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President Biden Holds Press Conference after Bipartisan Senate Infrastructure Bill Passes in House of Representatives; President Biden Says Build Back Better Act Will Also Pass House and Senate; Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Interviewed on Passing of Senate Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill; At Least Eight People Die in Crowds at Astroworld Music Festival. Aired 10-11a ET

Aired November 06, 2021 - 10:00   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That's a fancy way of saying a bipartisan infrastructure bill, a once in a generation investment that's going to create millions of jobs, modernize our infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our broadband, all range of things, to turn the climate crisis into an opportunity.

And it puts us on the path to win the economic competition in the 21st century that we face with China and other large countries, and the rest of the world. It's going to create more jobs, good paying jobs, union jobs that can't be outsourced, and they're going to transform our transportation system with the most significant investments in passenger rail, the most significant investment in 50 years, in roads and bridges, the most significant investment in 70 years, and more investment in public transit than we've ever, ever made, period.

It's going to modernize our ports and our airports. I'm going to be going to some of our ports next week. And the freight rail, increasing that -- look, we have bottlenecks across the country. We're doing so much with this legislation. It's going to make it easier for companies to get goods to market more quickly and reduce supply chains, bottlenecks, and now, and now and for decades to come. According to economists, this is going to ease inflationary pressures, not increase it, ease inflationary pressures by lowering costs for working families.

It's going to create jobs, replacing led water pipes, so every American, every child can drink clean water, improving their health, and putting plumbers and pipe fitters to work. How long have we been talking about that? It's a gigantic issue. Jobs making high-speed Internet affordable and available everywhere in America.

And you've heard me this before, and I apologize for repeating myself, but no parent should have to sit in the parking lot of a fast-food restaurant so their child can do their homework because they have no Internet connection except to go off what's going on, that Internet connection from the fast food restaurant.

It's going to make significant and historic strides to take on the climate crisis. Some of you were with me when I was recently in Scotland at the COP26. What did people keep asking me? Are you going to fund it? Are you going fund it? Are you really going to do what you're saying? Well, this goes along a big step along the way of doing it.

We're going to build out the first-ever national network of charging stations all across the country, over 500,000 of them, so that you can make real -- and auto companies have made a commitment that we're going to make 50 percent of vehicles electric by 2030, so you'll be able to go across the whole darn country from east coast to west coast, just like you stop at gas stations now. These charging stations will be available.

It will get America off the sidelines on manufacturing, manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, battery storage, energy and power for electric vehicles, from school buses to automobiles. And it will reward companies for paying good wages and for getting materials for their products from right here in America. And America exporting and providing the rest of the world with these technologies that are generated here in the United States as we go green around the world.

It also makes historic investments in environmental cleanup and remediation. It builds up our resilience against superstorms and droughts and wildfires, hurricanes. You've heard me say it again, and I apologize for repeating myself, but $99 billion in losses last year because of climate crises. In America, $99 billion it cost the taxpayers of America. It represents a blinking red code out there for our nation.

Vice President Harris and I look forward to having a formal signing ceremony for this bipartisan infrastructure soon because everyone -- I'm not doing it this weekend, because I want people who worked so hard to get this done, Democrats and Republicans, to be here when we sign it. But we're looking more forward to having shovels in the ground, to begin rebuilding America. And for all of you at home who feel left behind and forgotten in an economy that's changing so rapidly, this bill is for you.

The vast majority of the thousands of jobs that will be created don't require a college degree. They'll be jobs in every part of the country, red states, blue states, cities, small towns, rural communities, travel communities. This is a blue-collar blueprint to rebuild America, and it's long overdue.

I'm also proud that the House took a big step toward -- forward to pass my Build Back Better Act, which for the week of November 15th they're going to be taking up. They went through the procedural mechanisms to ensure that occurs.

Let me be clear. We will pass this in the House, and we'll pass it in the Senate. The Build Back Better Act will be a once-in-a-generation investment in our people, getting America back to work by reducing the cost of childcare and elder care, and getting millions of women back on the job who have to stay home because they cannot afford the childcare or health care for their parents.

[10:05:14] Providing universal pre-k for every three and four-year-old child in America and increasing their academic achievement potential significantly, significantly. Making health care more affordable, lowering prescription drug costs, tax cuts for working people and the middle class so that folks have just a little -- I know you're tired of hearing me say, my dad used to always say as a middle-class guy, we just need a little breathing room. A little breathing room. It's going to reduce child poverty in this country, by the way, by 50 percent. We're already on track to do that with the child tax credit we passed in our last piece of legislation.

And this bill is fiscally responsible. That's a fancy way of saying it's fully paid for. It doesn't raise the deficit by a single penny. And it actually reduces the deficit, according to leading economists in this country, over the long term. And it's paid for by making sure that the wealthiest Americans, the biggest corporations, begin to pay their fair share. Again, you've heard me say it 100 times. Why should 40 to 55 corporations who made over $40 billion in the last couple of years, why should they pay zero in taxes? I'm a capitalist. I'm not a socialist. But the bottom line is everybody should pay their fair share. Zero in taxes? Come on.

And so -- and keep my campaign commitment, it does not raise a single penny in tax for anyone making less than $400,000 a year. Say it again. Folks, no matter what they tell you, you're going to find out this will not affect your taxes one little bit in having to pay a penny more if you make less than $400,000 a year.

Independent experts have concluded that these bills are the highest value investments that we can make to grow the economy. It's going to create millions of jobs, increase productivity and wages and reduce costs, and generate significant and historic economic growth. Again, the press is here, the poor people that follows me all the time, they've heard me say this a lot. We got out of the blue a couple weeks ago a letter from 17 Nobel Prize winners in economics, and they determined that it will ease inflationary pressures, not create them, ease them, ease those pressures.

And for the economy, it recognizes that we face an inflection point. For most of the 20th century, we led the world by a significant margin because we invested in our people. We invested in ourselves. You've heard me say that 1,000 times, Jill will say it, my wife says any country out-educates is going to outcompete us. We invested in education, we invested in health. We invested in things to affect people's opportunities to succeed. We built an interstate highway system which led to the best airports, bridges, airports, and transit systems in the world.

These are the arteries of commerce that have moved goods from coast to coast quickly. That's why people decide to build facilities here in the United States. We empowered our companies to outcompete the world, and we created jobs and untold opportunities for our people to travel, to live, and to work. But somewhere along the way we stopped investing in ourselves. We stopped investing in our people. And we risk losing our edge as a nation. I don't even think it was conscious, but this is what happened. And China and the rest of the world are moving to catch up, in some cases in certain areas move ahead.

Our infrastructure used to be rated the best in the world. Today, today according to the World Economic Forum, we rank 13th in the world. The United States of America ranks 13th in the world in infrastructure. Come on. We used to lead the world in education achievement. Now the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, ranks America 35th out of 37 major countries when it comes to investing in early education for childhood education and care. Think about that. Those of you parents know, you start kids early, you give them the basis, you give them the material to be able to go on. It's simply unacceptable that we rank 35. We're now turning it around in a big way.

Any single element of this plan would be a fundamental change in America. But taken together they're truly consequential. Again, I have more to say about this soon, but when we have the bill signing, I'll be able to thank everyone in the Senate and the House for their leadership. I hesitate to start now. I'll leave somebody out. I want to make sure everybody that was part of this gets credit for it.


But for now, I want to quickly thank members of the House who worked so hard to get some of this done. Speaker Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Jim Clyburn, progressive leaders, moderate leaders, Democrats, Republicans, they in fact worked together. Like I saw someone told me, my staff this morning, on one of the programs this morning, they said, well, we finally -- the sausage is made. Well, it is a process. You all know it. You're all pros, you cover it.

The American people have made clear one overwhelming thing, I think, and I really mean it. All the talk about the elections and what do they mean. They want us to deliver. They want us to deliver. Democrats, they want us to deliver. Last night we proved we can on one big item. We delivered.

I want to close with this. For much too long working people and the middle class of this country have been dealt out of the promise of America. That sounds like hyperbole, but I really mean it. Some of you may remember when I ran, I was legitimately, it's appropriate to be criticized, I'm not complaining about being criticized, but when I said I was running for three reasons. One, to restore the soul of America, bring back some decency and honor in the way in which we dealt with one another. The second reason was to rebuild the backbone of the country, the middle class. The wealthy are value added to the country, but they didn't build the country. Hardworking, middle class folks are the ones who built this country. They're the ones that built the middle class, they're the ones that built the backbone of the country.

And what I decided to do was I said we have to begin to build an economy from the bottom up and the middle out. Well, folks, that hasn't been the case. I'm so tired about trickle-down economic theory that I'm trickled out. The idea that -- and I asked the rhetorical question. When the middle class has done well, when any time have the wealthy not done extremely well as well? Come on. We've got to give working folks a real chance, a chance.

And so, folks, there's an awful lot more to say about this, but today I think has just been a good day. It's time to deal folks back in. As you've heard me say it again, I make no apologies for it. These bills in fact are the two bills we're talking about, the Build Back Better bill, which we're going to be working on now, and this bill are all designed to give ordinary people a fighting chance, to begin to sort of level the playing field just a little bit. Not punish anybody.

I've long said it's never, ever been a good bet to bet against the American people. Never. What that really means is bet on the American people, give them a shot. Give them a shot. That's what these plans do. They bet on average Americans. They believe in America. They believe in the limitless capacity of the American people. If you look at the history and the journey of this nation, what becomes crystal clear, not a joke, given half a chance, the American people have never, ever, ever, ever, ever let their country down.

We're about to give them a full chance this time. And when we do, there's going to be no stopping us. I truly believe that 50 years from now folks are going to look back and say this was the moment, this was the period, this year and the next couple years when America decided to win the competition of the 21st century, to get in the game full bore. So my message to all the American folks is let's get to work. Let's get this done.

God bless you all and may God protect our troops. And I'll take a few questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To what extent did the election result help propel this bill to the finish line? And how were you able to bridge the gap last night between moderates and progressives?

BIDEN: Well, I'm not being facetious with the answer I'm about to give you, but I don't -- I'm not going to be a prognosticator and make a judgment on how the election could or would have been different. Each state is different, and I don't know. But I think the one message that came across was get something done. It's time to get something done. Stop talking. Get something done. And so I think, again, that's what the American people are looking for. And I think it's a legitimate -- and when you ask how we were able to bring things together. Well --



BIDEN: Look, all kidding aside, I believe everybody in the process is entitled to be treated with respect. And I've been doing this kind of thing -- it doesn't mean it's not all me, but I've been doing this thing my whole life. I've been able in the Senate to put things together when people said they couldn't be put together just by making the overwhelming point that you can't have all you want. It's a process. There's no one piece of legislation that's going to solve everybody's problems.

So, I spent a lot of time, as you probably heard, with a lot of people, both political parties and within my party, saying, look, let's -- if we move on what's here in this bill, that is the infrastructure bill, it is a gamechanger in a half a dozen way. The fact that it has too much of what you don't want and not enough of what you don't want -- let's be reasonable. Let's take a look at this. Let's do what we agree at a minimum is in the interests of the American people. And if you want to add more, we can fight about it later, or you want to subtract some of it.

I've never voted for a major piece of legislation, an omnibus bill, that I was in for every piece of it. People say, well, how do I explain this? I say, when you explain to your constituency, and I'm not telling you how to do it, but you go home and say this is what it did. It had one piece in here, there's not enough money for this or there's too much for that, but overall, this has been a gigantic benefit to my congressional district.

So, I spent a lot of time taking questions from both -- and by the way, everybody at the end of the day, I have to admit, dealt with me fairly. They were -- and part of the process, and this is probably than you need to know, but part of the process is getting to know all the people personally again. I've been out of government for four years. I used to do this every day. I used to know about everybody's district I was working with when I was vice president. I know -- I know them and call up and say, hey, Charlie, or Harry, or Mary. And so it's getting to know a lot of these people, to build trust, because everything I say I'm going to try to do, I'm going to try to do. And I think that's also part of the process. And so hopefully it can continue.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, you just alluded to it there, Mr. President. Two questions. You are arguably the most legislatively experienced president we have ever seen. But to get this first agenda item over the finish line, you needed Republican votes.

BIDEN: Sure.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are not going to have Republican votes for your Build Back Better agenda. Isn't it doomed?

And then my second question, Mr. President, OPEC plus has snubbed your call to pump more oil. When will you respond with an SPR release?

BIDEN: Well, first of all, I'm not anticipating that OPEC would respond, that Russia and/or Saudi Arabia would respond. They're going to pump some more oil. Whether they pump enough oil is a different thing. There are other tools in the arsenal that we have to deal, and I'm dealing with other countries. At an appropriate time, I will talk about it, that we can get more energy in the pipeline figuratively and literally speaking.

And I don't start off with any assumption that I can't get anybody to vote for anything. And so, I mean this sincerely, I think what's going to happen is we're going to see what happens in the Senate and whether or not I need only Democratic votes, which is likely, which is the likely outcome, and the question is, can I get all of those votes. This is a process. And all along you've told me I can't do any of it anyway, from the very beginning. No, no, come on, be honest, OK. You didn't believe we could do any of it. And I don't blame you, because you look at the facts and you wonder how is this going to get done.

But I think -- I think there's a -- I think there's a dawning on the part of a lot of people that hold elective office that if you get some of this done, things are better for them as well as everybody else. And I'm sure there's some calculation saying if Biden gets this other bill, then he's going to be moving too fast and it's going to hurt -- the Democrats are going to be doing too well. That's why I think we have to try to figure out how to make the case across the board as to, there's a lot of things we have to tackle yet. So --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, have you gotten assurances from moderate Democrats in the House and Senate that they are going to vote for your Build Back Better plan now that what they really wanted, the infrastructure bill, has passed.


BIDEN: I'm not going to answer that question for you because I'm not going to get into who made what commitments to me. I don't negotiate in public. But I feel confident, I feel confident that we will have enough votes to pass the Build Back Better plan.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What gives you that confidence?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, you were forced to scrub paid family leave from your framework --

BIDEN: I'm sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You were forced to pull paid family leave from the framework you released a couple of weeks ago. The House is putting it back in. Can you keep it in this bill when it makes its way to the Senate?

BIDEN: Time will tell.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to ask you real quick, sir. Where do you stand? You said last week that this report about migrant families at the border getting payments was garbage.

BIDEN: No, I didn't say that. Let's get it straight. You said everybody coming across the border gets $450,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The number is what you said a problem with.

BIDEN: The number is what I was referring to.


BIDEN: Now here's the thing. If in fact because of the outrageous behavior of the last administration, you, coming across the border, whether it was legal or illegal, and you lost your child, you lost your child, it's gone, you deserve some kind of compensation no matter what the circumstance. What that will be, I have no idea. I have no idea. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is DOJ negotiating a settlement?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, two questions. You referred to China twice in your comments, and yet we haven't heard anything about the China bill, which is really the third element of what you're hoping to do here. It's been through the Senate and has not yet come up to the House. And it would seem that that is the one that is more key to our competitiveness. So, I was wondering if you would talk a little bit about that, and then also tell us how you're feeling right now about the Iran deal, since it looks like you're going to go back to discussion at the end of the month. But the Iranians have made it pretty clear at this point they don't -- they plan to rip up most of what was done so far. So, are you into your plan b at this point?

BIDEN: I'm not going to comment on Iran now. And the China bill you're referring to, everything in good time. We've got to get this through. We've got to get this through. The next thing is Build Back Better.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, when do you plan to do that?

BIDEN: Well, in order. I'm going to take one more question, and then --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, can I follow up on paid leave, Mr. President. Sir, may I follow up on paid leave?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, Democratic Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger said of your presidency this week, nobody elected him to be FDR. They elected him to be normal and stop the chaos. How do you view your mandate after Tuesday's election losses for Democrats, and is she wrong?

BIDEN: Abigail is a friend. We had a long talk. She joked and said that I have a picture, she said I have a picture of Roosevelt hanging in my office, her office, OK. I don't intend to be anybody but Joe Biden, that's who I am. And what I'm trying to do is do the things that I ran on to do.

And look, people out there are ordinary, hardworking Americans, are really, really been put through the wringer the last couple years, starting with COVID. COVID has disrupted almost every family in one way or another, whether it's wearing a mask or losing a family member. You know, 750,000 plus Americans dead, 750,000? And so, people are worried.

People are also worried about coming up -- they don't -- understandably, why is the price of agricultural products, when I go to the store, why is it higher? Like, for example, if I had -- if we were all going out and having lunch together, and I said let's ask whoever is at the next table, no matter what restaurant we're in, have them explain the supply chain to us. Do you think we'd understand what we're talking about? They're smart people, but supply chain. Why is everything backed up? It's backed up because the people who supply the materials that end up

being on our kitchen table or in our life, guess what, they're closing those plants because they have COVID. And so it's a complicated world that people are facing. We've never faced anything like this before. I'm not saying it's the worst of any time in American history, but we've never faced anything this sort of defiant of understanding of what's going on. And you can understand why people are upset. And whether you have a PHD, or whether you're working in a restaurant, it's confusing.


And so, people are understandably worried. They're worried. And so, all I can say is what I'm going to try to do is explain to the American people as best I can -- and by the way, you all write for a living. I haven't seen any one of you explain supply chain very well. No, no, I'm not being critical. I'm being deadly earnest. When your editor says explain the supply chain, OK? Lots of luck in your senior year, as my coach used to say.

But I sincerely mean it. This is a confusing time, confusing time. Think of all those children, all those children who may have lost more than a year of education by only being out one semester. Think of all that's going on in terms of access to everything from when you go back to college, if you're in college, do you have to wear your mask? Who's your roommate? This is a confusing moment.

And it seems to me that my job as the president of the United States is to try to figure out myself as well what is most needed to put people at ease and let them know there's a way through this, there's a way through this. The world has never been here before. That sounds like hyperbole but think about it. Think about it. This truly is one of those inflection points in history. All the pieces of the board are moving, both in terms of the relationships among and between nations as well as the pieces of what employment future people have. How do we do this?

And so this is a confusing time. But I promise, I promise the American people I have one focus -- how do we give you some breathing room? How do we get you to the point where we take pressure off you so you can begin to get back to a degree of normality and we move to a different place? And this time when we move -- by the way, everybody internationally uses Build Back Better now. When I used the phrase initially, people looked at me like, Build Back Better? What it means? We're the only country in the world that's gone through a crisis, goes through a crisis, and comes out better than we were before the crisis occurred. That's building back better than it was before. This is a process. And I just -- we're going to see, take it every day, every moment, one moment at a time.

I could take -- I'm going to get in real trouble. This is the last question I'm taking. You can decide who I'm pointing to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When can Americans expect to see the impact of the infrastructure bill? And when do you think the Build Back Better bill will be passed? By Thanksgiving, Christmas? BIDEN: I don't want to make your job easier. I know the answer exactly

when it's going to be passed, and I know exactly how it's --


BIDEN: We'll see the effects of the bill, this bill, probably starting within the next two to three months, as we get things -- shovels in the ground and people being told they're going to be working doing the following things and things are going to move. It is a bill that's paid out over a number of years. And so -- but the biggest thing it does is give people -- you're going to have people going, oh, OK. I guess I'm going to be able to keep my job, or I'm going to be able to get a job doing that, or I'm moving.

So I can't tell you that -- any of that with precision. If anybody can, then they ought to go into fortune telling. But it's going to be -- it's going to be a provision -- a bill that is going to have a profound impact over time. It's a little like, and I'll end with this, a little like when I -- we first came to office. And a lot of it has to do with this lady right here, the vice president. It's not all me. I feel -- I used to stand there and have to listen to the president. She's got to stand there and listen to the president, but she deserves an enormous amount of the credit.

But here's the deal. When we came to office, we were told virtually by everybody you can't get this economy moving. Remember? Remember when they told me there's no way I could get, you know, 2 million shots a day into people's arms in the beginning? There's no way I could get 200 million, no way I could get the vaccine, there's no way, no way, no way.

It's understandable. It's not -- I'm not criticizing people who said that because these things have never been done before. It's never happened before. And so, we got to work.


I agree I am a congenital optimist, but it's because I really mean this, I have enormous faith in the ingenuity and the integrity of the American people. I'm not joking. I have enormous faith in them, because I'm convinced, we're the most unique country in the world, not because we're all so smarter than the rest, but because we're the only country that's organized based on an idea. We really mean it. We haven't lived up to it, but we hold these truths to be self-evident, all men and women are created equal. Basically, give everybody a shot.

And I really have faith in the American people. I know we're divided. I know how mean it can get. And I know there are extremes on both ends that make it more difficult than it's been in a long, long time. But I'm convinced if we let the American people know that we're committed to enhancing their ability to make their way, we'll all do better.

Thank you all so very much.

CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: You're listening there to President Biden speaking from the White House, delivering remarks after his $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed through Congress late last night. Boris, it sounds like at the end of the day his bottom line here is about helping bring back the middle class. And notably he's saying to progressives and moderates and Republicans for getting this done.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, that's right, Christi. It's welcome progress at a very vulnerable moment for this White House. The vote delivering a major win for the president. It comes after months of political wrangling and missed deadlines. And the president made clear that Tuesday night, what we saw happen in Tuesday's election, he said voters sent a message. The bill now going to President Biden's desk for his signature.

Let's bring in Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg who is at the White House for us. Secretary, we're grateful to have you this morning. President Biden saying that Americans will start to see the impacts, the shovels in the ground within two to three months. I'm curious, where is that going to be? What is that going to look like?

PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: Well, the first thing you're going to see is a lot of existing work that we do, but we'll be able to do a lot more. For example, right now there's a pile of applications on my desk, figuratively speaking. They're digital. But we've got about $10 billion worth of applications for a program that's only got $1 billion in it. So, we're going to fund a lot of great projects to improve safety on roads or enhance a multi-modal terminal somewhere, things across the country. But we could be doing so much more, and those dollars are going to start flowing very quickly. The formulas that get dollars out to help states improve their roads, that starts moving right away.

Others will are going to take longer. We're going to have to stand up whole new programs in order to reconnect communities that have been divided in the past in order to get this EV charging network up and running. But that's the point. There are things that are going to happen immediately. But this is not just a short-term stimulus bill. As the president said, we want to be looking back on this moment 50 years from now and saying this is when America truly became competitive for the 21st century. And so the work begins right away. It will go on for years to come and set us up for the decades to follow.

SANCHEZ: Secretary, the scope of the project is obviously enormous. It's going to require a lot of material and manpower. Considering that you're facing a supply chain crisis and shortages in the labor market, do you think you might see a delay or an impact because of those factors in your rollout?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, we know that we have good projects ready to be done and we have great workers ready to do them. Now, it is true that we want to see more people participating in the labor force, and that's where the second part of the Build Back Better vision comes in, and I think is equally important. Obviously, I'm most focused on the transportation elements, which are mostly what's in the package that passed last night. But if you look at what's in the president's economic vision and family vision, for example, childcare. At a time when we know a lot of people stay out of the workforce even though they'd like to work because they can't find or afford childcare.

So, getting those dollars to help Americans get childcare in the Build Back Better bill, that's going to be a big deal, not just as the right thing to do for families, but for our economy. This is one example of the moves that we've got to make that will help us to have the right kind of long-term economic strength for the future.

SANCHEZ: The president vowing multiple times this morning to pass that Build Back Better plan. There are important disagreements on key elements. You mentioned paid family leave, among several Democrats, House speaker Nancy Pelosi and West Virginia senator Joe Manchin disagreeing on paid family leave. I'm wondering what components in that plan you will be watching most closely. What might prevent that bill from passing?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, as the president said, we're going to see how this passes the House and Senate, but he played a framework out that he is confident, we are confident will pass.


And it includes some elements that are so needed right now. We've been talking, talking about the idea of universal preschool in this country for at least as long as I've been involved in public life, and now we're on the cusp of actually doing it. Every three-year-old and four- year-old in the country. And when you think about the fact that a typical family pays $8,600 for preschool if they're able to get it at all, this is a major dollars and cents benefit for Americans.

Same thing with the child tax credit, extending that tax credit. That's $250 or $300 per month per child for most families with children in this country. These are provisions that there is agreement on, certainly among Democrats. And I've got to say, until the bell rings, I'm going to keep making the case for Republicans to vote for this too. I don't know why Republicans would be against a tax cut for working families, why they would be against preschool for American kids, why would they oppose so many of the pro=family, pro-growth considerations in this bill.

Remember, a few months ago they were saying, oh, yes, we're for all that stuff, we just don't think it's infrastructure, so we'll support it if you put it in a different package. Now it's in a different package. Let's see if they'll come around and support it.

BUTTIGIEG: Notably, 13 Republicans did vote for this infrastructure bill. Six prominent Democrats, though, voted against it despite months of negotiations and insistent, repeated appeals from the president all the way through yesterday in the evening apparently. Where is the confidence coming from, from this White House, given that there is such a gap between the progressive and moderate wings of your party?

BUTTIGIEG: Well, the bipartisan nature of this bill is something that we're very proud of. The president came to office talking about the importance of trying to bring people together across different divides, across the aisle. We saw it happen in that remarkable Senate vote where you don't see GOP senators agreeing with Democrats on much, and you saw it last night with at least a handful of Republicans crossing over.

Now, our Democratic tent is famously a big one. It's ideologically diverse. People have a lot of different ideas and a lot of different priorities. But remember, everyone in our party is united about the importance of supporting families, doing something about the great issues of our time, from economic competitiveness to climate change. And that's why the administration is confident that the second half of what I like to call the big deal. There was the new deal, under Teddy Roosevelt there was the Square Deal. I think last night we just got part one of the Biden-Harris administration's big deal. And I think part two of that big deal has a ton of momentum, if only because the American people overwhelmingly support just about everything that's in it.

SANCHEZ: Secretary, I hope it's OK that I ask. I didn't want to let you go without asking about your son, Gus. He recently spent some time in the hospital, but I understand that he's home now. How is he doing?

BUTTIGIEG: I really appreciate your asking, and he's doing well. So many parents have gone through this. I don't think -- I don't think most parents expect at the outset that they're going to be -- those parents who know their way around a children's hospital. But after terrifying few days, he is himself. He's eating, he's smiling, and we're just so thankful for the great medical care that he got and the love and the prayers and the support that came our way during a tough stretch.

SANCHEZ: I'm glad that you are relieved. I'm glad that Gus is doing well. We'll continue pushing for him, and we appreciate the time this morning. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, thank you so much.


PAUL: Still ahead this morning, at least eight people are dead. They died at a music festival in Houston. And we're talking to someone who was there. Stay with us.



PAUL: I want to get you updated on the developments in Houston this morning. Authorities are investigating what happened that led to at least eight people dying at the Astroworld Music Festival. Investigators say as many as 50,000 people were attending this sold- out event. And for some reason crowds began to push toward the stage, crushing people in front of them. Investigators say 23 people were transported to area hospitals. The youngest patient, by the way, just 10 years old, and believed to still be in critical condition.

I want to bring in Madeline Eskins. She's an ICU nurse, and she was at the concert last night. Thank you so much, Madeline, for being with us. I appreciate it. I want to read something real quickly that you posted on Twitter yesterday, or I guess it was probably this morning. You wrote this, "I passed out because people were pushing up against me so much that I couldn't breathe. Sam got people to apparently crowd surf my unconscious body to the security guard." That paints such an extraordinary picture, but also it illustrates that you were not awake at that time. What do you remember up to the point that you passed out?

MADELINE ESKINS, ATTENDED ASTROWORLD FESTIVAL: I remember that we had gotten to the stage that Travis Scott was performing about 6:30, so three hours before he was supposed to perform, because we wanted a good spot. And as time went on, it just kept getting more crowded and more crowded and more crowded. But then he started a countdown. About 30 minutes before he performed, he started a timer on the big screen. And all of a sudden, people just compressed up against each other and were pushing forward and backward. And as the timer got closer to coming down to zero, it just -- it got worse and worse. And I looked at my boyfriend, Sam, and I told him we have to get out of here, because I just felt -- I was having constant pressure on my chest, constant pressure on my back. From the side I was being squeezed. I tried to lift up my arms to make more room for myself. It wasn't working.


So right when he started performing his first song, I looked at my boyfriend, and I said we have to get out of here. He said I can't. We can't. We couldn't. And then I just remember looking up and passing out. And then I was in and out for a little while. I didn't see anything, but I could kind of feel what was going on. Someone pulled me over a fence, and I was sat in a chair, and then I passed out again. And when I woke up, I was in a different area in a chair with a water bottle in my lap.

PAUL: So I understand that you're an ICU nurse. And first of all, I'm so happy that you're OK. Let me say that, first and foremost.

ESKINS: Thank you.

PAUL: So grateful that you're OK. You're an ICU nurse, so you would be able to identify this better than most. How -- characterize for us the resources, the medical resources that were there.

ESKINS: In the area that I was at, when I was taken by the security guard that said that he needed help, when I walked up to the scene, I saw one Ambu bag that they were using, it's a mask that they bag people to help breathe for them. There was only one. There was one AED machine that was on a different person. And there were maybe four paramedics. I don't know if they were paramedics or not. One of them did not even know how to check a femoral pulse. They were doing chest compressions. But there was only four of them doing CPR, and they were not able to rotate out compressions as they're supposed to because there wasn't anybody to take their place.

PAUL: So, you're saying there was not enough.


PAUL: There weren't enough resources. OK. ESKINS: Three to four people in cardiac arrest at one time and one AED

machine, which are the pads that go on your chest that can shock you if the heart is in a shockable rhythm, and one ambu-bag.

PAUL: So, oh, my gosh. I understand you've also been -- we only have a couple minutes here left, but you've been to many of these concerts. What made this one different? Do you have any ideas?

ESKINS: This is my third -- it was way more crowded. I don't know what happened. I don't know if it was the stage setup where they had the general admission in such a small area. This was unlike any. I've always been towards the front, towards the concerts. And, yes, it gets tight, but I've never, ever been feeling like I'm to going to pass out. I never saw people collapsing. I definitely never saw anybody die.

PAUL: Can I ask you, real quickly, before I let you go, too. There is a 10-year-old as we understand it, who is still in critical condition. Did you see many kids at this event?

ESKINS: I saw a few, maybe four or five that would walk around with their parents. I didn't see any in the crowds, but this was absolutely no place for children.

PAUL: Got you. Madeline Eskins, and again, real quickly, you are OK? Are you doing all right?

ESKINS: Yes. If my boyfriend would not have gotten me out of there, I think that I would have been part of the statistic yesterday.

PAUL: Madeline, I'm really grateful that he did. Thank you so much for being with us and helping us understand what was going on there. Take good care.

ESKINS: Of course.

SANCHEZ: So 26 states are now suing the Biden administration over the COVID vaccine requirement for private companies. The attorney general of one of those states, Ohio, joins us after a quick break. Stay with us.



SANCHEZ: The White House announced this week that workers at businesses with 100 or more employees have until January 4th to be fully vaccinated against COVID or face regular testing. That sparked outrage from many Republicans -- 26 states with GOP state officials are suing the Biden administration, calling the mandate federal overreach. The president said in a statement that while he would have much preferred that requirements not be necessary, too many people remain unvaccinated for us to get out of this pandemic for good.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost joins us now. His state has joined 25 others in a lawsuit opposing the requirement for private employers. Sir, thank you so much for taking part of your weekend to chat with us about this. Let's get right to the core of the argument. So legal experts say that this is going to come down to how courts interpret the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. They, the federal government, argues that it allows them to install rules that are necessary to protect workers from grave danger. So in the context of the Biden rule, how does that violate the constitution?

DAVE YOST, (R) OHIO ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, there's a separation of powers problem here first. The president doesn't get to write legislation. That's up to Congress. He only gets to write rules where he has specifically delegated authority. And we don't think that there is any reasonable argument, frankly, that Congress intended to give him this authority.

SANCHEZ: So I'm curious to get your perspective on the specifics of the rule, because it allows for private companies, for employees at private companies who were not vaccinated to remain unvaccinated as long as they continually test. Isn't that an off-ramp? Isn't this more of a testing mandate than it is a vaccine mandate?

YOST: Well, even if you assume that that's a reasonable accommodation, it still doesn't permit the president to exercise legislative power. In addition, the way he's doing this under an ETS is only available in certain situations.


And the Labor Department has previously twice declined when they were sued by the AFL-CIO on two different occasions to -- or to impose an ETS based on infectious disease. This is a disease that's everywhere. It's not workplace specific. The president is bending the law into a pretzel to try to get to the end that he wants because he simply doesn't have the votes in Congress. But the way democracy works, Congress is supposed to pass laws, not the president.

SANCHEZ: Well, sir, the president has been pretty forthright that he's reluctant to do this. In fact, here's what he said when he announced these mandates in September.


BIDEN: We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin. And the refusal has cost all of us. So please, do the right thing. But just don't take it from me. Listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breath, saying if only I had gotten vaccinated.


SANCHEZ: The White House has rejected steps that would require proof of vaccination. Also, the White House here has argued that they're essentially being forced to do this because of COVID rates. The death rate up more than five times since July and hospitalizations have nearly tripled, 35 percent fewer people are getting their first vaccines. Doesn't the federal government have some responsibility to intervene and protect Americans? YOST: The president may not do something that he doesn't have

authority to do. He has -- there has been across several administrations a tendency to favor executive action and to try to, in the words of his chief of staff, do a work around congress. But here's the problem. He didn't have the authority to issue a mandate through the CDC against evictions because of the emergency. The Supreme Court warned him, he did it anyway, and then they slapped it down.

We have other instances where executive action has been attempted by administrations of both parties in derogation of Congress. The bottom line is, this does not justify that. Let me say, I am not about -- I'm not an anti-vaxxer. I am vaccinated. I had the disease as well. And I encourage people to get the vaccine. But it may not be mandated by the president of the United States unilaterally.

SANCHEZ: That will ultimately be for the courts to decide. I do appreciate you getting the word out there about vaccines. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, thank you so much for the time.

YOST: Thank you, sir. Have a good day.

SANCHEZ: Of course. You, too.

And thank you so much for hanging in there with us and watching this morning.

PAUL: No doubt. We hope you make good memories today. There's more ahead in the newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield after this short break. Stay close.