tv Yasmin Vossoughian Reports MSNBC August 7, 2021 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
said the pandemic is causing frequent stress and burnout. we're so grateful to our teachers for everything they've done during this pandemic. that will do it for me on this edition of "alex witt reports." i'm joe fryer. my friend, yasmin vossoughian, picks up our coverage from here. ♪ ♪ good afternoon, everybody. i'm yasmin vossoughian. it is a very busy saturday with breaking news happening right now on several fronts across the country. for a second stat in a row, the u.s. senate is in session, having already passed one procedural vote a few hours ago. plenty of pitfalls still lie ahead. we're live on capitol hill as the two sides try and avoid a political derailment. the number of covid cases are exploding, and, unfortunately, breaking records, as if this country doesn't have a vaccine. now fears of an outbreak have moved from summer festivals to schools where unvaccinated kids are set to start next week.
then you go to california, the third largest wildfire in the state's history is burning out of control. as fire season is just getting started, we are live on the ground in the golden state as the dixie fire shows no signs of slowing down. in fact, we want to begin this hour with breaking news on the bipartisan infrastructure deal. this afternoon the senate passed a key procedural vote on the more than $1 trillion package reaching 60 votes to invoke cloture and move forward to the next procedural vote. ali vitali is following it for us on capitol hill. it is one step closer, like the little train that could. i think i can, i think i can. is a caboose going to come up to the rear and try to get the thing over the hill and the toys to the little kids in town? give it to us, ali? are we going to get to it? >> reporter: eventually the sense is that the train is going
to keep chugging along on the tracks and they will get to the vote on the bipartisan bill, and the thinking is they hope that it will pass. look, it is a slow process in getting there though because the way that senate majority leader chuck schumer laid it out is there's an easy way to do this and a hard way to do it. the easy way is the faster way, and right now it is looking like it is the unlikely way. because in order to do it in expedited fashion they need all 100 senators to come together and agree on the fashion in which they're going to move forward, which is to say looking at which amendments they're going to prioritize, shorten the number of hours for debate and vote on the amendments, and eventually moving on to the final vote of this bipartisan bill. right now senator bill haggerty of tennessee is saying that he doesn't want to go through that expedited process. instead, he would like to do this through regular order. what regular order means is the process we have seen already start playing out here today, that key procedural vote that allows the senators to go to 30 hours of debate.
following that, another procedural vote and more hours of debate. effectively that process is pushed until the early part of the week next week. basically, it is not a question of if they will get there, it is just a question of when at this point. >> that's right. >> you can hear it from senators on both sides of the aisle, there's a lot of anticipation wanting to get this done. for instance i was talking with senator john cornyn of texas who was saying while he agrees with what haggerty is objecting over effectively, he also sees the writing on the wall here and he is saying it is not a question of if we're going to vote on this but really when. >> i thought we had some -- >> i don't think we're going to see any significant changes or any amendments that blow everything out of the water over the next many hours. this is the way the senate rules work. i think it is actually a pretty good example why the senate rules needs to be reformed, that just a hand full of senators can slow down progress for the american people. that's what is happening, but we're going to get through it and we're going to get this done. >> reporter: of course, that is
senator tina smith, who is echoing that, kind of underscoring the fact that for republican and democratic senators alike there is this idea that this is sort of a fait accompli. it is a question of when they get to the bill. yasmin. >> thank you for rolling with that, my friend. looks like i'm reading too many children's books these days. appreciate it. good to see you. so as the senate is edging towards the next crucial infrastructure vote, president biden praising the bipartisan effort so far, calling it a potential historic investment during his address yesterday at the white house. mike memoli is following this for us in wilmington, delaware, where the president is spending the weekend. mike, good to see you. crucial few days ahead, right? one of the cornerstones of this presidency. what is the biden administration focusing on behind the scenes to make sure this thing does not fall apart? >> reporter: well, yasmin, based on what ali just went through in terms of the process that's undergoing in the senate right now, it may not sound like it,
but this is, in fact, the easy part in terms of getting both the bipartisan infrastructure bill through and then the larger reconciliation package, which together represent the full sum total of biden's build back better economic agenda. this is just part one of track one of that two-track process. what really gets more complicated is once we leave the senate, because this bipartisan bill would typically go to the house for a quick vote, but we know progressives especially with a very slim margin for democrats in the house are saying they want to make sure the bigger reconciliation package is also going to get voted on as well. so that's why the president, who was scheduled to go on something of a vacation for the next two weeks, is preparing to get back to washington after he spends the weekend home in wilmington to make sure all things are moving as they should. it is also why vice president kamala harris, playing the role that biden played when he was the vice president for president barack obama, was up on capitol hill today, helping to make sure, keep an eye on things and iron out any potential snags as this process gets underway.
you are right, it is a critical week because the president needs this all to go as planned, and with his party facing such slim numbers in terms of the majorities in the senate and the house, any wrinkle could potentially throw the entire process off track, yasmin. >> let's talk about the economics of covid right now. we are seeing hundreds of thousands of cases now across the country, 100,000 a day really averaging across this country. the numbers are kind of mind blowing, astounding. you had an incredible jobs report come out yesterday, but it was not necessarily reflection of the delta variant and what kind of the new restrictions in place are doing across the country and what could possibly be to come when it comes to economic recovery and stunting economic recovery. what is the biden administration doing, and specifically the president, in order to kind of make sure -- lessen the blow, i should say, of this delta variant? >> reporter: it was really striking, yasmin, to see what biden administration officials were saying yesterday about the
jobs report, calling it historic, touting the fact we have seen more jobs growth in early months of the biden administration than we have seen in any administration in their first few months in office. then compare it to what we heard from the president when he ultimately came out to talk about the jobs report himself. and in those comments he was much more reserved, talking about his concern that the delta variant and the fact that we are still seeing pockets of resistance for vaccination in this country standing in the way of further economic growth. take a listen to the president's remarks yesterday. >> the bottom line is this. what we're doing is working, but don't take my word for it. forecasters on wall street project over the next ten years our economy will expand by trillions of dollars and we'll create 2 million more jobs a year. good paying jobs. we just have to keep going. it is simple. that means get vaccinated. please, it is safe. it works.
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you think that's on point, n >> no shut downs. we know that doesn't work. w what is on point, i have been sayingve universal indoor maski for a while which is essentially what we have because almost every county in the country is at that high rate of transmission. no shutdowns. >> you showed an article by laurie arguing about now is the time. i was on the air and was interviewing someone and she argued in fact not everybody needs booster shots, just the immunocompromised and the elderly. where do you stand on this? >> yeah, i think there's a prioritization. the reason i said and agree with lorie is we need guidance now is because look when we had
vaccines under the emergency authorization act in november, and look how long it took to get those distributed to half the country. think about aoo process for a third shot. we need to look at the safety data and prioritize immunocompromised or anyone of any age with a condition that makes them vulnerable. what we have seen is that we have seen data over time means we have decreasing immunity. does it mean it leads to more infection or hospitalization? not necessarily, but we are fortunate in this country where we're able to do third shots and potential supply the globe. so if we can meet both of thoseh qualifications, we need to have that conversation now. the fda is going to do it. we will get clarity. it will likely be immunocompromised certain populations first. so just to be clear, it won't be everybody running in and getting the third shot. >> i'm happy you brought up that point. i want to quickly get into this. the world health organization basically saying, listen, don't get third shots until you have
third world countries not getting a first shot. "the new york times" right now, every article is about countries falling into famine, people dying with covid, not having a single shot ofno the vaccine. where should we be when you havo countries without enough to vaccinate their owngh citizens d we are talking about the potential of a third shot? >> my heart is in global medicine because i think that's where we have the highest obligation. i have been veryth clear.ee if there were any scenario where our ability to get third shots for high -- it is not the right answer. we have seen now is manufacturing being able to stand urup, ramp up and honestl the united states doing their part. so the truth, yasmin, i have doses sitting on my shelves right now, i want to get them first shotsto into arms and the where appropriate get third shots intoap armts. the goal is to create that defensive immunity however possible. not to be hgreedy, but to crea
long lasting herd immunity. we have to do it globally and locally. we can dolly both at the same . i don't accept the premise we can't. >> we have morehe ahead with dr. patel. she is sticking around with us as we s have a lot more questio to ask.on we're going to talk more about kind of the disease of disinformation coming up in the 4:00 p.m. hour and really the disease ofy disinformation whe it comes to socialin media and tiktok specifically. that is a conversation you don't want to miss. we are going to bust some myths. but first, under pressure, new york governor andrew cuomo's circle of allies shrinking by the s day amid a new criminal complaint and calls for his resignation. after the break, state senator biaggi joins me live with perspective from her personal experience working forpe the governor. stay with us.ri ith us shells & e versus the other guys. ♪♪ clearly, velveeta melts creamier.
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harassment against new york governor cuomo. the albany county sheriff says cuomo could face at least one misdemeanor charge. currently cuomo has not been charged with anything, but it is coming after the news tuesday a criminal complaint had been filed against the governor from an unnamed executive assistants. the governor has repeatedly denied harassing the executive assistant or any of the others who accused him of misconduct, but women continue to come forward with tales of questionable behavior. we are joined by state senator alessandra biaggi. thank you for joining us. i appreciate it. i understand you spoke with investigators in july. what motivated you to do this? >> thank you for having me on today. what motivated me to do this was my experience in the governor's executive chamber, which i described many times as a very dark period, the most dark period that i have lived through in a workplace setting. i know that that might sound
very extreme to your viewers, but that is the extreme behavior that goes on inside of that office. so the executive chamber is a place that is designed really to undermine staff. it is designed as a place where people are berated constantly. it is something that i think is fostered by the people that surround the governor, and it is really reinforced on a regular basis. so it makes you feel as if you are being whiplashed between, you have done a great job and you are valueless, and it makes you second guess yourself with gaslighting. it is a very unfortunate place to work because, obviously, people go there to serve the public. in the executive chamber, really what stood out to me the most almost from the moment i walked through the door was that loyalty to the governor was the currency that overrode everything else. >> what about the allegations of
sexual assault and sexual harassment from these 11 women outlined in this 165-page report from the attorney general? when you read some of these instances yourself in this thorough report that was then backed up by over 100 different witnesses, corroborating witnesses in this report, were you surprised by the governor's behavior? did you at all experience this type of behavior from the governor himself? >> so i didn't personally experience sexual harassment from the governor, but i did experience the governor's pattern of abusive behavior and also that toxic work environment that's fostered and also enforced by the people who are closest to him, his inner circle. i think that the most important thing to share is that there were two interactions that i experienced that left me thinking to myself, what just happened here. the first was when i first started in the governor's office. i had just joined the council's office, and instead of welcoming
me to the team or to his office, the first comment that he made to me was after grabbing my arm and pulling me in, nice dance moves. subsequently after i left the office and was running for this seat and i saw him at a wedding, he pulled me in. he kissed my forehead twice, he then kissed my eye, and he turned to my fiance who is now my husband and i asked him if he was jealous. what that signalled to me -- >> wow. >> -- was not so much that i was being sexualized but that he was trying to communicate to me that he was in control, that he had the power, and so much of the time sexual harassment is about power. it is about making the victim feel less than, making the victim feel vulnerable and asserting your power over that person. that's exactly what we are seeing with these 11 women who have come forward and shared their experiences of sexual harassment. it is almost so subtle in some of the examples that you -- you could say to yourself, i -- it is unclear what has happened here. but then as you connect the
pieces and you see the pattern, it is so abundantly clear that he not only intended to sexually harass these women but that he enjoyed it. that to me i think is perhaps one of the most disturbing takeaways. >> did you think at the time, senator, to report that behavior? >> i didn't, and i will tell you exactly why i didn't. because the executive chamber in the governor's office is a place where -- this is going to sound almost crazy, but in many instances you don't even know what people's job titles are. you don't know who to go to. you don't even know where hr is. there's no moment where you begin your job and you are given an orientation, like in most workplace settings. so you don't even know where to turn. but even if you did know where to turn and even if you did figure it out, the environment in that office is an environment where the governor can act within impunity. so if you do speak up, you are
treated not only less than, but there's retribution both inside the office. if you decide to leave, there's also retribution. the governor is known to have done that to many people. we see this with lindsey boylan and how they retaliated against her after she spoke out. these are the things that people have been living with, not only inside the governor's office but also after they leave. it is the things that i think kept most people quiet for the past several decades about andrew cuomo, because i have also said this many times, but the worst-kept secret in albany is that the governor is somebody who is not only fostering a place of toxicity but is someone who is vindictive and who you want to avoid crossing, again, because loyalty to the governor is the most important currency. >> wow. new
york state senator alessandra biaggi. i appreciate you joining us this afternoon, sharing your time and experiences in the governor's office and your voice on this
because i know it is not easy, especially when it is, as you described it, some of the darkest times in your career and in your life. i'm thankful that you are on the other side of things. thank you, senator. coming up in our next hour, everybody, another personal perspective of working directly with the governor from a familiar face here at msnbc, republican strategist susan del percio is going to join me live with her experiences, and how this news is changing her views on politics. but up first, the olympics coming to a close in one more day. the highs and lows of the last big events of an unprecedented games. stay with us. can actually attract pet hair? with bounce pet hair & lint guard, your clothes can repel pet hair. look how the shirt on the left attracts pet hair like a magnet! pet hair is no match for bounce. with bounce, you
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