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tv   Craig Melvin Reports  MSNBC  October 4, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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this hour we are on white house watch. president biden's agenda hangs in the balance along with the stability of the u.s. economy. roughly 15 minutes from now the president is set to talk about the debt ceiling. that's because in just two weeks the united states is on track to default on the loans. and calling that catastrophic would be an understatement. it's warned mortgage payments would go up and car loans and credit card payments. it would be more expense toif live in america. secretary yellen writing we would emerge from this crisis a permanently weaker nation. why don't we have a deal and what will president biden say about it moments from now? also this hour, tracking an urgent environmental disaster off the coast of southern california. 126,000 gallons of oil flooding the ocean, polluting the water. the air, and the coastline. this hour, we're going to dig
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into what went wrong. we're also tracking the rise and stunning fall of ozzy media, the media company reportedly told staff they were shutting down after high level company misconduct. the ceo said rumors of the company's demise have been greatly exaggerated. i'll share my exclusive conversation with him on "today" in minutes. we start with the latest on president biden's agenda. nbc's senior white house reporter standing by for the president's speech. nbc capitol hill correspondent on the hill for us. and i'm also joined by joe corrally, former democratic congressman new york that i saw and asked him to come on. joe, thank you. shannon, 15 minutes from now we'll hear from president biden. vote on the infrastructure bill that he backed is on hold. there's no agreed to framework on the spending he backs. but what do we expect to hear
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from president bide snn. >> expect to hear him put pressure on republicans to take some action on this and ratchet up the pressure on them. this is something democrats could get through on their own. we heard senate majority leader chuck schumer saying he wants something on the president's desk by the end of the week. so, of course, the white house would really like to see that timeline. no one wants this to go until the final moments here in about two weeks from now. more broadly, though, as you mentioned, the president still trying to get through these two bills. this infrastructure spending bill and this other much larger bill focussed on a lot more social safety yet programs. the white house, the president looking to shift the messaging this week. more onto the content of the bills that they think is really popular with the public. things like programs to lower prescription drug prices. things to lower the cost of child care. rather than the talk about the process and the dollar amount
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which really dominated the conversation in washington over the last week or two. so the president is going to be out on the road and going to michigan on tuesday. he indicated over the weekend he could be making additional stops to try and sell this bill to the american public, to try and get the message back on what is in the bill rather than what the focus has been on washington in these recent days. >> so, senator schumer wants to see action on the debt ceiling this week. he made his expectations very clear just a few minutes ago in a new let tore his colleagues. what did senator schumer say? >> well, setting that lofty goal that they should deal with this crisis by the end of the week, i say it's a lofty goal because democrats have tried to move forward in a few ways and republicans have consistently blocked them. you and i have talked about this before. republicans have said that this is something they want democrats to do on their own. it's also more than that. because democrats have tried to move forward on their own on this. and republicans have blocked
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them. republicans want them to do this through specifically the process of reconciliation. schumer and other top democrats have said that's a nonstarter for them. i want to read a little bit of the letter you referenced from majority leader shumer that came to us a few moments ago. in it he says last week leader mcconnell and senate republicans refused to take yes for an answer. he asked for unanimous -- republicans could vote no as mcconnell and the colleagues requested. this episode is a stark reminder about how absurd and partisan republicans have made the process for raising the debt limit. when we say that it's loft you for him to hit this by the end of the week, it's because we're at an impasse here. if republicans don't allow democrats to move forward by this unanimous consent schumer previously asked for and dat drths don't want toods it through reconciliation, it's up in the air where they go next.
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i don't think we can underscore how historically bad it would be for congress not to meet this deadline. a lot of them have been floating around on the hill lately. but this one really matters. historically bad. the u.s. has never in history defaulted on its debt. >> again, i think there's a letter that just came in from senator mcconnell to your inbox. i'll let you read that, process it. i'm going to come back to you in a moment in a new letter mitch mcconnell sent to the president. meantime here, for folks who are not familiar with the workings of congress, why not just do it without republican support, joe? >> i think ultimately democrats will pass this eventually, because we'll do the right thing. we'll be responsible. i -- this issue has been for congress over and over and over again. it's like a broken record. and democrats have helped republicans in the past pass the debt ceiling. i was there when republicans refused to help and we had to
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have democrats help republicans pass it in a massive way. we won't let the deadline pass. it's too important to the people we care about. and we're still dealing with this pandemic. and yet, we want to add this to the problems of the american people. it's preposterous. it's sad the republicans will not help democrats pass and do the responsible thing there. craig, this is old debt. this is money that they expended during the cares act and other even expenditures during the trump administration. so it's completely irresponsible for republicans. it's not new. and democrats when pushed will have to do this. >> it really is quite odd. the last point you made, you know, we've heard it made a few times but i don't think a lot of folks fully appreciate we're not talking about new spending. we're talking about paying your credit card bill. you've used your charge card all year and all the suden the bill comes like oh, that's all right. we're not going to pay it. it defies logic.
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>> when you think about all the things we've gone through in terms of the pandemic, the number of bills in the trillions of dollars we had to spend to really deal with the pandemic. keep people employed or give them the resources to take care of themselves and their families. that was done by democrats and republicans to extend that. now the time comes to pay the bill, and republicans don't want to pay the bill. they want democrats to be stuck with the burden so they can go back in the election and they democrats raised $10 trillion in the debt ceiling, but they contributed to it themselves. >> i understand you've been able to assess out what was said in the letter. what are we hearing from the minority leader? >> this is why we're always looking down at our phones when we're on television. things happen fast around here. we have obtained this letter from minority leader mitch mcconnell he sent to president joe biden urging biden to tell democrats in the senate to get in line on the debt ceiling and
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to pass it so they can avoid a cataclysmic event economically. i want to read a piece that struck me. he says that your lieutenants in congress, this is mcconnell addressing biden. your lieutenants in congress must understand that you don't want your unified democratic government to sleepwalk toward an avoidable catastrophe when they had nearly three months notice to do their job. mcconnell goes onto say we have no list of demands. for two and a half months we have simply warned since your party wishes to governor alone, it must handle the debt limit alone as well. this picks up to the conversation you were just having. even though democrats are saying they want to push forward on the larger social infrastructure bill alone, they can do that by reconciliation in a simple majority. the spending that's at hand here in the debt ceiling debate is not that spending. it's spending that was incurred during the trump administration, things like the trump tax cuts that all republicans trumpeted and voted for. so it's the argument that
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mcconnell has consistently been making, he wants democrats to go it alone because they want to do other big social programs alone. but at the same time, that's not the money we're actually talking about here. >> also, i mean, how do you negotiate with someone who has no demands? >> it's cynical what's happening here. and we has demands. we know he has demands. he's actually doing this for leverage purposes. to what end, i don't know. but mitch mcconnell, this is how he acts. this is how he legislates, so to speak. in the end, i do think, craig, that democrats will do the responsible thing. because, again, we always do. we look out for the little guy. i said before the 401k, for our economy. we're dealing with this in terms of what to do to our economy and the stature of the world is incomprehensible. what mitch mcconnell is saying is cynical. it's the height of cynicism. he knows that democrats will never let our country default on the bills. >> as you know, congressman, progressive democrats walked away from last week feeling like
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president biden is in their corner. they got the "w". some moderates like kyrsten sinema not happy. she released a statement that read in part, good-faith negotiations require trust. cancelling the infrastructure vote further erodes that trust. progressive caucus chair said this in response to john than cay part. >> we're beyond trust. we're to verify. we're all part of the democratic team. we're all delivering, not on a fringe wish list. i have that, but we're delivering on the president's agenda. >> congressman, you used to lead this congress. you know it better than most. how do these two wings of the party come to some agreement here and find common ground? >> i think there has been more progress made over the weekend than people recognize. the fact that we're now talking about anywhere between 1.5 and $3.5 trillion, these are
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enormous numbers, craig. never my experience in congress have we dealt with these kinds of numbers. the affordable care act itself, if it was $1.5 trillion, it would be double the size of the affordable care act. when you think about it, the president says it's closer to $2 trillion. at tend of the day, i think peeker pelosi and the president know the heart of winning and maintain control of the house of the house of representatives is in the districts in the suburbs and rural areas of the country that make that difference. >> we'll leave it there. thank you all. any minute now, again, president biden will be talking about the showdown in congress about raising the debt limb. -- debt limit. when it happens, we'll take you there. >> i'll talk to two activists about how they're turning up the
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heat on the white house tomorrow to counter restrictive new election laws popping up across the country. first, the rise and fall of digital media company ozy. the startup under fire facing increased scrutiny over the business practices. up next, what the ceo told me exclusively just this morning. . the airport can be a real challenge for new homeowners who have become their parents... okay, everybody, let's do a ticket check. paper tickets. we're off to a horrible start. ...but we can overcome it. we're not gonna point out our houses, landmarks, or major highways during takeoff. don't buy anything. i packed so many delicious snacks. -they're -- -nope. would you say, ballpark, when group two is gonna get boarded? 2 hours and 58 minutes. progressive can't protect you from becoming your parents, but we can protect your home and auto when you bundle with us. someone should've left home earlier. ♪ ♪ your new pharmacy is here. and here. and here, too.
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i'm craig melvin. this morning we are following all the latest twists and turns
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in the scandal involving the digital media start krup that raised millions from investors who believed it could reach diverse new audiences. the company has come under fire after reports of misconduct from top executives and questions about the business practices in general. we'll show how you they responded in an interview this morning on "today." first, stephanie gosk with just a look at how we got to this point. >> ozy promised to be the new and the next. a media company aimed at a younger audience with slick content curated for social media, especially youtube. >> family, welcome back to the show. i'm carlos autsen. >> reporter: the effort was led by carlos watson who wued some of the most recognizable figures in business, politics and entertainment to be guests on his show. >> what's going on, carlos? >> and speakers at the company's annual festival, ozy fest.
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>> great to be at ozy fest. >> the leaders got eager investors on board touting a social justice push, particularly in the wake of the national protests over racial injustice last summer. >> i want to end up supporting people who you think are pretty unique and different. carlos does that. i think ozy does that. >> the glittery facade same crashing down after the new york times citing four anonymous sources alleged ozy's coo impersonated a youtube executive on a conference call with goldman sacs, a potential investor. they when it was allegedly row. the executives began to grow suspicion when the voice on the phone sounded digitally altered. "the times" reports after the call youtube security teams started an investigation and youtube's owner google alerted
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the fbi. >> it was part of a pattern of deceiving investors, advertisers, the media, all sorts of people about what was going on at that company. >> watson called "the times" reporting a hit job and blamed the actions on a very personal mental health issue. but just days later, prominent staff members quit. investors began pulling out, and ozy's board of directors reportedly announced the company was shutting down. >> that was nbc's stephanie mosque reporting -- gosk. i sat down to hear what is happening with this company and also wanted to get the response to the allegations. >> let's start with the status of ozy as we sit right now. reports the company shut down on friday. is that true? >> we're going to open for business. we've making news today. this is our lazarus moment.
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last week was difficult. heart breaking in many ways. a at the end of the week we suspended operations with a plan to wind down. as we spent time over the weekend, we talked to advertising partners and readers and viewers an listeners and investors. i think ozy is part of this moment, and it's not going to be easy. i think what we do with newsletters and tv shows, original tv shows and podcasts and more as a place. >> let's talk about this phone call. did you know that your partner, the co-founder of this company was going to impersonate a youtube executive on a call? >> no. and it's sad, and it's difficult. it was wrong. obviously they figured it out very quickly. >> here's the thing. someone would wonder, perhaps, and you're on a call with goldman sachs, trying to score $40 million in funding. why were you not on the call and how did you not have knowledge of the call? >> part of the fundraising process, you talk to a lot of people. i'm not on every call. there are lots of reference calls that happen. they probably talked to 3, 4,
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maybe 5 of our references and talked to members of the team and other investors. there are a fair number of things involved and you're not a part of all of them. over a three-month period of time, i spent a lot of time with them as part of the process. >> there could be serious legal implications with regard to the call. >> yes. >> have you heard from the fbi or law enforcement? >> i haven't, but here's what i will say. that's a tragic situation. it's horrible. nothing good about that at all. i am grateful, though, that goldman didn't invest. that would have been the worst of all. several months later, to goldman's credit, they stepped forward and began a new advertising partnership with us. part of that was a recognition as tragic as not okay as that was, the larger company, ozy has done special things when it comes to forward looking content and a diverse set of audiences>> let's talk about the company. you're announcing you're open for business, but it's not just that phone call. there are reports that ozy had
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been inflating numbers for years, digital traffic numbers. there were billboards in los angeles you had to take down after amazon claimed you were making claims that weren't true on them. your show on youtube, i guess you said at one point the show was going to be on a and e, but it wasn't. why would anyone trust carlos watson moving forward? >> great and fair question and heart breaking because i'm used to people trusting me. i'm the son of teachers. you've known me for a number of years. i once worked here at nbc as part of the msnbc family. here's what i would say. last week i got bad advice. advice from crisis communications folks to go silent. i should not have done that. what ended up over the next week was some half truths. and some cases some real things that we did not well and should have done better and different and we will own them around data and marketing, around other places. but i wish i had stepped up and
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engaged. and part of my reason being here with you today is to engage in those things, including the things you mentioned. originally we conceived of the show for a and e. we originally talked to them about it. they moved too slowly. we notified them we weren't going to do it there. we moved it to youtube. the gentleman who was part of that story knew we moved it to youtube, and yet, now comes forward and says i didn't know. i didn't know. of course he knew. >> okay. let's accept that as fact. what about the sharing of the ozzy osbourne. you said they were investors. sharon osbourne said she's never met carlos watson. >> it's true she hasn't met me, and it's true that as a result of her suing us, so she sued uz over our music and ideas festival, the agreement was we were going to give her shares in the company, and the way i think
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about it, i think the way a lot of people think about it, if you own shares in the company, you're an investor. she may not have liked that word. i'm not going to raise money by telling sophisticated people that sharon osbourne is an investor. i think i said that clearly in the cases. what i want to say is the last couple of days gave a lot of people a chance to take cheap shots. that's not to say there aren't things we can do better. we need to do better an data and marketing. >> have you ever paid for digital traffic? >> like everyone, 100 %. this is such a good conversation to get into. because guess who else pays? nbc. nbc advertises on zy. >> not to get into the weeds here, but one of the knocks from the last few days is that ozy has spent millions of dollars buying content that pops up that you can't escape. that's popping up behind your browser. is that true? >> i don't know about that. but here's what ozy does.
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we are unwilling to take our smart reporting, terrific videos and podcasts and let the algorithm decides who gets to see it. if we want to make sure young audiences get to see our work, i think it's smart of us, hbo does it. spotify does it. uber does it. you say i want this audience, and you invest in marketing to do it. >> this is personal to both of us. following the racial justice protests last summer there was a call for advertisers to spend lots more money with black-owned media. you got some of that money. i talked to folks annoyed that you got millions and they really didn't get anything. do you feel some sort of way that perhaps maybe you shouldn't have got as much money from advertisers? >> why would i feel that way? >> well, i mean, the business collapsed last week. >> the business is --
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>> you have -- you raised almost 100 million and what do you have to show for it? >> five newsletters. a dozen tv shows either on the hair on huely, amazon, we won an emmy last year. six podcasts including cracking the top ten and three festivals. >> so it's not a house of cards? that's been the claim. >> you among others know how slanderous that is to do that. and when you saw people put my name in a league with elizabeth holmes who never had a real product who raised billions of dollars. we have five premium newsletters. a dozen tv shows including winning an emmy. that's not a house of cards. >> i want to bring in nbc news senior business correspondent stephanie ruhle. here's the thing. i think a lot of folks are wondering about this part of the story. this is a space that you know well.
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people who have large sums of money, why would they invest in a company that, you know, it's nontraditional in a myriad of ways. why would they invest millions with someone in a company they probably fully don't understand? >> remember, on its face, we do need more diversity in media and a different company. guess what. he's a great salesman who tells a great story. and so if you're a massive investor and you're having all sorts of investments, you might say this is worth a flier. what's happened in the last week is humiliating to their investors. they're exposed having never done their homework. think about when you asked him about sharon osbourne. take a minute. the osbournes sued him for using the name ozy and in return he said i'm going to give you some shares in my business. he then went out and said oh, i consider them investors. they're not investors. craig, that is like if today stephanie ruhle started a business and i said to elon musk
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and jeff bezos, i'm going to give you shares and tomorrow i went out and said guess who is waccing my business? well then all sorts of other potential investors might say if warren buffett backs it, so will i. sharon osbourne built a major media business, and it looks like she backed him. he knows all sort of people. the fact they have that call with goldman sachs and make a youtube executive, you have investors who might say i'm a traditional investor, i don't know about the kids and the youtube, but if he's getting th investment. now he's been exposed. >> this announcement this morning they are going to continue operations, is he going to be able to raise money now? >> craig, you said to him who is backing you? who is on the board? he said i'm on the board, yes, of course you're on the board. we see you sitting here, carlos. the fact he's unwilling to
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expose that, how do you run a media or news organization? everything is about transparency. you have to know where you're getting something from. if you don't know who is backing him, why would you trust that content? >> steefny ruhle, thank you for your analysis. if you start a company, i would back you. >> there you go. i'm going to say craig melvin, he's backing me. >> thank you. we continue to keep close eyes on the white house on this monday morning, because any minute now president biden will talk about the battle on capitol hill over raising the debt ceiling. when the president starts the speech, we'll take you there. more than 100,000 gallons of oil have leaked from the pacific ocean, closing beaches off the california southern coast. the damage and where the cleanup efforts stand at this hour, next. next cough cough sneeze sneeze... [ sneezing ] needs, plop plop fizz fizz. alka seltzer plus cold relief. dissolves quickly. instantly ready to start working. so you can bounce back fast with alka-seltzer plus. now available for fast sinus relief.
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this morning cleanup crews in california are working frantically to contain a massive oil spill off the coast of orange county. officials say at least 126,000 gallons of oil have already been dumped into the pacific ocean. it's polluting the water, the air, and the coast. erin has the latest. erin, tell us about the investigation into what went wrong there. >> craig, the investigation is ongoing. meanwhile the damage assessment continues. overnight officials here in
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southern california widening the area of impact now stretching from huntington beach all the way today in a point. teaches closed. fisheries closed. protected areas impacted including wetlands and marshes. areas these communities have focussed over the decades to protect and to build up. now damaged in a matter of a day. take a listen to what the mayor of huntington beach has to say. >> to see the environmental impact on our shore, to me, it's absolutely devastating. and we're going to do everything that we can to clean that up quickly and make sure that the responsible parties do their part as well. >> now, the coast guard is leading a multiagency cleanup effort. so far they said they managed to deploy thousands of feet of boons to try to stop the spread of the oil, especially into those protected areas. they say they've collected some 1200 gallons of oily water
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sonar. as you said, 126,000 gallons of oil is estimated to have spilled. that's really a drop in a bucket. and that's really an estimate as well. especially when you consider the beta offshore. the company responsible for the pipeline didn't notify authorities until saturday, but oil was smelled on the waters on friday, raising questions. in terms of the leak itself, as i said, that's still being investigated. it's thought to be about four and a half miles offshore. it's about 100 feet under water and divers are working to find the exact source of the leak. in the meantime, that pipeline has been shut down. >> all right. erin for us in seal beach, california. erin, thank you. let's stay in california. meanwhile california just announced plans to become the first state to require school children to get the covid vaccine. the governor saying the mandate will be phased in after the fda gives full approval for children
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to get the shot. nbc's steve patterson is in north hollywood, california. he's following the latest on this vaccine mandate for schools there. steve, what are you hearing from people about the requirement and realistically, how soon could it be enforced? >> well, no doubt this is a sweeping mandate affecting some 7 million school-age kids in california. timing is essential. you're right. it breaks down depending upon fda approval for specific age groups. kids in grades 7 through 12 likely to see the ramifications before kids in k through 6, and we're likely to see this as early as january of next year, but much more likely probably something like july. as far as the reaction to it, i think it's fair to say that californians are simply built a little bit differently at this point. we're -- californians, i should say, are used to being first in aggression against covid. the state was first to have a state stay at home mandate. some of the strictest mask
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policies in the country. in the school behind me, if you can see it, this is part of lausd, the second largest school district in the country. they already have their vaccine mandate. parents are sort of accustom to this struggle. we've heard the arguments in each of the specific things i mentioned. there's always a vocal, active minority raising their voices in this. i want to play for you the reaction from parents on both sides of the argument. just to get an encapsulation of how they feel. listen to this. >> i'm going to feel like there's a security blanket on top of children in general that are younger and more vulnerable. >> i think the parents should be able to decide on the health of their kids. >> so the question that is still out there is about exemptions. because remember, this is regulation and not legislation which means that as unlike other mandates, other vaccine mandates, there are expected to
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be exemptions for religious police chiefs, personal beliefs. as far as how far those exemptions will go, that language simply hasn't been drawn up yet. it's simply still too rlly to tell. >> all right. steve patterson for us in the north hollywood. thank you. right now president biden is running about 20 minutes late from his public schedule. it's par for the course. we do expect to see him any moment for that speech on the faceoff on capitol hill over raising the debt ceiling. when the president starts at the white house, we'll take you there for the short remarks. while the debt ceiling battle have been sucking up all the oxygen at the nation's capitol, a lot of democrats don't want to lose focus on another issue, voting rights. they are set to demonstrate in front of the white house. what they want to see from the biden administration, next. admit with downy infusions, let the scent set the mood.
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tomorrow president biden will face renewed pressure to act on a another big democratic priority, voting rights. a group of activists plan to demonstrate in front of the white house calling for president biden to put more muscle behind the push to pass a voting rights bill in the senate. with all the focus on the infrastructure battle on capitol hill and raising the debt ceiling, does president biden have enough critical capital to work on both issues? i'm joined by two organizers. the president of the group people for the american way, also the former president of the ncaap. and ceo of the league women voters. good to have both of you. thank you so much. tell us about tomorrow's event and what type of response you're hoping to get from the white house. >> first, it's good to see you. and you know, joe biden has a real opportunity here. he has a real mandate from the voters to lead on voting rights.
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what we need him to do, frankly, the same thing trump did to prak the right wing. call on his party in the senate to create a carveout in the filibuster so we can get this through. if trump can create -- could have the senate create a carveout in the rules that pack the supreme court, biden can certainly have his party create a carveout in the rules so that we can finally pass voting rights bills, and frankly, save our democracy. >> virginia, i know you organized a similar protest back in august. are these rallies and protests moving the needle at all? do we know? >> we absolutely believe they are. the white house was forced to respond to our rally last time. one of the reporters asked in the white house room, what are you going to say to these people who are outside asking for voting rights? and they were forced to respond, and so that's an important moment for us. we consider that a win.
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this is on the white house's radar. and people are demanding this. this isn't coming from the halls of congress. my organization is a nonpartisan organization. we represent voters. and there are voters all over the country who are demanding action right now. they saw what happened in 2020 and don't want to see it happen again in 2022 and beyond. >> as you know the president gave a big speech on voting rights over the summer, but in recent weeks there's been so much focus on the infrastructure bill, the debt ceiling showdown. has the president been engaged on this issue of voting rights sufficiently? >> he's become more engaged. my fear for president biden is he thinks he is called on to be like fdr. lead on the economy and entangledments overseas, but really he has to deal with both those things and lead on voting
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rights and civil rights. joe biden has to step up in this moment, call on the senate to just get the bills through. he has the votes. it's just this rules issue, and we know that can be dealt with. and it's only when it's called on the party to get it done. >> why don't you think, ben, you've been around politics a long time. why don't you think so far here -- this administration has not thrown the full weight of the presidency behind this particular issue? >> you know, it baffles me a bit. i think what often happens, we saw it happen in the obama administration. everything became about health care and they needed leadership on jobs. inside of an administration, they can get linear. first we get this done and then turn to this next. well, right now, given what's happening in our democracy --
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>> ben, i hate to cut you off. president biden is talking about raising the debt ceiling. >> we're here today to -- meeting to raise the debt limit. the republicans in congress, what they're doing today is reckless and dangerous in my view. raising the debt limit comes down to paying what has already been acquired. not anything new. it starts with a simple truth. the united states is a nation that pays it bills and always has. from the inception, we have never defaulted. what we pay for keeps us a great nation. social security benefits for seniors, salaries for brave service members and benefits for veterans and other financial obligations for our people and our nation. we meet the obligations based on the revenue we receive from taxes and based on our ability
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to borrow what and when needed. and in that case, we're able to borrow because we always pay our debt. we always pay what we owe. we never fail. that's america. that's who we are. that's what's called for. it's called full faith in credit of the united states. it's rock solid. it's the best in the world. here's the deal. there's a cap on what we can borrow called the debt limit. and only congress can raise or lower that debt limit, so let me be really clear. this is really important to know. raising the debt limit is about paying off our old debts. it has nothing to do with any new spending being considered. it has nothing to do with my plan for infrastructure. or building back better. zero. zero. both of which i might add are paid for. so if we're going to make good on what's already been approved by previous congresses, and
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previous presidents and parties, we have to pay for it. social security benefits, the american people are promised. salaries for servicemen and women. benefits for veterans. we'll have to raise the debt limits to meet those obligations and raising the debt limit is usually a bipartisan undertaking. and it should be. that's what is not happening today. the reason we have to raise the ket limit is because of the reckless tax and spending policies under the previous trump administration. in four years they incurred nearly $8 trillion in four years. $8 trillion in additional debt. in bills we have to now pay off. that's more than a quarter of the entire debt incurred now outstanding after more than 200 years. and republicans in congress
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raised the debt three times when donald trump was president. and each time with democrat support. but now they won't raise it. even though they're responsible for more than $8 trillion in bills incurred in four years under the previous administration. that's what we'd be paying off. they won't raise it, even though defaulting on the debt would lead to self-inflicted wound that takes our economy over a cliff and risks jobs and retirement savings. social security benefits, salaries for service members, benefits for veterans and so much more. a failure to raise the debt limit will call into question congress's willingness to meet our obligations that we've already incurred. not new ones. we've already incurred. this is going to undermine the safety of the u.s. treasury securities. it will threaten the reserve status of the dollar as the world's currency. the world relies on.
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the american credit rating will be downgraded. interest rates will rise for mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, and borrowing. folks, watching at home, you should know this is the republican position. republican position. they won't vote to raise the debt limit to cover their own spending. democrats voted with them to cover that spending last four years, the previous four years. they say democrats should do it alone, but then they're threatening to use a procedural power called the filibuster meaning that we'd have to get 60 votes, not 50 votes to increase the debt limit. this would block the democrats from meeting their obligations and responsibilities to prevent congress from raising the debt limit. so let's be clear, not only are republicans refusing to do their job, they're threatening to use the power, their power to
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prevent us from doing our job, saving the economy from a catastrophic event. i think quite frankly, it's hypocritical, especially as we're clawing our way out of this pandemic. democrats will meet our responsibilities and obligations to this country. we're not expecting republicans to do their part. they made that clear from the beginning. we tried asking to no avail. we're just asking them not to use procedural tricks to block us from doing the job that they won't do. a meteor is headed to crash into our economy. democrats are willing to do all the work stopping it. republicans just have to let us to our job. just get out of the way. if you don't want to help save the country, get out of the way so you don't destroy it.
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we don't have time to delay with elaborate procedural schemes, which republican proposals require, scores of votes without any certainty at all, many of which have nothing to do with the debt limit at all. and that's when accidents happen. in the days ahead, even before the default date, people may see the value of their retirement accounts shrink. they may see interest rates go up, which will ultimately raise their mortgage payments and car payments, and the american people, look, just say it this way, as soon as this week, your savings in your pocketbook could be directly impacted by this republican stunt. it's as simple as that. republicans say they will not do their part to avoid this needless calamity, so be it. but they need to stop playing russian roulette with the u.s. economy. it's one thing to pay our debts
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already acquired. it's another to require a super majority to pay the debts already acquired. it's not right. let the democrats vote to raise the debt ceiling this week. that obstruction -- without obstruction or further delays. democrats have already passed a bill that will do that. it's sitting in the united states senate where democrats have the vote to pass it. that's the only way to eliminate the uncertainty and risk that's going to harm american families and our economy. let us vote and end the mess. you know, we've got to get this done. we must get this done. it is, like as i said playing russian roulette to play these games. we can do it this week. just get out of the way and let us pass it. thank you. >> mr. president, senator mitch mcconnell said he sent a letter to you explaining his view. have you seen that letter?
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have you communicated with him, and how dire do you believe this is if action doesn't take place in the next few days? >> first of all, i did get a letter. i got it ten minutes before i walked in here. i've read it. i plan on talking to mitch about it. he and i have been down this road once before back when i was vice president, and i hope we can have some intelligent and honest conversation about what he's proposing, and i think the easiest way to do this and if the republicans would not use the filibuster, would be to let us vote on what is already in the senate right now passed by the house to raise the debt limit. and we could do that in the next several days. >> mr. president -- >> thank you, mr. president. you've often touted your experience in the senate, your 36 years in the senate, your aides have talked about your ability to be a closer on deals involving legislation.
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why were you unable, mr. president, to close the deal with members of your own party on key parts of your legislative agenda last week? >> unable -- able to close the deal with 99% of my party. two, two people. that's still underway. i don't think there's been a president who's been able to close deals that's been in a position where he has only 50 votes in the senate and a bear majority in the house. it's a process. it's a process. we'll get it done. >> mr. president -- >> it sounds like you're putting the blame squarely on two u.s. senators for your inability to close that deal, senators sinema and senator manchin. am i incorrect? is that who the blame lies with? >> look, i need 50 votes in the senate. i have 48. >> leader schumer has vowed not to raise the debt ceiling through the reconciliation process, so ultimately it
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puts -- >> i'm sorry? >> leader schumer said he won't raise the debt ceiling through the reconciliation process, if push comes to shove and senator mcconnell does not change his position, what is more important, that position senator schumer has or raising the debt ceiling? i also have a question on ethiopia. >> let's stick on the debt so we don't confuse the american people. number one, the issue of reconciliation, which is like code to the american people, what's reconciliation. there is a process that i understand the republican leader is willing to initiate, go through, that would require literally up to hundreds of votes. it's an unlimited number of votes. i mean, nothing directly to do with the debt limit. it could be for everything from ethiopia to anything else that
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has nothing to do with the debt limit, and it's fraught with all kinds of potential danger for miscalculation. and it would have to happen twice. so you could literally have several hundred votes over the next number of days. everything else would come to a standstill, but you still find yourself in a situation where at the end of the day, we may have passed something that, in fact, then has to be undone again by either democrats or republicans. it's an incredibly complicated cumbersome process when there's a very simple process sitting out there, sitting at the desk in the united states senate is a bill passed by the house saying we democrats will raise the debt limit, take responsibility for raising even though some voted to acquire the debt as well. we will go ahead and do that. that's the way to proceed. >> reconciliation or raising the debt ceiling, which position
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would you take? >> i'm not going to cross that bridge until we have to get there. >> mr. president -- >> genocide and why you haven't yet imposed the sanctions that you authorized two weeks ago, sir? >> speak to that later. >> regarding your build back better agenda, we know the top line figure from senator manchin is 1.5 trillion. senator kyrsten sinema has yet to give that number where she's willing to go, but she says she's negotiating good faith with the white house. what is her figure? >> i'm not going to tell you that. we're in negotiations. >> is it between 1.5 and 3.5? is it higher at least than the 1.5? >> i'm not going to negotiate in public. >> mr. president -- >> mr. president, how is what the republicans are doing now any different than from when you opposed raising the debt limit during the bush years. >> we did not require 60 votes and it was a straight up and
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down vote. >> mr. president, you're talking about how you have 48 democratic votes right now. the other two have been pressured over the weekend by activists. joe manchin had people on kayaks show up to his boat, senator sinema last night was chased into a restroom. do you think that those tactics are crossing a line? >> i don't think they're appropriate tactics, but it happens to everybody from -- the only people it doesn't happen to are people who have secret service standing around them. so it's part of the process. yes. >> a lot of people have been trying to -- >> mr. president, i know you want to comment on other senators positions and negotiations, but what do you think the size of the reconciliation package should be? what specific dollar figure? >> well, i laid out what i thought it should be. it's not going to be that. it's going to be less. i mean, look, the legislation
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both the build back better piece as well as the infrastructure piece are things that i wrote. these didn't come from god love him, bernie sanders, or aoc or anybody else. i wrote them. i disagreed with medicare for all, for example. i disagreed but i laid out what i thought would be important. for example, i think in the build back better program it's required that we, in fact, have the best education available to us and i'll be speaking to this in detail tomorrow. but look, here's the situation. how can we in an ever competitive world, increasingly competitive world, how can we not meet the educational standards of at least other countries are working toward? nobody is reducing the number of years they want their children to go to school or people to go to school. you've heard me say it before as


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