Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki, April 16, 2021

The White House

MS. PSAKI: Hi, everyone. I know we’re loading briefing after briefing with you guys today. But, okay, happy Friday.

I have a couple of items for you at the top. Like all of you, we’re horrified by the shooting overnight at a FedEx facility. The President has been briefed by his team this morning. And key aides, including the White House Chief of Staff and Homeland Security Advisor, have been in touch with local leaders and law enforcement officials on the ground. There obviously is a press conference that’s ongoing right now. I would expect we will put out a statement from the President shortly after that — after it concludes.

The President has spent his entire career working to address gun violence, and his determination to act has been redoubled by senseless killings we’ve seen — both in mass shootings, like this, and in the lives lost to the epidemic of gun violence every single day in communities across our country.

We can’t afford to wait as innocent lives are taken. That’s why the President laid out a set of initial actions last week that the administration can take now, that we can take now to address gun violence: stopping the proliferation of ghost guns and better regulating stabilizing braces, making it easier for states to implement red flag laws, increasing investments in proven community violence intervention programs.

There’s more we can do and must do. The Senate should take up and pass the three bills strengthening background checks that passed the House with bipartisan majorities and have the overwhelming support of the American people. They should heed the President’s call to pass a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and end immunity for gun manufacturers.

Congress should act to pass the priorities laid out in the American Jobs Plan, including providing $5 billion in funding for community violence prevention programs — something that is of great interest in — to a number of the groups that work hard on this issue. They should speedily confirm David Chipman to lead the ATF, where he served honorably for 25 years as a special agent.

Again, there’ll be a statement by the President out shortly.

Another item just for all of you: Yesterday, we released a factsheet outlining the ways the American Jobs Plan would benefit veterans. The American Jobs Plan will help meet th- — this — our obligation to veterans by creating —

(The briefing is disrupted by a plane flying overhead.)

There’s a plane right overhead, just for anyone — anyone tuning in online.

The American Jobs Plan will help meet the obligation by creating millions of good jobs for veterans and their spouses; growing opportunities for small, veteran-owned businesses; and helping ensure the delivery of world-class, state-of-the-art healthcare.

Here’s what the Jobs Plan means for veterans and their families: $18 billion to modernize VA health facilities; quality job creation for veterans and their spouses — it outlines steps the federal government can take; expanding opportunities for small, veteran-owned businesses. Veterans are 45 percent more likely to be self-employed than non-veterans.

I also wanted to let you know — I’m jamming through this because we have a time- — we have a timeframe on the end — or a time limit on the end. I also wanted to let you know that the President was tested for COVID-19 this morning, and COVID-19 was not detected.

Finally, for the week ahead: On Monday, the President will meet with a bipartisan group of members of Congress to discuss the historic investments in the American Jobs Plan, including in highways, drinking water systems, broadband, and the care economy.

On Tuesday, he will meet with the leadership of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Later in the week, the President will deliver remarks on the COVID-19 response, providing an update on that front and the state of vaccinations. And, of course, at the end of the week, the President will participate in the virtual Leaders Summit on Climate.

I wanted to just outline a little bit on that, which I know is of great interest to many of you. He — the President wanted to convene this summit early in his presidency to ensure close coordination with key players in the international community and at the highest levels of government.

Obviously, the United States is one of the world’s largest emitters, but so are a number of countries who will be represented by leaders next week. It’s aimed at setting the world up for success on multiple fronts as we work to address the climate crisis, including emissions reductions, finance, innovation and job creation, resilience, and adaptation.

The summit will convene the world’s major economies and other key voices — as we’ve noted, 40 leaders have been invited — to galvanize efforts to keep the vital goal of limiting global warming. And we know that objective is within reach.

During the summit, leaders will also discuss mobilizing public- and private-sector financing to drive the net-zero transition and to help vulnerable countries cope with climate impacts. The economic benefits of climate action, with a strong emphasis on cred- — job creation and the importance of ensuring all communities and workers benefit from the transition to a new clean energy economy will be central to the discussions, will be part of what the President will be focused on.

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