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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Biden Signs Emergency Order After Ida Pummels Northeast; New Zealand PM: Supermarket Stabbing was a "Terrorist Attack"; Sen. Manchin to Dems: "Hit Pause" on Biden's $3.5T Spending Bill. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired September 03, 2021 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans. Laura is off today.

It is Friday, September 3rd, 5:00 a.m. in New York. We have reports this morning from New Jersey, Hong Kong, Texas, Capitol Hill, Louisiana, Washington and Pakistan.

But new overnight, help is on the way. President Biden signing an emergency declaration for New York and New Jersey after catastrophic flooding from Ida. The storm caused at least 46 deaths in the northeast spanning six states from Virginia to New York.

The destruction unlike anything seen before in the region. Record- breaking, major expressways completely flooded in New York City. Passenger rail service shut down across the Northeast. Torrential rain flooded people out of their homes.


AMRITA BHAGWANDIN, NYC FLOOD VICTIM: There is only sadness and it is just overwhelming. So where we are is that we have to start from scratch as we are mourning. We have to see how we can move on.


ROMANS: The NYPD says more than 800 passengers were rescued. Look at that, from the New York City subway system. The department says that it made hundreds of other rescues including a delivery driver on a flooded road in Central Park.

Officers also say a disabled man trapped inside his home. When he asked about his dog, police went back and rescued the dog as well.

One of the most extraordinary images: this Minor League stadium turned in to a lake this Bound Brook, New Jersey.

CNN's Polo Sandoval is actually caught in floodwaters on the way there and he will join us soon.

FEMA has approved a temporary housing program for victims of Hurricane Ida in Louisiana. It gets people out of shelters and into hotels which also helps ease coronavirus concerns in crowded facilities. As of yesterday, more than 3400 people were in 34 shelters across the state. Louisiana department of health on Thursday reported the deaths of four nursing home residents who have been evacuated to a different facility, ahead of Hurricane Ida.

Eight hundred seventy thousand customers remain without power this hour and air conditioning, as dangerous heat persists.

CNN's Ed Lavandera has more in hard hit LaPlace, Louisiana.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christine, later today, President Joe Biden will be touring and surveying the damage left in the wake of Hurricane Ida. The president will be meeting with the governor of Louisiana as well as local officials in the New Orleans area. And the president says part of the trip's mission is to reassure residents here along the Gulf Coast that he is trying to make sure that the federal government is doing everything that it can to help and aid the recovery process and to make it work as efficiently and as fast as possible.

But this comes as local officials are telling residents here in Southeast Louisiana that this recovery process and getting things back to normal is going to take weeks. We are in the town of LaPlace, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans. And the parish president here was telling residents that basically the entire electrical system was severely damaged and impacted in some way and because of that, they are essentially having to rebuild the entire thing and because of that, it is going to take weeks to get the power back on.

And there are many communities like LaPlace here in Southeast Louisiana that are really coming to terms to how long it will take to bounce back after Hurricane Ida shredded this part of southeast Louisiana -- Christine.


ROMANS: Those pictures tell it all.

All right. Ed, thank you so much.

To California now where winds are fueling the massive Caldor Fire, may subside in the coming days those winds. Thousands of people were forced from their homes this week. Firefighters are making some progress but officials warn a long fight looms and South Lake Tahoe isn't out of the woods yet.


DAVE LAUCHNER, OFFICER: We got very little rain this last winter season which definitely helped increase the fire dangers this year. The grounds are dry. They are very dangerous conditions. And 22 years of doing this, I've never seen fire conditions like we're seeing now.


ROMANS: Ski resorts, they've been running their snow-making machines to support the firefighting efforts. The Heavenly Mountain Resort says while protecting our resort is important, it is our people that are top priority.

Delta dragged on the jobs market. The key jobs report at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time will tell us just how much the delta variant slowed hiring.

Economists predict 728,000 jobs are added last month, with the unemployment rate ticking down slightly. There is a long way to go. Labor market is still down 5.7 million jobs since February 2020. The virus is just one key trend driving the labor market.


Lower consumer confidence, a high demand for workers, leading to labor shortage and in this uneven K-shaped recovery.

The delta surge is happening just as pandemic unemployment benefits are set to expire. Two dozen states ended the extra $300 a month in jobless benefits in the states still paying them, that happens this weekend. But that doesn't mean employment will suddenly soar. Health and safety concerns, child care issues and switching careers are reasons some people aren't heading back to work.

An analysis from "The Wall Street Journal" found that states that cut the job benefits early they did not see a major jump in employment. Job growth was about the same as the states that kept the benefit.

All right. They're World Cup champions but their biggest battle is happening off the field. Hear from the players fighting for equal pay and women's rights in the film "LFG", Monday night, 9:00, CNN.



ROMANS: Breaking overnight, a stabbing attack at a supermarket in New Zealand. The prime minister describing the suspect as a supporter of ISIS ideology.

Let's bring in CNN's Ivan Watson live from Hong Kong.

Pictures are terrifying, Ivan. What happened?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, good morning. In this case, the suspect was in a supermarket and police say he took a knife from in there and started randomly stabbing people, with at least six people wounded, three in critical condition right now.

Now, he was shot and killed within about a minute police say by a police surveillance team that was actually monitoring him, tasked with doing this.

Now this is what is really incredible about this case. The suspect is identified as a Sri Lankan man who was labeled a threat to national security in New Zealand as far back as 2016 and was put under police surveillance then. There wasn't -- though he was believed to be a supporter of ISIS and its violence extremist ideology, there were not enough grounds to arrest this individual who was in fact known, his case in particular was known to the prime minister of New Zealand herself who addressed this today.

Take a listen.


JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: I can tell that you agencies were using every single possible means available to them to protect the New Zealand public from this individual, every possible means.


WATSON: So the argument is that we knew this guy wanted to do violent evil things but until he did them, we did not have the legal constitutional grounds to arrest him and again, he was shot dead after he stabbed six innocent victims.

Back to you.

ROMANS: Amazing.

All right. Ivan Watson, thank you for that for us this morning.

All right. This complicates everything. That is one Democrat's take after Joe Manchin urged a pause on a key agenda issue for the White House.




SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I would ask my colleagues and all of the Senate to hit the pause button on the 3.5. Hit the pause button. Let's step back, let's see what happens.


ROMANS: West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin throwing a wrench into his party's plan to enact much of President Biden's agenda, the most pivotal Democratic swing vote in the Senate.

We have the White House and congressional angles covered this morning.

Let's go first to CNN's Daniella Diaz on Capitol Hill.

Good morning, Daniella.

This threatens both the larger Democrat-only proposal and that $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: That's exactly right, Christine. These are two bills that President Joe Biden promised to pass in this Congress. And Senator Joe Manchin could possibly derail all of these plans because he is not supporting this sweeping $3.5 trillion package.

Look, he is a key swing vote and Democratic leaders need him to get behind any legislation they want to pass through the Senate using the process called budget reconciliation, which means that they just need all 50 Democratic senators to sign on to any legislation for it to pass through with Vice President Kamala Harris likely being the tie- breaking vote.

But, look, let's talk about what is in this bill. It is a $3.5 trillion package that would expand the social safety net of this country. It includes policies such as expanding the child tax credit, paid family and member leave, funding to combat climate change. These are key policies that the administration promised they would pass this Congress and they would be funded in part through tax hikes on corporations and high income earners.

Now, back to Senator Joe Manchin, this is what he said in an op-ed published yesterday, saying he wants to take a pause on the process for this sweeping $3.5 trillion package. This is what he said: A pause is warranted because it will provide more clarity on the trajectory of the pandemic and allow us to determine where inflation is transitory or not.

Now, the bigger picture here is that because he is taking this stance, it could derail all of these plans to pass both of the packages, not just the $3.5 trillion.

You know, one senior member says that his stance complicates everything, and that is because Democratic leaders have set September 15 for the deadline to write this legislation, the $3.5 trillion package.

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is navigating two very delicate factions of the party. You know, she promised moderates that the Senate passed infrastructure bill would be passed by September 27th. And the larger reconciliation bill on the floor, she wouldn't put it until it passes through the Senate. And so as a result if that does not happen, Democrats have threatened to withhold their vote.

So as a result bottom line is these Democratic leaders are navigating moderates and progressives and Manchin could have complicated all of that with this op-ed yesterday.

ROMANS: Yeah, of course. All right. Daniella, thank you for that.

And that roadblock from Senator Manchin just as President Biden is refocusing on his domestic agenda. Let's go live to Washington and bring in CNN's Jasmine Wright.


Oh, the timing, Jasmine.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN REPORTER: You know, that's exactly right because the White House is clearly looking for some momentum to jump-start their autumn agenda. And as Daniella just succinctly put it, Joe Manchin does that help that.

Remember, President Biden gave that really tough speech on Tuesday, a clear indication that he was looking to pivot his administration and frankly the country's focus from Afghanistan back on to these domestic policies because recent polls tell us that top of mind concerns are the economy and coronavirus, two things that the president has really staked his claim on and any kind of detraction on that, including any type of mess up to really his economic agenda could have a devastating affect on the months to come.

And not only does he have to respond to these two mounting crisis as the pandemic has really brought us back in these mask mandates and the economy and his economic agenda looks possibly to be in trouble, but also he now has to respond to the crisis emerging in the Gulf Coast and Northeast states because of the hurricanes.

So, on Wednesday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki made the case that President Biden knows that he has to constantly be responding to multiple crises. Take a listen.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think that the president knows that he has responsibilities and the multiple crises he will continue to have to face as president are part of his job description. He knows that he has to do multiple things as president in order to govern the country.


WRIGHT: So, those more things as president really starts today. We will see President Biden give remarks on jobs in Washington, D.C. before he heads to Louisiana to survey hurricane damage -- Christine.

ROMANS: All right. We'll look for that. The jobs report comes out in about three hours. We'll hear what the president has to say about it after that.

Thank you so much. Nice to see you, Jasmine. Have a good weekend.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy among the lawmakers whose phone records need to be preserved at the request of the January 6th Select Committee. We know McCarthy spoke to then-President Trump at the height of the Capitol riot. This week, McCarthy issued a not so veiled threat to telecom companies warning that complying with the committee's request for phone records would be breaking the law. He didn't say what law that might be. Legal experts say that threat borders on obstruction of justice.

Record floods across the Northeast, dozens are dead and rescue efforts are ongoing. Is it enough to be a wake-up call for the climate crisis?




DR. ALLISON GILBERT, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, SOUTHWESTERN WOMEN'S SURGERY CENTER: It is devastating. It is heart-wrenching to have conversations with patients who present to us either unaware of the law or aware of the law but we're right on the cusp of six weeks and we detect cardiac activity, and we have to tell them that we can no longer provide them the health care that they have the right to.


ROMANS: Growing backlash this morning over that Texas law that has a near total ban over abortion. It bars the procedure once a petal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks, that's before most women even know that they are pregnant.

The Supreme Court refused to step in and block it raising concerns that it could be a blue present for other states looking to side step Roe v. Wade.

The governor of South Dakota has already ordered a review. Vice President Harris says that we won't stand by and allow the nation to go back to the days of back alley abortions. President Biden calls the Texas law unprecedented assault on a woman's constitutional rights and it's not only wedge issue becoming a flashpoint in Texas.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher reports from Austin.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, President Biden lambasted the Supreme Court's decision to deny a request to block the Texas law that effectively bans abortion after six weeks from going into effect. I want to read from you just part of what he said. He said that he is directing the gender policy council and office of the White House counsel to, quote, launch a whole government effort to respond to this decision.

He lists different ways that he expects his administration to address this, but, look, that abortion law understandably getting most of the attention. But it was one of 666 laws in the state of Texas to go into effect on Wednesday.

For example, now there is permitless carry. In Texas, as of September 1, you no longer need a license to carry a gun as long as you're allowed to have one under state or federal law.

Critical race theory, K-12 educators say it isn't done in K-12 schools, but Texas will now have a law for it just in case it ever is. It basically limits teachers from talking about current events and systemic racism unless they have deference to both or all of the sides involved. It also bans the teaching of the 1619 Project. Also a new law, cities that cut funding to their police departments in most cases will be penalized financially by the state.

And just one more here, in the state of Texas if you attend a professional sporting event, the national anthem must be played before the game or the team could lose state funding as well as business relationships.

Now, Christine, a lot of these were probably overshadowed when the Democrats walked out of that regular session.