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CNN Reports, Deal Reached To Provide More Funding For Small Businesses; Three States Move To Reopen Businesses As Cases Top 788,000; Trump Vows To Suspend Immigration Into U.S., But Why Now. Aired 1-1:30p ET
Aired April 21, 2020 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
RYAN FOX SQUIRE, PRODUCT AND DATA SCIENTIST, SAFEGRAPH: We think that one of the most important things to understand --
JOHN KING, CNN INSIDE POLITICS: I need to stop -- I'm sorry, I need to stop you there because we're out of time. But I'm going to bring you back to talk more about this. I want to bring you back as places start to reopen.
Anderson Cooper picks up our coverage right now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ACNHOR: I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for joining. This is CNN's continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
We begin with breaking news on Capitol Hill that a deal has been reached for desperately needed second round of stimulus funding for small businesses. Our Senior Congressional Correspondent, Manu Raju, is following the developments, joins us. So what do we know of this deal?
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a significant deal in just the latest ever by Washington to prop up the economy, the most aggressive ever by Washington to intervene the economy since the great depression. This deal could be north of $450 billion dealing with not just small business loans but also other matters as well.
Overall, we're looking at about $310 billion for that popular small business loan program which run out of money last week and that's going to be approved and sent to these small business loans in just a matter of days once the final votes occur.
But in addition to that, there will $60 billion for disaster recovery loans and grants in addition, $75 billion for hospitals, which, of course, have been hit hard throughout this coronavirus crisis, and another $30 billion to deal with testing.
And this had been a big dispute over the last several days. The Democrats have been pushing for a national testing strategy led by the federal government, with Republicans pushing back and said, this is something the states need to do, something that the president himself had echoed and this ultimately be agreed on a pot of money. Some of it will go to the states. Some of it will go to the federal government. We'll see exactly what the legislative language looks like when they release it in a matter of hours.
And we do expect in just a matter of hours, at 4:00 P.M. Eastern, Anderson, the Senate will approve this plan. And then afterwards on Thursday, the House will come back into session and members will come back from all over the country to cast their vote to send this to the president's desk. And we expect the president, of course, to sign this.
But all told, Anderson, this comes on the heels of historic $2 trillion stimulus plan that was enacted last month. That was the biggest rescue package in American history. And that came after $192 billion plan that the House and Senate also approved, the president sign signed this spring.
In addition to that, there has already been a billion dollars that was spent as the first measure. Anderson, this $450 billion package is not going to be the last. Expect another plan could more than a trillion dollars, potentially up to $2 trillion that they have to deal with next as a lot of matters have been left out of this. Both sides realizing much more needs to be done to deal with this growing economic crisis. Anderson?
COOPER: So just a couple of things. With the first program for small businesses and the money ran out very quickly but also a lot of big businesses seem to have been able to benefit the most because they had ongoing relationships with lenders so it is easier for them to quickly get money using those relationships. Is there any guarantee that this will really be focused on very small businesses?
RAJU: Well, there is going to be a push that will be set aside for some of those underserved businesses, people in businesses, banks from rural communities as well as some lenders that may provide money for minority businesses. We have to look at the exact legislative language to understand precisely how that set aside money will work.
That had been a point of contention as they have been negotiating this. Because, as you mentioned, Anderson, a number of bigger businesses would come in, just take all that money and it will essentially be first come, first serve.
The question is how quickly will this and more than $300 billion run out, because we saw that first pot of money run out in less than two weeks. And will this last any longer? Will Congress add more money to the program? And will those businesses that really need it actually get the money? That's going to be a big question as they implement this sweeping program. Anderson?
COOPER: And the thing about testing, obviously, that was a big point of contention, as you mention. Do we know any more details about -- a lot of the governors were saying, Governor Cuomo has said, the state needs money from the federal government to ramp up testing, to ramp up contact tracing? RAJU: Well, we do expect about $11 billion of that $30 billion that will be included for testing to go to states. The rest of that will go to the federal government, which will be dispersed to various labs, also invest in promising new technologies.
Now, what the Democrats have been pushing for is an actual, specific strategy and national strategy led by the federal government to push forward on testing, coordinate everything that's happening among the states. The Republicans have pushed back on that.
Now, we have not seen the exact legislative language about how that was resolved.
We expect they came to some sort of middle ground agreement about that exact national testing strategy. So once we see the legislative language, we'll get a good sense of what that ultimate negotiation came down to. But that was a point that delayed these talks for several days as both sides disagree philosophically about who should lead for these COVID-19 patients going forward.
COOPER: Senator Schumer, I think, told our John Berman that he was on the phone late at night with Speaker Pelosi, Mark Meadows, the new chief of staff, Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary.
RAJU: Yes. And that discussion, they generally reached a top line agreement about what they could vote for, what they expect to approve in the Senate today and the House on Thursday, and then afterwards, it led to an all-night session of negotiating among the staff that went back and forth about various draft tax that came forward as late as noon today.
Even after Chuck Schumer told our colleague, John Berman, that there was a deal, there was not a deal as the two sides still Negotiating over that testing language specifically. That had been a point that had continued to divide them up until just about an hour ago or so. So, ultimately, Anderson, we'll see what it looks like here. But at least at the moment, both sides have agreed after days of bitter impasse and both sides pointing fingers.
COOPER: Yes, a lot of money at stake. Manu Raju, thanks very much. I appreciate it.
We're going to turn now to the deepening life and death debate over how states should reopen, as the number of cases topping 788,000. Three governors, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, are easing some restrictions in the next week or so, allowing sort of non- essential businesses to reopen. But none of the three has met the White House guideline that a state should experience 14 straight days of a downward trend in case before beginning to restart their economies. In fact, Georgia saw more than 5,700 new coronavirus cases last week, it turned to something up there.
The governor has stepped forward. He'll be the first among his counterparts to allow hair salons, tattoo parlors, massage parlors, to open their doors in three days, and a couple of days later, restaurants and other places.
CNN's Martin Savidge is in Johns Creek, Georgia, a suburb in Atlanta. So how are people in Georgia taking the governor's decision to reopen some businesses for some of the places like nail salons? I mean, it's impossible to keep distance there.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot of people are really surprised, Anderson, because it was the breath of the reopening here, the number of different businesses that are being allowed to reopen and then the oddity of the lists that, really, bowling alleys? That was a top tier priority of reopening? So, questions there.
Talking to people in the parking lot, 50 percent of them think that the governor has chosen the right time and, yes, it is a good thing to do for small businesses. They can't take it no more. The other half are saying, it exactly the wrong time just as this state was starting to see some progress. It is really a gamble on the part of the governor both medically as well as politically.
SAVIDGE: Georgia's governor, Brian Kemp, announcing he'll begin to easing social distancing orders in his state this week.
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): We have more people moving around. We're probably going to have -- see our cases continue to go up, but we are a lot better prepared for that now than we were over a month ago.
SAVIDGE: On Friday, places like barber shops, hair and nail salons, bowling alleys and gyms are all allowed to reopen, and by Monday, restaurants and theaters will be back in business too.
KEMP: The entities which I'm reopening are not reopening as business as usual.
SAVIDGE: The governor says they'll all, at minimum, need to screen employee temperatures, require masks and gloves were appropriate and enforce social distancing in the workplace. Mayors in some of Georgia's cities frustrated with Kemp's decision.
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D-ATLANTA, GA): Our governor often defers to local control and I wish this were an instance that he'd defer to local control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am beyond disturbed. In my mind, this is reckless.
MAYOR BO DOROUGH, ALBANY, GA: We're simply not ready to reopen. Our hospital is still at capacity and we certainly don't have the capacity to contact trace.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were all caught off guards. I'm quite, frankly, surprised.
SAVIDGE: President Trump's guidelines for states to reopen recommended states show a 14-day decline of coronavirus cases, and that's not the case in Georgia, or neighboring Tennessee, which will allow some businesses to operate as soon as April 27th, nor in South Carolina, who will now let local leaders choose if beaches will open.
Dr. Deborah Birx says governors can decide for themselves whether they've reached the specific White House guidelines.
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: When you inform the public and give them the information that they need, then they can make decisions along with the local government and governors.
SAVIDGE: In New York City, the mayor canceling all large gatherings, like parades, through June even as the state overall continues to see a decline of coronavirus related hospitalizations and infections.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): People are a little more relaxed because they see the numbers coming down, and we know human behavior.
When that activity level increases, you can very well see that infection rate spread.
SAVIDGE: And in cities like Philadelphia, Chicago and Boston, leaders still bracing for the toughest days.
MAYOR MARTY WALSH (D-BOSTON, MA): The worse is yet to come for a lot of people. I think even we'll be on the surge, we're still going to have positive cases of coronavirus. We're still going to have loss of life.
SAVIDGE: This reopening has caused confusion in Georgia as well because many residents are wondering, well, is that the end of shelter in place in some weeks ago? No, it isn't. Actually, that's still in effect. It goes through all the way through to end of this month, according to the governor. And, in fact, he's recommending the medically fragile, as he calls at the elderly, they remain in shelter at least into the middle of next month.
There are a number of businesses that say despite the fact they can open, they aren't going to open. They don't believe the time is right for their customers or their employees. Anderson?
COOPER: Martin Savidge, thanks very much, I appreciate it, from Georgia.
I want to bring in Dr. Celine Gounder, infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist. Dr. Gounder, when you see these states reopening, nail salons, gyms, restaurants next Monday, as new infections are still being reported, is it appropriate?
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Anderson, I am really concerned because we haven't really met the threshold for healthcare system readiness or public health system readiness in any of these states, really. So when we talk about healthcare system readiness, that's what we're talking about when we're discussing the flattening of the curve, where you really we want to reduce the number of cases to a level that the health system can manage.
And the challenges we know, when we lift social distancing restrictions, that there will be increased transmission, there will be more cases. We just want to make sure that we can handle what is coming into the door of the emergency room at that point, and we're not there yet.
On the public health side, you know, we really need to be able to do the testing and contact tracing. We know Georgia, in particular, is really under testing. And so if we're still not doing what we need to be doing now with social distancing with fewer cases, relatively speaking, how are we going to be able to do that when we lift social distancing restrictions and cases go up again.
COOPER: There is a study out of China and we showed a diagram from it. It suggests that an air conditioner could have contributed to the spread among three families that were eating in a restaurant and. The yellow field circle, A-1, shows the person with the initial infection while the red circles are people who became infected over the course of two weeks.
If that is accurate and that was one person who is infected each in the the restaurant and have been, through contact tracing, to figure out all these other people who were nearby who got infected, that's very worrying if you are in any place like a gym or hair salon or a mall or restaurant where air is being circulated.
GOUNDER: Well, I think that's right. We are coming into our spring and then summer where a lot of public places are going to have their air-conditioning on. And I think this is a test to how difficult it is to control the spread of this disease in public spaces.
We've also learned that this is not droplet spread, that there is some degree of aerosol spread, so this virus can linger in the air for longer, probably travel greater distances than we originally realize. So this new learning, this new science really does complicate how we can best control transmission in public spaces.
COOPER: Dr. Celine Gounder, I appreciate it, as always. Thank you very much.
Coming up, President Trump claims that he's going to stop all immigration into the U.S. despite the fact that's already, essentially, at a standstill. Details ahead.
Plus, the FDA just approved the very first at-home coronavirus test. The question is, is it reliable.
And CNN learns that North Korea's Kim Jong-un may be in grave danger after surgery. Stay with us for that.
COOPER: Even as President Trump is pushing for the economy to reopen, he's now declaring he's going to temporarily halt all immigration into the United States, even though immigration largely has come to a halt right now.
The announcement coming on Twitter late last night, the president is saying he'll sign the executive order to do this. This comes as President Trump is facing criticism, sliding approval ratings over his handling of the pandemic and while slashing immigration and sealing borders has been the central theme of his presidency. The question, of course, why do this now.
CNN's White House Correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, joins me.
So do we know what prompted this move? I mean, is it -- obviously there's political appeal for the president for his base, but it wasn't something that was done to stop people from coming in the early days of the pandemic. Is it too late for this?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And we know that right now, immigration is kind of basically at a standstill because people aren't traveling right now. So the president announces this. And he had been discussing it with some aides. But, Anderson, it's not even totally clear if it was ready to be pulled out yet because, basically, what we're told today is that they're still drafting the executive order that the president says he's going to sign.
And the scope of this is also still not clear whether or not there are going to be some big exemptions in this, what legal authorities the president is basing this off of. And, of course, the other big question is how long is this going to last. Is it going to be weeks, months? That is the timeline that the president is envisioning here?
So it doesn't seem totally clear what this is exactly going to look like, but it is notable that before that was ready, the president wanted to announce it, which kind of can give you some indication into the president's mindset here. Because we're already seeing the president use this pandemic to justify taking more restrictive immigration measures.
You saw the slow visa processing with the State Department. You saw what they were doing with the asylum seekers on the southern border and how they were turning them away, saying that it was just not worth the risk to let them in given the outbreak and the fear of it spreading. But, of course, the political concerns are also a question here, because we know the president ran on immigration in 2016, we know he wants to make it a centerpiece of this campaign.
And, Anderson, it also comes as the president has been facing criticism for how he's responded to the coronavirus outbreak. And time and time again, while facing that criticism, he's pointing to those travel restrictions he took with China, which health experts have said did help in some part but it did not do enough to really help slow and mitigate the spread that obviously came here to the United States.
And so the question is, is he using this try to get some of that criticism to tamper down some of that criticism that he's facing over his response? And are there political motivations behind the president taking the step here since he's rolling down a policy that it doesn't seem as fully flushed out yet internally?
COOPER: The other way too looking at it is that it is a way to just sort of dominate the day's headlines. Often, it seems like the president announces stuff in order to grab the headline for the day. And then as people move onto something else, there is not necessarily a lot of follow through on this. Clearly, this is something that there would have to be follow through along (ph).
COLLINS: Yes. And maybe he's formalizing this. But we're basically seeing a lot of these measures already in place on immigration. So it's not like there's this urgency that the president has got to do this right now or are these people are going to continue to come into the United States. And, of course, it's going to raise questions about healthcare employees, frontline workers, tech employees, people of that nature coming into the United States, whether they can stay, those are the questions.
And maybe it is a way to deflect criticism possibly for the president as he's facing this over what's going on, because he's rolling this out, it's not fully ready. We are expecting it to happen this week, though it's really hard to say when exactly it is that he's going to sign this.
COOPER: Kaitlan Collins, I appreciate it, from the White House. Thanks very much.
With me now, former Secretary of State John Kerry. Mr. Secretary, thanks so much for being with us.
First of all, I just wanted to get your thoughts on this idea of the president announcing he's going to suspend immigration to the United States.
JOHN KERRY, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, I think, Anderson, you hit the nail on the head. I mean, it's a side show. It's an effort to divert. It's also an effort to arm him with an argument he'll make later on without a date that he's shut down the border, et cetera. But that's not solving the problem. That's not where the problem is coming from.
And it avoids him having to deal with the fact that we went for almost two months or more without action by the administration to do the things they should have done. I mean, even when he says he shutdown China, 450,000 people continue to come in or airplanes. So he didn't
shut it down.
And everyone knows now, as a matter of absolute fact that the administration was arguing that it was going to go away, that it wasn't serious, that it was hoax, it was a Democratic hoax. And then they moved onto make the argument, well, it was only one person sick and we're going to get ready, it's going to disappear in April and so forth, consistently wrong and consistently avoiding responsibility, which he actually said publicly, I don't take responsibility.
We really need a president, like Jack Kennedy or Ronald Reagan who would sit there and say, the buck does stop here and I take responsibility.
COOPER: I'm wondering what you make of the relationship right now with China. Obviously, just looking down the road, I mean, China, a lot of pharmaceutical drugs that are made in China, a lot of the elements, chemicals we need for reagents and things come from China. Do you worry about what happens if China develops a vaccine and you know the entire world wants it and they decide who gets the vaccine first and who doesn't, what our relationships with China might -- how that might be impacted?
KERRY: Well, of course, everybody is concerned, one side or another, one way or the other, about the relationship with China right now. I happen to believe that you need to be really careful about pushing China away into a corner that is unnecessary and it creates far more problems than it solves.
I believe China, and we found in the Obama administration, great capacity to be able to find places to cooperate even as we disagreed on very important things. We disagreed that China should be running an economy where they force companies to turn over technology and priority data and so forth. We disagree that there should be uneven and unfair access to their economy for a lot of our businesses. Those are major points.
But you will notice that all of this tariff warfare with China has gotten Trump zero relief on those critical items.
Those are the critical items. What he really got was an agreement to talk more and agreement to buy certain amounts of goods for America. Well, that's what they were already doing. So this is not a break of new ground.
And I think we have to be careful not to push China away at a time where most of these problems in the world can only be solved in with engagement with China, with cooperation and partnership on a number of issues, not the least of which is cyber warfare, nuclear, potential of nuclear confrontation and arm's race and, of course, climate crisis. China is absolutely essential to that.
If we think this pandemic is disturbing for what it has done to our economy, wait to see what happens if we allow the world to progress and rebuild economies in the aftermath of coronavirus without taken into account the need to deal with climate change.
So there are gigantic issues on the table. And yet what we see is a president who makes a big deal out of an executive order that isn't even ready, isn't prepared, can't be put out now, has nothing to do with really the question of opening up our economy and he's stopping people from coming in who aren't coming and who aren't giving us the problem of coronavirus. It's really quite mindless and disturbing.
COOPER: The -- regarding climate change, I mean, I know it's an issue that you had been focusing on a lot. Do you think people's attitude toward that issue or some people who have not bought into it or put it in the forefront of their minds after an event like will focus more on it, just showing how kind of interconnected we are?
KERRY: Anderson, I do believe that. And I don't think it's an unwarranted belief because I've been talking to people around the country and elsewhere. Look at the speech that President Macron gave about the effect of the global economy and on capitalism itself and on our engagement with globalization. I think it's a very important speech. And I think reflects an attitude that you hear with thoughtful leaders in the country.
You also hear it from everybody, from average folks all around the country. I talk to friends. And they say, you know what, this has really reminded me of fertility of life and what we're really here on earth and the purpose of our lives. And I think it has touched a lot of people by saying, guess what it also says. It says that you'd better listen to the experts. You better believe in science. You need to listen to science and heed it.
And I think it's going to open the door to people to reflect on what the scientists are telling us, coronavirus was on the horizon. And everybody warned about what would happen and people ignored those warnings and our entire economy has now shut down. Look beyond that now and it's not even looking over the horizon to see the impacts of the climate crisis. They're with us already.
And so we need to reevaluate what we're prepared to do, we need to do now. I say this very clearly, addressing climate crisis is not a choice between having a good economy or dealing with the climate. That is a false proposition that the administration and deniers love to put in front of people. The reality is that dealing with climate change is, in fact, the future of our economy.
We saw our economy. We have to shut it down to deal with coronavirus. Now, we need to reinvent it in order the economy -- in order to deal with the climate. And the reinventing will produce more jobs, better jobs, people will get wealthy in certain technologies and other things we need to do. I think there is a great economic future staring us in the face and not if we just go back and repeat old mistakes and re- harness everything the way it was.
COOPER: Yes. I mean, this really is an X-ray machine in many ways of this horrific pandemic. It shows the importance also just around globe of leadership in countries where leaders took this seriously. Look at Germany and Angela Merkel, Taiwan seem to have looked at was happening in China and reacted quite aggressively.
But, I mean, Germany compared to France and Italy, it's extraordinary, the low number of cases that they've been able to have.
KERRY: Because they got tough immediately. They didn't play games, they saw it not as a hoax, they saw it as a genuine threat and they responded immediately, and I think it is clear.