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Schumer: Senate Will Vote Saturday on Health Care and Climate Bill; Pelosi Visits Korean Demilitarized Zone as China Tensions Rise; Biden Administration Proposes New Refund Rules for Delays, Cancellations; 80 Million People Under Heat Advisories on East Coast; First Lady Isolated for Biden for Weeks Due to His Covid Infection. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired August 04, 2022 - 15:30   ET




ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: This just into CNN, Senator Chuck Schumer announcing that there will be a vote on Saturday on the health care and climate bill. CNN chief Congressional correspondent Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill for us. Manu, what you have learned?


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is the first step to moving forward on this big package. This deal that was reached just days ago between Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin, a big bill dealing with health care, providing -- going after prescription drug prices, as well as spending hundreds of billion dollars on climate and energy programs, providing a 15 percent corporate minimum tax.

Schumer just announcing they plan to take that first step on Saturday afternoon. To have a procedural vote to take up this bill. Now it still does not mean that they have votes to get this out of the United States Senate. And large part because of one Senator, Senator Kyrsten Sinema who has raised concerns over some of the provisions in this bill, including some of the tax provisions there. One of them dealing with the issue of taxes on so-called carried interest -- refers to taxes on hedge funds and private equity. But they're trying to resolve her concerns on that issue as well as some other issues. And they need all 50 Democrats to be on board in order to advance this package.

Now if Schumer does get Sinema support for that first procedural vote, then it will go through the gauntlet and after 20 hours of debate it will open up a series of amendment votes that any Senator could offer for as long as he or she wants. They can continue to offer amendments to try to change and try to thwart this package through the course of potentially Saturday, maybe even overnight Saturday, potentially all day Sunday as long as Republicans want to go because their vigorously opposed to this legislation.

But if all of Democrats stay united, they could fend off those Republican attempts to try to change the package. But at the moment, a step forward, a sign here they are moving ahead with this legislation. Even though at the moment they do not have Senator Sinema support, Chuck Schumer confident at the end of the day they will get this support, pass this bill by the end of the weekend, then it's on to the house -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Manu Raju thank you for the very latest.

So today House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visiting Korea demilitarized zone. The speaker is the highest ranking U.S. official to visit the DMZ since President Trump met Kim Jong-un there in 2018.

China, meanwhile, is flexing its military might near Taiwan conducting massive long-range missile tests over the island following Pelosi's visit this week. CNN's Selina Wang joins us now with the latest. So, Selina, how significant is Pelosi making this stop at the DMZ and the ongoing backlash from China?

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alisyn, so the DMZ divides North and South Korea. It's often described as the world's most heavily armed border. So, for Pelosi to go there it sends a strong signal of U.S. support to South Korea amid threats from the North. And it follows what Pelosi has said her entire Asia trip was about, reaffirming support for partners and democracies.

But there are a lot of debate about whether the benefits were worth the costs. Because look, Pelosi has moved on from Taiwan but she's left a crisis behind her. China has been conducted these live fire military drills in areas that encircle Taiwan. Beijing is calling it a blockade simulation. The message from China is that this is a powerful military they've got that could choke Taiwan off from the rest of the world at any moment.

And according to state media, Chinese missiles actually flew over Taiwan island for the first time. Not around it, but over it. We are hearing Taiwanese officials play this down saying that the trajectory of the missile was above the atmosphere and posed no risk to Taiwan. But experts are telling me that this is a major escalation. It goes beyond the muscular show of force that was expected.

And these moves from China are putting the whole region on edge. Japan is condemning this and said five ballistic missiles launched by China landed in an exclusive economic zone.

So, the reality here, Alisyn, is that the world is dealing with a more aggressive China led by the most powerful leader the country has had in decades. But we also have to remember that this show of force is intended for the audience here at home in China, to prove there is a big cost to be paid for Taiwan hosting Nancy Pelosi -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, understood. Selina Wang, thank you.

So, millions of Americans are once again under heat alerts and that is forcing drought conditions to expand to new regions of the country. More on the impact ahead.



CAMEROTA: As airlines continue to struggle to meet surging demands, the Department of Transportation is now proposing a new set of rules to help all of us passengers. CNN's Pete Muntean joins us now. So, Pete, what exactly would these new rules mean for all of us?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, this would be a big change for passengers, Alisyn. Remember, complaints to the Department of Transportation about airlines have shot up 200 percent since the start of the pandemic. The number one reason, you could probably guess it -- refunds. Passengers over and over again have been trying to get refunds for airlines either because of pandemic related cancellations or they just simply can't take their flights because of restrictions or people are afraid to fly and don't want to get on an airplane because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The issue up until now though, is that the rules have been relatively vague about what can trigger one of these refunds per the DOT rules. The Department of Transportation said simply a significant change to your flight is what can trigger a refund from the airlines.

Now, look at what the Department of Transportation is proposing. There are some big changes here. Especially when it comes to the specifics.


Departure time or arrival time changes, if it changes plus or minus three hours for a domestic flight, plus or minus six hours for an international flight, that could trigger a refund under these new proposed rules. If a departure or arrival airport changes, if the number of connections in your itinerary increases and if the airline changes the type of aircraft that is being flown that could cause a, quote, significant downgrade in the experience on board your flight.

Remember, airlines have been struggling with cancellations big time this summer. But 39,000 cancellations in total in the U.S. according to Flight Aware since Memorial Day. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg warned airlines to get their acts together. He met with them before the July 4th holiday and he said this is only the start of holding airlines to account. Listen to what he told us on "NEW DAY" this morning.


PETE BUTTIGIEG, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: It's one of the number of steps that we've had underway. That would expand passenger rights to things like refunds when you're flight gets delayed or when you have an extreme delay or some other change to the itinerary that really changes the whole experience. Moving you to a different kind of plane or changing which airports you're going to, making sure passengers are protected.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MUNTEAN: You could submit public comment to the Department of

Transportation now online. In fact, there is only went live late last night and the Department of Transportation has already received more than 100 comments to its website. A lot of people come up to me about this all of the time trying to get refunds from the airline. You know everybody seems to have a story -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: I like that they go to you for that. Because they can get --

MUNTEAN: Yes, they confuse me with the Transportation Secretary. It's hard for me to do work for them. Yes, but sometimes I can.

CAMEROTA: I like that. Pete Muntean, thank you.

MUNTEAN: Any time.

CAMEROTA: Right now, nearly 80 million people along the East Coast are under heat advisories. Including in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile, check out these new images from NASA. These are global temperatures in July and they show these record-breaking temperatures are everywhere.

Meteorologist Jennifer Gray joins us now with more. So, Jennifer, obviously these temperatures bring drought conditions. Where are you seeing that.

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN AMS METEOROLOGIST: Right, and we've known that there's been drought conditions in the West, right, and then over the summer we've seen the drought build across the South. And now we're even starting to see the drought build across the Northeast where the beginning of the summer we were only in 2 percent drought. Now we're at 25 percent -- the drought monitor released today.

So, it is a two-fold problem. We've had a lack of rainfall but also the heat has been a huge contributing factors to the drought and just miserable conditions across the country. Over 70 percent of the U.S. population will be above 90 degrees over the next several days. Look at all of that red. Really just the West Coast is escaping the heat.

We're seeing temperatures that are going to feel like the triple- digits across a huge chunk of country. We do have a front that's straight. Were seen some afternoon storms bringing a little bit of relief but we're getting temperatures that are going to be well above normal across the eastern seaboard. That excessive heat is going to feel like 105 to 110 in some locations and it's going to be felt across the mid-section of the country as well -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, Jennifer Gray, thank you very much.

So, the pressures of the White House are taking an emotional toll on first lady Jill Biden. New CNN reporting, next.



CAMEROTA: President Biden is battling everything from rising inflation to a COVID infection and no one sees these challenges more up close than first lady Jill Biden. Though she's had to stay away from her husband during his recent bouts of COVID. CNN's Kate Bennett has our story here. So, Kate, the Bidens haven't been able to be in the same room nearly two weeks. Is that what is taking a toll on Mrs. Biden or is there more?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I think for a couple that has been married 45 years, doesn't like to be apart one or two nights, this almost two-week break from being around each other -- although they are in constant contact, you know, via the telephone, et cetera -- it is troubling.

In general, it's been a difficult summer. I mean, President Biden has had some recent wins this last week, but, you know, earlier in the summer poll numbers were tough, headlines were tough. There's questions about 2024. All of this really weighs heavy on the first lady. As it does most first ladies who are often sort of the best barometer of the mood of a president or mood inside of a White House.

She did canceled a trip, a scheduled trip to Africa that was supposed to take place in late July. And she decided to stick closer to home. So certainly, she has wanted to be around more. She's done more domestic travel. She's acting again as messenger, emissary, she's adding fundraiser to the list. So, sort of whatever President Biden needs, whatever, you know, the message is that he's trying to get out from the White House, this is a first lady that even when the chips are down is trying to maneuver, trying to support him. But, yes, for sure the last several days they have been apart have been a challenge.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that's really interesting to think about it that way. Kate Bennett thank you very much for that reporting.

Well, a Russian court sentenced WNBA star Brittney Griner to nine years in jail for drug smuggling. Now it's up to the Biden administration. Details on their effort to bring her home.



CAMEROTA: If you're wondering whether to get your pet microchipped, listen to this story. A German Shepherd who was stolen from her yard 4 1/2 years ago was found by an animal control officer this week in Borger, Texas. When officials scanned the dog, they found her owner lives more than 600 miles away in Baytown, Texas. We are happy to report that Shiba, the dog, is now finally on her way home to her owner.


And we're just getting this story into our NEWSROOM. The Nebraska State Patrol says that they are now investigating multiple fatalities at multiple scenes in the city of Laurel with a fire burning at each one of these scenes. Obviously, we don't have any many details. We will bring you more as soon as we can update this very serious story. Obviously, stay with CNN for the very latest.

That does it for me and "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.