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Hoyer: Vote on Social Safety Net Bill to Come Thursday or Friday; Manchin Raises Concerns about Inflation When Asked About $1.75 Trillion Social Safety Net Bill; Soon, Biden to Speak on Infrastructure Law in NH; Pfizer Asks FDA for EUA Approval on Experimental COVID-19 Pill; 8 Die in Connecticut Nursing Home after COVID Outbreak; Fully Vaccinated Can Gather in Times Square for NYE; Polish Guards Use Water Cannons, Tear Gas on Migrants Throwing Rocks; Biden Speaks in NH to Tout the Infrastructure Law. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired November 16, 2021 - 14:30   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Bipartisan infrastructure officially signed into law now and congressional Democrats are looking to move fast on the president's social safety net package.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer laid out the schedule. Here it is. Debate the bill Wednesday, vote as early as Thursday evening or no later than Friday.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says expect to see the bill on the Senate floor before Christmas.

But Senator Joe Manchin is again raising concerns about inflation and how that factors in to passing the $1.75 trillion plan.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You were just back home for a week. Do your voters want this bill, this big, massive bill right now?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I think that my voters in West Virginia -- I don't speak for the whole country -- my constituents are different. But they are very much concerned. Inflation has hit them very hard.

I hear it when I go to the grocery store or if I go to the gas station. They say, are you as mad as I am? And I say absolutely.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Meanwhile, President Biden is taking a victory lap on his bipartisan infrastructure law. He will tout that newly signed legislation in a speech in New Hampshire at any moment at that bridge there.

CNN's chief White House correspondent, Kaitlan Collins, is at the White House.

Kaitlan, what will President Biden be saying today?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Of course, he wants to sell this bill. That is as big of a component, according to this White House, as it is to implement it.

And he does have the person who is going to be in charge of implementing this trillion-dollar bill with him today. You saw Mitch Landrieu, the former New Orleans mayor, traveling with the president as he got on Marine One and left the White House to go to New Hampshire.

The reason he is going to this dilapidated bridge, he's saying this is the reason I signed this bill into law, to fix bridges like this that they have tried to fix for so long.

Of course, in addition to the nation's aging roads and highways. This will also be there for clean drinking water, boosting Internet access, modernizing public transit, updating airports throughout the nation.


And so that is something that the White House views is critical, given the president's very bad poll numbers, the worst of his presidency.

They really want the voters to know what they have been doing in Washington and why all of the Democratic in-fighting that you saw play out over the last several weeks that led up to the passage and the signage of this bill yesterday.

They want to say this was worth it because this what they got done, as they are, of course, looking to move on to other part of the president's agenda.

And they also believe that it will boost them on the foreign policy front. Because you saw, last night, the president had that sit-down with Chinese President Xi Jinping, a virtual sit-down, of course, that last for about three and a half hours between these two leaders.

And they say that this infrastructure bill will make the U.S. more competitive, put it on better footing to have meetings like that, to go into those meetings.

Of course, this is something that the White House has braced people for, saying that it will take a long time for this bill to actually be implemented.

And that is why they want the president out there selling it, so voters can talk about it, talk what the Democrats have gotten done in Washington, even if they are not necessarily seeing the results yet.

CAMEROTA: OK, we'll be watching.

Kaitlan Collins, thank you very much. And we're just getting this new into CNN. Pfizer is now seeking

emergency use authorization for that experimental COVID-19 antiviral pill. We have much more, next.



CAMEROTA: Pfizer has just asked the FDA to approve an emergency use authorization for its experimental COVID-19 pill.

BLACKWELL: CNN senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, is here now.

So tell us about it. This would be a first of its kind. Who can take it, what is the impact?

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Actually, it might not be the first of its kind. Merck might come out first actually with its antiviral pill. They are several weeks ahead of Pfizer here.

But basically, if they get authorized, these two pills, which seem to have very similar results, could be coming out to be treating early COVID-19. And that is the key, early.

For example, in the Pfizer situation, the folks in the clinical trial, they took it within five days of having symptoMs. That is how quickly you need to take it. So it's for that particular group.

Let's take a look at the results that Pfizer got when they did their clinical trial.

So they had about 775 people in their clinical trial. And they split them in half. Half of them got a placebo, or a drug that does nothing. And over time, 27 of those people ended up in the hospital, seven died.

Those who received the actual drug, the actual antiviral pill, three of them ended up in the hospital and zero died. That is obviously a huge difference.

We'll have to see more details on this data. We'll also have to see what the safety data looks like when it comes in.

But if this works, if it and the Merck pill, would be a very big deal. It's a pill for early COVID.

Right now, the only treatment is a shot or infusions. Those are much harder, much more logistically difficult. This would be a pill. It would really be a game change if these get authorized.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely.

OK, Elizabeth, tell us about the eight deaths at a Connecticut nursing home. Do we know the vaccination status of these people? COHEN: We know that many of the folks who died in this Connecticut

nursing home outbreak, many were vaccinated.

But they had not yet received boosters because this outbreak started sort of end of September when boosters were just coming out. So they hadn't gotten boosters yet.

So let's look at the data in that outbreak.

So in this nursing home in Connecticut, there were 89 cases -- that's a lot -- 89 cases among residents and staff. Many of them were fully vaccinated but they had not gotten a booster. Eight of the residents died.

And when looking at this, I don't know if you guys feel the same way, but when I saw it, I felt like we were at the beginning of the outbreak when nursing homes were so affected.

This just tells you, nearly two years into this, this is still happening.

Immunity from vaccines does wane particularly for these folks who probably got their vaccines very early in the rollout. Immunity does wane. This does speak to the argument for boosters.

BLACKWELL: And let's talk about the Kaiser Family Foundation poll just released, which really drives home what we've seen at least anecdotal for some time now, that the political party is a huge indicator of whether people will be vaccinated or are vaccinated.

What have we learned?

COHEN: That's right, Victor. In fact, the folks at Kaiser looked at all the various indicators.

If you live in a rural area, suburban area, are you white, are you black, and all these different things? And really, the biggest predictor was political party.

So who is not vaccinated in the United States? 19 percent of American adults have not had even a single shot. So 19 percent are still not even partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

First, let's start off with who is not vaccinated in the United States.

And 19 percent of American adults have not been had a single shot. So 19 percent are still not even partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

Now, when you take a look at what the Kaiser survey said, 60 percent of those folks who are not vaccinated are Republicans, 17 percent are Democrats and 17 percent are Independents.

Look at what a big difference that is. It just shows you, to some extent, how politicized this has become.

Science and politics shouldn't go hand-in-hand. But in this case, it seems like they do.


Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

Some New Year's Eve news here. The ball will --


BLACKWELL: -- drop in Times Square and the crowds can be back in person for the moment if everyone there is vaccinated.



MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NEW YORK CITY, NY): Coming back, this New Year's Eve, Times Square. Everyone come on down. We're celebrating.


DE BLASIO: Excellent, excellent harmony.


BLACKWELL: Bill De Blasio does love the props.



CAMEROTA: It sounds like a kazoo.


CAMEROTA: Nothing says celebration like a kazoo.

People will disabilities who cannot be vaccinated must show proof of a negative COVID test and must wear a mask. And children under 5 must be accompanied by a vaccinated adult.

This is good news, Victor, because -- have you ever spent New Year's Eve in in Times Square?


CAMEROTA: OK. That's the same attitude that I had before I --


BLACKWELL: So you have?

CAMEROTA: Yes. It is so thrilling. It's more thrilling that you can imagine. Like it gives you goosebumps. All the confetti that rains down and that mass of people all celebrating. It is a really hopeful event. BLACKWELL: So listen, I think that it is probably great from 11:55

p.m. to like 12:10. But what time did you have to arrive to stand and wait for it?

CAMEROTA: I was always reporting so I was on a riser.


CAMEROTA: To be clear, I was on a riser above the mass of people.

BLACKWELL: I don't know if that counts. Doesn't count.

CAMEROTA: It counts because it is still the --

BLACKWELL: You didn't earn it.

CAMEROTA: -- adrenalin is still filling.

BLACKWELL: You didn't earn it.


BLACKWELL: All right.

CAMEROTA: What do you think?

We'll be right back.



BLACKWELL: In Belarus. our CNN team saw migrants being escorted from the border with Poland earlier today and moved to a processing center about a mile away.

CAMEROTA: This was after Polish border guards sprayed the migrants with tear gas and water cannons.

CNN's Matthew Chance was caught the middle of the chaos.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: -- being disallowed from getting back -- getting into the European Union, have reacted angrily. They started throwing stones and they're being blasted by water cannons from the Polish side. Tear gas has been thrown as well.


CAMEROTA: CNN's Fred Pleitgen joins us from the Polish side of the border.

Fred, what are you seeing?


Well, there was certainly a lot of commotion as that was going on with Matthew there, of course, at the border as it happened.

The Polish, for their side say, that it wasn't the migrants who started throwing rocks at the Polish security officials who, of course, are at that border and have that barbed wire set up and said those migrants aren't coming through.

One of the other things, by the way, the Pols are saying and showed videos, that the migrants, all of a sudden, were armed with stun grenades that they also threw at the Polish border guards.

And the Polish border guards are saying those stun grenades could only be provided by Belarusian security forces. So they are saying that Belarusians strongman, Alexander Lukashenko, certainly had a hand in this.

That melee, of course, lasted for a very long time.

We also had a lot of military vehicles go past here at the checkpoint that we're here at as the Pols were re-enforcing their side of the border.

They came out just a couple minutes ago with new information saying that seven Polish police officers were actually injured in those clashes that took place, two of them severely injured and needed further treatment in hospital.

As you can see, really the situation there heating up a great deal.

As you guys said at the beginning, and I think this is very important, those migrants apparently have now been escorted to a warmer place on the other side of the border, on the Belarusian side of the border.

So at least they're not out in the cold anymore. One of the things that we always have to point out is that it is getting colder by the day here. Really, it's already freezing at the time that we're out here right now.

The Pols, for their side, and the European Union are saying that they're absolutely not going to budge. That border will remain shut.

One of the things that's due to happen in the next couple of days is that Iraq is sending some planes set to pick at least some of those people up who might want to go back to their home country -- guys?

BLACKWELL: Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much for the reporting.

Let's go to Woodstock, New Hampshire, now. President Biden is taking a victory lap on the infrastructure law, standing on a bridge that will be fully rehabbed thanks to the $1.2 trillion legislation.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- as an issue that many small businesses here in New Hampshire focus on.

I might add, parenthetically, one of the things that's going to happen, we have another bill that's coming along here that has money for education in it.

And it has money for education to provide for money that's directly for community colleges and for apprentice programs and Pell Grants to allow people the colleges to train for what is needed in the work force.

To train for what is needed in the work force, including major apprentice programs so you can hire New Hampshire folks to do this work.

Folks, Annie Custer is an old friend.

And many times -- how many times did we talk about New Hampshire's parents during the pandemic who are worried about not having high speed Internet at their home, children learning remotely, especially here in rural New Hampshire?

Every time this issue came up, you were there. Reminding us and making the case.

She did -- as she did in every element of the bill.

Chris, he was a key member of the committee that got this bill across the finish line.

Because the truth of the matter is, getting big ideas and actual bill is hard work. And technical data is required. Requires getting into the nitty-gritty and details without losing the big picture.

And that's exactly what you did, Chris.


You always remember the big picture and always making the economic case for the investments in how they're going to matter to real people across the country, but particularly here in New Hampshire.

And how clean water, access to the Internet, rebuilding bridges and everything in this bill matters to individual lives are real people. This is not something abstract.

Folks, it's not hyperbole to say that your delegation is laser-focused on your needs, the people of New Hampshire, the concerns that are discussed around our kitchen tables.

This isn't esoteric. This isn't some gigantic bill -- it is. But it's about what happens to ordinary people.

Conversations around the kitchen tables that are both profound as they are ordinary. How do I cross a bridge in a snowstorm? What happened.

No, think about it. You know, you're in a situation. What happens when the bridge collapses and fire on the other side, lit take 10 miles longer to get to the fire. People could die.

I mean, this is real. This is real stuff.

What does it mean if a school bus or water treatment trucks or logging trucks can't cross? It means jobs. It means time. It means energy.

More broadly, how do we emerge from this pandemic not just with a little breathing room but a real fighting chance to get ahead?

Further things to take place at the kitchen table where I grew up and where all of you -- everybody is living.

Maggie, Jean, Annie, Chris and me, we all ran for office to help answer those questions, the questions at the kitchen table.

I used to get kidded because I spent so much time commuting everyday between moving to Delaware, after my wife and daughter were killed, to -- back to Washington, every single day, 260 miles a day.

I would ride home and I'd look out the window, this is the god's truth, just outside of Washington. I go through a long stretch of residential neighborhood.

And I could see the lights on in the kitchens and in the dining rooms. I wondered, what is it -- what are they talking about? What are they thinking about?

Because that's why I ran. That's why these folks ran. It's about building, taking care of their legitimate needs, and to make sure democracy delivers for everybody.

You know, we promised that we couldn't just build back what we had before. We had to Build Back Better. That's an environmental requirement.

A highway gets washed out, you can't build it back to what it was before, which used to be the measure. You have to build it a couple of feet higher.

Even if we gain control of the climate, we're still -- it's not going to go back to what it was before. It's not going to be that way.

Despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans, we can work together. We can deliver real results. We can deliver real people results that are going to affect their lives.

And that -- we're taking a monumental step forward in building back better for this nation.

My message to the people of New Hampshire is simple, it's this: Because of this delegation, New Hampshire and America are moving again. Your life is going to change for the better. That's literal.

For example, the bridge here, I just walked across, opened in 1939, 82 years ago. This may not seem like a big bridge, but it saves lives and solves problems. Let me tell you why. Businesses depend on it. Like the local propane

company or the sand and gravel company or the logging trucks, or the public services depend on it, school buses, wastewater trucks cross it every day.

It's essential to Woodstock fire station about a quarter mile away. Without these bridges, I said earlier, 10-mile detour to get to the other side.

Having had a house burned down with my wife in it -- she got out safe god willing, having a significant portion burned -- ten minutes makes a hell of a difference. It makes a big difference.

Folks, every mile counts. Every minute counts in an emergency.

And folks, this is a bridge that has been structurally deficient for years.

I'm preaching to the choir here, I know. But the fact is it used to be able to carry 40-ton trucks. Now the bridge is down to 20-ton restrictions.

In a couple of weeks, it will be closed to put steel plates down over -- excuse me -- down and over the weekend for sections of this deck. That still plays basically like putting a Band-Aid on a major wound.

This is going to make a bumpy for drivers, difficult for snowplows and still dangerous for bikers.

And when that's done, the bridge may need even have more weight restrictions. The state has already spent a quarter of a million dollars in Band-Aid repairs on this bridge alone.

And right now, there are 215 bridges in your state, 215 bridges deemed structurally unsafe in New Hampshire alone.


Many of them are less-trafficked bridges. They're often overlooked when decisions are being made about where and how to invest and rebuild.

These bridges are essential in small towns, rural areas, farmers and small businesses like in my state of Delaware.