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January 6 Committee Interviewing Trump Cabinet; President Biden Delivers Address on Inflation Reduction Act. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired July 28, 2022 - 13:00   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This bill has won the support of climate leaders like former Vice President Al Gore, who said the bill is -- quote -- "long overdue and a necessary step to ensure the United States takes decisive action on the climate crisis, that helps our economy and provides leadership for the world by example."

Inflation hawks like former Secretary of Treasury Larry Summers said -- quote -- "This bill is fighting inflation." Let me say, this bill is fighting inflation.

Progressive leaders like Senator Elizabeth Warren said -- quote -- "This billion -- this is a bill that truly is about fighting inflation, bringing down the costs for families and putting our country on a sounder economic footing."

Here's how it works. First, the bill finally delivers on a promise that Washington has made for decades to the American people. We're giving Medicare, we're giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, which means seniors and consumers will pay less for their prescription drugs.

Medicare will save in the process about $290 billion. And, in addition, it also changes the circumstances for people on Medicare by putting a cap of a maximum of $2,000 a year. They will have to pay no more than $2,000 a year, no matter how many prescriptions they have, for all the prescription drugs, which is especially important for people with cancer and long-term diseases. It's a godsend.

It will literally be a godsend for many families. Second, the bill locks in place lower health care premiums for the next three years for millions of families that get coverage under the Affordable Care Act. That will mean an average savings of $800 a year for 13 million people.

Third, it invests $369 billion -- granted, I called for $500-plus, but it invests $369 billion to secure our energy future and address the climate crisis, bringing down family energy bills by hundreds of dollars, by providing working families tax credits.

It gives folks rebates to buy new and efficient appliances, to weatherize their homes, and tax credits for heat pumps and rooftop solar. It also gives consumers a tax credit to buy any electric vehicle or fuel cell vehicle, new or used, and a tax credit for up to $7,500 if those vehicles were made in America.

This investment in environmental justice is real. It also provides tax credits that will create thousands of good-paying jobs, manufacturing jobs on clean energy construction projects, solar projects, wind projects, clean hydrogen projects, carbon capture projects, and more by giving tax credits for those who build these projects here in America.

And let me be clear. This bill would be the most significant legislation in history to tackle the climate crisis and improve our energy security right away. And it will give us a tool to meet the climate goals that are set, that we have agreed to by cutting emissions and accelerating clean energy, a huge step forward.

Fourth, this bill requires the largest corporations to begin to pay toward their fair share in taxes by putting in place a 15 percent corporate minimum tax. Now, I know you have never heard me say this before. It will come as a shock to you. But 55 of the fortune 500 companies paid no federal income tax in 2020.

Now, you have only heard me say that about 10,000 times, but the fact is, they paid no taxes on an income, collective income over $40 billion. Well, guess what? This bill ends that. It's -- they're going to have to pay a minimum of 15 percent tax on that $40 billion or whatever the number turns out to be.

Fifth, this package would reduce the federal deficit by over $3 billion. Already, on my watch, the deficit has come down in my first year by $350 billion and a record $1.7 trillion at the end of this fiscal year.

Now, that -- this bill is going to keep that progress going. Yes, I will say it again, this legislation will bring down the deficit, bring down the deficit.

The sixth point I want to make is, this bill will not raise taxes on anyone making less than $400,000 a year. Now, I promise, a promise I made during the campaign and one which -- that I have kept.

Now, look, I know it can be -- sometimes seem like nothing gets done in Washington. I know it never crosses any of your minds. But the work of the government can be slow and frustrating, and sometimes even infuriating. Then the hard work of hours and days and months from people who refused to give up pays off.


History is made. Lives are changed.

With this legislation, we're facing up to some of our biggest problems and we're taking a giant step forward as a nation. That didn't just happen on this inflation-reduction bill. It also happened yesterday, when the Senate made the bipartisan decision as a nation to invest in America's manufacturing technology of semiconductors and additional funding for basic research and development in the cutting-edge industries of the 21st century. If the House passes this bill that I think Speaker -- I want to thank

Speaker Pelosi -- I think she's going to get it done -- for her leadership here. It has added to the benefit -- it has the added benefit of creating tens of thousands of good-paying -- additional good-paying jobs, lowering inflation. It's giving us the ability not only to compete with China for the future, but to lead the world and win the economic competition of the 21st century.

You have heard me say 1,000 times we have to investment in research, development and growth. I hope that the House is going to pass this bill today.

My plea is, put politics aside. Get it done. We need to lower the cost of automobiles, appliances, smartphones, consumer electronics, and so much more. And you can't do it -- all of these things are powered, most everything in our lives is powered by these semiconductors and tiny computer chips the size of a fingernail tip.

Look, we should pass this today and get moving. I know the compromise on the inflation bill doesn't include everything I have been pushing for since I got to office. For example, I'm going to keep fighting in the future to bring down the cost of things for working families and middle-class families that matter, by providing for affordable and accessible things like affordable childcare, affordable eldercare, preschool, the cost of preschool, housing, keeping students with the cost -- helping students with the cost of college, closing the health care coverage gap.

That's a fancy way of saying, the health care coverage gap, expanding Medicaid in states that refuse to do it and more.

Look, this bill is far from perfect. It's a compromise. But that's often how progress is made, by compromises. And the fact is that my message to Congress is this. This is the strongest bill you can pass to lower inflation, cut the deficit, reduce health care costs, tackle the climate crisis, and promote energy security, all the time while reducing the burdens facing working-class and middle-class families.

So, pass it. Pass it for the American people. Pass it for America. I will have more to say on this later.

Now I want to thank Leader Schumer and Manchin, Joe Manchin, Senator Manchin, for the extraordinary effort that it took to reach this result. Thank you.

And let me speak to one other issue. Let me speak to one other issue, the GDP, and whether or not we are in a recession.

Both Chairman Powell and many of the significant banking personnel and economists say we're not in a recession. But let me just giving you what the facts are in terms of the state of the economy.

Number one, we have a record job market of record unemployment of 3.6 percent today. We have created nine million new jobs so far just since I have become president. Businesses are investing in America at record rates, at record rates. Foreign businesses, like SK and others, are investing in America, hundreds of millions and trillions of dollars sum total, $100 billion in semiconductor investments already announced by Intel, Samsung and Texas Instruments.

More than $100 billion in electric vehicle battery investments by Ford, General Motors, Hyundai, Tesla and more. And just last week, as I said, SK Corporation of Republic of Korea announced $22 billion in new investment into semiconductor batteries, chargers and medical devices, creating another 16,000 jobs here in America.

And this is following the strongest rebound in American manufacturing in over three decades, creating 613,000, 613,000 manufacturing jobs.

Passing the CHIPS bill is going to put $72 billion for incentives and tax credits to expand semiconductor production. And the Inflation Reduction Act will add another $370 billion in clean energy tax credits in reconciliation, including incentives to accelerate domestic production of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries, and critical materials processing.


That doesn't sound like a recession to me.

Thank you very much.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST: All right, taking no questions from the White House there, President Biden.

Welcome, everyone. I'm Fredricka Whitfield in New York. Ana Cabrera is off today.

Of course, we're just listening to the president there, taking a very optimistic view on the economy. He is trying to underscore that it doesn't appear that we're in a recession.

It's kind of a good news/bad news day, bad news on the GDP report, but good news from the president right there, who is touting what he is hoping to be a piece of legislation that Congress will pass that he says will be -- while it's similar to the Build Back Better, it's a lot smaller at $433 billion in spending, which will span everything from health care costs, bringing those down, to offering more spending for climate-related costs.

All right, we have got a team of reporters and analysts standing by to dive into all of this.

Let's begin with CNN White House correspondent, M.J. Lee.

M.J., your big takeaways there. The president seemingly very optimistic about just about everything.

M.J. LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Fred, and there's no question about it, that this would be a huge win for President Biden and his party if this bill were to get through Congress and end up on the president's desk and signed into law. It would make unprecedented investments to fight climate change. It would be an investment in lowering drug prices. This is something that Democrats have been talking about and working on for a long time. It would provide significant subsidies on the health care front, and it would be paid for by taxing big corporations.

One moment from the president's speech just now that really stood out to me was when he said, I know that there are a lot of people who feel like Washington sort of never gets anything done. He's, of course, speaking from personal experience here.

We know that, for many months and months, the president had been involved in these negotiations that ultimately just seemed to fall apart, particularly going back to about two weeks, when Senator Joe Manchin made clear and indicated that he had concerns about inflation and whether the package that they were working on would add to inflationary pressures.

And a lot of people in Washington thought that the talks had completely broken down. So this is certainly a nice surprise for the White House, nice surprise for a lot of Democrats, even on Capitol Hill, who did not expect these talks to be revived.

And I think for the president going forward, particularly given that the November midterm elections are around the corner, it now gives him a little extra pep in his step and allows him to sort of say, as I ask people to vote for Democrats and vote for Democratic candidates in November, this is why.

He gets to sort of point back to this and say, we have gotten some significant things done, and that is one more reason for voters to vote for Democrats.

WHITFIELD: All right, to Manu on Capitol Hill.

I mean, the president says, OK, Congress, get to work. This deal Senate Democrats reach, I mean, certainly is a feather in the president's cap. It's not exactly the big $2 trillion package that he wanted. But there's something in there for everyone. How did this agreement come to be, at least among the senators?

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, because, just a few weeks ago, Senator Joe Manchin, who has been of course, so critical on all these talks for months, indicated that he did not want to go forward on some key issues, namely, energy issues and tax provisions.

Chuck Schumer and him had a heated exchange behind closed doors about this. It seemed to have collapsed in mid-July. But Manchin told a group of reporters, including me, this -- earlier today that he never stopped negotiating. He said that, a couple of days later, he and Schumer continue to just talk about what made sense and what is possible.

I asked him about what evidence he has that this bill would actually decrease inflation, as he's promising. He didn't really offer any specific evidence, but he said that his advisers that he spoke with made it very clear that it would in his -- in their view.

Now, this bill, you're right, does not go as far as what the president initially wanted, but has some significant policy items. Namely, it gives Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices. It would include also $369 billion in climate and energy provisions.

It would provide a 15 percent minimum corporate tax on some of those large corporations, and it would extend the Affordable Care Act subsidies for three years under this plan. Those would expire otherwise if it were not for this proposal.


Now, the question, though, here, Fred, is whether or not they can actually get the 50 votes in the Senate to pass it next week. And the big question right now is whether Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat, will get behind it.

All -- most Democrats came to a caucus meeting where they talked about this issue this morning. But Sinema was not there. And talking to senators, they are hoping she gets behind this. Listen.


SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): I know she cares deeply about the climate crisis. I know she cares deeply about bringing jobs home. And so, no, she just wasn't -- she hasn't been joining us at the caucus.

RAJU: But do you think that she's going to get -- the carried interest issue was one she's been opposed to.

STABENOW: I really can't -- I really can't speak to that. I think that's -- I know she cares deeply about things in the bill. So I really can't speak to that.


RAJU: So that last issue is critical, because she had previously raised concerns about the issue of raising taxes on carried interest. And that is one of the issues in which will be a part of the revenue- raising components of this bill.

Her office says that she is still reviewing this bill. She has no comment so far. They are waiting for the Senate parliamentarian to review whether or not it can be approved along party lines in the budget process.

But, Fred, if she gets on board, they can get this out of the Senate. Then the question is the House, where there are some concerns among some Northeast Democrats in particular about provisions to -- that would not raise the cap on those so-called state and local tax deduction, SALT deductions, that they had been demanding as part of this deal.

So land mines are still ahead, even as Democrats are optimistic about the deal that was reached. WHITFIELD: All right, Manu, thanks so much.

We heard from the president there, who says he believes, if everyone gets on board with that bill, that this will help reduce inflation, inflationary pressure on the economy.

So let's talk about all the other indicators of the economy, starting with what we saw today.

Matt Egan with us now.

Let's dive in deeper with this -- it is dismal, right, this gross product, domestic product report? This is the second quarter to see a dip. So what does it mean? The president is insisting, and quoting Jerome Powell, that this is not a recession.

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Yes, well, Fredricka, I think...

WHITFIELD: But what does history tell us? Yes.

EGAN: At a minimum, this is an economy that is clearly losing altitude, blockbuster growth last year, 6 percent, 6 percent, 2 percent, nearly 7 percent.

But look at this, two quarters in a row, the latest numbers out this morning, nearly a 1 percent decline in GDP at an annual rate, a big drop-off from what we saw at the end of last year. Why is it negative?

OK, consumer spending slowed down, partially because people are getting hit by high inflation. The housing market stumbled. Government spending declined. But the big one is this inventory glut. Retailers like Target, Walmart, they stocked up on too much stuff trying to get ahead of the supply chain crisis. Shifts in consumer spending, that has caused a massive hangover.

And so you put all that together, and you have a negative number when it comes to GDP. That is a concern.

WHITFIELD: How long do we think this is going to go on like this? I mean, historically, we would be calling this a recession because of this. But this is an anomaly. Why?

EGAN: Well, if you look back in history, any time you have back-to- back quarters of negative growth, since 1948, you have had a recession.

But it's probably premature to call it that for a couple of reasons. One, it's not so negative that, when it gets revised, and it's going to get revised twice more, that it couldn't actually go positive. The other thing is, how do you define a recession? Some people say back- to-back quarters of negative growth.


EGAN: But the official definition from the National Bureau of Economic Research is different. They say it's a significant decline in economic activity that is

spread across the economy. That includes the jobs market that President Biden was just referencing. Look at where the unemployment rate is, 3.6 percent. This is historic low. It's not a record low, as the president said. It's almost -- it's almost a 50-year low, but it is 3.6 percent.

That is very healthy, a far cry from the nearly 15 percent. I do think some of this, though, is semantics. We know that people don't like this economy. Look at this CNN poll; 64 percent of Americans say the economy is already in a recession. That's because the high cost of living. Inflation-adjusted wages are getting smaller.

So, whatever you want to call it, people are not happy with this economy.

WHITFIELD: Yes, people -- a lot of people are really, really uncomfortable. Thanks so much.

Let me bring in Jeremy Diamond. He's at the White House.

The president, Jeremy, just spoke. He's very optimistic about things and rather hopeful that work will get done on Capitol Hill.


And, listen, the president's remarks in this past hour were ostensibly focused on this new reconciliation bill, this deal that appears to have been struck between Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin, but, interestingly, at the end of his remarks, he pulled out a note card from his jacket pocket and started talking about those new GDP numbers.

Even though the president is expected to speak next hour on the economy specifically and on those GDP numbers, it's very clear that the president didn't want to miss the opportunity to immediately address those new numbers.


And his big top-line message there was clearly to say that, despite what some Republicans may be saying, despite this -- quote, unquote -- "rule of thumb" that two consecutive quarters of negative GDP indicate a recession, the president was saying very clearly, we are not in a recession. He doesn't believe that, and also pointing out that the Federal Reserve and leading economists also don't believe that the U.S. is currently in a recession.

And he ticked through a whole list of economic numbers that he believes offer the counterweight to those two negative quarters of GDP, which was to talk about the unemployment rate, to talk about the number of jobs added during his administration, a million jobs over the last quarter.

But, ultimately, the president is having to now confront this broad public sentiment about the economy, which may be just as relevant as the technical definition of a recession. And that's because we have seen, whether it's through our CNN polling or through dips in the consumer confidence index, that Americans don't feel good about the economy right now.

A majority of them do believe that we are already in a recession, or certainly feel like we are in a recession. And so, ultimately, the president can throw out as many numbers as he wants. He's still going to have to confront the sentiments of the American public, and, ultimately, the sentiment of voters heading into these midterm elections.

WHITFIELD: Right. The markers may say one thing, but people are digging deeper and deeper into their pocket and kind of coming up empty so many times over.

So, Manu, back to you on the Hill.

Is there a way in which to describe the overall mood or feeling on the Hill about whether they should share the same kind of optimism that we heard from the president?

RAJU: Well, Democrats certainly do.

You're hearing straight along party lines. Republicans essentially say that the White House is living in fantasyland. They argue that the suggestion that they're not in a recession is not the same thing as the fact that so many Americans feel, the perception that they are in a recession.

And the Democrats are cognizant of the impact that inflationary pressures have had on their constituents and know full well that that issue of inflation is going to be central to the midterm elections, namely, high gas prices and what they hear over and over again about the cost of goods and the cost of groceries.

And you're seeing a lot of Democrats, particularly vulnerable Democrats, try to get ahead of the administration on this issue, try to push the administration to do more. But that is why the deal that was reached between Manchin and Schumer is significant for Democrats as a rallying cry of sorts, because they can argue that bill would deal with a lot of the issues that they are hearing from their constituents, including a lot of the cost of rising prescription drug prices, given the role that Medicare would have in negotiating those drug prices.

So, politically, Democrats would have an argument, they believe, if this bill passes and become law. The challenge for them though, this bill would take some time to implement. And how long would it take for American consumers, voters to feel an impact of this legislation? And if it does help them, will it help them in time for the November elections, when control of the House and the Senate are at stake -- Fred.


The president punctuated his remarks today by saying, this bill will bring down the deficit, some pretty big promises.

All right, thanks to all of you, Jeremy Diamond, Manu Raju, Matt Egan. Thanks so much.

All right, President Biden has now also -- he's had a pretty busy day. He's spoken with his Chinese counterpart for the first time in months. And he's hoping to mend relations as things get more tense between the two nations. What, if anything, was accomplished?

Plus, will the Kremlin go along with an American plan to swap prisoners? Washington is waiting for Moscow's response.

And, later, heavy rain bringing major flooding to Eastern Kentucky. We will show you the dramatic pictures.



WHITFIELD: All right, the list of former Trump Cabinet officials talking to the January 6 Committee is getting longer.

CNN has learned that former acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is testifying today. Sources tell us the panel has also interviewed former Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and could get a closed-door deposition from Trump's Secretary -- former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo before the week is over.

All right, these latest high-level Trump officials joining into this investigation is pretty astounding. Several others who have been in the hot seat have been put there by the January 6 Committee. So, what were their discussions -- what were the discussions about possibly invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office after the Capitol attack?

Let's discuss with CNN legal analyst and former New York City prosecutor Paul Callan.

Paul, good to see you.

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Good to see you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: So, boy, when you look at the many people of interest who were once inside the White House, who are close to the former president, who the committee is finding cooperation, what are some of the questions you suppose are being asked of them in terms of whether, indeed, invoking the 25th Amendment was in serious consideration?

CALLAN: Well, it certainly sounds like they're looking at the stability of President Trump.

I mean, if you're looking at whether the 25th Amendment was invoked, you're talking about, was he incompetent mentally to handle the job at that time? And, of course, Mick Mulvaney, like many of these other people, was right in a good seat to watch the president at all times.

He was chief of staff, the gatekeeper