tv White House Briefs Reporters on Irma Preparations CSPAN September 8, 2017 5:09pm-5:31pm EDT
district, including miami and key west, which are preparing for hurricaner ma. he tweeted, thanks to colleagues who passed fema funding and flood insurance extension as southern florida prepares for hurricane irma. it's part of a package that raises money for harvey relief. another congressman retweeted governor rick scott's message, evacuations are not convenient, they're meant to keep you safe. sit fl511.com for evacuation routes. part of the white house briefing today focused on hurricane response and recovery. this is 0 minutes. ms. huckabee sanders: good afternoon. the president is constantly monitoring hurricane irma and the federal government is
working closely with our state and local partners to ensure the safety of the coastal communities. in his weekly address to the nation this morning, the president noted this is a storm of historic destructive potential. he's asking that everyone in the storm's path remain vigilant and heed all recommendations for government -- from government officials and law enforcement. our message to the american people is this, with gratitude for our first responders and prayers for those in the storm's path, we are behind you 100%. with that, i'd like to bring up the president's homeland security advisor, tom, to discuss specifics on the federal government's ongoing reparedness and response efforts. after i'll be up to take questions. thanks. mr. bossert: thanks, sarah, thanks to each of you for being here. can't add too much more to that. let me jump into my thinking here. as you've heard me say, i like to organize my thoughts into informing, influencing, and nspiring if i can. please recall the process here, the federal government is fully
engaged, but they're fully engaged in support of the governors. those governors are engaged in various different forms and phases of what we consider incident management. as i walk through irma, let me stop, i'd be remiss if i didn't, to talk about texas and harvey. governor abbott and i have been in close contact and haven't stopped that because the people in texas and the people in louisiana under governor edwards are involved in the early stages of what will be a long recovery effort. the people in the u.s. virgin islands and other caribbean islands affected by harvey already are in the middle of acute, life-save, life-sustaining response operations. what we're seeing in louisiana and georgia are the final stages of preparation for response operations. we're seeing all three play out at the same time. it requires us to juggle some of our thinking, but it doesn't require us to juggle our resources. to be clear, the response
operations had ceased life-saving and life sustaining in harvey, we had an opportunity to rest and recommit our resources and we are deploying them in the islands to save lives. we'll maintain a good footprint and posture to do the same in florida, south carolina and georgia as the storm progresses. i'm come back to the path and tracking forecast in a moment. i'd like to see if i can reinforce that by suggesting we take this seriously. it's not only a dangerous storm, we've seen loss of life, this storm has taken lives already, it will take more unfortunately if we're not prepared. please take it seriously. i'd also suggest now in terms of influencing, that people stop watching so carefully this track and start thinking more seriously about getting themselves into a safe place and out of danger. i don't want them to take that as a call for evacuations, listen to local authorities on evac orders, they're not only looking out for your best interest but they're oordinating the peninsula, and
it's a staggered and carefully thought through process. at this point, it is a large storm. whether it wobbles left or wobbles right, you need to start thinking through your own personal accountability. please make sure it's kind of an oxygen mask theory, take care of yourself first so you can take care of others. take care of your loved ones. if you're able take care of strangers and others in need. that's something we've seen in texas and i have every reason to believe the people of florida and south carolina will show that same american spirit and value. lastly, there's been a lot of coverage of florida but not necessarily media coverage of the u.s. virgin islands and if i can, i'll give you a brief update on where we stand there we are, as i just talked to the department of state and department of defense officials, engaging in this life-save, life-sustaining operation in the following way. governor mass is experiencing oss of power as a result, loss
of communications and some other sheltering needs. what we're doing is sending in air operations, surface operations to evacuate citizens. we're also doing that in st. martin and the dutch-french island that's being reported, there are american citizens there. we are currently in the final stages of operations planning to evacuate those citizens, numbers ranging from 350 to 6,000. that was our planning assumption parameter. those american citizens will be removed by surface and air means. we'll have to do planning adjustment for surf conditions. we look forward to that hopefully missing the united states. it's unfortunately still causing havoc in the islands and our response operations, evacuation operations. that's where we stand on that. they'll begin executing those plans, if not already, at some point soon today and we'll see american citizens and others evacuate if necessary to include anyone with critical or acute medical needs.
that's where i would stop on the update. i'll take your questions. reporter: tom, one of the big problems with the florida evacuation is that so many gas stations are running out of gasoline. what, if anything can the federal government do in the next 24 hours to assist in getting more fuel to people in florida? mr. bossert: there's a number of things we've done, i should mention by name, governor scott, tremendous leadership, tremendous conferred, he and the president have spoken, he and i have spoken. i've got every confidence in the governor and his emergency manager, they're demonstrating the same leadership resolve and skill and quality of effort we saw in texas. a week ago. we are seeing fuel shortages. people gas up generators, cars, boats and so forth. what we see is the need to pull in additional fuel that will run up against the onset of tropical storm force winds. what are we doing?
we're bringing in as much supply of refine fuel as possible and we've waived particular statute that allows for foreign flagged vessels to help in that effort. it's called the jones act. what happens is the secretary of homeland security can waive that act. until it's waived only u.s. flag vessels can move fuel from point to point domestically. we've freed up that prohibition so now foreign flagged vessels. as many ships, tanker ships as possible with being brought to bear on the effort to bring as much fuel as possible to help floridians regardless of their flagged vessel status. that's the best we can do. in addition they're planning on the intermodal points to get trucks from tanker ship port locations into the gas stations. that's what we're doing. reporter: can you still get in there?
mr. bossert: at some point they'll have to stop operations. that's one of my messages here. it's not a tough love message, it's a message of clarity and honesty. at some point people are going to be on their own, so to speak, far period of time during which the flooding, the raining and the winds bear down on them. and they need to be prepared if they are in that path and haven't taken some action to get themselves in a less dangerous position to be ready for at least a 7 -hour period. that would be my advice for them to have enough food, water and shelter. before the government can get back in we have predeployed and prestaged, we can get to that final point of care until conditions permit. >> one housekeeping question, for fema to have resources and no broken chain there, the president needs to sign legislation that passed this -- the house just passed this morning. any indication when that's going to happen? mr. bossert: i'd like to start by thanking congress who worked in a fast way to give us the supplemental funding.
fema has the money they need, there's no break in operations. but there will be a break in their operations if they run out of money. that's why that supplemental legislation was necessary. thank you to the house and senate leadership for bringing everyone back in and passing that so quickly and responsibly. we anticipate honestly this is a realtime event. the bill might be on its way up here right now, requires signature by the speaker, signature by the senate leadership or the vice president, and signature by the president of the united states. i think that will happen today but as soon as we get it, the president will take that seriously. reporter: the complication of the storm track, don't know the only nature but it looks like it's going to cover the entire peninsula south to north. how does that complicate emergency management response as it moves up the state and to floridians who are veterans of hurricanes there is sometimes a tendency to say, i can ride this one out. i've seen bad storms before. could you address those? mr. bossert: some people call it hurricane amnesia. let's hope there's no hurricane amnesia. there are some people, probably
some 20% of the population that may not remember or might not have gone through the last big hurricane in florida, it was probably 2004 or 2005. there were four major hurricanes in 2004. wilma in 2005 which was forgotten because of katrina, if you haven't experienced it, take it seriously and ask those who have. if you have experienced it, recall what i just described took place. you were without power, you were out water in some cases or sewer treatment and so forth for an extended peer of time. in terms of track, there's three onsiderations. the upper right northeast quadrant of the storm packs the most punch. the second consideration is if the eye wall gets over land it oses steam faster. if it stays over water it keeps its strength longer. as this thing moves left and right it can affect our operations because it can affect a different part of the state in a different way, wind or flood. what we'll see over the next 24 hours will tell us which one we'll face. we're planning for those eventualities.
worst case scenario, it dips down, moves west and curls around to the other side of the state. right now it's my belief that people haven't been planning for that i'm not suggesting that's going to happen but it seems to be within the cone of uncertainty. this storm at this point, could hit everything from tearp to jacksonville and directly over miami. so please plan for those things accordingly. don't necessarily evacuate, listen to your local officials as they're tracking it most closely but do prepare to be in the storm's path just in ase. so that's how we're doing it. lastly to answer your question, major, what we're doing is instead of prepositioning commodities in places that might be affected by the storm, we continue support operations to the island, fema logistics team have thought through pricing supplies elsewhere, up the delaware, in new york and elsewhere so they continue barge operations to support the island and the next storm doesn't affect the storm before. if that answers your
question. reporter: the big question is, after the chemical fires that occurred in texas and the fact that you all are being taxed with a second storm, any extra precautions being taken this time to ensure that type of thing doesn't happen here and how taxed is the system for this and jose coming in? mr. bossert: the system can be taxed in different ways. i addressed the life save, life-sustaining operations we have, the teams marshaled by the ederal government but provided y the state. they're all rested and ready to come back into the fight, same with the coast guard, the military national guard and title 10 forces. we're preparing for environmental losses as we should. i can't speak to each and every company's preparation efforts. we will continue to monitor that and can follow up with you.
there will be steps taken from shut do you think the nuclear power facility to a position of safety, i think they take a shutdown posture depending on the track. we look at okeechobee, that's going to be a big flooding risk, overflow risk. reporter: is there anything you're not comfortable with right now that's an overriding concern? mr. bossert: the fuel shortages and but no, to be honest with you, i'm setting expectations appropriately here because as we go through a storm, but i'm extremely comfortable with the government efforts and people understand they have a part to play here as well. reporter: number one, taking a step back and looking at the big picture, wildfires out west and harvey and irma. the resources of the federal government are not unlimited. at what point are you thinking not being stretched too hin? mr. bossert: the federal government should be able to walk and chew gum.
we had cabinet meetings focusing on efforts and national security matters around the globe. i'm comfortable as leaders and institutions to handle the different things. i'm comfortable with president trump's capacity to do so and he has the focus. i worry about the resources. congress stepped up in a ipartisan way. president trump deserves a lot of credit of putting that together and done what the american people want them to do is act and do what is right instead of quibling in the way of execution of services. i'm sure we will have to go back for additional resources. but now we are taking a responsible course of ction. and then reassessing and getting better estimates. we are not doing it in a way that is going to stop or slow
down operations. reporter: do you know what the number is? mr. bossert: $7.5 billion that came for fema was a calculated estimate. $6.8 figure that would be at the end of the month. those two together are contemplated and assume passage of both. the third request would be based on estimates of information. reporter: what happens to daca recipients in the military. why is there a delay and when we an expect an answer? mr. bossert: the president put it on congress. and the window, i'm not sure what the answer is on the military part of daca.
i'll get back to you on hat. reporter: gip harvey an the flooding and recovery evert and what may happen with irma, there are reports that you all are reconsidering the flood, reversing the floodplain regulations that the ado ba ma administration put in. can you talk about whether you are reconsidering that, either putting back those regulations or drafting new regulations that would toughen up the flood regulations since we will be facing those issues? mr. bossert: i won't necessarily accept the premise of the question. it's about smart or not smart and the answer here, we did this morning, the answer is we shouldn't use federal money to rebuild in ways that don't anticipate future flood risk. we need to build stronger and smarter when we use federal dollars. what happened in the president's
infrastructure executive order was a rescission of an obama era order that had overreaching scope in construction permitting and we were hoping for expedited infrastructure development, which i think is a smart move, for what it's worth. the president did as well. what we have to do is replace this thoughtful, whether it's executive order, regulations or both, building standards and practices for the expenditure of money that makes floodplain and risk mitigation sense. in the interim, i should point out two things here. not to be defensive. that obama era executive order had not turned into a regulation yet so nothing in this storm would have changed. this was not an immediate or poorly thought through step. and secondly, whether we put forward an executive order or
not, we have the latitude and other laws to put into these rebuilding practices in texas and florida, appropriate flood plain management practices and we need to codify that in the future. reporter: on monday -- the anniversary of 9/11. the nation is facing a lot of vulnerability. what is the threat level and what's the administration doing as relates to remembering this ragic anniversary? mr. bossert: i was motivated into service on that day and came back to service here. the counterterrorism mission is the one i take seriously. since 9/11, received a comprehensive picture and what we are trying to counter it. on monday, we'll do this -- we'll give you a readout. he'll do that. that's a practice we started ince 9/11.
presidents bush and obama maintained that practice, president trump intends to do the same, and i'll let the team announced his planned event, or scheduled events for attend anything ceremonies and paying some respects. for the most part, i encouraged the administration who will give appropriate speeches to show some so lemonyity and not talk too much about policy. it's a day of remembrance and respect. reporter: as we go into 9/11 and with the vulnerabilities we are seeing. bip no terrorist should view us as vulnerable. nothing is farther from the truth. there's no actionable credible threat to the united states right now. we run those regular posture meetings right here at the white house and bring together the intelligence community. there is no current credible actual terrorist threat but we will continue to track that. if we learn of such a thing, we communicate it to the law enforcement authorities.
as soon as we learn it. reporter: in addition to oil and gas there is the issue of price and gasoline has gotten jacked up 70 cents a gallon. in an earlier briefing you said you'd be monitoring to ensure there isn't gouging. are you monitoring beyond the issue of supply and demand because that is just a bad excuse to raise prices? mr. bossert: the difference between gouging and supply and demand price indicators. i ask you to remember one thing, five refineries are still down n houston. we have increased demand issue on the other side. that is necessarily general going go to raise prices. we'll try to differentiate that from gouging as we examine any potential allegations of that practice. but for right now, floridians are used to this and used to their attorney general prosecuting them in florida. i'm not of the opinion that i have to issue too many warnings,
but if anybody missed me last time, gouging won't be tolerated, period. let me see -- i know sarah has a lot more to do. five governors, you are all on our minds and all our clients and customer base. we are going to meet requirements and we will get through this. remember i started with inform, influence and inspire. i'm pretty certain the country saw the people of texas show us what compassion is all about and i'm pretty sure the floridians and south carolinians will step up and match that challenge in the next couple of days. let's say a prayer for them. i'll come back out and speak to you as the situation dictates. thank you very much, i appreciate it. >> today the house passed a bill for