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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Key Vote Expected To Fail Tonight On Election Reform Bill; NYT: Republicans Are Becoming Irrelevant In Big City Elections; CNN Goes For Ride-Along With NYPD As Crime Wave Worsens; Baltimore Police Commissioner Talks Worsening Crime Wave; Problems Persist As COVID School Year Comes To An End; Backlog At Ports Causes Shipping Delays & Price Hikes. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 22, 2021 - 17:00   ET



MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And she plans to do something pretty rare in the Senate to preside over the vote that they expect to happen later this hour. But the outcome of the vote is all but assured that the Democrats will fall short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a filibuster in order to simply open debate on this piece of legislation.

But the Democrats did secure a victory of sorts on their own today by getting the support of one of their only holdout on this matter, Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who has criticized and oppose the Democrats bill, but they did win his support.

The Democrats did win support for his backing to simply begin debate this after Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, said that he would agree to allow a vote on Manchin's proposed changes to the legislation assuming they can get on to the bill.

But they won't even be able to get on to the bill because they lack the 60 votes to begin debate. So that has caused a debate within the Democratic Party about whether to simply gut the filibuster altogether, reduced that 60 vote threshold to 51, so a simple majority can advanced legislation. But there is no support -- not enough support within the Democratic caucus to do that, given the opposition from Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and others as well.

So, where does this leave? Everything, Jake. This issue, getting this bill passed into law almost certainly will not happen, not nor will splitting this up into smaller pieces, a polarizing issue dividing the two parties, no sign that is going anywhere. And just in a matter of moments, Republicans will block it on the floor of the Senate, Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: OK, so this is going to fail, this bill. So, what comes next for Democrats? Have they laid out what they're going to do?

RAJU: Well, Democrats, I'm learning, are planning and plotting a series of hearings in order to provide a spotlight on this issue, draw attention to this issue. Particularly in the state of Georgia, I'm told that the Senate Rules Committee plans to have a field hearing in the state of Georgia to talk about the Republican efforts in that state to restrict voting access and the aftermath of Joe Biden's victory there and the aftermath of that state electing two Democratic senators and the aftermath of also Donald Trump criticizing what happened there and lying that the election was somehow stolen from him in that state.

Amy Klobuchar, the Rules Committee Chairman -- Chairwoman, plans to have a field hearing in Georgia in the weeks ahead. And also having a series of field hearings here in Washington as well to continue to make the argument that they believe a federal legislation is needed and to push back against what's happening at the state level.

But that's an effort, Jake, to make a political argument going forward. It is not an effort necessarily to make a law simply because they do not have the votes in the 50-50 Senate to do it. But the Democrats want to keep this issue front and center and alive in the run up to the 2022 midterms, where they believe this could drive up the vote and drive of Democratic voters' interests with Congress at stake. Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Manu Raju, on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.

And let's discuss.

Abby, let me start with the basic strategy of this, Chuck Schumer bringing this up knowing it was going to fail. It wasn't even clear until earlier this afternoon they were going to get Manchin on board. In the last few hours, Susan Collins, Republican of Maine who is sometimes willing to buck her party, saying that the language, the rhetoric from Democrats has been over the top. Lisa Murkowski, also willing to buck her party, Republican of Alaska, saying that this is a very partisan bill.

I mean, is it smart of Schumer -- I mean, this is the result of this is you have these Republicans who voted to, you know, convict Trump during impeachment saying that this bill is garbage?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think that there's -- one thing is clear, there is no version of a voting bill that Republicans will support in this particular political climate. The question is, should this version of the bill, the one that includes a lot of other things, including anti-corruption efforts that some -- even some Democrats think are too broad, should that have been the thing that they decided to have a vote on?

And I think that's a real question, because there could have been an opportunity for -- to force this procedural vote on a piece of legislation, a version of this legislation that was designed to be more bipartisan in nature.

And they decided not to do that. But I think it's also because they know that this isn't going anywhere. This is about messaging. This is about how Democrats are going to be able to talk to their voters out in the country about what they think is important and what's at stake. And so, as a messaging effort, I mean, I guess it's as good as any as long as they got Manchin on board, which they did just by the skin of their teeth.

TAPPER: Messaging for the Democratic base, though.

PHILLIP: The Democratic base.

TAPPER: So, John, on that -- on the subject of messaging, a lot of people on the progressive left are upset that Biden has not been doing more to message this. The Grassroots leader, Ezra Levin, tweeted, quote, "Obama did a live debate with House Republicans on the Affordable Care Act, Clinton gave 18 speeches on NAFTA and deputized Gore to debate Ross Perot on it. Trump and George W. Bush were all tax cuts all the time. Where is Biden on saving our democracy," unquote. What do you make of that?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Biden's juggling a lot of balls right now. And he certainly thinks he has an opportunity for a bipartisan result in part on infrastructure. And I don't think he wants to stoke this debate to the partisan level of 10 at this moment.


TAPPER: So, as to get an infrastructure bill?

HARWOOD: Exactly. I think he wants --


HARWOOD: -- an infrastructure bill. And I think he needs this to play out in sequence. Getting Joe Manchin on board was a significant thing, that compromise Joe Manchin laid out was a significant thing.

I think as a practical matter, that is the bill now for Democrats. That's the principle vehicle that they will pursue.

TAPPER: The Manchin compromise.

HARWOOD: The Manchin compromise. And if, in fact, that is spurned, as we expect by all Republicans, as they spurned the January 6 commission, as they may end up spurning bipartisan infrastructure talks, those become building blocks in a Democratic argument that yes, is messaging, but it could be more than messaging.

Democrats are going to try party leadership, Biden on down, at some point later this year to try to build to a crescendo, the argument to fellow Democrats. We're either going to figure out a way to act on infrastructure, voting rights, other things, or we're going to accept that we can't act at all. And that is, in part an argument about somehow altering, evading, creating an exception for the filibuster not likely to succeed, but it's not impossible.

TAPPER: So Linda, President Biden just tweeted this photo and wrote quote, "Today, Senator Schumer and I held our latest strategy call on getting the For the People Act to my desk." That's the sweeping election reform bill. "Democrats are united and committed to passing this landmark legislation to protect voting rights, ensure the integrity of our elections and repair and strengthen our democracy."

You are a conservative who did not like President Trump.


TAPPER: How are you taking all this out?

CHAVEZ: Well, I think it was a strategic mistake, not only on the part of Schumer, but also in the part of President Biden. I don't think this is a burning issue among the American people. And I think the way in which Biden has fashioned a winning coalition is by being a moderate, by offering things that appeal to a very broad set of people.

And frankly, this bill was a mess. It had a lot of things in it that a lot of people really disliked. And nothing --

TAPPER: It's public financing of elections.

CHAVEZ: Public financing, you know, trying to shut down so called dark money. I mean, one person's dark money is another person's freedom of speech. So, I think this was a mistake.

And I think they -- the sooner they can get this off the table and move on to something like infrastructure, where I think there may be some sort of a deal possible, the better it is for the Biden administration.

TAPPER: All right, thanks to all of you for being here. Appreciate it.

I want to bring in Daniel Dale right now, because the fight over the election reform bill has not been all about issues. We've also heard misleading and false claims by both Republicans and Democrats about what the plan would do, why it's necessary. So let's bring in Dale to do some of the fact checking.

Let's start with what we just heard, Daniel, from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham about how this legislation would change the redistricting process when it comes to gerrymandering districts so as to have more Democrats or more Republicans.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): There's a provision in SR1 that will take away from states the ability to draw congressional lines and give it to an independent commission created in Washington. That means that when people move to South Carolina, Florida and Texas, and we get new congressmen and women because people are moving and the population shifts, that Republican state Houses can't draw those lines, but some Democratic appointed commission.


TAPPER: Daniel, is that true?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Jake, Senator Graham is correct that this bill would transform the redistricting process. But he was wrong in two separate ways about how.

First of all, the bill would require each state to create its own redistricting commission. So this would not be a single commission created in Washington or managed from Washington. Second of all the -- each commission would have 15 members, it would be five Republicans, five Democrats and five people unaffiliated with the two major parties, and they would be appointed through a process that requires cross partisan consensus involving members of all three of those groups. So these people would not simply, Jake, be appointed by Democrats that Senator Graham claimed.

TAPPER: OK. So, that's false, what he said.

Here's something Republican Senator Ted Cruz had to say about automatic voter registration proposals in the legislation, take a listen.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): Corrupt Politicians Act would automatically register to vote. Anyone who comes into contact with the government, that means if you get a DMV, if you go to the DMV, that means if you get an unemployment check, if you get a welfare check, if you go to a public college or university, it automatically registers you to vote. That is intended to and would in fact, register millions of illegal aliens to vote.


TAPPER: Well, that sounds horrible if it's true. Is it true?

DALE: It's not, Jake. I debunk this in writing and on air a month ago. Unfortunately, Senator Cruz is still saying it.


Automatic voter registration does not mean literally everyone who interacts with the government is registered to vote no matter their age or citizenship status. In fact, this section of the bill on so called AVR says over and over that only eligible citizens would be eligible to get registered.

Now, Senator Cruz and others point out there's another section that gives legal protection to any non-citizen who does end up getting registered through the system. But that's not an admission that that's the intention of the bill. Rather, that's protection in case there's a mistake. Like there was sometimes mistakes under non AVR system. So, basically, everything Senator Cruz is saying about undocumented immigrants in this bill is just not true.

TAPPER: Obviously, it's not just Republicans we heard a few months ago, President Biden say something completely false about the Georgia election law. Take a listen to what the Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said about election bills that have been put forward in various states by Republicans.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Laying the hours of Sunday voting until the evening, which coincidentally or not so coincidentally by these Republican legislatures, makes it harder for black church goers to participate in voter drives after Sunday services.


TAPPER: Delaying Sunday voting until the evening is -- what is he talking about?

DALE: Senator Schumer is wrong about the timing. There is a provision in the proposed Texas elections bill that would impede souls to the polls drives by black churches. But it would do so by requiring early voting on that day, on last Sunday of early voting, to start no earlier than 1:00 p.m.

So, they couldn't go in the late morning, they couldn't go at noon, but it's not making it started, you know, 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. as I think Senator Cruz -- Senator Schumer's claim there, suggested, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, lots of falsehoods. Daniel Dale, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Another big story now, the final hours of voting in New York City's crowded race for Mayor, why the vote count process will be one to watch for cities nationwide.

Plus, worsening side effects of our impulse to just order everything online, why it's costing us even more time and more money. That's ahead.



TAPPER: In just a few hours, polls will close in the tense and intense Democratic primary for New York City's next mayor. It may take, of course, weeks before we know who actually ends up winning because New York is historically slow to report election results.

This time, there are 13 candidates and a new ranked choice voting system. Let's bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval joining us live from a polling site in Brooklyn.

Polo, has the ranking system deterred any voters?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a good question. We've actually been posing that, Jake, too many of these voters that are coming out here and making use of that rank choice voting system for the first time. And so far, so good.

In fact, many of them are bringing their own little cheat sheets. They've actually written down their preferred candidates on pieces of paper or on their phone, or they simply have it in their head. And then, they made sure that their ballot reflects that.

Just a quick reminder for our viewers basically what this is, was voters here in New York chose to do it this way in 2019 during a referendum, it was put forward then what this does. It basically allows them the opportunity to rank their top five candidates in order of preference.

What that does is, at the end of the day, obviously, right at the end of this primary is for those candidates that are not able to get that 50 percent plus one of the preferred ballots, then that initiate that automatic runoff, of course. So, at the end of the day, one voter here put it pretty simple. It's who do they want to win, and then have those safety candidates to try to find out or to decide who would they be OK living with for the next several years, for the next mayoral term.

And when it comes to what they've experienced so far, I want you to hear directly from them what they have to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty straightforward. You do your research, and it makes a lot of sense.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's better than an all or nothing candidate. I think it gives more progressive candidates a chance to actually win.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was the best thing that really came out of this system was the idea that I could choose different people. And I'm OK with waiting months or weeks until we figure it out. I don't need instant gratification on a mayor.


SANDOVAL: Yes, certainly going to be a while, so obviously speaks to fluid nature of this.

And finally, Jake, in terms of those big issues that are heavy on the minds of voters, yes, sir, those fiscal issues, but of course, that growing issue of violence in the city.

TAPPER: All right, Polo Sandoval, thanks so much. We'll have more on the rising crime in New York in a second.

But for now I want to bring in Alex Burns. He's a "New York Times" National Political Correspondent.

And Alex, you have a new piece in "The Times" titled, "When it comes to big city elections, Republicans are in the wilderness." And you write, quote, "The Republican Party's growing irrelevance in urban and suburban areas comes at a considerable cost, sidelining conservatives in centers of innovation and economic might."

We should point out, this is relatively new phenomenon in many places. Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York not so long ago. This mayoral race in New York City, 13 Democratic candidates, only two Republicans, it highlights your point. So, what's at stake for Republicans?

ALEX BURNS, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, Jake, what's at stake for Republicans and not just a city as big and as blue as New York, but in big cities and big metro areas around the country is just being able to connect to and influence the lives of the most sort of diverse economically and culturally dynamic communities in the United States.

The largest 11 cities in the U.S. are all governed by Democrats, the largest city governed by Republican is Fort Worth, Texas, which has nonpartisan elections, which the incoming mayor of Fort Worth told me was essential to her ability to run and win there as a Republican.

You know, as you say, this is a pretty recent development. There was of course, Rudy Giuliani, followed by Mike Bloomberg in New York, but at the turn of the century, the mayor of Los Angeles was a Republican, the mayor of San Diego was a Republican up until a couple years ago.

And when you look across the city at these dense urban areas, and the big politically and economically influential suburbs that surround them, the Republican Party in the age of Donald Trump has just been in a precipitous decline.

TAPPER: Now, in contrast, while Democrats dominate in urban areas, Republicans dominate across the plains and in rural areas. This historically has been the case for some time now. What makes today's climate different?


BURNS: Well, this is something, Jake, not to get sort of to 30,000 foot here, but you see it across the world, this polarization in politics, you know, not just in the United States but in other countries as well, between the cities and the suburbs and rural areas. And in the U.S., there is a particular incentive for Republicans to move in that direction. It's called the U.S. Senate, that you can get wiped out in the cities.

And if you're doing disproportionately well in rural states, you can still have enormous influence over national government. But you know, there are two in the rural states out west that you just mentioned, Democrats used to be competitive there as well.

At the same time that you had Republican mayors in places like New York and Los Angeles, you had a Democratic senators in places like North Dakota and South Dakota and Nebraska and Iowa, and the realignment that we've experienced just over the last few years have been staggering. And its speed and its comprehensiveness, and frankly, on the Republican side, the eagerness with which they have embraced that realignment.

TAPPER: And finally, Alex, I have to ask you, New York is one of the slowest states in the union when it comes to counting votes. Why is that? And why did the New Yorkers stand for it?

BURNS: You know, Jake, I often say to my colleagues into, you know, sources here in New York, that if a New York's Board of Elections was -- if the record of the New York State Board -- New York City Board of Elections was the record of a Board of Elections in Texas, New Yorkers would be up in arms about it. But because it happens here, and because they're so used to it, they're just kind of desensitized to it.

I think the stakes are especially high in the election that we're watching right now because of the rank choice system. And because any voter who is already inclined to be mistrustful of the political system, and the legitimacy of elections here has that much more reason when the Board of Elections less than down.

TAPPER: It's just frankly embarrassing.

Alex Burns, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Coming up --

BURNS: Thank you.

TAPPER: -- crime is a key issue for New York voters today.

And next, CNN exclusive, you're going to see how police are trying to tackle a surge in violent crime in what was once the most dangerous square mile in America. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, there has been yet another mass shooting here in the United States. Three people killed, four injured in St. Louis amid a worsening crime surge across the country.

And as CNN's Jim Sciutto reports for us now, we're seeing much of the same in America's largest city where authorities are struggling to come up with a solution to this mounting crime problem.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the South Bronx, just before midnight, police stop five young men for driving a car with an expired license plate. They recognize one of the occupants for previous criminal activity and cannot verify the other's identities, so they take them to the station.

The 406 (ph) was once known as the most dangerous square mile in America. Crime rates in New York aren't near the peak of the early 1990s but they are spiking.

(On camera) Are you seeing this getting worse in pretty much every part of this area?

OFC. YESENIA ROSADO, NEW YORK POLICE: Yes. Growing up, I -- like I said I grew up in the South Bronx.

SCIUTTO (on camera): Yes. ROSADO: I've never seen this.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Shooting incidents in New York City this May we're up 73 percent compared to the same period last year according to the NYPD. A radio call brings word of a hit and run driver. We arrived to find the victim on the ground and bleeding.

As police officers and their commanders why crime is rising and they describe a mix of factors. The end of the pandemic has brought residents out of their homes, guns have flooded these communities.

The job in New York City has also coincided with changes to policing and the justice system. New York enacted bail reform to reduce or eliminate jail time for suspects while awaiting trial for many misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. Police say this has had the unintended consequence of putting repeat offenders back on the street.

OFC. MICHAEL MCCABE, NEW YORK POLICE: I'll still be at work and they'll be back at the precinct picking up their property before I'm even done with court.

SCIUTTO (on camera): Really?


SCIUTTO (on camera): That's got to be frustrating.


SCIUTTO (voice-over): George Floyd's killing and a series of police involved shootings over the last few years have eroded trust in police across the country.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea, who repeatedly condemned George Floyd's killing, says departments have the responsibility to police their own aggressively.

DERMOT SHEA, NEW YORK POLICE COMMISSIONER: We have over 6 million calls for service a year where you may have negative encounters where we have to arrest people without force being used but hundreds of 1000s of times a year.

Jim, one bad incident and can set you back so far. And you see that across the country.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Shea and one of his predecessors, Bill Bratton, concede police overused some tactics such as stop and frisk. The practice reached nearly 700,000 stops in 2011 according to NYPD data.

Two years later, a judge ruled the policy was unconstitutional as applied. Since the NYPD focused too heavily on black and Hispanic people, the decision, allowed stop and frisk to continue but with new limits. In 2019. The NYPD says it recorded just over 13,000 stops.

SHEA: That's how you do it. And do you overuse it?


And who are you stopping and then what neighborhoods for what reason? That's the discussion. Clearly, when there was almost 700,000 in one year, you know, I don't think you need a courtroom to know that's too far one way.

SCIUTTO (voice-over): Nationwide, there is a far broader debate about the very definition of policing today. When we join them on patrol, we found officers repeatedly facing difficult decisions over the incidents they address versus those better suited for EMS or social services. This is a familiar kind of call for them. A man experiencing a potential mental health episode, possibly brandishing a weapon.

(on-camera): EDP is something you hear all the time on police radios, it stands for emotionally disturbed person, it's a big portion of the calls, they get an answer. And when you hear about officers policing, mental health issues, this is an example of that.

(voice-over): The officers we met remained committed to the job of policing, but we could sense their frustration. Just a few years ago, violent crime across the city was at its lowest in decades.

SHEA: We are never going to let it go back to the bad old days. We have a spike in violence right now as many other cities do.

SCIUTTO (on-camera): Controllable?

SHEA: Absolutely. Yes, we're going to we're going to need help, though. We're going to need help.


SCIUTTO: Jake, one thing was very clear to me from doing this, you and I hear every day, Democrats and Republicans, frankly, speaking about this in very simple black and white terms, that there's one simple solution in either direction. You talk to cops on the beat? No way. It's several things intertwined. It's about guns. It's about lack of social services. For many, it's about gang violence. It's about cycles of violence.

One guy gets shot. The next day, there's a revenge shooting. It requires multilayered response. And that's what you hear directly from cops on the beat.

TAPPER: Yes, but not from politicians.


TAPPER: Jim Sciutto, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Let's talk with Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. He joins us now. Mr. Harrison, thanks for joining us. There have been at least 18 homicides in just 10 days in Baltimore. What's going on?

MICHAEL HARRISON, BALTIMORE POLICE COMMISSIONER: So thank you for having me. First of all, we are seeing the same thing you're seeing in New York and all the other big cities across the country, a spike in increase in violence, but it's a number of issues.

It's grouping gang violence. It's retaliations from previous bad acts. But we are seeing an increase in close acquaintance shootings and domestic violence in humans, where people just have absolutely poor or no conflict resolution skills, and are using guns to solve their conflicts.

Just like everybody, it does the proliferation of guns in our city, unlike any other end, the willingness to use them. And when you put that together with the criminal justice system that either has no consequences, or these individuals fear, no consequences or believe there are none, then you have the willingness to pull that trigger. And I say this all the time, Jake, I'll say it either.

The decision to pull the trigger was not made when the trigger was pulled. The decision to pull the trigger was actually made when an individual puts their hand on the gun and walks out of their home. They've already predetermined that they'll have that gun. They'll use it if they need to. And with no conflict resolution skills, that's what we're seeing on the streets of Baltimore.

TAPPER: So police departments we know are struggling to staff up, budgets are being cut for police, especially in some more progressive cities. How is your department doing when it comes to resources and staffing?

HARRISON: Well, we're about 230 cops short of a budgeted strength, which is about 2648. We're right in the -- above 2,400. So we were hiring, were recruiting, we just started a class of 46 about a week and a half ago. Attrition seems to be about the same. It's not a mass exodus. But we're just breaking even.

Now last year, we have the most people we have in a 12-year period, but we lost about the same. So, we're using every resource available, we're using over time to force up and plus up the number so we can have more officers doing a number of things. It's not just more enforcement.

It really is also a more community engagement. Because we need to build those relationships, because we need the community's help in helping us solve these murders. So we can hold these bad actors accountable for terrorizing our community. That has been working better for us this year, but we need more of that help.

TAPPER: So the message from the White House today is that the President is getting more concerned about this violent crime wave and that tomorrow he's going to announce a comprehensive crime reduction strategy. What do you want to hear from President Biden?

HARRISON: Well, we have a great working relationship with all of our federal partners here in Baltimore. We work together every day. We meet regularly. I would like to hear about more resources and actual boots on the ground in our big cities.

We're working right now. We're very well doing a lot of work but there's always so much more to be done. Boots on the ground and a surge of agents and I'll say is what I would like to hear.


Certainly funding sources are always important. Programmatic solutions are always important. We need all of it. But it's not just one thing, its people, its programs, its money, its resources and its technical assistance.

TAPPER: All right, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, thanks so much and best of luck to you in dealing with this crime wave.

Coming up next, the new data is showing how students fared during an entire school year in remote learning. Plus, how some school districts are handling students who didn't make passing grades. Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our health lead today, the school bell that usually signals the end of an academic year, that was replaced with the sound of powering down laptops. Students were robbed this year of face-to-face conversations with teachers emotional support, hallway chats in-person collaboration, not to mention of course, school functions such as dancers or athletics.


As CNN's Jason Carroll reports the social and academic impact of this unprecedented year for so many students will last long after the last laptop shuts.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are the fortunate ones. They're the thousands of students who overcame adversity and graduated or continued moving up a grade during the pandemic.

LEWIS ECHEVARRIA, HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: The challenges are real. You know, a lot of people don't understand the challenges that students have to go through. And it's really hard. It's really hard to focus in a virtual setting.

CARROLL (voice-over): Lewis Echevarria will be a high school senior come September, but he went from being an honor student to wondering if the pandemic would sidetrack his academics.

ECHEVARRIA: Camden, New Jersey I didn't think I was going to be able to pass this year because my grades went down. It was hard for me to focus.

CARROLL (voice-over): Echevarria attended Creative Arts Morgan Village Academy in Camden, New Jersey. The district citing safety concerns has not had in-person learning for high school students since March of 2020.

ECHEVARRIA: The level of frustration was there and then -- CARROLL (voice-over): Echevarria says he didn't have a computer during

the beginning of the pandemic, so virtual learning meant using his mobile phone to virtually attend class and do coursework.

ECHEVARRIA: History, Drama, Chemistry, English and Health.

CARROLL (on-camera): All on your phone?

ECHEVARRIA: Yes. I almost gave up studying in my interest for school really stop.

CARROLL (voice-over): Education experts say there are signs students who face similar challenges could end up taking a heavy toll on high school graduation rates.

SANDY ADDIS, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL DROPOUT PREVENTION CENTER: What we anticipate is, the longer students have been out and the longer they've been faced with virtual instruction, the more severe the impact is likely to be.

CARROLL (voice-over): The real impact could come three to five years from now, according to a recent study focused on the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second largest in the country. Students there like in Camden had very little or no in-person learning in more than a year.

And the study shows, if not addressed, the impact on students at risk of not graduating because they fallen behind is alarming. 20 percent of the class of 2021, 43 percent the following year, and 37 percent in 2023. And experts say the practice of easing academic standards to keep students on track ultimately can do more harm than good.

Even so, the state of Florida decided to waive standardized testing again this year, allowing some students to move up a grade, even if they would not have qualified in the past.

Baltimore City Public Schools announced the district will allow its students who failed at least one class to move up a level.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pentagon has five sides --

CARROLL (voice-over): Back in Camden, New Jersey, the approach is different. The district offering summer school, more teacher engagement and tutoring to get students back on track.

KATRINA MCCOMBS, SUPERINTENDENT, CAMDEN CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT: The mastery of standards, and a typical year would be 30 percent higher than it is now. And we know the pandemic has had an impact. However, we have been able to put key initiatives in place in order to just shield the impact on our performance data, especially our graduation rate.

CARROLL (voice-over): Echevarria for his part has a computer and his studies are back on track. He still misses these hallways and in- person learning but he says this experience will not hold him back. ECHEVARRIA: Every time we look back to this moment, we'll be able to realize if we were able to beat it, if we were able to survive -- to succeed and survive all those time, I think we can handle anything life throws at us.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Camden, New Jersey.


TAPPER: Thanks to Jason Carroll for that report.

Let's bring in CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. And Sanjay, thanks for joining us. First, I want to get your reaction to the report we just heard. Look, we know a lot of kids are resilient, but this was an incredibly tough year.

And I'm not even getting into the fact that there are 30 million Americans that don't have internet access. You have school aged kids yourself. From a health and wellness perspective for the children across this country, what concerns you the most?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, even going into the pandemic, Jake, pre-pandemic, there were already concerns about children's mental and emotional health, which had been sort of rising over the past several years.

By October of last year, a third of parents then said that their child's emotional wellness, emotional health was worse than the year before. A third of parents, you know, 33 percent of parents in this country said that. So there was obviously significant toll.

What worries me most, Jake, I think in some ways, you alluded to it but it's -- there's obviously some kids who probably will come out of this more resilient. They had a lot of resources and while it was tough, and I don't mean to minimize that, it was far tougher for other students.


So the inequities that we talk about all the time, probably not enough, I think just get deeper and more divided as a result. And this -- you see the impact of this generations from now. So, that's probably what concerns me the most at this point. I do believe there's a lot of kids who will be resilient and come through this, you know, with less harm.

TAPPER: Dr. Fauci just told us in the last hour that we should expect that the U.S. will be able to meet the 70 percent of Americans with one shot by the second or third week of July, instead of the Fourth of July, which Biden wanted it to reach it then. He also said this, I want you to take a listen.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: You set a goal, if you reach it, great. If you don't, you keep going to try and reach it and go beyond it. So I don't really see any, to be honest with you, big deal here.


TAPPER: What do you think?

GUPTA: Well, I mean, they didn't hit the goal. So, you know, that is the headline for sure. I think from a practical standpoint, you know, if the 70 percent number was to basically indicate herd immunity, something that we talked about, I'm not sure that it matters in that regard, because clearly, what you're really looking for out of herd immunity is that deaths fall, hospitalizations fall and cases fall. That's you want to see. I mean, we don't even know what the number for herd immunity exactly is.

We're at 11,000, roughly 11,300 new cases per day, Jake. You may remember Dr. Fauci, others have said if we drop below 10,000, that's a significant drop, because that means we've gone from mitigation to containment. So that's what I care about the most is that the lives and hospitalizations and numbers are keep coming down.

TAPPER: And one of the reasons that the U.S. is not anticipated to meet this July 4th deadline, this goal, has to do with -- we'll take a look at this poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. In March, 26 percent of 18 to 29-year-old said they would only get their vaccine if required or they definitely would not get the vaccine.

That number basically stayed steady, 24 percent in April, 24 percent in May, that's a very static number. It seems like the messaging for young adults, for too many young adults, about a quarter of them is not working. What does the White House need to do?

GUPTA: Yes, it's a tough one because I think, you know, I talked to a lot of young people as part of our reporting and, you know, part of it's just logistics. You know, the vaccines are authorized at a time when many had final exams. They didn't want to take it, fearful that they would make them not feel well, or they couldn't get back for their second shot. So just the sort of logistics bucket of things.

But the other bucket, as you point out, is people saying, hey, look, I'm not worried about this anymore. Numbers go down. I'm not that much at risk. I'm not going to bother.

I think it's a tough one, Jake. I think in the fall as you know, there's going to be a lot of colleges who require it. They require vaccination for kids to come back on campus. And my guess is at the end of summer, early fall, we will see an uptick again, in vaccine demand because of that.

TAPPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much. Good to see you again.

Another simp (ph) of this pandemic, higher prices on everything, from electronics to new cars. We'll tell you one of the reasons why. That's next.



TAPPER: And we have breaking news for you from Capitol Hill where the U.S. Senate has begun their crucial vote on what a President Biden's top priorities election reform. This is not a vote on the actual legislation which is called the For the People Act, instead this is a vote on whether or not the U.S. Senate should even start debating and discussing and amending the bill.

It does not appear right now that any Republicans are going to side with Democrats on this. The vote is, therefore, almost guaranteed to fail. We will let you know as soon as the vote is complete.

In the meantime, in our money lead, you thought snail mail took forever. Well, global trade experts warn it could be Christmas before you get some online orders coming from overseas. Here's why. Stacks of shipping containers piled up in Shanghai, China and ports around the world, the cargo congestion is driving up the prices we pay here at home, as CNN Tom Foreman now reports.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ready, set, wait. Your new car, refrigerator, bicycle, sofa, computer, phone, even your next wine and cheese party could be in peril, held up by massive supply chain delays affecting everything from Chardonnay to bubble tea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: 99 percent of the world's bubble comes from Asia, mostly Taiwan, and that means the whole country is running out of supply as we speak.

FOREMAN (voice-over): How did this happen? After a long months of pandemic shutdowns, demand among American consumers shot up faster than expected. So high the Port of Los Angeles just had its busiest month ever, handling more than a million containers. But on any given day, dozens of ships can't unload because there aren't enough dock workers to handle that massive surge.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: They're in their own traffic jam coming, let's say, in the Pacific. You know, there could only be a few that could step up to the plate and unload their cargo all at once and then they have to go back to China and fill up some more.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Supplies are so shaky. Hyundai had to shut down a U.S. production line for a week. And Home Depot, one of the largest importers in the nation has hired its own ship to bypass the bottleneck. On land, rail and trucking services are also stretched thin added desperate shortage of shipping containers and the price for sending one across the waves from June of 2020 through March this year, more than quadrupled. That's one of several factors.


JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Raising the possibility that inflation could turn out to be higher and more persistent than we expect. FOREMAN (voice-over): Persistent is the word since some supply chain analysts are already predicting these troubles with summer shipping could affect Christmas shopping.


FOREMAN: The National Retail Federation says the recent survey showed 97 percent of its members have been affected by these shipping delays. They're appealing to the White House to find a way out of this jam. Jake?

TAPPER: Tom Foreman, thanks so much.

Results from the Senate's election reform vote, that's coming up.


TAPPER: Right this minute, the U.S. Senate is voting on whether to debate and amend a sweeping election reform bill Democrats have introduced and CNN will bring you the results of this vote live in just minutes. Until then, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, my besties (ph), you can hit me at TikTok at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN.

Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."