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INSIDE POLITICS

Now: Two House Committees Debate Health Care Bill; Sources: Trump Fully Committed To Selling Health Bill; Women Rally For Equality, Human Rights Today; National Strikes Mark "Day Without Women". Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired March 8, 2017 - 12:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[12:30:00] JIM ACOSTA, INSIDE POLITICS HOST: My colleagues Sara Murray over at the White House is saying that she's hearing from the administration officials who are already frustrated with the House Republican effort. I talked to a Congressional Republican source earlier this morning, who said we would appreciate a more full- throated effort from the White House. So, the finger-pointing has already begun 24 hours into this, Ron.

RON BROWNSTEIN, THE ATLANTIC: It really shows the power of facts on the ground, right? From the point of view I think that most Democrats, even most Americans. The most salient fact about the House Republican bill maybe that it takes away coverage from maybe the first dozens, is maybe as many as 10 million of the 20 million who got coverage under Obamacare. But if you're saying there from the point of view of a Conservative in the House, you are now voting to create an entitlement that will provide coverage for 10 million -- sustain coverage for 10 million people.

The federal government putting the bill to that, they never would have done that on their own. I mean, they never would have gone out a unified House Republican government, would not have gone to do that. So, you can see kind of a clash of perspectives. The history is, if you can think back maybe the clearest analog for me to this is, is the Medicare Part D in 2002, the prescription drug under Medicare. When there was a similar revolt among House conservatives.

And eventually Tom DeLay leaving the vote open the longest ever. They were able to get there. The history is usually they can find a way to cobble this through the house by moving it on to the right. Then the question will be, will the Senate more moderate or Central Senate Republicans hold firm in resisting some of the things that they have to do to get this out of the House?

ACOSTA: And -- but Nia this has not been scored by the Congressional Budget Office. Yet, we do not know how many millions or billions of dollars this is going to add to the deficit. We are told by Standard & Poor's -- there's an analysis done by Standard & Poor's saying 6 million to 10 million people could lose their coverage under what people are calling Ryan Care at this point.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL REPORTER: Yes.

ACOSTA: How is that going to sell? HENDERSON: You know, you see the White House not wanting to talk about that at all, really. I mean, they use phrases like innovation. The states are going to be able to innovate or you're going to have freedom in choice and then, you know, empowerment.

ACOSTA: Spicer was showing us yesterday now that there was a smaller and larger Obamacare bill -- yes.

HENDERSON: And, yes, I think this is really going to test Trump's power with his voters. He's still at 90 percent amongst Republicans. He's also going to test how much actual Republican voters care about spending. How much stuff costs? How much they care about entitlement programs. It seems like they like entitlement programs as long as they feel like they are part of that -- they are getting that entitlement. So, I think we're in for a real battle here to see how much power he has with those voters.

ACOSTA: But Jennifer, getting back to what I heard this morning from a congressional -- senior Republican congressional source, that they would like to see more full-throated effort from the White House. President Obama when he sold Obamacare, he was on the road. He was giving speeches. They were tinning (ph) up surrogates and stories about people losing their health care coverage to help sell this. Where is that effort? When is the President going to this?

JENNIFER JACOBS, BLOOMBERG POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. You've got Mike Pence, as the big voice today. He is doing Hannity. He's doing some on the radio. He is giving speeches.

And, you know, yesterday, of course, we had Tom Price giving the press briefing. So, you see them out there. And then, the only thing we've really seen from the President today was that tweet at Rand Paul saying, I know that my friend will get on board with this.

ACOSTA: They're friends? I didn't know that.

JACOBS: Apparently --

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: Yes.

JACOBS: But the Congressional Budget Office's report will be out next week. Paul Ryan told us this morning. So, I think once that is out there, but I do know it is -- like you were saying, it is a test of whether Trump is able to rely on those numbers of Congress, whether they will come through for him or whether he is willing to role them. But if these tanks can he then, you know, just say, "Hey, I tried. Listen, it was those weak knees in Congress that defeated me".

BROWNSTEIN: Ought about this. This is a pre-Trump Republican health care bill. In that, if you look at the budget that he put out last year.

ACOSTA: It's Ryan Care. BROWNSTEIN: That is right. You look at the budget parameters that

President Trump put out. He said, we are going to increase defense spending, were going to protect Social Security and Medicare, which are increasingly my voters. Majority of Donald Trump's votes came from whites over 45. 80 percent of the senior population is white. We're going to focus all of the cuts on domestic discretionary programs, which are aimed at primarily the productivity of the next generation. Education, infrastructure, science and research, and so forth. So, that's where the focus is faced.

This bill, on the other hand, is a more kind of traditional argument of we're going to cut taxes on wealthy people. $600 billion in tax cuts. We're going to roll back the federal roll. And in that S&P analysis and everything else that you -- all the analysis that's coming this week, the biggest losers in the changes they are going to provide are those same older working age people --

ACOSTA: That's right.

BROWNSTEIN: -- with big need, with big health care needs.

ACOSTA: Wait until they see those numbers. When they see that the 20 and 30-year-olds get the better tax credit out of this and the people who are in their 50s and early 60s are seeing that Obamacare subsidy shrink by thousands of dollars.

BROWNSTEIN: That was a 30 percent increase in premiums for people in their -- older working age 40s, 50s into 60s by the estimate of the S&P, two others in that ballpark. And as a result, the S&P estimate is a majority of those who gain coverage under the ACA in that age group of 45 to 64, which is now the core Republican -- the core of the Republican coalition whites in that age group. A majority of them would lose coverage they estimate under this alternative. So, part of the problem he's got in selling it, is that it hits his own voters.

[12:35:06] ACOSTA: And Molly, a little bit of breaking news. Ted Cruz, who has been a foe of Donald Trump as well, tweeted or we're hearing that he said to reporters who were tweeting us up on Capitol Hill, "As drafted, I do not believe this bill would pass the United States Senate." What do you make of that? This is --

MOLLY BALL, THE ATLANTIC: Well, I think it's true, you know, but it's only addressed.

ACOSTA: Senator Cruz saying, I do not see this bill passing through there. I do not see it passing anywhere.

BALL: I will not pass it in a box. I will not pass it with a fox. Yes --

ACOSTA: There we go.

BALL: -- that's in Cruz's famous filibuster when he read "Green Eggs and Ham" --

ACOSTA: Yes. BALL: -- in the will of the United States.

ACOSTA: I had to work that in.

BALL: So I think it's correct, but it's the equivalent of my editor saying to me. I will not publish this draft. It's a draft. And it goes to --

HENDERSON: That never happens. So your copy fails through.

BALL: -- revisions, well, that's true.

JACOBS: Yes.

BALL: But other people's editors, I've heard, that have. And so, the point is that, like, I think Ted Cruz is telling the truth. This bill would not pass as drafted. The question is what deals have to be made? What deals can be made? What can they tweak? What is untouchable? And how much are these conservative members who were the, you know, heck no caucus --

ACOSTA: Right.

BALL: -- under Obama, how much are they going to be willing to comprise?

ACOSTA: And Senator Cruz is having dinner with the President.

BALL: His dinner exactly tonight.

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: It's a sales job that's coming.

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: But Ron --

BROWNSTEIN: In the end, it likely will come down more -- I think it will come down more on the other side of the Republican Party because -- I mean, the history is --

HENDERSON: The moderates.

BROWNSTEIN: The moderates.

HENDERSON: Yes.

BROWNSTEIN: Because the history is, that the House Republicans will find a way to get this through. Moving it just enough to the right to get the bare minimum coalition which is what Tom DeLay was so great at. And then the, question will be, will enough of the more moderate Senate Republicans accept whatever that process produces.

HENDERSON: Yes. And they --

BROWNSTEIN: That's where it will be. I think that will be the touch point in the end.

HENDERSON: And they keep talking the Phase 2 and Phase 3.

ACOSTA: Right.

HENDERSON: Donald Trump tweeted about that and some of the different reforms.

ACOSTA: They can pass in reconciliation, and Tom Price in the Phase 2 can do it administratively and then whatever they can't do through budget reconciliation that they need 60 votes for, that will be Phase 3.

HENDERSON: Tom Price keeps talking about it as a work in progress.

ACOSTA: Yes. It certainly is.

HENDERSON: Yes.

ACOSTA: All right, well, let's move on. Marches, speeches, and protests to mark International Women's Day going on right now in Washington and New York City, will these marches even matter? That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:41:38] ACOSTA: OK. You're looking at live pictures right now. Marchers gathering and demonstrating in both New York and Washington to mark International Women's Day. This is part of the movement that we saw really getting going during the inaugural. When you saw women and men and children for that matter marching in major cities all over the country to demonstrate against President Trump and we're seeing some of that here today.

We should also point out President Trump did tweet this morning about International Women's Day. Let's put this up on screen. I thought this was interesting. He says, "I have tremendous respect for women and the many roles they serve that are vital to the fabric of our society and our economy." His daughter Ivanka also tweeting this, "Today, we celebrate women and are reminded of our collective voice and the powerful impact we have on our societies and economies."

And, you know, this is something, Molly, that I think the President would do well by sitting back and just being an observer to all of this. Just a hunch on my part --

BALL: Well, and so far he has.

ACOSTA: Yes, yes.

BALL: So, we should give him some credit for that for not doing one of his signature provocations and causing a whole controversy.

ACOSTA: Yes. Because much of this is directed at him. I thought this is a reaction to him and --

BALL: Of course.

ACOSTA: -- yes.

BALL: And so, this is a much more political International Women's Day that we have seen in the past, right. International Women's Day usually, like, is one of these days on the calendar where it's relatively nonpartisan. Everybody can agree that women are wonderful, but because they -- this move -- this women's movement has been so focus on opposition to Trump, it is, I think, become much more of a politically polarize occasion.

ACOSTA: Yes.

BALL: For Trump to rise above, it is commendable.

ACOSTA: Yes. I -- the thing that I find interesting in all of these is that -- and perhaps today is not the best example of this but those women's marches that we saw around the inaugural.

BALL: Yes.

ACOSTA: And these other demonstrations that have been cropping up in recent weeks where it sort of feels like the reverse Tea Party is taking shape around the country. Do you see some of that there? And do you see perhaps the makings of the Democratic Party resurgence in some of these demonstrations?

HENDERSON: I mean, possibly. And, you know, you saw Ivanka -- Trump tweet there about a collective women's voice.

ACOSTA: Yes.

HENDERSON: There really isn't a collective women's voice when it comes to politics. White women vote very differently up in black women do than Latino women do, than Asian women do. So, there -- I mean, even tensions around some of those marches there's, you know, African-American women wondering where they fit into that. I mean -- so, it isn't -- you have the Tea Party which was very much bound together by race and religion and in some ways class. But, these kind movements I think to think that the identity of being a woman is enough to bind together this response and resistance. I think it's a fallacy.

BROWNSTEIN: You know, there a key separate issues -- I mean, Donald Trump won white women running against the first white woman nominee ever. He won white women by nine. That was less than Mitt Romney won them by 12 but more than John McCain win by in 2008.

Arguably, the principle reason he is President is because so many blue collar white women voted for him especially in west. He won non- collars white men by 27 points. So as Nia said there is not amount women's vote or voice.

But, the other part of this I think is maybe more relevant to 2018, which is just the sheer amount of energy that you're seeing not only in this march -- maybe not this march so much, but the marches immediately after the election. The protest around the executive order, some of the town halls on health care.

[12:45:09] Midterm elections are about motivation and very far fewer people vote than in the presidential. Tom Davis, the former NRCC chair that we know. Midterms are about the people who are the angriest.

ACOSTA: Right.

BROWNSTEIN: And right now, if you look in polling, people who strongly disapprove Donald Trump. Do significantly outnumber the share that strongly approve of him. And you do have this kind of energy at the base of the Democratic Party and beyond it that goes beyond I think what you usually see.

ACOSTA: Jennifer, people mock the Tea Party, but in 2010 they took the House. They did lose in 2012. Republicans lost in 2012, but in 2014 they took the senate. Going to Ron Brownstein's point here, could -- is this something that the White House should be, you know, keeping their eye on?

JACOBS: Yes, absolutely. And I think they do. But, if we're wondering how much this march, you know, these women's day has an affect on the President of the United States, there's probably one woman who has more affect than anyone else. And at this moment it's probably Ivanka Trump. We wonder what her role would be. Just, you know, a month ago, we were not sure what it would be. She doesn't have official advisory role.

But, we can tell from her twitter post that she has, you know, she is there for everything. She is riding along with him in the motorcade on the way to his first address to Congress. She's there on the museum tours. She's there on, you know, Air Force One flying with him. She's in the Oval Office for bill signings. She's right there at his side steering his thinking, encouraging him --

ACOSTA: Trying to be a moderating influence.

JACOBS: Exactly.

HENDERSON: But, also brand, you know -- I mean, it's sort of about branding Ivanka Trump too. I think she's got book coming out in May. There's a story that we had up by Kate Bennett that said Ivanka Trump is a walking billboard for Ivanka Trump. So, a lot of this stuff -- I mean, part of the idea up her --

ACOSTA: Chip off the old block, you might say.

HENDERSON: Yes. I mean, I think in some ways sort of the idea for is moderating force is kind of missed push by Ivanka Trump. If you look at some of the things that Donald Trump has done, I don't know if he's in call to travel ban very moderate. I don't think you could call what they did on LGBTQ rights moderate. So, you know, in some of these I'm a little, you know, skeptical of this whole idea of Ivanka Trump is in there really having much influence.

ACOSTA: It doesn't tone things down too much. HENDERSON: Yes.

BROWNSTEIN: And I think (INAUDIBLE) before. If you look at the initial reactions to Trump as president extending from Trump as candidate, I think the divides you're going to see are even wider. I mean, those working class white women who work for him, there's no indication they're moving away. But he is -- I think he is performing even more poorly than he did during the campaign with those white collar white -- or many more social (ph) and liberal and certainly with minorities facing a lot of trouble as well.

ACOSTA: And I think that is why the Obamacare argument is so important and how that plays out. I think those voters are really in play if the President mishandles this.

OK. Up next, our reporters share from their notebooks, including could the GOP's health care plan stick it to the same voters? And we've been talking about this, who put Donald Trump in the White House, when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:52:08] KING: OK, let's head around the "Inside Politics" table and ask our reporters to get you out ahead of the big political news today just around the corner. Molly Ball, what do you have for us today?

BALL: Well, we all remember governing by deadline, the constant crisis in the House that seemed to drive so much of the agenda in recent years. And it may be no different in the Trump Era. Just next week is coming up the first debt ceiling deadline.

ACOSTA: Goodness.

BALL: The Trump administration, I know, it's so exciting. Brings back such good memories. It is --

ACOSTA: I'll put it in my PTO (ph) request right now for that date.

BALL: -- is next Wednesday, the 15th, the Ides of March. Now there are extraordinary measures the treasury can take to put this offer several months. Republicans didn't like those measures under Obama. Well, see if there tune has changed under Trump. This is one of those issues that certainly makes it hypocrite of everybody. Also a government funding deadline coming up at the end of April, so we shall see if we are going to get the same kind of, you know --

ACOSTA: These are real things that the President has to --

MALL: -- commending (ph) for a test governance that Congress used to do.

ACOSTA: That's right.

MALL: Or if things have gotten any better with consolidated Republican control. ACOSTA: Real things that they have to take care of now like the debt ceiling.

MALL: Real thing.

ACOSTA: Ron Brownstein?

BROWNSTEIN: You know, you have President Trump talking about a blood bath if Republicans don't repeal the Affordable Care Act. You have more Republicans, I think, beginning to focus on the question of whether they're lighting a fuse if they do.

I mean, as you said before, majority of Donald Trump's votes came from whites over 45. Sixty percent of the House Republicans are in districts where the median age is older than the national average but every analysis that have come out this week, that has come out his week, I shown that the big losers in the repeal and replace plan are older working age adults.

Three separate analyses this week showed that for people in their 50's and 60's, the Republican that would raise premiums by about 30 percent. And as a result, S&P who decided before estimates that over half of everyone 45-64 gained cover here the ACA would lose it under this replacement.

Midterms are about angry voters. Those are voters that Republicans now depend on. And they may be the ones who are most directly in the line of fire. That is --

ACOSTA: And who didn't see this coming?

BROWNSTEIN: -- who did not -- in fact, their principle complaint was that, it cost them too much. And you saw, for example, in "New York Times" today, you know, a voter saying -- you know, an older white voter saying, they voted for Trump because he was going bring down their health care costs. They were probably not getting on a 30 percent premium increase.

ACOSTA: OK, Nia?

HENDERSON: Ben Carson, the newly installed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development had something about rough rollout because of something he said about slavery sort of comparing slavery to immigration. He's going to go on a listening tour in mid-March. The itinerary is still being worked out. What will be interesting to watch is how he is received given some of his past comments. And given, also, how we've seen some of Donald Trump's other cabinet officials received. Betsy DeVos comes to mind, had a bit of a rough rollout. When she went to a public school got protested.

So, that will be interesting to watch. It is very much a learning curve for Ben Carson in terms of what to do, you know, at HUD and as a Cabinet Secretary.

[12:55:07] So it will be interesting to watch how he's received and how he handled it. ACOSTA: OK, Jen?

JACOBS: Another guy with a little bit of a controversial history. Sources of Bloomberg news that Richard Grenell is going to be the NATO ambassador. He was a former U.N. spokesman.

ACOSTA: Wow.

JACOBS: If he is confirmed by the Senate, he will be the highest ranking openly gay member of the Trump administration. You might remember he was a spokesman for Mitt Romney. There was little bit of a backlash on social conservative about the fact that he is gay. But there was more of a backlash about the fact that he has bit of a radio active Twitter account. He is very aggressive on Twitter, less than diplomatic and he continues that trends (ph) today so that it will be interesting to see --

(CROSSTALK)

ACOSTA: Rick is a little rough around the edges at times. Expect check true. All right, thanks guys very much. We appreciate it.

Thanks for joining us for "Inside Politics". We are minutes away from the White House briefing. Wolf Blitzer will bring that to you, live.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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