White House press secretary Jen Psaki repeatedly told reporters Tuesday that, despite President Joe Biden's calls for legislation enshrining abortion access, Democrats currently don't have the votes to pass such a bill in the Senate.
Earlier in the day, Biden said that should the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, voters must elect lawmakers who support abortion rights and again urged Congress to send him a bill to sign into law.
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"I think it's important to note that there has been a vote on this, and it failed," Psaki said in one exchange on the subject during her Tuesday gaggle aboard Air Force One. "It did not have even 50 votes, which means even if the filibuster were overturned, there would not have been enough votes to get this passed."
"This is one of many topics he discusses with lawmakers. I would note, again, that [Senate Majority] Leader [Chuck] Schumer indicated he plans to bring it up again," she continued. "But in the president's statement, just to reiterate, what he pointed to is the fact that there needs to be more pro-choice officials after the elections in November."
She declined to make an "assessment" on whether Biden could convince enough lawmakers to change their votes on the issue in time to pass a bill before the midterm elections in November.
Throughout the gaggle, Psaki also criticized "these consistent attacks by a party that represents a minority of Americans" but indicated that some White House officials found the leak of Justice Samuel Alito's draft opinion itself to be a concerning action.
"It is unprecedented, or almost unprecedented depending on what historian you speak to. There's no question that that raises eyebrows for many in the country, including those of us in the White House," she explained. "But what our focus is on right now beyond the leak is how we're going to protect a woman's right to make choices about her healthcare with her doctor, a right that is supported by the vast majority of the American public, and some call it a political issue. It is not. It is supported by the majority of the American public."
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You can listen to Psaki's gaggle in full below.