tv Washington Week PBS October 29, 2021 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT
♪ yamiche: president biden's big gamble. pres. biden: no one got everything they wanted, including me, but that is what compromise is. that is what i ran on. yamiche: president biden unveils a $1.75 trillion framework for infrastructure and social policy. now, he is helping you to learn the support of americans and convince democrats on capitol hill that it is time to make a deal and pass legislation. >> this is phenomenal progress we have made in just three weeks because the progressive caucus was bold, but we understood that in a democracy, it can get messy sometimes. yamiche: while progressives back the framework, they are still cautious about the way forward. plus, president biden heads to europe to meet with world leaders and promote his climate
agenda, next. ♪ announcer: this is "washington week." corporate funding is provided by -- >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal was to provide a wireless service to help people communicate and connect. our u.s.-based customer service team can help you find one that fits you. announcer: additional funding is provided by the estate of arnold adams. the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences in our communities. sandra and carl delay-magnuson. rose hirschel and andy shreeves. the corporation for public broadcasting and contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again, from washington,
moderator yamiche i'lalcindor. yamiche: welcome. democrats are locked in 11th hour negotiations over president biden's sweeping spending plans. he delayed his trip to rome to go to capitol hill where he pressured democratic lawmakers and try to pre convince them to turn framework into law. pres. biden: every element in this framework would be viewed as a fundamental change to america. taken together, they are truly consequential. yamiche: the framework for the bill include some of president biden's campaign progress, including the expansion of the affordable care act, half $1 trillion for climate change, investments in childcare, eldercare and universal pre-k. other goals like paid family leave were left out. still, how's progressives have come out in support of the framework. on thursday, they held up a
vote on the bipartisan and for structure plan even as nancy pelosi pushed for a vote to happen. >> on day one, both of these bills -- i support the infrastructure bill. but, i want to see a strong build back better as well. >> our trust has to be in two senators who have not been good faith actors to this point. yamiche: it is unclear if senator joe mansion and kiersten cinema will vote for what's in the framework. he is what senator manchin had to say. >> will you vote for the package? >> we negotiated a good number that we have worked off of. >> is it too high for you? >> no, that was negotiated. yamiche: joining me to discuss what is in, what is out and where the negotiations stand --
jonathan lemire, the new host of msnbc's "way too early." i am happy you stayed awake to join us from new york and congratulations on the new show. here with me in studio -- thank you, jonathan. in studio, dan balz, chief correspondent for the washington post. ayesha rascoe from npr. and ali vitali, nbc news capitol hill correspondent. al i have to start with you. you were running all through capitol hill. what is the latest this hour? are there the votes with democrats to get this through to make this framework a law? ali: even inll of our sprinting from joe manchin's car and all throughout the halls of congress, there's clearly a will to get this done but it is a question of time. progressives have long felt that if this takes an extra few days or weeks, it is more important for them to get as many of the policy priorities in as they can.
now, it feels like we have been here before in some ways because they have some close to voting and have had to pull back because progressives help align. what is different about this moment is we have a clear and transparent picture of what actually is in and what is out. progressives have gone as far as to say they are good with what's in the bill. they just need assurances from the key senators on the other side that they will not see a vote on this in the house and get kicked to the curb when it comes time to vote on the larger social spending package. that is what makes this moment so different. what one lawmaker said to me on thursday when i ask them when this was going to get done, they said good vibes for november. [laughter] yamiche: it has been a wild sort a few months for joe biden and for house speaker nancy pelosi. i was struck by the idea that while progressives said they were supportive, they held up this vote on the bipartisan infrastructure plan and they did so while house speaker nancy
pelosi in a meeting with the president said we need to give a vote of confidence to the president before he lands in europe. he landed, there was no vote. what does that say of the power of house speaker nancy pelosi the other democratic lawmakers? ali: she has a progressive caucus now that is unified and readto take a stand. speaker pelosi asked to have a vote. president biden didn't. there's a difference between the speaker who her caucus respects her, but it is not the president. biden went in that room and said trust me on this deal. he worked through the framework. everyone who left the meeting said it was clear he was dialed in on the specifics, but in terms of pressuring them for a vote, biden has endorsed the strategy of linking these bills and allowing progressives to make sure he gets the most transformational package possible. it behooves him and the white house that progressives are continuing to hold the line, because almost every democratic
lawmaker we talked to wants to pass both of these bills. some are more passionate about the hard infrastructure pieces, others about the social spending, but they would like to give the white house the win because the policy that passes is going to be the platform in the midterms. the more they get done, the better they can say this is what you get from the democratic majority. yamiche: the keyword you said was a win. ayesha, president biden wants a win but he made this political calculation without getting the explicit support from senator manchin and sinema, because they were the key senators being chased by ali and others to get an understanding. what is the white house's thinking on why the president did it this way? ayesha: it seems like the white house was ready to put down a marker. there has been criticism of the president up until now because people were saying you are going out, going to the states and talking about a bill, but we don't know what's in the bill. it is very hard to sell --
obviously, president biden is using compromise, but it is hard to sell this is what we are going to get. you are going to have to sell you are getting universal pre-k. you will get help with childcare. you need to have specific things you are telling people. this is what we are going to deliver for you. build back better is a slogan, but it is not telling people what you are actually doing for them. i feel like they needed to put down a marker to say this is what we are going to do so that they have something to actually sell to the american people. in addition to joe manchin and sinema, they have to convince the american people they are doing something for them. yamiche: jonathan, in that critical meeting with house lawmakers before he left for europe, the president said it is not hyperbole to think his presidency and the majority that the democrats have, that they are riding what happens in the next week. i'm wondering what you are hearing what the president is thinking about, this framework
and what is at stake for him and democrats. jonathan: the president said this is an inflection point for his presidency. he said, what is at stake? not just his term in office but whether the democrats can keep control. we should take him at his word. this is something his entire time in office has been building towards, the heart of his agenda. he had the win with the covid relief bill in march but this is it. the bipartisan infrastructure bill and now this larger reconciliation package. there are deep divides within the party. i think that is where we are. more than anything, if the progressives and couple of moderate, conservative senators don't trust each other. yesterday, we heard from so many progressives in the house saying wait, we want a full endorsement from senators manchin and sinema about the framework on this deal and they didn't get that. they therefore refused to go for this vote. the president was left headed to
europe empty-handed. a white house spokesperson told me they believe this will still happen. it might be a few weeks or a month or two. they have blown past two critical deadlines. one, the president is now in europe. after meeting the pope today, he has meetings at the g 20, and then onto scotland for the major climate change gathering. he will go there without any new legislation to combat carbon emissions and climate change. secondly, democrats are keenly watching the virginia governor's race next week. terry mcauliffe pleading with them to pass this infrastructure bill. that didn't happen. the democrats worry about the signal that consent. yamiche: maybe you are in the writing meetings because you walked through the rest of the show, so thank you for summing up with this entire show is about. dan, while jonathan has told us a lot of what we need to know,
the thing i have been thinking about is the context of this bill. yes, it is not what progressives wanted. it is not everything that senators manchin and sinema wanted but the president is saying this is transformation. can you put into context how this bill accepts -- stacks up to others in history? dan: we focus so much on what has been taken out and how much of this has shrunk over the period of months they have been negotiating. even at $1.75 trillion -- along with roughly $1 trillion for infrastructure and the $1.9 trillion rescue package, the stimulus package, this adds up to almost $5 trillioof domestic spending that the president is pushing. it seems a fun what we are all hearing this will eventually get done. this is a reaffirmation of the democrats values and principles. it is a reaffirmation of their
belief that government can work on behalf of people. so, in that sense, it is historic. what is interesting about this is that he is trying to do this with the slimmest majorities of any transformational president. whether it is fdr or lyndon johnson. so, this is the challenge she's got. but historically, this is a very big deal. at the same time, the risks are enormous because of these slim majorities and that is what he was trying to get across to people yesterday. that everything is on the line for the party right now. yamiche: sticking with you, dan, there is the virginia governor's race that jonathan just talked about. a new poll shows education is the number one issue now and that race. it is about critical race theory. democrats have been saying truthfully that critical race theory is not summing that is taught in elementary school and republicans falsely saying it is. how does that race connect to
this bill and the calculations the president is making? dan: jonathan made the point that terry mcauliffe has been pleading with congressional democrats to get this done. and, the campaign of his team was not overly happy today as a result of what happened yesterday. it was as if all of this issue of frustration among democrats, democratic voters, that things were not getting done was highlighted again by what happened on thursday. it was a bad signal to send to voters in virginia. they are nervous about what might happen. this race is clearly nationalized because of biden. it is nationalized by his sagging approval ratings. it is nationalized because of what's happening on capitol hill. it is nationalized in the way the mcauliffe campaign has made it a race not about glenn young kin, what about donald trump. all what we have been talking about and doing and watching nationally has come together in this race. yamiche: we are going to move on
to what the president is doing abroad, but i want to talk about is one less thing which is paid family leave. i have talked to jocelyn fry, the incoming president of the partnership for women and families. she says it was unconscionable that paid family leave was not included. she says that women for decades, especially women of color, have been pushed and forced to take care of everyone else's families without getting time to deal with their own families to take care of their own families. what are you hearing on this issue and what does it say that in some ways these senators, especially senator manchin, they had the power to take this out? ayesha: i have be talking to economists and people to look at these issues of economic and inequality. what they said was all of these policies, universal pre-k, childcare help and the family medical leave, theyre really supposed to work together. meaning that when you have a child, then you need some time off after you give birth.
if that child gets sick, you need to have some time to take care of that child. you need to have childcare. you need all of those things together. so, if you don't have one of those things, that is harmful. and we are at this point where women have not been in the workforce because it has been decimated by the pandemic. they had to drop out of the workforce. if you want those numbers to be where you want to be with job creation, you need women back in the workforce and you need to give them help with the care economy because women are usually the caretakers. yamiche: even unpaid leave, it is important to remember, fully corrected talk about this and the lens of women. ali: i did some reporting on this one this was back ruled out. what one advocate told me was everyone will at some point have to give or receive care. men, women, republican, democrats, old, young. whether it is for yourself, a family member or a baby. which is why you are seeing democratic senators, house
members, even speaker pelosi saying they are not ready to give up on paid leave yet. i think there's an interesting thread on this because as i was following joe manchin, what he seemed to say to us two days ago was paid leave for him is not supposed to be in this reconciliation package. senator jill a brent echoed that saying manchin does not want to do this through this vehicle. there are some people who think it could be revived in this bill. maybe they do another reconciliation package next year. maybe it is a stand-alone piece of legislation. advocates do really feel left out in the cold on this when they see other items in the care economy in this bill but not paid leave. yamiche: while his domestic agenda things in the balance, president but it is a day into his latest international trip. he met with pope francis. this is his third meeting with the pope and his first since taking office. pres. biden: the president has
what is called a command core. that he gives to warriors and leaders. >> [speaking italian] pres. biden: where the most significant warrior for peace i have ever met. yamiche: he also met with french president emmanuelel macron. the president will also be with other world leaders at the g 20. president biden will head to scotland for a u.n. climate conference and hoping to show the world the u.s. is taking more of an engaged role on the issue after the trumpet and attrition pulled out of the -- trump administration pulled out of the climate accord. jonathan, i told you you stole our show with your answer. tell us what is the president's mission in europe. talk about what's going on with climate change. there is this g-20 meeting, they will talk about global supply chains and other things. jonathan: it is a market
contrast -- marked contrast from the president's first overseas trip in june. when he was hailed sort of as a hero and greeted with open arms and sigh of relief because he was not donald trump. this trip, a little thornier. he has more work to do. today was a win for him. he met with pope francis. president biden is only the second u.s. president who is catholic. he's devout. he met with pope francis and was not only told he should continue to receive communion despite his pro-life stance ich some americans have questioned, but he and francis are ideology ically similar. biden, those meetings with heads of state with the pope, usually half hour, 45 minutes. president biden was in there for 90. he had some apologizing to do. he called the deal with france, his meeting with macron.
we talked about the submarine deal, with a u.k. and austral. he called it clumsy which is about as close to an apology you will get from a u.s. president and acknowledged france is the u.s.' oldest ally. they were so angry with what the deal was, they withdrew their ambassadors for a time. white house aides told me tonight that have patched things up. now he's got the harder issues. the g-20 and onto scotland where he does not come to the summit with significant climate change measures. but, he was still attempt to reassert america's leadership on the issue after the trump years. what was supposed to be the centerpiece of this trip is not happening. white house aides hoped he would meetith presidents using ping of china -- xi jinping of china. that's not happening.
there will be a vacuum that president biden hopes to fill, where he can bring democracy and not authoritarianism. he is trying to convince people around the world that american style of government is still the best. yamiche: it is what the president has been echoing, that america is back. diplomacy should work. dan, what is the importance of the president meeting the pope, especially under these times when you think about issues with abortion, the gop really continuing to have a stronghold on evangelical christians? dan: it is important for several reasons but probably the most important is for the similarity of views they have on two very important issues. one is obviously climate. pope francis has been quite outspoken and frequently sell on the importance of dealing with that issue. the other is the social gospel aspect of catholicism. there, the pope and president biden are simpatico. it was a way for him to
reinforce those to put aside whatever differences they have, but to focus on what brings them together. it sends a signal around the world about the importance of those issues and the relationship between the u.s. president and the head of the catholic church. yamiche: meanwhile, there is some good news on the pandemic front. across the u.s., the rate of covid-19 cases and deaths have dropped significantly. it is in some ways a heartwarming thing to say out loud given all we have lived through. on friday, the fda authorized the pfizer vaccine for kids aged five to 11 years old. ayesha, covid has been the undercurrent of all the things that have been going on. how do these developments on covid impact americans and people of color, black people who have been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic? ayesha: one of the things that was pointed out when i talked to the afl-cio, is while a lot of
older people die from covid, when it came to black and brown people, it was often working aged people who die. and that the numbers were extremely high. that has affected even employment in this country. but, this is a problem for this country and for the world that they've had to face, dealing with the coronavirus and wanting to get on the other side of it. i think a lot of the frustration that biden has faced is that people wanted normalcy, they wanted to be back doing what they normally do without masks and all of that, not having to worry about that. when you do get these vaccines approved for younger children -- thank you, jesus. i'm very happy about it. i have young children. when you get them approved, you can start seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. have kids back in school. you see that maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
yamiche: jonathan, only a couple of minutes left. i want to give you a coup of minutes to talk about kids can now get the vaccine, authorized to get the vaccine, but there is so much polarization over masks and vaccines. where do you see this going? jonathan: let me echo those prayers and thanks. my kids are 10 and six and we cannot wait for them to get the shots. you're right. this is not the slamdunk nationally that it should be. there will be portions of this country that will rush eagerly to get the shots. others won't. we still have stubborn pockets of vaccine resistance across the country. the white house has tried everything they can to get those people to take their shots and the simple w't because of ahow polarize this is. it has become a wedge issue, going into next midterms and beyond.
even former president trump continues to step back onto the political stage, a few months ago, he gave for him a relatively strong endorsement for folks to take the vaccine. he took his own shop behind closed doors after january 6. he ignored the issue for a while but then told people at a rally, hey, get this vaccine. he was greeted with boos. since then, he has not said it again. it is something he has backed off of and it has become a dividing line between some portions of the republican party and the rest of the country. yamiche: ali, in the 10 seconds we have left, the gop continues to be the party that has not wanted to endorse vaccines, not wanted to talk openly about getting vaccinated. does this news with the kids change anything for you think it will be as polarized as it is? ali: i think it deepens the divide. in the same way people are positive, there will be many people going to school board officials, threatening officials. the same thing we have seen
across the country is probably where we are going. yamiche: i will join in saying hallelujah that we get some people vaccinated. that is the time we have tonight. thank you to jonathan, dan, ayesha and ali. before we go, i want to encourage all of you watching tonight to learn about cl audette. she refused to give up her bus seat in 19655 nine months before rosa parks. she was quickly arrested and now she is seeking to have a record cleared. thank you for your courage. be sure to join us next week when president biden meets with world leaders at the u.n. climate summit. that is it for our conversation. there is no washingtonweek extra this week but it we back next week. good night from washington. ♪
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