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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Senate Dems Say They Will Accept GOP Compromise, Allowing U.S. To Temporarily Avoid Economic Collapse; Zuckerberg Responds To Whistleblower, Fails To Directly Address Claims Of "Toxic" Site For Teens; New Polls: Most Americans Disapprove Of Biden's Handling Of The Economy; Biden Tells House Progressives To Lower Spending Package Cost; Biden Pledges $1B Investment In At-Home Rapid Testing; Man Wearing Star Of David Denied Check-in At German Hotel. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 06, 2021 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Right. But Manu, couldn't Democrats, if they get their Build Back Better Reconciliation Act together and get 50 votes for that, couldn't they also put raising the debt ceiling in there and then just pass it with 50 votes and not have to worry about Republicans?
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They could almost -- they could definitely do that, Jake. But it would also -- doing -- going through that process, they would have to take additional steps, procedural steps to cast a series of votes in a marathon voting session. It's known on Capitol Hill as the voter-a-rama, it's something that senators dread, because the senators can offer as many amendments as they want, oftentimes very politically charged amendments aimed at putting their party in a difficult spot.
They would have to go through that process again, and Democrats to simply just do not want to do that, given that they're running into a midterm election year where control of Congress is at stake. And also by going their process, as I noted, they'll have to specify the exact level they want to raise the national debt limit to, rather than simply suspending the dashboard element, which is what Democrats want to do is suspend and say, it does not apply up until the after the November midterms.
All about taking very difficult votes that Democrats simply don't want to take, and Republicans, too, don't want to offer the any of their support to suspending the national debt limit, which is why this back and forth has been happening for weeks. Who's going to own this vote? What is the process going to be running up into a potential default? But at the moment, Jake, short term crisis looks to be averted. We'll see if they can deal with it in the long term.
TAPPER: And God forbid, politicians have to take a position on controversial issues.
Manu Raju, thanks so much.
Let's bring in CNN's Kaitlan Collins live for us the White House. Kaitlan, is the White House on the same page as Senate Democrats because Senate Democrats are basically taking this temporary deal, but what is White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki have to say about it?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Jake, they don't seem nearly as excited as the Senate Democrats are. They're not framing it as McConnell caving the way you saw people like Senator Elizabeth Warren saying as they came out of that meeting with Senator Chuck Schumer. And so, essentially their argument is that this is a process that if they do accept this agreement, which of course as Manu just noted, Senate Democrats say they are ready to do so. It's only going to prolong the process.
And that is something that the Press Secretary Jen Psaki says President Biden does not want to do, because she believes that not only delays the process, but it also comes with additional risks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Why kick the can down the road a couple of more weeks? Why create an additional layer of uncertainty? Why not just get it done now? That's what we're continuing to press for. And that's our first choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: That's their first choice, Jake. Of course, that may not be their ultimate choice based on what is happening behind closed doors on Capitol Hill. And this is the path that Chuck -- Senator Chuck Schumer and them are going to go down.
She also noted that they haven't gotten an actual formal offer from Senator Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans on what exactly this is going to look like. Of course, that is something that could be hashed out in the hours to come. But this is something that the White House knows they're so going to have to deal with again in December.
And this comes is they had those business leaders here at the White House earlier today who were saying, really, with this already being a prospect, the damage has already been done. It's already causing issues for them. And of course, if it's delayed, that damage is still going to be something that they are highly concerned about.
TAPPER: All right, Kaitlan Collins, thanks so much.
Let's discuss. We have with us, former Democratic Congressman Joe Kennedy and former Republican Congresswoman Mia Love.
So Congressman Kennedy, let me start with you. Democrats in the Senate are signaling they will take this short-term deal, should they?
JOE KENNEDY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, Jake. Look, first of all, we just can't default. Right? It's never happened in American history. It can't happen now. I think everybody knows that.
What you can count on is Mitch McConnell to extract as much inflict, I should say, as much political pain as he possibly can around this process. And look, yes, I'm glad it looks like there's an offer on the table here.
But as you heard, that just postpones a process that doesn't need to be postponed, right? This is ultimately a question as to whether the United States of America pays bills that we have already incurred. And the answer to that is yes, of course, we are going to and we should, this could just get kicked as it has in the past and sugar kick now.
Glad to see some progress on this, but the fact that Mitch McConnell holding it there over the head of Democrats is not surprising.
TAPPER: Congresswoman, what do you say to that? I mean, it is true that this is not about future spending plans from Biden. It's about spending that has already happened, much of which was under the previous president.
MIA LOVE (R-UT), FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: Right. Right. And you know, I want to make this very clear, this really isn't about Republicans and Democrats fighting against each other. This is really about how long do Democrats have to actually get this through. They can do it through budget reconciliation.
And as Chair Yellen actually said, they can actually get rid of the idea of the debt limit or having to debate this every year. But what the continuous resolution does is it does kick it down the can and it buys Chuck Schumer a little bit more time.
So I think that that, again, this is not the debate that we really should be having, we are at 125 percent of GDP. We obviously have a problem here that we need to address, but we also need to pay our bills. So, I think that's why people have lost their confidence in Washington is because every Christmas, every year around the same time, we're given the same gift of conversations like government about to shutdown, Omnibus, debt ceiling crisis, all of these different things, but we really shouldn't be dealing with our problem.
TAPPER: And Congressman Kennedy, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki deflected a question about whether Biden could call Mitch McConnell directly to solve this problem. What else do you think Biden should be doing to get this done?
KENNEDY: Look, I think ultimately, Jake, this is a question of -- it's question for Congress, right? It's not -- we saw this with President Trump, he blew right through a series of debt limits, both went to Congress and Congress raised them because, we at that point, also knew we were not going to default on our debt.
And so, the fact that Republicans were all for spending under Donald Trump, but now have developed again an appetite for fiscal austerity for bills that they have already incurred, many of your programs they voted for.
Look, again, I agree with Mia here. It's height (ph) of hypocrisy. It's also why people will get fed up and frustrated with Washington. So, the good news is, it looks like people that count on Medicare or Medicaid or social security or basic government function, don't have to worry and they shouldn't have to in this case.
TAPPER: And Congresswoman Love, the Senate raise the debt ceiling three times in a row under President Trump on a bipartisan basis every time. Look at those votes 80 to 17, 71 to 28, 67 to 28, that's under Trump. Why are Republicans now opposing this? I mean, it just -- isn't this what people hate about Washington? They're -- I mean --
LOVE: I agree.
TAPPER: -- and by the way, you know, Joe Biden, when he was a senator, he voted against raising the debt ceiling twice under President Bush. I mean, so, this seems to me like one of these things that who cares either raise the debt ceiling, either vote to raise the debt ceiling, it shouldn't matter who the president is, is my point.
LOVE: Well, under Donald Trump, I mean, it was over $9 trillion alone under Donald Trump, which I think is absolutely absurd. And I agree with the premises that, hey, there are some Democrats, I mean, some Republicans that were OK with it. And I don't know if they were OK with that. I think that they just went along to get along with the administration. And I think that they also are afraid of being blamed for things.
But I do believe that Republicans want to be at the table, and they're saying, look, you're going to have to do this through budget reconciliation. And you cannot blame Republicans for what happens in this matter. You're going to have to do it on your own. You didn't put -- you didn't allow us to come at the table when we were talking about some of the stimulus package at the beginning, they did it through budget reconciliation. And now, Mitch is not going to just give him -- give it to them that easily.
TAPPER: Congressman Kennedy, we could be right back here in a few months having the exact same conversation we're having right now. Do you think that this is, I mean, you heard Senator Baldwin a few minutes ago, maybe, talking about how they can't do the reconciliation, they can't pass it with only 50 votes using that special process, because they need to focus on the Build Back Better Act, they need to focus on infrastructure. Do you think Democrats constituents are going to just get exasperated by all this?
KENNEDY: Well, Jake, if people knew, I think all of us, everybody that was paying attention from Democratic Party knew back in January, when Democrats pulled out an inside straighten and happen to win two Senate races in Georgia. One, I think, shocked the political world, but recognize the incredible potential of this moment, but also just how hard it was going to be, right?
You were still in the midst of a global pandemic, we were starting to come out of it, you had an enormous amount of economic weakness that we had to shore up. And finally a potential to do what the country's been asking for, which is invest in our infrastructure, address issues on education, and childcare, try to actually finally address climate. And to try to do that when every single member of the United States Senate, every single one has leverage, because you lose one vote, the whole thing goes down. And every four or five members of the House representatives has leverage, because you lose four or five and the whole thing goes down. This was always going to get awkward.
And so you know what, we're at the point where it's hard. And doesn't mean it's messy, yes, no one likes a sausage making process. But it's not surprising that it is hard, we got to get through it.
And I do think the consequences of inaction here are so great that we're going to get through it. It's just going to be a bit messier than anybody would like to see.
TAPPER: I mean, Congresswoman Love, the way that this could happen, that the Democrats could pass this is if, and with no Republican votes, because I understand no Republicans want to vote to raise the debt ceiling suddenly that this is Democratic president, I mean they could just introduce it and the Republicans could not threaten to filibuster and just allow a vote.
TAPPER: So I mean, they can all vote unanimously or a majority, at least, to allow a vote on this thing, and then only Democrats vote. But Republicans won't let that happen. I mean, so they are forcing the Democrats into this position.
LOVE: Right. And again, I think that -- I honestly believe that they're just making it difficult and they don't want to get blamed for what happens. But you know what breaks my heart more than anything is, it is getting difficult, and I agree with Joe Kennedy on this.
I think what breaks my heart is long gone are the days where Republicans and Democrats can get together and form a deal and say, OK, this is how much money we have. Let's figure out how we're going to allocate that. Let's figure out how we're going to pay our debt, but let's try not to get into this position again. And I think, again, that's the biggest frustration by the American people with what's happening in Congress. No one's talking any longer.
TAPPER: I've said it before, I'll say it again, if we had 535 of you two, then we'd be in much better shape.
Congressman, Congresswoman, thanks so much.
LOVE: Thank you.
KENNEDY: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: Back online, Mark Zuckerberg finally responding to the Facebook whistleblower, and it's not really quite particularly friendly response. And fear factor, the Biden administration releasing new ads to try and encourage more people to get vaccinated one with a COVID survivor who said they died three different times.
TAPPER: In our tech lead today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's new lengthy reaction to the whistleblower is damning accusations that the company is purposely allowing hate to fester and purposely steering teenage girls towards self-hate, all of it for profits. Zuckerberg statement touts Facebook's strides in transparency and research.
But as CNN's Donie O'Sullivan reports for us now, Zuckerberg avoids the most troubling parts of the whistleblower's revelations.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
FRANCES HAUGEN, FORMER FACEBOOK PRODUCT MANAGER: Left alone Facebook will continue to make choices that go against the common good.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mark Zuckerberg fights back after the blistering testimony of his former employee Frances Haugen, who alleges the social media giant is knowingly hurting its users and the country.
The Facebook CEO posting a 1300 word response claiming, "At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That's just not true."
A top senator investigating Facebook says Zuckerberg should do his explaining to Congress.
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT), CHAIR, CONSUMER PROTECTION, PRODUCT SAFETY, & DATA SECURITY SUBCOMMITTEE: If he has disagreements with Frances Haugen, or the whistleblower if he wants to explain these documents, 1000s of them, his own research, his own reports that show how they are putting profits ahead of people and endangering children. He should come tell it to our committee and to the American people himself.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Facebook described Haugen as a low level employee "who worked for the company for less than two years, had no direct reports and never attended a decision-point-meeting with C- level executives."
That prompting a response from a former senior Facebook employee, "Well I was there for over six years, had numerous direct reports and led many decision meetings with C-level execs, and I find the perspective shared on the need for algorithmic regulation, research transparency, and independent oversight to be entirely valid for debate."
HAUGEN: In the end, the buck stops with Mark. There is no one currently holding Mark accountable by himself. O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Zuckerberg response a deflection, "If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place?"
MONIKA BICKERT, VICE PRESIDENT FOR CONTENT POLICY, FACEBOOK: We are the most transparent company in the industry.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): But the company has been cherry picking what information it discloses. Just a few weeks ago, it released a report of the most popular links on its site during the second quarter of this year, touting itself as "The most transparent platform on the internet."
As for its first quarter report, turns out Facebook didn't release it because one of the top links between January and March of this year was an anti-vaccine article. Executives never shared that transparency report with the public because of concerns that would look bad for the company according to "New York Times."
HAUGEN: I do not believe Facebook as currently structured, has the capability to stop vaccine misinformation.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Haugen is calling on the federal government to regulate her former employer. Facebook says, it, too, wants regulation.
BICKERT: I think it's important and our leadership in this company including Mark Zuckerberg have called for this regulation because we think these are important decisions that we shouldn't be deciding for ourselves.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
O'SULLIVAN: But of course, Jake, Facebook might have a very different idea than Frances Haugen of what that regulation should look like. But Jake, that's Zuckerberg response. Oh boy, I mean, she really got under his skin.
TAPPER: All right, Donie O'Sullivan, thanks so much.
Let's bring in Cecilia Kang. She covers technology and regulation for "The New York Times." You might also recognize her because we've had her on the show before she coauthored the book, "An Ugly Truth, Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination."
Cecilia, good to see you again.
So Zuckerberg, not surprisingly, took issue with the whistleblowers entire testimony, not accepting the premise. But I'd like to ask you about this basic premise.
CECILIA KANG, TECH REPORTER, "THE NEW YOURK TIMES": Yes.
TAPPER: The basic premise of the whistleblower and all previous whistleblowers is that Facebook values profits over -- even basic decency, when there's a decision to make when they're, you know, the algorithms are steering self-harm, encouraging images and videos to teenage girls, they will take the profit one, not the morally correct one. Do you disagree as an expert on Facebook, who wrote a book about Facebook, is that premise wrong?
KANG: So that premise is actually the thrust of our book, "An Ugly Truth," where we show that Facebook has consistently over and over chosen profits and growth in particular. And that means prioritizing engagement, the kind of things that keep Facebook popular, the center of conversation and growing with users. The kind of content that keeps you wanting to come back and staying longer.
And what the whistleblower showed was that there was -- within the system of Facebook, the algorithms, the ranking systems, decisions were made within the company that absolutely point to prioritizing and choosing growth and engagement, even if it includes the growth and engagement of toxic and dangerous content over basic safeguards for payments and people.
TAPPER: So that means if there is a post in which people are encouraged to eat rubber tires, because it will solve their COVID, just a complete insanity when it comes to this, but people are engaged with it, the algorithm says, oh, people want more of this, and they push it to people, even if that kills people.
KANG: Yes. What happens is the algorithms are designed to just pick up on your likes, your emojis, your shares, your content, how much you're saying about a particular post, or whatever speech is on the site. And that kind of content, if it's popular, it will continue to be popular, it'll raise the top of news feeds. And that's a decision that's actually based -- very much based on technology and is blind to human intervention in some ways, although humans are writing these algorithm codes.
And the fact of the matter is, is that people tend to engage with sometimes very harmful content. Facebook is really in the business of agita. It's the business of agitating you and trying to get you to be more agitated, and trying to design these algorithms to engage more based on its knowledge that you will engage with certain kinds of content when you are agitated.
TAPPER: So you broke him out the summer, you zeroed in on Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO and you write, quote, "Zuckerberg rarely involved himself in the content moderation team's decision making or policies or seemed aware of the arguments shaping the rules for what millions of Facebook users were and were not allowed to post on the platform." One early member says, "He mostly ignored the team unless there was a problem or something made news."
So, I guess another question is, is Zuckerberg part of the problem here? He's not even part of this discussion internally, and yet it's his company. He has 55 percent of voting shares, right?
KANG: Yes. He is absolutely the -- as Frances Haugen, the whistleblower says, the buck does start -- stop with Mark, he is the decision maker and he does control the company.
And what her documents disclose, which was really quite interesting for us to see, is that he has made some decisions to prioritize engagement over safe content. And that occurs with for example, content moderation decisions related to political leaders.
And we do have that in the book where he has prioritized allowing Donald Trump to spread misinformation about the vaccines, and also to spread violent rhetoric or actually rhetoric that spews -- that encourages racist racism. And Mark Zuckerberg was behind many of these decisions.
TAPPER: I want to underscore some of the data the whistleblower says Facebook is hiding. This is the data Facebook is not acknowledging in its responses. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAUGEN: We've seen escalating rates of suicide and depression amongst teenagers. There is a broad swath of research that supports the idea that usage of social media amplifies the risk for these mental health harms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So right now this hearing is helping illuminate it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are seeing --
HAUGEN: And Facebook's own research shows up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Say that again.
HAUGEN: I said, and Facebook's own research shows that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Facebook's own research shows that. The whistleblower gave her data to the SEC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates how companies trade. Can her complaint alone to the SEC bring about any meaningful change?
KANG: I mean, as far as an investigation by the SEC goes, we don't know if the SEC has took that up yet. But it's an interesting claim that essentially Facebook has hid material information that could affect the performance of the business. That's the central claim.
But what she has done with her testimony in Congress is she is sort of awaken a new conversation where the focus on Facebook has been on all this dangerous and toxic speech that spews across his platforms. And what she's done is retrain the focus away from the actual speech, and more towards the systems. She is a ranking specialist for algorithms behind the news feed. And she spoke with a lot of confidence and a lot of substance about how the systems of Facebook work.
And I was really surprised to see members of Congress engage in a way where they showed they've caught up, they understand also what's at stake and what kind of a company Facebook is and how the technology works. And so, I think the conversation is putting push forward in Washington on regulation, and how to regulation systems of companies like Facebook, and also to look at the broad menu of different kinds of regulations that could be considered to rein in account like Facebook.
TAPPER: Which she's made the point that they could change the algorithms, but that would mean that they make less money.
TAPPER: So they won't do it.
Cecilia Kang, thank you so much. Good to see you again.
Again, the book is, "An Ugly Truth, Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination."
Coming up, some devastating new polls for President Biden. We talked to voters to see what they think of his presidency. That's next.
TAPPER: Now we're back with our breaking news and a possible compromise on Capitol Hill to save the U.S. government at least temporarily from an economic catastrophe. This potential deal comes as a devastating new poll finds that 55 percent of the American People according to a Quinnipiac poll disapprove of President Biden's handling of the economy.
And the President is seeing the lowest score on his job performance since taking office, only 38 percent approval. Now, as CNN's Jeff Zeleny reports, voters in Michigan are telling him that their patience is running thin.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORI GOLDMAN, MICHIGAN VOTER: Just like it's healthy in a dysfunctional family to air your grievances, but I don't think it's smart.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The dysfunctional family Lori Goldman's talking about is the Democratic Party and it's messy divide in Washington.
GOLDMAN: I think we have to be a little more pragmatic about what we can do and what we can't do.
ZELENY (voice-over): She campaigned for President Biden and remains hopeful he can unify the party around his domestic agenda, now endangered by disagreements among Progressive and Moderate Democrats. Biden came to Michigan on Tuesday, eager to take the conversation into the country.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want those jobs here in Michigan, not halfway around the globe.
ZELENY (voice-over): It was his fourth presidential visit to a state he narrowly won last year. Voters here say they're watching him carefully with optimism.
KEN DAMEROW, MICHIGAN VOTER: He's been a really, really good. He, you know, he's willing to tell the truth regardless of the political consequences.
ZELENY (voice-over): And scepticism.
SUSAN CHARRON, MICHIGAN VOTER: I have to give him mixed reviews.
ZELENY (voice-over): Ken Damerow, an Independent and Susan Charron, a Republican are long-time friends. He believes Biden has restored competence to the White House.
DAMEROW: I think he's trying to run as a fair dealer, and he's trying to work with the other side. Unfortunately, the other side, I don't think is interested in working with him.
ZELENY (voice-over): She worries about the cost of Biden's programs.
CHARRON: I can't even fathom a trillion dollars. And yet, you know, just going out like no big deal.
ZELENY (voice-over): After a summer of setbacks on Afghanistan and COVID, the President is scrambling to prove his party can govern. Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin whose district Biden visited.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want answer.
ZELENY (voice-over): First, the gridlock in the Capitol will turn off some voters.
REP. ELISSA SLOTKIN (D-MI): Look, do I wish we were more productive? Yes. Am I fighting and trying to push people that way? Yes.
ZELENY (voice-over): The hostility outside the Union Training Center did not escape Biden's eye.
BIDEN: Notwithstanding some of the signs I saw and that's why 81 million Americans voted for me.
ZELENY (voice-over): But he firmly believes his individual economic plans have broad appeal. Several Biden's supporters here say they're willing to be patient. GLENDA MCGADNEY, MICHIGAN VOTER: I don't agree with everything, but I know his part is right and that's important.
ZELENY (voice-over): Lori Goldman is too, but she believes Biden must make his case more forcefully.
GOLDMAN: Take a page from the Trump playbook. Less apologizing, more explaining and get more done.
ZELENY (on-camera): From the Trump playbook?
GOLDMAN: Yes, he never apologized for anything. I'd like him to get out there and just charge ahead.
ZELENY: Now, Jake, you mentioned those declining poll numbers earlier, those numbers come alive when you talk with voters here in battleground Michigan. But one thing also is true talking to independent and democratic voters as well. They believe that if President Biden and Democrats come together to pass some of this agenda, it is broadly popular.
So the White House at least hopes those numbers would go up. But that, of course is very much an open question. Because as we know, there is still no deal on the Biden economic plan. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Jeff Zeleny in Detroit, Michigan, thanks so much.
Let's discuss this all with Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California who's on the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Congresswoman, great to see you. Let's start off with this Quinnipiac poll showing that more than half of Americans, 55 percent say the Biden administration is not competent when it comes to running the government.
When you look at last week's failure to get an infrastructure deal and the larger Build Back Better spending package as promised by Democratic leadership, as promised by the White House, are you surprised by these numbers?
REP. BARBARA LEE (D-CA): Thank you, Jake, for having me with you this afternoon. Let me tell you, this President has been fighting from day one very hard on behalf of the American people. Now what I have to say is this. People are really more familiar with the last four years in terms of dictatorial autocratic rule out of the White House by Donald Trump.
And so this President has been trying for the last 10 months to make sure that he brings the country together on behalf of everyone in our country and the agenda that he campaigned on. Yes, it's very difficult. No one said it was going to be easy, but I tell you one thing, he's been fighting every day to bring consensus to the caucus as well as our speaker. And in fact, 96 percent, 97 percent of our Democratic Caucus were together. And so focusing on the glass half empty, I think is what people are doing because they're frustrated. They want to see something happen right away because we're still living in a pandemic. People's lives and livelihoods are at stake, and they want to see us get something done, but we're doing that. But I understand where people are coming from, but I have to just tell you, I know this President, I've been in meetings with him and I know good and well that he is doing everything he can do to get this agenda passed because it is an economic agenda that's going to bring jobs and bring the economy back.
TAPPER: So you were among the lawmakers who spoke with President Biden on Monday. He says that he thinks this Build Back Better spending package to improve the social safety net to spend more money on programs like daycare, childcare, and eldercare and the like, he thinks it needs to be, in order to pass not $3.5 trillion, but somewhere around $2 trillion between $1.9 trillion and $2.2 trillion. Would you be -- I know, that's not what you want, but would you be willing to go along with that number in order to get this entire agenda passed?
LEE: Jake, let me answer like this. First of all, this is an economic agenda and people talk and put it in context of a social agenda, but this is an economic agenda. We're talking about reducing poverty, we're talking about a living wage, good paying union jobs, we're talking about addressing the climate crisis, we're talking about addressing the housing crisis, going to create affordable housing, good paying jobs, we're talking about workforce development. And so we're talking about investments that are going to get people jobs and help them pull their lives together.
And so whatever number we come up with is going to be who wins, who loses, right, if the numbers go down? So we have to make some decisions. Do we want to cut back on reducing child poverty? Do we want to cut back on our elder care? Do we want to cut back on providing a living wage for primarily black and brown women and men who work in the care economy? Do we want to cut back on workforce training, which will give people of color who have been shut out in many ways from the infrastructure efforts in the country because of the apprenticeship training program?
LEE: So what we have to do is make sure that we include everyone in infrastructure.
TAPPER: But I guess my question for you is, you can't get it passed, you can't get it through Manchin and Sinema in the Senate in order -- at the level you want. I mean, they're not going to go along with it. Will the House Progressive Caucus be willing to come down to around $2 trillion in order to get at least that $2 trillion out the door to help people the way you describe?
LEE: What we've said early on, what are -- you know, what do the senators want to take off of the table. We recognize the practicality of the negotiations that have to take place. We just want to know who loses, who wins and we want to know how we can move forward on our priorities.
Remember, racial equity and gender equity is so important in this overall plan, it's an economic plan that's going to help repair much of the damage of the past decades. And so people deserve to be able to know that their government is going to work for them regardless of who they are and what their background is and where they live, whether it's in rural and urban communities. So we have to discuss that. We're in the process of negotiating and so we have to see who wins and who loses and is paid for.
TAPPER: Senator Joe Manchin would not commit to the new October 31st deadline set by Democratic leaders to find a deal on this bill. Is it realistic to think this is going to be settled by the end of the month?
LEE: Look, this is evolving as we speak, Jake. You know how these negotiations go. And we are working day and night, hopefully, it will be settled by October 31st. Again, going back to what the American people need, they need immediate investment.
Something's going to change their lives right away, something that's going to help them feed their family, something that's going to help them get good paying jobs, something that's going to help young people, understand that we're addressing the climate crisis. So we have to do a lot very quickly.
And so I'm hoping we can do this as quickly as possible. But these negotiations are taking place amongst different individuals, different members of Congress who have different points of views. This is what democracy should be about. This is how your government works. And so we're going to do this as quickly as possible. But we're moving toward, I think, a very positive conclusion whenever that is by bringing consensus and unity, at least for Democrats,
TAPPER: Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee, thank you so much. Great to have you on. Hope to have you on again sometime soon.
Coming up the Biden administration --
LEE: I look forward.
TAPPER: -- pushing $1 billion to try to ramp up a key tool against the coronavirus isn't enough. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our health lead, Scared Straight, that's the new tactic by the Department of Health and Human Services and a series of four new ads targeted directly at the unvaccinated. Here's what they look like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that I was very close to death. The fact that I almost did not come home to my husband and to my children is terrifying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I die three times. They gave me a 5 percent chance of living.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Let's bring in CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. Elizabeth, why is HHS ditching a softer approach now to try to convince people to get the vaccine? Why are they trying to scare folks?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, they would say they're not trying to scare folks, they're just trying to let unvaccinated people know the consequences of not getting vaccinated and then giving them the tools to stay healthy. You know, giving them the consequences and then saying but you can go out and get vaccinated. They hope in a way that these ads give hope.
They said back in the spring, they had ads that were very positive and peppy saying, get vaccinated so you can hug your friends again, you can do everyday activities again, we can get back to normal and they found that that's what people needed them. That's what their research showed. But they see now their research shows that people want testimonials from real people that that's what's going to have the most impact.
TAPPER: Yes, Jonathan Reiner was here and compared it to the HHS ads or the government ads about tobacco and what can happen to you showing real life the harm.
TAPPER: The White House just announced their plan to quadruple the number of at-home tests available by December. Can people feel confident in the accuracy of these tests?
COHEN: Jake, you can feel confident, but I will say, these are not PCR tests. PCR tests have much better accuracy. So if you have the time, and if you can get out and do it, a PCR test is a better idea. But the at-home tests have some real advantages. They take about 15 minutes, they're not nearly as expensive. If the government is going to subsidize them, then they're even less expensive.
And so, what you gain in expense and what you gain in time you lose a bit an accuracy. So these tests, these at-home test, they can miss about 15 percent of positives. In other words, 15 percent of the time when someone's positive, it might say that you're not positive. Now, if it says that you're negative, you can trust that much more. So again, they're accurate, but PCR tests are better.
TAPPER: And the FDA is now saying that the swollen lymph nodes that some people have as a side effect of the vaccine are more common after a third dose than with the second dose. A top FDA official even warning women that the side effects could cause false positives on mammogram. So what steps should women take to avoid these ramifications, these side effects?
COHEN: Right, Jake, it's so simple, get a mammogram before you get your vaccine or get it a little bit of time after you get that booster. But I want to be really clear about this. These lymph nodes that a relatively small number of people are getting after their booster, they're not harmful, they're not a big deal. They go away.
TAPPER: All right, good to know. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up, a Jewish man --
TAPPER: -- told by a hotel they would only check them in if he concealed his Star of David necklace. We spoke to the man about this horrific act of anti-Semitism that has gone viral. That's next.
TAPPER: In our world lead, surging anti-Semitism in Europe. A popular German-Israeli musician told to hide the Star of David necklace he was wearing or be denied entry into a German hotel. Just the latest example in what Jewish groups worn is a massive rise in hate across the continent, including Holocaust-denying graffiti founded the former concentration camp Auschwitz, now a memorial in Poland.
And as CNN's Frederik Pleitgen reports for us now conspiracy theorists such as QAnon are helping to fuel these incidents of hate.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Jewish-German musician Gil Ofarim close to tears in his video he posted on Instagram right after he said staff at this hotel in Eastern Germany told him they wouldn't allow him to check in unless he concealed a necklace bearing the Star of David.
GIL OFARIM, MUSICIAN: He told me to put away my David, my David star. And I was really shocked and looked over to the other person and he just repeated the same sentence.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Gil Ofarim is a big star in Germany with thousands of fans. But he tells me the moment he was singled out and denied service for being Jewish, he never felt more alone.
(on-camera): Did anyone come to your aid? I mean, you would think when something like that happens that someone would jump in and support you, right?
OFARIM: No. No support. No one like speaking up. No one.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): Gil Ofarim's video has gone viral in Germany, hundreds protested outside the hotel to support him. And in his statement, The Westin hotel part of the Marriott group says it has launched an investigation, "Our goal is to integrate support and respect all our guests and employees no matter which religion they believe in. The employees concerned have been suspended and we will clarify the issue without compromises".
But Gil Ofarim says, so far, the hotel has not apologized to him.
OFARIM: No, there was no apology, there was no statement, there was nothing.
PLEITGEN (voice-over): On the same day as the incident in the German hotel, the Auschwitz Memorial announced that barracks at the former Nazi extermination camp, where more than a million mostly Jewish people were killed, had been desecrated with anti-Semitic graffiti.
Jewish groups have long been warning of a massive rise in anti- Semitism in Europe. The coronavirus pandemic has only made things worse with conspiracy theorists like QAnon moving anti-Semitism more into the mainstream, the head of the American Jewish Committee in Berlin tells me.
REMKO LEEMHUIS, AMERICAN JEWISH COMMITTEE BERLIN: During this protest, we have registered hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents, not necessarily crimes, but anti-Semitic incidents. And this has definitely fueled the rise of anti-Semitism in Germany over the last year.
PLEITGEN: And Jake, the singer Gil Ofarim, he still says he's absolutely shocked that something like that could happen to him in Germany in the year 2021. He says he's not sure whether or not he's going to take legal action or something. But he says what he really wants in this country is a true discussion and real action to try and stem that tide of rising anti-Semitism here in Germany and, of course, elsewhere in Europe as well. Jake?
TAPPER: Yes. That was a Westin hotel, which is owned by the Marriott Corporation. Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
A bizarre contest announces its winner, that's next.
TAPPER: I guess you could call it survival of the fattest. Introducing Alaska's reigning heavyweight champion a far corner of the wilderness weighing over 1,000 pounds the undisputed most beloved fat bear named 480 Otis. Otis was crowned Champ of Fat Bear Week 2021. That's really a thing fat bear week, where voters online pick their favorite big bears as they bulked up for hibernation and lumbered around Katmai national forest in southwest Alaska. Now, 12 big bears competed in this year's bracket whether or not they knew it. Otis in his way to the title for the fourth time. Even after votes were counted, the Park Service said the true champ was still chowing down. I'd like to tell you right now that no salmon were harmed in the making of this story, but that wouldn't be true.
Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer in "THE SITUATION ROOM."