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Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Hagerstown, MD

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Hagerstown, Maryland

12:07 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Hi, guys.  So this is going to be an incredibly short gaggle.   

Q    Is it okay if we just start with questions?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No, I actually have stuff at the top that I need to share.

So, today’s jobs numbers reflect that we have been saying for many months: We are in a transition to stable and steady growth.

Today’s unemployment rate matches its lowest level in 50 years at 3.5 percent.  This kind of job growth is consistent with a low unemployment rate and a healthy economy.

More people are working than at any point in American history.  Black une- — Hispanic unemployment is at the lowest rate in history, and Black unemployment remains low.  That’s millions of families with dignity — with the dignity and peace of mind that a paycheck provides.

The President’s strategy of building the economy from the bottom up and the middle out is delivering for the American people, bringing jobs back from overseas, and that the Inflation Reduction Act is accelerating that progress for creating new manufacturing jobs all over the country and cutting the biggest costs families face.

And so it is fitting that today, on National Manufacturing Day, President Biden will have a chance to highlight the resurgence in American manufacturing during a visit to Volvo’s Hagerstown, Maryland, facility.

The President will talk about how he and the congressional Republicans have two very different economic views for the country.  The Inflation Reduction Act is lowering prescription drug prices, energy bills, and healthcare costs paid for by the — by ending the ability to — of giant corporations to pay nothing in taxes.

Congressional Republicans would want — want to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which will worsen inflation, rise costs — raise costs for families, and hand wea- — and hand wealthy special interests a take — a tax giveaway.  They would also wipe out new clean energy manufacturing jobs being created because of the Inflation Reduction Act.

I also want to note a — a note.  As CNN reported this morning, Republican in Congress are continuing to, quote, “vote no, but take the dough.”  Last year, they attacked President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as, quote, “socialism.”  Now they are asking for funding the law; it provides for crucial job-creating, infrastructure priorities in their districts.

We’ve seen this phenomenon before with President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.  The pres- — the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is rebuilding our roads and bridges, delivering cheaper and cleaner energy, and creating good-paying jobs across the country.  It’s sad but not surprising that many House and Senate Republicans are now trying to claim credit and benefit for parts of the President’s agenda they fought to block. 

President Biden ran for President to rebuild the middle class.  There’s more to do, but we are proud to be making significant progress to families. 

I’m going to also, finally, announce something that people have wanted, back — it’s back by popular demand — which is the week ahead preview.  So let me share with you the week ahead.

Q    Karine, can you just email that to us? 

Q    I think there’s a lot that we need to get to, and we’re about to land.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  I know, but I need to do this because I was asked, and I — and I’m keeping my promise here.  I was asked last week, and I’m keeping my promise.

On Wednesday, the President will travel out West, starting in Colorado.  On Thursday and Friday, he will have events in California and Oregon.  The President will discuss the progress we have made from passing a historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to passing the infrastructure — Inflation Reduction Act.  He’ll draw a contrast between his plan to protect and strengthen Medicare and family — and Social Security, and plan for congressional Republicans, which puts Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block. 

Okay, with that, go ahead. 

Q    Did the President plan to use the word “Armageddon”?  Why did he choose that particular reference to Revelation 16:16?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Okay, so Russia’s talk of using nuclear weapons is irresponsible.  And there’s no way to use — to use them without unintended consequences.  It cannot happen. 

We want — we won’t be intimidated by Putin’s rhetoric.  We have not seen any reason to adjust our own nuclear posture, nor do we have indications they are preparing to use them.  But Putin can de-escalate this at any time, and there is no reason to escalate.

Q    Why were those comments made for the first time in front of a group of donors rather than a press conference or more public type of forum?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, the President’s comments has been very consistent.  He was reinforcing what we have been saying, which is how seriously we have ta- — we take these threats about nuclear weapons, as we have done when the Russians have made these threats throughout the conflict.  So the kind of irresponsible rhetoric we have seen is no way for the leader of a nuclear-armed state to speak.  And that’s what the President was making very clear about.

Q    Karine, do you have new intel that caused the President to ratchet up the level of concern?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No.  No.  The President was speaking about concerns about Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons, just as he did at the U.N. General Assembly and we have done over the past few weeks.  You have heard us say this over and over again; you’ve heard it from the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan — how seriously we are taking this.  And that’s what the President was speaking to.

Q    So there’s no imminent threat?  I mean, there’s no —

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  No.  We — there is — there is no — there is no — we — as I said before, we have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture, nor do we have indications that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons.

Go ahead.

Q    Karine, the President also talked about the fact that you’re trying to figure out what Putin’s off-ramp is or something that would allow him to save face.  Is there any concession being discussed between the U.S. and allies that would be acceptable to make sure that this conflict de-escalates?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So the way that we see this — and you’ve heard us say this before: There is only — there’s only one country that is responsible for this war — only one country — and that’s Russia.  And they started this conflict, and Mr. Putin has the ability to stop this conflict today.

Q    The President also said that it remains to be seen if he meets with President Putin at the G20.  Are there any preconditions for — under which he would do this meeting or not do this meeting?  And can you talk about the planning for such a meeting, in the event?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, I don’t have anything to preview. 

I’ll say one more thing: You know, Russia’s nuclear rhetoric has been reckless and irresponsible.  But if the Cuban Missile Crisis has taught us anything, it is the value of reducing nuclear risk and not brandishing it. 

Q    Karine, President Biden has expressed a lot of concern about climate, especially after the hurricane.  Is he planning to go to — does he want to go to COP27?  And are you taking any measures — are there executive actions you can take on the insurance front to make sure that people don’t rebuild in unsafe areas?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  So, Administrator — on your last question, the Administrator of — FEMA Administrator has talked about this multiple times throughout the week, so I will, you know, let her words stand on insurance, specifically.

As far as COP26 [COP27], we don’t have anything to preview at this time.  When we do, on his travels — potential travels next week — next month, pardon me — we certainly will — will share.

Q    I was asking about executive action.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Executive action?  There is no — there is no executive action that I can preview to you at this time. 

Q    Karine?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah.

Q    The Washington Post, yesterday, had details of the investigation into Hunter Biden.  Is the President worried about these leaks suggesting there may be enough evidence to charge him on a number of counts?  And does he still stand by his comments that Hunter has done nothing wrong?

AIR FORCE ONE CREW MEMBER:  (Inaudible) grab a seat so we can land. 

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Yeah.  Okay.  So, really quickly, as — as you know, this is an ongoing investigation being handled independently by the Department of Justice.  So I would refer you to the Department of Justice.

Q    Thanks.

12:14 P.M. EDT

Source: White House