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Kentucky Rescuers Face Stifling Heat In Search For Survivors; Gas Prices Fall For 49th Straight Day; U.K. 4-Day Work Week Test Program Producing Results; DOJ Sues Idaho For Restricting Abortion Access To Patients In Need Of Lifesaving Treatment; Jon Stewart Advocates For Veterans Exposed To Burn Pits After Republicans Block Bill. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired August 02, 2022 - 13:30   ET



EVAN-MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the kind of damage people are dealing with all over this area. And that's the challenge when it comes to the next phase of this recovery.

The governor saying they're still actively searching for people and trying to get under these hollers cut off by these bridges.

Zack Hall lives in Knott County, one of the hardest-hit counties in this area. And he has family up in one of these hollers. And he went on CNN this morning to describe what it's like to deal with this and why this heat is so damaging.


ZACK HALL, KNOTT COUNTY, KY, RESIDENT: Every night this week, it's supposed to rain. We go to sleep hoping we're not going to wake up to another flood washing the work we've done away.

And with the heat, when it dries up through the day, it's muggy and humid. People will suffocate. A lot of people with oxygen that don't have power are already suffering.

I think the worst is still to come if we aren't able to clear paths and get to these people.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So we are seeing some improvement in this area over the past few days. You can see behind me utility crews. They're everywhere.

There's been a lot of power restored, a lot of cell phones restored. Still a problem with portable water, but some of that has been restored, too.

The challenge is it's still a race of time because some people are trapped, and they need to get them help and supplies before this heat comes in -- Ana?

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Such a tough situation. Evan, you're doing a great job covering it for us. Thank you.

Now to growing concerns about monkeypox. Today, President Biden appointed two officials to coordinate the federal response to this virus.

Monkeypox has spread rapidly across the U.S. Right now, there are almost 6,000 confirmed cases. More states are now taking action. California and Illinois are the latest to declare a state of emergency over monkeypox.

OK, we know hot dogs, French fries, frozen pizzas aren't exactly healthy. It gets even worse. Now we're learning they could impact our brain. new investigation shows eating those convenient meals could increase risk for diseases like Alzheimer's.

The new study finds that people who got one-fifth of their daily calories from processed foods had a 28 percent fast of cognitive decline compared to people who ate the east amount of processed foods.

So I guess, moral of the story, cut back on that stuff. Tough to do, but another reason to do it.

A four-day work week put to the test. We told you about the world's biggest trial involving thousands of workers in the U.K. Well, they're now eight weeks into this experiment, and we are starting to see the results. That's next.



CABRERA: Forty-nine straight days of falling gas prices. And now experts say this trend could continue through at least Labor Day.

CNN's Matt Egan joins us now.

Matt, just how much have prices fallen, and will they keep dropping?

MATT EGAN, CNN REPORTER: Ana, finally, some good news on the inflation front. The average is at 4.19 a gallon. That is down 63 cents in the past month, 83 cents below the record high that was set in June.

When you look at the map, there are now 19 states across the country that have less than $4 a gallon. Also, as far north as Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin.

And, you know, $5 gas proved to be a bit of a breaking point. Some people decided to drive less, and that caused demand to go down.

As far as where things go from here, remember, gas prices take their ques from the oil market. And we've seen those come down pretty significantly falling yesterday at about the lowest level in five months.

We have to point out that's not necessarily happening for good reasons, though. There are concerns about the health of the U.S. economy and European economy and in Asia. That's why oil prices have come down.

Now, this trend could continue. A veteran oil analyst tells me he thinks the national average is going to go down to $4.10 in the next week or so.

CABRERA: What does this mean in terms of savings then?

EGAN: All of this really adds up because, if you fill up your tank, say you have an average tank of about 14.5 gallons and filled up at peek prices in June, you would be spending almost $73 to fill up your tank. Today, that's going to cost you $61.

So you're saving $12 every time you fill up. So, Ana, this translates to real savings for people.

CABRERA: Yes, that can really add up. Obviously, that's money that can be used at the grocery store where we're seeing prices still come up. That can make a difference.

Matt Egan, thanks for that update.


A four-day work week, no pay cut. Can workers really be as productive? Well, that was the big question as thousands of people took part in the four-day work week trial. And now we have some of the results.

CNN business correspondent, Rahel Solomon, is here with those results.

I hope the results are good. I hope you're building the case to put to our boss.


RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I'm working on a meeting with our boss, but I did just get off the phone with the CEO of the group behind us.

Some of the people taking part have said it's life-changing and they're healthier and happier.

We know, based on previous students, the one in Iceland, we did not see a drop in productivity. So we'll watch this very closely as this progresses.

So here's -- if you weren't watching it -- because, Ana, you and I talked about it just before the start -- if you weren't watching, it's the largest of its kind, 3,300 workers, 70 companies across industries.

You work 80 percent of your work week, but you have to get 100 percent of productivity. So you have to do the same amount of work.

So if you're wondering, well, that's Europe. That's England. That would never work here. There's actually a pilot happening here about the same size, just slightly smaller here in the U.S. That's slightly smaller. Part of the reason behind this push is because we spend so much -- well maybe not you and me -- but many people spend so much days in meaningless meetings, about three on hours in meaningless meetings every week.

Some have 20 percent on small tasks that don't contribute to the work you're there to do.

I talked to the CEO behind the four-day work week, and he said, look, the pandemic really turbo charged this idea. After the pandemic, it really accelerated it.

And we're seeing it more so in companies that lend their space to office work.

CABRERA: One of the benefits could be at home and at work if you're able to be more productive at work but also able to get time back with that extra day to do your own thing.


CABRERA: I wish we had more time to discuss this because it is such a valuable conversation.

I want to direct our viewers to go to to read about the results of this study where you can find out some traditional tricks of the trade, so to speak, in this study that have resulted in more efficiency, like lights on the desk to let people know when you're able to talk and when you need to focus.

Rahel Solomon, always a pleasure. Thank you.

Well, they fought for our nation, and now they're fighting for a vote. Veterans who suffered from burn pit exposure are waiting for the Senate to pass a bill that could be the difference between life and death. Jon Stewart has been a key activist in this fight. He joins us next.



CABRERA: We're back with breaking news out of the Justice Department. Here's the attorney general, Merritt Garland.

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Good afternoon, everyone.

Today, the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the state of Idaho. The suit seeks to hold invalid the state's criminal prohibition on providing abortions to women who are suffering medical emergencies.

Under a federal law, known as the Emergency Treatment and Labor Act, every hospital that receives Medicare funds must provide necessary stabilizing treatment to a patient who arrives at an emergency room suffering from a medical condition that could place their life or health in serious jeopardy. In some circumstances, the medical treatment necessary to stabilize

the patient's condition is abortion.

This may be the case, for example, when a woman is undergoing a miscarriage that threatens septic infection or hemorrhage or is suffering from severe preeclampsia.

When a hospital determines an abortion is the medical treatment necessary to stabilize the patient's emergency medical condition, it's required by federal law to provide that treatment.

As detailed in our complaint, Idaho's law would make it a criminal offense for doctors to provide emergency medical treatment that federal law requires.

Although the Idaho law provides an exception to prevent the death of a pregnant woman, it includes no exception for cases in which the abortion is necessary to prevent serious jeopardy to the woman's health.

Moreover, it would --

CABRERA: Let's bring in our legal analyst, Joan Biskupic.

After hearing those comments from the attorney general, explain to us, why Idaho?

JOAN BISKUPIC, CNN LEGAL ANALYST & SUPREME COURT BIOGRAPHER: Well, it's because of its law. This is a really robust vigorous message you heard from the attorney general today.

Idaho has a law that was set to go into effect later this month, August 25, that would criminalize any abortion that wasn't necessary for death of a mother.

This is for -- and there's a federal law that requires treatment for a woman who is suffering during labor, hemorrhaging, possibly sepsis. And what Attorney General Garland said is that the state of Idaho's law conflicts with federal law, and federal law should pre-empt it.


So this is the first lawsuit. He's making good on a promise he made when the Supreme Court ruled in the Dobbs case that abortion the abortion protections nationwide no longer exist, that Roe v. Wade had been overturned.

And this is -- this is a really important message. Attorney General Garland said that, since the ruling, states have been taking all this action, and it was necessary, right now, to go in and try to block the Idaho law, which, as I said, is set to take effect later this month.

CABRERA: OK, Joan Biskupic, thank you for that. We'll continue to watch that announcement and where this case goes.

Meantime, a bill to help veterans appears no closer to passing this hour as Republicans demand certain amendments. They say they are concerned about how funds could be spent, despite voting in favor of a nearly identical bill just two months ago.

Democrats say the delay is only costing sick veterans precious time.

And we're talking about millions of veterans, young men and women now fighting cancer. The toxic pits they were exposed to were operated near military bases throughout Iraq and Afghanistan, some covering multiple acres.

Pretty much anything and everything was burned in them every day, trashes, chemicals, munitions, you name it. Anyone nearby could inhale the toxic smoke.

And one veteran telling CNN, quote, "If you were the poor sucker standing gate guard when that burn pit was lit, you'd be standing in the smoke for upwards of eight to 12 hours a day."

The legislation Republicans are blocking would expand health care resources and benefits to veterans, and it would add 23 conditions recognized by the V.A as being related to burn pit toxins and exposure.

Jon Stewart has become a fearless advocate for these veterans. The comedian and activist has been at the capitol demanding lawmakers pass this legislation,

And I just spoke to him last hour.


CABRERA: Jon, there's another potential vote day on the act. What do you see standing in the way of this getting done at this point?

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN & ACTIVIST: We don't really know. To be honest with you, we really don't know what was standing in the way of it just passing after 84-14.

So for the 25 Republicans that flipped their vote, we never really got a very clear answer on exactly what it was between June 16th and the 84-14 vote and the supposedly, purely procedural vote that failed in July.

So, it's very hard for us to discern what the difference would be now. But you know, these folks have been living out here since that gut punch. That was on Thursday.

I would ask Congress, the next time you're going to screw over veterans, do it in October. I feel like the crispness in the air would make it so that these people don't look like pancake batter while they're waiting for Congress to do the right thing.

CABRERA: There's never a good time, right, for veterans who are desperate for health care to have to wait.

STEWART: They've been fighting this for 15 years. This bill is going to be providing much-needed benefits to Vietnam veterans. Like that's how behind the curve we are on taking care of these folks.

CABRERA: I know you said you don't understand why there are Republicans voting against this. However, our Jake Tapper --


STEWART: Flipping. Flipping their votes.

CABRERA: Right, right, because initially, they had all voted for it a couple months ago. Now, it comes down to the next step in the voting process, and Republican Senator Pat Toomey gave this argument for holding up the bill now. Listen.


SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R-PA): My Democratic colleagues will fully acknowledge that my objection, and if I get my way, it will not change by one penny any spending on any veterans program.

What I'm trying to do is change a government accountable methodology that is designed to allow our Democratic colleagues to go on an unrelated $400 billion spending spree that has nothing to do with veterans and that won't be in the veteran space.


CABRERA: It sounds like an accounting issue. How does that explanation sit with you?

STEWART: Really well. Now I understand.

No. First of all, Senator Toomey's been against this the whole time, so the objection that he is raising about this so-called budgetary gimmick was in the bill on June 16th when it passed 84-14. This didn't change.

The reason why it had to go back to the House is they had a blue-slip issue. Now, you can go on, and you can look this up. This is not my opinion.

And the VFW and the American Legion and all these warriors behind me wouldn't be standing behind this bill if this was some kind of trojan horse for Democratic pork.


CABRERA: Not a lot has changed except for their votes. But why? Why would they change their votes? Do you actually think they're anti- veteran?

STEWART: No, I think they're insulated and isolated, and that they've lost themselves to parliamentary procedures.

And you know, I'm not suggesting that there's malevolence in the way that they're treating veterans, but there's apathy and ignorance. This didn't just come up overnight. These folks have been fighting for 15 years.

I have documents from the Pentagon and the V.A. that talked about the damage that the burn pits were going to do to veterans, listing all of the diseases and things that were going to be coming down the pike, and they ignored it, and they did nothing. This bill finally addresses it.

And I'm sorry, Senate and the House still have budgetary oversight. The secretary of the V.A., whether it's mandatory spending or discretionary spending, still has to submit an appropriations list every year that these guys are well within their rights to vote down.

Or if they really don't like this budgetary gimmick, don't vote for it 84-14 on June 16th.

But here's the other thing they could do, because I said to them, if it's such a problem, don't you have a process where you could fix it? And they go, oh, yes, no, we could do that.

CABRERA: You feel like some of the personal battles you have faced with some of these Senators -- like your Twitter battles with Ted Cruz -- have resulted in a pushback against you, that some of these "no" votes on this bill have become personal?

STEWART: Oh, wow, if that's the case, that may be more pathetic than them fist-bumping after denying health care and benefits to veterans.

If they're so fragile and so weak that somebody coming out on Twitter and correcting them in an impolitic way makes them change their votes, I don't know.

Then, maybe they need to be somewhere else where their power doesn't affect people's lives so directly.

CABRERA: Jon, why has this cause touched you in such a deep way? I can feel your passion jumping through the screen. You have dedicated so much of your time. You are 100 percent in on this cause.

STEWART: I've been with this community for 20 years. From Walter Reed to USO tours in Iraq and Afghanistan to Achilles Heel Freedom Team to the warrior games, I've seen the burden that our war machine puts on military families.

And one of the reasons it's so important to me is because we've lost sight of the effects of what happens in Washington on the real people that live out there.

And this is the lowest-hanging fruit of a functioning society. Like, if we can't handle taking care of the people who defend and protect us, then what chance do the rest of us have?

Health care shouldn't bankrupt anybody. People shouldn't ever have to decide between insulin and chemotherapy drugs and a car payment, but that's where we're at.

And we got to put our foot on the ladder somewhere. And if we can't do it here, then we can't do it.

CABRERA: Jon Stewart, thank you so much for taking the time, sharing your passion and perspective on this.

STEWART: Thank you, Ana.


CABRERA: That does it for us today. Thank you so much for joining us.

The news continues with Alisyn and Victor next.