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Senate Passes Sweeping Climate, Tax and Health Care Bill; Albuquerque Police Looking for Information on Vehicle of Interest; Ukrainians Crossing into Russian-Held Territory; China Conducts Fourth Day of Military Exercises Near Taiwan; Chinese Embassy Official Warns of War with US over Taiwan; Heavy Rains, Flood Threat Expected across Midwest; Credit Card Debt Surges as Inflation Drives up Cost. Aired 7- 8p ET
Aired August 07, 2022 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: New tonight, the Senate passing the Democrats' sweeping bill that includes the biggest climate investment in U.S. history.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The vice president votes in the affirmative, and the bill as amended is passed.
BROWN: Albuquerque on edge as police reveal the murders of four Muslim men could be linked.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a vehicle of interest, and we want everyone to take note of this vehicle who lives in central New Mexico, and we have got to find this vehicle.
BROWN: A fourth set of human remains have now been found in Lake Mead's receding waters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to identify the victim, and that's what we're trying to do at this point.
BROWN: And actor Anne Heche now said to be in stable condition after her car crashes into an L.A. house, narrowly missing a person inside.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She was in the house at the time, and the car stopped like two feet away from where she was sitting. So she was pretty lucky.
BROWN: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Lower prescription costs, an historic national fight against climate change. Senate Democrats pass a scaled back version of the landmark legislation that they've chased for more than a year. It took months of negotiations and an exhaustive all-nighter of whirlwind votes to reach a 50-50 split along party lines. Vice President Kamala Harris then cast the deciding vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HARRIS: The yeas are 50, the nays are 50. The Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative and the bill as amended is passed.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: CNN's Melanie Zanona is on Capitol Hill.
So, Melanie, the bill heads to the House later this week. Does it face any obstacles there?
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Not really, Pam. If there was going to be any hurdle, it was going to be House moderates in the Democratic Party. But we have actually already heard this evening from two key House Democrats, Mikie Sherrill and Josh Gottheimer, that they're indeed going to support this package even though it doesn't contain some of the tax provisions that they had previously been demanding. So this is a pretty clear sign that this bill is going to pass the House on Friday.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi put out a statement saying they are going to move swiftly on Friday to get this bill to President Joe Biden's desk. And Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer said he thinks that the unity among Democrats in the Senate is only going to make it easier in the House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): All of the 50 Democrats in the Senate vote for the bill, including the progressive wing of, you know, Bernie and Elizabeth and Eddie Markey and people like that, and the conservative wing, the more conservative wing. I think it's going to set a tableau for the House that will make it much easier for the House to pass.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZANONA: So Democrats are on the verge of a big victory with less than 100 days before the midterm elections. And even though Democrats had to scale back their ambitions, and this package is certainly not everything they wanted, they still did get a number of key priorities into this package from fighting climate change to lowering prescription drug prices.
Now Republicans are united in their opposition against the bill. They are already framing it as a reckless spending spree that is only going to add to inflation, not reduce it. But Chuck Schumer says he is confident this bill is going to boost his party come November -- Pam.
BROWN: All right. Melanie Zanona, thank you so much. And last hour, I spoke with Gina McCarthy, the White House National
Climate adviser. Here's part of that conversation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GINA MCCARTHY, WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL CLIMATE ADVISER: This is going to be the biggest leap forward we can ever make to actually move forward with climate and clean energy. We're actually bringing the labor community along. We're bringing investments in manufacturing. We're giving families an opportunity for efficient appliances so they can save money. We're looking at efficient, clean car technologies that they can now be able to afford. This is just a remarkable plethora of good news for our communities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: All right. Now let's get the take from the other side. Joining me now, former Trump White House communications director Alyssa Farah Griffin, and former Trump campaign adviser David Urban.
Hi to you both. President Biden has been racking up wins, the American Recovery Act or COVID stimulus package, nearly $2 trillion. Infrastructure and jobs act, $550 billion. Chips and Science Act, $280 billion, and now what Democrats are calling the Inflation Reduction Act, which is expected to raise $700 billion in government revenue.
Now, David, first to you. You may not like what is in some of these bills, but would you concede that President Biden is one of the most legislatively successful presidents in modern history?
DAVID URBAN, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: Well, Pamela, I don't know about that, and just to take a step back, you're reading off these giant numbers, trillions of dollars. That money is not free. That money is coming from you and me and other taxpayers.
BROWN: Right. But --
URBAN: Taxes are going to be raised across the board.
BROWN: But in this latest bill, for example, they have ways of also raising money with taxes such as the 15 percent minimum tax on corporations and so forth. But go ahead.
URBAN: Right, and --
BROWN: But hold on. But let's just talk about -- I know you want to -- as I said at the outset, David, there are going to be things you do not like in this bill. That's one of them. You think it's too expensive.
URBAN: Pretty much the entire bill, Pamela.
BROWN: You think it's too expensive. But can you -- can you concede that --
BROWN: That, look, President Biden has been on a roll lately with these wins, with these legislative wins.
URBAN: Listen, Pamela. I don't know if it's Joe Biden's on a roll, but Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi are on a roll. I didn't see Joe Biden up on the Hill twisting arms and making this happen. So I would withhold just some applause there. But I would say that the administration and Democrats writ large have had a successful week in passing what is an incredibly progressive legislation.
So, yes, if you're looking at subsidizing Teslas for the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, then they had a big week this week.
BROWN: OK. Well, we got to move on because we have a lot to get to. But in addition to this, of course, you have lowering gas prices. You have the jobs report that came out on Friday that was better than expected.
Alyssa, of course inflation is still a thing, but what do you think?
ALYSSA FARAH GRIFFIN, FORMER TRUMP WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: So, I mean, undoubtedly this was one of the best weeks that President Biden has had in office, and I would actually note the one thing all three of us can agree on is taking out one of the world's foremost terrorist.
BROWN: That one too.
GRIFFIN: That's always a win for America. That said, and I've said this before, I'm not convinced -- you know, you could name this bill anything, but that was actually going to reduce inflation. Time will tell. I hope it does by the way. I think I care more about Americans being able to afford their groceries and gas than I do denying a win to President Biden. But it's late in the game, and just kind of to get into the politics of it.
You know, midterms are here, and even if these victories end up working to slowly bring down the incredibly historically high inflation rate, I don't think it's enough to really swing the economic winds enough to help Democrats, you know, take -- certainly keep the House, but I also think it's going to -- I think the Republicans still have the advantage in the Senate.
BROWN: And economists are mixed on whether this bill will actually reduce inflation, but I want to ask about something else. You have CPAC going on this past week. I want to ask you about the former President Trump because during his speech at CPAC last night, he went after someone you know well, Cassidy Hutchinson, specifically about her testimony that Trump had a confrontation with the Secret Service and also threw food at the walls of the White House. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT: I know these people. These are very strong people. It's just not my deal. And I started to choke and I felt, you know, so when the story came out.
TRUMP: Some people, I said, I never knew you were that strong physically. And then they said I started throwing food all over the White House. No. I have too much respect for the White House. But that somebody could sort of believe. You know that. But to think that I'm going to be jumping into the seat, grabbing the wheel, being rebuffed, grabbing this big powerful guy. His neck is like this, and grab, and I'm going to take him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And this is the same event that featured an exhibit with an actual convicted January 6th rioter fake-crying in a fake prison cell.
Alyssa, what is your reaction to all of that?
GRIFFIN: well, listen, unfortunately CPAC, which I attended for many years, has kind of devolved into just like performance art. It's the entertainment wing of the GOP. You know, that bit that the former president did, sure, he can make light of the one piece of Cassidy Hutchinson's testimony that was hearsay. It was something that was shared with her by Tony Ornato.
But of course he doesn't touch the countless credible claims that she made about him wanting people to come armed onto the Ellipse that day, saying they're not here to hurt me, knowing that they were there only to hurt others. That he wanted to go to the Capitol. He doesn't address the substance of the investigation behind January 6th, and honestly is making light of one of the darkest days in not just his presidency but American history, and I think it's fairly shameful.
BROWN: David, to you, I want to ask you about something else. Look, Florida Senator Rick Scott, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said today, he made a comment that voters should elect candidates they'd be willing to hire. But when he was asked this morning about applying that same standard to candidates like Herschel Walker in Georgia, here was his answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARGARET BRENNAN, HOST, "FACE THE NATION": In Georgia, Herschel Walker, Republican Senate candidate, has lied about the number of children he has, about his business dealings.
His ex-wife said he held a gun to her head and said, I'm going to blow your f-ing brains out. In Arizona, the candidate, Blake Masters called the Unabomber an underrated thinker. Would you hire these people to work for you? SEN. RICK SCOTT (R-FL): Well, you'd go through each person, but I'm
not the one doing it. It's the voters of those states are doing it. The voters of those states are going to make a choice.
BRENNAN: You're trying to help Senate Republicans and lead them to victory. These are your candidates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Is that a sufficient answer, David?
URBAN: Yes, that's a -- well, Pamela, look, that's kind of unfair by Margaret to say that because, you know, Rick Scott didn't handpicked these people. These people were elected by the Republicans in their state. They have a primary race. Their names are on the ballot. This information's out there, and people make a choice.
People made a choice when they knew Donald Trump -- they had heard "Access Hollywood" tapes. They went to the polls. They were fully aware of those comments that he made, they made a choice. They make a choice in every election. They make a choice, you know, when you go to the polls, they're fully informed as to, you know, what they're voting on, and the American people get what they deserve.
By the way, back to the Inflation Reduction Act you were talking about earlier, you know, the Penn Wharton budget model said it's going to have zero impact on reducing inflation. So just to put a little flag point on that.
BROWN: You just can't let it go, can you, David? Can't let it go.
URBAN: Well, I just --
BROWN: As I said earlier, economists have been mixed about whether it will actually reduce inflation, and that is true.
Thank you both. Great conversation. David Urban, Alyssa Farah Griffin, really appreciate your time tonight.
GRIFFIN: Thank you.
URBAN: Thanks, Pam.
BROWN: Well, you're in the CNN NEWSROOM. Up next, Albuquerque police now looking for information on a vehicle of interest possibly connected to the violent deaths of four Muslim men.
Also ahead, China launching long-range air strike drills around Taiwan during a fourth day of provocative military exercises.
And the Ukrainian president applauds actress Jessica Chastain for visiting his war-torn country to make sure the world never forgets their struggle. We'll be right back.
BROWN: Last hour, Albuquerque officials updated the investigation into the murders of four Muslim men in the area. The killings spanned several months and police and the FBI say there is reason to believe they're related.
During today's press conference, multiple local leaders emphasized concern for the Muslim community in Albuquerque. President Biden reacting to the news by saying, these hateful attacks have no place in America.
CNN's Camila Bernal has been following the developments. So, Camila, tell us more about this vehicle of interest officials identified.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. This appears to be, Pam, the strongest lead that authorities have at the moment. They are looking for a dark silver sedan, four doors, tinted windows. They say it's likely a Volkswagen. It's either a Jetta or a Passat, and that's why they're asking people to help them identify this car, the driver, just any information in relation to this car could be helpful in connecting the dots here because that's exactly what authorities are trying to do.
Right now what they're saying is four Muslim men have been killed, and that is really the biggest connection in these cases. But they're also saying that at least two of them lived or got killed in the same area in southeastern Albuquerque. They also say that at least two of them went to the same mosque. They say at least three of them were ambushed. They did not know what was coming when they were shot.
And I want to go over these incidents one by one. The latest one happening on Friday, and this victim has not been identified yet because authorities say they're still talking to his family. But he's believed to be a man in his mid-20s from South Asia. And then there's is Muhammed Afzaal Hussein. He is 27 years old from Pakistan. He worked for the city of Espanola in New Mexico, and the mayor there describing him as a brilliant public servant.
He said he was a soft-spoken, kind, and a person who was quick to laugh. He was killed August 1st. And within that same area, we know that Aftab Hussein was also killed. He was 41 years old from Pakistan. He went to the same mosque as the latest victim that we talked about, and he was killed on July 26th. And then authorities are also going back to November of 2021. They say Mohammed Ahmadi, also a Muslim man from Afghanistan, was killed outside of his business.
He ran a business with his brother and that's where he was killed. So these are all the four cases that the police believe are connected. And look, authorities are promising justice. Here is what the governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, told really the public today about this case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM (D), NEW MEXICO: I am incredibly angry about this situation. Every New Mexican should stand up and against this kind of hatred. It has no place in this city, and it has no place in our state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERNAL: And members of this community are terrified. They are traumatized. Some of them scared to go get groceries, get a meal, take their children to school, which is why authorities are doing everything they can to find whoever is responsible for this -- Pam.
BROWN: Camila Bernal, thank you for that.
Well, today China was scheduled to end military drills off Taiwan in the wake of Nancy Pelosi's visit. But we're told they're still under way, and there has been no easing of tensions between Beijing and Washington.
Up next, we'll discuss it with a man who was one of top counterintelligence chiefs in the U.S.
BROWN: In Ukraine, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog is voicing grave concerns about Europe's largest nuclear plant. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency is warning that the shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine could lead to disaster both in Ukraine and beyond.
And we now want to take you to one of Ukraine's so-called green corridors. They are the routes civilians can still take to cross between Russian and Ukrainian held territory.
As Nic Robertson reports, some of them are headed to areas controlled by Russia.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN'S INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Waiting and waiting. Families, pets, possessions loading them down. All crossing to the Russian-occupied territory, south of Zaporizhzhia.
(On camera): This is what's slowing everything up here, the deep mud. Cars just getting bogged down, sliding all over. This one just managing to get through. And the reason they're coming this way, quite simple, the bridges are blown up.
(Voiceover): Ukrainian Emergency Services doing their best to get people through the rain-sodden fields.
We've had to drag a few trucks out today, the commander says, but it's drying out and getting easier.
Known as the green corridor, it's where people cross to and from Russian-occupied territory. But something odd this day, the traffic almost entirely one way. Of an estimated 6,000 people stuck on the Russian side, only 76 crossed. Many, many hundreds went the other way.
(On camera): Where are you going?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To Kherson.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because my parents live in Kherson.
ROBERTSON: Isn't it dangerous because there are Russians controlling Kherson?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I know this. But I must to take from parents from Kherson to my city, Odessa.
ROBERTSON (voiceover): Everyone leaving Ukrainian-controlled territory telling us a similar thing. They expect to come back even if it appears they're not.
I'm taking my mother to the other side, he says, and picking up my grandmother. When we asked why he's taking his young daughter, he shrugs.
If they were going to live on the Russian side, no one willing to admit it. The route working so well this day several trucks taking the chance to turn a profit. This man, his van loaded with Pepsi and toilet paper, telling us he's taking it to market.
(On camera): The emergency services here say that on a normal day they get traffic coming from the occupied, the Russian-controlled side. Today it's different. They understand that there'll be nobody, nobody else coming from the Russian side today.
(Voiceover): No one, any wiser, why the Russians are still blocking so many desperate to leave.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Kamienskie, Ukraine.
BROWN: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy got a special visit today from Academy Award-winning actress Jessica Chastain. And in addition to meeting with Zelenskyy, Chastain also visited the biggest children's hospital in Ukraine amid a trip to the hard-hit city of Irpin, to see firsthand the consequences of the Russian invasion. Zelenskyy thanked Chastain for the trip, saying famous people are extremely valuable in helping the world understand what is happening.
And to learn more about how you can help humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, just go to CNN.com/impact.
Well, a fourth day of Chinese military exercises near Taiwan. Chinese aircraft, naval vessels, and drones operating around the Taiwan Strait in what Taipei called a simulated attack in the days following Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit. Bella Banina joins us now. He is the founder and CEO of the Evanina
Group. He is also former director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.
Bill, great to have you on. You have spent years and years and years studying China. And I'm wondering what you think about this. The Chinese military says these drills are still ongoing. What does that tell you? How concerning is that?
BILL EVANINA, FOUNDER AND CEO, THE EVANINA GROUP: A few things, Pamela. It's great to be here by the way. A few things. I think number one, they're not happy with the drills and where they are right now and the impact they've had not only domestically in China but in Taiwan and around the world. I think Xi Jinping right now has a big litmus test to determine whether or not he should continue these exercises, stop, and if the impact's been made.
And if you look at the exercises in totality, I think they really have to analyze the value of this really high, I would say, perspective on whether or not they're valuable versus the danger they cause.
BROWN: Why should people in the U.S. be paying attention to what is happening right now, paying attention to the fact that these drills are ongoing because there might be people who say, that's Taiwan, that's over there, that doesn't really impact me?
EVANINA: Well, that's a great question. And what's going on here domestically is going to make it difficult for Americans to look at what's happening in Taiwan. But I think they should. Geopolitically, understanding where Xi Jinping is and what he wants to do to be the geopolitical leader of the world, the military leader and economic leader of the world, I think Americans need to do that, specifically American businesses and business leaders have to pay close attention to what's going on right now in Taiwan because we saw what happened in Hong Kong. And that transition over to Taiwan would be just about as close to unacceptable as there is.
BROWN: So how significant is it in Taiwan's escalation of language from calling China's military drills a possible simulated attack to simulated attack? What do you make of that?
EVANINIA: That's a big transition and I'm not going to get into the diplomatic depths of wording in terms of how the State Department uses this, but I look at this perspective This hasn't happened since 1996, this type of activity with Mainland China and Taiwan. So it's a big deal for generations of Taiwanese to be able to feel the wrath of Big China in pushing their economic and military might on them.
So we are looking at the wording, I think the Taiwanese look at it as how do we describe this to our children, to our constituents, to business leaders in terms of whether or not it's a possible to probable, but it was a significant military activity taking place in the territory of Taiwan. BROWN: And, of course, the history between China and Taiwan, it is
long and complicated. We're not going to go into that here. You support the House Speaker's visit to Taiwan, you think it was a good thing that she went over there with a congressional delegation.
But since then, there has been a ratcheting up of rhetoric. You had a Chinese Embassy official in the US saying that Taiwan could spark a war between the US and China. How worried should we be of such a possibility?
EVANINA: Well, I think when we look at the analytics of this all and really the experienced analysts writing on this story, I think it's hard for anyone to tell. But I do think we're closer now to potential conflict than we have ever been. Right? But it's still far away.
And I don't think Taiwan will ever start a military exercise or a type of war with China. If that happens, it is probably going to happen accidentally. I think you're going to see China take that aggressive action they've been planning to do for decades, when you look at it an opportunity where there's no other alternative for them to do so.
BROWN: All right, Bill Evanina, thank you so much for coming on sharing your expertise on this. We appreciate that.
And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Sunday. Flash flooding in one of the hottest places on Earth, Death Valley. It left around a thousand people stranded, an update is next along with a look at extreme weather in different parts of the country.
BROWN: Death Valley National Park remains close today after monsoon rains triggered flash floods that left a thousand visitors and park staff stranded. Look at these images right here. Officials say those people were eventually able to leave after crews cleared pathways through the mud and debris, but it is still a mess out there.
The park weathered nearly an inch and a half of rain which accounts for 75 percent of its annual rainfall in a typical year.
And the US has seen a series of extreme rain events recently including three once in a thousand-year floods in Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois.
Tomorrow, President Biden will visit Kentucky to see firsthand the devastation left behind by flooding that killed at least 37 people.
And for more on the heavy rains out west, I want to bring in meteorologist, Tom Sater.
So, Tom, how bad is it going to get tonight?
TOM SATER, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Well, we're seeing flash flooding, Pamela, all across the country and it is the desert southwest, it is parts of the Great Lakes. It's down south, it's everywhere.
But you know, this, again, is another one in 1,000-year event. I mean, we've seen this the last couple of weeks, just amazing. A warmer atmosphere holds more water, so you get these torrential downpours, second wettest day in Death Valley in the 111 years of record keeping just about an inch and a half, right.
But again, that's 70 percent of their average rainfall. More flooding that we had last week on a strip in Las Vegas, flooding today in Flagstaff. So you can see in green, where our Flood Watches are. All of these little areas of red are all flash flood warnings.
So this is just part of that larger pattern and it is quite widespread. The monsoon, that must mean seasonal rainfall. We need it. We're seeing it up in parts of Northern California, but that's when we have the risk of that lightning and triggering more wildfires.
Then you've got watches up in areas in southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, northern areas of Illinois, as well. And again, still in Eastern Kentucky into West Virginia. This morning, we had three and a half inches fall on the south side of Chicago, flash flood warning there, numerous flight problems. And I'll give you more on that, too.
But you can see the three to six inches of rainfall in that region. We've got almost a two-hour delay in New York. That's the second goal around today. About an hour out in Denver. Look at this, Pamela, over 6,000 delayed flights today on top of the 7,000 yesterday. Now, we just topped 900 in cancellation. So a lot going on.
BROWN: Yes, it's a mess when it comes to that. Summer heat, also still battering the country today. Today alone, over 70 million people are under heat alerts. What can you tell us about that?
SATER: Well, a lot of times where you have these heat domes, and we've been watching them meander around the US, you know, all summer long and on the periphery of these where you get some of those stronger storms. But again, it's the heartland of the US. It's the Pacific Northwest. It is Southern California, and the Northeast. Boston, tying a record yesterday and today 97 and 98 degrees, respectively. They dropped down in the 60s Wednesday.
But the heat is going to continue to bake in areas from New York, Philadelphia down toward Washington, DC. So again, more triple digits.
Now Seattle gets a break from the heat, but Portland, Medford you're in the triple digits as well. That heat dome in the Northwest is going to just kind of create a larger pattern, extend across the northern tier states.
There will be slightly cooler temperatures out west for the Ohio Valley, but first we've got to get through the next couple of days. So again, the advisories are issued for a reason.
Please, if you can slow it down. This is just dangerous stuff. It's been a crazy summer.
BROWN: It is dangerous. Yes, it's certainly is. Tom Sater, thank you so much.
For the fourth time, human remains have been discovered in the receding waters of Lake Mead in Nevada. Water levels there have plunged to unprecedented lows amid drought conditions and searing heat. And while the grim discoveries have generated all kinds of theories of mob involvement, officials there say that's mere speculation at this point.
Well, more Americans say they're now living paycheck to paycheck and that means inflation is probably taking a greater toll.
Up next, an expert joins me to explain what you can do to fix your finances in these troubled times.
BROWN: New polling shows inflation is a real concern for many Americans, 61 percent now saying that they are living paycheck to paycheck. That is up from 55 percent just a year ago.
So what can Americans do when their money just isn't going as far? My next guest has some suggestions, personal finance expert, the money coach, Lynnette Khalfani-Cox joins us now.
So this week, we learned the US credit card debt is rising at the fastest rate we have seen in two decades is it a good idea for Americans to be borrowing to keep up with rising expenses.
LYNNETTE KHALFANI-COX, THE MONEY COACH: Well, we know that a lot of folks are leaning on those credit cards to deal with everything from higher prices at the pump to healthcare costs and more.
But frankly, no, it's not the best time to be continually going into debt or adding to your debt load. In fact, if you can, you want to start chipping away at those credit card bills, and paying those debts down. The Fed has already told us that they they're going to keep raising interest rates. And so you're just going to be adding to your debt with higher finance charges in interest. And right now they're at about 17 percent for the average credit card.
So you want to pay those balances down. If you can, you really want to try to negotiate with your creditors, and see if you can get lower rates, but if not do a balance transfer. That's where you switch your credit cards for a so-called teaser or promotional rate, 12 months, maybe 18 months, and you'll get a zero percent deal. Those kinds of things will help you to deal with some of those higher credit card interest rate that a lot of folks are facing.
BROWN: So what else should Americans be doing to navigate these rising prices? KHALFANI-COX: Well, certainly, we're still in in a workers market for
employees, right? So obviously, if your W2 salary worker, et cetera, you want to negotiate with your employer as well. There is a reason that The Great Resignation is still going on and we just saw the unemployment numbers come out at a 50-year low of three and a half percent.
So absolutely negotiate with your employer as for that pay raise. It doesn't have to just be a cost of living adjustment, you can ask for a merit-based increase as well. Higher pay, of course, will help you to keep pace with some of those rising prices that we're seeing.
But then you've got a look at your budget, too, right? A lot of people have a ton of subscriptions. So one of the things that I'm telling people also is to cancel a lot of those subscriptions that they have that they probably don't even know that they're still paying for that they aren't aware of.
As a matter of fact, Pamela, there was a study this year that found that the average adults in this country, the average American thinks that they're paying about $89.00 a month in monthly subscriptions. Those fees that are hitting your credit card or your debit card, in reality, most Americans are actually paying $219.00 a month.
So there's a big gap there and there is a way that people can in fact, go ahead and save. And then, for those who are still suffering at the pump, avoid if you can -- can you carpool? Can you walk? Can you take public transit? Anything you can do that you don't have to drive of course, will save you money on those rising prices as well.
BROWN: I can't get over the subscriptions that most people pay around $220.00 a month, which is more than $2,000.00 a year. Wow. This is really helpful information. "News you can use" as they say,
Lynette Khalfani-Cox, appreciate it.
Well, coming up, W. Kamau Bell joins us live with a preview of tonight's "United Shades of America." We're going to discuss the glitz, the glamour, and racism in Hollywood.
BROWN: Tonight, CNN's W. Kamau Bell is taking us on a personal journey as he talks about race and racism with Asian-American friends in the TV and film industry, and they discuss how their own experiences overlap with some of his own. Here's a preview of "United Shades of America."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For "Crazy Rich Asians," really it's showing the power that the community has.
LISA LING, CNN HOST, "LIFE WITH LISA LING": I had some concerns, like is this the movie that we want to --
W. KAMAU BELL, CNN HOST, "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA": It's not "Malcolm X."
LING: Yes, exactly. Exactly. "Crazy Rich Asians?" Well, how I justified it was it was still a love story, and you never saw Asians in rom-coms. So many of us who have been in the business for a long time have sort of felt like we've been the only one climbing up this ladder and it's a very lonely ladder.
And so to know that there are organizations now taking it upon themselves, right, to promote and to build infrastructure. Well, the fact that we're having this conversation right now for television, you know means we're moving in the right direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: W. Kamau Bell joins us now. So he is also the Director of the Emmy-nominated series, "We Need to Talk about Cosby," and co-author of "The New York Times" bestseller "Do the Work: An Antiracist Activity Book." So Kamau, you talk about the role representation plays in all of this and how important it is for Asians to be portrayed authentically and for them to have a seat at the table.
Tell us more about that.
BELL: I mean, I can't speak more about that without highlighting Lisa Ling, another CNN employee, one of the OG's of the original series department and the fact that she's an Asian woman on TV regularly talking to communities inside her community and outside of her community, it is important. It gives Asian-American kids everywhere, I can be a journalist, I can be on TV, I can also tell stories, but that extends to movies, podcasting, television -- everywhere.
BELL: I mean, you know, I wouldn't be here without Black comedians before me who I said, "Oh, if Eddie Murphy can do it, I can do it." So I think that representation is important.
BROWN: So let's take a look at another clip from the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BELL (voice over): And to keep my cool during this game of racism hot potato, Shi-fu (ph) is going to show me some meditation.
SHI FU, MONK: Just lift up your thigh and start kicking. Go ahead, use your body and weight
Just right here.
BELL: Mine doesn't make that noise that you're a making.
SHI FU: It's snap kicking. Nice. Excellent.
BELL: Thank you. It just seems disrespectful.
SHI FU: Go this way. Up.
BELL: For the love of Jesus and Buddha. Thank you for this.
SHI FU: Thank you so much.
BELL: It's been a true pleasure. I mean, I did get tricked by the producer and the director, but that's cool. That's between me and them.
You're going to go hang out with a Shaolin monk. Oh, yeah. Sounds great. Yes, you don't need some training with him? You know, I'm kind of tired. You know? Why don't we see some like meditation? Sure, no problem, just meditation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And of course, we had to highlight that clip. I mean, of course, we did. Tell us about that moment.
BELL: I thought you were on my side. I thought we were a team.
BROWN: I am on your side. That's the thing is that I am on your side.
BELL: You are. That's a classic.
BROWN: Because everyone loves seeing you to try to do this. Come on, I mean, this is good television.
BELL: Now, the secret sauce of the show is watch Kamau fail at things. So yes, physical things usually. So I know, that's an old school producer trick. They lie to you directly. But I got to hang out with Shi Fun Yon Ming (ph) and talk to him about other things. But yes, also that happened.
BROWN: That was fun to watch. I've got to say.
All right, so another interesting thing you talked about in the episode is the ways minorities are sometimes pitted against each other. And one of the things that you look at is the Model Minority Myth. What does that mean? And why is it so disruptive?
BELL: So it's a thing that comes out of post World War Two where America starts to celebrate really, it starts with Japanese people out of internment like Japanese people who had just gone through internment, or like Japanese-Americans who are saying, like, we need to be quiet. We need to keep our heads down. We need to work hard and achieve our way out of the racism that we experienced through internment.
And then America, and many of this as White America pointed at them is like, that's the model of minority, which means Black people, apparently, we are not doing it right and that creates tension between our communities, and the Asian American community and the Black community as a whole.
BROWN: So what are the most important things, they said need to happen to continue to improve the ways Asian-Americans are treated and perceived.
BELL: I mean, the thread through this is a dinner that I had with my friend, Hari Kondabolu, who's a comedian, with Sophia Chang, and Jenny Yang and it is about us connecting in real life, not just believing social media videos, not just getting twisted by the news, we need to connect in real life.
I live in Oakland, in the Asian-American community and Black community connect quite well and over the years have done so regularly. So I think that the more we can do that in real life outside of those communities and connect to each other and not buy into what the news is telling us, what the government is telling us about COVID and who started and who is to blame, the more we can rise together.
BROWN: Connect in person, I think we could all do a better job of that, right? I mean, everyone is just like on their phone and instead of connecting in person.
So with all the people you talk to, and I know we heard a little bit from Lisa Ling. She seems optimistic. Tell us more, though, broadly, do they feel like progress has been made in how Asians Americans are treated -- Asian-Americans are treated in this country?
BELL: Well, that's a great question. So I talked to a group of kids called the Dragon Kids, they are Asian-American elementary school students have a podcast club called the Dragon Kids and to hear those kids talk about America, I talked to Lisa about this separately in a conversation we had.
They would refer to White Americans as Americans, they would say American sometimes are mean to us, American sometimes and it shows that even Asian-American kids, Chinese-American kids who are born in this country see themselves as being outside of being America and see themselves outside as being Americans.
And so that means we have a long way to go because these kids are just as American as you and me.
BROWN: That makes me so sad. And that is why your reporting is so important. W. Kamau Bell, thank you. An all-new episode of "United Shades of America" airs tonight at 10 only on CNN.
And finally tonight, what really happened in Uvalde. Here's a preview of the new CNN special.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST, ANDERSON COOPER 360 (voice over): More and more officers arrive, but no one makes a move to neutralize the shooter. Though, clearly some officers know time is of the essence.
POLICE OFFICER: We've got to get in there. POLICE OFFICER: We've got to save the people.
POLICE OFFICER: We've got to get in there. These kids are in there. We've got to get in there.
COOPER (voice over): And it's clear police know where the gunman is.
POLICE OFFICER: Okay, guys.