Politics

Jen Psaki knocks down Fox reporter’s asinine word game: “Let’s not dumb this down”

Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a Press Briefing, Wednesday June 2, 2021, in the James S. Brady White House Press Briefing Room. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith)
Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a Press Briefing, Wednesday June 2, 2021, in the James S. Brady White House Press Briefing Room.Photo: Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki just couldn’t take another one of Fox News’s Peter Doocy’s deliberately obtuse questions, and she called him out on it.

Doocy was asking about the Build Back Better bill, a $3.5 trillion dollar package with funding for a number of progressive priorities like childcare, a Medicare expansion, renewable energy and other climate change measures, and prescription drugs.

Related: Jen Psaki shuts down far-right journalist who wouldn’t stop shouting at her

The bill includes increases in funding through tax increases on corporations, wealthy people, and investment income that proponents say will offset the cost of the bill. Democrats have been touting the “zero” price tag, meaning that the spending is paid for with taxes and will not increase the deficit.

“You said the president is going to have a virtual meeting with House progressives to talk about how this Build Back Better package is now going to be smaller than $3.5 trillion,” Doocy asked Psaki. Progressive Democrats have been pushing for a bigger bill.

“But you have been saying that it costs zero. So are you now admitting that the plan does not cost zero? Or is it less than zero?”

He… did not outsmart Psaki.

“Well, let’s not dumb this down for the American public here,” she clapped back. “What we’re talking about is how must the topline investments are, which are all paid for, so therefore it costs zero.”

“So just not to dumb it down then,” Doocy said, still interested in his word game, “does the plan cost nothing or is the plan free?”

“It costs nothing for the American people who make less than $400,000,” Psaki responded.

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