Press Gaggle by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre En Route Cleveland, OH

The White House

Aboard Air Force One

En Route Cleveland, Ohio

1:23 P.M. EDT

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: All right. Hey, everybody. Okay, so today, the President is traveling to Max South [S.] Hayes High School in Cleveland, Ohio, to announce new protections for millions of workers in multiemployer pension plans thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

Up to 3 million Americans face significant cuts to their retirement benefits because their investments struggled during economic crisis just during the pandemic or more. But tha- — but thanks to the ARP, over 200 multiemployer pension plans will receive special financial assistance and remain solvent through at least 2051 or longer.

The President is strengthening families’ retirement savings while Republican members of Congress, led by Senator Rick Scott, want to threaten it by putting Social Security on the chopping blocks every five years.

Now, the President will be joined today by Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Senator Sherrod Brown, ARP Coordinator Gene Sperling, and Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb, as well as Representative Shontel Brown and Representative Marcy Kaptur.

And worth noting, as we are in route to Chicago [Cleveland], there is currently a bipartisan bill in Congress that would supercharge private sector investment in semiconductor manufacturing here at home. The Bipartisan Innovation Act is good for workers, good for business, and good for communities. And it’s supported by mayors, governors, CEOs, manufacturers, and unions across the country, including the Republican Governor of Ohio, Mike DeWine.

Intel announced that it will invest $20 billion to open semiconductor factories in Ohio, and that could expand to as much as $100 billion if the Bipartisan Innovation Act is passed.

Senator Cornyn is joining Minority Leader McConnell in holding a bipartisan bill hostage that would make more in America in order to protect pharmaceutical companies’ profits.

But we believe we need to do both: increase American manufacturing and strengthen competitive edge against China and lower prescription drug costs. That’s why we need Congress to pass BIA this summer.

And with that, Aamer.

Q Yeah, thanks. Has the President had a chance to reach out to the family of the Al Jazeera journalist since the State Department report? Or does he have plans to?

And just secondly, how big of an issue is he going to press this with the Israelis next week on holding someone accountable?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I’m not going to get ahead of a trip or ahead of conversations for a trip that hasn’t yet happened. So I won’t get ahead of that. But we have made very clear that we will continue to work both with Israel and Palestinian Authority to encourage them to bridge this investigation, because we do not want to — we want to see accountability, which is incredibly important for — not just for having accountability broadly, but also for the family as well.

So, to your first question, Aamer, I can say that senior American officials at the State Department have been in close touch with Abu Akleh’s fami- — her family and continue to be.

We again express our deepest condolences to the Abu Akleh family and remain engaged with Israel and, again, the Palestinian Authority on next steps.

Q Just one quick other one. Both Governor Pritzker, on guns in the aftermath of the July 4th shooting, and Gavin Newsom, since Dobbs decision, have become arguably more — the most outspoken voices of the Democratic Party on both of these very fragile issues in the country. And I’m sort of wondering: Is there any concern that the President’s leadership is being overshadowed at this moment when the — a big part of the American public, including Democrats, that voted for him?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: What was the first part of the question?

Q Well, that both Pritzker and Newsom have sort of emerged on guns and on Dobbs, with — in Newsom’s case — as the loudest and, you know, most potent voices of the Democratic Party at this point. Where’s the President?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: The President has been also very loud and also very focused on those two issues. When it comes to gun reform, the President led on that. One of the reasons that he was able to sign a bipartisan gun reform bill right before he left for G7 and NATO was because of his leadership, was because of him being very committed and being very consistent for more than a year, at least as President, talking about what we needed to do in light of this gun violence epidemic that we are currently in.

And let’s not forget this President has had the most executive actions on gun reform than any other President at this time. And he not only has led as President this past a year and a half, but also as Vice President and as senator — the very, very first, I would say — argue — the gun reform that we saw, or the last gun reform that we saw was 30 years ago, which this President led, which was on banning assault weapons. And so, you know, 30 years later, he was able to sign a gun reform — a bipartisan gun reform legislation that is now law.

Now, with all of that said, the President believes there is more work to be done. He’s going to continue to call on more to be done on dealing with this gun violence epidemic. And that does not stop here. And he welcomes — he welcomes other voices in the Democratic Party, and he welcomes other voices in the Republican Party as well to join him in really dealing with an issue that’s tearing up communities and families.

Q Karine, is the White House tracking the drama in Boris Johnson’s government right now? And are you concerned at all about instability in the British government at a time when you’re working together on Ukraine and other international issues?

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So — and I’ve said this before when I’ve been asked questions about other governments’ elections — we’re just not going to comment on another government —

Q This isn’t an election though. I’m not talking about an election.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well — nope, you’re right, this is not an election. But to be clear, we’re just not going to comment on another government’s democratic process. So we’re just not going to comment.

Look, our alliance, our partnership with the United Kingdom continues to be strong. And so — but we’re not going to comment on their — kind of their political process

in their own country.

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