Return to Transcripts main page
Don Lemon Tonight
Democrat Progressives Promise Not To Vote; A Silhouette Of What's Going To Happen; Take It Or Leave It; Joe Manchin Disagree With $3.5 Package. Aired 10-11p ET
Aired September 30, 2021 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST (on camera): All right. Thank you for watching. "DON LEMON TONIGHT" with its big star D. Lemon right now. What do you want to start with?
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: I want to talk to you about the alligator because you're upset with --
CUOMO: The Italian guy?
LEMON: -- with the video. The Italian, he's like -- I'm black and Italian.
CUOMO: I said he said I'm Italian and black.
LEMON: And black.
LEMON: It is indicative of what's happening in Washington, D.C., is what I'll say. And that is what Nancy Pelosi is trying to do, wrangle all the Democrats together in order to get this passed so that they don't snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, right?
CUOMO: Or defeat from the jaws of victory.
LEMON: or defeat from the jaws of victory. I mean, it's the craziest thing. Look, they're in power. They act -- they can get this through. There should be some compromising, as there always is, and they are going to let -- listen, meet somewhere, do some things, do with the alligator guy did, get it together people.
CUOMO: That guy has got seven daughters.
LEMON: That was -- we said the same thing I was -- as I was rushing up to get here, that was the last thing I heard you say, you said seven daughters. I said seven daughters? And as soon as I said that you said, seven daughters? That -- that's more heroic than anything he has ever done in his life. He has seven daughters.
CUOMO: You know what, though? I'll tell you what, I mean, obviously his kids are everything.
CUOMO: And he never even thought twice, this thing is not going to be around my kids. And he did it, and then he released it, which, you know, probably was a better lesson to the kids, than even him capturing it in the first place. But you know, it is an interesting dynamic, I've never seen the like of it with the Democrats. This will be an historic achievement no matter what the number is.
CUOMO: And I wonder if they get that?
CUOMO: It's also, I believe a seismic shift in the party. The progressives are in control. It is no longer about AOC. I know the media loves her, and she certainly makes a passionate case.
LEMON: Pramila Jayapal.
CUOMO: Pramila Jayapal.
CUOMO: Is the one calling the shots.
LEMON: And Joe Manchin. And I just got a bit of news here, this is reportable, right, producers? Can i report this? OK. It's from Lauren Fox, she is one, you know, one of our big producers there.
Senator Joe Manchin on a, quote is, "I don't see a deal tonight." Senator Joe Manchin emerged after more than an hour in his hideaway with Senator Krysten Sinema, and White House officials, and he said he doubled down that he is at $1.5 trillion, which is where he's been, he believe that they can do enough with that price tag, he said when asked about prospects. But he says I don't see a deal tonight.
CUOMO: Right. But you know what though --
LEMON: And Pramila Jayapal telling her people as soon -- she wants the Senate to vote first, she wants to see what the Senate has to say, how they vote, and then as soon as they vote she wants her people to rush to the capital and to the floor, and vote so that the no's will be recorded first.
CUOMO: Right. Manchin says I don't see it. Bernie says I don't want to see it.
LEMON: I don't want to see it. CUOMO: OK? Jayapal says you are not going to see it.
LEMON: You are not going to see it.
CUOMO: They had a call, some 70 participants and all the progressives said no. Even some members of the CBC, I'm being told.
CUOMO: The Congressional Black Caucus. See, you know, this now makes it very interesting question, not about the dynamic, not about the result because they are going to make some deal, the leadership.
CUOMO: Schumer, nowhere in this discussion. Pelosi, only a question mark in the discussion. Why did she force this? What was the strategy? Is she in touch with the people who are calling the shots and the party right now? It is a really interesting time for them. But, if they get anything done like this, we will have never seen anything like it since the new deal.
LEMON: Yes. And guess who is going to be here to the wee hours covering this all, as it comes down, if they actually do get to vote. We don't know. It is still up in the air. I got to tell you --
CUOMO: You will -- you will not have to stay late tonight.
LEMON: OK. Don't jinx me, OK, Chris, don't say that, let's just say we'll see. But let me just -- let me just say this. I think that, and I am just conveying what's being said in Washington. Progressives are tired of waiting. They are saying, look, we need, you know, all of that infrastructure in order to compete, we need childcare, we need all -- we all of those things. We are tired of waiting, we keep giving our leeway -- we keep giving leeway to the moderates in the party, even though the moderates in the party keep winning -- or winning most of the elections around the country.
But progressives are saying, it's high time, and if we can't get it done now, when are we ever going to get it? This is our chance. So that's how they feel. But to me, you know, I'd rather have something than nothing. You know what I am saying?
CUOMO: But this isn't just something. The lowball figure --
LEMON: Is good.
CUOMO: -- it is more than has ever been spent before.
CUOMO: You know, 2016, I know it is a couple cycles ago, but when Hillary brought up 700 billion, --
CUOMO: -- people were like, why don't you just say a gazillion?
CUOMO: This is almost, this is twice that.
LEMON: And what they're failing -- I don't get is that, if they remain, is they go back to their districts and they say we worked really hard and we got this much this much, this was really tough and we are going to remain in power. We are going to be here and there is going to be more, because our party is going to get bigger, our influence is going to get bigger, we will have the power to do more. Just you wait and see. Rather than say, hey we got nothing done, we didn't get it. So, I don't get it Chris, but I got to go move on and --
CUOMO: Look, I think it's proof.
LEMON: -- figure out.
CUOMO: Once again not to be, you know, not to keep beating the same situation, two parties, no more. Two parties, no more. The Democratic Party is not one party. They can say, we've always done this, Paul Begala told me tonight.
CUOMO: No way.
CUOMO: I have never seen the progressives running the train like they are right now.
CUOMO: And it's not a criticism, it's just a change in the state of play, and they better be very clear about how to pay for it, because they are going to make themselves vulnerable to a big push from the right, --
CUOMO: -- about this being the most epic spending of all-time.
LEMON: Yes. Well, this is when the dramatic --
LEMON: This is when the dramatic music plays in the movie. That's where we are at this point now in real life.
CUOMO: I love you, D. Lemon. LEMON: Thank you, Chris.
CUOMO: I look forward to watching you on a three o'clock in the morning.
LEMON: I will. Thank you, and I will make my witness as you say.
CUOMO: Make your witness.
LEMON: This is Don Lemon Tonight.
And here is a breaking news that we are talking about. So, we are waiting a promised House vote on President Biden's bipartisan infrastructure bill, in a new dear colleague letter to her caucus, this is what the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi writes, and I quote here.
"Discussions continue with the House, Senate and White House, to reach a bicameral framework agreement to build back better through a reconciliation bill, which we are told does not mean there won't be a vote tonight." OK?
So, the president as you see the White House right there, remains in the West Wing, getting updates from his team. Again, this is all up in the air, no one knows what's going to happen, we have no -- we don't know now. We are getting information from our sources. from our reporters and producers, correspondents on Capitol Hill.
The clock is ticking. The speaker is saying that she will only bring that bill to the floor if she has the votes to pass it. And progressives are saying, she doesn't have the votes to pass it. President Biden's own party threatening to blow up his domestic agenda, his own party, and all of this is about placating Manchin and Sinema.
Manchin who says that he doesn't see a deal tonight, I just told that -- I just reported that to you. He doesn't see a deal tonight, making a clear that today, his number for the president's massive social safety net bill is $1.5 trillion, which is a long way off from the $3.5 trillion the president laid out. And Manchin says that told the president that. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): He really is sincere. He would like to have a lot more than that, and I said, Mr. President, I understand that. It's just, you know, hopefully you can respect me. He has always been so respectful, he said hey, Joe, I never asked you to go against your convictions. I think we all want the same thing. We want to help children, we want to help (Inaudible), he wants to help those in a long-term care, we want to raise to pay the fair share, do the tax reform, I'm all for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): And so, here's the thing, that very same number mention threw out on September 12th to Dana Bash. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Then how do you know that it's not 3.5?
MANCHIN: That's going to one and a half, there's going to be one, one and a half. We don't know where it's going to be.
BASH: Do you think ballpark one, one and a half?
MANCHIN: It's not going to be -- it's not going to be three and a half, I can assure you. But with that, whatever it is, once you have a competitive tax code, that you can compete globally, then you should look at where the need is. What is the urgency, and the need that we have?
BASH: So, one -- you just said 1.5, it sounds like --
MANCHIN: I'm just saying that basically --
BASH: -- 1.5 trillion is your number?
MANCHIN: -- why look at the numbers if we have a competitive tax code from a non-competitive, it doesn't help the working person, it was done in 2017, that is in the one, one and a half range. OK? That's where it is. Shouldn't you be looking at, what does it take now to meet the urgent needs that we have, that we haven't already met?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LEMON (on camera): So, Joe Manchin told Democrats what he wanted, and they just didn't listen. All right? Chuck Schumer knew -- just in listening and they were saying, Sinema and Manchin should tell us what they want. Well, apparently, Joe Manchin did.
Chuck Schumer knew that was Manchin's number. In late July, they both signed a letter obtained by Politico that made clear mentions number was 1$.5 trillion. And now here we are. We're on the brink of the president's agenda blowing up all because of his own party. OK?
So, let's get to it. The folks who are experts on all of this, there they are, they are there in the thick of it. Joining me now, CNN's chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins, and CNN's congressional correspondent Ryan Nobles. Good evening to both of you, pens and needs. All right.
Capitol Hill, we want to get to the capitol first, so Ryan, that means you. We're almost into Friday and there has been no vote. House Speaker Pelosi just sent out a new letter. So, talk to me about it.
[22:10:03] RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Don, that letter isn't
really offering us much clarity as to where things are headed here tonight, in fact, I talked to three different sources familiar with her thinking saying that we shouldn't interpret this letter as saying that there will not be a vote here tonight.
In fact, this is one part of the letter reads. It says, it has been a day of progress in fulfilling the president's vision to build back better, thanks to so many members and staff, the work is being done. Discussions continue with the House, Senate, and White House, to reach a bicameral framework agreement to build back better through a reconciliation bill.
So, that indicates that the House Speaker is content to let this play, out at least for a certain period of time tonight, and we have seen officials from the White House, Senator Manchin, Senator Sinema, Senator Bernie Sanders, come in and out of different offices on Capitol Hill today, clearly trying to come to some sort of agreement.
But at the same time, this is all playing out on the Senate side, Don, on the House side, that group of progressives, of more than 50 progressive lawmakers held a Zoom call amongst their members, where they continue to hold firm that they are not going to vote yes unless the bill is passed in the Senate.
That's not happening tonight. So, it is still hard to see, at this hour, even though the lights are still on at the capitol, how we get to a position where they are able to vote on this bill here tonight.
LEMON: So Kaitlan, to you now at the White House, the last we heard the president was still there in the West Wing paying close attention to what's happening on Capitol Hill, also possibly planning a trip to go down to try to convince people to move. So, I mean, it's a crucial moment for his agenda. What is he going to try to do, to get everyone to reach an agreement? What else can he do?
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, his number one goal this entire week has been getting Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema on board, so they could have this vote tonight. But of course, now you have seen, people like Senator Bernie Sanders railing against the idea that here it is, 10 o'clock, your show and this is still happening on Capitol Hill. Long after normally these members would have left there by then.
And so, the White House has been obviously waiting, essentially to see what was going to happen here. The aides are still here in the West Wing, the lights are still on. Typically, they would've a leave by now -- which means we can't expect any more presidential appearances for that day.
They have not done so tonight, and that is notable in and of itself. Because typically, that comes around 6 or 7 p.m., unless there are not going to be any more events. And so, I think the White House was hopeful earlier that there could potentially be a vote tonight, they were waiting on House Speaker Pelosi to potentially wrangle some votes, those progressive voters who of course, these progressive lawmakers who are saying they were going to vote no, as Ryan was just pointing out.
But it does seem, as time is going on, that it does seem less likely a vote is going to happen. Though people are waiting to see what's going to ultimately be the end goal. We should note though, that even since this morning aides here at the White House were tamping down expectations for a vote tonight, saying if there wasn't one tonight, and their opinion, Don, it wasn't the end of the world.
LEMON: Yes. I'm trying to remember the last time that we were doing this, Kaitlan. I think the last time was probably for the insurrection, when they were waiting for them to certify the election, we were up this late 10 o'clock, stationed at the White House, and at the capitol. And then the time before that, I believe it was when the president and the first lady tested positive for COVID.
LEMON: We were all up this late waiting.
COLLINS: Don, we have had some very late nights together --
COLLINS: -- here on this show. I know you wanted me to come back, that's why this is all going on. You (Inaudible) them, aren't you?
NOBLES: Do you remember, we were here, you and I were here late the night of the big healthcare vote --
LEMON: That's right.
NOBLES: -- the Affordable Care Act that John McCain thumbs down bill, that was like three o'clock in the morning. You probably not -- don't want us to jinx us.
NOBLEs: Well let's hope it doesn't come to that tonight.
LEMON: Well, I mean, listen, when we are here this late it means there is always suspense, there is always drama, and there is always breaking news that we are reporting. I want you two to stand by, because obviously we will be getting back to you to see what happens, so please stand by.
Because I want to bring in now our chief, CNN's chief political analyst Gloria Borger. Gloria, good evening to you. Here we are up late --
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Don.
LEMON: -- with the breaking news. There is not much clarity --
BORGER: Here we are.
LEMON: -- about what is going on even with Nancy Pelosi's note, Democrats are trying to cut this last-ditch deal, but tensions are still running high. It's not a good look --
LEMON: -- or good time for the party, is it?
BORGER: No. Well, it's not -- it's not a good look at all because they look like they can't get out of their own way. I mean, this is -- this is stuff that Joe Biden was talking about when he ran for president, and he is also supposed to be the president who can unite both wings of his party. And for some reason, he has really been unwilling to wage kind of a public pressure campaign on members of the House, or members of the Senate. He prefers as a former senator, I think, to do this privately.
But it seems to me that while Nancy Pelosi is the one who has been pushing this, because very often, legislatively, deadlines work. We all know that in our lives. You put a deadline before someone, and you say OK we have to get it done by this day, and sometimes that can be kind of helpful.
Tonight, I think, a deadline is really working against her. Because, while they may be working on some kind of framework I was told earlier in the day by a moderate Democrat, these progressives are saying, well, why should we buy into this, we don't really know what's in it?
And that's what caused Bernie Sanders to go off and say, no, we cannot buy this, I would urge all of the progressives in the House to vote no. And so, that's causing a real problem, so my guess would be that this gets delayed, although I know it's dangerous to guess at this point. And that they try and work something out. And if they succeed, as Chris Cuomo was saying earlier, if they succeed it's going to be a very big deal no matter when it is.
LEMON: Yes. Hey, Gloria, let me ask you. Because, you know, you said, putting up -- other than putting a deadline there, right, to give some urgency to it, why the urgent --
LEMON: -- why the self-imposed deadline now? This arbitrary deadline? Was it just to give some urgency to it and put it in front of people and, say you must do it now?
BORGER: I think so. I think so. Right. It's not -- it wasn't a real deadline. You know, the -- it didn't mean anything except that Pelosi wanted to kind of set a date. And if the date has to move, and people in the White House are hinting at this, and I just talked to a moderate Democrat who said, you know what, we just need to get to buy in from progressives. So, if this has to slide into next week, we just need to do it right so that the party can unite.
So, I think that this deadline in the end kind of works against them because we've all been watching this under a microscope. And you know, as legislation gets done, it's not pretty. And the Democrats are feuding publicly, and that's not good. It's not a good look for Joe Biden. It's not a good look for the Democratic Party, and we're all watching it.
So, really, it doesn't help them. And what it does is it makes the public look at the fissures in the Democratic Party and say, wait a minute? Whose party is this? Is this the party of the moderates, or is this the party of the progressives? And, you know, that's the difficult question to answer.
I know what Chris was saying, it has now become the party of the progressives, certainly more than we have ever seen that they have decided to hold firm. And whether a deal can be struck remains to be seen but it may be a big deal if we get it.
LEMON: It's interesting because where Democrats win has been with moderates. And even in the last election there were some progressives who won, but --
LEMON: -- the party is, mostly, moderate except you wouldn't know that from what's happening now in Washington. Gloria, I --
BORGER: And that could be a problem.
LEMON: Yes. Gloria, I want to ask you. Because the person who is really championing or helming the progressive's part in all of this is Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.
I want to put -- there is a tweet from her.
LEMON: Asking progressives, and I quote, "to stick to the plane." That is a bold message to put out publicly as the House speaker is furiously, you know, feverishly trying to get a everyone on the same page.
BORGER: Right. I mean, look, she is saying don't cave. We've come this far, we have our priorities.
LEMON: Do they mean it, Gloria, or is that bluster?
BORGER: We need to make sure that -- I -- I think the progressives mean it. I think, look, they are negotiating. They are doing it in public, which is always difficult. And they are taking on the speaker in a way, and they are taking on the president in a way.
But you know, I spoke with the Democratic pollster who said to me, look, we thinkers swim together on this. If the Democrats fail and can't get out of each other's way --
BORGER: -- and failed to pass something, you know, the infrastructure bill is 70 percent popularity. There is a lot of the stuff in the Build Back Better that is hugely popular. Medicare, prescription drugs, childcare benefits, you know, on and on. If they can't do that, then they can't govern.
So, this is a governing moment for the Democratic Party.
BORGER: And they have to prove no matter what this number is, that they can get something done, and that they can tell the American public what they did. I mean, we are not hearing enough talk, I don't think about what's in this bill for Americans. And I think if they do more of that and they pass something they can say, we did this on our own.
LEMON: I'm trying to figure out the logic here, Gloria.
BORGER: We didn't do this with the Republicans.
LEMON: I'm trying to figure out the logic. Because do you think -- I don't think the average voter or the voter back home for progressive or moderate or whatever in our conservative Democrat that they are going to say, well, I'm not voting for you because you didn't get 3.7, or 3.5 as oppose to 1.5 or 2.
LEMON: They are just going to just say, well, you did the best you could.
LEMON: Do you understand what I'm saying?
BORGER: Right. But -- I do. But what they do want to hear is, what did you do to lower my prescription drug costs?
BORGER: What did you do to help with my family on medical leave?
LEMON: But isn't that included in 1.5?
BORGER: What did you do to help with climate change? Well, yes, exactly. But they -- well, the progressives believe that's not enough. So maybe there's compromises there. Should you means test some benefits, for example?
BORGER: So, there are lots of ways that progressives and moderate Democrats can get together on these things. They just have to figure out what the price tag is.
LEMON: Got it.
BORGER: I don't think they generally, disagree on the shape of something. They just disagree on the priorities here.
BORGER: And how much it should cost. So, it's an argument they are having, and it's a family argument --
BORGER: -- they are having in public. And that doesn't do Joe Biden any good.
BORGER: And it could turn into a huge problem if they can't figure out a way to come up with a number that's somewhere between 1.5, and 3.5, and then tell people what they are doing for them.
LEMON: All right. Well, Gloria, I just have word we have someone waiting on the other side. Thank you, Gloria, I appreciate it.
Stacey Plaskett, --
BORGER: Sure. Thanks a lot, Don.
LEMON: -- Representative Stacey Plaskett is going to join us in just moments. So, we have her. There she is right now because the clock is ticking, the president's agenda hanging in the balance. You know she gives it to you straight. She doesn't beat around the bush. Right after this break.
LEMON (on camera): All right. We are back now with our breaking news. Don't go to sleep. There's a lot going on. Because we are waiting for the promised House vote tonight on President Biden's bipartisan infrastructure bill. But time is running out.
So, joining me now is Democratic Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett. Congresswoman, good evening to you. I know that you want to talk to us --
DEL. STACEY PLASKETT (D), U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS: Good evening.
LEMON: -- about focusing so much on the timing, and the deadline. Am I wrong?
PLASKETT: Well, you know, I think that we've spent a lot of time talking about the win. And what we really need to be talking about, is about the what. What is contained in both of these bills? And I think there is a broad consensus among moderates, conservative blue dogs, and the progressives that both of these bills need to get done.
Now the size of what needs to get done within them, is what we are discussing. And what we are having a family discussion about right now. You all just happen to be seeing our kitchen table as we are having that discussion that's being led by our Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
And I believe, at the end of the day, whichever day that is, whether it's late tonight, tomorrow, or the next day, we are going to get that done because we all believe we have a shared value that the American people want this.
And you know, we talk about it being the budget reconciliation being 3.5, but we don't talk about the fact that so much of this is already paid for. I said on the House Way Means and committee, we were responsible for $2.3 trillion of this, and we have paid for, for this legislation. Being from corporate, raising corporate taxes, as well as raising taxes on the 1 percent.
We have committed that no one paid making over -- under 400,000 are going to have their tax increases. We've seen with the expansion of the child tax credit; we've been able to cut child poverty by 50 percent. And, we know that each year we lose productivity in the amount of $500 billion --
LEMON: OK. OK, Congresswoman.
PLASKETT: -- in productivity due to child poverty. Right?
LEMON: So, I'm just going to -- I'm just channel whatever one at home is thinking. So, if you have these pay for, as you know much more about this than any of us sitting here on television now, because you are in it every day. If you have all of these pay for, and you're having -- you said a family discussion or even an agreement about it, then what's the holdup? Then what is hold up.
PLASKETT: I think --
LEMON: And go -- and the second part of that is, isn't this a question of governing for Democrats? First part, what's the holdup?
PLASKETT: I think the holdup is us disagreeing on the scope and the size of how big we want to go. I don't think anyone believes that we don't want to get this done, and no Democrat doesn't want to make this happen. I think what we need to agree to is the scope of what we have.
A firm agreement on the framework that Speaker Pelosi said, as to what we're going to do in the budget reconciliation so that individuals who are progressive or otherwise, feel the casting a vote for one, will indeed, also bring them across the line to the second. Because all of us want to make sure that we get that done for Americans.
And I think the other thing that you are seeing us do is also make sure which ones are the priorities, and how we are going to happen -- make this happen in the timeframe that we needed to get done.
You know, I sit in the House, which is very different in the Senate. I'm not going to speak as to what the discussions that Senator Schumer is having with his Democratic colleagues, and what they need to do to ensure that. But you can believe that on the House side, this is a discussion that we are having.
And when you talk about governing, listen, the Democratic caucus is, as everyone knows, a wide tent. And that is our strength. That we represent what America truly looks like.
PLASKETT: We are not a monolith. We are, in fact, the full breath of Americans.
LEMON: OK. Let me ask you then --
PLASKETT: And because of that, there is massaging that needs to be done to ensure --
LEMON: OK. I get it.
PLASKETT: -- that we are all on the same page so that we can deliver for the American people.
LEMON: So, folks at home are saying, OK, great. Again, if the Democrats, if Nancy Pelosi can't -- with the people and get them to go for it, if the president can't do it, and can't get members of their own party together, then, why are they there? Why aren't governing --
PLASKETT: Well, we are together. We are together.
LEMON: You are?
PLASKETT: We are together. As to our shared values, as to what we want to get done. The size and the timing and in the breath of it, is what we are working out right now. You just happen to see the sausage being made out in public.
PLASKETT: But you can believe that we are going to serve up a dish to the American people, we're going to give them the meal that they have been looking. We know that during this pandemic, one out of four women have lost employment. We know what childcare is necessary, you know, in terms of equity for African-Americans, homeownership, and creating generational --
PLASKETT: -- wealth.
LEMON: Let me ask you --
PLASKETT: So those are all things that we are all looking for, and that's in the budget reconciliation.
LEMON: You know I have a limited time, right, I have to get to commercial, but you get it. I'm sure you get it. You are a vocal supporter of many of the provisions in the social spending package that you just mentioned, including family paid leave. So, my question is, what is --
PLASKETT: And remember, I'm not a progressive.
PLASKETT: I'm not progressive member.
LEMON: So then --
PLASKETT: I happen to be in the new get Democratic coalition.
LEMON: All right. So, then what is at stake here if this collapses? Or, drastically shrinks? Do you think it won't collapse? You don't think it's going to drastically shrink?
PLASKETT: Well, you know, that is a subjective term, drastically shrinking. Right? What I consider drastically shrinking may be less than you. If we get a 2.3 trillion, 3 trillion, $1.7 trillion budget reconciliation, that is, still, a seismic shift. And an inflection points in the generational shift and what we can deliver to the American people. Along with the 1.5 billion, hard infrastructure deal that's being done.
LEMON: Got it. Will there be a vote tonight?
PLASKETT: Two point three this is already paid for, right?
LEMON: Do you think there will be a vote tonight?
PLASKETT: We'll see. I think that we're -- members are ready. Ready for today, tomorrow. You know, we are ready.
PLASKETT: Come on Don. Come on.
LEMON: Yes. Hey, Representative Plaskett, thank you.
PLASKETT: We got our shoes on, jackets on, we're ready to go. And --
PLASKETT: Thank you, Don. And thank you for being with us.
LEMON: I appreciate it the CROWN.
PLASKETT: And keeping us on point.
LEMON: I appreciate the CROWN. You want to talk quick about the grace.
PLASKETT: And I'm so grateful to my -- I'm just so grateful to my colleagues in House judiciary who voted out the CROWN Act, which is giving voice to so many of us African-American women, and other women who have been discriminated against.
Our daughters, who've had difficulty having their natural hair, having their beautiful hair, be as it is. You know, I've had locks, braids, cornrows, you know, you name it.
PLASKETT: I've been there. And I recognize, what I have had, the Angela Davis afro. But, you know, I'm grateful that we are recognizing that there is some discrimination that's done, even against our young daughters in school, and that we are standing up against it.
LEMON: Well, thank you.
PLASKETT: And so, thank you so much to all of them who voted this out, and I'm looking forward. Cory Booker has the bill on the Senate side, and, I'm hoping that we can bring into the president's desk.
LEMON: OK. Thank you for that. And we may need you tonight so don't go far. I appreciate you joining us.
PLASKETT: Thank you.
LEMON: Thank you very much.
PLASKETT: Thank you.
LEMON: So, have a lot of breaking news as we know, we don't know what's going to happen with these negotiations that are happening on Capitol Hill, ongoing over our bills that make-or-break President Biden's agenda. What is going to happen? We don't know. Stay with us.
LEMON (on camera): We're back now with our breaking news. So, what happens with President Biden's agenda hanging in the balance. We don't know what's going to happen. Is there going to be a vote? We still don't know exactly what Democrats plan to do about these two massive bills, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and the human infrastructure reconciliation bill.
So, joining me now, Brian Fallon, the press secretary for Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, and man about Washington. He knows this, you have been here before. Good evening to you. You have been here before.
BRIAN FALLON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEMAND JUSTICE: Good evening, Don.
LEMON: So, offer some insight, we have waited all night, it's looking like a mess, no vote yet, how do you see it playing out, Brian?
FALLON: If I had to predict, Don, I think one of two things is going to happen. One, either Nancy Pelosi will bring to the floor --
LEMON: Hey, Brian, stand by, I'm getting some information, hang on, once second. I just want to triple check. This is reported, right? That was mask. I didn't wear with tonight.
OK, so, no vote tonight. That's what we are being told, that there will be no vote tonight. I'm checking if it's in my e-mail. I'm just being told in my inbox. I'm just being told by producers, so Brian, no vote tonight. What does this mean? It means they're not going to vote, right, in the broader sense of the term.
FALLON: Right. Well, what is -- this is not surprising. When I was about to say is was one of two things is going to happen, either they would hold the vote on this bipartisan infrastructure package and it would fail on the House for, or realizing that it would fail, they would decide that it's better off to not hold the vote tonight. And it seems like they've decided the latter course is best, they are going to delay the vote.
And this is a further delay that they were initially going to hold this vote on Monday, and headed to a delay until tonight, so now they are delaying it again.
I actually think, Don, in the weird way that Washington works, this counts as progress for Joe Biden and his White House in the following sense. Today, I think the holdout senators like Manchin and Sinema and a few holdouts in the House, now realize that the progressives, like Congresswoman Jayapal and the 90 plus people that she represents in the progressive caucus, that they mean it when they say that they are going to withhold support for the highway package until they get support for the rest of the Biden economic agenda.
FALLON: So now they know, they have to come to the table and deal with the progressives on the rest of the Biden economic plan, the so- called Build Back Better plan, the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package, so I think actually we are going to see negotiations kick in, in earnest, in a way that wasn't happening in the last several weeks. Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema would not even say what alternative number they could support instead of $3.5 trillion package.
LEMON: Well, Joe Manchin said at 1.5.
FALLON: Now I think today --
LEMON: Joe Manchin said 1.5.
LEMON: And that was on --
FALLON: So that's another reason --
LEMON: Yes, that's another we think those progress.
FALLON: That's another reason why I'll count today as progress.
FALLON: Yes, because now we --
LEMON: I want you to stand by, Brian -- I got it with the breaking news. Just stand by, please. Sorry there is a delay, pardon me I really don't mean to be rude. It is just a delay everyone. So, Brian, please stand by because I want to bring in Kaitlan Collins with the breaking news now.
And again, this is coming from our Manu Raju, our Ryan Nobles on Capitol Hill, but Kaitlan is at the White House as we have Brian standing by. Kaitlan, what do you know about what's going on with the breaking news?
COLLINS: Yes, Don, Manu and Ryan have been on the Hill -- the Hill all day long, these marathon talks have been going back and forth between the White House and these top Democrats. And now they have concluded there is not going to be any vote on infrastructure tonight.
It was something that seemed pretty obvious this morning, as we were hearing from progressives saying that they did not have the votes to get this infrastructure bill passed tonight, and House Speaker Pelosi has said she would not bring a bill to the floor if it did not have the votes, and now of course this is the conclusion that they have reached.
Despite these late-night talks that have gone on between top White House aides, the president's top aides, who have been on Capitol Hill, in Senator Schumer's office, in Speaker Pelosi's office, in just the last several hours. But now, they have decided there is going to be no vote tonight, and they will reassess this tomorrow about whether or not a vote is going to happen then. None scheduled right now and just, you know, another indication, Don, that all of this is coming to an end at least for this evening.
President Biden has returned to the residence for tonight, this came after aides had stayed here at the White House. Because they weren't sure, Don, if he was going to go to up to the hill, if it required that after there was a lot of lobbying going on to try to get Senator Manchin, and Senator Sinema on board with that framework of what those progressives wanted to see. But clearly, that was not the case.
And you are seeing progressives like Congresswoman Jayapal urging her fellow progressives not to vote on a bill vote tonight, and if they did vote, to vote no.
LEMON: Yes. Senator Bernie Sanders also urging folks not to -- not to vote as well, or to vote it down. Kaitlan, I want you to stand by, because Brian is going to help us with this conversation.
Brian, I want to get back to you. Brian Fallon, the press secretary for Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign. So, Brian, again, so what does this mean? What happens now? The president returned to the residence, left the West Wing, what's up now?
FALLON: Well, what they've been negotiating the last few hours tonight, was trying to reach a framework on an alternative to the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. So Pelosi, with her House moderates, and Schumer with Manchin and Sinema, was trying to figure out, could we put together at least the outline of an alternative to the $3.5 trillion package, that you could say that you would nominally support, and then we can go to the progressives that are withholding their support for the highway bill in the House, and get them to vote for it based on the outline.
And they've not been able to come out with that outline tonight, but the good news is, they finally have Manchin and Sinema at the table talking turkey, talking details on the Build Back Better package. So, are we going to end up to something close to 3.5? Or are we going to end up with something closer to 1.5?
Are we going to have things like paid family leave in the bill, are we going to have things like two years of free community college in the bill? Are we going to have the expanded tax child tax credit? The horse-trading on these provisions, all of which Joe Biden campaigned on, is now happening in earnest --
LEMON: Brian? FALLON: -- that is what progressives have wanted to force the Manchin's and Sinema's hand to have to negotiate on these things, so I do think this count as progress.
LEMON: Brian, you sound like, I don't know if you had a chance to listen to Stacey Plaskett who was just before you came on and the segment before you, before the break, saying, look, we agree. This is just -- we are having a family discussion, and you're just on the kitchen table talk right now.
The idea of that we are not together on this, she doesn't believe that is true. She is saying it's just how big we are going to go. Do you believe they are going to come to an agreement, and this timeline is just -- this deadline is just arbitrary?
FALLON: I do. The timeline really is arbitrary, and the truth is 97, 98 percent of the Democrats serving in Congress want to pass both of these bills.
They want to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and they also want to pass the rest of the Biden economic agenda. So, these progressives that you keep hearing about in the House, led by Congresswoman Jayapal, these are not people that are holding hostage, you know, for the sake of things like Medicare for all. This is not the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign agenda that they are trying to insist upon.
They are trying to insist upon the moderate proposals that Joe Biden campaigned on. These are very popular, 70 percent supported by the public ideas, like expanding the child tax credit for families that have kids under 6, instead of getting $2,000 in your pocket for a kid under 6, you get $3,600 extra in your pocket every year for a kid under 6.
They want to make that -- extend it for four more years. That's either going to live or die in this package, depending on whether we end up with 1.5, or 3.5. That's a very real economic impact for households. And so Pramila Jayapal and the House Democratic caucus that are standing by this bill, they are saying we want the most robust version of that tax credit.
We want the two years of community college. We want measures that really confront climate change, and Joe Biden wants those things to. And so, I really think that at the end of the day, this is not about a battle between, you know, half the caucus on one side, the so-called progressives, and half the caucus on the other side. Ninety-seven percent of the Democrats serving in both the House and the Senate want to pass both of these measures.
You just literally have a handful, like, less than 10 fingers of people that are holding up the package, two of them --
LEMON: OK. FALLON: -- are Sinema and Manchin in the Senate, and because they only have 50 seats in the Senate, they have an outside sway. But, even the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents that have to run in very purple districts in 2022 want to pass the robust version of the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better program, So I think at the end of the day they'll get there.
LEMON: OK. I want you both to stand by, and I'm going to bring you back on the other side of the break. Because Kaitlan, what I want to know from you is now what for the president, as you are standing there at the White House and if you are getting any more information.
But before we go to break and we come back with our breaking news. We are being told that there will be no vote tonight on the infrastructure bill. No votes tonight, and back tomorrow.
We will have Kaitlan and Brian, on the other side of this break. More on our breaking news.
LEMON (on camera): OK. So, we are back now with our breaking news tonight. No vote in Washington on the infrastructure bill or bills in the House and the Senate.
So, I want to bring in now Brian Fallon and Kaitlan Collins back with me. So Kaitlan, now what? Now what for the president?
COLLINS: That's a good question. We do know that officials are saying, these talks will continue tomorrow. We'll see if they get any closer to getting to a framework, because this is a chief complaint that you heard from someone like Senator Bernie Sanders tonight. Saying that they were negotiating this late into the night, he was worried about what this was going to look like, calling it absurd at times.
And he was -- he was pretty frustrated with the idea that they were going to try to settle on something tonight so they could get that agreement, to get to the infrastructure vote. And so, whether or not they try to vote tomorrow, it really remains to be seen, Don. Because I don't think this morning, aides thought that they would be going this late into the night to try to get to a vote, and then not ultimately get to one.
They kind of force that they thought that Speaker Pelosi would delay the vote earlier in the day. And they're really leaving all of this up to her, Don, because she is the one negotiating with the progressives. Yes, it's President Biden who is the chief person working with Senator Sinema, Senator Manchin about what this top line number is going to look like.
But, really, how they decide to come to this it remains to be seen. They still think that ultimately, they will get that infrastructure deal passed, they still think that ultimately, they'll get a reconciliation bill passed.
But Don, what they've been saying is some version of the reconciliation bill. So that is all still far from certain, and we'll likely find out more. But it is notable, we have not seen the president on camera today talking about this, we could potentially tomorrow.
LEMON: OK. I'm just looking here. So, I just want to make sure before I get -- I have a question for Brian, but the reporting that we have now, Pelosi delays vote on the trillion-dollar infrastructure bill after House negotiations.
OK. So, the question is, Brian, does it matter if it's tomorrow or Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday of next week? Does that -- does it really matter, do you think?
FALLON: Well, you know, Don, in a certain way I would be surprised if there was a vote tomorrow, either. And I wouldn't completely rule it out but I guess I'd be surprised. Here is why. Because at this point, what the progressive's position is, is don't just come to us with the back of an envelope, you know, chicken scratch proposal about what Joe Manchin says he may support in two weeks, when we actually get legislative language. We don't trust him. Congresswoman, because we don't trust them. Congresswoman Jayapal, and the House progressives, as well as bunch of progressive senators in the Senator, do not trust the Sinema and Manchins Manchin on -- will vote for the larger Build Back Better package, surrendering all the leverage and just build for the highway bill now.
What they want to have happened is have these bills pass in tandem. They want to see the Senate move and passed the full reconciliation bill and then they'll pass the bipartisan highway bill.
And so, it's just hard to imagine that with all the negotiations that are happening late in the night on Capitol Hill with Brian Deese and other White House staffers, with Chuck Schumer staff, and with Pelosi staff, that they are going to come to a meeting of the minds overnight tonight on the full scale, and scope, of the Build Back Better reconciliation package.
And they'll get Manchin, and Sinema, to say yes to it. They'll get Josh Gottheimer to say yes to it. Such the progressives are convinced that it's real, and will then release their votes for the highway bill. So, otherwise -- short of that, you're asking progressives to take a leap of faith, and assume that Joe Manchin and Sinema can be trusted to vote for something --
FALLON: --, down the road if they vote for this highway bill tomorrow.
LEMON: Kaitlan, I have ---
FALLON: So, I would be surprised if it's tomorrow, either.
LEMON: I've got less than 30 seconds before we get to break. I know you want to jump in. Go ahead, Kaitlan.
COLLINS: I just wanted to say to look at the level of negotiation though that happened today, where Manchin and Sinema met for about 45 minutes. You've seen White House aides be on Capitol Hill for several hours today. In Schumer's office, in Pelosi 's office.
They think that they are covering good ground here but as Brian noted the question that will come tomorrow when the sun is up vote is whether or not they covered enough ground to get to a vote.
LEMON: All right. Very well said. Man, I lucked out having both of you here for this. I just happen to be in the middle of an interview with Brian, and then Kaitlan also got up and for in front of the camera and help us out with the breaking news.
We are going to reset, everyone. Thank you very much. We are going to reset and get to the top of the hour. We don't know what's going on. Because there could be more information that comes up, when they are going to vote on it, if it's going to be tomorrow, what the president does next.
What Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer or Joe Manchin, or Krysten Sinema. We have no idea, and there is news coming out of Washington. So standby, more breaking news, no vote tonight. We'll be right back.