Gaggle by Press Secretary Jay Carney Aboard Air Force One en route Richmond, VA
Aboard Air Force One
En Route Richmond, Virginia
10:06 A.M. EDT
MR. CARNEY: So I hope you all got a chance to watch the President deliver his speech announcing that he will produce for Congress the American Jobs Act, which, as you know, is comprised of a series of measures that have historically garnered bipartisan support, that will be judged by outside economists, we believe, to be -- to have a very positive impact on the economy and on the employment situation in America, if Congress acts.
Given the fact that these are measures that have had bipartisan support in the past, that have proven to have a positive impact on the economy in the past, that are reasonable, practical, and paid for, we certainly hope that Congress will take action on it as soon as possible.
Q Jay, how does the President expect Congress to act on the bill now if the pay-fors aren’t going to be decided until late November, if at all?
MR. CARNEY: I think you misunderstood, Julie. The President will put a bill before Congress early next week -- the American Jobs Act -- and it will contain the pay-fors in it.
Q But there’s no guarantee that that bill is going to pass.
MR. CARNEY: Well, right. But if the bill passes, it will pass with pay-fors.
Q So he wants Congress to pass as a package the jobs bill and the pay-fors?
MR. CARNEY: Yes. I mean, look -- and let’s be clear. The reason why there is a link between the pay-fors and the proposals he’ll put forward to this Congress and the super committee on long-term deficit and debt control -- because he’s asking the super committee to overshoot its target of $1.5 trillion in additional savings by the full cost of the Jobs Act to ensure that the American Jobs Act does not add a single dime to the deficit. So they’re linked.
So you could do it both -- either way. Our obvious preference is that Congress act as soon as possible on the American Jobs Act, and there will be pay-fors within that. And if that legislation passes, it will lock in those savings. Because, as you know -- obviously, this gets into technical details about how the super committee works and its obligations to come up with the mandated level of savings or get hit with the trigger.
So it’s not a -- there’s no subterfuge here. It will be direct and specific in the legislation he puts forward.
Q Just one more point on this. The recommendations that he’s going to give to the super committee, are they going to be just for the pay-fors that he wants them to act on for the jobs bill --
MR. CARNEY: No.
Q -- or it’s going to be that and --
MR. CARNEY: The whole deal. As you know, and we all lived through, sometimes painfully, in the summer, the President is very committed to a significant, broad-based, long-term deficit and debt reduction done in a balanced way. And he will put forward proposals that build on the $1 trillion in savings achieved through the Budget Control Act, the end result of that circus. And he will put forward something significant before the committee that is a series of specific proposals to achieve long-term budget and deficit control.
Q Just following up on the proposals for the super committee -- will the President make a speech or is he just going to deliver a package of recommendations?
MR. CARNEY: I don’t have a venue for you or a modality. But he will -- we will present that in some form, in some way, as he said, I believe, a week from Monday.
Q Okay. And following up, do you have any reaction to the reaction from the Republican leadership to the President’s speech last night?
MR. CARNEY: We welcome the conciliatory tone that Speaker Boehner took, Majority Leader Cantor. We think that reflects two things: one, the accuracy of the President’s contention that the measures he put forward are the kinds of measures that have won bipartisan support in the past; and two, that those leaders understand that their constituents, specifically in their districts in Ohio and Virginia, but Americans across the country are demanding action out of Washington, function instead of dysfunction. And their number-one priority is the economy. Their number-one priority is jobs.
So hopefully -- we don’t expect suddenly for harmony and happiness to break out on Capitol Hill. We do -- we don’t expect those who are the President’s political opposites or political opponents to do this because he asked them to. We hope and expect they will do it because the American people ask that they do it and demand that they do it.
Q The President is having his jobs speech today in Richmond. Eric Cantor is also doing something in Richmond as well about jobs. Is this going head to head with the Republicans?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I wasn’t even aware that the Majority Leader was having an event or -- I take you at your word. His district is in this area. I don’t know specifically where we’re headed, so I wouldn’t -- it’s not a surprise that he’s speaking in his district.
Q Has the President spoken to Speaker Boehner since last night?
Q Will the President go to Ohio -- (inaudible)
MR. CARNEY: He is, indeed. And he’ll go, as he said, all over the country urging Americans to urge their representatives to take action on this essential package of proposals to help grow the economy, help the private sector accelerate hiring so that America is better positioned to compete in the 21st century.
Q But did you pick these two spots because of Cantor and Boehner’s --
MR. CARNEY: We travel all over the country; we'll be to a lot of different places. Richmond is a great place to go because I’m a Virginian, but it’s also because --
Q -- anything else? (Laughter.)
MR. CARNEY: No, because, I mean, look, it’s obviously a short trip, but it’s also far enough where you can feel, the President can feel, we can feel like we’re outside of Washington and talking to folks in the country who aren’t obsessed with the gamesmanship and the petty politics of the inside-the-beltway game, but are concerned about their own lives and their economic future. So that’s why the President is here.
Q Jay, can you shift to the terror threat?
MR. CARNEY: Sure.
Q Anything corroborated yet?
MR. CARNEY: No. We, as you know, have specific information reporting about a specific and credible threat, but not corroborated, not confirmed. I think it’s important to -- I can tell you that the President was briefed this morning by his Homeland Security Advisor, Assistant to the President John Brennan, by National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, updated on this situation.
But I also think it’s important to remind you, as I did yesterday, that John Brennan has been running a process for four months, anticipating the need to be extra vigilant, to take extra precautions around this anniversary, the 9/11 anniversary, because, as you would expect, al Qaeda, while it lost its leader when we brought justice to Osama bin Laden, remains a threat to Americans, remains interested in attacking the United States and Americans, and we have to be vigilant against that threat. And as you know, in the raid that was part of the bringing justice to Osama bin Laden, there was information obtained that corroborated what you might expect, which is that al Qaeda is interested in significant dates, and including, of course, the 9/11 anniversary.
Q Did the President take any action as -- after this briefing this morning -- the briefings this morning?
MR. CARNEY: He repeated his instructions to Mr. Brennan and Mr. Donilon, Mr. McDonough, that the whole team redouble its efforts to follow all the information we get, all the threat information we get, and to take all the necessary precautions.
Q Can you give us any information on what he’s being told about the threat? Is it that it’s linked to New York or Washington, that it has roots in al Qaeda?
MR. CARNEY: I would refer you to DHS for the specifics that we can go into. You’ve seen reports about some general information about the threat. I don't have any new information on it.
Q Are those basically what the President is being told, though, those reports?
MR. CARNEY: Basically -- he’s obviously being told in great detail about a number of matters. But what you’ve heard is accurate as far as I understand it.
Q Is there any schedule changes for Sunday, and is there any change --
MR. CARNEY: There are no schedule changes.
Q -- change to the threat level?
MR. CARNEY: I refer you to DHS, but my understanding is no.
Q Do you know, or have you heard any of the reports about a few of Muammar Qaddafi’s close group have shown up in Niger?
MR. CARNEY: I actually did see a report this morning, not internally but externally, a press report that -- in Niger that they -- someone, a high-ranking official -- I’m not sure who it was -- I just glanced at this before we took off -- saying that they would comply with international obligations related to the travel ban on Colonel Qaddafi and his family. And obviously, if that’s the case, that would be consistent with our position and the international community's position.
Q Thank you.
MR. CARNEY: Thanks very much.
10:17 A.M. EDT