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The Lead with Jake Tapper
House Democrats Delay Vote On Infrastructure To Work Out Divisions Over Social Spending Package; FDA Authorizes Pfizer's Vaccine For Emergency Use In Kids 5-11; Govt. Considering Massive Payments To Families Separated At Border; Virginia Governor's Race Neck-And-Neck With Four Days To Go; Trump Celebrates Kinzinger's Retirement: "2 Down, 8 To Go"; Biden's Campaign Promise To Slash Drug Prices Cut From Bill. Aired 5-6p ET
Aired October 29, 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: And Kaitlan, Biden has a packed schedule with world leaders. So does his part in negotiations with Democrats on Capitol Hill over that agenda, does that for now get put on the back burner?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, the White House seemed to think it was a concern going into those meetings, Jake, because they were the ones making the case Democrats last week, including the President himself, that they needed to get that agenda passed or at least have a solid agreement on it. So the President could come here to Rome and then go off to the climate summit in Scotland and make that argument effectively.
And they were worried that not only would the climate provision of that argument be undermined by the fact that it has not yet been passed by Democrats in Washington, but also the larger arguments that the President is trying to make here, which is that America is back and democracy has been restored and democracy works, which, of course, has been his underlining argument all throughout his campaign and since he took office. And so I think that is kind of the question of how world leaders approached the President seeing this.
But I think some of his top aides have tried to tamp down expectations about that. You heard from a top climate adviser to the President this morning saying that they know other leaders know that the U.S. is headed in the right direction on climate. And other aides, including the National Security Adviser saying that these world leaders understand domestic politics as well.
TAPPER: Kaitlan, the President had a clear message at the G7 several months ago, America is back, he said. Can the same message still resonate on this trip?
COLLINS: I think it's being challenged a little bit, Jake. And so we'll see how these world leaders receive the President. You saw how the French President responded to President Biden after the diplomatic feud that they had over that scuttled submarine deal just about six weeks ago. And so, warm publicly, of course, they had a pretty frank conversation with cameras still in the room.
But I think it's a broader scale, Jake. It's not just saying America is back.
When that happened with the French deal, the French were likening President Biden to former President Trump, saying he was adopting his tactics of catching allies by surprise. And that's something that obviously President Biden did not take well too. And so we'll see how the world leaders receive him, not just on that, but on the Afghanistan withdrawal, and other issues as well, Jake.
TAPPER: Kaitlan Collins traveling with the president in Rome. Kaitlan, thanks so much.
Here in Washington, D.C. Democrats bought themselves a little bit more time to work out their differences on the so called Build Back Better Act, roughly $1.75 trillion in social safety net programs on everything from clean energy to universal pre-K to affordable housing.
CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill with a brand new self-imposed deadline for Democrats, yet again, now looms.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With President Biden overseas, his agenda at home is stuck months of democratic bickering over this strategy, ultimately forcing Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the third time to delay a vote on Biden's $1.2 trillion plan to pump money into public works projects across the country. Forcing an extension of highway programs until December 3, and prompting anger in the ranks.
REP. DEAN PHILLIPS (D-MN): I'm more concerned about the message it's sending the world right now, that is looking at our system of governance with increasing concern about its viability.
RAJU (voice-over): The reason for the delay progress were demanding moderates, Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, endorsed Biden's larger plan to expand the social safety net and combat climate change.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): It's really important that we pass both of these things together to make sure the United States is not a net emitter on fossil fuels and making climate change worse.
RAJU (voice-over): The larger bill, the product of months of painstaking negotiations where progressives were forced to compromise slashing their $3.5 trillion plan in half, leading up priorities like paid leave and a broader expansion of Medicare to appease Manchin. And dropping tuition free community college and corporate tax rate hikes to win over Sinema.
But the bill still sweeping in nature, standing at $1.75 trillion with preschool for all three and four year olds, more than $500 billion to fight climate change, a Medicare expansion to include hearing coverage and a fusion of cash for affordable housing, and a year-long extension of the Child Tax Credit. In a boon for Biden, progressives are endorsing the slimmed down plan.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA), CHAIRWOMAN PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS: We are really proud of the President and of our progressive caucus and our progressive allies for getting so many of our big priorities into the framework.
RAJU (voice-over): Manchin has refused to take a position on the bill. But he told CNN that he's OK with the price tag, which is more than he originally proposed.
(on camera): Is 1.72 big for you, 2.75 too high for you?
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): No, that was negotiated.
RAJU (voice-over): And though Sinema did not endorse the bill, Democratic sources are confident that after conversations with her, the Senator will ultimately be a yes.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
RAJU: So, even though Joe Biden came to Capitol Hill yesterday and call for the passage of both bills, he faced some criticism from Democratic moderates who want them to be more explicit in pushing for the final passage of the infrastructure bill yesterday.
One of those, Dean Phillips of Minnesota told me, this is the Commander in Chief of the United States, when you spend political equity in front of a caucus two times in a month, I think it's got to be awfully explicit and he has to be more forthright. Jake.
TAPPER: Manu Raju on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.
Let's bring in Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal of Washington State. She is the Chair of the House Progressive Caucus.
Congresswoman, let me start right there with what Dean Phillips, Congressman Dean Phillips said, criticizing President Biden for not more directly telling House Democrats, I want you to go out there, I want you to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure package, and so I can go to this global summit with this in my hand. And when we come back, we were then we're going to do the Build Back Better Act and we're going to make everybody happy.
Would that have done the trick? Might that have gotten the infrastructure bill passed?
JAYAPAL: Well, Jake, it's good to see you. Look, I think the President did a fantastic job. In fact, such a fantastic job that progressives, that's a 96 member caucus by the way, not always easy to all vote together, we enthusiastically and unanimously endorsed the framework that the President laid out. And that is a big deal.
It was not the full bill text, but we endorsed it in principle, despite the fact that we have things that we wish were in there. And so, that's what we wanted to send him off to Europe with because, as Kaitlan said, the important thing is that the Build Back Better framework, the Build Back Better Act, has over half a trillion dollars investment in climate. It finally makes us a country that has universal childcare and pre-K, big investments in housing, really transformative investments in almost every arena. And that's what we wanted to make sure we sent the President off with.
Now, we also believe, Jake, that we do need to make sure that we see the bill text that everybody kind of has an opportunity to make sure that the framework is translated well, and that's what we were waiting for. And because we insisted on that, the legislative text was released, finally, yesterday. We are combing through a 1600 page bill right now.
And I really believe that within a few days, we will be able to pass both these bills through the House. And that will be an enormous accomplishment of the President of all of us across the Democratic caucus, and certainly of progressives who were bold enough to say we're not going to leave anybody behind.
TAPPER: Right. But it's not a secret that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wanted to bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill to the floor this week, and then have the Build Back Better Act voted on when that is ready. And that did not happen.
And you heard moderates, like Congressman Dean Phillips and others, saying Biden -- President Biden should have told the Democrats, go vote on infrastructure. We want that now. And then we'll come back and do Build Back Better. I'm just asking you, if you think if Biden had done that, if the President had done that, would that have made a difference? Would your caucus enough members have voted for the infrastructure bill?
JAYAPAL: I'm not sure that they would have, Jake. I mean, we have said for months, anybody that has been listening to us would know that we have been very clear that the two bills need to move together.
Now, we've made a lot of compromises. We've been at the negotiating table, we backed off the idea of a Senate vote, which many of our members wanted. And we have said clearly, and I even signaled to the Speaker, to the White House, to everyone several days ago that we were not going to have the votes for just an infrastructure bill. The President recognize that.
And he also recognized that it's important that we get both these bills done, that was his message to us. Get both these bills done, and everyone should vote for both of these bills. And I think that at the end of the day, progressives will actually be delivering both of these bills. And I know that the majority of our caucus will be excited that we are getting this done.
TAPPER: Do you think, based on your conversations with them, although you have to tell me who you've talked to in terms of Senator Sinema and Senator Manchin, do you think they will vote for the Build Back Better Act as it has been outlined and written? JAYAPAL: Well, I've been speaking with both of them. And I'm not going to go into the conversations that I've had. But I will just say that my conversation with Senator Sinema yesterday was incredibly productive. And I believe she is really operating in good faith. I'm going to circle back with Senator Manchin.
But here, the key thing is, look, the Progressive Caucus took a leap of faith yesterday when we endorsed this proposal. And we also said we want both bills to move forward at the same time.
When we said the President told us that he has every confidence that he will be able to get 50 votes for this -- for the Build Back Better Act in the Senate, we do have to trust our president at this point, because I think that if he says to us he is going to get the 50 votes and he's confident he can get the 50 votes, then we'll do everything we can to sort of feel as comfortable as we can with it. But that is a bit of a leap of faith.
He's also making a big commitment there, a public commitment, that he is going to get this done. And I believe him. I trust him.
He has done a tremendous amount of work to get to this point and he has worked very closely with us because he understands that the Progressive Caucus is a significant portion of the Democratic Caucus. We are very clear. We have been straight shooters. We haven't tried to hoodwink anybody.
Every time we've said we don't have the votes, we don't have the votes. And people should start listening to us when we say that. But we're just looking forward to getting both bills done, and getting these transformative investments in front of people as quickly as possible.
TAPPER: We've been listening to you for months, Congresswoman, you know that. So, let me --
JAYAPAL: I know you have, Jake.
TAPPER: Right. So, you're the Chair of the Progressive Caucus, just to remind our viewers, you're leading this fight for universal pre-K, and affordable housing, and more climate action, expanded health care, not to mention, of course, this infrastructure bill, also on the line. Will you at all feel responsible because you fought for all or nothing if you end up -- if the Democrats end up with nothing ultimately?
JAYAPAL: Oh, we're not going to end up with nothing. We're going to get this bill passed. And we're going to get --
TAPPER: Both of them.
JAYAPAL: -- passed very soon.
TAPPER: Both bills? JAYAPAL: Oh, yes, both bills. We're going to get both bills passed very soon. And we will do our part in the House. And then obviously, the two senators have to stick to what they need to do to deliver.
And just remember, Jake, 96 percent of the Democratic Party was on board with a much bigger bill. But we understand that we have only 50 votes in the Senate. It is a very thin margin. We have only three votes to spare in the House. And we all have to work together.
So I think we pushed and we pushed and we pushed, we got to the best possible place we could get to. And now we're ready to pass both bills through the House.
TAPPER: I hear on the 96 percent. But it's that 4 percent that makes you the majority.
Democratic Congresswoman, Pramila Jayapal, thank you. Great to see you as always. Thanks so much for joining.
JAYAPAL: Thanks, Jake.
TAPPER: Prescription Drug reforms are out of the Biden agenda for now leaving so many Americans continuing to struggle to cobble together enough money for life saving medicine. We'll bring you that story.
Plus, breaking this afternoon the FDA now clearing Pfizer's vaccine for kids as young as five. We're going to talk to an expert, next.
TAPPER: In our health lead, parents one step closer to being able to get their young kids vaccinated. Today, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization to Pfizer's smaller dose COVID vaccine for young kids five to 11 years old.
Let's discuss with Dr. Lee Savio Beers, the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Thanks so much for joining us, Doctor, appreciate it.
DR. LEE SAVIO BEERS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS: Thank you.
TAPPER: So what should parents be doing right now if they want to get their kids a shot as soon as possible? There's still this blast. CDC has to announce that they think it's safe, and then it can happen -- we expect that to happen Tuesday. If you're a parent out there, really eager to have this happen, what should you do?
BEERS: Yes, you know, if you're a parent, and you're really ready to get the vaccine, what I would recommend is actually reach out to your pediatrician and learn where the vaccine is going to be available in your community. I think what we're hearing is that there may be a couple of days, maybe a little bit -- maybe a week delay in the vaccine, really getting up and running. And pediatricians are actually working with their communities to get it in their own offices, and also to know where in their community it is going to be available.
And so reach out to them now so you can start doing some of that pre- planning. Some places are already offering appointments, you can get that. Some places are already offering some of these larger vaccination sites, getting those up and running. So you can call now, find out what the plans are so that you can get it on your calendar.
TAPPER: So as you know, there's this Kaiser Family Foundation survey that suggests, and it matches up with other surveys, other polling, that about a third of parents of kids five to 11 are like, great, I'm going to do it. About a third or what, it's called wait and seers, they want to give it a little time to see how it all plays out. And a third are like, hell no, not doing it. What is your message to the two thirds that are not lining up?
BEERS: Yes, you know, I think my message is reach out to your pediatrician or to a health professional who you trust to have your questions answered. I'm also a mom, actually, of two teenagers. And before my kids got their COVID vaccine, I made sure I had my questions answered.
And there's a lot of information out there. And it can be really hard to filter through, actually, as a parent.
TAPPER: A lot of bad information.
BEERS: A lot of bad information, yes, absolutely. Absolutely. And so, so reach out to your pediatrician, talk through your questions.
You know, tell them what your concerns are so that they can address those concerns. And actually, I think what we've seen with the adolescents is that it's been a little bit slow going, but as parents are talking to their pediatricians, getting their concerns addressed. You know, each week more and more adolescents are getting immunized. And so I think we'll see the same thing with our younger kids as well.
TAPPER: I think it's about half right now of 12 to 18 year olds are vaccinated, right? So it was a third now. It is improving.
The White House for this rollout is saying that they want to rely on pediatricians. Previous rollouts have been, you know, go to your CVS, go to your Rite Aid, go to your school, wherever your city or your state is holding vaccine centers, but for this, they're doing it, they're leaning more on pediatricians. Was that your idea? Like why?
BEERS: Yes, you know, I mean, I think it just makes sense. And yes, it absolutely was something that we, you know, have recommended. Pediatricians know the families and their practice. I think we also know that families of younger -- the younger your child is, the more comfortable you feel, getting your vaccines in your pediatrician's offices. And we want to make sure that we're available, and we're there to ask questions.
I think children's hospitals also are going to play a really important role in this, particularly for children with complex medical conditions, that they're very helpful with that. So yes, I think pediatricians are really excited about it. We've been kind of following the data and enrollment and probably about three quarters of pediatricians now are signed up to be COVID vaccine administrators. So, we're ready to go. And many are already been doing it for adolescents and for parents.
TAPPER: So, I'm the son of the pediatrician and a pediatric nurse. So I'm, you know, you're not to convince me of anything.
When my son turned 12, we got him to COVID shot. We also, at the same time, got him his flu shot. Do you recommend that or should it be spaced out?
BEERS: Yes, absolutely. It's perfectly fine to get them both at the same time. It'll save you a trip. It'll save you, you know, to, you know, two visits for pokes. So yes, absolutely. You can get them both at the same time.
And we do absolutely -- we are in flu season. So, it's time to get your flu shot too.
TAPPER: Get your shots people, and get them for your kids too.
Dr. Savio Beers, thank you so much. Great to have you here. Appreciate it.
BEERS: Thank you.
TAPPER: Coming up next, compensation for separation. Families separated at the border under the previous administration could soon be paid hundreds of 1000s of dollars in a settlement with the Biden administration. That's next.
TAPPER: In our national lead, 1000s of children were separated from their parents at the border under the previous administration. And now CNN is learning some of those families could be getting hundreds of 1000s of dollars each, part of an ongoing settlement negotiations and lawsuits brought by migrant families against the U.S. government for what happened during the Trump administration.
Joining us now, CNN's Priscilla Alvarez.
And Priscilla, exactly how much could these families be getting?
PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Jake, these payments could be significant, but they will likely vary across family. So, the Wall Street Journal reported that the federal government is considering $450,000 per individual.
Now, a source tells me that number has been raised. But different figures have been raised over the course of this negotiation. And that is what these are, ongoing negotiations. It is still unclear, for example, how many families and who would be eligible for these payments.
And all of this Jake dates back to 2018 when the Trump administration separated 1000s of families at the U.S. Mexico border. Outside groups called it torture, government watchdog reports have detailed trauma among children. So the Biden administration coming in, providing services and engaging in the settlement talks.
TAPPER: All right, interesting.
We're also learning there's been another attempt by the administration to do away with what's called the "Remain in Mexico" policy that the Trump administration enacted. Remind us what that is, and where does it stand.
ALVAREZ: That's a policy that was put in place in 2019. And it required non Mexican migrants to wait in Mexico until their U.S. immigration court date. It was an unprecedented departure from previous protocols and left many 1000s waiting in dangerous cities along northern Mexico.
So the Biden administration came in in June, they terminated that policy, but in August, a federal judge required the administration to bring it back. So today, the administration is announcing a new termination memo to try to pass legal muster. But the big caveat here, Jake, is that in the interim, they still have to restart the program or at least try to restart the program. So, the case will continue to proceed from here.
TAPPER: All right, Priscilla Alvarez, thank you so much, really appreciate it.
Coming up, a tight race in a commonwealth that President Biden won by 10 points were out on the trail with both candidates for Virginia governor. That's next.
TAPPER: In our politics lead, it is the final weekend of campaigning in the Virginia governor's race. Late polling indicates that the contest between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin is very close. One Fox poll released last night had Youngkin up followed by a Washington Post poll this morning showing a dead heat.
Our correspondents Dan Merica and Eva McKend are in the Commonwealth for us right now. Dan, let's start with you. Vice President Kamala Harris campaigning for McAuliffe tonight. This race really has Democrats terrified.
DAN MERICA, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, there's a genuine concern here that Democrats could lose a race that is going to become and already has become a referendum both on eight years of leadership here in the Commonwealth of Virginia, but also almost more importantly, on leadership in Washington, the Democratic controlled Washington.
McAuliffe was also very concerned early in this race of what turnout would look like in a post-Trump era. And he has tried to address those concerns by tying Youngkin to Trump at every different turn. There are questions, though, about how that is working, given a enthusiasm gap between Youngkin and McAuliffe and Democrats and Republicans.
The other issue is, obviously, been the negotiations on Capitol Hill and the fact that there is no deal. Democrats were hoping that they could run on a deal passed by Congress, passed by Democrats. But that, obviously, does not seem like it's going to happen in the next few days, early voting, and tomorrow. Take a listen to what McAuliffe told me yesterday about the fact that there is going to be no deal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: Compromise is not a bad word. You know, you don't always get what you want with. But that's the difference, I guess, governance. We don't have filibusters and all this other kind of stuff. You know, I have to have balanced budgets as governor here in Virginia.
And they just need to do their job and quit prancing around, get in a room, get this passed. We need help here in the States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MERICA: Jake, something to remember is that this is the first year of excuse free early voting in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Almost a million votes have already been banked. So, you know, as we're watching these last -- these late in the weekend poll, some of these swings and momentum, it's important to remember that those late votes, those late swings might not mean as much given how much early voting there has been banked in this race, Jake.
TAPPER: Interesting. And Eva, you're following Republican Glenn Youngkin and his campaign sure feels like it has the momentum right now.
EVA MCKEND, CNN NATIONAL POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: They do, Jake. You know, the campaign looking and feeling very confident his supporters as well. They're telling me they haven't seen this much enthusiasm for Republican in Virginia in a long time. A Republican has not won statewide here in 12 years, and his supporters tell me they truly believe Youngkin is their best shot.
And they're not only animated by the cultural issues like this battle over what the future of Virginia Public Schools should look like. They're also, frankly, attracted to Youngkin based on sort of these traditional Republican issues. They told me they like when he talks about lowering taxes, protecting protecting right to work laws, and the pro-law enforcement message.
Take a listen to what Youngkin said earlier today on the trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GLENN YOUNGKIN (R), VIRGINIA GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE: There was a few polls that came out last night in case anybody noticed. You know, and people been saying that this race is tightened up. Polls don't elect governors, voters do, voters do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKEND: So at every campaign stop, we are just seeing a large amount of people, also a large amount of people expected here this evening. This event kicking off around 6:30 p.m. Jake?
TAPPER: All right, Dan Merica and Eva McKend, thank you so much.
Let's discuss. Ashley, let me start with you. I know that Terry McAuliffe wanted that infrastructure bill, at the very least, if not, the Build Back Better act to become law before Tuesday. That will not happen. How much does that hurt him?
ASHLEY ALLISON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I think it hurts him some, but I also think that the issue of education is really important here. And so while Democrats don't really have something to run on, Republicans are rallying their base up not necessarily on Trump, but on cultural war issues like CRT, like abortion, and --
TAPPER: Critical race theory, CRT.
ALLISON: Critical race theory, yes. And really making it, you know, education used to be a very strong democratic issue, and Republicans have been able to pivot it and make it their issue, and really get parents and teachers feuding with one another. And I think that is the issue that will allow the Republican base up that will ultimately hurt Terry McAuliffe.
TAPPER: Are you -- it seems obvious that parents would care about education, especially in a place like Virginia. And yet, somehow the Democrats just let Glenn Youngkin take the issue away.
RAMESH PONNURU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Right. And you can really see that in the Washington Post poll, the one that had it as a dead heat. It showed that a month ago, McAuliffe had the traditional Democratic advantage on the issue, but now the number of voters who are citing it as their top issue has grown, and there -- and they have swung heavily behind the Republican Glenn Youngkin. And you got to wonder whether this changing issue makes the mood of the electorate is not going to just help Youngkin but Republicans down ticket as well.
TAPPER: Yes, no, absolutely, they have a competitive lieutenant governor race and a competitive attorney general race --
PONNURU: And the House of Delegates could come back the Republicans after two years being for the Democrat?
TAPPER: Absolutely. Jackie, punchbowl notes that the echoes of 2010, 11 years ago, if you can believe it, Democrats were engaged in a month long battle over Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act. The Tea Party was gaining power and then, quote, "Losing the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races were the first signs of the coming GOP wave when they won 63 House seats and ended Pelosi's reign as speaker."
The New Jersey governor's race is not particularly competitive, as far as we can tell. But do you think that that is kind of what's brewing here, potentially?
JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean, that sounds like a scary story to tell in the dark at a Democratic Halloween Party right now, to use, you know, the time of year but I think it really depends if McAuliffe can put this out -- can pull this out. Because across the country, you are seeing Democrats particularly in those swing districts get really nervous.
You heard the backlash after they failed to pass these bills that the progressives aren't thinking about districts where -- that aren't like there's, the frustration from the moderates was very evident. So yes, I -- and I think the alarm bells that are going to ring whether or not it's warranted.
I mean, there's going to be, no matter what happens on Tuesday, there's going to be a an effort on both -- or not even an effort, an inclination on both sides to overpronate about what it means. But, certainly, if McAuliffe loses, that scream you hear is going to be from the Democratic caucus.
TAPPER: Yes. So I want to show you something, we have, obviously, a bunch of staffers, a bunch of producers who live in Northern Virginia, which is a very competitive part, where Democrats really have to rack up a ton of votes. So this is endorsement announcements, a leaflet.
Donald J. Trump, Glenn Youngkin will, quote, do all the things we want a governor to do. This is from a rally and then at the back, Glenn Youngkin, Donald Trump endorsed. Glenn has my complete, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Now looks like a traditional mailer, except if you look very closely, lavender on blue almost illegible.
This is put out by the Democratic Party of Virginia, the Democratic --
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
TAPPER: -- Party of Virginia put out --honestly, you could -- if you put this in rural Virginia, this would be great for Glenn Youngkin, but they're hoping for the opposite effect in Northern Virginia, the Democrats.
SIDDIQUI: Absolutely, in the same way Republicans are trying to make this more of a national referendum around certain cultural issues. Democrats are also putting this in more of a national context by tying Glenn Youngkin to former President Trump because they still believe that a rejection of the former president and Trumpism is going to help drive turnout among Democratic voters.
And, you know, you see Terry McAuliffe really kind of trying to drive home that message. You saw former President Obama do it when he took this dump. Now Glenn Youngkin a bit interesting because he has an outwardly fashion himself and former President Trump's likeness. He's tried to draw some distance, but he's still trying to court Trump supporters.
And I think the big question, though, for Democrats is this was a strategy that was effective for them in 2018 when former President Trump was in office, in 2020 when former President Trump is on the ballot. Is it as effective when he is not himself on the ballot when you're talking about other Republican candidates down ballot, can the entire election still be a referendum on Trump. That's, you know, I think what Democrats are betting for -- betting on in part in Virginia.
But the vote this year, the elections in, you know, Virginia, New Jersey, as well as the midterms, next year will be a big test of that strategy, has been core to democratic success.
KUCINICH: But I just wanted to --it's really quick. I think if Glenn Youngkin does win, you're going to see his strategy of keeping things local, keeping things focused on issues, exported to Republicans in districts where maybe Trump isn't the most popular around the country, if that is successful.
ALLISON: Especially since Trump is not going to Virginia.
PONNURU: But, I mean --
TAPPER: As far as we know.
ALLISON: Yes --
PONNURU: This -- Virginia has been such an anti-Trump state. And if a strategy of tying all the Republicans to Trump doesn't work in Virginia, there are a lot of congressional districts around the country that are not as anti-Trump as the state of Virginia is where presumably the strategy would work even worse.
So even if McAuliffe hangs on by one or two points, I think that that's actually not a great result for a lot of Democrats. And I think a lot of democratic political professionals are going to make that conclusion.
TAPPER: Yes. And it's important to note that Donald Trump continues to have a presence in the Republican Party whether or not Republicans are acknowledging it. Just today, an outspoken Trump critic, Congressman, and veteran Adam Kinzinger, a member of the January 6 Committee announced that he will not run for re-election. You can listen to part of his reasoning in this video he put out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM KINZINGER (R-IL): Because in this day to prevail or survive, you must belong to a tribe. Our political parties only survive by appealing to the most motivated and the most extreme elements within it. And the price tag, the power has skyrocketed, and fear and distrust has served as an effective strategy to meet that cost.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: So, we should note that the Democrats that control Illinois just did their redistricting map and they put Kinzinger against LaHood, who is Congressman LaHood, so they would have to battle it out. LaHood is a much more Trumpy Republican. That would have been a tough fight for Kinzinger in a Republican primary. But I have to say, I am surprised. I am surprised that Kinzinger is retiring.
SIDDIQUI: Absolutely. And even if the redistricting is a part of the calculation, there have been a wave of Republican retirements both during the Trump presidency and since then have largely comprised of more of the moderate voices, the prominent critics of former President Trump because they've been pretty clear that they don't really see themselves having a place in the Republican Party as it currently stands.
And, you know, Kinzinger alluded to that even in this video. He's one of the few House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Trump after January 6th. And, you know, Trump and his allies have also made it clear that they were going to primary --
SIDDIQUI: -- any of these Republicans who either voted to impeach him or who were critical of him. So it's very much still Donald Trump's party, no mistake
TAPPER: And Ramesh and Ashley, to you, after Kinzinger announced this because one of their 10 Republicans have voted to impeach Donald Trump. Congressman Gonzales who was at one point thought to be the shining light and a star in the Republican Party. Maybe someday he would be the first Cuban American president. He has announced he's retiring after Trump said he was going to challenge him with Congressman -- hope, would be Congressman Max Miller.
And then now you have Kinzinger dropping out, that's two of the 10 dropping out and Donald Trump put out a statement, two down eight to go.
PONNURU: That's right. And Josh Mendell put out one where he called them traitor again, which tells you about the mood of a certain segment of the Republican Party.
KUCINICH: Josh Mendell also wants to bow down Trump's endorsement.
PONNURU: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. But anything's has to wait again.
PONNURU: But the, you know, one of the interesting things about this, I do think there's a certain short sightedness on the part of the Democrats in Illinois. They did what a traditional normal political party does, right? Gerrymanders aggressively to help itself and and get rid of some of the other team.
But if you really believe the things that a lot of Democrats say about the threat to democracy, I think that it means you need to have some allies on the other side. And they have just eliminated one of those potential allies.
TAPPER: That's -- I mean, I have to admit, I've heard this argument before, Illinois lost a congressional seat. They could have kept Kinzinger in a seat that was reasonable and rational so that there are non-Trumpy Republicans who exist which is important, theoretically, I think we would all agree and yet they were they were ruthless.
We don't want -- you know, we don't know how slim the majority is going to be of the Republicans or Democrats. We don't care. We only want to give the Republicans one congressional seat of the -- whatever they have, 19.
ALLISON: I'm not going to blame the Democrats for the reason why Kinzinger is not running again. I mean, two down eight to go, I think we know why he took a step out of the race. The thing that is interesting about him and those that are a little line with the belief that Donald Trump loss is where do they go.
Because if you go back to our original conversation around Virginia, are they going to vote for Terry McAuliffe? The people who voted to certify the election, are they going with the Democrats? Or are they forming another type of party? He says that this is not the end of his political career. So what is next? Because they clearly don't have a home in the Republican Party right now.
TAPPER: All right, thanks one and all. Have a great weekend. Have a great Halloween.
Tuesday night is Election Night in America. CNN is going to cover the high stakes governor's races in both Virginia and New Jersey, plus the New York City Mayor's race. I'll be anchoring our special live coverage starting Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.
Coming up, skyrocketing prescription drug prices forcing some Americans to stretch their lifesaving medicine just to get by, that's next.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I promise you the rates are going to fall through the floor. Plan slashes the cost of prescription drugs by 60 percent. How many of you know somebody who's had to sell things just to get the drugs that have gone up exponentially?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Blasts from the not so distant past, bringing us to our money lead today and a campaign line that President Biden use time and again, convincing Americans that slashing the cost of prescription drugs would be a top priority of his administration. He would allow Medicare leading the charge to pass a law to allow Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies. But now that's a flashpoint in that big spending bill and one that progressives are fighting to get back into the plan.
But CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich finds one American who has been forced to decide between paying bills and paying for her lifesaving medicine.
DONNA MILLER, CAN'T AFFORD PRESCRIPTION MEDICINE: All this is insulin.
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS & POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donna Miller has been on insulin for her diabetes for nearly two decades.
MILLER: This long term, this is short term. Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Her dosages, prescriptions and monitoring. Routine and like clockwork until she got a bill for $3,000.
MILLER: Well, I can't say what my emotion was on TV, but I couldn't believe it. I mean, it's unbelievable.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): The two insulin drugs, she says, costs her $100 a month through Medicare skyrocketed to $1,000 a month.
MILLER: I can't afford it.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): This week, President Biden failed to reach an agreement on lowering prescription drug prices in his economic package, which would have allowed Medicare to negotiate directly with drug companies.
BIDEN: No one got everything they wanted, including me.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Button issue, critical to the 18 million Americans who can't afford their prescription medication.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's been an issue for, honestly, for decades. There's a real risk that it could be, you know, many, many years before they're able to come back to the table and do something about it.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Leaving Americans like Miller taking drastic measures.
(on-camera): Why have you had to change your dosage?
MILLER: Because that helps you stretch your insulin now. YURKEVICH (voice-over): And the majority of voters across party lines support the government negotiating with drug companies, disagreeing with industry claims it could affect funding for drug research.
MILLER: What I hope that I could be competent in is that people from all sides of the political party understand that this is not a Democrat issue and it's not a Republican issue. It's a people issue. My friend just gave me this because her aunt no longer needed them.
YURKEVICH (on-camera): Without that pile from your friend though --
MILLER: Then I'm not going to have to buy insulin. I'm absolute grateful I got that.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): With this, Miller says she has enough insulin to last her through the end of the year, but spends her days looking for discount programs to bring down costs.
(on-camera): Without this insulin, what would happen to you?
MILLER: I probably die. I'm telling you, I mean, I'm so sure that insulin is a life sustaining drug. You will die.
YURKEVICH: Now, there are two other key provisions that did not make it into President Biden's Build Back Better framework. Those are paid family leave, and dental and vision coverage under Medicare, hearing coverage under Medicare did make it in. But Jake, these are two compromises that the President said that he had to make in order to push his economic and social plan forward.
TAPPER: Vanessa, the Biden administration says just because it's not in this bill, doesn't mean they're going to not try again. But if these provisions never make it into this framework or the next, what will that mean for these families?
YURKEVICH: That means they'll have to wait many, many more years. We've heard from advocates on these issues for these specific provisions and they feel like if these items do not make it into this bill, it'll be many, many more years before anything impactful is done to help these millions of Americans like Donna you saw right there, get the help that they need. Jake?
TAPPER: Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you so much for that report.
New doctor's orders for Queen Elizabeth, that's next.
TAPPER: In our world lead climate change activists from around the globe gathered to make their voices heard today ahead of an international climate summit. In London, high profile activist Greta Thunberg joined a protest against British financial institutions that fund climate polluters. The demonstrations come a few days before the start of the United Nations Climate Conference in Scotland, which President Biden and other world leaders will attend.
The United Kingdom's reigning monarch will not be attending, however, even queens have to follow doctor's orders. 95-year-old Queen Elizabeth has been advised by her physicians to rest for at least the next two weeks. The Buckingham Palace announcement comes a little more than a week after the Queen spent a night in the hospital. Doctors say she can continue to perform light desk-based duties but not to undertake any official visits.
Tune to the State of the Union on Sunday. The guests, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Senator Bernie Sanders, that's at 9:00 and noon Eastern only on CNN. Until then, you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the TikTok at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. You can also catch our show on our own podcast.
Our coverage now continues with one Mr. Wolf Blitzer live from Rome. See you soon.