, that was made into law. 

And so, this is something that Congress and this is — this sits with — really, when we say House Republicans, it really sits with them, because we saw what the Senate was able to do in a bipartisan way, which is keep — keep their promise, move forward with the deal that we’ve made.  And we know House Democrats are on board to keep the government open and keeping with the deal that was made. 

It’s just this really small, extreme fraction in — in the Congress — these extreme House Republicans that continue to hold this — to hold this back because they want to push extreme policies.  That’s going to hurt Americans. 

And so, that’s why we say that, because that is the fact.  That is what’s happening and being played out on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue. 

And so, look, the President is going to continue doing the job.  American people are going to hear from him over the next couple of days.  And yes, he’ll be in D.C. 

Go ahead.

Q    Anticipating if there is a shutdown, the President has never come to the briefing room.  And if it would facilitate and make it easier with staff furloughs for him to speak to us from here, we always invite the President to come to the briefing room.  (Laughter.)

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  We appreciate the invite.

Q    The — the issue of debt ceiling played out in a similar way where the position was: It’s their job to do it.  And then, when a critical hour came, the President engaged. 


Q    If it goes to a shutdown, would he then view it as, “Okay, there’s a new chapter to this in terms of resolving it, getting out of it”?  And would he feel like he needs to engage more at that point?  Would that be a different mindset?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Weijia asked me a similar question as you did, and we’re going to be very clear about this.  And, you know, want — don’t want to get into hypotheticals from here because we believe that this can be fixed.  We believe that House Republicans can fix this.  It is their job to fix this.

So, I’m not going to get into too far down the road —

Q    I guess I’m asking: Would he see it as a different set of circumstances?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  You know, I — I just want to be careful, right?

Q    Okay.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Because, again, I don’t want to get into hypotheticals.  We see this as a — as a situation that could be fixed because we already made a deal.  A deal is a deal.  When we say that, it is true: A deal is a deal.  That’s what they are disputing here — something that two thirds of House Republicans voted on. 

So, they can fix this.  This is something that they can get — they can get on board with because it’s something that they voted on.  It is something that they voted on. 

And so, what I’m going say is — continue what we’ve been saying is that the conversation is not — it’s not with this president.  The conversation is with Speaker McCar- — McCarthy and his caucus.  They need to have that conversation and get this done on behalf of the American people. 

Millions of Americans are going to be hurt by this, by their action.  And it is reckless, and it is irresponsible. 

I have to go.  Thanks, everybody.  We’ll see you on Monday.

Q    Thanks, Karine. 

Q    Thank you.

1:40 P.M. EDT

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Readout of National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s Call with Prime Minister Kurti of Kosovo

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 20:26

Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone today with Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti.  Mr. Sullivan conveyed condolences for the loss of the Kosovo police officer slain in the line of duty during the violent attacks that took place on September 24.  He also expressed concern about Serbian military mobilizations near the Kosovo border.  He noted recent decisions by NATO to bolster the NATO Kosovo Force’s (KFOR) presence and activity, especially in northern Kosovo, and underscored the readiness of the United States to work with our Allies to ensure KFOR remained appropriately resourced to fulfill its mission.  In addition, Mr. Sullivan and Prime Minister Kurti discussed the EU-facilitated Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, which Mr. Sullivan underscored was the only long-term solution to ensuring stability throughout Kosovo.


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Statement from Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on the Southern District of Ohio’s Decision on Medicare Drug Price Negotiation

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 19:38

For decades, Big Pharma blocked Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices for seniors, while drug companies made record profits. President Biden and Congressional Democrats finally changed that when they passed the Inflation Reduction Act – while every single Republican in Congress sided with Big Pharma to keep health care costs high for millions of families.

Today’s ruling from the Southern District of Ohio affirms that Medicare will move forward with negotiating lower prices for millions of seniors. And, the Biden-Harris Administration won’t stop fighting for what we know to be true: that nothing in the Constitution prohibits Medicare from negotiating drug prices.

Because of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and this program, millions of people with Medicare will continue to see prescription drug costs go down for some of the costliest drugs that treat common conditions like heart failure, blood clots, diabetes, arthritis, and more.

There is no reason why Americans should be forced to pay two to three times more for their prescription drugs that any other developed nation. President Biden and his Administration will continue fighting to lower health care costs for American families, no matter how many challenges Republicans and Big Pharma put in our way.


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Memorandum on Presidential Determination with Respect to the Efforts of Foreign Governments Regarding Trafficking in Persons

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 17:59

Presidential Determination
No.        2023-14        


SUBJECT:       Presidential Determination with Respect to the
               Efforts of Foreign Governments Regarding
               Trafficking in Persons

Consistent with section 110 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (22 U.S.C. 7107) (the “Act”), as amended, I hereby determine as follows:

As provided for in section 110(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act, that the United States will not provide nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related assistance to the Governments of Afghanistan, Burma, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and South Sudan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 until such governments comply with the Act’s minimum standards or make significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with the minimum standards;

As provided for in section 110(d)(1)(A)(ii) of the Act, that the United States will not provide nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related assistance to, or allow funding for participation in educational and cultural exchange programs by officials or employees of, the Governments of Belarus, Cuba, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Eritrea, Macau (Special Administrative Region of the PRC), Nicaragua, Russia, and Syria for FY 2024 until such governments comply with the Act’s minimum standards or make significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with the minimum standards;

As provided for in section 110(d)(1)(B) of the Act, I hereby instruct the United States Executive Director of each multilateral development bank, as defined in the Act, and of the International Monetary Fund to vote against and use best efforts to deny any loan or other utilization of the funds of the respective institution (other than for humanitarian assistance; for trade-related assistance; or for development assistance that directly addresses basic human needs, is not administered by the government of such country, and confers no benefit to that government) for the Governments of Belarus, Burma, Cuba, the DPRK, Eritrea, Iran, Macau (Special Administrative Region of the PRC), Nicaragua, the PRC, Russia, South Sudan, and Syria for FY 2024 until such governments comply with the Act’s minimum standards or make significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with the minimum standards;

Consistent with section 110(d)(4) of the Act, I determine that the provision of all programs, projects, activities, and funding for educational and cultural exchange programs described in sections 110(d)(1)(A) and 110(d)(1)(B) of the Act to Algeria, Cambodia, Djibouti, Papua New Guinea, Turkmenistan, and Venezuela would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States;

Consistent with section 110(d)(4) of the Act, I determine that providing the assistance described in section 110(d)(1)(B) of the Act to Afghanistan, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States;

Consistent with section 110(d)(4) of the Act, I determine that a partial waiver with respect to Belarus, Eritrea, Macau (Special Administrative Region of the PRC), and Russia to allow funding for educational and cultural exchange programs described in section 110(d)(1)(A)(ii) of the Act would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States;

Consistent with section 110(d)(4) of the Act, with respect to Afghanistan, I determine that a partial waiver of the restriction described in section 110(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act to allow for Economic Support Fund (ESF) and Global Health Programs (GHP) assistance would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States;

Consistent with section 110(d)(4) of the Act, with respect to Chad, I determine that a partial waiver of the restriction described in section 110(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act to allow for Development Assistance (DA), ESF, and GHP assistance would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States;

Consistent with section 110(d)(4) of the Act, with respect to Equatorial Guinea, I determine that a partial waiver of the restriction described in section 110(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act to allow for International Military Education and Training (IMET), Peacekeeping Operations (PKO), DA, ESF, and GHP assistance would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States;

Consistent with section 110(d)(4) of the Act, with respect to Guinea-Bissau, I determine that a partial waiver of the restriction described in section 110(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act to allow for IMET, PKO, DA, ESF, and GHP assistance would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States; and

Consistent with section 110(d)(4) of the Act, with respect to South Sudan, I determine that a partial waiver of the restriction described in section 110(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act to allow for GHP assistance would promote the purposes of the Act or is otherwise in the national interest of the United States.

In addition, with respect to the Governments of Curacao and Sint Maarten, consistent with the United States Government’s firm stand against human trafficking, and until such governments take steps consistent with compliance with the minimum standards of the Act or make significant efforts to do so, I hereby:  (i) direct that executive departments and agencies shall not provide nonhumanitarian, nontrade-related foreign assistance, as described in section 110(d)(1)(A) of the Act, to the Governments of Curacao and Sint Maarten; (ii) instruct the United States Executive Director of each multilateral development bank, as defined in the Act, and of the International Monetary Fund to vote against and use best efforts to deny any loan or other utilization of the funds of the respective institution (other than for humanitarian assistance, for trade-related assistance, or for development assistance that directly addresses basic human needs, is not administered by such government, and confers no benefit to that government) to Curacao and Sint Maarten, as described in section 110(d)(1)(B) of the Act; and (iii) direct that funding for participation by officials or employees of the Governments of Curacao and Sint Maarten in educational and cultural exchange programs shall continue to be permitted in FY 2024, consistent with the foreign policy and all applicable laws of the United States.

You are authorized and directed to submit this determination, the certification required by section 110(e) of the Act, and the Memorandum of Justification, on which I have relied, to the Congress, and to publish this determination in the Federal Register.

                               JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

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By the Numbers: Impacts of Extreme House Republicans’ 30% Cuts

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 17:47

With one day before the end of the fiscal year, instead of following the bipartisan lead of the Senate to keep the government open, 90% of House Republicans just voted for a partisan bill to eviscerate programs millions of hardworking families count on—with a devastating 30% cut to law enforcement, Meals on Wheels, Head Start, and more. They are breaking their word, abandoning the bipartisan deal that two-thirds of them voted for just four months ago, and marching our country toward an Extreme Republican Shutdown that will damage our economy, our communities, and national security. Here’s what it would mean for the American people if extreme House Republicans’ 30% cuts were extended for the entire year.


  • 12,500 fewer FBI personnel, including agents who investigate crimes and keep guns out of the hands of felons and domestic abusers
  • Nearly 1,000 fewer agents at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). ATF agents are often some of the first federal law enforcement on the scene of a mass shooting to help local law enforcement identify at-large shooters
  • 500 fewer members of local law enforcement
  • 2,215 fewer prosecutors fighting to keep America safe
  • 250,000 children would lose access to child care
  • 290,000 children would lose access to Head Start slots
  • 1 million seniors would be robbed of nutrition services like Meals on Wheels
  • 3.2 million women, infants, and children would lose vital nutrition assistance through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • 13,000 fewer National Institutes of Health research project grants, stalling research progress cancer and Alzheimer’s
  • Up to 145,000 teachers and staff could be removed from classrooms and school
  • 100,000 students would lose access to Pell Grants
  • 10,000 fewer rail safety inspection days next year alone, and roughly 44,000 fewer miles of track inspected annually—enough track to cross the United States nearly 15 times
  • 850,000 households could lose access to Housing Choice Vouchers
  • 1 million American workers would be denied job training and employment services, with 135,000 fewer workers gaining the opportunity of a Registered Apprenticeship
  • 180,000 workers would lose an average of $1,000 in back wages that they are owed
  • 240 Social Security field offices could be forced to close or shorten the hours they are open to the public
  • 37,000 fewer Americans would receive substance use treatment services


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Statement by Vice President Kamala Harris on the Ninth Circuit’s Decision on Access to Emergency Health Care for Women

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 17:22

Pregnant women must have access to the emergency medical care they are entitled to under federal law. However, last night, the Ninth Circuit blocked a federal judge’s order that protected women in need of emergency medical care from Idaho’s extreme and dangerous abortion ban. The Ninth Circuit’s decision puts women’s health at risk, threatening doctors with prosecution for providing emergency care.

The Biden-Harris Administration is deeply concerned by this decision. In Idaho and in states across the country, far too many women are suffering the devastating consequences of delayed care, which is threatening their health and lives. 

The President and I will never stop fighting for reproductive rights. Congress must pass a bill that restores the protections of Roe v. Wade into federal law.


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FACT SHEET: The Biden-Harris Administration Advances Equity and Opportunity for Latino Communities Across the Country

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 16:45

From the Latino business owners and workers who help fuel our nation’s economy to the barrier-breaking Latino leaders the President has appointed throughout the federal government, the Latino community has embodied the truth that our diversity is our strength as a Nation. This Hispanic Heritage Month, the Biden-Harris Administration continues to celebrate the remarkable achievements and contributions of the Latino community. Through the major laws and executive orders, the President has signed — from the American Rescue Plan, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, the Inflation Reduction Act, two executive orders on racial equity, and more — President Biden and Vice President Harris will continue to invest in the future of Latino communities.

Growing Economic Opportunity for Latino Families and Communities
President Biden’s economic plan — Bidenomics — is one that invests in the future of all communities, including Latino communities, by making smart public investments in America, empowering and educating workers to grow the middle class, and promoting competition to lower costs and help entrepreneurs and small businesses thrive. And this vision is already delivering results. Bidenomics has:

  • Created 13.5 million jobs — including around 4 million for Latino workers — and achieved the lowest Latino unemployment rate on record.
  • Achieved record low Latino child poverty rates in 2021, due in large part to the American Rescue Plan’s expansion of the Child Tax Credit.
  • Tripled the Earned Income Tax Credit for 17 million workers without dependent children — an estimated 26% of all workers benefitting are Latino. 
  • Began reversing decades of infrastructure disinvestment, including with $4 billion to reconnect communities that were previously cut off from economic opportunities by transportation infrastructure and to help advance transportation projects in underserved communities, including Latino communities.
  • Began closing the digital divide for Latino families, with funding and a commitment to connect every person in America to reliable, affordable high-speed internet by 2030. Over a third of Latino households report not having high-speed internet at home.
  • Delivered the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history, which disproportionately impacts communities of color: 29% of Latinos live within three miles of a Superfund site.

Helping Latino-Owned Small Businesses Grow and Thrive
Under this Administration, Latino entrepreneurs have started new businesses at the fastest rate in over 10 years — faster than any other demographic in the country. To continue this momentum, the Biden-Harris Administration has:

  • Improved the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) flagship loan guarantee programs to expand the availability of small dollar loans to underserved communities. Since fiscal year 2020, the number of SBA-backed business loans to Latino entrepreneurs increased by more than 80%.
  • Launched a whole-of-government effort to expand access to federal contracts and awarded a record $69.9 billion to small disadvantaged businesses last fiscal year.
  • Through Treasury’s Emergency Capital Investment Program, invested $1.6 billion in Latino-owned and Latino-majority shareholder depository institutions.
  • Through Treasury’s State Small Business Credit Initiative, provided $2.5 billion in funding and incentive allocations to support the provision of capital to underserved businesses — with $1 billion of these funds to be awarded to the jurisdictions that are most successful in reaching underserved businesses.

Ensuring Equitable Educational Opportunity for Latino Students
To expand educational opportunity for the Latino community in K12 and beyond, Biden-Harris Administration has:

  • Secured a 30% increase in child care assistance funding last year. 25% of families benefiting from federal child care assistance come from Latino families. Additionally, the President secured an additional $1 billion for Head Start, a program where more than a third of children and pregnant women who benefit identify as Latino.
  • Through the American Rescue Plan, secured $130 billion — the largest investment in public education in history — to help students get back to school and recover academically in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Reestablished the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity for Hispanics.
  • Approved more than $117 billion in student loan debt cancellation for 3.4 million Americans and launched a new student loan repayment plan — the Saving on a Valuable Education plan — to help many students and families cut in half their total lifetime payments per dollar borrowed.
  • Championed the largest increase to Pell Grants in the last decade – a combined increase of $900 to the maximum award over the past two years to benefit low – and middle-income students.
  • Invested nearly $15 billion in Hispanic-serving colleges and universities, the largest investment in the future of Hispanic students in our entire history. 
  • Fixed the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, so all qualified borrowers get the debt relief they are entitled to.  More than 662,000 public servants have received more than $42 billion in loan forgiveness since October 2021.

Empowering and Protecting Latino Workers
To empower and protect all workers, including Latino workers, the Biden-Harris Administration has:

  • Provided $40 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to States, localities, community colleges, and local organizations to deliver training, expand career paths, encourage more Registered Apprenticeships, provide retention and hiring bonuses in critical industries, and power efforts to help underserved Americans and those who face barriers to employment secure good jobs.  Individuals who identify as Hispanic now represent 22% of all apprentices, higher than their 18% share of the overall workforce.
  • Protected workers, including Latino workers, who are suffering from extraordinarily high temperatures when they work outside by directing the Department of Labor to issue the first-ever Hazard Alert for heat and ramp up enforcement to protect workers from extreme heat. 
  • Updated Davis-Bacon prevailing wage standards for the first time in nearly 40 years, which will raise wages over time for one million construction workers, including Latino workers.
  • Proposed a new rule to extend overtime pay to as many as 3.6 million workers — including 420,000 Latino workers — including by increasing the overtime salary threshold from about $36,000 per year to roughly $55,000 per year.

Improving Health Outcomes for Latino Communities
President Biden believes that we are stronger as a Nation when we work together to lift everyone’s well-being. To improve health outcomes for Latinos, the Biden-Harris Administration has:

  • Increased Latino enrollment in health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act by 900,000, or 53%, from 2020 to 2022, helping more Latinos gain health insurance than ever before.
  • Through the Inflation Reduction Act, locked in lower monthly premiums and helped close the gap in access to medication by improving prescription drug coverage and lowering drug costs in Medicare.  Over the next 4 years, Medicare will negotiate prices for up to 60 drugs covered under Medicare Part D and Part B, and up to an additional 20 drugs every year after that. 
  • Allocated $7.6 billion through the American Rescue Plan to nearly 1400 community health centers, which predominately serve Latinos and communities of color, and provided 69% of Latino uninsured adults access to a zero-premium plan and 80% access to a health plan for less than $50 a month.
  • Made a historic $1.5 billion investment to grow and diversify the nation’s health care workforce through programs such as the National Health Service Corps, where 13% of primary care physicians are Latino (compared to 6% in the national physician workforce).
  • Through the Department of Health and Human Service’s Language Access Steering Committee, prioritized providing access to language services appropriate to health and behavioral health care services to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities for underserved communities, including Latinos.
  • The Biden-Harris Administration is leading the most ambitious climate, conservation, and environmental justice agenda in history. This includes the Justice40 initiative, which is delivering 40% of certain Federal investments in clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other programs to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized and overburdened by pollution. The Administration is also working to replace every lead pipe in America, ensure millions of low-income households have access to affordable, clean solar energy through the Inflation Reduction Act, and more. In addition, just last week, President Biden launched the American Climate Corps – a workforce training initiative that will put more than 20,000 young people to work in the growing fields of clean energy, conservation and climate resilience, prioritizing equity and environmental justice in order to leverage the talents of all members of society.

Improving Our Immigration System
The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to pursuing immigration reform legislation, including a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and farm workers, , and will continue to call on Congress to make long overdue reforms to the U.S. immigration laws. To improve our immigration system, the Biden-Harris Administration:

  • Issued a Day 1 Presidential Memorandum directing the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney General, to take actions to preserve and fortify the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, under which eligible undocumented immigrant youth are provided temporary protection from removal and work authorization. In October 2022, the Department of Homeland Security issued a final rule codifying the DACA policy. The Department of Justice continues to defend DACA against legal challenges.
  • Stood up programs that allow noncitizens to request appointments at ports of entry or apply for lawful pathways at overseas processing centers, in addition to creating a parole program for noncitizens from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.  
  • Provided continued protection to Salvadorians, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans through Temporary Protected Status.
  • Directed the Attorney General, the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Secretary of State to improve naturalization processing, identify and remove barriers to naturalization, and reduce backlogs for naturalization applications.  Earlier this year and consistent with the President’s directive, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services published guidance to simplify the naturalization process for individuals serving in the U.S. armed forces, and to clarify naturalization processes for adopted children.

Enhancing Public Trust and Strengthening Public Safety for Latino Communities
Our criminal justice system must protect the public and ensure fair and impartial justice for all. These are mutually reinforcing goals. To enhance equal justice and public safety all communities, including the Latino community, the President has:

  • Signed into the law the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), the most significant gun violence reduction legislation enacted in nearly 30 years, taken more meaningful executive action than any other president to make our schools, churches, grocery stores, and communities safer, and launched the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention. Latinos are twice as likely to be a victim of gun violence and homicide.
  • Signed a historic Executive Order to put federal policing on the path to becoming the gold standard of effectiveness and accountability by requiring federal law enforcement agencies to ban chokeholds; restrict no-knock warrants; mandate the use of body-worn cameras; implement stronger use-of-force policies; provide de-escalation training; submit use-of-force data; submit officer misconduct records into a new national accountability database; and restrict the sale or transfer of military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, among other things. 
  • Taken decisive and historic action to make America’s communities safer, including calling on Congress to invest roughly $25 billion in federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to prevent and reduce crime through evidence-based strategies; protect civil rights; and fund additional officers for safe, effective, community-oriented policing consistent with the standards in the President’s Executive Order to enhance public trust and safety.
  • Secured the first-ever dedicated funding stream for community violence intervention programs that have reduced violence by as much as 60%.


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The White House Announces 2023 Fall Garden Tours

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 15:00

The President and First Lady will continue the annual tradition of opening the White House gardens and South Grounds to members of the public for Fall Garden Tours. This season’s tour weekend is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. ET to 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 14 and Sunday, October 15.  In the event that the federal government is shut down on these dates, the Fall Garden Tours will be postponed or canceled. 

These tours are free and open to members of the public; however, a timed ticket is required for all attendees, regardless of age. The National Park Service (NPS) will distribute free, timed tickets outside the White House Visitor Center, located at 1450 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, each day beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET. Timed tickets will be distributed, one ticket per person, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Once attendees have received their tickets, the South Lawn entry point for everyone will be located on 15th St NW between E Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW near the Boy Scout Memorial. The ADA entrance will be located at 15th Street NW and Alexander Hamilton Place NW.


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A Proclamation on National Arts and Humanities Month, 2023

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 14:58

During the throes of the American Revolution, General George Washington wrote a letter to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences saying, “The arts and sciences [are] essential to the prosperity of the State and… the ornament and happiness of human life.”  His words are a reminder that, since our founding days, America’s arts and humanities have helped tell the story of our Nation.  They represent the freedom of expression that empowers Americans to speak and think independently and creatively.  They build bridges of understanding by chronicling the shared experiences of hope, heartbreak, joy, and pain that help us see ourselves in one another.  And they record and wrestle with the truth of our history while envisioning all the possibilities our future holds.  During National Arts and Humanities Month, we celebrate all the artists and scholars whose works depict the rich, enduring soul of our Nation.

     My Administration is committed to ensuring that appreciation of and access to the arts and humanities are within the reach of every American.  My American Rescue Plan invested over $1 billion to help libraries, theaters, concert halls, and other venues, and we have invested hundreds of millions more into strengthening the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).  I also signed an Executive Order to make art more accessible to people from underserved communities, elevate new voices through the arts and humanities, and expand opportunities for artists and scholars. 

    In coordination with the White House United We Stand Summit, the NEH launched a new initiative titled “United We Stand:  Connecting Through Culture” that leverages the arts and humanities to combat hate-motivated violence — utilizing the power of art to promote civic engagement and cultural understanding.  This project helps reaffirm our Nation’s central promise that hate will have no safe harbor in America.  And we recently announced the top five awardees of Art x Climate — the first-ever call for visual art that will be featured in the fifth National Climate Assessment.

     One of the greatest joys The First Lady and I have is the opportunity to celebrate the arts through performances and screenings here at the White House. Over the past two and a half years, we have held screenings of films, welcomed dancers to the state floor, and hosted musicians and poets whose performances captured our hearts and souls in a way that only artists can.  And I have honored the indelible impact of incredible artists and scholars — from a poet and a painter to musicians and actors — by awarding National Humanities Medals and National Medals of Arts and by hosting Kennedy Center honorees here at the White House.  Each of these artists are a testament to a larger truth:  that we are a great Nation in large part because of the power of the arts and humanities, which is forever stamped into America’s DNA. 

     During National Arts and Humanities Month, may we celebrate all the artists and scholars who have dared to reveal the good, bad, and truth of our Nation, and, in the process, have strengthened the covenant that is our democracy.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2023 as National Arts and Humanities Month.  I call on the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and celebrations.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.

                               JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

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A Proclamation on Child Health Day, 2023

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 14:55

To build a future worthy of our children’s highest aspirations, we must ensure they have the resources and support they need to thrive.  This Child Health Day, we recommit to helping our children live healthy lives so they can reach their highest potential.

     Our most fundamental obligation to our children is to keep them safe.  The devastating truth is that firearms are the leading cause of death for children in America.  That is unacceptable.  Kids and parents should not live in fear of everyday places turning into warzones.  That is why I signed the most significant gun safety law in nearly 30 years to keep guns out of dangerous hands.  I have also taken more meaningful executive action than any President in history to keep communities safe.  And I recently established the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention to build upon these measures.

     My Administration has invested billions of dollars to improve mental health services for young people, including hiring and training more school mental health counselors so young people can get the care they need.  I have heard from parents, teachers, nurses, and kids across the country about the mental health crisis among youth in their communities.  Tackling the mental health crisis and the many ways it affects our communities is a part of my Unity Agenda — one of the big things we can come together as a society to solve.  Our American Rescue Plan made our Nation’s biggest-ever investment in mental health and substance use programs — recruiting, training, and supporting more providers at the State and local levels, including in our schools.  Our gun safety law also expands the number of Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics that deliver 24/7 care.

     My Administration is also taking steps to make it easier for schools to use Medicaid to deliver mental health care.  And we launched 988, the Nation’s new Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, so anyone in the midst of a crisis can receive free life-saving, confidential help right away.  My Administration is working to fulfill our promise of full mental health parity for all Americans.  This includes a new proposed rule that would require insurers to identify gaps in the mental health care they provide and address any differences between the way they cover mental health care and physical health care, as a way to reach any American who may need help.  Further, we must do more to make the Internet a safe place for children.  I have called on the Congress to limit the personal data that tech companies collect, ban targeted advertising directed at minors, and require social media platforms to put health and safety first, especially for kids.  And to protect our children’s physical health, my Administration has taken steps to remove thousands of flavored e-cigarettes from the market, which are known to be particularly addictive to children. 

     No parent or caregiver should have to lie awake at night wondering how they will find the means to care for a child’s most basic needs — whether it is paying for a trip to the emergency room or putting a healthy meal on their table.  Our Inflation Reduction Act is lowering costs for Americans, saving millions of families $800 a year on health care premiums.  My Administration also modernized the Thrifty Food Plan for the first time since 1975, helping millions of families afford a nutritious, practical, cost-effective diet.  And we are working toward our goal of expanding free school meals to 9 million more children by 2032 — a first major step toward free healthy school meals for all.

     In 2021, we slashed child poverty rates by nearly half for all children in this Nation — driven by our expansion of the Child Tax Credit, which helped millions of families afford basic necessities.  We reauthorized and reinvested in the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, which has been shown to improve maternal and child health and advance child development and readiness to participate in school.  We know that investments like these can improve children’s health outcomes throughout their lifetimes, which is why I am continuing to fight to restore the expanded Child Tax Credit.

     We also recognize that addressing the climate crisis is critical to protecting our children’s futures.  Parents across the Nation have told me unforgettable stories of environmental injustice — living near factories and seeing the paint on their cars peel off because the air was so corrosive, drinking water contaminated by nitrates and arsenic, and feeling fear when their children play outside in toxic air and rain.  The peril these families face opposes everything we stand for as a Nation ‑- and it is a big reason why my Administration has taken on the most ambitious climate and environmental justice agenda in American history.  

     Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, I am working to replace every single lead pipe in America because everyone should be able to turn on a faucet at home or at school and drink clean and safe water.  My Inflation Reduction Act makes the most significant investment in climate ever, which includes investing in air quality sensors near factories so nearby communities can know how safe their air is.  And we made a commitment to conserve 30 percent of all our Nation’s lands and waters by 2030 so that we can protect our natural wonders for the ages.

     Children are the kite strings that keep our national ambitions aloft — they are the dreamers and doers that will one day lead our Nation forward.  It is up to all of us to make sure they grow up happy and healthy, they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, and their futures are full of endless possibilities.  May we continue to care for children’s health and, in turn, create a better future for our Nation.

     The Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 18, 1928, as amended (36 U.S.C. 105), has called for the designation of the first Monday in October as Child Health Day and has requested that the President issue a proclamation in observance of this day.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Monday, October 2, 2023, as Child Health Day.  I call upon families, child health professionals, faith-based and community organizations, and governments to help ensure that America’s children stay safe and healthy.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twenty-ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.

                             JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

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Remarks by President Biden at the Armed Forces Farewell Tribute in Honor of General Mark A. Milley | Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 14:49

Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall
Arlington, Virginia

11:19 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.

Before I begin, I want to say a brief word about Senator Dianne Feinstein, who passed away this morning.

She was a historic figure, a trailblazer for women, and a great friend.  Diane made her mark in everything from national security to the environment to gun safety to protecting civil liberties. 

The country is going to miss her dearly, and so will Jill and I.  I’ll have more to say about her later today.  

Vice President Harris; our Second Gentleman; Secretary Austin; members of Congress; leaders of the Department of Defense, both current and former; friends and officials from around the world, thank you for being here today to mark the change of responsibility and to celebrate the service of General Mark Milley. 

A combat infantryman.  A master parachutist.  A Green Beret.  A warrior who served a total of five years in warzones, from Panama to Haiti to Bosnia to Afghanistan to Iraq, with a chest full of medals to show for it.  A leader who once ran across a bridge booby-trapped with mines to stop two battle tanks evacuating wounded troops from driving across it.  A patriot, uncompromising in his duty, unflinching in the face of danger, and unwavering in the service to the country. 

And Hollyanne, none of us can say as m- — enough about you.  You served right alongside him, every step of the way.  And that’s not hyperbole.  You served alongside him, every step of the way.

You pulled double- and triple-duty to make sure you and Mark were always doing right by your family, supporting the military community while maintaining your own career as a nurse.  It’s incredible what you’ve achieved, Hollyanne.  The work you’ve done to increase support for military spouse employment is going to keep improving the lives of military families for a long time. 

And, Peter and Mary, thank you for sharing your dad with us.  I know it wasn’t easy: all those moves, all those schools, all those months when your dad was deployed and you couldn’t be together.  Thank you for all — all you’ve given to our country. 

And, Mark, I know one of the best parts of retirement for you, as has been already mentioned by our Secretary, is you’re going to spend more time with your kids.  That’s going to be fun, man.  I tell you what, I love my kids.  I’m crazy about my grandkids.

Now, everyone who has spent time with Mark knows three things about him, several were already mentioned. 

One, he’s from Boston.  Heparks his car in car garages.  (Pronounced in a Boston accent.)  He likes maps.  And he loves the Constitution. 

But each of these three things points to something deeper about Mark’s character. 

His Boston heritage isn’t just about pride of place.  It’s pride in what shaped him — the values that have guided his whole life. 

It’s about the father and mother, both veterans of World War II, who set the example of nobility — of the nobility of serving your country. 

It’s about knowing that his dad was among those who landed at Iwo Jima.  And that if those young men his father served alongside could raise the flag on Mount Suribachi, then there’s nothing, nothing, nothing America cannot accomplish when we work together. 

It’s about how his parents strived and sacrificed so their children would have every opportunity to chart their own future. 

It’s knowing that everyone who served under his command had their own story — in his view, just as important as his. 

And this — to this day, whenever Mark has attended events, I’ve watched him — we’ve attended many events together — I’ve watched him: He’ll talk to every young person, every veteran, every Gold Star family who wants to speak to him, no matter how long it takes, so he can hear their story as well and show his respect. 

The Boston pride is about knowing where you come from. 

The maps are about knowing where you are and where you’re going.  Mark wants to make sure he has the necessary facts to inform his decisions as a leader and his advice to others. 

As Commander-in-Chief, I’ve relied on Mark’s counsel because I know he always gives it to me straight no matter what.  He always gives it to me straight.  He’s working with the best information possible, and he doesn’t hold anything back. 

During his tenure as Chairman, Mark has been a steady hand, guiding our military as we navigate what, I would argue, is one of the most complex security environments our world has faced in a long time.  

He’s been critical to strengthening America’s exi- –existing alliances, from NATO to the Indo-Pacific to building the new strategic partnerships like AUKUS; and keeping our force on the cutting-edge of the fields of cyber and space; ending America’s longest war and continuing to take terrorists off the battlefield; standing with the brave people of Ukraine and making sure they have the equipment, the support they need, when they need it, to defend their freedom — letting them know — and letting them know how much he respects them.

Mark, your partnership has been invaluable to me.  And I give you my word to that.  And I think it’s been invaluable to Secretary Austin as well.

I want to thank you for always seeing, always sharing the whole map with me — the whole map.  Thanks, pal.  (Applause.) 

When it comes to the Constitution, that is and has always been Mark’s North Star. 

I’m so damn proud to serve with him.  I —

He’s made — he’s made it the central image on his challenge coin, those three little words that mean so much to every American, but especially to those who stand in the service of our nation.  The middle of his challenge coin says, “We the People.”  “We the People.”

It’s a reminder to all of us what makes us a strong nation, who we are as a democracy, and how the United States — for more than two centuries — has always managed to keep moving forward.  Not fealty to any one person or to a political party, but to the idea of America — idea unlike any other in human history: the idea that we’re are all created equal. 

That is what the Constitution safeguards.  That’s what we swear an oath to.  And that is why generations of young women and men, Americans of every background and creed, have stepped forward to be part of the greatest fighting force in the history of the world.  And that’s not hyperbole.  You’re the greatest fighting force in the history of the world.  (Applause.)  I’ve seen you in Afghanistan, Iraq, and — but I don’t want to get started.

And our military is going to keep growing stronger — keep growing stronger with General C.Q. Brown — Charles Q. Brown, Jr., as our 24th [21st] Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Congratulations, old buddy.  (Applause.) 

As Mark will tell you, I’ll be meeting a lot with you.  (Laughter.)

I said when I nominated General Brown as a seasoned warrior with deep combat experience — an experienced commander of the joint force, a top-flight strategist, a leader known throughout the force for his unmatched judgement and unflappable demeanor.  

Like General Milley, General Brown is a patriot through and through, sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution.  He and his wife, Sharene, have de- — dedicated themselves to keeping our military and their families healthy and vibrant.  I thank you both and your sons, Sean and Ross, for everything you’ve given to our country over the years. 

And I look forward to working even more closely with you, C.Q., as we take on all the challenges ahead to ensure that our force can continue to deter and defeat any potential threat to the American people. 

As Secretary Austin noted, I am glad that General Brown was confirmed by the Senate, along with the new Commandant of the Marine Corps and Army Chief of Staff, but — I must be careful here how I say this — but it’s thoroughly, totally unacceptable that more than 300 other highly qualified officers are still in limbo.  I’ve been here a long time; I’ve never seen anything like this.  It’s outrageous, and it must stop.

Their promotions, their careers, their families, their futures held hostage by the political agenda of one senator and the silence of another 47 of them.

It’s a drag on our force.  It impacts everything from readiness to morale to retention.  And it’s an insult — an insult to the officers’ years of dedicated service. 

Our troops deserve so much better.  And if the House fails to fulfill its most basic function, if it fails to fund the government by tomorrow, it will have failed all of our troops. 

Our service members will keep upholding their oaths, showing up for work, standing sentinel around the world, keeping our country secure — but they won’t get paid.  It’s a disgrace.  Thousands of Defense Department civilian and — civilian servants will be sent home.

And the longer the shutdown lasts, the harder it will be to become — the harder it will become for military families to pay their bills.

We can’t be playing politics while our troops stand in the breach.  It’s an absolute dereliction of duty. 

As leaders, we must never lose sight of the direct impacts of the decisions we make and the impact they have on the lives and families around the world.

General Milley, General Brown, Secretary Austin, and all the many great leaders across every branch of our military — you got to where you are by demonstrating extraordinary care and concern for the troops you command.  It’s a lived leadership of being in the field alongside your troops, sharing their hardships, holding each other together when times are hard, never forgetting the humanity beneath the uniform.  It’s an enormous credit to each of them personally and an enormous asset for our country. 

Secretary Austin told the story of how he and General Milley got blown up together by an IED in Iraq.  But the part of the story that stands out to me is the reason they were on Route Irish that night to begin with.  The reason they were there: They were going to see one of Milley’s soldiers who had been wounded. 

In fact, during that tour in Iraq, you’d often find then-Colonel Milley down at that hospital sitting with the wounded so they wouldn’t be alone; rounding up his troops for an impromptu blood drive if the docs let him know they were running low on units; putting an arm around his team, gathering them together, seeing to their injuries — both physical and mental — when war extracts the greatest of tolls. 

That’s leadership.  That’s patriotism.  That’s strength.  That’s Mark Milley.  (Applause.)

Mark, you know how strongly I feel about you.  You’ve given remarkable service to our country.  You have done honor for the uniform of our nation.  You have upheld your oath. 

Thank you.  Thank you, my friend.  Thank you for being my friend. 

May God bless you all.  And may God protect our troops.  (Applause.)

11:33 A.M. EDT

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A Proclamation on National Community Policing Week, 2023

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 14:35

     All Americans want the same thing:  neighborhoods free of violence and crime, for our loved ones to come home safely each day, and fair and impartial justice under the law.  During National Community Policing Week, we recommit to achieving those goals by strengthening the trust and partnership between law enforcement and communities across our Nation.

     The vast majority of police officers put their lives on the line every day to do the right thing.  They pin on their shield and walk out the door toward danger, risking their lives to keep the rest of us safe.  They are good, dedicated, honorable people, who work hard to cultivate positive relationships with the communities they have sworn to protect, serving at a time when working in law enforcement is harder than it has ever been.  Law enforcement officers are expected to act as counselors, social workers, and psychologists as they respond to drug overdoses, domestic violence, abandoned children, mental health crises, and other incredibly challenging situations.

     Trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve is the foundation of public safety.  When officers on the beat know the neighborhoods and the families they are serving and protecting; when they get the training, resources, and tools they need to do their jobs; and when they earn the community’s trust, we are all safer and stronger.  Without public trust, there is less public safety — crimes go unreported, cases go unsolved, witnesses fear coming forward, victims suffer in isolation, perpetrators remain free, and justice remains undelivered.    

     That is why my Administration has taken historic steps to support community policing and strengthen public trust in law enforcement by providing officers with the resources and training they need to be the partners and protectors our communities deserve.  When funding for police was at risk because of the pandemic, my Administration’s American Rescue Plan delivered a historic $350 billion to help States and cities respond.  Hundreds of communities across our Nation have committed over $10 billion of those funds to retain and hire more officers; pay overtime and bonuses; and secure more crisis responders and personnel to provide for substance use disorder, mental health, and violence intervention services.  We committed more Federal resources to supporting State and local law enforcement in the first year of my Administration than almost any other year on record.  Furthermore, I signed the most sweeping gun safety law in nearly 30 years to ensure that officers are not out-gunned on the streets.  And we are strengthening background checks for gun purchasers, cracking down on illegal gun sales, and reigning in ghost guns that officers have increasingly reported finding at crime scenes.  

     After Senate Republicans blocked the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act in 2021, I signed an Executive Order — with the support of leaders from law enforcement and civil rights groups as well as affected families, including the Floyd family — that put Federal policing on a path to becoming the gold standard for effective and accountable policing.  Incorporating key elements of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the Executive Order requires Federal law enforcement agencies to ban chokeholds, restrict no-knock warrants, provide de-escalation training, and implement stronger use-of-force policies that include the duty to intervene and render medical aid.  Further, we mandated that Federal officers submit use-of-force data to the FBI’s Use-of-Force Data Collection and log officer misconduct and commendation records into a new national accountability database.  The Executive Order also directs Federal resources to support similar reforms within State, Tribal, local, and territorial law enforcement agencies as we continue to call on the Congress to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.

     My Administration’s Safer America Plan builds on these actions by seeking an additional $37 billion to hire 100,000 more State and local police officers trained in safe, effective, and accountable community policing consistent with the standards in my Executive Order; to provide law enforcement with mental health and wellness resources; to ensure more psychologists and social workers are available to respond to a crisis alongside them; and to establish and support programs that are proven to tackle the root causes of crime. 

     There is no greater responsibility of government than ensuring the safety of the American people and those who sacrifice to protect us all.  This week, let us recognize the heroism, selflessness, and courage of police officers across America.  Let us honor the communities they serve for their undaunted efforts to advance equal justice, safety, and dignified treatment for all.  And let us commit to building a future that supports public safety, promotes trust, and unites communities across the Nation.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 1 through October 7, 2023, as National Community Policing Week.  I call upon law enforcement agencies, elected officials, and all Americans to observe this week by recognizing ways to improve public safety, build trust, and strengthen community relationships.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.

                               JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

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A Proclamation on National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, 2023

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 14:31

     Domestic violence touches every community in this Nation.  Americans of every race, religion, and background are affected; its consequences transcend generations, impacting children and reshaping whole families.  During National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, we stand with the tens of millions of people who have experienced intimate partner violence, and we thank the first responders, service providers, and community members who work to make sure that every American can live in safety, with dignity and respect.

     I was always taught there is no worse sin than the abuse of power, especially when that abuse is directed toward a partner.  But just decades ago, much of our Nation wanted to keep the issue of domestic violence in the shadows.  Survivors sat in shame, and society often looked away from what people too often dismissed as a “family affair.” 

     I have spent more than 30 years of my life working to change that — to end gender-based violence in the United States and around the world.  I wrote the original Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1990, which made strides toward shifting the legal and social burdens away from survivors, holding offenders accountable, and addressing gendered violence as a shared priority with a determined and coordinated response.  That law introduced our Nation to countless brave survivors, whose stories changed the way America saw this issue.  It created the National Domestic Violence Hotline to provide confidential support nationwide.  It supported shelters, rape crisis centers, housing, and legal assistance, creating life-saving options for survivors and their children.  And it helped to train police, advocates, prosecutors, and judges to make our justice system more responsive to survivors.  It saved lives and helped survivors rebuild.

     Since then, every time we have reauthorized VAWA, we have improved it — broadening its scope to include stalking and sexual assault in 2000, expanding access to services for immigrants and communities of color in 2005, and recognizing criminal jurisdiction of Tribal courts over non-Indian perpetrators and protections for LGBTQI+ individuals in 2013.  And last year, we reauthorized VAWA again and strengthened access to services for survivors from underserved and marginalized communities, expanded special Tribal criminal jurisdiction with support for Native communities, and recognized the need to combat cybercrimes and address online harassment and abuse.  We brought the Federal Government’s investment in life-saving gender-based violence programs to $700 million this year alone — the highest funding level in history — and to $1 billion in next year’s budget.  

     Last year, I also signed the most significant gun safety law we have had in nearly 30 years, which keeps firearms out of the hands of convicted domestic abusers.  Another law I signed ensures we continue to sustain the Crime Victims Fund to help domestic violence survivors cover abuse-related costs like medical bills, lost wages, and temporary housing.  And further, I signed a law empowering survivors of workplace sexual assault and sexual harassment to take their cases to court.  We fundamentally transformed how the military prosecutes sexual assault and domestic violence within its ranks, shifting to specialized prosecutors independent from commanders.  We have established a civil cause of action for anyone who has had their intimate photos shared without their consent, and we are working to prevent the spread of deepfake non-consensual images too.  And last May, we released the first-ever National Plan to End Gender-Based Violence, laying out a Government-wide plan to prevent and address sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, and other forms of gender-based violence.

     Despite all this progress, we have more to do.  Four in 10 American women and nearly 3 in 10 American men are still impacted by sexual abuse, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetimes.  If you or someone you know needs help today, immediate and confidential support is available 24/7 through the National Domestic Violence Hotline by visiting thehotline.org, call 1-800-799-7233 (TTY 1-800-787-3224), or text “START” to 88788. 

     Every survivor should know that they are not alone and they deserve better.  Together, we will keep spreading awareness, changing culture, supporting survivors, and moving toward a world free of gender-based violence.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2023 as National Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.  I call upon each of us to change the social norms that permit domestic violence, provide meaningful support to survivors, and express gratitude to those working diligently on prevention and response efforts.  Together, we can transform the country and build a Nation where all people live free from violence. 

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twenty-ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.

                               JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

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A Proclamation on Cybersecurity Awareness Month, 2023

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 14:25

     Digital technologies today touch nearly every aspect of American life — from our classrooms and communities, to our economy and national security.  That is why — this Cybersecurity Awareness Month — my Administration renews our commitment to securing cyberspace and seizing the unlimited potential of our digital future. 

     From the start of my Administration, I have made cybersecurity a national security priority because cyber threats affect every sector of society, from the critical infrastructure that underpins our daily lives to the schools where we educate our children and the products we use in our homes.  In May 2021, I issued an Executive Order to modernize the Federal Government’s cyber defenses — creating mechanisms for agencies to quickly identify and respond to cyberattacks.  I instituted minimum cybersecurity standards for critical infrastructure sectors, including mandates for the protection of pipelines, rail, and aviation.  This past August, the White House hosted a Cybersecurity for K-12 Schools Summit, where we announced new resources for schools to address the threat of ransomware attacks.  We launched the “U.S. Cyber Trust Mark” program with voluntarily participation from leading product manufacturers and retailers to help Americans choose safer smart devices to bring into their homes — while also establishing security standards for software purchased by the Government, helping to raise the market standard for digital technologies writ large.  In July, we released a new National Cyber Workforce and Education Strategy, which will empower more Americans to pursue careers in the cyber field and strengthen our resilience for generations to come.  And, as we implement historic legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the CHIPS and Science Act, we are committed to incorporating cybersecurity measures into everything we build and produce — from bridges and roads to computer chips and the electrical grid.

     Cyber threats cross borders, which is why we are also taking the same historic action on the global stage.  In 2021, my Administration established the International Counter-Ransomware Initiative, which will convene for the third time this fall in Washington, D.C., bringing together more than 40 partners from around the globe to address the scourge of ransomware.  We have created new cyber dialogues with allies and partners to enhance our collective cyber defense and deterrence — including launching a new virtual rapid response mechanism at NATO to ensure Allies can effectively and efficiently offer each other support in response to cyber incidents.  And, early this year, we released a new National Cybersecurity Strategy — which will allow us to work in lockstep with our partners to ensure cyberspace is grounded in democratic values — not those of our autocratic competitors.

     Our world — including our digital world — stands at an inflection point, where the decisions we make today will determine the direction of our world for decades to come.  This is particularly true as we develop and enforce norms for conduct in cyberspace.  We must ensure the Internet remains open, free, global, interoperable, reliable, and secure — anchored in universal values that respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.  And, we must ensure that digital connectivity is a tool that uplifts and empowers, not one used for repression and coercion.  Today, and every day, the United States commits to advancing this vision from a position of strength — leading in lockstep with our allies and partners everywhere who share our aspiration for a brighter digital future.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2023 as Cybersecurity Awareness Month.  I call upon the people, businesses, and institutions of the United States to recognize and act on the importance of cybersecurity and to observe Cybersecurity Awareness Month in support of our national security and resilience.  I also call upon business and institutions to take action to better protect the American people against cyber threats and create new opportunities for American workers to pursue good-paying cyber jobs.  Americans can also take immediate action to better protect themselves such as turning on multifactor authentication, updating software on computers and devices, using strong passwords, and remaining cautious of clicking on links that look suspicious.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.

                               JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

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A Proclamation on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 2023

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 14:21

Cancer touches nearly every family in America, including mine.  That is why finding cures and addressing the needs of patients and their families is a central pillar of my Unity Agenda, as I discussed in my very first State of the Union address — it is the kind of goal that can unite us all as Americans, regardless of our differences.  This National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, let us all recommit to the work of ending cancer as we know it.  May we honor those we have lost, offer strength to those who continue to live with breast cancer, and work to protect the health of future generations. 

     Nearly 300,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and one in eight women in America will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetimes.  We have made enormous progress in our decades-long fight against cancer — discovering new prevention and early-detection measures and exploring medicines and therapies to extend and save lives.  Despite these advancements, a breast cancer diagnosis is not only frightening but also a doorway into a confusing world of appointments, procedures, and expenses.  While facing months of grueling treatments, breast cancer patients and their families are flooded with a bewildering amount of medical information to decipher and often have to advocate to receive basic care and attention.  On top of these stresses, they also worry about paying their medical bills.

     That is why the First Lady and I reignited the Cancer Moonshot and set ambitious goals to cut the overall cancer death rate by at least half in the next 25 years, transform more cancers from death sentences into treatable diseases, and improve the treatment experience for patients and their families.  As a first step toward realizing these goals, I established the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) and secured $2.5 billion in bipartisan funding to drive scientific breakthroughs in prevention, detection, and treatment for cancer and other diseases.  The agency is pioneering partnerships to help disseminate the impact of those breakthroughs to clinics and patients.  And recently, it announced research into the use of mRNA technology, an innovative component of the COVID-19 vaccine, to train our own immune systems to fight cancer and other diseases.  It will also lead the exploration of novel technologies to enhance the precision and accuracy of surgical procedures involved in removing cancerous tumors from the body.  Also, the first class of Moonshot scholars has been selected, which will help build a cancer research workforce that better represents the diversity of America and prepare a new wave of innovators in the cancer field.

     Improving treatment options is only part of the fight.  We also need to make those treatments affordable for everyone who needs them.  That is why I made it a priority for the Inflation Reduction Act to cap out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors on Medicare at $2,000 per year — including expensive cancer drugs.  My Administration has also strengthened Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to expand and protect health care coverage, saving nearly 15 million Americans $800 per year on health insurance premiums.

     Because screening and early detection are critical to saving the lives of breast cancer patients, my Administration remains committed to maintaining and improving the accessibility of cancer care secured in the ACA.  This means requiring insurers to pay for cancer screenings — including mammograms — as well as maintaining coverage for cancer survivors and others who have preexisting conditions.  In addition, we are doubling our investment and making new alliances with community health centers that provide early detection and support services to underserved communities.  Most recently, we also expanded access to breast cancer screenings for any veteran exposed to burn pits — regardless of their age or family history.

     More information is available online at cancer.gov/types/breast or by calling 1-800-422-6237 to reach information specialists at the National Cancer Institute, who can answer cancer-related questions in English and Spanish.  Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program provides breast cancer screenings and diagnostic services to those with low incomes who are uninsured or otherwise qualify for the program — learn more at cdc.gov/cancer/nbccedp/screenings.htm.

     For the lives we can save and those we have lost, let this National Breast Cancer Awareness Month be a moment of unity that rallies the country to end cancer as we know it.  Together, we can give patients, survivors, and their families the care, hope, and support they deserve.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2023 as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I encourage citizens, government agencies, private businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other interested groups to join in activities that will increase awareness of what Americans can do to prevent and control breast cancer and pay tribute to those who have lost their lives to this disease.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twenty-ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.

                             JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

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A Proclamation on National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 2023

Fri, 09/29/2023 - 14:14

     People with disabilities have long strengthened our economy and expanded our Nation’s possibilities.  During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we recognize the immense contributions of disabled Americans, and we recommit to delivering America’s full promise of equal dignity, respect, and opportunity for every American.  

     I had the honor of helping to pass the Rehabilitation Act in my first year in the United States Senate.  Then, in 1990, with the help of activists and bipartisan legislators and under the leadership of Senator Tom Harkin, we passed the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — a groundbreaking civil rights law that banned discrimination against people with disabilities in most areas of public life, including in workplaces, schools, and public transit.  I was proud to co-sponsor that law back then and to build on its lasting legacy in the Obama-Biden Administration, including by setting hiring goals for people with disabilities in Federal contracts.

     While the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA made significant strides toward equal opportunity for people with disabilities, there is more work to do.  People with disabilities are three times less likely to have a job, and when they do, they are often paid less money for doing the same work.  

     Since the start of the my Administration, we have been working hard to promote job opportunities for Americans with disabilities.  I truly believe that a workforce that includes people with disabilities is one that is stronger and more effective.  And as the Nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government has a responsibility to set the standard for fair and decent practices in the workplace.  That is why, in my first year in office, I issued an Executive Order to prioritize diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in the Federal Government.  That Executive Order directs agencies to identify and remove barriers to hiring and promotion for job applicants and employees with disabilities as well as maximize the accessibility of workplaces.

     My Administration has also ended the use of unfair sub‑minimum wages in Federal contracts, which previously allowed employers to pay workers with disabilities less than the minimum wage for federally contracted workers.  Meanwhile, the Department of Labor is working around the clock to protect the rights of disabled workers on Federal contracts and to promote their competitive integrated employment alongside other similarly situated workers without disabilities.  The Office of Disability Employment Policy launched several national online dialogues to solicit broad stakeholder input on the effectiveness of employment programs and services for people from underrepresented groups within the disability community.  In addition, we are coordinating with our partners at all levels of government, in the private sector, and in civil society to use Federal funding to provide new employment opportunities to people with disabilities.

     My Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is also funding projects that are lowering transportation barriers that prevent disabled Americans from finding employment.  This once-in-a-generation investment in our Nation’s infrastructure is making transit and public services more accessible.  It includes $1.75 billion to repair and improve accessibility in transit stations across America and $65 billion to expand access to high-speed internet so more disabled Americans can work, study, and stay connected from home.  In August, the Department of Justice issued a notice of proposed rulemaking under Title II of the ADA that aims to improve web and mobile applications access for people with disabilities and clarify how public entities — primarily State and local governments — can meet their existing ADA obligations as many of their activities shift online, further breaking down barriers to employment.

     America is the only country in the world founded on an idea:  that we are all created equal and deserve to be treated equally throughout our lives.  This National Disability Employment Awareness Month, we celebrate all the people with disabilities who have moved our Nation closer to realizing that ideal and, in the process, have made America more prosperous, inclusive, and humane.  As we celebrate the progress we have made, may we continue to open the doors of opportunity even wider for people with disabilities by advancing access and equity.

     NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2023 as National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  I urge all Americans to embrace the talents and skills of workers with disabilities and to promote the right to equal employment opportunity for all.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-eighth.

                               JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

The post A Proclamation on National Disability Employment Awareness Month, 2023 appeared first on The White House.

POTUS 46    Joe Biden

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