June 21 White House Press Briefing

By The White House, The White House - June 21, 2010

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:01 P.M. EDT

MR. BURTON: So to start out I just want to read out a couple phone calls the President just made to Chancellor Merkel and President Zapatero.

The President values his excellent relationship with the Chancellor and he expressed his appreciation for their continued strong cooperation. They discussed the importance of continuing to take resolute steps to foster a durable recovery and to strengthen financial regulation, looking ahead to the G20 meeting in Canada. The President also emphasized his interest in rapid action by the European Union to resume the terrorist finance tracking program.

President Zapatero -- the President expressed support for the difficult but necessary economic actions that President Zapatero has taken in recent weeks to strengthen Spain’s economy. They discussed the importance of continuing to take resolute steps to foster a durable recovery and to strengthen financial regulation, looking ahead to the G20 meeting in Canada. The President thanked President Zapatero for excellent cooperation during the Spanish EU presidency, particularly progress on counterterrorism and addressing the threat posed by Iran.

As with Chancellor Merkel, the President also emphasized with President Zapatero his interest in rapid action by the EU to resume the terrorist finance tracking program. And the President also wished the Spanish team luck in the World Cup -- which explains where Gibbs is right now, as well.

So, with that -- Julie.

Q A couple questions on the oil spill. Feinberg said he wants to speed up the claims process, but it still seems like there aren’t really strict guidelines for what claims would be paid out, what claims are legitimate. Should people in the Gulf be expecting some sort of outline on those claims?

MR. BURTON: Well, the claims process is now moving over with Feinberg, where he’s setting up a process by which to handle the $20 billion facility that was set up. So hopefully in the very short term that will be handled. BP right now is already handling some of the claims. And the President has said he wants to make sure that the process if fair, that it’s prompt, and that BP has the money set aside to do exactly what’s necessary in order to pay the claims.

Q So would the recommendation to Gulf residents be to wait until you get some guidelines on what’s going to be paid out, or to just file whatever you think is appropriate at this point?

MR. BURTON: The recommendation would be to, if you're ready to file, file, and try to get this in process as quickly as possible. If you file now and you want to appeal it later, then you can do that through the facility that Mr. Feinberg is setting up. And he would encourage you to move as fast as you can to reclaim some of the damages that BP owes you

Q And I know that BP announced its new total for costs today. The government has so far only announced that its cost were $69 million. Should BP be getting a larger bill?

MR. BURTON: Oh, well, we're going to continue to make sure that BP pays for every single penny that they’re responsible for. So we'll be pressing them --

Q Is there a new government estimate beyond that $69 million?

MR. BURTON: I don't have one for you, but I can guarantee that we'll be pressing them to pay every single dime that they ask, so, yes, there’s going to be more bills.

Q Could you get back to us on a new estimate bill?

MR. BURTON: As soon as we've got one you will get it.

Q Bill, a question about the yuan and the announcement this weekend by China. Is the White House happy or satisfied with the reaction in the markets so far? And when can we expect to get the updated currency report?

MR. BURTON: Well, I would just say that, as the President and Secretary Geithner said this weekend, we're obviously encouraged, but we'll be monitoring the progress. Implementation here is going to be key, and so we're just going to be keeping an eye on that.

Q How did the President first react when he found out about it?

MR. BURTON: You know, I didn’t talk to him specifically about it, but I think that his statement probably says it all.

Q You guys don't chat about the yuan?

MR. BURTON: You know, it’s funny, we did not -- (laughter.)

Q Well, and the second part of that question was, when should we expect the currency manipulation report? Will that happen after the G20?

MR. BURTON: Certainly won't happen before it, but I don't have anything new for you on timing.

Q Will this issue still be on the agenda of the G20, as Obama says -- the President signaled in his letter on Friday?

MR. BURTON: Well, in terms of the broader discussion that they’ll be having about job growth, about financial regulatory reforms that need to be put in place and have been put in place, and how we get on a path of a durable global economic recovery, currency will certainly be a part of the discussion.

Q When you say you’ll still be watching it, is there anything else that the President will be saying to his Chinese counterpart about the currency specifically this weekend? Is there anything more you want them to do now?

MR. BURTON: Well, I’m not going to get ahead of the conversations that they’re going to have. But for what’s going to happen at the G20, I’d encourage you to hop on one of the preview calls that’s happening.

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