From: Andrew BEATTY [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2015 01:28 PM
To: Allen, Jessica L. EOP/WHO
Subject: Travel pool report 4 - gaggle
Deputy press secretary Eric Schultz answered questions on the plane, here are some remarks of interest on the South China Sea, Syria, cyber, speakership and Prince Harry.
He kicked off by saying the WH and POTUS were “encouraged that the Senate has passed key portions of the legislative proposal that the president sent to Congress in January on cyber security.”
Schultz namechecked Sens Feinstein, Carper and Burr, thanking them for their support.
“This is an important step toward better protecting the nation’s networks from malicious cyber actors. We are hopeful that the Senate and House can work together expeditiously to send the best possible bill to the President’s desk as soon as possible”
On Syria talks Schultz echoed previous POTUS remarks, saying “the United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran to resolve the conflict in Syria. The Secretary of State has made clear that Iran is going to have to be part of this discussion and our bottom line is we believe it’s important for all key stake holders to be present.”
“The invitation for Iran to participate in these discussions does not overlook the underbelly” of Iran’s ongoing relationship with Syria “including the propping up of the Assad regime and it’s continued support or terrorist organizations like Hizzbollah.”
“But after so much bloodshed and so much carnage there cannot be a return to the pre-war status quo.”
Regarding the South China Sea, Schultz offered the first White House acknowledgement that the US had conducted an operation that passed near a disputed Chinese-claimed territory.
Responding to a question, he said “the operation that was conducted that you were referring to was the result of a rigorous inter-agency process designed to produce options for leadership.”
“The president has stated.. the United States is going to fly, sail and operate anywhere where international law allows.”
Regarding events on the Hill, Schultz noted “the president has worked with Chairman Ryan on some key issues, like trade and on immigration, but there are a number of issues where we have vastly different approaches, vastly different policy positions.”
“Our concern all along in this process is that Republicans spend a lot of time and energy consolidating their fractious caucus, instead of working to figure out how Congress can run in a more bipartisan way.”
“We hope that that processes of identifying and selecting a new speaker isn’t a precursor to a partisan way of governing, but rather that the next speaker… is positioned to work with Democrats.”
Schultz described Prince Harry’s visit to the White House as “a sign of the enduring and special relationship that binds our two countries.”
“I expect the President to thank Prince Harry for the important and inspirational work he is doing on behalf of wounded warriors.”
“I also expect the President to thank the Prince for his gracious hospitality in hosting the First Lady earlier this summer.”