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August 1, 2015

Posts in "Josh Earnest"

July 9, 2015

Josh Earnest Torches GOP on Confederate Flag, Scalise, Donald Trump (Updated)

Earnest tied the Confederate flag flap to Steve Scalise and Donald Trump. (Screenshot)

Earnest tied the Confederate flag flap to Scalise and Trump. (Screenshot)

Updated 3:43 p.m. | White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest ripped House Republicans in the dispute over flying Confederate flags in federal cemeteries — tying it to the election of Rep. Steve Scalise as majority whip and the recent remarks by Donald Trump, though not by name.

Earnest first praised South Carolina’s legislature for voting to take down the Confederate flag on the statehouse grounds.

“Republicans in Congress, however, seem to have values and priorities that lie elsewhere,” Earnest said.

Here’s his full comment:

“Right now, the Interior appropriations bill in the House is jammed up because a sizable number of House Republicans are eager to protect the status of the confederate flag on National Park Service grounds. These are the same House Republicans who voted for a party leader who once described himself as, quote, “David Duke without the baggage.” These are the same congressional Republicans who have declined to criticize the race-baiting rhetoric of a leading Republican presidential candidate.

That’s to say nothing of the Senate Republican who saluted that candidate.

So when you hear me say that congressional Republicans have an agenda that is out of step with the vast majority of Americans, this record at least in part is what I’m referring to.”

Earnest later called Trump “the leading” Republican presidential candidate, but again the word “Trump” never actually crossed his lips.

He later denied he was suggesting Republicans have a “race problem” but said their comments and actions will be evaluated by voters.

Earnest also said the White House supported the amendments that had passed earlier in the week that would eliminate federal funding to display Confederate flags in cemeteries and Confederate merchandise at gift shops.

Cory Fritz, a spokesman for Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, called Earnest’s attacks “childish.”

“Distorting fact to try and score cheap political points is no way to honor the victims of the horrific crime in Charleston,” he said in an email. “These childish attacks are completely dishonest, and beneath the dignity of the office of the presidency.”

Fritz said the amendment in question would have simply codified existing Obama administration policies restricting the use of the flag.

Boehner himself said he does not support flying the Confederate flag at congressional cemeteries, but Earnest said it’s notable Boehner is having a hard time convincing his flock of that position.


House Pulls Interior Bill Because of Confederate Flag Flap

Effort to Remove Mississippi Flag from Capitol Stalled

Senate Chaplain Prayer Praises South Carolina on Confederate Flag

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June 17, 2015

White House Upgrades Defense Veto Threat (Video)

Obama won't sign the Defense spending bill until Republicans agree to spend more money on his priorities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Obama won’t sign the Defense spending bill until Republicans agree to spend more money on his priorities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

No more weasel words. President Barack Obama will veto the Defense Appropriations bill unless there’s a deal to raise domestic spending, Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.

That upgrades the veto threat slightly from the usually articulated one that his senior “advisers would recommend” a veto. Full story

Obama Won’t Sign TPA Without TAA ‘Path’ (Video) (Updated)

Earnest said Obama will only back a strategy that puts both TPA and TAA on his desk. (Screen shot)

Earnest said Obama will only back a strategy that puts both TPA and TAA on his desk. (Screenshot)

Updated 12:12 p.m. June 18 | President Barack Obama isn’t going to support a strategy that gives him half a loaf on his trade agenda, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Wednesday.

With Capitol Hill leaders working on a plan that would split Trade Promotion Authority from Trade Adjustment Assistance, Earnest made clear Obama will demand both.

“The only legislative strategy that the president will support is a strategy that results in both TPA and TAA coming to his desk,” he said. Full story

June 9, 2015

White House Briefing Room Evacuated (Updated)

Updated 3:56 p.m. | The White House daily briefing was interrupted and the James S. Brady Briefing Room was briefly evacuated Tuesday by the Secret Service because of a bomb threat.

Press Secretary Josh Earnest, who was answering a question about cybersecurity, was interrupted by an officer who could be heard saying, “We need to evacuate the press room.”

“Jesus,” one reporter exclaimed.

Earnest calmly left the podium.

Full story

By Steven Dennis Posted at 2:18 p.m.
Josh Earnest

June 5, 2015

White House Not Demanding Tax Hikes in Sequester Deal

Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge might be set to win another victory. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge might be set to score another victory. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Prospects for a budget deal brightened Friday, when White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest declined to demand a tax hike in a deal to raise sequester-level spending caps.

When pressed on the tax issue by CQ Roll Call, Earnest touted the Ryan-Murray agreement from two years ago, which did not include a tax hike, although it did include some fees.

Full story

May 12, 2015

White House Brushes Off Fast-Track Failure As Temporary ‘SNAFU’ (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 2:32 p.m. | The White House is brushing off what is now expected to be the imminent filibuster of President Barack Obama’s fast-track bill on the Senate floor, with Press Secretary Josh Earnest blaming a “procedural SNAFU” for Democrats planning to vote en masse to block it. Full story

February 11, 2015

Congress Gets to Dust Off Its War Voting Powers

Sen. Tim Kaine, left, and House Intelligence ranking member Adam B. Schiff want to debate a war authorization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Tim Kaine, left, and House Intelligence ranking member Adam B. Schiff want to debate a war authorization. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

For the first time this decade, Congress is set to have a full-fledged war debate. The White House wants pure kabuki with no practical effect; lawmakers, most of whom have never voted to send men and women into harm’s way, will have to choose whether to go along.

President Barack Obama is intent on doing what he wants either way — as he already has in his undeclared war on the Islamic State terror group for months, with Congress on the sidelines. Full story

September 29, 2014

Boehner Aide Calls Earnest’s ISIS Remarks ‘Stupid’

Steel on Monday called Earnest's comments stupid. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Steel called Earnest’s comments “stupid.” (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner’s spokesman ripped White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s remarks today tying Boehner’s position on defeating ISIS to President George W. Bush’s Iraq policy.

“Trying, for political purposes, to link Speaker Boehner’s position on destroying ISIL with former President Bush’s Iraq policy and splitting hairs where they don’t exist is, frankly, stupid,” said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel. “That’s no way to build bipartisan support for a real strategy to keep America safe. Everyone understands that ruling out options in advance shows weakness to our enemies.”

Steel was reacting to Earnest’s comments in today’s daily briefing about Boehner’s comments on ABC’s “This Week” over the weekend. The Ohio Republican said there might be “no choice” but to deploy American ground forces against ISIS and criticized Obama for ruling out ground forces at the start. He did not call for an Iraq-style invasion, but was asked if U.S. ground forces would be needed if others did not step up. Full story

September 22, 2014

How Much Will the War Against ISIS Cost? It Depends.


(Mark Wilson/Getty Images News)

The ISIS war might cost U.S. taxpayers tens of billions. Or it might not. At this point, the White House still isn’t releasing an approximate figure.

CQ Roll Call asked White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest at today’s press briefing if he had a ballpark estimate, and he didn’t have one handy. The Office of Management and Budget hasn’t provided one yet either — we’ve been asking.

An outside expert has estimated the war could cost $1.5 billion a month, about the cost of the NASA budget. It had been costing $7.5 million a day through August, before President Barack Obama dramatically ramped up the mission.

But the cost will also depend on Obama’s strategy, and how successful he is at courting the scores of coalition partners to shoulder either the burdens of military action, or providing cash.

“One way that countries can participate in this coalition and contribute to this broader effort is financially,” Earnest said Monday. Full story

September 2, 2014

Obama Hasn’t Decided When to Act on Immigration

President Barack Obama might act in the next few weeks on immigration. Or he might not. He might wait until after the November elections. But politics isn’t his top priority.

At least, that’s all according to his spokesman.

“There is the chance that it could be before the end of the summer. There is the chance that it could be after the summer,” said Press Secretary Josh Earnest.

Earnest was peppered Tuesday with questions about Obama’s previous, and possibly inoperative, declaration that he would act without delay on immigration once he received a report from his attorney general and Homeland Security secretary on his legal authority to act at the end of the summer.

The declared end date of “end of summer” has now become a fudged up timeline, with reports that the White House will delay acting — at least in part — until after the November elections to protect vulnerable Senate Democrats in red states.

Earnest said that politics wasn’t the president’s “top priority” — that getting the policy correct was.

But that increasingly sounds like someone trying to declare that there isn’t gambling going on at Rick’s.


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