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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Soon: Biden Speaks In Hometown, Selling Economic Agenda; House Moves Closer To Holding Bannon In Contempt; Med Examiner, Cadaver Dog At Park Where Laundrie's Items Found; White House Unveils Plan To Roll Out Vaccines For 28 Million Children; Facebook CEO Zuckerberg Called To Testify Before Congress. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired October 20, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: It may be a compromise, but there's still 11 zeros in the price tag.
THE LEAD starts right now.
President Biden set to speak in just minutes to sell a now slightly scaled back plan to Democrats and the American people. What survived and what is getting cut in the social safety net expansion bill and how this could affect your family.
Kids and needles. You can almost hear the crying already. The White House says they have a new plan to vaccinate the youngest Americans, kids as young as 5.
Plus, breaking today in the Gabby Petito case, what could be a massive clue in the search for Brian Laundrie. Some of his things apparently found in a park and cadaver dogs are now on the scene.
Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We start today with our politics lead. In the next hour, President Biden returning to his roots, visiting his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, where the White House says he will lay out exactly what is included in this new compromise over his massive economic bill.
Here's what sources tell us will be included in this nearly $2 trillion plan to expand the social safety net. We're told it will include universal pre-K, a one-year expansion of the child tax credit which brings kids out of poverty. Four weeks paid family leave, child care, and elder care, and expansion of Medicare to include vision and hearing.
What's out? Well, we're told tuition-free community college is gone and the clean electricity power program, the cornerstone climate measure included in the initial proposal.
Moments ago, President Biden told reporters that he's optimistic saying, quote, I think we'll get a good deal. But as CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports, neither of the two key Democratic Senate holdouts, Manchin and Sinema, have yet to announce if they are on board.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden looking for the end game.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm hopeful. I think we'll get a good deal.
COLLINS: The president making last-minute concessions as Democrats struggle to compromise on his plan to reshape the social safety net and fight climate change.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Everyone is going to have to compromise if we're going to find that legislative sweet spot we can all get behind.
COLLINS: Biden offering a new price tag, telling Democrats it will likely be in the $1.75 trillion to $1.9 trillion range, further from the $3.5 trillion sought by progressives and closer to Senator Joe Manchin's $1.5 trillion proposed ceiling.
Biden warning the two years of free community college likely won't make the cut, despite being a massive priority that he touted for months.
BIDEN: And then I want to add two years of free community college for everyone. And we can afford it.
COLLINS: While initially calling for 12 weeks of paid leave for new parents, that could now be reduced to four weeks. And the child tax credit will likely only be extended for another year, despite hopes it would be longer.
BIDEN: This has the potential to reduce child poverty in the same way that the Social Security reduced poverty for the elderly.
COLLINS: The crucial climate portion of the plan also remains undecided, as party leaders work to bridge the divide between progressives and moderate holdouts.
PETER BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: There's no doubt in my mind that the implications of the final package will be historic when it comes to fighting climate change.
COLLINS: The bill is still expected to include some of the biggest Democratic priorities, including expanding Medicare, universal pre-K and billions for climate change.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): I think the thing I feel the best about is the progressive caucus had five priorities that we laid out five months ago and all of those five priorities are in this bill.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COLLINS (on camera): And, Jake, the president is now on his way here to Scranton to sell this bill, even though it still remains unfinished at this point. One other sticking point is trying to close a deal here is that Senator Sinema, we are told, is still opposed to raising taxes on corporations and those high earners. Of course, that's a chief way they proposed to pay for this plan.
So, still, a long way to go. They are hoping to come to an agreement by this Friday.
TAPPER: All right. Kaitlan Collins in Scranton in the great commonwealth of Pennsylvania, thanks so much.
Here to discuss, senior adviser to President Biden, Cedric Richmond.
Mr. Richmond, good to see you as always.
So, the White House had to give on some priorities to reach this potential compromise. Tuition-free community college is gone. Paid leave dropped from 12 weeks to four. The child tax credit will be extended for one year, not four.
These are big cuts to items the president ran on. In exchange for those cuts, do you have a commitment from Senators Manchin and Sinema that they will now support this?
CEDRIC RICHMOND, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: We've made a lot of progress but still, we still have work to do. And that is clear. So nothing is off the table, but I will tell you what the president's red line from day one was he was not going to raise any taxes on anyone making under $400,000.
So, we're still in -- we have a good framework, but we're still in the process of finalizing and trying to reach compromise. So you see that the president does that the best. That's what he spent yesterday doing. And now he's going out, taking his case to the American people.
TAPPER: So that's a no, I'm guessing. And we just heard Kaitlan Collins say that Senator Sinema is telling people that she still objects to the tax increases in the bill, raising the top tax bracket, raising the corporate tax rate. Is there any room for compromise there? Would you introduce the legislation without tax increases?
RICHMOND: Look, this is still a work in progress. I will -- it doesn't make sense to necessarily negotiate on TV. I'll say it's wildly popular with the American people that the top 1 percent and wealthy corporations pay their fair share. Working families have been paying their fair share for decades. So, it's our position that corporations and the top 1 percent step up.
TAPPER: If Senator Sinema is convinced that raising the corporate tax rate would make American businesses less competitive in the world and that's my understanding is that she is close with Senator Rob Portman. They've worked hard together on the infrastructure bill and Senator Portman wrote that part of the Trump tax cuts.
If she's convinced of that, even if it's popular, how do you get her vote if she doesn't care about your argument that it's popular among voters?
RICHMOND: Well, I think that's why you have conversations and you bring people to the table and you state your position. They state their position. And you try to reach an agreement. And I think the president is committed to doing that. Again, we firmly believe that corporations in the top 1 percent should pay their fair share.
TAPPER: On the child tax credit, Progressive Congressman Ritchie Torres of New York raised this concern on CNN earlier today. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RITCHIE TORRES (D-NY): I do have a concern that a one-year expansion would be a death sentence for the child tax credit. If the Republicans were to assume control in 2022, the child tax credit would likely be left to expire. Millions of children would likely be plunged into poverty and our greatest triumph of racial equity would likely be undone.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So the child tax credit, as you have rightly said before, it is hugely successful in lifting children out of poverty in the United States. Doesn't Congressman Torres have a point that making it a one- year bill for this, you are taking a huge risk because Republicans in all likelihood will recapture the House next year. And they might kill it or just let it expire.
RICHMOND: A couple of things. I won't concede Republicans are likely to recapture the House. I've spent some time and have a pretty good feel there.
But the point about the child tax credit and Congressman Torres is right. It's important. It's a game changer for children. If we have our way, we would make it permanent.
But what we are going to do is make it -- we're going to make the refundability permanent and we're going to continue to fight for the enhanced benefit. So whether it's 3,600 or 3,000 or 2600 or 2,000, we're going to fight for the most we can get because it will raise children out of poverty and it's a humongous tax cut for working families.
TAPPER: There's a new "Politico" analysis that claims the way the Build Back Better Act is structured actually would force Hispanic- serving colleges and historically black colleges and universities to essentially compete against each other for billions of dollars in federal funding. Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva said in response, quote, we should not be getting into robbing Peter to pay Paul or fighting over an amount that doesn't satisfy the needs of respective groups of people, unquote. Look, I know you're a proud graduate of an HBCU, Morehouse College.
Are you concerned about this?
RICHMOND: Well, we want to have a significant investment, the largest investment ever into our colleges and universities, especially those that serve minorities. So, we're talking about our HBCUs, our MSIs, HSIs, all of those schools. And this is not a, you know, zero-sum game. HBCUs don't have to fail in order for other institutions to succeed, and vice versa.
So, we take the congressman's point very, you know -- we give credit to it. But at the end of the day Chairman Scott on the education committee and that committee will do a lot in terms of drafting to make sure that four grant programs like kind universities will compete against each other.
TAPPER: A source tells CNN that the White House exploring right now whether to deploy the National Guard to ease the massive supply chain issues that we're all going through right now by unloading cargo and driving trucks. If this backlog is so detrimental, why not send them now?
RICHMOND: Well, that would be news to me and I'm certainly not here to make an announcement that we're going to use the National Guard in the supply chain.
TAPPER: All right. Senate Republicans, as you know, just blocked another key vote on legislation that Democrats offered on voting rights. There are Republicans on Capitol Hill who have seemed very willing to work with Democrats and who seem very willing to talk about the threat to democracy that Donald Trump posed from Election Day to today in terms of trying to overturn the results of the election.
You look at people like Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, Adam Kinzinger.
Is there not a more basic bipartisan bill that could be fashioned to at least provide the minimal attempt to protect voters from another attempt to overthrow the election? I understand the Democrats want a far-reaching voting rights bill. But the House and Senate are composed as they are. Is there not a more bipartisan way this could be done?
RICHMOND: Well, if they are willing, they have not shown it yet. We've not had one vote for any election reform or voter protection legislation yet. But they'll get another chance because you'll have a John Lewis Voting Rights Act extension coming up in the senate. If they are truly serious about protecting the sacred right to vote they'll get the chance to sign onto that legislation, bring us 10 votes so that we can pass it and we can get ready for elections and make sure that we don't suppress or subvert the vote.
They'll get a chance. But what they've done so far is really just shrunk in a moment where they needed to grow and stand up. And they just kowtowed to the former president of the United States. They are supporting the big lie, and that is detrimental to our future.
TAPPER: Well, the four people I just mentioned don't support the big lie, I mean. And they have been, you know, risking their professional careers to stand up to it. I guess my point is instead of -- is there not a bipartisan effort that could be done so that something could be implemented and passed to protect basic voting rights?
I understand the concerns about more expansive voting rights. I'm not saying I agree or disagree but is there not like just a very basic protection that could be worked on with Republicans?
RICHMOND: Well, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act extension would be that piece of legislation that they can join on right now. Expanding -- the Voting Rights Act has always been bipartisan. In the Senate before, it's passed unanimously when President Biden was a senator and chair of the Judiciary Committee, everybody voted for it.
So if they want to do something, they have an opportunity to do it now. They can vote for the John Lewis bill. We want them to vote for it.
But the obstruction we're seeing is scary in this -- in where we are right now with a former president pushing the big lie, telling people not to vote, and the subversion and suppression legislation we see around the country. But they will have a chance in the coming weeks to support the John Lewis bill.
TAPPER: Cedric Richmond, thank you so much for your time, sir. Really appreciate it.
RICHMOND: Thanks for having me.
TAPPER: Join CNN tomorrow night for an exclusive town hall with President Joe Biden. Anderson Cooper will moderate as the president takes questions from the American people. That's at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow night and it's only on CNN.
Coming up -- a major development in the search for Gabby Petito's fiance. The FBI will give an update any time and we'll take that. That's ahead.
And up next, guilty much? Congresswoman Liz Cheney suggests it's obvious why President Trump is fighting the January 6th committee.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): Mr. Bannon's and Mr. Trump's privilege arguments do, however, appear to reveal one thing. They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th. And this committee will get to the bottom of it. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That's Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney of Wyoming essentially accusing the former president and his senior adviser Steve Bannon of personally planning and executing the deadly January 6th insurrection.
But now as CNN's Paula Reid reports, the chairman of the House Select Committee is attempting to clarify Cheney's remarks while two Republicans are publicly coming to Trump's defense.
PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Lawmakers investigating the deadly Capitol riot urged fellow representatives today to move forward on a vote to refer Trump adviser Steve Bannon for criminal contempt after he defied a subpoena.
REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): We're not asking to talk to Steve Bannon on a whim. We believe he has firsthand specific knowledge that the Congress needs to have to conduct our investigation.
REID: CNN has learned the GOP leaders are recommending a no note on the referral and Trump allies saying the investigation is an attempt to distract from Biden's failures.
REP. JIM JORDAN (R-OH): Can't talk about inflation, real wages going down.
REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): The border crisis that is concerning them. The problems we have abroad. This is all just theater to set up the utilization of criminal process against Steve Bannon.
REP. JAMES MCGOVERN (D-MA): Give me a break. If this is not political theater, I don't know what is.
REID: But fellow Republican and Representative Liz Cheney reminded lawmakers why they need to talk to Trump allies.
CHENEY: They believed what Donald Trump said.
That the election was stolen and that they needed to take action.
REID: She specifically referenced comments Bannon made on January 5th.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER TRUMP ADVISOR: All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It's not going to happen like you think it's going to happen.
CHENEY: And he was right. Ask that over 140 Capitol police officers who fought for hours and were injured and there is no doubt that Steve Bannon knows far more than he says on that video.
REID: Late Tuesday, the January 6th committee voted unanimously to advance criminal contempt proceedings to the House floor.
REP. STEPHANIE MURPHY (D-FL): Aye.
REID: Of the dozens of witnesses contacted by the committee so far, Bannon is the only one to completely refuse to cooperate.
THOMPSON: Left unaddressed, it may encourage others to fall Mr. Bannon down the same path.
REID: Trump also seeking to block the committee, filing for an injunction to stop the National Archives from turning over some of his White House records.
Cheney suggested these moves by Trump and Bannon to thwart the investigation may be evidence of a larger conspiracy.
CHENEY: They suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of January 6th.
REID (on camera): And it's still unclear what Attorney General Merrick Garland will do, if he receives that Bannon contempt referral. The committee chairman says three other Trump associates, Kash Patel, Mark Meadows and Dan Scavino are being, quote, somewhat cooperative. But Scavino's lawyer tells CNN he's not entered into negotiations with the committee and at this point, Jake, he is not ready to cooperate.
TAPPER: All right. Paula Reid, thank you so much.
We're following breaking news out of Florida right now. Any moment, the FBI is set to give an update on the search for Brian Laundrie after items belonging to him were found when cadaver dogs were called in.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: We have some breaking news for you now. In just moments, we are expecting an update from the FBI on the search for Brian Laundrie. This afternoon, we learned a medical examiner and cadaver dogs were on the scene in a Florida nature park where the family attorney confirms items belonging to Brian Laundrie had been found earlier today.
Now, of course, as you know, police have been looking for Brian Laundrie for weeks after he returned from a cross-country road trip without his fiancee, Gabby Petito. Gabby, of course, was later found murdered in Wyoming.
CNN's Randi Kaye is live outside the nature park in Sarasota, Florida.
Randi, what else do we know about everyone involved in this stepped up search? RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we are at the Myakkahatchee
creek environmental park here in North Port Florida, not far from the Laundrie family home. The FBI is on the scene. They are getting ready to hold a press conference. The FBI Tampa is going to brief media on the scene in a few minutes, we believe.
Also inside the area of this park is the North Port Police Department, as well as the coroner from Sarasota County. As you mentioned, he was called this morning by authorities. And also this cadaver dog from the Pasco County sheriff's office here to just detect human remains decomposing remains.
This is not a dog that would search for anyone who might still be alive and on the run. They strictly alert for human remains and a decomposing body. We know there were these items of interest as the FBI calls them or articles as the Laundrie family attorney calls them belonging to Brian Laundrie that were found here earlier this morning on a hiking path just off a trail here in this area of the park.
And this is an area that Brian Laundrie is known to have frequented. He would hike here and camp here. His parents brought authorities here this morning that they planned to come here and search for their son. This area of the park, this environmental park, just reopened yesterday. It's part of --
TAPPER: Okay, Randi Kaye. We just lost her satellite. But thank you for that report.
Let's talk about this with former Miami Beach Police Chief Dan Oates, and criminologist and behavioral analyst, Casey Jordan.
So, Casey, let me start with you. Right now, we know investigators found articles belonging to Brian Laundrie. There's no confirmation they have found him or his body or any remains. What do you make of all of this?
CASEY JORDAN, BEHAVIORAL ANALYST: Well, they are going with what they know right now, which is that they have items which I have no doubt the parents said, yes, that's Brian's probably camping gear, backpack, a tarp, a tent, something like that. But the fact they have cadaver dogs there is really telling. It means they must have found something to indicate there are human remains. The fact they brought a coroner.
But those two things contradict one another. If you have a body, you don't need cadaver dogs. You just need a coroner. So it really raises the question, are they still looking for human remains, and if they've found them, do they actually belong to Brian Laundrie?
I think the greater question, Jake, is how the parents knew exactly where to look for their son's belongings that they found very quickly once they came off the path. It makes you wonder if they knew all along where Brian was, if, indeed, they've found some trace of him there.
TAPPER: Yeah. Chief Oates, let me ask you that, let me put that to you. What does it say to you that Brian Laundrie's parents have not been overly cooperative in all of this but today, they showed up, they said they wanted to help the search and shortly thereafter, they found -- or someone found items belonging to Brian. What do you make of that?
DAN OATES, FORMER AURORA, COLORADO POLICE CHIEF: Well, a couple of different questions certainly. I agree with everything Casey said. I will tell you in my career I've never really called out a coroner unless I had a body or something we thought was human remains. So that's an indicator, I think, of where we may be.
The alternate explanation is, in fact, there is no body there but we have material that belongs to Brian Laundrie. And when and where and how did it get there? There's always the possibility that it was put there as an attempt to misguide or misdirect law enforcement in its investigation. And if so, what's the history of that area being searched in the past? What are, in fact, the materials that were found? Did they leave any clues, et cetera?
But there's also a very good chance that, in fact, all of this gearing up and the presence of the cadaver dogs and the ME is an indication a body has been found and that triggers a series of questions. If, in fact, it's Brian Laundrie, how did he die? This is a new investigation. And the other big question is, does the crime scene provide any explanation for how Gabby Petito died? So there's a lot to stew on here and I think we'll know a lot more with the press conference coming up.
TAPPER: Casey, what in particular are you going to be listening for in the FBI update?
CASEY JORDAN, BEHAVIORAL ANALYST: I really want to know a little bit more about whether they searched that area before, and did they just miss something? Remember, these are parents that did not cooperate with the police at all from the outset. And there was one incident where the father went out with the police earlier a few weeks ago at their request. And I think they found absolutely nothing.
The idea that all of a sudden, after more than a month, the parents suddenly go hey, we're going to go look for our son because apparently you haven't been able to find him there and we're sure he's there and they know exactly where to go, it does raise some obvious questions. It's just too much of a coincidence.
Was there evidence planted? Was that body there if indeed there is a body? How long has it been there? Did it just recently get there? Is it suicide? Is it homicide?
Again, we're all conjecturing because we don't know that there are human remains there yet. But if that unfolds --
TAPPER: I'm sorry. I have to interrupt you, Casey, because the press conference is starting right now. Let's listen in.
MICHAEL MCPHERSON, SPECIAL AGENT IN CHARGE, FBI FIELD OFFICE: I'm Michael McPherson, special agent in charge of the FBI Tampa division. As you're aware, the FBI and the north port police department and our state and local law enforcement partners have been searching the area of the Carlton Reserve for Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the murder of Gabby Petito.
Earlier today, investigators found what appears to be human remains, along with personal items such as a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie. These items were found in an area that up until recently have been under water. Our evidence response team is on scene using all available forensic resources to process the area. It's likely the team will be on scene for several days.
I know you have a lot of questions, but we don't have all the answers yet. We are working diligently to get those answers for you. We are grateful for the dedication and professionalism of the North Port Police Department, along with our partners from the state and local agencies. Complex investigations such as this cannot be accomplished by one agency alone but there's just too many agencies to name them all here today.
Portions of the Myakkahatchee Creek Environment Park and Carlton Reserve will remain closed to the public until further notice.
This is an active and ongoing investigation, so we ask the public to maintain distance from any law enforcement personnel, equipment, vehicles and other related activity for the safety of the public and to protect the integrity of our work.
We have no additional comment related to today's activities. Our FBI Denver office is the lead investigative agency and all future inquiries should be directed to them. We appreciate the tremendous support from the public and continue to ask for your assistance in bringing this investigation to close. Thank you.
REPORTER: Was the backpack found near the body?
CROWD: Justice for Gabby! Justice for Gabby! Justice for Gabby!
TAPPER: So that was the FBI special agent in charge giving an update. Let's go back to our panel.
Chief Oates, what did you make of that. What was the headline there for you?
DAN OATES, FORMER AURORA, COLORADO POLICE CHIEF: Well, it sounds like they found a body. And we'll likely get that confirmation in a day or two. Now, what it triggers for the investigators, very, very important is how he died, and then what is the physical evidence that is there and what condition is it in?
Is this a suicide? Did he die from the elements? Any physical evidence that's there? Is there any indication of or explanation for Gabby's death? Or any physical evidence that ties him to the crime scene of gabby's death? And those are the trails the investigators are going down right now. TAPPER: And, Casey Jordan, let me ask you. How does this affect -- if
this is, in fact, Brian Laundrie, and we do not know that for a fact yet, but if this is Brian Laundrie, how does it affect the investigation into the murder, the strangulation, of Gabby Petito?
JORDAN: The most interesting thing that I just learned from that presser was that a notebook was found with the backpack. And that really raises the question that, if indeed, this is Brian Laundrie and if he died by his own hand, did he take the time to write out a note of explanation? Maybe even regret, something that would give answers. Not only to the police but to Gabby's family.
I think that if that notebook is there, there's a very good chance there could be a note. We the public may never know but it would certainly indicate especially if his parents, who have voiced his concern that he might have harmed himself or had been -- had suicidal ideations when he went into the reserve, maybe the notebook will have some answers.
But if it doesn't, if he's not been in touch or corresponding or calling his parents in the month he's been missing, then we may never know the exact answers of what happened to Gabby. And that's going to be a very hard thing for her family to deal with.
TAPPER: Very difficult, as if the last month and a half hasn't been difficult enough.
Let me bring Randi Kaye, our correspondent on the scene back.
Randi, you just heard the FBI spokesman, the FBI agent, special agent in charge talking about the changing environmental conditions, in other words, something was under water, this material that is no longer under water. Tell us about that.
KAYE: Well, they have been searching here, Jake, as you know, since September 17th when the family directed -- Brian Laundrie's parents directed them to this area.
It's a swamp, very swampy conditions. They had the swamp buggies, divers out here many days looking for him. There was some deep water they couldn't get to and they were wondering this whole time, waiting for those waters to recede and hoping that would help them out in their search.
So, we don't know if this particular area was fully under water but it was clearly not accessible. You hear a lot of the protesters here behind me. But it was clearly not accessible for law enforcement and possibly now for the family to get to as well.
So that could play a big role in why they made this discovery just today.
TAPPER: And, Dan Oates, let me ask you a final thought about this case, as we seem to possibly come to a conclusion.
OATES: Well, there's one other important issue here and that is with the finding of Brian Laundrie's body, if that's what this is, whatever reticence the family of Brian Laundrie had to not cooperate with the police out of whatever motivation to protect him or whatever, that's kind of gone. So there is the possibility when investigators go back to the family that there will be some additional scraps of evidence or insight, not previously provided to investigators which might now open up. So that's another angle that should be looked into.
TAPPER: A horrible story. Dan Coates, or Dan Oates rather, Casey Jordan, Randi Kaye, thanks so much to all of you.
Coming up, a smaller dose and a more hometown approach. The White House plans to vaccinate kids and fast. That's next.
Plus, you might soon be losing that famous F logo on your iPhone. We'll explain. Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our health lead, a giant effort in miniature. The Biden administration is expecting the final okay from regulators to green light the vaccination of children ages 5 to 11 in the next few weeks. Instead of mass vaccination sites at stadiums, the Biden administration says that they're going to work with pediatricians and pharmacies to dole out shots. And instead of the full adult 30 micro gram dose, kids will be getting 10 micrograms even in smaller vials with smaller needles.
As CNN's Alexandra Field reports for us now, vaccinating the country's youngest citizens could have a giant impact on curtailing this pandemic.
JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: This will move us further along in our path out of this pandemic.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, the White House rolling out a plan to get shots in arms for kids as young as 5 as soon as they're okayed, possibly in the next few weeks.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: If we can get the overwhelming majority of those 28 million children vaccinated, I think that would play a major role in diminishing the spread of infection in the community.
FIELD: And there's a likely new plan, the source tells CNN, to recommend booster shots for people as young as 40 who receive Moderna or Pfizer's vaccine.
DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: You did see some in their 50s, even late 40s who got very, very sick and even end up dying. We want to make sure we're protecting that population. A booster can potentially be helpful.
FIELD: For those who haven't had so much as a first shot, major cities continue to crack down. New York's mayor announcing today that all city employees, including firefighters and police, must be vaccinated before the end of the month.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: City employees not yet vaccinated, we think about 46,000 is the number. That's a lot of people.
FIELD: But the city's powerful police union is threatening legal action in response. Nearly one-third of the NYPD remains unvaccinated, 55 percent of New York's firefighters have the vaccine, according to the union that represents them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Putting people out of work for making a personal health choice is something we can never accept.
FIELD: And in Los Angeles, the city council vote next week on extending the vaccine mandate deadline to December. It was originally set to take effect today. An estimated one-third of sworn Los Angeles police officers still don't have the shot.
FIELD (on camera): And, Jake, tonight, tens of millions of people could be getting closer to being able to get a booster shot. Today, the FDA is expected to issue their authorization for use of the J&J and Moderna boosters. A CDC advisory committee will then meet tomorrow to issue their recommendations. The boosters wouldn't be available until after that -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Alexandra Field in New York City, thank you so much.
Joining us to discuss, chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Sanjay, let's listen to U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy at this morning's White House task force briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: We know one of the barriers and challenges we will face to getting vaccines to children is similar one we faced with adults. There's a profound amount of misinformation that's circulating about vaccines.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: What would you say to a parent who got the vaccine but is still nervous about getting their child vaccinated?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I have had a lot of conversations with parents over the last few months about this. And I have three kids. And when their age came up, I had them all vaccinated after doing a lot of homework. It comes down to risk/reward. No question the risk to young people is lower than with adults. But it's by no means zero. People still get very sick. They can develop long hauling symptoms and in rare cases they can die.
But, overall, I can show you just the impact of vaccines overall when we sometimes become the victims of our own success. But we know that for many childhood vaccines, for example, vaccines they already receive, the vaccines have made it a significant difference overall in terms of these cases. I mean, pre-vaccine measles, half a million in a year, mumps, 162,000, smallpox, 29,000.
And look what happens with vaccines. It's just important to remember just the benefit of these. If you don't get these diseases you forget just how effective the vaccines are.
As far as risk goes, the big thing that comes up over and over is the risk of myocarditis. That's inflammation of the heart. People's immune systems react to the vaccine. May cause lots of inflammation and in rare cases they get myocarditis.
I think, simply put, it's a big topic, but simply put, the risk of myocarditis for your child from COVID is much higher than the risk of myocarditis from the vaccine. It's a contagious virus. Lots of kids are getting exposed. This is the best way to protect them.
TAPPER: And just to be clear, when you were talking about severe illness and death, you were talking about what would happen if a kid gets the coronavirus, not the vaccine.
TAPPER: I just want to underline that if there was any misunderstanding out there.
The Biden administration says they have enough doses to get every one of the 28 million American kids 5 to 11 years old vaccinated but a Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows only about one-third of parents want to vaccinate their young kids. You have three kids that are vaccinated. I have two kids that are vaccinated.
Right off the bat, there is a risk, it seems, of these unused doses of vaccine going to waste.
GUPTA: It's a potential problem. I mean, this is the issue with -- you want to surge these vaccines so you don't run into supply problems. But this is an issue.
I think that the numbers may change as we often see in terms of people's willingness to go ahead and get the vaccine once there's official weigh-ins from the FDA and CDC. I don't know how much it will budge. And sometimes people won't rush out and get it right away but they may take some time.
But, you know, hopefully, the numbers go up. But it's a real risk as we saw with the adult doses as well.
TAPPER: A new data analysis from the Brookings Institute found 65,000 more men died of COVID than women. Why? Why are men at higher risk?
GUPTA: Well, the honest answer is we don't know for sure. But it's interesting, when I talked to researchers who have been looking at the gender differences, there's a few things that keep coming out. One is, who is most likely to contract COVID, who's likely to get higher dose of COVID as well, front line workers, and the potential gender differences there.
But also, the way that this virus seems to enter the body is through a receptor known as the ACE 2 receptor. It's sort of a lock and key mechanism. And men in certain areas of the body, including the lungs and GI tract, may have more of these receptors as well. These are -- these are hypotheses, some of the areas that I think investigators are still looking.
As we've had more treatments for COVID, the disparity in gender in terms of severe illness and death has gone down.
TAPPER: Let's switch gears to a remarkable medical breakthrough. For the first time, surgeons in New York were able to transplant a pig kidney to a human without immediate rejection. How big a deal is this?
GUPTA: This is potentially a big deal, Jake. There are a lot of people who are waiting for kidney transplants. And there aren't enough donors. That's the simple truth. People go on long periods, if not life-long dialysis as a result.
This is something researchers have been investigating for a long time. Just to give you an idea how they conducted this, the recipient was someone who was brain dead. They knew this person was not going to survive. They were brain dead already but went ahead and transplanted the kidney to see if the kidney would work and if the kidney started to function. But also, most importantly, would that body reject the kidney?
What they did is they basically genetically modified the kidney to take away some of the things they thought would be most likely to be rejected by the human body. When they did that, at least for a few days, the body seemed to accept the kidney and the kidney seemed to work.
It's got to be repeated longer term into more patients but could be a big deal for thousands of people who are waiting for an organ transplant.
TAPPER: Amazing, thank you so much, Sanjay. Good to see you.
Turning now to our tech lead -- Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify. That message today from a key U.S. senator who is accusing Facebook officials of misleading Congress by providing, quote, false and inaccurate testimony, unquote. This all stems from the recent testimony of a Facebook whistleblower who outed the social media giant's efforts to misrepresent the amount of hate speech on the platform. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan who has been covering all the Facebook drama
joins us now.
And, Donie, what's Facebook being accused specifically of lying about?
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jake. I think really what we see in this later from Senator Blumenthal is a lot of frustration. He's been asking Facebook for questions about internal research the company has been doing, particularly on its harm to teenagers. And he wasn't getting a lot of answers.
Then comes along this whistleblower, shows that there is all this internal research and I think Blumenthal is saying, why weren't you telling us about this all along, specifically on what he says he believes that Facebook lied to him about is how Facebook is controlling information being shared within the company. Facebook moving in the past few weeks to lock down some pieces of information to prevent another whistleblower like Frances Haugen.
But, finally, Jake, just to mention that Facebook are not commenting on this at the moment. They have confirmed that they received it. No comment as to whether Zuckerberg will show up in Washington or not.
TAPPER: Meanwhile, Donie, in the middle of all of this horrific PR for Facebook, we're also learning Facebook is planning to change its name?
O'SULLIVAN: It is, yes. It is planning on changing its name. Want its to be known at the Verge, a tech publication, for building what they call the metaverse which is AI glasses, sunglasses that have cameras on them. Sunglasses you can look through and also see sort of partial screen displays.
Facebook wants to be known for that rather than all the scandals and trouble that it's had now and in the past few years. We have no indication of what the company's new name will be, but if it thinks that it's going to be able to distance itself from all these woes it has in Washington, D.C., I think it might think wrong.
TAPPER: Yeah, I don't think the name is the issue.
Donie, thanks so much. I appreciate it.
President Biden speaking in minutes as he lowers the price tag on his big social safety net plan. Can he close the deal? We'll bring you his remarks live.
TAPPER: And welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, those who vow to protect and serve, refusing to protect themselves and others from COVID. A special look at police departments across the country and why so many officers are refusing to get vaccinated.
And breaking moments ago in the Gabby Petito, the search for her former fiance might be over. The FBI saying human remains were found just now.
But first, leading this hour, President Biden is set to speak in minutes in Scranton, PA, hoping for a little hometown juju as he tries to convince Congress to greenlight within the next 11 days his massive spending plan to expand the social safety net and battle climate change. The proposal now shrinking a bit, but according to the White House now in the ballpark of $1.9 trillion over ten years, instead of the previous $3.5 trillion. Programs to expand paid leave and expand the child tax credit and add child care and battle climate change all taking something of a hit.
I'll ask Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts if she's okay with the potential cuts in a moment.
But, first, CNN's Manu Raju joins us live from Capitol Hill.
And, Manu, the tone on this bill has shifted but it's far from over.
What needs to happen before all 50 Democratic senators will sign off on this?