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Debt Ceiling Standoff; Texas Attorney General Facing Impeachment By His Own Party; DeSantis Takes Aim At Trump After Announcing White House Run; Source: Final Sticking Point On Debt Ceiling Is Work Requirement For Social Programs; McCarthy & Biden Expected To Talk Next Hour; Veterans In Congress Gather To Honor Those Who Died In Vietnam; Sources: NYC Officials: $4.38B Will Be Spent By July 2024 On Asylum Seekers. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired May 27, 2023 - 17:00   ET




JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.

We're keeping a close eye on two developing stories this hour.

In Texas, the state's attorney general is facing an impeachment vote. Ken Paxton is accused of bribery and abuse of power. The conservative Republican says the impeachment is illegal and being pushed by corrupt politicians, he says.

In Washington, meantime, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says progress is being made in talks to avoid the nation's first-ever debt default. A short time ago, a source familiar with the intense discussions says it is now down to one final sticking point between the White House and Republican leaders.

The issue -- at issue at this hour is work requirements for social safety net programs.

Let's begin our coverage of the debt talks. CNN's Manu Raju is up on Capitol Hill for us. Manu, just being told that it's down to one issue is cold comfort. I mean that one issue might be the one thing that just drags this thing out. What are you learning about the state of the negotiations at this hour?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's what I was told from a source familiar with the matter that there is one key sticking point remaining, that over imposing new work requirements on social safety net programs.

This had been part of the Republican bill to raise the debt ceiling that was approved back in April. Democrats fiercely oppose it, arguing that it would hurt the poor. And some folks were benefiting from that program.

Republicans say this is important to try to get people who are dependent on programs like food stamps and temporary assistance for needy families, get them into the workforce.

There's an ideological dispute that just has been unable to be resolved over the last several days and I am told that is still part of these negotiations at the moment. And one big reason why they simply have not been able to close the deal.

But there is an expectation that they are making progress on a whole wide range of other issues. They had started at complete loggerheads about whether to even have negotiations to begin with. But now that their negotiations have been happening, they have been closer on the issue of including some spending cuts, some in the White House has resisted. And also to extend the national debt ceiling for more than one year.

The Republicans had initially proposed to kick it into 2024. The president wants to kick it until past the 2024 election so they don't have to deal with it again before November 2024.

The White House appears to have won on that account but not before giving in on a number of conditions. Now, the question will be if they do add some of these work requirements to the bill what it would do to the vote count because a number of Democrats, including the House Democratic leader, Hakeem Jeffries, has warned against it and warned that perhaps Democratic votes would not be there to help push this across the finish line.

We do know that Democratic votes will be needed in order to get this bill out of the narrowly divided House. Kevin McCarthy is expected to lose dozens of members on his right flank, people who are concerned that this compromise would water down the Republican position and amount to a retreat of sorts both on the issue of spending cuts and as well as a number of provisions, including going after much of Joe Biden's domestic agenda. They would not be going after Joe Biden's student loan program for instance. One issue that's part of the House Republican bill.

So it is a very difficult balance to get, something that is driving the negotiations. They're trying to cut a deal but also trying to cut a deal that could actually pass the House and then later pass the Democratic-led Senate which is why it is taking so long to get a deal.


RAJU: But Jim, as you know, not much time remaining. June 5th is the deadline to avoid the nation's first-ever debt default if the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling is not raised by then. So a deal tonight is critical in order to get the bill on the House floor, and then get it through the Senate and avoid default, Jim.

ACOSTA: Yes Manu, you're saying that a deal is critical to have tonight, but do they have through the weekend and into Monday?

We had Congressman Tim Burchett on in the last hour. He was down in Knoxville. He was not waiting in the wings here in Washington ready to go on the House floor and vote. So they're going to have to get everybody back in town for this if they get some kind of deal together.

RAJU: Yes. And that's the real challenge here, Jim because if and when the deal is reached, they'll release the bill text. And then there will be 72 hours for members to be able to review that. That's three days before the House can have a vote. So the longer these talks drag out, that means the later the votes will be, pushing it even closer and closer to that June 5th default deadline, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Manu Raju, thanks for the long day today. I fear there are some long days ahead but I know you're a veteran of those. Manu, thanks very much.

A pitched political battle is still playing out in Austin, Texas as members of the state House debate whether to refer articles of impeachment against Attorney General Ken Paxton. On Thursday a unanimous vote from a GOP-led committee adopted 20 articles of impeachment against Paxton including bribery and abuse of public trust. But in floor debate this afternoon, impeachment opponents are pushing back hard.


JOHN T. SMITHEE (R-TX), STATE HOUSE: : If I'm ever going to be a part of any impeachment proceeding that actually results in the impeachment of an officer, I don't want it to look like a Saturday mob out for an afternoon lynching.


ACOSTA: CNN's Rosa Flores is in Houston for us following all the action. Rosa, a lot of pushback on the process. Paxton supporters claiming there hasn't been a proper investigation and access to evidence and witnesses but wouldn't that be part of a Senate trial?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, it definitely would, but to your point about what opponents are beginning to argue on the House floor, they have been asking about this since yesterday, Jim, and that is about the process.

How much time they were going to get to process this report by the Texas House Investigating Committee that adopted the articles of impeachment against Ken Paxton.

They were asking questions like will we be able to have access to the actual evidence that the committee obtained? Will they have access to witnesses? Will they be able to ask witnesses questions? Will they actually be able to see the evidence and analyze it for themselves?

Now, the answer so far that we heard from the House Speaker is no and also from the chair of the House Investigating Committee. The answer is no. And that House Committee members also did not have access to those witnesses.

In essence, the process that they explained is that this House Committee hired individuals, lawyers, to conduct this investigation and then they received the results. Those results were presented in that committee hearing that you described this past week and then the articles of impeachment, excuse me, were adopted by this committee.

Now there's a lot of politics flying around. There are different factions of the Republican Party in the state of Texas and we're seeing some of that on display. Take a listen.


TONY TINDERHOLT (R-TX), STATE HOUSE: Do you see how it could appear or it could be perceived by anyone in the building or outside the building when Democrats -- could you see how it could appear that it's politically motivated investigation?


TINDERHOLT: On their behalf?

MURR: I could also see that multiple of those persons that we hired to work for us also worked in the U.S. Attorney's office for a Republican appointee from a Republican president. So no, I do not see that.


FLORES: Now, Jim, there's been a lot of that type of exchange. And the way that it's been laid out on the Texas House floor right now is there's time for opponents, there's time for proponents to make their arguments and then also to debate. So all of that is ongoing, Jim.

ACOSTA: And some Republicans say Attorney General Ken Paxton threatened Texas House members. What more are learning about that?

FLORES: So far at least two House members have mentioned this on the open floor, that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has made phone calls in the last few days to House members, including House members that were working on the floor of the House because the legislative session is ongoing.


FLORES: And he was making threats to them. Threatening what their consequences could be for them if they voted to impeach.

And the second member that we just heard most recently mention this is actually the chair of the committee, the Investigating Committee. Take a listen.


MURR: He sits in that office and can use the significant powers granted to the attorney general to do a lot of different things. And that makes it very concerning whenever you're going through this process.

As you've seen in the last few days, we have seen literally the attorney general use his agency to lobby this legislature. We have seen the attorney general call people on the floor. He did not call my office but I am familiar with the fact that there are members on this floor that received telephone calls from the attorney general just the last few days.


FLORES: Now, Jim, I have emailed the office of the attorney general asking about those threats to see if they were real, if they had a comment, and I have not heard back, Jim.

ACOSTA: All right. Rosa Flores, thank you so much for all your work on that. We appreciate it.

Joining us now with more Scott Braddock, he's editor of "The Quorum Report" in Austin, Texas. Scott, thanks for being with us. What do you make of this afternoon's session? Impeachment opponents are attacking the process. It sounds like some of these Republican House members are trying to sort of maybe carve out a path for them to resist this impeachment of the attorney general. What are you picking up on? What's your sense of things right now?

SCOTT BRADDOCK, EDITOR, "QUORUM REPORT": well, first of all, I would not expect Rosa to get a response from the office of the attorney general. They have been pretty tight-lipped with the media, unless they're calling us all liberals or calling Republicans who are going after them liberals. In the floor proceedings this afternoon, you're hearing something that we had reported over last 48 hours at which is that the attorney general has been personally calling some of the members of the House and trying to get them to vote no on the impeachment articles today. I don't know that that's going to be successful.

Based on everything I'm hearing, Jim, I would expect a super majority, that 100 members of the Texas House, out of 150, to support this when they do vote on it here. I would think probably within the next hour or so.

ACOSTA: So you think this is going to happen?

BRADDOCK: Oh, yes. I do believe that there's no question that there is a majority in the House, which is all it takes, a simple majority to impeach the attorney general or anybody they choose to impeach.

I think that the number is a lot higher than that. I would expect that the speaker will probably have maybe a half of the Republican caucus, which would put this over 100 votes, maybe as much as 120 votes or something like that.

I would say this too. For some of the arguments that are being made against the impeachment today, when comparing this to a grand jury that would be making an indictment, of course, you've been covering the multiple legal problems of former President Trump and his experience with grand juries. I'm not an expert on grand juries in other states but in Texas, anybody who's indicted, they almost never get invited to speak to the grand jury that indicts them. So that seems like a bogus argument to me.

ACOSTA: And Scott, you know, Ken Paxton has the support of some pretty prominent Republicans. The head of the Texas Republican Party, Ted Cruz the Texas senator of course, and Donald Trump himself is vowing to fight House Republicans in Texas who vote for impeachment.

But it sounds like from what you're saying that might not be having much of an effect if there could be upwards of 100 votes on this?

BRADDOCK: You know, former President Trump has previously bad mouthed the speaker, Dade Phelan a Republican from Beaumont who is pretty conservative. He previously called him, I think he called him the Mitch McConnell of Texas or the Mitt Romney of Texas, one of those sorts of insults previously.

And former President Trump had promised previously on another issue to try to find a primary challenger to go against Dade Phelan in his primary in 2022. That did not happen.

In fact, no one even filed against him Phelan so I don't think there are a lot of Republicans in the Texas House who are necessarily worried about what former President Trump thinks on this issue and a whole lot of other issues, too.

ACOSTA: You know, earlier we heard from Representative Charlie Geren, a Republican who said Paxton was threatening House members with, quote, "political consequences" in the next election if they don't side with him.

I know you were saying that you've been picking up on some of that in your reporting. But it sounds like that's not having much of an effect either. Why is Ken Paxton so unpopular that he's facing this kind of impeachment vote when he's the attorney general in the state of Texas?

I mean, you know, one would think presumably that that position is such a powerful position, that's not an easy guy to knock out of his job typically.

BRADDOCK: It's not. And you know, look, I think this is important to point out, Jim. That you have Republicans in this state finally policing one of their own when voters have been unwilling to do that.


BRADDOCK: Look, the opponents of this impeachment have been saying over and over again that a lot of the information that we're hearing here about Paxton's corruption, about accepting bribes, of having a mistress -- all this other stuff, that it's not new.

They're right that it's not new. What is new is that that boy might finally have some accountability coming his way and it's coming in the form of people in his own party saying this guy is corrupt and he needs to go.

Now, I do think he's going to be impeached in the House this afternoon, or this evening, depending on when they vote. What's going to happen in the Texas Senate -- that's a whole another question. But it is interesting that Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick who presides over the Senate, Texas is unique in that respect, the lieutenant governor is the presiding officer of the Senate. Patrick as said that they're going to take this seriously. He has not

dismissed it. In fact Patrick said that the Senate will take their duties very seriously if an impeachment is sent to the Senate by the House.

ACOSTA: And we know Ken Paxton likes to go up on conservative media and, you know, get his talking points out there. What is he saying in regards to whether or not he might step down if he's impeached? Is he just vowing -- is he to fight this to the end?

BRADDOCK: He hasn't said anything about stepping down or anything like that. We should also point out to your viewers that if the House votes to impeach, which I do expect, he is immediately sidelined. There will be an interim attorney general who will be appointed before the senate takes up the articles of impeachment. And then depending on what the Senate decides to do, he would either be returned to office or he would have to get the U-Haul boxes and just leave.

We also do expect, it's possible that federal authorities may seal off the attorney general's office this evening if he's impeached because immediately his swipe card is not going to work anymore.

He can't go in there anymore. He's not the attorney general for the time being. And as you know, he's also under FBI investigation for some of his alleged corruption.

ACOSTA: All right. Very interesting, intriguing developments there in Austin, Texas. Scott Braddock, thanks for your insights. We appreciate it.

BRADDOCK: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Yes, thank you. We'll move on to other news.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis knows the path to the White House runs right through Donald Trump and he's now setting his sights squarely on the former president. We'll talk about that. That's next.

Plus lawmakers who don't agree on much agree on honoring those who served.

And later, Democratic Congressman Maxwell Frost will join me. Will he back whatever deal the president makes with House Republicans to raise the debt ceiling? Another important question, what's going to happen on the Democratic side of the aisle.

We'll talk about that in the moments ahead. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: Ron DeSantis this week officially throwing his hat into the ring to become the Republican Party's nominee for president next year and the Florida governor is not wasting any time going on the attack against the leading Republican candidate who could thwart his path to victory.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I tell you, I don't know what happened to Donald Trump. This is a different guy today than when he was running in 2015 and 2016.

And I think the direction that he's going with his campaign is the wrong direction. He is going left on a lot of the fiscal, he's going left on culture. He's even sided with Disney against me.


ACOSTA: And joining us now to share their insights into this race, national political reporter for "The Messenger" Marc Caputo and Miami bureau chief for the "New York Times" Patricia Mazzei.

Guys, thanks so much. Marc, to you first, What is your read on Ron DeSantis I guess mentioning Donald Trump's name? He's kind of avoided that a little bit. He sidestepped it here and there. \

He would say it from time to time, but there seems to be a slight shift or tick in the direction of being a little tougher on the former president. What's your sense of that?

MARC CAPUTO, "THE MESSENGER": I think two things. Number one, he's an announced candidate and so he feels more free to do it. Number two, he's not doing well in the polls. Right, if you want to beat the champ, you have to put the champ on his back.

And if you're running against a guy who is essentially identified with the Republican Party of Donald Trump, you have to draw a distinction to tell voters why you should vote for you rather than for that one. That is Ron DeSantis has to tell Republican voters, hey, vote for me, don't vote for this guy, here's why.

ACOSTA: Right. And Patricia, the Trump campaign is dismissing DeSantis' I guess sharpened rhetoric saying the governor is trying to distract from his glitch-filled campaign announcement on Twitter and is going the anti-MAGA route.

What do you think? Is it risky for DeSantis to do this? I suppose as Marc was saying, he really has no choice. He's going to have to take him on at some point.

PATRICIA MAZZEI, NEW YORK TIMES: I think the DeSantis campaign is heartened (ph) by the fact that the former president has welcomed some of his other recent rivals in the race but has attacked Governor DeSantis, which for the DeSantis campaign is a sign that, hey, I must be the only guy who they're scarred of if they going after me.

But certainly if they're going for the same base and the same voters, you have to wonder how many people, you know, are still going be former President Trump's voters and not be that easily move over to Mr. DeSantis or anybody else for that matter. ACOSTA: Yes. And Marc, you know, a new CNN polling shows more than

eight in ten Republican voters are open to considering Trump and DeSantis. What does that tell you about the state of the race right now? I mean we see all these polls and Trump likes to point to them, you know, showing how he's way out in front. But if you're in the DeSantis camp, this -- I mean this gives you a little glimmer of hope, does it not? I mean it sounds as though folks might give him another look.

CAPUTO: Right. The DeSantis campaign's own polling and Republican polling more broadly kind of divides the Republican electorate up into three tranches. There's about 25 to 30 percent of the party that's going to vote for Donald Trump no matter. They'll walk through walls, they'll chew the brick dust afterward.

Then there's about another 25 percent of the party that's really not going to consider either guy. They're kind of anti-MAGA.


CAPUTO: And then there's about 50 percent or 40 percent sort of in the middle. This is the Republican primary we're talking about. And those are sort of the up-for-grab voters especially that DeSantis is going after and that he feels he can get.

Currently, if you look at the polling, Trump has certainly expanded beyond his 25 to 30 percent. He's hitting the 50 to 50 percent plus realm and that's problematic for DeSantis especially in a multi- candidate primary where that Trump base becomes more valuable because the non-Trump dilutes and divides itself.

ACOSTA: And Patricia, you know, Ron DeSantis you know, he's been on a tear legislatively speaking. He boasts a number of pieces he signed into law as governor that are popular with Republicans and the far right of the Republican Party, including a six-week ban on abortions, restrictions on gender affirming care, allowing Floridians to carry concealed guns without a permit.

What is your sense of it? Is it all performative? Is he serious about this from a policy standpoint? Does this give us a sense as to what he would do as president?

MAZZEI: I mean we have seen since he got elected in 2018 as governor the first time that he has really become someone who is comfortable in expanding the powers of the executive as governor of Florida. And he's making the same argument to try to do the same thing in the White House if he were elected.

So he is someone who his aides and former aides describe as comfortable with policy papers and calling think tanks and trying to figure out how he can best exert his power in the pursuit of policies that he agrees with.

And he has written a couple of books about it. So I think we have to take him at his word and see his actions in Florida, which you know, has really become a laboratory of right-wing policies in a way that it just was not before. His Republican predecessors were not comfortable not only pursuing policies that could be seen through such an ideological lens, but also pushing the boundaries of what a governor could constitutionally do.

And part of that is because, of course, Republicans feel more comfortable in having appointed more Republican judges and in now having super majorities in both the State House and State Senate to pursue all of these things together with very little pushback.

ACOSTA: And Marc, I have to ask you about this because I thought this was fascinating the way DeSantis is making a hard play, you know, even in the MAGA movement.

This week he said he would consider pardoning January 6th defendants, fire the FBI director Christopher Wray on his fist day in office as president. Here's more of what he had to say about the independence of the FBI.


DESANTIS: One of the things that I will do, I will go in and I am not going to accept this thing that they're an independent agency. They're a part of the executive branch. The DOJ and FBI answer to the elected president. And I will hold them directly accountable if they're not going after like BLM rioters, I will call them in the office and I will tell them to do it. If they don't, they will be fired.


ACOSTA: Marc, what did you make of that?

CAPUTO: Well, I think that really harkens back to what Patty said. That is consistent with Ron DeSantis and who he is. He's suspended an elected prosecutor when he didn't like the way the man was messaging about abortion.

So he has certainly shown a muscular interest in expanding the realm of the executive. But no mention about when he was a congressman he was lividly opposed to the Russia probe. And so these criticisms fall within -- his criticisms could be understood when you look at his prior behavior and also look at the polling.

There's some polling out there that shows a good majority, a strong majority of Republicans don't trust the FBI, they don't trust the Department of Justice. And what he's saying here in a Republican primary is singing to the base.

ACOSTA: You know, Patricia, you know, when DeSantis is talking about pardoning January 6th defendants, I mean I have to think that that is going to rub a lot of independent voters, obviously rubs a lot of Democratic voters, but I would think even some in the Republican Party who were aghast at what happened on January 6th, maybe that's not a huge portion of the Republican Party but there are certainly some.

Those are not minor comments coming from the Florida governor. That's a pretty significant thing to say, I would think. MAZZEI: You know, my colleagues who were with some of his donors in

Miami today -- this week, sorry -- asked sort of what, you know, what do we make of these answers that the governor has been giving to conservative media now that he's a candidate. And the donors said they asked the campaign staff that. And the campaign said we have to win a primary before we go to a general election.

And so they seem focused on doing that. But you're right, as a Florida reporter, we've been asked now for the past couple of years as the legislature has taken on this much more aggressive posture, when will they go too far?


This state has shown among its electorate that it votes more purple still. Perhaps not in electing governor and state lawmakers.

But in many terms of public opinion, Floridians are not quite as much to the right as the governor and the legislature are.

So people do wonder where that line is crossed, if ever on any issue. Is a six-week abortion ban the sort of thing that is going to eventually draw some pushback?

We don't really know until there's another election.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: All right, Marc Caputo, Patricia Mazzei, thanks very much, guys. Really appreciate the time. We'll come back to this topic and have you back on again. Appreciate it.

Coming up, why the talks happening between Capitol Hill and members of Congress up on Capitol Hill and the White House right now could have a big impact on the U.S. economy.

We'll ask an expert what could happen if there is no debt deal. They don't have one yet, so it's important that they get one. And we'll find out what happens if it doesn't happen. That's coming up next.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.



ACOSTA: The U.S. Treasury says the government could start defaulting on its bills as early as June 5th. That's a little over a week from now. Time is running out for House Republicans and President Biden to reach a debt deal.

But as negotiators race against the clock to find an agreement, catastrophic consequences loom for everyday Americans if the U.S. goes over the fiscal cliff for the first time in history.

Here to help break down the potential impact is Matt Higgins. He's an executive fellow and teacher at Harvard Business School, and the author of the book "Burn the Votes." And he's a former guest judge on the TV show, "Shark Tank."

Matt, what do you think if this thing doesn't happen? What could the impacts be for everyday Americans. New CNN polling reveals only about a third of Americans see a major negative impact on their finances if the U.S. and its creditors. Are people being realistic about this?

MATT HIGGINS, EXECUTIVE FELLOW & TEACHER, HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL & AUTHOR: I think it's lack of awareness. It would be outright catastrophic.

You're talking about Goldman Sachs estimates three million jobs lost instantly practically. One-tenth of the U.S. economy would come to a halt. The stock market would drop 50 percent, which is exactly why that's not going to happen.

There's going to be a deal. This is somewhat a manufactured crisis but I think it's a good thing.

ACOSTA: And we're holding on tight here because there may be some developments to report on shortly. But could a debt default spark a recession, do you think?

HIGGINS: I think it would instantly spark a recession. I actually honest hope -- you may get breaking news soon.

But I hope this goes up to the 11th hour because the crisis is the only thing that's going to force bipartisan compromise.

Our debt has gone from $22 trillion in 2019 to $32 trillion now in a very short span and we need to go on a diet. The only way it seems to force a compromise is the need to lift the debt ceiling.

So I hope this goes on for a bit so that we can put in place a spending cap.

ACOSTA: All right, Matt Higgins, thanks so much.

We've got to cut this short because, as I was just indicating, this just into CNN. New reporting on the state of talks to avoid a debt default and an economic catastrophe.

Priscilla Alvarez is at the White House for us and Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill.

Guys, are you with me?

Manu, are you there?

What are you learning?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right. I am told by two sources familiar with the matter that President Biden and Kevin McCarthy, the speaker of the House, are expected to speak in the next hour.

Why is this significant? Because it comes at a critical time in these negotiations. The president and the speaker have left most of the negotiations to their negotiating teams respectively and they have carried out most of the talks.

The president and the speaker have had some conversations but they have not had many. This could be a pivotal one because at the moment we have known that there have been some key sticking points they have tried to resolve. It's unclear whether they have been finally resolved.

But there is a furious push to try to get this deal locked down tonight in order to release the text of this bill to raise the national debt limit.

It includes a range of conditions that have been demanded by Republicans to unveil that bill as soon as tonight in order to get it on the House floor as early as Tuesday and try to get it through the United States Senate over a matter of days in order to avoid the first ever debt default by June 5th.

So this phone call, according to two sources familiar with the matter, Kevin McCarthy and Joe Biden, could determine whether or not there is a deal tonight.

Or they have more work to do as the two sides are trying to lock this down and avoid that default and then try to get the votes on Capitol Hill to get this enacted -- Jim?

ACOSTA: Manu, great reporting.

Let me get over to Priscilla over at the White House.

Priscilla, what is the White House saying about whether or not we might have a deal and the significance of this conversation that they're expected to have in the next hour?

One thing that's on my mind, and Manu has been talking about this, and you have as well, there's been a lot of focus on what the House Republicans are going to do.

If the president gives away too much -- and I'm not saying he is -- but Democrats may balk at this, I suppose. We don't have a strong indication of that but that's one of the uncertainties at this point.

What can you tell us?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Right. It's not just about getting Republican negotiators onboard but getting House Democrats onboard over some of those sticking points they have been working out.

I spoke to a White House official this afternoon and there was optimism over the course of the afternoon.

As these negotiations were ongoing, that they were getting closer to a deal similar and echoing the sentiment that President Biden gave himself when he was leaving for Camp David yesterday. We know that White House negotiators have been on the phone and

meeting virtually with those Hill negotiators over the course of the day.


But one of those main sticking points is work requirements on social safety net programs. And that is where we have seen frustration among House Democrats about the White House allowing that to happen.

So that has been a sticking point over the course of the day. It's something that, if it were to be included, the White House would have to also try to gain consensus among House Democrats as they try again to avoid this debt default.

As you heard there from Manu, of course, this is a pivotal time and conversation between President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy at a time like this would be critical to see how this moves forward as they try to hash out that deal.

Hoping to get that at least done so they can move through the many other steps they need to get through to get the vote to get the debt ceiling passed all by June 5th.

So of course we're watching to see how that all unfolds this afternoon -- Jim?

ACOSTA: Priscilla and Manu, thanks very much.

Just to recap what Manu was saying, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, President Joe Biden expected to speak by phone in the next hour. A very critical moment. Stay with us here on CNN as we follow these developments.

Manu, Priscilla, great to have both of you this afternoon with us. We really appreciate it.

And we'll be right back.



ACOSTA: While Capitol Hill is in turmoil this holiday weekend over the debt ceiling, some lawmakers are actually coming together for an important cause. Veterans in Congress from both sides of the aisle gather each year to honor the servicemen and women who gave their lives in Vietnam.

CNN's Jake Tapper has their story.


JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Etched into these enormous pieces of black granite which emerge from the National Mall like a wound, are the names of 58,318 servicemen and servicewomen who lost their lives fighting in one of America's longest wars, the Vietnam War.


TAPPER: In a town so often divided, members of Congress from both parties were united and came together to wash this wall by hand ahead of Memorial Day.

Republican Congressman Mike Waltz from Florida is a Green Beret who did combat tours in Afghanistan, the Middle East and Africa. He organized this bipartisan event several years ago with fellow lawmakers who have also served.

REP. MIKE WALTZ (R-FL): It's a reminder to us the sacrifices that have been made for this country.

And it's a reminder to us as members of Congress, both sides of the aisle, at the end of the day, we're all American, we're all veterans who were willing to die together just a few years ago.

Then we can come together, roll up our sleeves and move the country forward.

TAPPER: Retired lieutenant general and Michigan Republican congressman, Jack Bergman, is one of three Vietnam veterans left serving in the House.

REP. JACK BERMAN (R-MI): I normally come here alone. I never -- once I get here, I'm never alone because I know who I'm visiting.

TAPPER: A wall full of the names of friends and Americans who did not come home.

REP. MIKE THOMPSON (D-CA): I have friends whose names are on that wall. People -- kids that I grew up with and people that I served with. From that perspective, it was powerful.

REP. JIM BAIRD (R-IN): The opportunity for he and I to be there I think is very important. And it really pays tribute to what we're here for.

TAPPER: Republican Congressman Jim Baird from Indiana and Democratic Congressman Mike Thompson from California, both served in Vietnam but only just realized all they have in common.

REP. MIKE THOMPSON (D-CA): We're both at Fort Benning, Georgia. We're both married to nurses. We were both wounded in Vietnam. As Jim pointed out, we are here to work together for the American people and maybe that will help us get there.

TAPPER: Former Republican Congressman John James of Michigan and Democratic Congressman Pat Ryan of New York, Congress is a college reunion.

(on camera): So you guys were in the same class at West Point?

REP. JOHN JAMES (R-MI): Yes, F-1. Go firehouse. REP. PAT RYAN (D-NY): We lived across the hall from each other.

JAMES: Our class, class of 2004, was the first class to take our oath of affirmation after the Twin Towers fell. That means we were all committed to our service after we knew we'd be going to war.

We suffered the most casualties since the Vietnam War.

RYAN: I wear this bracelet that has our classmates' names etched on it. The interconnection between our generation and the Vietnam generation.

TAPPER: And maybe, just maybe the camaraderie will thaw some of the partisanship division we see down the road.

JAMES: The long gray line is neither blue nor red. It's red, white and blue. It links every generation and those that understand we need to continue to sacrifice to make this nation prosperous and free.

TAPPER: Jake Tapper, CNN, Washington.


ACOSTA: And we appreciate their service.

We'll be right back.



ACOSTA: All right, just into CNN, the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has been impeached by a vote of 121-23. So Paxton, the Republican attorney general, has been impeached, including some votes from his fellow Republicans in Texas.

He is temporarily removed from office. He's been suspended from the office of the Texas attorney general while a trial plays out in the Senate. That just happening the last several minutes.

We wanted to give you that information. More on that on the other side of the hour, including more on the debt talks in Washington. So stay with us for that.

In the meantime, $4.3 billion -- that's what New York City officials estimate it will cost to handle the influx of migrants pouring into the city by July of 2024.

More than 70,000 migrants have already passed through intake facilities and nearly 45,000 are still in the city's care.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joins us now.

Polo, with such a heavy strain on the city's finances, officials have asked the state Supreme Court to suspend parts of the city's Right to Shelter law. What can you tell us about that?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT; Yes, Jim, in the face of the numbers that you just shared, we're seeing two key things from New York City officials. They're scouring the city and the state for other potential places where they can potentially house future asylum seekers that arrive in New York.

But also this unprecedented legal step as they seek a court order to basically suspend a portion of the decades-old Right to Shelter law, which is what requires New York City officials to provide housing to any homeless individuals who need it.


What the city is arguing now, in their petition this week, is that they would like more, not only clarification on what that means, but also, most importantly, flexibility, should they have to temporarily place the asylum-seekers, mainly adults, who are not traveling with children, in some spaces that perhaps would not adhere to that law.

This comes with criticism from some migrant advocates who fears, if they are able to successfully secure this from a court, it could allow the city to an opportunity to essentially skirt around its responsibility to provide housing, not just to these over 44,000 asylum seekers still in their care but other homeless individuals as well.

Again, the city is saying they're stretched thin and this migrant crisis, according to the deputy mayor, has no end in sight -- Jim?

ACOSTA: All right. Polo Sandoval, thank you for the update only.

We have updates on two big political stories in the moments ahead. Stay with us. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.