Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Jen Psaki Aboard Air Force One En Route Cincinnati, OH

The White House

MS. PSAKI: Welcome to our trip to Cincinnati, Ohio — also known as the birthplace of my husband. So, a special place in my heart.

A couple of announcements for you at the top:

Today, Treasury released new data on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which showed that more than $1.5 billion in assistance was delivered to eligible households in the month of June — more than what was provided in the previous three reporting periods combined. The number of households served in June grew by about 85 percent over the previous month and nearly tripled since April.

The data demonstrates that the administration has heard from states and localities over the past months that ERA is helping develop a new national infrastructure for rental assistance and eviction prevention that did not previously exist.

I would also note that also today, as a part of this effort, the White House is hosting a second virtual convening on eviction prevention with over 2,000 participants from cities and states across the country, including the 46 cities that were the focus of the first summit on January 30th. That is virtual; everyone can tune in.

Also, on August 25th, the President and members of his national security team and across the administration will hold a meeting with private sector leaders to discuss how we work together to collectively improve the nation’s cybersecurity. So that is a continuation of his effort to work in close partnership with the private sector.

Finally, I also wanted to note that, according to a new report from Moody’s this morning, the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework and Build Back Better agenda will add almost 2 million jobs per year, on average, across the whole decade while accelerating America’s path to full employment and increasing labor force participation.

The Moody’s report also confirms that the — what the President said on Monday: that these sorts of investments in making our economy more productive will keep prices stable and decrease inflationary pressure.

With that, where should we start?

Q Two questions off the top, on the debt limit. Mitch McConnell said today that Democrats should basically pass a hike in the debt limit on their own; that Republicans would not vote for that. What’s the White House response?

And does the White House believe that Democrats should pass a standalone debt limit hike and sort of leave it up to Republicans? Or would you be open to including it in a reconciliation bill, or eliminating the debt limit altogether?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we expect Congress to act in a timely manner to raise or suspend the debt ceiling as they did three times on a broad bipartisan basis during the last administration.

As you all know, raising or suspending the debt ceiling does not authorize new spending; it merely allows Treasury to meet obligations that Congresses have already approved.

I would also note that Republicans raised the debt ceiling throughout the Trump administration, including after putting exorbitant deficit and debt — debt-hoaking [sic] tax breaks — debt-hiking — sorry — tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and big corporations on the country’s credit card. So that’s what we expect them to do.

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