Jen Psaki was asked about the news that Hunter Biden, the president’s son, will be publishing a memoir.
The White House press secretary read a statement from Joe and Jill Biden, who said they “admire our son Hunter’s strength and courage to talk openly about his addiction”.
The younger Biden, whose business activities became a target of Republican attacks during the presidential campaign, has previously discussed his struggles with substance abuse.
“This is a personal book about his own personal journey,” Psaki said of the memoir. “And I’ll leave it at that.”
Addressing Joe Biden’s speech at the state department this afternoon, Jen Psaki said the president was looking forward to reaffirming his “commitment to refugees”.
But the White House press secretary said Biden did not plan to immediately sign any executive orders related to the US handling of refugees.
Jen Psaki has taken control of the White House briefing, and the press secretary addressed calls from some Democrats, including Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer, to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt.
Psaki said Joe Biden “has and continues to support cancelling $10,000 of student loan debt,” but she emphasized that Congress needs to pass a bill to make that happen.
Jake Sullivan announced that Joe Biden will announce a presidential memorandum on protecting the rights of LGBTQ individuals worldwide when the president speaks at the state department today.
The national security adviser also told reporters that the president is “reviewing the possibility of a new executive order” on Myanmar, after the country’s military coup this week.
Biden administration to freeze Trump-approved troop withdrawals
The national security adviser announced that the secretary of defense, Lloyd Austin, will launch a “global force posture review”.
Amid the review, troop redeployments from Germany that were approved by the Trump administration will be frozen, Jake Sullivan said.
During his final days in office, Donald Trump moved aggressively to limit the presence of US troops overseas, after he campaigned against America’s “endless wars”.
Biden to announce end to US support for offensive operations in Yemen
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, said that Joe Biden will announce an end to American support for offensive operations in Yemen later today, when he speaks at the state department.
Sullivan also noted that Biden’s state department speech will be “the first in a series of visits he makes to the national security workforce”.
Under the Trump administration, the state department suffered from decreased morale, as the then-president attacked diplomats as part of the “Deep State” out to get him.
White House previews Biden’s state department speech
The national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, is in the White House briefing room to preview Joe Biden’s speech at the state department this afternoon.
Sullivan said the president’s speech would focus on how the new administration will bolster national security by fortifying US alliances.
“He wants to send a clear message that our national security strategy will lead with diplomacy,” Sullivan said.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked if she was worried about setting a dangerous precedent by removing Marjorie Taylor Greene from her committee assignments.
The Democratic speaker replied, “If any of our members threatened the safety of other members we’d be the first ones to take them off a committee.”
Greene, who has been widely condemned for her racist and extremist beliefs, has previously indicated support for executing Democratic politicians, including Pelosi.
After answering that question, Pelosi concluded her weekly briefing.
Pelosi: Congress ‘must pass’ coronavirus relief to ‘save lives and save livelihoods’
House speaker Nancy Pelosi argued it was an urgent priority for Congress to pass Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief package.
“We want to save lives and save livelihoods,” the Democratic speaker said. “It’s going to cost some money to do so. But it is a good investment.”
Pelosi noted that even the Republican governor of West Virginia, Jim Justice, has called on Congress to go big with the next relief package.
“We must pass this bill to crush the virus,” Pelosi said.
Biden has called for spending $1.9 trillion in coronavirus relief, while Senate Republicans have proposed a much more modest $600 billion package.
The House passed a budget resolution yesterday, paving the way for Congress to approve Biden’s relief package using reconciliation, meaning Democrats will not need any Republican support to enact the legislation.
Pelosi criticizes Republicans’ $600bn Covid relief proposal
House speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the $600bn relief proposal from Senate Republicans, arguing it was insufficient to address the pandemic.
“Are we going to feed fewer children? Are we going to inoculate fewer people?” the Democratic speaker said.
Joe Biden has proposed a $1.9tn relief package, and Democrats are moving forward with passing such a bill, with or without Republican support.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi defended Democrats’ ongoing impeachment efforts, even though Donald Trump has left office.
A reporter noted that some people have said there is no point in pursuing impeachment because Joe Biden has already taken office.
“‘Why bother?’ Ask our founders why bother,” the Democratic speaker said. “You cannot go forward until you have justice.”
When a reporter noted that it looks like the Senate will almost certainly acquit Trump, Pelosi interrupted, saying the outcome is still unknown.
“We’ll see if it’s going to be a Senate of courage or cowardice,” Pelosi said.