Press Secretary Jen Psaki talks about immigration and voting rights, and administration officials join to discuss the American economy. Delaney Tarr reports on the biggest stories from today’s briefing.
1.The Biden Administration takes on supply chain weaknesses
The Biden administration brought two administration officials to the White House podium on Tuesday afternoon to discuss economic strength and American supply chains after a months-long government review.
The 250-page report comes after an executive order from President Biden on February 24th. The report focuses on domestic production, supply chain stability and wants to reduce emerging threats of shortage and cybersecurity issues.
One major announcement was Biden’s creation of a task force to address bottlenecks in supply chains that cause shortages. The administration was open about the report’s reveal of vulnerabilities in supply chains but focused on handling those issues early on.
According to the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Sameera Fazili, the report brings the administration back to Biden’s goal of “Building Back Better”.
Fazili outlined five main points of the effort: Creating pathways for American workers, increasing diversity in economic opportunities, ensuring robust small businesses, diversifying international supply, and reimagining approaches to supply chains.
The report is part of the administration’s effort to rebuild the economy after taking a hit during COVID-19. With many American workers and small businesses still trying to bounce back, Biden is focused on building from “the bottom up and the middle out”.
The administration still considers the U.S. in strong economic standing. Fazili pushed back against questions of whether the U.S. was in a recession, saying “our economy is reignited.”
2. Vice President Harris tells migrants “Don’t Come” to the U.S.
Vice President Kamala Harris recently delivered remarks in Guatemala as part of her trip through the Northern triangle. The trip was centered around immigration and human rights, specifically addressing the root cause of migration from Latin American countries to the United States.
Harris addressed the undocumented migrants vying to seek refuge in the US with a blunt message: “Do not come.” The statement was part of the White House stance that most of those who come to the US border will be turned away, and should look towards countries closer to their home.
This morning, Symone Sanders, Senior Advisor and Chief Spokesperson to Kamala Harris, reiterated the message to those who want to come to the U.S. to do so exclusively through legal immigration channels.
“The President and Vice President have been clear in dissuading people from making the dangerous and treacherous journey to the U.S./Mexico border. We encourage those who do want to come to the U.S. to do so legally and seek legal immigration options in their home countries. The Vice President is committed to addressing the root causes of migration, which also addresses why migrants are coming to our border.”
Progressive politicians and activists fired back against the phrase, with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calling it disappointing to see, especially when seeking asylum at the US border is legal.
Psaki defended Harris’ comments and said Harris was “simply conveying that there’s more work to be done.” Psaki said the speech aimed to address that the government doesn’t have the systems in place to efficiently process asylum requests.
3. Voting Rights Bill remains in limbo
Senator Joe Manchin drew attention for his resistance to the For the People Act, a prominent voting rights bill. Manchin’s vote was essential for Democrats to pass the bill.
The For The People Act is part of broad voting rights reforms proposed by the Biden administration. If passed, it would create broad protections for Americans’ voting rights. Psaki has said previously that the bill has broad support from the American people.
In a recent op-ed, Manchin said the right to vote has become “overly politicized” and too partisan. He has refused to vote yes on the bill, citing bipartisan support as necessary for his approval. The bill currently has zero Republican support.
Psaki pushed back against questions targeting Manchin, instead highlighting his recent meeting with civil rights groups and future conversations between Biden and Manchin. She also said the President was “passionate” about voting rights and cited his recent speech in Tulsa as proof.
In the meantime, the Biden administration said it will continue to press for federal action to move forward on the bill.