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White House Press Briefing. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired August 31, 2017 - 15:00   ET



MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The president's visit earlier this week was a missed opportunity, in the sense that you did not see him doing the kinds of things that we saw the vice president doing today during his visit down there.

You know, so many times, President Trump has kind of failed the commander in chief test, in the sense of, you know, people wanting to see him out there consoling people or, you know, calling for healing, that kind of thing.

And I think that, you know, it will be interesting to see what kind of a visit they're planning when the first lady and the president return. Mike Pence is so natural in that role, you know, as the footage that you just saw showed.

And you remember, earlier this year, he was -- or maybe even last year, earlier this year, he was in Missouri when there was that Jewish cemetery that was desecrated, kind of out there trying to be a healing voice.

And I think a lot of people want to see Trump step up more to that test. I mean, this is a very important moment for him. Obviously, we all know, you know, that President Bush's presidency was in many ways defined by that moment in Hurricane Katrina and you're just seeing these heartbreaking images that we've been showing over the last couple of days.


BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Maeve, let's go to the White House.


SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: More importantly, the American people have many questions related to Hurricane Harvey.

And, as you all know, the president was in Corpus Christi and Austin earlier this week. And, today, at the president's direction, the vice president, Mrs. Pence, and five Cabinet secretaries are back in Texas meeting with local officials and storm survivors and thanking many of the first-responders and other volunteers.

The president's team here has been working around the clock to support state and local authorities, following the storm.

And now I'm going to bring up Tom Bossert, the president's homeland security adviser, to provide an update on the administration-wide effort to support the recovery and relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

He will make a few opening remarks and then stay to take questions specific to the storm and what the administration is doing to help the state and local authorities and the people of Texas and Louisiana.

And, as always, after Tom speaks and takes your questions, I will be back up here to take questions on other topics. Thanks, guys.


Let me see if I can start by addressing maybe some different audiences. We have got an international audience, national audience, state and local audience. And I want to see if I can speak to each one of them with a brief update on where we stand.

From the international perspective, we have had heads of state from a lot of different countries. In particular, I would stress today, yesterday, the heads of state of Mexico and Canada called to express their condolences, their prayers and thoughts, but also assistance if they could lend anything to the effort. We very much appreciate that.

And the president was deeply touched by those phone calls. I joined him for the call from Justin Trudeau just moments ago, and we appreciate the neighborly gesture quite seriously. And it's an international expression of what we're seeing here at a very local level.

We have got neighbors helping neighbors in Texas and Louisiana, but also neighbors that aren't in close proximity internationally expressing help, so our international neighbors of Canada and Mexico are also offering their condolences and we very much appreciate it.

We're seeing deployed assets now from a lot of states. I know we have got 28, for instance, search-and-rescue teams and task forces from, I think, 16 different states, all sending down their support to Texas. That's a pretty large activation.

In fact, I believe that that's the first time we have activated all the task forces since 9/11, so this is an all-hands-on-deck operation, and it's not just a federal one. There are state and local officials from all walks. Even from Pennsylvania, where I'm from, there are people now addressing this problem by getting their hands dirty and going right down to Texas to help.

So we want to stop and say thank you to them for that. And then, if I can move to the nation, many of you are watching this and you want to hear from us what we're doing. I want to make sure you understand that you should continue to have confidence in what we're doing as a government.

There are significant commodity numbers and numbers of personnel and material moving into this affected region and it's an increasing number every day as we move forward.

But I would be remiss if I didn't stop and say that none of that matters if you're an affected individual. So, 10,000 liters of water doesn't matter if I don't have the one liter I need to drink right now.

And so, if I could, I would like to stop and give a message or two directly to the people who need the assistance, and if I can, this might sound a little bit mundane from a White House podium, but if you're in need of assistance and you have access to a functioning computer, if you can get to a shelter or some place where you can do this, it's very important that you go to

You can find what you need there to register for the assistance that you might need. If you don't have access, but you can find a working telephone, 1-800-462-7585. Again, 1-800-462-7585.


There's another number that FEMA's given us of 621-3362. I'm going to clarify and say I think 621 -- 1-800-621-3362. That's the number -- 3362 spells FEMA.

That second number of 7585 is the TTY number.

I want to make sure that people use those numbers and use those resources to register. I would also like to give them the advice that it's never too early to call your insurance adjuster. Make sure you have got -- if you have property loss on damage, you get that process under way.

It can take some time. There's going to be a high volume of calls and we want to make sure that your needs are attended to as soon as possible. So that's where we stand right now.

I would like to go through a few additional messages. Lifesaving, life-sustaining operations are still under way. We have seen hospitals suffer damage in Beaumont. Most of you that are tracking the event have seen that.

The DOD and the HHS officials responsible for coordinating the federal response here are actively figuring out and deploying resources to help move those patients to better definitive care locations.

So we will see probably upwards of 7,000 estimated patients moved into better and safer definitive care hospitals elsewhere in Texas. And we will see that happen expeditiously. And I'm quite comfortable of where those operations stand.

Secondly, a little word of caution. A lot of lost lives end up in this time -- in this time zone right after a response. We lose, unfortunately, some lives in an immediate disaster, but then in the immediate response and recovery phase, people will use chain saws, people will remove debris, people will be stressed.

The elderly, when they're stressed, you heard Dr. Fauci say, tend to get sick. That sickness can lead to death, unfortunately. And so, unfortunately, we will see additional losses of life if history is any precedent here or if precedent -- if that history is any prologue. We will see an additional loss of life.

So please try to avoid that. Try to avoid strain and stress. Try to get to where there's food, water, and shelter, and take care of yourself so that you can then take care of others.

With that, I would like to suggest that from the FEMA perspective, they're continuing that operation, but from the White House, it's important that we look at the cost of these events and that we look on the horizon a little bit about what's next.

So, as we look into it, these are estimates at this point, but it looks like roundabout 100,000 affected homes. That's a big number. We're going to have 100,000 affected homes, all with different degrees of insurance, some with flood insurance, some underinsured, some uninsured.

We will have to address those on a case-by-case basis as we move forward, but I want to put a scope of magnitude on this. We're going to have damage to publicly owned infrastructure. And so what we will do as an administration is put together a responsible supplemental request for Congress, appropriations request.

I will make that request shortly. We will make that request based on the information that we have now, and what we will do then is come back later for a second supplemental question when we have additional information that would make a more informed total for Congress to consider.

So, I would like to stop on that point and take a few questions.


QUESTION: Obviously, after Hurricane Sandy, some money flowed fairly quickly, but the big bill didn't happen until two months after the hurricane hit. The hurricane hit on October 29. The bill was signed into law on the 6th of January.

How important is it, do you believe, with Texas for Congress to get that money through faster? The president promised it would happen quickly.

BOSSERT: Yes, so three things here. First, you have to look at the health of the Disaster Relief Fund, which is funding most of this operation.

That was a relatively healthy fund. It had about $3.6 billion in it heading into this storm. That allowed us to get through the initial response operations. That drawdown rate, though, is something that we keep a close eye on. We're going to need to go up and ask for a disaster supplemental shortly.

We are also, secondly, heading up into the end of a fiscal year, and so any available money from a regularly appropriated perspective at a department or agency is running out. The end of the fiscal year is upon us. And so Congress had already planned to provide us some replenishment into that fund through the regular course of operations.

And then, thirdly, if there are, and there will be, needs for additional funding in the future. As those drawdown construction numbers become more clear on the recovery phase, we will be able to look at them and ask for a third, you know, kind of bite at the apple on this.

That's where we stand, and I'm not worried at all that we don't have the money right now for the operations under way and the operations that we foresee in the next month.

QUESTION: Thank you. You mentioned the office of assistance from the leaders of Canada and Mexico. Will the president be accepting any of those offers of assistance?


The answer here is that the president didn't get into the specifics and neither did the heads of state calling, so I think their primary purpose was to express and extend their prayers and thoughts and their condolences to those that lost their lives.

What we will do is turn over to FEMA, the Department of State to accept that request for additional actual concrete, you know, or tangible assistance. FEMA, then, as an office of international affairs, they will figure out how to integrate that with the operators.


If we have unmet needs that they can offer some valuable supply for, we will take that, but there's no reason to not take that assistance.

QUESTION: Can you get back to us and let us know exactly what you guys said yes to?

BOSSERT: I would say yes, but I would highly encourage you to ask FEMA how that's unfolding because you have to look at that from a very specific perspective. I have done that before and the operators had to integrate something very carefully into a logistics chain that is complex.

QUESTION: You talk about what's next for the recovery that's obviously going to be not just months, but years in the making.

Also, the administration has proposed some pretty significant cuts to FEMA. Are you -- given what you have seen and what the president has seen on the ground in Texas, are you encouraging the president to rethink those budget cuts? You have been in emergency management a while. Do you think he should reconsider that?

BOSSERT: There's a number of misnomers on that. The core operating function at FEMA is going to be well-funded under the president's proposal. The Disaster Relief Fund, which really provides the money for these events that you don't plan for, but that you prepare for, those things will be all well-funded through that Disaster Relief Fund. But what you will see are responsible proposals in the president's budget for reductions in some homeland security grants.

Those grants, I was around for their creation -- those grants were never meant to be permanent and what we need to do is reduce state and local dependency on some of that federal money, but we need to do it in a responsible way.

So, it's a little wonky, but you will see not just a request for a cut in money in the budget the president put forward, but you will see some additional details that allow the states to responsibly develop a glide path to get off of those grants and their dependence on them over a period of four or five years or so.

And so I would say understanding that's important for the American people to know that the president wasn't irresponsibly cutting any money. In fact, he was doing something that would further empower state and locals and then I would come back to reiterate that the Disaster Relief Fund is strong. It's got plenty of money in it now and we're going to ask for some very responsible surplus supplementals.

QUESTION: Could you talk to me about the issue of those who are displaced? Temporary housing is a big issue. What can you tell us about what's happening over at HUD, what's happening with this administration as it relates to this? It was a big issue during Katrina, and it was a major problem.

Are you looking at issues of finding and designating vacant locations for some of these people to -- some of these victims or survivors to go into?

BOSSERT: So, I met with the chiefs of staff of all the Cabinet today, and we talked about housing quite a bit.

What's happening now is HUD, in cooperation with FEMA and state and local officials, are starting to get together the available housing stock, both available rental stock, manufactured housing, which often fits a need in this type of disaster, but also available housing stock for those who receive assistance under HUD programs, Section 8 in particular.

So, we're trying to put all those housing stock solutions and all those government programs together, think through what's available and how people might utilize that. Right now, FEMA's doing that in a planning section, but their operators are focused on saving lives.

So, if I could, one additional point there. This will be a housing challenge. But I don't want to concede any kind of housing lack of coordination. What we will have to do is allow a lot of this to unfold.

And so when I say 100,000, some portion of those homes were affected with two foot of water or less. Some were affected with eight foot of water or more, and you will have to look at a case-by-case basis the people and their -- whether they're underwater financially, underwater actually and we will have to work with mortgage lenders and others as we address those problems.

QUESTION: During Katrina, there was a big issue of when the people received housing -- separate housing, rent prices went up dramatically. Is there any kind of safety net or safeguard that that will not happen, that these survivors will not be gouged when they go into these temporary housing situations?

BOSSERT: Yes, you just used an important word and I will make a really clear point right now. Gouging will not be tolerated. Jeff Sessions and the president of the United States will not tolerate gouging.

Anybody that's going to go out and try to take advantage of a disaster victim ought to expect law enforcement to come down on them with a hammer. That's not acceptable on a regular day and it's certainly not acceptable when people are suffering.

What we will do is use the latitude that we have under the law, to come back to your first administrative point, and provide a fair market value rental rate that's a little bit higher than 100 percent to accommodate the natural demand and supply tensions.


QUESTION: To follow up on April's question about gouging and housing, what about gas prices? Is the administration looking at that in terms of national pricing against gouging for profit?

BOSSERT: Gouging is a problem, if it exists and if it happens at all levels in every vertical market and every horizontal.

But I think the idea here on fuel is a good question. We had at one point in the peak somewhere around 4 percent of our oil shut in, in the Gulf due to the rigs having to pull themselves in. That number's going to come back online.

But, again, to take things back to housing, to bring all the business operations in the Houston petrochemical triangle, we need to make sure the employees down there have responsible and safe housing.


So, while there might be some effect to fuel prices as a nation, right now, we're hoping that it's not a large or sustainable fuel price at the pump problem.

What we will also do is look for the health of the pipelines, so remember there's still rain falling. Texas is I think not experiencing any rain today, maybe some small storms, not but any major storm. Now Louisiana and the rest of the Tennessee Valley and the middle of the country are starting to see rainstorms. Colonial and the Plantation pipelines, we will keep an eye on that.

We talked about that today in our meeting and if we have any update on that, we will give it to you the rest of the week.

QUESTION: On this Crosby chemical plant that is on fire, the local sheriff says the plume that is coming out of that plant is not dangerous to the community. The FEMA director says, by all means, it's dangerous. Which is it?

BOSSERT: So, if you were there, it would be dangerous, but the good news is that the people around the facility have been evacuated already because of the storm and because of the notice that we had on the pending explosion.

Some really responsible reporting, private-public partnership took place on that facility, and what we saw was that the electric power that went to the pumps and to the maintenance systems shut out. We couldn't responsibly get that power back.

So the temperature rose in a concealed tank or confined tank and we ended up having explosion. So, they're testing the air quality as local responders. But they don't know of anyone yet that's in that area of plume that would be affected.

If they were there, it would be dangerous, and they have to keep an eye on it and make sure they take it seriously, but for right now, the people don't seem to be there. So, a tree falling in the woods, if you would .


QUESTION: There are 575,000 undocumented immigrants in Houston, one of the largest populations in this country. Does this White House believe they should be eligible for long-term federal recovery assistance?

BOSSERT: No. I think illegal immigrants and that issue has come up a number of times. So, if you have committed a crime, that's the priority for the Department of Homeland Security. I think you have heard John Kelly say that pretty clearly, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the head of CBP.

What I would say, though, is in terms of immediate lifesaving, no individual human being should worry about their immigration status unless they have committed a crime on top of coming here illegally when it comes to getting food, water and shelter.

So the authorities won't be conducting any routine swipes or searches inside those shelters. Those are shelters for food, water and providing, you know, kind of insulation against exposure. That will happen and we won't go start rounding people up when they show up there. We don't want to discourage that.

Now, subsequently, our priority will be illegal immigrants that have committed crimes, they're going to be rounded up as they always are and taken out of this country if we find them. I think that's pretty clear.

Sir, can I go here?

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) oil refineries went offline as a result of the hurricane.

Is it your understanding that they have gone back online? Is this a concern for you? Are there any thoughts of tapping into the SPR because this represents 25 percent of the U.S. oil refining capacity?

BOSSERT: I don't have an answer for you on the SPR right now. Certainly, the president will make that decision if necessary.

You don't want to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve if you don't have the refinery capability to handle that. So I haven't checked today on the status of the refineries, but I know people have. And I can get that answer back to you. We worry about that, but for right now, I'm not aware of any major damage to the refineries.

And so that's why I suggest that to the earlier question, we might have an effect to fuel prices, but it shouldn't be a huge one. Don't hold me to it. We will come back tomorrow and give you a better answer.

OK, go right here.

QUESTION: Two questions.

First off, Superstorm Sandy, the federal recovery package was around $60 billion. Governor Abbott has suggested this might exceed $100 billion. Does Governor Abbott's estimate sound reasonable that this will exceed $100 billion?

And the second question is, we have received a lot of sanguine reports about coordinations between federal, state, and local agencies. Can you give me a sense of one or two challenges, areas where that coordination may require some improvement?


OK, so on the first question, there's nobody that's wrong on estimates right now. I don't have any information to challenge anyone's estimate, and I don't think that they have any reason to think their estimates are wrong, so we're in the estimate game right now, and as a result, what we'd like to do is not get into second-guessing anybody, in particular the governor, who's got the firsthand knowledge of what's happening.

But what we'd like to do as a strategy is figure out the predictable burn rate for the response operations and put up a responsible supplemental request to Congress, so that they can meet those needs quickly. So, that's the bite at the apple approach that I suggested.

We will go up to Congress and give them a sound supplemental request number. We will add to it. I think we have got some internal numbers that we're thinking, but I don't want to get out in front of Director Mulvaney as he works with Congress.

But, again, there will be some regular funding coming in here as a matter of plan because we're headed up to the end of the fiscal year as it is, and then we will have a supplemental request. Later, when we have better understanding and when we have got a better handle on the damage, we can come back with a responsible last, so to speak, supplemental request and get the Congress get the Congress to give us an informed amount of money.


QUESTION: The second part of the question, Tom.


QUESTION: Were there any areas where coordination has been wanting, where you have seen a need for improvement?

BOSSERT: No, you know, I think at this point, the message is that coordination's happening better than any storm we have seen before.

And so stressing on anything that's not working well really is, especially from this podium, going to be ill-informed. I'm seeing nothing but positive. I'm seeing nothing but appropriate coordination.

If there's a problem somewhere, Brock Long is going to get his handle around it and he's going to fix it. That's my perspective. So, not to be political on that answer, but I don't have a negative word on coordination right now.


QUESTION: Let me ask you about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve -- 500,000 barrels were pushed out today. The Energy Department says, during Katrina, that on a loan basis, it was nearly 10 million barrels, so we're talking so far just a fraction of what was put out during Katrina.

What is the administration's thinking going forward as to how the SPR will be used and is what we saw today just a start of what might happen going forward?

BOSSERT: Yes, as I said, I will come back to you on where we stand after talking to Secretary Perry.

I don't have the numbers right now on what we're going to do and why. Again, though, I would caution comparisons between storms. Every disaster is different. Every emergency manager knows that.

Where the storm hits, what it hits and who it affects constitute massive changes in how we respond to those storms. So in terms of your structural question, though, I think if any need for that Strategic Petroleum Reserve manifests, I think we'd be very comfortable in tapping into that and providing that alleviated resource. QUESTION: There's some talk about attaching the supplemental to the

debt ceiling increase, some talk about rolling a supplemental debt ceiling increase into an overall continuing resolution.

From an emergency management standpoint, how important is it to your thinking to get a clean supplemental?

BOSSERT: Well, I think everyone wants a clean supplemental, and so as we tie the -- hopefully, we get a responsible budget, right, and that the Congress comes together and finds a way to take the president's requests and meet it.

That would be an ideal answer. Your presupposing that we're going to have a continuing resolution. That's not the best way to run a railroad, but based on your question, we might have a C.R. If that happens, it's fine.

I think it will also happen -- not fine, but less ideal, but nevertheless fine to my needs as a emergency manager here looking for a DRF supplemental. The DRF supplemental, when you say clean, should focus right now on replenishing the Disaster Relief Fund and any other ancillary and obvious needs that might come for other departments and agencies for repairing roads or highways of that nature.

But I think that will be separate and distinct from the debt ceiling. I think we have every reason to believe that's going to happen in a responsible way as well, and I will allow Sarah to amplify that if you have additional questions, but from my perspective now and from the planning session we had this morning, I don't think there's going to be any particular problem in our approach to the Congress in this fall.

That's at least my sense.

QUESTION: I'm just a little confused about your answer to (OFF-MIKE) on the undocumented immigrants getting long-term funding.

Was that a yes or a no? Does the administration support...


QUESTION: Was that a...

BOSSERT: Yes or no on what question?

QUESTION: On the undocumented immigrants eligible for long-term relief help.

What happens once they leave (OFF-MIKE) undocumented immigrants will able to get additional help?

BOSSERT: Yes. No, eligibility standards range across a number of different programs.

And the point here be would that if you are an immigrant that has committed a crime, you're going to be removed. If you're an immigrant -- I guess the question is if you're looking for assistance that's eligible for citizens, it's my understanding that you're not eligible in that case.

But I think that that doesn't mean we're going to let somebody starve or die of thirst or exposure. I don't think there's too much of a problem there. I'm not sure where they were living before they got into the shelter. I would be making some pretty gross suppositions at this point that I'm not prepared to answer.

But I understand the hypothetical you're driving towards, just not looking to deal with it.



QUESTION: And deported them, and you're saying that the priority is still to deport people who have committed a crime on top of that.

BOSSERT: That's correct.

QUESTION: And so if you are an undocumented immigrant and you did have a home and that home was destroyed in a flood and you are in a shelter, what happens?

BOSSERT: There's a lot of if's there and I will figure that out as I deal with them.

But, from my perspective, the priorities couldn't be any clearer. I don't think that I even know how to begin to answer that question, but I will say that there's no real wavering here.

It's pretty clear our position on immigration. So, hopefully, that answers your question. I don't think there's going to be a lot of benefits going out to illegal immigrants in terms of the American taxpayer, but I will say that he's also made the point that those who have come to the country and then committed crimes constitute the priority offense that we need to focus on.

And I believe that he also said that is not a victimless crime. And so I think that the focus on gangs and other things has everybody pretty well busy right now, and the focus on saving lives and providing food, water, and shelter have everybody pretty well busy right now.

And I think what you will find is the good men and women of CBP and ICE are out there providing assistance not only to the men and women of Texas and Louisiana that are American citizens, but also in the interim to people of any immigration status that need food, water, and shelter.


So, if I could, I would like to leave it at that because that's the clear message I would like to leave behind to somebody that might otherwise, based on your question, no disrespect intended, be discouraged from going in and finding something that would save their life. That's the message for today.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) flood insurance programs.

Before this year, it was (OFF-MIKE) $25 billion. Now this. The question is, should homeowners who are in flood zones have to pay even more than they already have been paying in premiums to fund the program or should this be a problem that taxpayers help solve?

At this point, this disaster proves that even if you're not in a flood plain, you still run the risk of having your house flood.


So, a couple of questions here and I will give you a couple of answers. First, just for clarity, because there are people right now suffering that are looking for immediate answers. For clarity's sake, if you have flood insurance policy and you have been paying your premiums, call and get your claim in.

There is no problem. There is no shortfall. We have enough money to meet those claims and you're going to get what you have got coming to you under your policy. So that's the first, I think, answer here for the National Flood Insurance Program.

The second one for people watching this, you have to understand that that Flood Insurance Program is coming up to be reauthorized. It's about to expire. It's going to have to reauthorized and I have every confidence that Congress will reauthorize that program.

And the third part of your question is, how much money is left in that fund under that borrowing cap or borrowing authority? And the answer is, enough, I think $8.6 billion to get through this round of claims and then some. It will push us into the late fall, wintertime frame when we have to get into discussing what the forecast projections are.

And then the last part of your question, future policy discussion, I think this administration's been pretty clear that we'd like to see some responsible reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program. I don't think now's the time to debate those things as we need to help people that have pending claims.

But we will debate that late fall here as we come up with good policy ideas to help move that back into our risk-based private sector hopefully supported solution. But FEMA's been pretty clear about how to do that and to do it responsibly, so as to not throw anybody off that's on that current program.

So, for everybody that doesn't know, you can't buy a flood insurance program in this country that's not underwritten by the United States of America. The agent that sold it to you might be a private agent and that's a public-private partnership that's been working since the Reagan administration, but at the end of the day, that standard flood insurance policy that you have, SFIP that you have, is underwritten by the federal government.

So, can I go back in the back? QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) question about undocumented.

The president is reported to be poised to make a decision about the DACA program. Right now, the dreamers who are in that program believe that they are documented, that they are documented to work, have work permits, et cetera.

There are those who are in the pipeline who have applied for extensions or are new applicants. In the time going forward, what is your advice to them about their risks of being deported in any of those three categories under the DACA program?

BOSSERT: Yes. So the question's on Deferred Action Against Childhood Arrivals. And I think what you will see is that the my position today is that the administration is still reviewing the policy.

On the second part of your question, what happens to people that are in an illegal status that require assistance, I would refer you back to how I answered the first question. Anybody needing food, water, shelter is going to get it. Anybody here illegally that subsequently committed a crime is going to get caught and thrown out. And anybody in between has to wait for a decision or at least a policy announcement from the administration on how we're going to handle deferred action moving forward.

QUESTION: Do you believe that is likely to be revealed in the days that are coming up now in which you're trying to manage an emergency?

BOSSERT: I don't know the timing of that. But as soon as the president's ready to announce the result of our policy process, he will do so.

QUESTION: Have you been consulted on the decision?

BOSSERT: I have.

QUESTION: Just want (OFF-MIKE) will the threat of lawsuits from the (OFF-MIKE) does that affect the decision or influence the decision at all?

BOSSERT: Say that one more time.

QUESTION: The threat of a lawsuit from the state attorney generals that sent the letter to the DOJ, will that affect the decision?

BOSSERT: It won't affect the policy decision, but it will affect the timing of it.

We will certainly have to watch the lawsuits and how they matriculate through the courts and when the deadlines will be imposed. That will inform our decision-making process, but it won't affect the policy decision.

If I could now, I think it's been -- I see Sarah is standing up. I been told to turn to -- I think we have Skype questioners, not that you folks in Washington, D.C., don't matter to me, but for the rest of the people watching, I would like to turn to -- where do I turn?

We have got Skype questioners. Where do I go? OK.

So, I think first, is it somebody from Texas that's going to ask a question from Skype? And how do I get that, Sarah? Here we go.

Sir, you're on. Go ahead.

QUESTION: OK, Greg Groogan, FOX 26 in Houston.


BOSSERT: Greg, we got you loud and clear.

QUESTION: We have, in the Houston area -- we have, in the Houston area --