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Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) is Interviewed about Banking and Social Security; Takeover of Houston's Public Schools; David Guetta Uses Artificial Intelligence. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired March 16, 2023 - 08:30   ET



SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): They did not do that either. So, I think there's a lot of things that you can look at that a wise regulator would have said, hmm, this is not good.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: So, you have a lot of questions for the bank - for the regulators and the people who are supposed to be in charge of this. Also people running the bank.

But when it comes to that legislation, if some Democrats, as they're moving to maybe reinstate those regulations, you're saying you don't think that's effective?

CASSIDY: You know, we have a saying - I'm a doctor. We have a saying in medicine, don't just do something, think. So, Washington sees something happen and it's, you know, we've got to do something. No, you've got to think through the process. Is what we're doing going to be productive? Were the rules in placed adequate but just poorly enforced? I think - now, if it turns out we need more regulations, then do more regulations. But don't just kind of reflexively do something before you know what happened.

COLLINS: OK, but you are open to potentially doing that once you look into what went wrong here?

CASSIDY: Yes, but I will say, at this point, it seems more failure of regulators, not of regulation.

COLLINS: OK. One thing you've been talking about in the midst of this is Social Security. And you've said you believe Social Security is the SVB of the - of those kind of health care systems. Tell me what you mean by that because I know you've been talking to Senator Angus King and other senators about what a plan to extend and shore up Social Security would look like.

CASSIDY: Yes, so right now Social Security has low yielding assets, where in Treasury bills, which might be in cash, which might be - the t bills might be -- the treasuries might be yielding 1 to 2 to 3 percent. And we're in a high inflation environment. The Social Security trust fund is going broke in nine years. The president knows that but he keeps telling the American people it's no problem. He has not told us what he wants to do. It is going broke in nine years. At that point, there will be a 25 percent cut in what someone who's depending on Social Security, a 25 percent cut in what they're getting, and the president doesn't seem to care.

COLLINS: Well, I mean, I -- the White House would push back on that, I should say, because he --

CASSIDY: How? What is their plan? What is their - he's not announced a plan?

COLLINS: Well, if - I interviewed Shalanda Young, the White House budget director, on Sunday. We talked about the White House budget and how it -- they talked about protecting Social Security. We talked --

CASSIDY: Now, how do they protect it? Because yesterday she was asked in committee and she could not give an answer about their plan.

COLLINS: Well, can I -- I don't work for the White House, obviously. I'm telling you that we talked to them about what the plan would look like to - to extend it, to make it solvent after, you know, the next decade because those are real concerns. So, we have talked to them about that. They have pushed back on that saying, you know, there's also a divided Congress that they're working with.

But I do want to ask you about something that a fellow Republican of yours is proposing on Social Security, and that's raising the age - the retirement age. This is something Nikki Haley has proposed for people who were in their 20s and younger now doing that. Is that something you think would be effective?

CASSIDY: It depends. To do it by itself, it would clearly not be effective. What we've done in our approach, by the way, is to create a fund separate from Social Security, separate, but have a diversified investment fund that would grow and could take up - could take up by far the majority of our future obligation. Now, that is an approach that we're taking that the White House could engage with us on. I'll go back to Miss Young, who I really like, but, nonetheless, they have not presented a plan. The president's willing to let this go bankrupt because he doesn't want to talk about it before his re-election. It is irresponsible, it is foolish and it is wrong for the American people.

COLLINS: You're saying you want to see President Biden come out with a plan that would - would you be working with the White House on that?

CASSIDY: Of course.

COLLINS: Would you negotiate with them on that?

CASSIDY: Of course.

COLLINS: Because I think that's been a part of the pushback here.

CASSIDY: No, that's not true. I mean there's no pushback. I can tell you that we have made ourselves clear that we'd be opening to working with the White House. We have a bipartisan group approaching this.

COLLINS: Well, I just want to say, because the White House, you know, is going to point out what Senator Rick Scott has said about Social Security. CASSIDY: Well, of course, because that's what they have to retreat to. Once -

COLLINS: Well, he is a fellow Republican of yours.

CASSIDY: Oh, yes. And I - you know, there's a Democrat who said something kind of stupid, too. And we're going to take one person as an excuse not to engage when the average beneficiary will see a 25 percent cut.

COLLINS: Well, he's not just an average senator. You - you - you do -

CASSIDY: Oh, come on, Kaitlan, you know better than that. It's one senator saying one thing that the president gloms on to because he doesn't want to actually have to come up with a plan. He's the president of the United States. He should come forward with a plan or else there will be a 25 percent cut for people who currently depend upon Social Security. If that doesn't matter to you, you're either running for re-election, you're too old to care, or you're too rich to need the money.

COLLINS: I do think it matters. I just think we have to note what Senator Rick Scott is saying, because that is important here.

CASSIDY: Oh, Rick Scott is - Rick Scott has actually retreated from that.

COLLINS: I know we've - we've - we've had him on the program.

CASSIDY: I mean that is a talking point for the president but it has no - but it has no relevance to what we're trying to do. We have a bipartisan solution approach that we're willing to talk to the White House about, and the White House doesn't want to talk to us.

COLLINS: With your solution that you've been -- or your solution, your plan that you've been putting forward, are you going to lay out exactly what that plan would look like, and are tax revenues on the table for this part of that?

CASSIDY: We have an approach. It's not a solid plan yet.


CASSIDY: The reason it's not a solid plan is because we've got to talk to the White House because they're going to want to have some modification of it.


COLLINS: So, you've got to talk to the White House before you unveil exactly the specifics of your plan?

CASSIDY: Of course, because this is a negotiation. We are so intent on working with the White House that we are willing to keep things kind of on hold. We have a - we have an approach. Until they come forward and say, this is how we think we can do it together. We want to take White House priorities and include it because I don't want - I don't want someone who's depending upon Social Security to get a 25 percent cut. And that's going to happen with the president asleep at the wheel.

COLLINS: I think a lot of people don't want those cuts to happen but -

CASSIDY: Then why doesn't the White House put up with a plan? They're not doing that.

COLLINS: Well, I think you'll have to ask the White House what - what that would look like.

CASSIDY: We're trying to.

COLLINS: But they would want to work with you and they would like to see your plan as well, the specifics of it.

Senator --

CASSIDY: Of course. Now, we are willing to meet in negotiation, but they are so far unwilling to do so.

COLLINS: All right. Senator, thank you so much for your time this morning. Really appreciate you joining us.

CASSIDY: Thank you, Kaitlan.

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Fascinating. Nice job, Kaitlan. Nice job, Senator.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Senator, that's what you get with the Kaitlan Collins interview. She's going to keep asking until you answer the question. No, it's -

CASSIDY: I think I answered the question, don't you?

HARLOW: It is such an important topic. Thank you for your --

LEMON: Yes, that's from my home state of Louisiana, by the way.

HARLOW: For your - for your time.

LEMON: He's got to go to a (INAUDIBLE). Thank you, guys.

HARLOW: All right, we've got to let him go.

Ahead, why the superintendent of the largest school district in Texas is being forced out in what is being described as a takeover of the education system there.



LEMON: Republican leaders in Texas have announced one of the largest school takeovers in U.S. history. The state government is taking over public schools in Houston, a city that's led by Democrats. Texas state officials insist that they're stepping in because the school district is failing, but Democrats say it is political.

Adrienne Broaddus reports.


ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It is the largest school district in Texas. And now it's facing one of the largest school takeovers in the country's history.

BISHOP JAMES DIXON II, PRESIDENT, NAACP HOUSTON: This is a crime. I want to go on record to say, this is a crime.


DIXON: It's a crime against public education and it's a crime against the Houston community.

BROADDUS: On Wednesday, the state commissioner of education said the state will take over the Houston Independent School District, quote, in the next couple of months. Some are doubtful about what is coming.

JOLANDA JONES (D), TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE: If I were parents, I'd be terrified. (INAUDIBLE) not have a history of fixing any schools.

BROADDUS: The state, intervening under a state law that allows it to remove the locally elected school board, claiming the district is failing to meet certain state standards.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): There has been a long-time failure by HISD. And the victims of that failure are the students.

BROADDUS: The state will now take responsibility for the district's 180,000 students and 25,000 employees.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, HOUSTON: You cannot run school districts and cities and counties from Austin, Texas.

The state deserves an F on how they have handled this process up to this point.

BROADDUS: It will also replace the district's superintendent, who sounded optimistic about the future days ago.

MILLARD HOUSE II, SUPERINTENDENT, HOUSTON INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: I stand here as the superintendent of HISD to say, we are not just overcoming those challenges, but, together, we are building a school district that is delivering on its promises again.

BROADDUS: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the takeover is troubling but not unexpected. It comes after a lengthy court battle between the district and the education commissioner, which ended in January with a judge ruling in the commissioner's favor. The state teacher's union came out strongly against Wednesday's action saying its members hope for the best. ZEPH CAPO, PRESIDENT, TEXAS AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: For their

sake, I have no choice at this point but to wish them well and hope that they succeed. But make no mistake, we will watch every move.

BROADDUS: As local leaders promise to continue the fight against a takeover they believe is unnecessary.

REP. AL GREEN (D-TX): I have not conceded.




GREEN: I do not believe that this is the end.


GREEN: And I still believe that the people in Houston, Texas, with their children, can prevail and maintain control of their schools. I still believe it.


BROADDUS: And according to the district's website, more than 90 percent of the student population identify as non-white. The question now is, with this state takeover, will the district see an academic improvement?

Back to you.

LEMON: All right, we'll be watching. Thank you, Adrienne.

HARLOW: This song that you're listening to. Listen. Was not created by a DJ or a producer or a real person. It was created by artificial intelligence. Who owns it? Who gets the royalties. The fascinating debate ahead.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the future ray (ph) sound (ph). I'm getting off in an underground. This is the future rave (ph) sound (ph). I'm getting off in an underground.


HARLOW: People of my age will know his voice. That is supposed to be Eminem, right? No, it's not. It is Grammy Award-winning DJ David Guetta created this track through AI and it's fascinating.

Vanessa Yurkevich has been reporting on this. How did he do this?

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: So, David Guetta, he's on tour. He's a world-famous DJ. He gets interested in artificial intelligence, just like all of us. He signs on to ChatGPT. He types in, write a verse in the style of Eminem, about future rave. He goes to another AI platform. He pops those lyrics in and asks it to produce Eminem's voice. It does. He does this in about an hour. He plays it at his show that night.

I want you to listen to how he said the crowd responded and also his thoughts on how artificial intelligence is going to impact the music industry.


YURKEVICH: Was it a reaction beyond maybe some of your own songs that you've put out?

DAVID GUETTA, DJ AND MUSICIAN: People were screaming, yes. The reaction was very big.

YURKEVICH: So, technically, you created this song with the AI. Technically, you own the copyright?

GUETTA: There's a little bit of an ethical problem because when I'm using Eminem's voice, I don't think there's a law right now about this.

YURKEVICH: Do you think there needs to be federal regulation around artificial intelligence?

GUETTA: I think maybe not yet. I like that it's very free and open right now. And - but, at some point, yes, the question is going to -- has to be raised.

I think like AI is going to be a huge influence on music. Being an artist is having a certain view on the world. And it doesn't matter what the tools are. Many years ago you needed to study music theory, you needed to go to a big studio. Now kids are making huge hit records in their bedrooms on their laptop.

YURKEVICH: So, you're saying it's so easy for new artists to make a hit record, but in some instances they could be a competitor to you.


GUETTA: That's not the way I look at it. I don't want to fight it. I want to embrace it. What makes me who I am is the creative process and the machine will never have a taste the way a human can have the taste.


YURKEVICH: Now, David Guetta said that he doesn't plan to release this song commercially, partly because of all of the ethics and questions around copyright and also he doesn't want to get into a beef with Eminem. But he's very much in favor of artificial intelligence. He said he'd even be open to creating an entire album with artificial intelligence. So, really interesting, he's just starting to get involved in this, but he thinks this is - this is the future and it's a good thing for music.

HARLOW: Fascinating.

LEMON: A lot of artists and people are going to say, where's my -- where's my money?

HARLOW: Where's my voice - that's my voice.

LEMON: Where's my money at?

YURKEVICH: Where's my royalty?

HARLOW: Thank you, Vanessa.

LEMON: Yes, that's my voice.

Thank you very much.

An incredible water rescue in Los Angeles caught on camera. You'll want to see this.




HARLOW: Time now for your "Morning Moment."

An incredible water rescue caught on video. The Los Angeles Fire Department's Search and Rescue Team hoisted this man to safety after he became trapped in the Los Angeles River. The waters raging, you see that, due to the powerful winter storm in the area. The man was in the water clinging to a concrete sheer wall for 30 minutes before first responders could rescue him. They lifted him into a chopper. He is 51 years old. He was taken to the hospital, treated for hypothermia. Another reason to be grateful for those first responders.

LEMON: Wow, can you imagine?


LEMON: Folks who run into danger.

HARLOW: All the time.

LEMON: Kaitlan, busy day in Washington, D.C.

COLLINS: Yes, it really has. And, you know, typically this would be a week where it's quieter. You saw Patrick McHenry here with me earlier. The House is not even in session this week, but that is the sign of just the momentum growing on Capitol Hill when it comes to the collapse of SVB.


COLLINS: As you all know, the Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, she'll be on The Hill in the next hour to testifying. It was supposed to be about the budget. She's going to be getting asked a lot of questions about their response to what's happening with the banking system.

LEMON: All right. We'll see you tomorrow I think here in New York, right?



LEMON: Yes. See ya.

HARLOW: See ya.


COLLINS: All right, CNN "NEWSROOM" starts right after this.