THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY
The Briefing Room
1:15 P.M. EST
Q When the kids show up at the White House, does the White House give out Trick and Treat type things?
Q It's Trick or Treat.
MR. MCCURRY: Trick or Treat. It's difficult for the good young citizens of the District of Columbia to make their way to the front door -- (laughter) -- to trick or treat on the President. But the Vice President, as many know, and Mrs. Gore were very gracious in hosting a party at their house on Saturday, I believe, right? And their children -- a lot of children from the community go to their house up at the Naval Observatory. And they do, in fact, trick or treat and they get treats -- I think. No, they did.
Q What have you got in your goody bag for us today?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, I don't have much more to report now that the President has reviewed to you the plans for the delegation going to Dayton. And beyond that, I'm not aware of any other news.
Q What lessons are being drawn from this damage assessment report that the CIA is briefing members of Congress on as far as President Clinton and the current U.S. intelligence gathering operation is concerned?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, I'm a little hesitant to comment on that report at this point. The Director of Central Intelligence is briefing members of Congress, and then sometime later this afternoon he will have some public comments to make. But the President is obviously concerned anytime there is a suggestion that in the past information coming to him is less -- information going to the President is less than reliable. And the President of the United States needs good accurate information to make the best foreign policy decisions on behalf of the American people. And clearly, there are some lapses that have now been identified by the Director of Central Intelligence.
However, the Director of Central Intelligence is also today announcing the steps that he's taking to make sure that the information that comes from the intelligence community to senior foreign policymakers in the administration, including the President, is accurate and is the kind of information upon which they can make good decisions on behalf of the American people. And the President is satisfied that the Director of Central Intelligence is taking the steps necessary to ensure that we can have great confidence in America's intelligence community.
Q Mike, to what extent does the President feel that he has received, since taking office, less than reliable information because of the Ames affair?
MR. MCCURRY: Peter, I don't want to address that because that's specifically the kind of information that the DCI is reviewing on the Hill.
Q How often does he get intelligence? Every day?
MR. MCCURRY: Daily. He receives a daily briefing -- sometimes through the National Security Advisor, sometimes through people from the intelligence community, and anything that he specifically asks for or requests.
Q The President said that he's going to start more intensive consultations with Congress tomorrow on Bosnia. What does he hope to achieve in the meeting that he has tomorrow with congressional leadership? In the kind of longer-term, how big a campaign does he think he'll need to wage to --
MR. MCCURRY: Well, tomorrow's bipartisan leadership meeting is an extension of a meeting that the President had not long ago at Jackson Place with the same group of bipartisan leaders. He promised then that in a regular and timely way he would give them a sense of where the peace process is, what the requirements would be for U.S. participation and U.S. leadership. And this is another good opportunity for him to share with the congressional leaders our plans for the Dayton talks that begin tomorrow; our sense of where the discussions are going in NATO with the North Atlantic Council on planning for an implementation force if we are successful in getting a peace agreement in Dayton; and, again, to remind them of the responsibilities the United States has in this world as we address what has been the most troubling episode of instability in Europe since World War II.
Q Mike, you talked at length about how many briefings you've had, how many sessions of members of Congress you've had. What does it say about the President's policy and the President's plans to send troops to Bosnia that after all those briefings, after the Jackson Place meeting, et cetera, they can come up with such a huge vote last night in the House and get so many Democrats on their side?
MR. MCCURRY: That one of the lonely responsibilities of being President is putting young Americans in harm's way. It's rarely a popular decision when a commander in chief knows that he must do so, but there are times when the office and the responsibility as the President has, having sworn his oath of office, require those type of tough decisions.
It can't be -- for most Americans, if you think about it, it's not popular to participate in efforts that put our citizens in harm's way in places that are remote and difficult to understand like the Balkans. But sometimes our unique responsibilities in this world require exactly that type of commitment. And the President, in coming days, will increasingly make that case.
If we achieve a peace settlement in Dayton, he will certainly go before the American people and say, look, here is what the requirements of peace will be for the United States. And he'll take opportunities, as he did today, to talk publicly about the type of commitments and the type of responsibilities we have in this world.
Q A little while ago Speaker Gingrich seemed to say that he didn't know anything about a meeting and hadn't been invited to one. Was there some kind of communications disconnect?
MR. MCCURRY: NO. Our assumption, given that Senator Dole called Mr. Panetta, the Chief of Staff, last night and asked how we might go about resolving the issue of the debt ceiling, our assumption was that the Republican leadership stays in touch with each other. Mr. Panetta suggested to the Majority Leader that they ought to have a discussion of debt ceiling at the end of the meeting that had already been scheduled on Bosnia tomorrow, and I guess we assumed the Majority Leader and the Speaker were in closer touch with each other. But we've since had good follow-up contact at the staff level, so everyone understands the arrangements.
Q So he knew about the Bosnia part of the meeting, he just didn't know about the --
MR. MCCURRY: The Bosnia meeting had been set and the Majority Leader seemed to think that Mr. Panetta's suggestion that they have a discussion of the debt ceiling issue at the conclusion of that meeting was a good one.
Q What happened at the meeting this morning on Bosnia with the --
MR. MCCURRY: With the -- well, I would describe that as a meeting for the President to really address some very specific issues that will be on the agenda in Dayton; to describe some of his concerns as the negotiators go to work with the parties; to ask that they address in some specificity issues that he is concerned about, that he thinks the American people will be concerned about as we watch this peace process unfold. And it was also an opportunity for the President to tell his negotiators that they've done a good job to date, they've made enormous progress in what once seemed to be an intractable conflict, but they now need to push very, very hard to do what we can to bring peace to the Balkans. And so, in a sense, he gave them a very strong word of encouragement , told them at the very beginning of the meeting if there's anybody who could get this work done it is the very impressive team of negotiators that will be working on behalf of the United States in Dayton.
Q Specifically, what did the President mean when he said he would ask Congress for an expression of support before doing anything on Bosnia? Is he going to ask for some kind of nonbinding resolution in the House and Senate?
MR. MCCURRY: We've never specified the form of support. We said we would welcome support from Congress and at the appropriate time we would seek an expression of support, but we've never specified what form that would take. It could clearly be a resolution, but that would depend -- the form of that support would depend on what we arrange with congressional leaders and others in the eventuality of a peace settlement that would require our participation.
Q Would he feel free to proceed if he doesn't get that expression of support, if he gets the same kind of vote he got yesterday?
MR. MCCURRY: He will live up to his responsibilities as Commander in Chief and be true to his oath of office.
Q What does that mean? In other words, does that mean that he would not feel that he was bound --
MR. MCCURRY: If he needs to act to protect America's interest in the world he will act.
Q Can we -- I want to make sure I'm clear on this. Were these talks, the fact that we have been able to get all three of these gentlemen together in one place, was it all preconditioned on a U.S. commitment up front of forces to be deployed in Bosnia?
MR. MCCURRY: These talks were not necessarily preconditioned, but the parties themselves, including President Izetbegovic on behalf of Bosnia-Herzegovina, have made it quite clear that they will not agree to a peace settlement if the United States is not participating in an implementation force that helps secure that peace. They've been very blunt about that. And that, among other reasons, is why the President has suggested very publicly and very openly that the United States has to be there; we have responsibilities. We have responsibilities to these parties if they agree to make peace. We have responsibilities to our NATO allies. We have responsibilities having shed a great deal of American blood to save Europe. We have a great interest in the security of Europe.
Q Just to follow up, was it a mistake, though, do you think now in hindsight, to emphasize the fact that American troops would be on the ground early on, almost from the beginning?
MR. MCCURRY: No. I think to the contrary. It has been a necessary precondition to get the parties to the table.
Q Jesse Jackson has indicated that he considers the President's decision on crack sentencing a moral disgrace. What is your reaction?
MR. MCCURRY: That's unfortunate because I believe the President shared some of the concerns, as the President indicated in his statement yesterday, that Reverend Jackson has addressed.
Q Mike, back on Bosnia for a second. Does the President intend to play a more active role with the talks taking place in Ohio than he did when Holbrooke was shuttling back and forth in the Balkans?
MR. MCCURRY: He will --
Q Is he going to phone into the talks tomorrow at the start, for example, or did he send any kind of message with Holbrooke?
MR. MCCURRY: He gave very specific instructions to Secretary Christopher who will greet the parties and hold individual sessions with the parties as they convene in Dayton tomorrow. His thinking has gone into a lot of the preparation work that the delegation has done. He will follow the progress of the discussions very closely and will participate as recommended by the delegation and by his foreign policy advisors.
Q Mike, you said that it's a necessary precondition for the U.S. to talk about troop deployments in Bosnia. The House vote yesterday would indicate that they want -- first off, that they're not preconditioned to it, and that they want something stronger than a resolution before the President can go forward. How can the President today say that it won't have much of an impact on the current negotiations, the House vote?
MR. MCCURRY: Because the parties are relying on the commitments that the President has made for U.S. participation in the implementation force. And we would suggest that the vote by the House was a vote directed at process and not policy. We don't make the assumption that the members of Congress who voted for that resolution are against peace in Bosnia or against a successful conclusion of these talks in Dayton, but they clearly, on behalf of their constituents, are asking for more information about what will be involved in any U.S. participation in an implementation force.
We acknowledge that those are perfectly legitimate questions. That's why we will continue to consult. We'll consult tomorrow and continue the pattern of very aggressive consulting that we have been pursuing with Congress. There were -- some of our foreign policy team I think were on the Hill today for a breakfast meeting with individual members. But we'll continue to reach out to individual members to satisfy their concerns.
Look there's always natural reluctance on the part of a Congress to support a President when a President has to make a tough foreign policy decision because everybody understands that's a difficult choice when we send Americans overseas to do the work that sometimes we have to do in this world. That's a hard decision for a President to make, and we understand that sometimes it's hard for members of Congress to support that kind of decision. But the President believes it's the right thing to do. We'll continue to make the case, and he thinks in the end the case will be persuasive enough that Congress will, indeed, support the action that he must make as Commander in Chief.
Q So you still presume that Congress will go -- will vote, as they always have in the past --
MR. MCCURRY: We believe if we are in the happy position of reaching a peace agreement as a result of the talks in Dayton and the United States is in the position of having to make good on commitments, that the President will make a very persuasive case for our leadership responsibilities, both to the Congress and to the American people.
Q I think one could understand why the parties would want a peacekeeping force as a precondition for any kind of agreement, but can you explain why having U.S. troops on the ground in that peacekeeping force would have to be a precondition to any peace agreement?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, because there's now a very long history of peacekeeping efforts in Bosnia and you can understand the disposition of some of the parties that they believe a necessary ingredient of a successful peacekeeping effort is U.S. leadership, U.S. participation and U.S. participation on the ground. You can also understand some of our European allies who have shouldered the burden of peacekeeping in Europe saying that for a future effort to enforce the peace to be successful, the U.S. must participate and must participate on the ground. And, indeed, those governments are saying exactly that.
And, finally, you can understand the President's view that the future of this particular peacekeeping effort in the Balkans in an area that has had such enormous conflict associated with its history requires the kind of commitment the United States made in fighting a world war and also in all the many years that we helped keep the stability and the peace during the Cold War by our leadership of NATO.
Q Besides objecting to the extent of Medicaid cuts -- does the White House have any comment on the way the Medicaid formula has been apportioned in the Senate?
MR. MCCURRY: I'll have to check and see if we have commented specifically on that. I'm not aware that we've had anything specific unless we said something in some of the material we sent up to the Hill.
Q Back just for a second on the congressional meeting tomorrow, the latter part of it, the debt limit part, are you all expecting anything out of that meeting beyond just talk, or, if so, what would it be?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, the President will make clear, as the Secretary of Treasury has been doing, the enormous consequences that will arise if the United States government defaults. It's probably not a good idea and it's not smart for the United States to be hovering close to that deadline without some clear plan on how we will move away from that deadline. I think he'll encourage the Congress to take up the recommendation the Secretary of the Treasury made to extend the deadline if not to mid-January then to at least some time that's acceptable to the Republican majority. There have been some suggestions now from various leaders in Congress that they might see fit to extend the debt limit until November 29th. I'm sure that that question will arise when they meet.
But I think the President's argument will be, look, we can't let this happen to the United States, and as he suggested earlier today, he doesn't believe Congress will let it happen, either.
Q Well, is he seeking a particular commitment by the Republican leadership out of the meetings for a commitment to --
MR. MCCURRY: No, he just wants to extend the debt -- we have to extend the debt ceiling so we can ge on with business. That is the sole subject the President intends to address in addition to Bosnia.
Q From the President's point of view, is there any reason they couldn't walk out of there with a debt extension agreement tomorrow?
MR. MCCURRY: There is no reason they couldn't have done it already so that the Treasury Department could go ahead and make the announcement that it needs to make tomorrow concerning extension of the debt.
Q A follow-up. Does the White House believe that you have any problem with Bob Rubin up on Capitol Hill? Have you received any other complaints besides Bob Dole's?
MR. MCCURRY: Only those that are transmitted via the news organizations that certain members of Congress talk to. I mean, in reality everybody knows that he is an expert on the performance of international markets. He's superbly qualified to be Secretary of the Treasury, and he speaks with an enormous amount of integrity when he speaks to the issue of the finances of the U.S. government. He has met now privately with a number of members of Congress, including Republicans, and I believe they have all come away satisfied that the Secretary of the Treasury is doing the best job he can under difficult circumstances to manage the fiscal responsibilities of the United States.
Q Which members of the foreign policy team met with which members of Congress this morning on Bosnia?
MR. MCCURRY: I'd have to -- I'll get you a whole list. There was a reference to that during the meeting the President had earlier, but I don't have a full list of who met with who.
Q Is the President unwilling to discuss extending the debt limit in the context of balanced budget discussions tomorrow?
MR. MCCURRY: Yes. As he indicated in his radio address on Saturday.
Q Is tomorrow the first serious drop-dead deadline on the debt limit? Suppose Gingrich doesn't go along with Dole at the meeting tomorrow and there is no Republican -- joint Republican commitment for debt limit extension tomorrow, then as I understand Friday's letter from Rubin, he has to delay or defer or cancel the upcoming auction. Is that the important contingency the President wants to avoid?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, he does want to avoid any disruption in those steps necessary for the Treasury to manage the fiscal affairs of the United States government. I believe it's accurate to say we've already faced several crunches, I would describe them, that the Secretary of the Treasury has had to manage. You are aware that they took some steps about 10 days ago now related to certain jungling of sales. In the normal course of orderly business, the Treasury would announce tomorrow -- my understanding is make an announcement related to future auction sales, and they won't be in a position to do that if Congress has not acted by tomorrow.
So that doesn't necessarily delay any particular transactions or any series that the Treasury would issue, but you really should check with them about what the specific timing of that would be.
Q My question is, you mentioned the dire consequences of default. What if tomorrow you don't have an agreement on the quickie, mini debt limit extension? Are those the dire -- are these dire consequences kicking in starting tomorrow, or is there still a little bit of wriggle room for another week or so?
MR. MCCURRY: I really would direct that question to Treasury. But I think it's accurate to say that Treasury would not be able to proceed with an announcement that it needs to make tomorrow if the normal course of business were to take place. So, in other words, you're delaying -- you begin to disrupt what is the normal way in which Treasury handles matters of this nature. I don't know that I would describe this as being the moment at which dire consequences begin to appear, but we're getting awfully darn close now. And the point is, for the good faith and credit of the United States of America, it's probably best not to get that close to what would truly be an extraordinary moment if the United States government defaulted on its obligations.
Q Mike, as you know, Speaker Gingrich says that he doesn't want to be in the same room with you and now he says that he doesn't want to talk to Bob Rubin, that the only person that he wants to talk to about the debt limit is the President. So I'm wondering what kind of seating arrangement you plan tomorrow -- (laughter) -- what kind deference you plan to show him on --
Q Are these going to be proximity talks? (Laughter.)
MR. MCCURRY: I don't know. I think at the end of the day the Speaker is going to want to live up to his responsibilities, and certainly the President will live up to his responsibilities and they'll get down to business. But I think a lot of the rest of it, to quote the Speaker, is Kabuki theatre.
Q Is the continuing resolution -- would that be part of the meeting tomorrow?
MR. MCCURRY: I'm sorry?
Q A continuing resolution, another one?
MR. MCCURRY: The President intends only to address the issue of the debt limit tomorrow. But we are approaching the expiration of the existing continuing resolution, and it's important for there to be an extension of that deadline, too, if Congress is not going to complete its work on various budget matters by November 15th. It's not at all certain that they're going to be sending even a reconciliation bill to the President by November 15th, so they're going to have to act to extend the deadline in some fashion. And, of course, the White House would certainly expect them to extend it under the terms of the current continuing resolution.
Q Are they expecting that to come up at the meeting tomorrow?
MR. MCCURRY: I don't know if it will, but they're talking about approaching deadlines and what the
schedule is going to be, if any, for Congress taking action, so the subject might come up. But again, the President certainly agreed with Mr. Panetta's suggestion to Majority Leader Dole, since Majority Leader Dole inquired about what efforts we could make to resolve this question of default, that they ought to bring up the subject tomorrow. And that is the subject that will be addressed.
Q Could you explain why the 29th would acceptable to you? If they pass reconciliation while you're in Japan and they go home and you'll be here for Thanksgiving, and then you're going to go to Ireland --
MR. MCCURRY: You're looking for an Ireland angle here. I think that's what's going on here. (Laughter.)
Q What good is the 29th?
MR. MCCURRY: The 29th is not as good as mid-January. But that's the one that has come via the suggestion that Senator Domenici made earlier in the week. I'm not sure how they arrived at November 29th.
Q Mike, you said that Panetta and the White House assumed that when Dole inquired about the debt limit discussion that he had checked it out with Gingrich. Obviously, he had not, but that this morning you let Gingrich know. Is the White House now sort of acting a go-between the Speaker and the Majority Leader?
MR. MCCURRY: I doubt it, because I think -- I read a story in the paper recently about how well coordinated the Republican apparatus was and how they were having these meetings and coordinating their strategy. So I assume they're going all that good work.
Q You're not offering to do it for them?
MR. MCCURRY: I think they seem to be handling that quite well on their own.
Q Do you know what the best estimate is for when the U.S. would actually hit default?
MR. MCCURRY: That is a subject that the Secretary of the Treasury is responsible for and has addressed numerous times now. I don't have anything to add to what he said.
Q To follow on that, has the President given the Treasury Secretary any instructions, or is the President willing to take the steps that are available to the administration to postpone that time?
MR. MCCURRY: The President wants to see the debt ceiling extended so that we can get on with the orderly business of the country. He allows the technical experts in his Cabinet to address how best to get that done. Obviously, the best circumstance would be for them to -- for the Congress to grant the extension that has now been requested by the Treasury Secretary. That's what ought to happen. And beyond that, the President is just concerned that we not get closer and closer to this debt ceiling limit without some sense of how we're going to get on with business.
Q But if a default is as terrible as you say, will the President take steps like not putting receipts into the Social Security fund or take other steps like that to prevent a default?
MR. MCCURRY: How we would manage that crisis environment is something that the President will surely review with the Secretary of the Treasury, but he will have the direct responsibility for managing the accounts of the government.
Q Mike, my understanding is that under normal circumstances Rubin tomorrow would have announced his intentions regarding the auction at, like, one-ish. Since the meeting isn't going to happen until a couple hours later, is he going to postpone making the decision or making an announcement?
MR. MCCURRY: I would suspect he would, but you should really ask over at Treasury what his requirements are.
Q Have you firmed a time --
MR. MCCURRY: My understanding is that -- remember, we're talking about he would only be able to go ahead and make that announcement at the regular hour at one if there had been action by Congress. I'm not aware of Congress taking any action that would allow the Treasury to go ahead with an announcement at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow. So I think it's going to have to be delayed one way or another.
Q Have you firmed a time on the meeting and how long it's going to last?
MR. MCCURRY: I believe it's 2:15 p.m. -- is that what we're hearing? Subject to change and subject to further announcement, 2:15 p.m.
Q How long are they supposed to go?
MR. MCCURRY: About an hour or so -- I don't know. We'll see.
Q Did Treasury Secretary Rubin choose a mid-January extension deadline on the assumption that a budget agreement wouldn't even reach the President's desk until January or --
MR. MCCURRY: I think they would just -- I think it's accurate to say the Treasury Secretary wanted a period in which we would make sure that we wouldn't be coming up against deadline after deadline if, in fact, Congress has not completed work on the budget by the holiday period. This would clearly put it into the second session of the Congress -- of the current Congress. And that should be sufficient time to resolve the budget matters that are now pending before the Congress.
Q So you're operating on the assumption now that you might not even have these results by Christmas and that it could carry over into the new year before you would have a budget --
MR. MCCURRY: We're operating under the assumption that nothing much is going to happen until the Republican majority gets serious about doing its work. And they know to get serious they have to get down to the work that the President has sketched out for them in outlining his priorities and his values because it's quite clear that if they don't change course, they're going to go right into a veto and right into a situation where there's not any movement on those issues. So it could be Thanksgiving; it could be Christmas; it could New Year's; it could be President's Day -- who knows.
Q The President indicated this morning he's happy with the outcome of the referendum in Canada. I wonder if you could provide any additional details on his reaction and his conversation with Prime Minister Chretien.
MR. MCCURRY: The President had a very good conversation with Prime Minister Chretien last night. He reaffirmed the importance of the close relationship that exists between the United States and Canada; said once again how valuable that partnership is between the United States and a strong and United Canada. Obviously, the President, having expressed the opinion that that relationship should continue, was satisfied at the outcome of the vote, although again he reaffirmed that this is an internal matter for the people of Canada. But the people of Canada and the people of Quebec, in particular, dispatched their responsibilities to look at the issues in a very extraordinary fashion.
Q Are you concerned about the fact that the vote was really close?
MR. MCCURRY: It was close, but the issues involved and the sentiments on both sides were strong. The opinions held were strong. And the people of Quebec made their choice as they are entitled to do in a democracy.
Q You have expressed great optimism that Congress will do as you want them to do on Bosnia and also on the debt limit. To what do you attribute this great optimism, since they haven't seemed to go along with anything so far?
MR. MCCURRY: The power of persuasion. The President, I think, in both cases can make a very powerful case that has very little to do with the current domestic political debate in this country.
In the case of Bosnia, we have leadership responsibilities in this world. We have a responsibility to address the fighting in Bosnia, the carnage that we've seen, the atrocities we've seen, and most people in this country understand that in this world that we live in now the United States does from time to time have the type of responsibilities that require us to step up to the plate.
Simultaneously, the American people can't imagine that anyone in elected position would allow this government to go bankrupt and to not fail to meet its obligations internationally. And so, for that reason, I think in the end of the day in both the case of Bosnia and in the case of extending the debt limit, the President feels that wisdom will prevail. And I think that there's good evidence of that.
Now, that's not saying we're going to reconcile all the budget issues in the direction the President wants to go, but these are two matters -- Bosnia and extending the debt ceiling -- in which it's clear that bipartisanship can prevail and should prevail. And the President believes he can make that argument effectively.
Q The President's remarks today seemed to add a new factor in terms of U.S. stakes and interest in resolving the Bosnian conflict. He said before the United States doesn't want a destabilized Europe and a wider war. But today he seemed to go a step further saying the United States, in terms of meeting its agenda of fighting international crime and terrorism -- the very things he outlined at the U.N. -- depend on the unified and peaceful Europe, that we need that kind of partnership. Was that a deliberate attempt to sort of broaden the stakes and bring home to the American people more graphically what the interests are?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, partly that. I mean, our strongest and most durable relationships in the world are with our closest European allies. And it is no secret in this world that those relationships have been strained by the diplomatic efforts to address the conflict in Bosnia. We are finally, and with some measurable progress, all working together in the Contact Group forum, in the European Union, and elsewhere and, importantly, within NATO to address the conflict. For those who think back over the last several years, there have been moments of great tension in some of our most important bilateral relationships because of the conflict in Bosnia. And we are now working together closely.
We also, as the President suggested today, need to work very closely with those nations as we address all the disorder that exists in the post-Cold War era, not only regional conflicts of an ethnic nature, like Bosnia, but also disruptions like international terrorism, international crime, drug trafficking, all those things that are really the new foreign policy challenges we face in this world. And having the support and close alliance of our key partners in Europe and working together with them on problems like Bosnia can open up avenues to participate and cooperate on other foreign policy issues.
So there are very large stakes in this for the American people especially because all of these questions in some sense come home and affect us, not only young people who are going to be sent overseas to do what we must do to secure and preserve peace in places of conflict, but also what we've got to do together to address some of these things that really could directly threaten the American people. So all of those issues are at stake and that's why the President spoke with some passion about it today and will continue to do so in the days ahead.
Q Speaking of international crime, have any countries now been put on notice by the administration that they are the ones that were considered to be laundering money?
MR. MCCURRY: Following up on the President's U.N. speech, there have been some discussions, I understand, bilaterally with some governments, but the State Department could run those down for you, I think. I don't know that they've done those publicly, but there have been some private diplomatic exchanges.
Q When is Deutch going to make his public statement?
MR. MCCURRY: He was going to go to a stakeout on the Hill, I believe, after he briefed the two intelligence committees on the Hill. He's doing House and Senate intelligence committees and then was doing some type of public statement at the conclusion, I believe, around 3:00 p.m. So you may want to alert your colleagues on the Hill.
One last one.
Q Do you have a better estimate of not when we have the problem when we hit the debt limit, but when we hit default, when we actually don't pay something we owe to --
MR. MCCURRY: I don't have a specific date and the Secretary of the Treasury is the one speaking with authority on the administration's behalf on that question.
END 1:50 P.M. EST