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Major Vote On Biden Agenda Could Happen This Week; All Eyes On Sen. Sinema For Signoff On Biden Agenda Bill; Biden Tests Positive Again For COVID But Feels "Well"; Most U.S. Public Schools Plan To Keep Masks Optional; San Francisco's Health Emergency For Monkeypox Starts Today; NFL QB Deshaun Watson Suspended For 6 Games. Aired 1:30- 2p ET

Aired August 01, 2022 - 13:30   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN HOT: Welcome back. Democrats and the president need a win ahead of the midterms. This week, they could get one with a Senate vote on the bill brought back from the dead by Senators Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer.

In it, climate provisions, health care changes, tax reforms. If passed, this would be the largest climate investment in U.S. history aiming to slash 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020.

It includes tax credits for electric vehicles, along with pro energy tax credits and billions for clean energy manufacturing.

In health care, for the first time, Medicare would have the power to negotiate prices for medications and free vaccines for seniors and it would extend enhanced subsidies for the Affordable Care Act coverage for three years.

On tax reform, the bill would impose a 15 percent minimum tax on the country's largest corporations which could raise $313 billion over a decade, according to one analysis. It also would give the IRS more funding for enforcement.

It is worth noting here the current corporate tax rate is 21 percent. But companies like Amazon have found various loopholes to get around it. For example, Amazon paid zero income tax in 2018.

What is likely not included in this bill, a lot that many progressives had wanted, including universal pre-K, food aid for kids and paid family sick leave.

And so much more, hearing benefits and affordable housing funding college tuition assistance is likely left out of this bill.

Whether the bill passes may boil down to one moderate lawmaker, Democratic Senator Krysten Sinema, who has is not said whether she is supporting it. CNN congressional correspondent, Jessica Dean, is on the hill for us.

Jessica, Democrats can pass the bill without Republicans through conciliation but they need every single Democrat on board. So where do things stand right now?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Ana. That's the axis in all of this, right/ You need all 50 Senate Democrats on board with this as you mentioned.

All eyes are turning to Arizona Senator Kyrstin Sinema, who has not publicly commented on any thoughts on this bill.

We have been told by her office she wants to read and wants to see what the parliamentarian rules are on this. Then she will make up her mind.

What we do know is that in the past, she has expressed concerns over closing the loophole what is called carried interest, taxing something called carried interest.

Does that remain a concern of here's? Is that something she wants to negotiate over. Is there room for negotiation? These are all of the questions we are keeping our eyes on this week as we do look to Sinema to see what she is going to have to say about this bill.

And what, if any, changes she is going to ask for in this bill. And if Schumer and Manchin would be amenable to making any of those changes.

We heard from Joe Manchin earlier today. He had just gotten back. Remember, he had been out with COVID while this negotiating was going on. We heard from him a couple of hours ago.

Let's hear what he had to say about that.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): She is the one to negotiate basically. No one changed the Medicare negotiations. They thought that wasn't and she got involved. And that was great. I support that.

She has been very adamant and clear on no tax increases. I take that very seriously and I felt the same way. So I'm hoping, when she reviews and see its and has time to do that, then we will see where she is.


DEAN: Manchin saying also that he hopes to speak with Sinema today and telling that she was is not involved in the groks and that it sounds like they haven't spoken and that he is hoping to speak to her later today.


And, Ana, you heard me mention the parliamentarian a few minutes ago. The other key piece to this. Because they are using a special budget procedure, it all has to go through the Senate parliamentarian, who can weigh whether they want to do can fit in that procedure.

And we are waiting on her ruling. And that will have a big impact what can stay in and what night need to come out. And we know Krysten Sinema is keeping our eye on that as well -- Ana?

CABRERA: Jessica Dean, we know you're keeping your ear to the ground and will bring us any updates. Thank you.

COVID cases are up. But most schools are not requiring kids to mask up. Why not?

A state of emergency over monkeypox kicks in in San Francisco. Should more cities follow suit to fight this virus?



CABRERA: President Biden tested positive for COVID again today. A letter from his doctor says it is to be expected given the president's rebound case.

CNN White House correspondent, M.J. Lee, joins us now.

M.J., do you know how the president is feeling?

M.J. LEE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: He is apparently feeling well according to his doctors. The daily updates from Dr. Kevin O'Connor are back ever since the president tested positive for COVID on Saturday morning.

That also means he's also back in isolation also. You'll recall that last Wednesday, he had emerged from almost a week of isolation. Unfortunately, for the president that didn't end up lasting very long.

Over the weekend, we saw the White House tweet out a video of the president speaking to the camera from the White House balcony. He basically said he is feeling totally fine. He is going to continue working with his dog, Commander, and keeping him company.

This is something that the White House had warned everyone about, that there are cases of rebound cases after somebody takes the full course of Paxlovid, the antiviral medication, that the president had taken.

But essentially what the White House had said is, rebound or no rebound, the benefits of taking Paxlovid were considered worth it and that benefit, of course, is to try to prevent serious illness.

And that does seem to be the case right now that the president, for the time being, doesn't seem to have the emergence of any symptoMs -- Ana?

CABRERA: M.J. Lee, thank you.

As COVID cases rise again throughout the country, most public schools plan to make masks optional as students return to the classroom.

Our senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen has more on this.

What does the data show, Elizabeth?

DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Ana, the data shows that a lot of schools are not listening to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And 89 percent of schools are not going to require masks. These are the 500 largest U.S. school districts and 98 percent of them say they are not requiring masks this year.

Let's look at a mask from the CDC. Everything in red, almost half the country, the CDC says, you've got a lot of COVID in your area, you should be requiring masks in schools. Obviously, this disconnect and schools are not listening.

Now talk about the students and who the students are going in who are going in. And 45 percent of children ages 5 to 17 are -- I'm sorry are on - I'm sorry, are vaccinated.

So 45 percent of vaccinated. Meaning they have had two shots of Pfizer or two shots of Moderna. Among that 45 percent who are vaccinated, a very small percentage are boosted.

So a very small percentage are boosted. Only 9.5 percent have gotten a booster. So you have children going into school without masks, many of them not vaccinated. The vast majority, not boosted -- Ana?

CABRERA: Elizabeth Cohen, thank you.

Now to another viral outbreak. Today, San Francisco's health emergency for monkeypox kicks in. New York City officials made the same declaration over the weekend.

There are now more than 5,000 confirmed cases in the U.S. But we are learning 10 states have requested 50 percent or less of the vaccine allotted to them by the federal government.

Meaning the supply is available, but they are just choosing not to take full advantage of it.

Dr. William Schaffner is a professor at the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and joins us now.

Doctor, let's start with these emergency declarations by these two big cities. Is a city by city approach the way to go here or does the U.S. need to make an emergency declaration at this point countrywide for a more coordinated response to monkeypox?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, VANDERBILT HOSPITAL: Well, Ana, I think there's a coordinated response. Is there anyone in the country that doesn't know about monkeypox already?

At least in my neck of the woods, every health department is focused on both COVID and monkeypox, trying to do the best they can to get public health services out to the community on both of those illnesses.

CABRERA: Is everything that can be done happening?

SCHAFFNER: Well, I think we need to educate providers even more about now how easy it is to get diagnostic services, because the large commercial laboratories are providing it.

And we need to reach out to the affected communities, still prominently men who have sex with men, that, in addition, to trying to get vaccine and that is a very good idea.


In addition to that, their personal behaviors are very important. It's a time to be prudent, rather than exuberant. Limit the number of your sexual partners and avoid anonymous sex.

CABRERA: We do know that there have been cases from people who weren't in a situation like that. Even though we know monkeypox is transmissible through close physical contact.

Can someone get monkeypox by sharing with gym equipment that somebody used before them that is affected by monkeys pox or by trying on clothing at a store, somebody had already tried it on? Can people get monkeypox that way?

SCHAFFNER: I think it's very unlikely. We don't have explicit examples of this sort of transmission yet.

The in-adamant environment focuses on bed sheets and blankets and things like that where people with a rash have deposited a great deal of virus into the environment that then can be transmitted to someone else who uses that facility.

So I think that that is very unusual. We ought to focus principally on the highway of transmission, intimate, close, skin-to-skin, often sexual contact. Let's minimize that mode of transmission.

CABRERA: We know cases are going up by the hundreds every week, if not thousands. We are at 5,000-plus right now. Some doctors have suggested that it may be time for all college students to receive the monkeypox vaccine.

Do you agree with that?

SCHAFFNER: We haven't gotten nearly enough vaccine to be able to do that.

I was a little surprised that your comments, your lead-in that there are areas where the vaccine is going unutilized because, until at least this weekend, there were many parts of the country where people were ready to come in and be vaccinated.

And I think we need to still use that vaccine maximally to the extent that we have it. We still don't have as much as we would like for widespread use.

CABRERA: Dr. William Schaffner, I really appreciate you. Thank you so much for your time today.

SCHAFFNER: Thank you.

CABRERA: Dozens of women have accused him of sexual misconduct. Today, Quarterback Deshaun Watson will face consequences. But how long will he be benched?



CABRERA: He was accused of sexual assault and harassment by more than two dozen women. Today, NFL Quarterback Deshaun Watson learns he's facing a six-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

Watson has repeatedly denied the accusation but he's settled 20 of the 24 cases. And his former team, the Houston Texans, said it reached a settlement with 30 women who either had made or intended to make claims over their allegations against Watson.

CNN's Athena Jones has more on this now.

Athena, why just a six-game suspension?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It's an interesting question, Ana. The judge, retired judge, Sue Robinson, who was appointed the disciplinary officer in this case, she was jointly appointed by the NFL and Players' Association, explains, in part, in the 16-page decision that came down this morning that, by far, the most commonly imposed discipline for domestic and gendered violence and sexual acts is a six-game suspension.

She also said in her conclusion, "Mr. Watson is hereby suspended for six regular season games without pay. Although this is the most significant punishment imposed on an NFL player, Mr. Watson's pattern of conduct is more egregious than any before being reviewed by the NFL."

So the NFL, we do know, had been looking for a full season suspension. So all 17 games. This is only about one-third of an NFL season, so we're going to be waiting to see if the NFL appeals this decision.

We already know from a statement that Watson himself, along with the Players' Association put out last night, they do not plan to appeal the decision. We have to wait and see what the NFL says.

But this is for behavior the NFL called predatory conduct. They say that he violated several personal conduct policies, including sexual assault, conduct that poses a genuine danger to the safety and well- being of another person, and conduct that undermines or puts at risk the integrity of the NFL.

We should be clear that Watson has denied all of these allegations. He said he did nothing wrong.

And we do know there are two grand juries, Harris County, in Houston, and they declined to press charges saying they didn't have enough evidence. But it's clear, it's a six-game suspension. We'll have to see what happens -- Ana?

CABRERA: Athena Jones, thank you for that reporting.

A quick update before I let you go today. At the top of the show, we shared the story of Jessica Willett, a mom in Kentucky, who used a vacuum cord to tie her children to herself as their home was swept away by floodwaters.

You see here there with her 3-year-old son. She has an 11-year-old daughter.

They shared her GoFundMe appeal during our emotional conversation with her. And within the last hour, since the start of this show, you have donated nearly $34,000.

And you can see the link to her GoFundMe on my Twitter page, @AnaCabrera. Thank you for your generosity. I know it means a lot to her and her family.


The news continues right after this.



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Hello. I'm Victor Blackwell. Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. Alisyn is off today.

We are beginning with the catastrophic, deadly weather slamming both coasts.