The Press Gaggle of Press Secretary Jen PsakiIn the press gaggle of Press Secretary Jen Psaki‚ the President is asked about the economic agenda and President Putin's message to the rest of the G7. In this piece‚ Psaki takes questions from progressives and other groups. She also answers a question from a Progressive reader: What should be the focus of President Obama's outreach? How should he approach COVID?
Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jen PsakiFormer Press Secretary Jen Psaki is leaving the White House. After a rough start‚ she has become the White House spokesperson the press loves. She has been in charge for the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the spread of the Covid-19 virus‚ both of which she covered. When she was first appointed to her job‚ she was expected to return the White House's credibility with the press. She even brought back daily press briefings‚ which had disappeared in the second half of the Obama administration. But her tenure was short and she was reassigned to her new job at MSNBC. Yesterday‚ President Obama spoke at an Amtrak celebration to celebrate their 50th anniversary. The White House is a strong supporter of Amtrak‚ which is popular in Philadelphia. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) released a report stating that the President's tax reform proposals would affect only a small fraction of taxpayers‚ but that they would make the tax system fairer for all. In addition to tax reform‚ the American Families Plan would cut $800 billion in taxes for lower and middle class Americans and make critical investments in infrastructure. As for the President's trip to Mexico City‚ he is expected to meet with members of Congress and other foreign leaders. While he is in the region‚ the President is expected to discuss his trip and infrastructure. He will also talk to members of Congress who are running for re-election. Among the many issues he plans to discuss are terrorism‚ trade‚ and immigration.
President Putin's message to the rest of the G7President Putin's message to the rest of Europe has a complex geostrategic significance‚ but it may have a broader planetary impact. A G8 summit was supposed to take place in Sochi this year‚ but instead it was held in Brussels. While Ukraine held a peaceful presidential election‚ the situation in eastern Ukraine remains volatile with armed groups attacking government forces and occupying state buildings. As the situation in eastern Ukraine worsens‚ the G7 nations are ready to impose more targeted sanctions and restrictions on Russia‚ which will not be welcomed by many in the west. On Tuesday‚ UK and EU leaders‚ including US President Barack Obama‚ took a strong stance against Russia. They imposed sanctions against Moscow and its elites‚ announced plans to provide billions in humanitarian aid‚ and said they would take in up to 100‚000 Ukrainian refugees. The US and European leaders also promised to hold the Kremlin accountable for its actions. Those promises were not enough to stop the Russians' aggression. On March 2‚ the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution against Russia urging a peaceful end to the conflict in Ukraine. On the same day‚ French President Emmanuel Macron called on G7 leaders to invest in ways to alleviate the country's mounting food crisis. Despite all these developments‚ however‚ the G7 leaders remained silent on President Putin's message to the rest of the world.
President Obama's economic agendaOn Tuesday‚ President Obama will deliver his farewell speech to the American people. The Labor Department published its final employment update of his Administration. Last month‚ 156k new jobs were created‚ the unemployment rate was at 4.7 percent‚ and average hourly wages were up three percent from a year ago. The report also marked the 75th consecutive month of job growth‚ a record for the modern era. Despite these positive signs‚ there are concerns that the economy remains fragile. The president's long-term economic outlook is still troubling. The federal deficit is projected to increase over the next decade as retirement costs increase. President Obama was elected amidst an economy that was in recession and free-fall. The country lost an average of 800‚000 jobs per month. In January‚ the CBO projected a deficit of $1 trillion and an economy shrinking by 2.2 percent. While President Obama's short-term outlook is positive‚ the long-term outlook remains bleak. Despite the challenges facing Senegal‚ the Administration is promoting trade with Africa‚ particularly the sub-Saharan continent. AGOA‚ or the African Growth and Opportunity Act‚ has been a cornerstone of U.S. trade policy with the region. It has helped strengthen regional integration and competitiveness‚ and has supported hundreds of thousands of jobs in Africa. It has also created more opportunities for trade with Africa‚ boosting global prosperity.
COVIDPresident Obama today spoke with P+11 leaders and said that the group is continuing its efforts to help Ukraine. The group affirmed their solidarity with the people of Ukraine and discussed diplomatic engagements and coordinated efforts to hold Russia accountable for its actions. Earlier this week‚ P+11 leaders visited Ukraine and discussed the ongoing situation there. At the summit‚ President Obama promised to keep working with the P+11 group to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The Biden administration continues to communicate with the Mexican government about the situation on the border. However‚ the administration has not requested specific help from Mexico for the situation with Haitian migrants. But the Biden administration is committed to helping resolve this humanitarian crisis as soon as possible. The White House will talk more about the situation when it can. The State Department released a report on the case last night. Earlier this month‚ Psaki had a meeting with Vice President Biden‚ which was considered socially distant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defined close contact as less than six feet from an infected person and lasted for at least 15 minutes. The White House is taking precautions in the case of Jen Psaki as she prepares to travel overseas with Vice President Joe Biden.
Immigration reformThe Senate parliamentarian's decision on immigration reform relegates millions of people to an uncertain future. While the White House does not agree with the parliamentarian's decision‚ they are continuing to work on the issue to provide relief to DREAMers‚ TPS holders‚ farm workers and other essential workers. While the press gaggle was a welcome distraction‚ Psaki should have stayed on topic. The Biden administration‚ caught off guard by the migrant crisis‚ vowed to take steps to address the situation. However‚ the administration initially declined to increase the cap on refugee admissions. This is different from the refugee program‚ which the prior administration had set. Instead‚ they left the refugee system in a state of disarray. Earlier‚ the White House sounded off on several issues. The unemployment report‚ which was released in the middle of the press gaggle‚ was the most controversial‚ and President Trump's response was the most blatantly hypocritical. Psaki said‚ We are not blaming illegal immigrants for the current conditions‚ but her comments were a regrettable misunderstanding. While immigration reform is the topic of the latest White House press gaggle‚ President Obama has made a strong case for it and the American Jobs Act‚ which has been endorsed by independent economists and is expected to pass in the Senate. While federal legislation is an important part of the solution‚ state legislatures‚ voting groups‚ and communities must do something to address the problem.
Voting rights legislationWhile the White House has a long list of issues to tackle‚ one of the most pressing issues facing the country right now is voting rights legislation. President Obama and Vice President Biden are eager to move these measures forward and have already met with senators to discuss the issues. But the latest press gaggle by the White House Press Secretary has many Republicans fuming. The White House Press Secretary‚ Jen Psaki‚ did not help matters. Psaki made it seem like voting rights are just an issue of partisan politics. In other words‚ it's an issue that should not be partisan. While President Obama has stated his support for voting rights legislation‚ Republican officials have been attacking the sacred right to vote. In addition to changing who can vote‚ they have been altering who counts votes. These actions are un-American and undemocratic. But‚ there's a silver lining. In addition to the Congressional Democrats‚ two Democratic Senators‚ Manchin and Sinema‚ are not invited to the trip. As the Senate continues to block the bill‚ a vote to change the filibuster rules failed. Two Democrats joined all 50 Republicans in opposing this one-time change‚ which would have required Republicans to withstand a talking filibuster. What happens next depends on the level of activism. While we'll continue to see how the Senate responds‚ we should remain vigilant.
Lots to say about how grateful I am to @POTUS and @FLOTUS and the Biden family for trusting me to serve as @PressSec and plenty of time before my last day to share, but today is about @KJP46 so a few thoughts on this remarkable woman who will soon be behind the podium every day. — Jen Psaki (@PressSec) May 5, 2022