Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 3/6/2014
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Q Jay, thank you. Just to follow up on what the President said. This move toward an independent Crimea, or this referendum, does the
The way to do that is to allow monitors in and to allow fact-finders in who can assess whether or not the rights of any Ukrainian citizens are being violated. That is certainly the far more appropriate course of action that they should take.
Q Does the
The fact that
Q There have been calls in
So we are moving forward to assist
Q So the assistance basically is giving them access to suppliers elsewhere in the world, other international suppliers other than
Q Jay, why is President Putin not being targeted himself under these sanctions you announced today, since he presumably is the one who ordered the Crimean operation?
So the Secretary of Treasury is now, under this executive order, allowed, in consultation with the
So this creates an authority that is broad and that can be used, executed by the Secretary of the Treasury as appropriate pursuant to the situation on the ground.
Q And how large a universe of people are we talking about? Dozens, hundreds? How many fall under this category?
Q And just one last thing. You've been warning about a move in
There are other activities happening on the ground in
Q Jay, to follow up specifically on -- Steve asked you about Putin. I didn't hear an answer. Is Putin --
Q Are you saying you don't rule out that
Q Well, you just said people responsible. This is
Q Okay, let me try this a different way. Do you think
Q Absolutely. So just to be crystal clear --
Q And this last thing. When you say there's no limit on who can be -- come under this order --
Q But can you give us any idea of a range? There's obviously going to be a first round of this. Are we talking about dozens of people? Are we talking about thousands of people? I'm just trying to get any kind of an indication of how widespread this is.
And as the President just made clear, the steps that
Q The President just said a few moments ago that he wants to deescalate this crisis, but don't these actions, by definition, escalate the pressure, escalate what you hope to accomplish?
In the meantime, we are aggressively pursuing with our partners and allies in
Q And the Russians have threatened to retaliate with sanctions of their own. Has the administration sort of done a cost-benefit analysis and basically said this is a risk that you're willing to take?
Q And what about -- getting back to
Q And it sounds like -- just lastly, judging by what the President said, this
Q Jay, is the best way to view the framework is that they are a deterrent to dissuade
Q Right, that's happening, but the sanctions are not.
Q Right, but if I understood you earlier, you said clearly that they have not been implemented.
Q Okay. Following down the course of the interpretation, if you were in this chair or any of these chairs, you might read the executive order and ask yourself who better fits the definition of the words in the executive order of responsibility than
Q Do you disagree with that?
The EO establishes a framework through which sanctions can be imposed on individuals and entities, but it does not at this stage name individuals or entities. So I'm not going to jump ahead and speculate about who might be named, or what entities might be included.
Q Let me ask you one question about the
Q I'm talking about the moves the
Q Jay, it was five years ago today that Secretary -- then Secretary Clinton hit the button on the Russian reset. Does the President have any regrets about that approach? Did he misjudge the Russians' ambitions and intentions here?
What it has also meant is that that approach has allowed us to be extremely blunt when we have powerful disagreements with the Russians. And we have been blunt all along, and that includes in the area of missile defense. It includes, obviously, most notably, with regard to
Q He still went into
Q He still went in. Here you're trying to -- you have to mobilize --
Q Well, you were -- the President was dismissive when
Our whole point is it doesn't have to be a negative thing. It is a mistake certainly in the long run for
So I think on this matter I think it's very important to note that when it comes to these kinds of situations on the international scene, partisan politics are fine -- we engage in them every day here -- "here" I mean
Q Do you think
Q I want to quickly get to another subject you haven't been asked about yet -- health care. So late yesterday another delay on the President's law, this allowing people to keep the individual plans that became such a big controversy. When that controversy popped up about if you like your plan you can keep your plan, you repeatedly said from this podium that these were substandard plans, people should get better plans. Why then are you allowing people to keep these substandard plans for a couple more years? To get it passed the midterm election?
So we're about the business of enrolling people in affordable, quality health insurance and smoothing the transition that takes place as we adapt to the marketplaces and as the American people avail themselves of this option.
By contrast, we have the
Q How is it every time Republicans want a change to the law you say it's sabotage, and then the President changes it a couple dozen times and you're smoothing the transition?
So that's their focus. To suggest otherwise is to be totally disingenuous. You know they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They don't want to fix it. They don't want a smooth implementation.
Q You know
Q Regarding the health care event today, I talked to a number of people who are strongly in favor of the health care law and are concerned that this was maybe a little bit too late, too little, too late -- that there have been a lot of flaws in the outreach to the Latino community. And I guess the question is should the administration have done more, sooner on this? Or are there reasons that the President hasn't been as publicly reaching out to Latinos on this until now -- whether it's the website or -- I guess I'm just trying to figure out --
Did we hamper that effort? Did we cause the effort that we were engaged in a lot of unnecessary harm when the website got off to such a terrible start? Absolutely. But what we have seen since healthcare.gov began working and functioning effectively for the vast majority of users is that that demand for quality, affordable health insurance has remained incredibly strong -- in spite of all the obstacles that were thrown up in front of Americans in that first month especially who were trying to sign up.
And that's on us. We have taken complete responsibility for that. That's why the all-out effort was engaged to fix the problems with the website and make sure it was working effectively for the American people. And again, I think as the numbers that we've seen bear out, we've seen a steady and strong demand for the product on offer here. And our goal -- going back to my answer on Ed's question -- has been to effectively implement the Affordable Care Act, to make it easier by making the website work more effectively, and taking all the other steps related to outreach to communities like Hispanic Americans so that everyone can get the information they need, make the choices and the decisions that they need to make, and get the insurance that's available to them.
Q If there confidence that the message has been received in the Latino community?
Roger. And then Peter.
Q Thank you. When the President was out here he mentioned elections in
So, no, that's not a legitimate step. And I think nobody outside of
Q And one other question. You mentioned DOE and the rules on liquefied natural gas. Does the President want the department to accelerate those rules? What does he want to do? I'm not clear.
Q Jay, when do you plan to designate individuals? I know the visa bans, those have already taken place. But authority exists for implementation; it hasn't taken place in terms of sanctions, so when do you plan to designate individuals?
Q I guess what I'm asking is, is the referendum sort of the next deadline? In other words, if they were to park themselves, the Russian troops that are in Crimea right now -- if they were to continue to park themselves, but the referendum doesn't take place, then is that a status quo that doesn't require any further actions? You said there would be costs or consequences for what's already taken place, but you're not actually implementing the costs as they relate to sanctions.
Q I mean, new action. Understood.
Depending on how the situation develops,
So I think if you look at the mosaic, if you will, there is a broad international consensus here that recognizes that what
Q You brought up international monitors. It's been discussed by the administration for the last several days. I want to get a sense from you how you can have international monitors given the situation that took place yesterday, where U.N. Special Envoy Serry was basically forced by "armed thugs," as described by some administration members out of that region.
This sets a dangerous precedent, and we call on
And we are absolutely willing to support that effort. Blocking the ability of the U.N. Special Envoy to enter
Q Just last question.
Q Thanks, Jay. In drawing up this executive order and thinking about the implications of it, did the President express whether or not he thought Putin would be subject to it?
I think it's very clear what the executive order sets out to do and the authority that it establishes. And judgments about individuals and entities that will be targeted with sanctions will be made along the way, but I'm not going to speculate about who or what entity might be included in that list.
Q Who makes the assessment? Will it be the
Q Last question. In 2011, the President put sanctions directly on
Q It doesn't sound like you're going to -- Putin could be on this list.
Q Okay. Just to be clear -- if there's a possibility he will be on this list.
Q But you're trying to have it both ways here. You're saying I can't assume he's not, but you won't rule it out.
Q On immigration, this morning the President responded to some criticisms that he's not the "Deporter in Chief," he's the "Champion in Chief." And I was wondering if you could just --
Q He's been called the "Deporter in Chief." That is the -- we can agree on that. So would you say that the President is saying that he's done everything he can within his executive power to slow the pace of deportations? Is that the
So we have also taken action to ensure that, through prosecutorial discretion, that when it comes to enforcement the focus is on criminals. There has been action taken through DHS to protect so-called DREAMers, kids who were brought here through no fault of their own and have grown up American in every way except for the absence of papers.
But the broader problems here can only be addressed through comprehensive immigration reform. And the President has been a tireless supporter of that effort and led that effort. And I think that it's fair to say -- given the election we had in 2012 where the President was a fierce proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, his opponent took the stand that self-deportation was the appropriate approach to the immigration problem -- that the only reason why we're having this discussion right now is because he was reelected.
Q Can I just follow up? How does he feel, then, about folks that were his allies in this push for immigration reform that you said he led have turned on him so quickly, it seems?
And then the economic benefits are broad and acknowledged by economists across the country. There really is a strong conservative argument for getting this done, and we hope that self-identified conservatives take it up and get it done.
Q Jay, could you talk to me about the
Q But wait a minute -- but there was a level of disrespect, many people are saying. Do you feel that he was disrespected by
Q But as a leader, as a Republican leader, you're saying --
Q Two clarifications on
And I'm not going to then speculate about if
Q But I guess I'm still confused.
Q I guess I'm just -- I'm still confused about whether this is a fait accompli. In other words, names will go on this list; there will be a bite to this because of the violations that have already occurred? But you're using language that says, "can be imposed," "might be" -- names might be added to this. So do you understand the confusion that we're having?
Q One other follow-up on this. Can you offer an example of how the economic bite would actually hit those entities or individuals who were directly or indirectly involved in violations that have already occurred, based on the property and holdings in
Q On Tuesday, some administration officials said that some remarks from President Putin had indicated a pause in the escalation of the crisis. And the President said that he seemed to be taking a moment to reflect. Is that still the case? When did we pass that moment? Are these actions today an indication that that pause is no longer correct?
So we're closely monitoring events in Crimea, in
Let me go to Jessica.
Q A question about how the
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