By the end of the day, both the Vice President and the Speaker of the House will have both delivered remarks at the
There's also major agreement between the Trump administration and
I think we all will recognize that what I think every American also agrees with, which is that we need to simplify our tax code. Depending on the estimates you look at, taxpayers and businesses spend anywhere between 6 billion to almost 9 billion hours complying with the
Perhaps most importantly, we also agree that we need to get this done sooner rather than later. That's why we're working hand-in-hand with
We're also committed to seeing the repeal and replace of Obamacare through
Last Friday, the New Mexico Health Connections, one of only five remaining of the 23 co-ops nationwide that was created by Obamacare, proposed hiking its rates by nearly 80 percent. And just today in
With almost every day that passes, another insurer either leaves the market or raises its rates by double digits. The American people can't afford to front the bill for this failed law a single day longer. It's time to repeal and replace Obamacare, as
Looking ahead this week, Tech Week, as I mentioned at the front, continues, following on a very productive set of meetings and working groups with some of the country's biggest CEOs yesterday. The President will visit
And on Thursday, we're bringing two emerging technologies to the
With that, I'll take some questions.
Q My first question is, does the administration have anything to say to
Q Sean, following up on the President's meeting with the Ukraine President. Would the President like to see
Q And does the President support the
Q Thank you, Sean. How does the
But I'm not going to get ahead of where we may or may not go. And obviously, we hope that those discussions with
Q Thanks, Sean. There were some reports out that
But this is an area that the President believes passionately about. He cares. He understands the role that healthcare plays in so many people's lives and their families, and he wants to make sure that we do everything we can to provide the best option for him as Obamacare continues to fail.
Q Is there a specific part of this bill, though, that leads him to believe that the
So I'm not going to get into the private discussions that have occurred. But I will just say that the more that we can do produce a bill as it works its way through the process that achieves the President's goals, I think that's something that we can all agree on.
Q Thanks, Sean. Two, the first one is domestic. There's a special election occurring today in
Q And then on
And he believes that if we had -- were able to get -- we're pleased, obviously, to get Otto back to
Q Thanks, Sean. Two questions, also on Otto. The President today said that he thinks it's terrible what happened to Otto. Does he have any more details -- do you have any more details on specifically what he endured there?
Q And second question. There are reports that your role is changing here at the
Going to go to
Q Thanks, Sean. You already mentioned the President is coming. We understand that our longtime governor and now Ambassador to
Q Thanks, Sean. I want to circle back on the
Q Let me ask you about the communications shop here. I know that you are probably wearing more than one hat at the moment and yet there's been a great deal of unrest certainly in this room and perhaps in other spaces about a lack of press briefings, a lack of communication with you directly outside of, say, the office. I just wanted to know if you would sort of unpack the idea behind fewer on-camera briefings, just to sort of help make sense of what's going on.
We've, as you noted, opened up
So I think that while you guys will always advocate for greater transparency and more access, I think that we have done a very good job of not just providing opportunities here at a daily briefing but also making ourselves available as a staff almost 24 hours a day when it comes down to it. And I think you look at the steps that we've taken to give access to reporters and I do think it's pretty significant.
I understand you'll always have issues, you'll always want more, and that's fair. I think that's your right. That's what a lot of the press is there to advocate for. You have an association that does that as well. And I think you'll continue to fight for it. We'll continue to do our job and hopefully -- but I do believe that if you look holistically, you'll see that we have a staff that's very accommodating, tries to get to and responsive to your questions.
Q Thank you, Sean. Two questions. Yesterday, the Canadian premier was in town to talk
Q I'll let you say it.
Q No. (Laughter.) The Governor said that he needs good-quality aluminum. His homebuilders need good quality softwood lumber. Is the President receptive to this type of argument in negotiation with
Q Today is World Refugee Day. Does the President feel that refugees are a threat to American security?
But number two is, I think the President has also been very clear his number-one goal as Commander-in-Chief is to protect our country, our homeland, and our people, and that he needs to make sure that people coming into this country are doing so through peaceful means. And so his number-one priority, as the number-one priority of any leader is, is to protect their people, first and foremost.
But then, obviously, as we look throughout the globe and find areas and regions that need support, we've tried to work through diplomatic and economic channels to create solutions.
Q Sean, thanks for taking my question. My question is about the administration's position on coal. The administration had, during the campaign, said they wanted to bring back coal jobs to eastern
And what is the President's relationship with
I think with respect to your question, Will, it's not really a binary choice. I think the President wants to continue to, and has supported several measures, to really restore the coal industry and to bring it back.
And to touch on the theme of this week, we want to do what we can to really focus on technology, helping our government bring back jobs, create new opportunities for our country, for jobs. We talked about this a couple weeks ago when we talked about workforce development -- or only a week ago, I guess. But part of it is to make sure that people have the training and the skills that they need, whether that's going to a vocational school or another training opportunity that gives them the skills in an area like high-tech and technology to pursue a new change in life or a new career or just at a high school.
But we need to make sure that we have the training and the support, the loan system, et cetera, that will support people who want to go into a lot of these fields.
So I don't think it's a choice of one industry over another. Obviously, the President has and will continue to do a lot to support coal, especially the clean coal industry, and at the same time make sure that we have opportunities to give the workforce of the next century, or Americans the skillset to compete. And that's something that Secretary Acosta spoke from this podium on extensively last week.
Q Thank you, Sean. Has the President seen a draft of the
Q Do you know if anyone on his staff has seen the draft of the bill?
Q I have kind of two questions, if that's okay.
Q So the first one is just -- in the last few minutes,
So I think that there is going to be very bipartisan, bicameral support for tax reform. And as we move forward on this, the degree to which we can get some of those individuals to join in and craft a bill, we'll determine the schedule. But I think that's mostly a congressional timetable that we have to move with.
Q And will there be outreach to
Q And the other question, just on --
And once we can pass that plan you just asked about, that really gets our companies more competitive, doesn't leave them with the highest tax rate, and also deals with a lot of other aspects about our business tax code that puts them at a disadvantage to their foreign competitors, then I think you're going to see more and more companies not just go to other countries, but come back to
Q Thanks, Sean. The President, today, said that if
Q Thanks, Sean. I just want to ask -- the
Q Is the President satisfied with the pace that
Q Thanks, Sean. I want to follow up on healthcare there. You were around when
Q Are Democrats part of the process --
There is -- when
Q He said -- next week.
We believe Obamacare is failing. We want a better system for the American people, a patient-centric healthcare system that brings down costs and gives more accessibility to people. That's it. They chose not to -- made it very clear that they didn't want to engage in this process. So to turn around now and to second-guess -- that's something they should take up with their own leader.
Q On North Korea, does the President support a travel ban to those heading to
And again, I don't want to, before anything further goes on with respect to him, I'm not going to comment on whether or not his situation, how it was handled, until we have further information on that.
Q Thanks, Sean. Two questions for you. Public perspective on the administration -- how transparent have lawmakers been on
Q How transparent have they been?
We have tried to be as helpful as we can throughout this process by highlighting the need for repealing and replacing a failed system, and we'll continue to do that. But it's not for me to get up and talk about how their process works through each of their respective chambers.
Q Can I follow up on Steve's question on Russian sanctions? Just very plainly, a yes or no answer, does
Q Generally speaking, in his conversation about Russian interference in our elections, there's 16 intelligence agencies that say that they did. The former FBI director said that without a doubt, the Russians --
Q Does the President share those views?
Q Didn't he say it was fake news, Sean? Didn't the President say that
Q Sean, regarding the President's
Our goal is to make sure that the policies for this government first and foremost help the Cuban people. And I think that's what the President has done, and we will continue to advocate for.
Q Okay. Second question, if I might, about the tapes between the President and
Thank you, guys. See you tomorrow in