THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
PRESS BRIEFING BY MARY ELLEN GLYNN
The Briefing Room
3:34 P.M. EDT
MS. GLYNN: If you all have anymore welfare questions, why don't you follow Bruce out and ask.
Q What's the status of being able to reach an agreement about a terrorism legislative package?
MS. GLYNN: As you know --
Q Nothing personal.
MS. GLYNN: I'm hurt.
As you know, Leon Panetta missed his 2:00 meeting with -- the scheduled meeting up on the Hill on terrorism. Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick went instead. So we will give you a readout from that as soon as they get out of that. You know, there is supposed to be another one at 6:00 tonight.
Q Mary Ellen, what's the position of the administration on this English-only bill? Is the President going to sign it, veto it?
MS. GLYNN: At this point in time, we have not indicated any support for it. We think that the fact of the matter is that English is the language in the United States, so we will --
Q What does that mean, in terms of what the President will do?
MS. GLYNN: It's not necessary. We have not issued a veto statement on it because we have not seen the final legislation, but --
Q But you basically oppose it?
MS. GLYNN: Yes.
Q Can you tell us who was in this meeting?
MS. GLYNN: Yes. It was a fairly large group: the Vice President, Secretary Shalala, Secretary Kantor, Secretary Rubin, Secretary Reich, Secretary Cisneros, Chief of Staff Panetta, George Stephanopoulos, John Hilley, Raum Emanuel, Bruce Reed, Carol Rasco, Don Baer, Jack Lew, and Ken Apfel from the OMB.
Q Not Dick Morris or Harold Ickes?
MS. GLYNN: No. Oh, excuse me, Harold Ickes was in there, too.
MS. GLYNN: She was not.
Q The President said two and a half hours; is that correct?
MS. GLYNN: It was about two and a half hours, yes. It took place in the Cabinet Room.
Q When he came down, the President gave the indication a couple of minutes ago that he woke up, he planned to have the day off, this was presented to him, he came down after a little bit of discussion, he said, we're going to sign it. Was there ever a time when he thought he wouldn't sign it?
MS. GLYNN: Absolutely. There were discussions all morning about it. As he said, it was a -- all the sides were presented to him, and he made his decision.
Q Have you been given any flavor what went on in the meeting?
MS. GLYNN: No, I have not.
Q On what they did. You know, did they --
MS. GLYNN: I think the President pretty much covered that, actually, in his last answer.
Q Was there anybody from the First Lady's office in that meeting?
MS. GLYNN: No.
Q And has he talked to her today -- she's out of town, I understand.
MS. GLYNN: I don't whether they have spoken about it. Not to my knowledge, though.
Q Do you have any update on what's going to happen with the deadline for the semiconductors and the discussions with the Japanese?
MS. GLYNN: I don't. I know that they are still discussing it, and to be frank I think an announcement will come out of Vancouver if there is one. But I think the deadline is midnight tonight.
Q On the Japanese trade talks.
MS. GLYNN: Yes.
Q Mary Ellen, with all the criticism that some of the members of your own party as well as groups that might be considered to be supporters for this administration have already put out front since this decision was made public, any concern that this is the kind of thing that could stretch as far as to the -- for instance, the convention in Chicago, some kind of backlash?
MS. GLYNN: I think that the President pretty much addressed that in his statement.
Q Do you want to talk about what kind of outreach you're doing, though, to maybe forestall any concerns along those lines?
MS. GLYNN: There is some outreach being done. As you know, the public liaison shop is making calls about this, as are our intergovernmental affairs. They called all the mayors and governors who would be affected by this to talk to them about it.
Q Leon Panetta said Sunday that to help D.C. the federal government would be bound to help other cities. Why shouldn't the District -- unique because it's the only city with state responsibilities and costs but without a state to help it out -- be afforded some kind of special attention? Just for my metro desk.
MS. GLYNN: And the question is?
Q Why shouldn't the District -- unique because it's the only city with state responsibilities and costs but without a state to help it out -- be afforded some kind of special attention?
MS. GLYNN: I think actually on Sunday that the Chief of Staff said that they were looking at some forms of targeted tax assistance such as empowerment zones.
Q Eleanor Holmes Norton said yesterday she had a productive discussion with Panetta on the subject of tax relief for the District. Has there been any change in the administration's positions as a result of that meeting and Speaker Gingrich's comments today in support of tax relief for the District?
MS. GLYNN: I'm not aware of Speaker Gingrich's comments but I don't believe there's been any change in our position today. We've been somewhat busy this morning.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 3:39 P.M. EDT