tv CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell CNN October 1, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
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this is cnn breaking news. >> it's the top of the hour. i'm alisyn camerota. thank you so much for joining me. president biden is expected on capitol hill within the hour to try to save his economic agenda. on thursday, the democrats failed to bring that $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal to a vote despite a flurry of negotiations. house speaker nancy pelosi had promised there would be a vote yesterday, but then add midnight, she announced there was a new deadline, which is today. pelosi just held a meeting with her party. some democrats have now been floating a new number on the social safety net package of $2.1 trillion as a counter offer to senator joe manchin's $1.5 trillion top line offer. the leader of the house progressive caucus said she has
yet to receive any official proposal and she does not expect resolutions soon. despite that, the head of the house democratic caucus just said this. >> we're going to vote today. i expect to vote today, and i expect that the bill will pass today. we just need to understand that there's a commitment on the senate side to do both in a meaningful and authentic way. >> have you gotten that? >> i hope that's something that we will receive in the next hour or so. >> cnn's lauren fox is on capitol hill for us, but i want to begin with cnn's phil mattingly. he's at the white house. so phil, the president is leaving for capitol hill, i guess, any moment, what's his plan when he gets here? >> reporter: i think to elevate things to be honest. there has been visceral interparty warfare over the last couple of days, maybe even weeks, very intense negotiations behind the scenes over the
course of the last 24 hours to hammer out a framework that can unlock the votes on the infrastructure proposal and clear the path way on the second climate and economic piece as well. the president wants to talk about the idea that this is his agenda, this is what he put on the table, and if democrats support him and his agenda, which all have made clear this is what they do, this is the pathway forward. whatever the agreement ends up being on the framework that's currently underway, that will be the pathway to keep moving forward, anden i think that's wt you've heard most about the visit. he wants to make clear to democrats if they want what he's laid out, this is the time to move forward. this was how white house press secretary jen psaki framed things. >> i'm not going to make a prediction of whether there will or won't be a vote. i'll leave that to speaker pelosi to determine when she will call a vote. he's making the case. he believes it's the right time for him to go up there. these are his proposals, these
are his bold ideas. this is his plan he's outlined, to rebuild our roads, bridges, and put millions of people back to work. >> reporter: the white house being very careful on whether or not there's going to be a vote to be clear, that's not the white house's role here, but when you send the president to capitol hill, it carries meaning, it carries weight, and sends a very clear message to the democratic caucus. that is exactly what the white house and speaker pelosi are going for with this visit. jen psaki laid out that the president is going to be hitting the road by the middle of next week again to sell that plan to the bpublic. it's been something they have been wanting to do. they want to not just get this across the finish line when it comes to congress, they also want to make sure the public knows what's going on as well. they believe that is a critical component of the steps ahead, alisyn. >> so lauren, we just heard from congressman jeffreys there. he said a vote is happening today. we heard that yesterday as well, i should mention, but more importantly, have they reached any middle ground on that larger
social safety net package? we keep hearing different numbers being floated. >> well, alisyn, the short answer is no, they don't have an agreement on this so called framework that they were trying to reach with those two moderate senators, both kyrsten sinema and joe manchin. one of the concerns will be what will that top line spending number be, and you've heard the speaker and the majority leader argue that democrats shouldn't be so fixated on what that number is but instead worry about what programs they're going to actually fund, whether, you know, it's paid family leave or an expanded child tax credit. one thing is very clear from sources that i'm talking to this afternoon, they are not closer on that framework piece. there is not an announcement imminent as the president is coming to capitol hill. instead, like phil said, this is about reminding lawmakers why they are in congress, what the president's agenda is, and really to try to bring them back together. the progressives and moderates have been drawing some red
lines, and really putting themselves in what one lawmaker told me yesterday was basically a box canyon. how do you get out of a situation where you have progressives saying they need guarantees from senate moderates, and moderates saying they aren't willing to have this vote yet, and they want to make sure the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passes in the house. this has been a very contentious week on capitol hill for the democratic party, and i think biden is really trying to make sure that he reminds people why they all got elected in 2020. that's going to be the message up here. the question, of course, whether or not it will resonate with democrats, whether it will bring them together, and ultimately, what house speaker nancy pelosi does at the end of that meeting, is she going to bring that infrastructure to the floor as she promised moderates earlier this week or will they go home this weekend having done nothing on that front, alisyn. >> lauren fox, phil mattingly come back to us as soon as anything breaks. thank you very much. >> so the battle of the
progressives inside the democratic party is very familiar to my next guest. in 2010, congressman dennis kucinich became the last progressive holdout against voting for obamacare because he wanted the single payer public option. then after being wooed by president obama, here the two of them are walking off air force one, dennis kucinich changed his stance and announced his support for the affordable care act on larry king live. >> this was a detour. if you hit a roadblock, you can go straight and over a cliff or take a detour, and eventually get to the destination you hope to get to. it wasn't my way but i'm not a my way or the highway kind of guy. when all was said and done, i made my point, i couldn't get my way. it was more important to see people get a chance to have some coverage, even if it's from private insurance companies than kill the bill.
i didn't want to be responsible for killing the bill. >> and former ohio congressman dennis kucinich joins me now along with cnn chief political analyst gloria borger. congressman you must be having intense deja vu watching this play out. as we said, you were the last holdout on the affordable care act, and so you didn't get what you wanted back then, you were a hunl champion of the single payer, what is your advice to progressives holding out for the bigger $3.5 trillion social safety net? >> i certainly understand holding out, and i certainly understand fighting on as long as you can. you know, i had 74 other democrats who said they were going to go all the way with me on single payer, and they all folded, so i was standing alone, and it turned out my vote was a
pivotal vote. now, to be sure, i didn't promise president obama anything on air force one. he tried to reach me later on that evening and i knew he was calling. i didn't take his call. i had to make it decision based on what was best for my constituents, and frankly in the end i also was concerned that if i turned the tide against the affordable health care act and it was defeated that the obama presidency was going to be in trouble, and i had to make that decision as well. so you know, for one person, and i know what members of congress are going through. you have to weigh against your constituents, and at that moment, i had to weigh what it meant for the obama presidency as well. >> and do you, congressman, think that's on the line here. do you think that president biden's presidency hangs on this, and so should progressives take a page from your book and
fall in line if that's the case? >> well, see, here's the thing. you know, progressives aren't the only ones who are party to these negotiations. i'm glad to see there's a counter offer coming over from the senate to get to at least 2.1 trillion on the social spending next to it. somebody has to take a stand for the american people to make sure the social needs are met, we deal with these climate issues. at the same time, you know, from my -- and again, i'm sharing my experience. my experience was i came to the consideration that, you know, the obama presidency was on the line. could that also be true for president biden? i think the answer is yes. at the same time, you know, progressives have to fight on as long as they can, and as hard as they can for these objectives that they have laid out. in the end, i think there will be a compromise of sorts. i think there will be people able to claim a victory, and
i've always felt it was better to claim a moral victory. >> this is very interesting to hear because it sounds like some progressives who have been very vocal in the past few days see congressman kucinich as a cautionary tale. they are saying we have caved on police reform, voting rights, we're not going to be fooled again. >> they also think that they have more leverage now than they did back in the obama years, and that may be true, and they're trying to use their leverage now to squeeze every dollar they possibly can out of moderates, and out of the senate, so, you know, i understand why they're doing what they're doing, but if you look back to what congressman kucinich did, you wouldn't have had obamacare, and would they now say, well, maybe we shouldn't have had obamacare, the biden administration is
trying to improve on obamacare, but this, i think, is a moment for progressives to kind of flex their muscle, and that's what they have been doing, and they haven't been bluffing, and they feel the party has always given in to moderates, and i think, now, you know, we are in an existential moment for the biden agenda, and i think they also understand that in the way that congressman kucinich understood it for obama, and so they do have to weigh these things, and i believe at some point, maybe tonight, they will come up with some kind of a framework that they can all live with. i mean, i wouldn't dare predict that. i do believe at some point, you have to think of something greater than yourself, and i think that may come into play here when joe biden goes to the hill today. >> congressman kucinich, about that, about president biden going to the hill. you say you didn't promise anything to president obama on air force one, i get it.
but did he use, he must have used some powers of persuasion, some tactics on you to get you to change your mind. what do you think president biden can do today on the hill to all the democrats together? >> i probably shouldn't admit this, but what the heck, i didn't get anything for that vote, but what i got was preexisting conditions were covered for my constituents that young people up to 25 years of age would be covered under their parents' policies. i got something that i thought was helpful for my constituents, and let me tell you what happened, i went down early in the morning the day before i made my decision, i went and sat next to lincoln's statue in the rotunda, about 7:00 in the morning, and i parrayed for som guidance. i wasn't sure what to do. nothing the president told me convinced me because he wasn't
ready to yield an inch. i thought in my discussion he didn't have enough political experience to understand the situation he was in, so i was worried for his presidency and for the country, and so i made a decision based on that. now, every member of congress, you don't get there without having some sense of what's right for your constituents. so i think every member will make the right choice. i think it's quite possible, you know, you see the infrastructure bill pass, and i think the framework will be developed, and i think the framework will show that the progressives have won a victory. but that all has to unfold right thousand. >> that's an incredible story. i appreciate you sharing that. the weight that was on your shoulders, as the soul person, and glor ia, i want to hear wha you have to say, do you think the progressives are feeling that pressure right now, they seem pretty dug in. >> i think everyone is feeling that pressure right now. they all sink or swim together. and i think they know that. what's interesting to me is the timing of the president's visit to the hill.
he's an old hill hand. i don't think you send a president to talk to the democratic caucus unless at this moment, this important moment, which will determine whether the democrats can, in fact, govern as a majority, i don't think you send a president up to the hill unless you're feeling pretty good about the fact that he's going to succeed. i mean, you're not going to set joe biden up for failure, and i think what he's going to do there, because he does have the experience that perhaps barack obama did not, what he's going to do there is give them his word, which he talks about an awful lot. as good as my word, you know me, et cetera, but i have to believe that they're feeling good about something because you don't set a president up for a bad vote. >> i only have ten seconds left, congresswoman, do you agree that they wouldn't set him up?
>> i agree with that. and president biden's agenda is at risk here. i think all the democrats are going to at some point recognize that, and i think progressives have drawn a line, and i think they will probably benefit from it with the final outcome. >> congressman dennis kucinich, gloria borger, great conversation, thank you so much. >> thank you. president biden is heading to capitol hill as he tries to save thiz domestic agenda, and bring together a divided democratic party. we have all the minute by minute latest for you. and supreme court justice brett kavanaugh tested positive for the coronavirus. what does that mean for the start of the new court term? al s we see things differently, so you can focus on what matters most. that's how we've become the leader in 5g. #1 in customer satisfaction. and a partner who includes 5g in every plan, so you get it all.
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this just in, the fda just set dates for its vaccine advisory committee to consider booster shots of the moderna and j&j vaccines and to consider the pfizer vaccine for kids aged 5 through 11. these meetings on moderna and j&j will take place on october 14th and 15th and then the committee will meet on the 26th of october to discuss the pfizer vaccine for younger children. the committee will also discuss that on mix and match boosters. meanwhile, supreme court justice brett kavanaugh has tested positive for covid-19. he learned of his results just 24 hours before he was supposed to attend a ceremonial swearing
inn event for a fellow justice, amy coney barrett. justice kavanaugh appears to be symptom free. earlier this week, he competed in a 3 mile capitol challenge race. jessica schneider is cnn's just correspondent. what do we know about the condition. the court was supposed to meet in person for the first time on monday, so now what? had. >> yeah, a lot in flux right now, alisyn, the court gave us this news right before the ceremony for amy coney barrett this morning. justice kavanagh had a routine test, it came back positive. he is fully vaccinated, showing no symptoms. his wife and two daughters are also vaccinated. they have been tested. that came out negative. we know earlier this week, justice kavanaugh was with the other eight justices monday in their private conference. that was in person. the court did say at that point, though, justice kavanaugh, he tested negative before the monday meeting. but the positive test last night, it meant that justice
kavanaugh and his wife stayed away from the court today, so the question is what happens on monday, the first day of the court's term? we're still waiting to get more information from the court about what exactly it will mean. of course, it's an extremely anticipated term with hearings to come in november on gun rights, in december on abortion, oral arguments the first one scheduled for 10:00 monday: it will be the first time justices are back in the courtroom for more than a year. they have been conducting all of these arguments over the phone because of covid. alisyn, the court has revealed plans yet for justice kavanaugh's participation. we don't know how he will participate. it's likely at this point he won't be in the courtroom. so the questions are would he dial in, maybe do it from home, that's how they have been doing it in the past. maybe from another location. a lot of logistical questions that the court has been balancing for a year, alisyn now
they will be back in the courtroom. things more complicated because of the positive test. alisyn. >> thank you. ed young is a staff writer at the atlantic. he joins me to discuss this and so much more. great to see you. i know neither you or i are doctors, however, isn't there a strong that this is a fall positive, after what we saw at the view, all of that chaos, and it turned out that the host, it was a false positive. the fact that justice kavanaugh is doubly vaccinated, his family is doubly vaccinated, his colleagues are. it's possible? >> reporter: sure. what i'd love to talk about rather than focusing on any specific individual case is the bigger picture of where the country is with the pandemic. so in the piece that i wrote recently for the atlantic, how we're barrelling towards the next pandemic, we need to take this moment of opportunity not to get distracted but to focus on shoring up our defenses on
whatever might come down the line. we have this rare opportunity to make america better steeled against whatever is coming next, and my concern is that is going to vanish quickly, as we proceed through the year. >> okay. i do want to ask you about that, so basically in your piece in the atlantic you talk about how the first outbreak here in the u.s. of covid-19 was this deadly fire alarm, basically, and then we should have been -- it should have prepared us more for the delta variant, but somehow we failed on both counts, so what did we do wrong? >> many of the mistakes we made with delta were the same ones we made when the original coronavirus started spreading around the world. we had insufficient testing. we weren't adequately prepared for a virus that was already ravaging other parts of the world to arrive in the u.s. a lot of that stems from hubris and complacency, and also this
panic neglect cycle that has long been occurring. whenever a crisis happens, we pay attention. we pay investment to it, and once the immediacy fades, so does our care about the problem. we can see that with delta. it was in many ways an audition of the next pandemic, one we failed, and it means that we do now need even while we're thinking about boosters and vaccinations and kavanaugh and whatever, to think about how we can better prepare against whatever comes next. we have to do both of those things at the same time. >> so what problems do we need to fix right now today? >> i think two in particular, one is the long standing problem with public health in this country. it is for almost a century faced incredible amounts of disinvestment so that the current structure is under staffed, it is crumbling buildings, it is archaic data systems. it needs a stable and substantial amount of money to make it up to scratch.
second, we need to understand that pandemics affect societies according to the inequities within them, and america presented covid with huge vulnerabilities, it's not a surprise that the bar is disproportionately struck poorer people, minorities and disabled people. that's the same pattern we saw with h 1 n 1, swine flu and many epidemics before that. unless we patch those vulnerabilities, unless we think of preparedness just this terms of vaccines and drugs, and also in terms of things like universal health care and paid sick leave. then we're going to be equally vulnerable the next time around. we need to understand that preparedness also involves creating a social safety net that makes our entire society, everyone in it, less susceptible. >> i don't know, ed. this sounds like a very tall order that i don't know that we -- any of this bodes well for the next pandemic as we're still trying to just wrestle our way
through this one. i really appreciate all of your reporting and research and sharing it with us. ed young, thank you. well, the conspiracy theorists who pushed those hideous lies about the sandy hook shooting is now actually being held responsible. he's going to have to pay up. that's next. pay for what you need. how much money can liberty mutual save you? one! two! three! four! five! ♪ 72,807! look good 72,808... dollars. play good. gillette proglide, five blades and a pivoting flexball to get virtually every hair on the first stroke. look good, game good. gillette.
alex jones, the conspiracy theorist who called the sandy hook massacre a quote giant hoax is now being held legally responsible in two lawsuits for the damages triggered by his lies. jones and his right wing web site info wars effectively lost these cases by default after not complying with court orders for the lawsuits brought against him by the parents of two children killed in the shooting. brian stelter is cnn's chief media correspondent he has tormented these parents. alex jones has said despicable things and tormented them. what will this cost him? >> yeah, and this is one of the few examples of how someone who's defamed, who's attacked can actually seek restitution. this is, you know, a situation where the parents went to court to try to hold alex jones accountable for his sins. we don't know how much jones will have to pay. that's up to a jury now that the
judge has said he has so thoroughly abused the court system, ignored the court's demands that he has lost and now the jury will decide how much he will have to pay. in the meantime, the attorney for the plaintiffs or the parents of these, you know, dead children, here's what the attorney says. he says after suffering five years of monstrous harassment by jones, and after three years of jones making a mockery of their lawsuits, our clients will finally have the closure they deserve. i think we're going to see more and more of these cases, alisyn, where disinformation artists, p propagandists are dragged into the courtroom. he was dragged kicking and screaming, refused to cooperate with the court and that's why he lost the case. >> he's a snake oil salesman. his own lawyer in a 2013 court case in his divorce said to remember that alex jones is playing a character, he's a performance artist. he's a snake oil salesman that sells venom, that's how vile what he does is. >> yeah. >> let's switch, brian, to
something much more fun. the super bowl, as you know, i only watch for the half-time performance. who's going to be playing? >> i love this. we're doing the darkness, and then the light. i'm excited by the performance this year. this is the first time where there's a lot of enthusiasm for the announcement about the super bowl half-time show. we know it's going to be dr. dre, snoop dogg, eminem, mary j. blige and kendrick lamar, and they are going to come together for the half-time show in englewood, california. it's an interesting move by the producers. instead of booking one performer, instead of booking one big band or super famous artist, they're bringing in a bunch of people, a bunch of friends who are going to perform together, and i think in some ways that's the most interesting way to do this. you know, the super bowl is about team work, and we're going to see all of these performers acting like a team at the half-time show. >> okay. that is exciting. i like it, but i was excited about the weeknd and lady gaga.
don't say this is the only time people are excited. i'm excited about all of it. so i think that this is an interesting tact and it will be really fun to watch. brian, great to see you. >> you too. >> okay. in just minutes president biden is heading to the capitol hill to meet with the democrats to try to save his domestic agenda. we hear he's on his way right now, so let's go right now to lauren fox who is on capitol hill and phil mattingly who is at the white housement lauren, giv -- house. lauren, give us a sense of timing. >> reporter: members are filing into in meeting, obviously a very important one because it is a moment where the president really has a lot of work to do in this room to bring his moderate and progressive members into the fold. just remind everyone what they're fighting for, which is that there is an agenda that they ran on in 2020, but it may have to come in bits and starts and certainly the drama up here has been whether or not there
would be a vote on that $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. progressives have been arguing all along, they want the senate to vote first on a bigger social safety net bill, and they want some guarantees for moderates like kyrsten sinema and joe manchin about what they're going to be willing to support. last night in the capitol, there were hours of meetings with sinema and manchin trying to understand exactly where they might get to, and those meetings, you know, really ended with manchin coming out and saying $1.5 trillion is still the number he wants to be at. progressives are looking more towards $3.5 trillion. there's a lot to really continue to work through, and that's just how much of a price tag is on the bill. that doesn't include all of the other differences over tax policy, over what exactly should be funded in terms of paid family leave, extended child tax credit, those are issues that the party is also working through. the importance of this meeting today is to really just remind everyone exactly why they're here, whether or not this meeting ends with a conclusion
of whether a vote will come to the floor is another question. i think this is really supposed to be an opportunity to remind everyone that they are part of the same party and that this is the moment to come together or you risk potentially blowing up the president and democrats' agenda. alisyn. >> so phil, as we wait to see the president arrive on capitol hill there, the white house press secretary had said earlier that this is exactly the right time for the president to go and to basically make these argues to the members about he wants to have engagement and a back and forth in person. what's the plan? >> i think from the white house perspective, it's been fascinating to watch throughout the course of the week. we haven't seen the president at all for an event. he hasn't been out, giving speeches, he's had members to the white house privately. he's been making a lot of phone calls, privately, we haven't seen the president, and we haven't heard and lauren feels the same, from house democrats who feel like they want to see
the president more, they want to hear from the president more. the white house viewed this as a key strategic moment to give that to house democrats as they reach kind of the central moment of these negotiations, of these talks with everything more or less hanging in the balance. they want to send the president up there. they expect him to be there for about an hour. my understanding from talking to white house officials is the president's really going to do two things, talk about the bigger picture here, but also talk about what the individual proposals mean, why they matter, why he put them there in the first place, and why democrats not only ran on them in 2020, many of them have been c advocating for these types of things for years, if not decades. what jim was alluding to, sometimes they turn into a question and answer period. the president wouldn't be opposed to that. he tends to talk a lot. i don't know if there will be time for it as well. you have to understand kind of process of the president goes through in moments like this. he kind of seeks out opportunities to be engaging face to face with members of congress, to be engaging face to face with people. that hasn't happened a whole lot
this week. my sense is he's probably looking forward to the opportunity now, and probably wants to take the opportunity to have a captive audience of members who aren't all on the same page right now, but he needs them all to be in order to move forward. the most critical component of his entire domestic agenda. >> lauren, as you guys are speaking on the right side of our screen, we see, you know, a gaggle of folks waiting for the president, and in the farthest person there is nancy pelosi. we see her back. she is waiting at the threshold to welcome the president. what's the mood right now on capitol hill? >> reporter: well, i mean, i think that this is a huge moment for house democrats because like phil said, the argument on capitol hill over the last 48 hours has been why hasn't the president come out more explicitly to push for this $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. they want to hear, especially the moderates who worked very closely with the white house on that bill, they want to hear the president say, look, progressives, i know you want more but can we just do this
first, and that's really what moderates are looking for today. now, whether or not they're going to get that i think is another question entirely. one thing we do know is that biden and the speaker have been working hand in glove very closely on what to do here, and biden really trusts the speaker. he trusts her leadership. he trusts her ability to count votes. he trusts that she knows what's best in terms of the legislative process up here, and he's really let her guide this process with the democratic caucus because that is her job, and he knows that his job is to come in when she asks for it and really try to rally the troops around the agenda. but at the same time, i think it's just really important to kind of point out the strong relationship that these two really have, and the fact that they have been working, they both were talking to sinema and manchin, they have conversations where white house officials have been dispatched up here. pelosi and her staff have been just as much a part of the
conversations. >> i want to bring into the conversation former congressman dennis kucinich of ohio, the last progressive holdout in 2010 during the all the negotiations around obamacare. congressman, take us into the room. what happens in these negotiations when it's something this high stakes, and of course you have known joe biden for so long. what is his style as a negotiator? >> actually, joe biden and i both ran for congress in 1972. he won. i didn't that year, and so we go back almost 50 years. he is practical and pragmatic. he is as down to earth as a president that we've had. and he has that expanse of legislative experience beyond what almost anybody who's in the president modern times of this country with the exception of lyndon johnson. because of that, he knows what legislators are thinking.
he understands what their concerns are. he has the capacity to address not only what the moderates are looking for but what the progressives are looking for. he has the about to be able to reach out across the senate and across the house and help shape the package to reach an agreement. now, frankly, nancy pelosi is the one that's shepherding that in the house, but i think that joe biden has the kind of skills that will help deliver the infrastructure bill today and that will help deliver his agenda. if anybody can sell it, there's no one else who has a better capacity to do it than president biden. he has it. he has extraordinary people skills, and he knows legislators, because he's been one of them. >> phil, do we know really what this is going to look like today, is somehow senator manchin going to be in the same room as congresswoman jay papal
how is this going to happen? >> i defer to my colleague on the hill where i used to work for a long time, it's a house democratic caucus meeting, so this is going to be house democrats. senators generally don't cross the capitol to the senate side, and house members don't like senators so it probably wouldn't be a good place to interact. what you're going to see is the entire democratic kaucaucus is going to be seated in the room, and the president will have the floor. in terms of the how the format goes, it largely will be dependent on what the president wants. i think the expectation is that the speaker will introduce him, and the president will take the floor and see how things go from there. my biggest question right now, and lauren may know more about this than me is will there be a q and a. it depends on the president, the moment, how much time he has. i think the congressman makes a good point here, the president is extraordinary self-assured when it comes to his ability to both talk to lawmakers and sell
his legislative proposals, and i think the opportunity to take questions, to answer questions, and to really kind of give his view on things is something the president wouldn't shy away from if it presents itself. but within an hour time period, which i think is the rough expectation right now, i'm not totally sure whether or not he's going to get that. >> lauren, what do you know about what this is going to look like, and do you expect the president to leave with a done deal or is this more of a pep talk? >> reporter: well, i'll start with the second question, alisyn, i mean, i've been talking to aides up here all day long about whether or not there is any framework agreement that is imminent, and essentially because we still know that joe manchin is sitting around $1.5 trillion and what he believes is appropriate for that larger social safety net plan, we don't expect that that framework is going to be announced or come together right this second. and i think that that's going to take some time. i really think that members
going into this meeting today, they need to just be reminded exactly what they're fighting for, and also how long this process can take because when you're talking about legislation that does the kinds of things that this $3.5 trillion bill that democrats want to pass does, which is expanding the child tax credit, which is paid family leave, any of those items individually would be a massive achievement for democrats and so i think that the president today just has to remind folks of that fact, and you know, the question is going to be whether or not members get an opportunity to ask the president things, you know, a lot of these members have had private audiences in the oval office and small groups, whether that's the progressive caucus or moderate members. the president is not someone they don't though, but it is a good opportunity for them maybe after this week having so much back and forth, both sides so dug in on their positions, maybe this is an opportunity for the president to try to break some of those divides loose.
and that's what the focus is going to be today. now, again, you know, they're going to go in to this meeting. they're going to have this private conversation, and the expectation is that when they come out, or the hope is, i guess, among democrats that they will have found some kind of unity, but what that looks like, in what form, whether that means a vote happens today, we just don't know at this point. >> congressman, you and i were talking earlier about when you went through this, when you were the seole progressive, the last progressive holdout and you talked about the feeling, the weight of the country on your shoulders -- we think this is the motorcade of the president pulling up -- how cyou went to the lincoln statue and prayed on it, that's powerful. this time there are more progressives than one. progressives seem to have linked arms, and there are dozens of them who are saying we're not budging, and so it will be a different dynamic than obviously what president obama had with you when he had to persuade you.
today it's going to be different for joe biden. >> well, right, and you have to remember, again, president obama did not persuade me. i had to make a decision apart from anything he told me, because he didn't make any concessions. i had to make a decision what i felt was best for my country, my constituents, and for the obama presidency. i think that those considerations are going to fall upon the shoulders of all members of congress, not just progressives. what's best for the country, their constituency, and the joe biden's presidency because that affects the members as well. so i'm hopeful that this talk that the president will have with the caucus will cause people to look at the identity of interest, which all members of congress have, and if that happens, hopefully they'll find a path to yes. >> here it is. we just had a brief shot there of president biden getting out of the suv, part of his
motorcade, and here he is, arriving on the capitol. there's lots of people in the foreground, obviously. sort of obscuring our view, but we know that nancy pelosi, speaker of the house was there to greet him, and we expect to see them walking side by side any moment. we see, yeah, there they are, in fact. so yeah, phil, tell us about this dynamic. what's the relationship between president biden and speaker pelosi here. >> look, i think lauren gave a great window into one of the most important elements of this entire week. basically, when you talk to white house officials about how the president views the speaker it's just implicit all out, no hesitation, full trust with whatever she thinks is right, he is willing to move forward with. >> hold on one second, though, let's listen if we can to what he's let's listen if we can to what he's saying.
he's meeting -- >> president biden -- >> he's meeting -- let me just hear. no. all right. phil, he was just meet with the house democratic leadership. they were all wearing masks but everybody looked happy to meet him. he said something funny. they laughed. that's about all the color that we got there from what he said. so continue, phil. >> look, you look at that leadership team and it's a team that has long ties to president biden and long ties to democratic leadership. they've all been around from steny hoyer. hakeem jeffries, people look at as the apparent heir apparent to speaker pelosi when she departs. it's a leadership team that has trust within their caucus but has never been confronted with the dynamics that exist in the
current caucus. the progressives, the congressman knows this quite well, progressives have never had the numbers, the power or willingness to use that power that they've exerted over the course of the last several days. that's changed the dynamics of how leadership operates and how the white house operates and that plays such a significant part in how the president's relationship with the speaker is so important at this point in time. the trust exists but also as one white house official told me yesterday, is the president going to go up today? have white house or congressman over to the white house today? and the person laughed and just said, the president will do whatever the speaker asks. basically at this point in time, understanding she knows her caucus and the track record is unparalleled in terms of getting things across the finish line. his decision to go forward with the trip up to capitol hill today will not be made without the speaker saying that's what was needed. that's what she wanted. and what the president wants to accomplish or what we get the sense is that the president wants to accomplish today is with that very empowered progressive portion of the
caucus, with the moderates who want a very specific thing on this infrastructure proposal is to try to take things out of arcane negotiations over very micro issues and more into the bigger elements of what can be accomplished holding a extraordinarily bare majority in the house. literally no margin for error in the senate and a democrat in the white house to actually do the things many of them have wanted to do for decades. >> let's listen to see if president biden says anything here. >> why is this so challenging to unite the party, mr. president? >> he let his thumbs-up do the talking there as you heard the gaggle of reporters trying to get him to answer something, but he, obviously, has bigger fish to fry since he just moved on and is going in to meet with those members. what constitutes success? what must he lead with in a couple of hours for this visit to have been successful?
>> yeah, i've been talking to a lot of folks up here today about that. what could the president accomplish? and i think the biggest thing he can walk away with is to just bring down the temperature a little bit between the moderates and progressives up here. it just seems to get ratcheted up day in, day out. and i think he just has to come up here and tell everyone this is the agenda we've all agreed on. it may not happen exactly how we had hoped it would or in what order we hoped it would but let's take a step back and understand what we are fighting for. so i think that's the first thing that could be considered a victory for the president. but the second thing that he's really going to be trying to underscore today is that this is a moment that, if they don't get anything done, the option of failure is that you potentially could lose the house, you could lose the senate and in two more years you could be up against former president donald trump again and running on an agenda
that was very thin. and that is something that democrats up here have been talking to me about that their concern isn't just about the next two years but also what happens in four years if there's a presidential election and you have not accomplished what you had promised that you would accomplish. and former president donald trump is running again. that's a real thing that democrats are talking about. that's far removed from this current moment but i think if the president is going to impress on his caucus anything, it's that this is not just about today or this week or who gets a vote on which day. but this is about the bigger picture. and i think that is really where a victory could be seen. >> congressman, they are now behind closed doors. about one minute left in our program. what are your thoughts? >> you know, this is an absolutely critical moment for the country, let alone the democratic party and president biden. and i'm sure that every member has to come to that realization
that this particular vote -- these particular votes, whether it's an infrastructure vote or social spending, these are key votes and we have to do what's best for the country. now, can i predict the outcome? no. but do i think they'll find a path considering the stakes to get together? yeah, i think they will. and do the progressives have a right to hold out for something more than what's apparent at this point? absolutely. but there comes a point where you have to just decide what's a victory? and when you can claim a victory and then move on, united. >> yes, the question of what's best for the country is where the rubber meets the road. i mean, that's the issue because every time we speak to either the progressive or moderate, they have a different impression of what is best for the country but we'll see today what president biden negotiates, what he leaves with. dennis kucinich, phil mattingly, lauren fox.
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