Here are the top 3 most important stories from Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s press briefing on June 28, 2021.
The President and a bipartisan group of senators announced a historic infrastructure deal that would put Americans back to work with “the biggest investments in our roads and bridges since the creation of the interstate highway system, connect every American to broadband, make unprecedented strides in climate and clean energy leadership, eliminate all lead drinking water pipes for the biggest investment in clean drinking water in our history. And make the biggest investment in rails since the creation of Amtrak,” said Press Secretary Psaki
Psaki stated that the National Governors Association, as well Individual governors on both sides of the aisle like Gretchen Whitmer, and Charlie Baker, have come out in support of the bill.
“We’ll put Americans to work replacing 100% of our new lead water pipes so that every single American child at home or in school can turn on the faucet and drain clean water,” said Press Secretary Psaki. She explained that up to 10 million homes and 400,000 schools and childcare centers get their water from lead pipes and service lines. She argued that this bill will “aim to address that specific category.”
Last Thursday, Biden made a statement saying that he would not sign the infrastructure bill if the proposal did not include the American Families Plan and other priorities such as clean energy. This statement upset many Republicans, assuming he issued a veto threat.
Over the weekend, Biden issued another statement ensuring that he wants to move forward with the bill. He ensured that his administration is working closely with leaders in Congress and does not intend to issue a veto threat.
“He left the impression that he was issuing a veto threat on the very plan that he had just agreed to, which was not his intent and he wanted to make clear that was not his intent and in this statement he also reiterated his intention to move forward with advocating for using the bully pulpit, making phone calls, working his heart out to get the American families to plan through.” said Psaki. She added that President’s view is that “you can do both and should be able to do both. And there can be disagreement, even as he’s pursuing the American family.”
However, on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel issued a statement asking that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi decouple a passage of the bipartisan bill from a second Democrats only spending package.
McConnell stated that the Democrat Party wants to “hold a bipartisan bill hostage over a separate and partisan process.” The Minority Leader argued that unless Schumer and Pelosi walk back their threats, “then President Biden’s walk-back of his veto threat would be a hollow gesture.”
Senator McConnel’s opposition could derail the infrastructure package from being passed.
Despite McConnel’s stance, the President will travel to Wisconsin tomorrow to advocate the Infrastructure package to the American people as well as discuss the American Families Plan.
The President is “eager” to sign both pieces of legislation into law. Psaki ensured “He is going to focus his time and his effort on selling the benefits of these packages and what they would do for the American people, whether it’s ensuring kids don’t have lead in their drinking water, or making sure families have additional benefit from the Child Tax Credit extension. That’s what his focus is going to be in terms of the mechanics and the process.”
2. Florida Condo building Collapse
Last Thursday in Surfside, Florida a 12-story condo building collapsed. So far 10 people have been found dead, leaving 151 still left unaccounted for.
The President sent his FEMA administrator down to Florida who had a meeting with Governor de Santos and others while he was in Florida.
“In addition, we have more than 50 personnel on the ground working closely with state and local officials and providing assistance. FEMA has deployed Incident Management Assistance Team, as well as building Science experts, structural engineers and geotech technical experts to support, search and rescue operations and a mobile command center,” said Psaki.
The US Army Corps of Engineers is also being mission assigned to provide technical assistance for debris removal and two FEMA-supported search and rescue teams are involved in the response to the devastating incident. Additional FEMA National Urban Search and Rescue system teams are on the alert to support personnel already on the ground. FEMA is coordinating with the state to support the opening of a Family Assistance Center and is providing communication support to ensure information is available.
In terms of the President traveling to Florida, Psaki stated that “We always want to ensure that we’re not pulling from local resources. We don’t want to draw resources that are needed in the ongoing search and rescue operations and efforts. We will remain in close contact with officials on the ground.”
Press Secretary Psaki expressed that the President believes there should be an investigation into why the building collapsed.
A number of the resources FEMA is sending to the ground are building science experts to the scene, officials from The National Institutes of Standards and Technology, officials from OSHA, and the FBI. They’ve all been deployed to Surfside Surfside Under their own authorities to help participate and provide expertise in that effort.
“Certainly we want to play any constructive role we can play with federal resources and getting to the bottom But in preventing it from happening in the future,” said Psaki.
3. Independence Day
On July 4th, the White House will be hosting a party for frontline workers and men and women who serve in the military. In addition, the National Mall will be open as well on the Fourth. However, amid growing concerns over the dangerous Delta variant, it comes to question if the Administration should host this party.
“The majority of delta cases are people who are unvaccinated. We may see some vaccinated people who test positive for Covid of course as we know from the data, but those people often have mild symptoms and remain out of the hospital,” stated Psaki.
She encouraged everyone, specifically those in younger age groups, that the best way to protect themselves is to get vaccinated.
Psaki stated that “Of course we’ll continue to evaluate any steps that need to be taken to protect the American people, but we have made significant progress and we are confident in our plans moving forward for July 4.”
When it comes to Biden’s commitment to help end the pandemic internationally, 2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will begin to ship to Peru from the United States and 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine will ship to Pakistan.
“Over the weekend we announced we were sending 1.5 million doses of Moderna to Honduras and over this week we’ll be able to announce more places that the United States will be sending our doses,” said Psaki.