Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Mr. Carney: Hello, everyone.

  • Good to have you here today - another beautiful day here

  • in Washington, D.C., the nation's capital.

  • Fabulous weather.

  • I have a lot of toppers and I'm going to top with this one.

  • My first topper is, on Monday, September 23, the Vice President

  • and Dr. Jill Biden will travel to Colorado to view damage from

  • recent flooding and survey recovery efforts there.

  • The Vice President's office will be releasing additional

  • information as we get closer to Monday.

  • That's topper number one.

  • Topper number two, on Tuesday, President Obama will travel

  • to New York to attend the Clinton Global Initiative, where

  • he and President Clinton will engage in a conversation about

  • the benefits and future of health care reform in America

  • and access to quality health care around the globe.

  • I know that was confusing -- I said that he'll

  • travel to New York.

  • He will be in New York, as you know,

  • for the United Nations General Assembly.

  • Secondly, as you all know, following on the announcement

  • that he'll be having this conversation with former

  • President Clinton about the benefits and future of health

  • care reform, this conversation will take place one week before

  • the health insurance marketplaces open for business,

  • and Americans who do not currently have insurance will

  • be able to sign up for affordable, quality health plans

  • that meet their needs.

  • This conversation between the two Presidents will follow

  • up on the health care speech President Clinton gave

  • in Arkansas in early September and is part of a ramped-up

  • public education effort to reach Americans who want to sign

  • up for new affordable options in the health insurance

  • marketplaces from October through March.

  • Finally, today the Senate Judiciary Committee approved

  • Nina Pillard's nomination to be a judge

  • on the U.S. Court of Appeals for

  • the District of Columbia circuit.

  • There are now two highly qualified nominees for this

  • court pending before the full Senate, and we urge

  • their prompt confirmation.

  • As you may know, Pillard's career includes landmark

  • accomplishments on behalf of women and families.

  • She helped defend the constitutionality

  • of the Family and Medical Leave Act and helped open the doors

  • of the Virginia Military Institute to female students.

  • Today, Pillard is a professor at Georgetown Law School.

  • And I would remind you that the D.C. circuit has a strong

  • tradition of judges who were previously innovative scholars,

  • and that would include Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

  • Some Republicans continue to cynically raise arguments about

  • that court's workload, even though the court is more

  • than a quarter vacant today.

  • During the last administration, these very same senators

  • confirmed judges to the 9th, 10th, and 11th seats on this

  • very same court.

  • And earlier this year, these same senators confirmed judges

  • to circuit courts with fewer pending appeals per active judge

  • than is the case at the D.C. Circuit.

  • Right now there are 14 judicial nominees pending in the Senate,

  • including 12 who have the unanimous support

  • of the Judiciary Committee, and we urge the Senate to consider

  • Nina Pillard's nomination and all of the President's judicial

  • nominees without delay.

  • That was a lot of toppers, and maybe we can just wrap it up.

  • Or I'll take your questions.

  • Yes.

  • The Press: I appreciate it.

  • Thanks, Jay.

  • Today, House Speaker John Boehner said the House won't

  • vote to increase the debt limit without including some spending

  • cuts to reduce the deficit.

  • Is the President willing to give them?

  • Mr. Carney: The President has been and is willing to negotiate

  • with Republicans over a broad compromise on budget,

  • on funding and spending.

  • He has put forward his own proposal to do that.

  • And he urges Congress to act to make sure the government does

  • not shut down and continues to be funded, and, if necessary,

  • to pass a short-term extension of funding at current levels

  • in order to allow for further negotiations

  • on a broader budget agreement.

  • I would note that, in keeping with his promises,

  • and the Democrats, in keeping with their promises,

  • the President submitted a budget that represented compromise

  • and tough choices for Democrats, with broad-based deficit

  • reduction achieved through a balanced approach.

  • The Senate passed its own budget, as Republican leaders

  • insisted they must.

  • At the time, Republican leaders said we have to have regular

  • order; we have to have a situation where the House passes

  • a budget, the Senate passes a budget, and then, in accordance

  • with regular order, a conference is established

  • and a product is produced.

  • Except when that happened, and the Senate passed a budget,

  • the House decided it did not want to join in a conference,

  • and the House Republican leaders have refused to name conferees

  • for the budget now for about six months.

  • So that's a laying-down of the facts here when it comes

  • to the President's willingness to compromise to achieve

  • resolution and find common ground on budget issues.

  • And he looks forward to doing that in the future.

  • On the matter of debt ceiling, the answer is, no, we will

  • negotiate over Congress's responsibility to pay the bills

  • that Congress incurred -- Congress's responsibility

  • enshrined in the United States Constitution, which gives

  • Congress power over the purse strings here in this country,

  • to responsibly ensure that we do not default,

  • that the United States is good -- is true to its word and that

  • our full faith and credit will be upheld.

  • It's unconscionable to imagine that there are those

  • in the Congress -- and now, apparently, because he couldn't

  • persuade them otherwise, the Speaker of the House has joined

  • them, who believe that it is the right thing to do to threaten

  • another recession, threaten economic calamity in this

  • country and the globe, over their ideological desire

  • to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act.

  • We've had this battle.

  • That's how it works: You write legislation; you propose

  • legislation; you pass legislation.

  • It becomes law.

  • If people think it's inappropriate

  • or unconstitutional, they take it to the Supreme Court --

  • through the court system to the Supreme Court.

  • In this case, that's what happened and the Supreme Court

  • upheld the law, and we're implementing the law.

  • And if members of the Republican Party want to continue to try

  • to overturn the law through legislation, they can --

  • they have been doing that nonstop for

  • the past several years.

  • But they should not hold the full faith and credit

  • of the United States hostage to their insistence that they get

  • what they want in a manner that they couldn't

  • get through legislation.

  • That's our position.

  • The Press: Will the White House urge House Democrats to vote

  • for a clean debt ceiling, even though it would be at a level

  • reflecting a continuation of the sequester?

  • Mr. Carney: As I said the other day and I think as recently

  • as yesterday, and I think the SAP that we put out,

  • the Statement of Administration Policy, says that we would

  • be willing to accept a so-called clean CR at current spending

  • levels for several months to allow for continued negotiations

  • over a broader budget deal.

  • What we won't accept is further cuts in important

  • investments in our economy.

  • I think it's worth noting that the Republican --

  • House Republican budget approach enshrined in the Ryan budget was

  • rejected by House Republicans, who could not even pass

  • a transportation and housing bill out of committee.

  • I think that demonstrates that the Ryan budget is not

  • acceptable even among House Republicans.

  • But to answer your question, we would accept a clean CR for

  • a short term in order to continue the negotiations over

  • how we can find agreement over funding the government,

  • ensuring that we're protecting the middle class and helping

  • it grow, that we're creating jobs, and that we're reducing

  • our deficit in a responsible way.

  • What Speaker Boehner didn't note in his presentation today

  • is that the deficit has been coming down dramatically.

  • It has been coming down and is now slated to be half the size

  • it was when the President took office -- despite the enormous

  • economic challenges that our nation faced when the President

  • did take office and all that we had to do to avert a depression.

  • But there is more work to be done.

  • And we can responsibly reduce our deficit in the mid and long

  • term, and fund our necessary priorities to help the economy

  • grow, and help the middle class, and create good-paying jobs here

  • in the United States through investments in education

  • and innovation, research and development and infrastructure.

  • We just have to do it in a responsible way.

  • And we can't go to the nation -- or we shouldn't --

  • they shouldn't go to the nation and say, we couldn't get this

  • through normal means, so we're going to threaten your job,

  • your welfare, your security and future, so that we can defund

  • Obamacare, or delay it -- a proposition which would actually

  • increase the deficit.

  • So this is supposed to be all about spending, but they want

  • to increase the deficit to get what they --

  • what their ideology demands.

  • And I think we've seen, not just coming from here but from all

  • corners, including many corners within the Republican Party,

  • the view that this is a bad idea.

  • It's bad for the economy.

  • It's bad for the middle class.

  • It's bad for the Republican Party.

  • Obviously that's for Republican Party leaders and members

  • to sort out, what's good for them politically.

  • What we know is that this approach

  • is bad for the American people.

  • The Press: Can you just talk about Sunday?

  • Is there any more you can tell us about the President's plans

  • at the memorial service?

  • Is he going to speak, and might we hear anything about gun

  • control, like after Newtown?

  • Mr. Carney: I don't have a preview beyond what

  • I announced yesterday.

  • I think the President might speak, but I don't have anything

  • more specific than that to say about it.

  • When we have more information we'll provide it.

  • The Press: On Syria, in his interview with Fox,

  • President Assad said that he thought it would cost about

  • a billion dollars to destroy Syria's stockpile

  • of chemical weapons, and he suggested that the United States

  • should pay for it.

  • I'm wondering is the United States willing to finance

  • the cost of destruction of --

  • Mr. Carney: A couple of things.

  • He also said that somebody else was responsible for mass murder

  • of civilians using chemical weapons, including children.

  • And I suppose if you use poison gas to murder your own people,

  • including the children of your own nation, you probably

  • would deny it publicly.

  • We're working with the Russians on a framework that

  • Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Lavrov worked out with

  • their teams to implement a program that would identify,

  • verify and remove from Assad's control the chemical weapon

  • stockpiles in that country.

  • And this is obviously a complicated piece of business.

  • I don't have a cost figure associated with it.

  • What I can tell you is that it would be in the interest

  • of the Syrian people, the interest of the people

  • of the region, the interest of the United States and the people

  • of the world to see those chemical weapon stockpiles

  • safely removed from Syria -- removed from Assad's control

  • and destroyed, so that he cannot use them again in the deplorably

  • indiscriminate way that he used them against his own people.

  • The Press: So when it comes, though, to the cost

  • of doing that --

  • Mr. Carney: The folks working on the details of the plans might

  • have more information about what it would take, what it will take

  • to bring about the identification and transfer

  • and ultimate destruction of the chemical weapons.

  • And we're working with our teams on that.

  • But two things I would say -- is that the use of those weapons

  • is the absolute, clear responsibility of Assad.

  • The U.N. report, the inspectors' report reinforces what we've

  • been saying and what many nations around the world have

  • agreed with us in saying that Assad was responsible

  • for the attacks on August 21st.

  • Attempts to suggest otherwise have become farcical in their

  • weirdness and their disassociation

  • from established facts.

  • But none of that matters so much as the fact that Syria has now,

  • for the first time in its history, acknowledged that they

  • have chemical weapons and agreed to rid themselves

  • of chemical weapons.

  • And Russia has obviously joined with the United States

  • in producing this framework for achieving that.

  • Now, there's a lot of work to be done, but this is a significant

  • development over these past days.

  • And we're going about the