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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Pelosi Postpones Infrastructure Vote Amid Democratic Standoff; School Boards Seek Federal Help As They Face Threats And Violence; Department of Homeland Security Issues New Deportation Guidelines To Immigration Agents. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 01, 2021 - 05:30   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Labeled or unreported. That's according to new research published Thursday in Lancet, also finding that Black men are disproportionately killed by police, and their deaths are misclassified at higher rates. This new study underscores the lack of a centralized database to track all these killings.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Food stamp recipients are getting a major increase in their monthly payments beginning today. Benefits on average will be 27 percent above pre-pandemic levels. It's the largest increase in the history of the federal government's food stamp program.

JARRETT: Conspiracy theorist and Infowars founder Alex Jones losing two lawsuits brought by the parents of children killed in the Sandy Hook shooting. A judge issuing a rare default judgment against Jones, who failed to support his claims that the school shooting was a false flag pulled off by crisis actors.

ROMANS: Scarlett Johansson and Walt Disney Studios have settled their lawsuit over the actor's payout for "Black Widow." Johansson alleged breach of contract because the film released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+, costing her box office bonuses. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.




JARRETT: Dr. Dre, Eminem, and Snoop Dogg will lead a star-studded lineup for the Super Bowl halftime show. It feels like the early 2000s in here this morning. They'll be joined by Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar. The NFL, Pepsi, and Rock Nation announcing the performer lineup for Super Bowl LVI. The game will be played at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles on February 13th.

JARRETT: All right.

The good news in Washington is the government is open this morning, and that's about it. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, after a full day of talks with the president and members of Congress, unable to bridge the gap between moderates and progressives in her party.

ROMANS: So, she delayed the vote on a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill because progressives vowed to vote it down without a firm agreement on President Biden's larger cradle-to-grave economic package. And by the way, the U.S. is staring at a possible default in about 2 1/2 weeks.

Let's bring in CNN White House correspondent John Harwood. Good morning, John. Nice to see you on this first day of October.

Let's start with a quote late last night by moderate Democratic Cindy Axne from Iowa. She said this. "When Iowans tell me they are sick of Washington games, this is what they mean. All at once or nothing is no way to govern. This bill will be invaluable to the future of our state and creates thousands of Iowa jobs over its lifespan. Its passage should not be delayed."

So, John, what needs to happen today to actually get a vote to the floor?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well look, I think, Christine, you've got to look at it in two ways.

Short-term, in the immediate moment, it's a mess and they don't have the infrastructure bill. They might not pass the infrastructure bill today either.

In the longer term, the White House and Democrats are getting closer to President Biden's goals. That is yesterday, the gears really started engaging on negotiations between the White House, the House and Senate leadership, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, the holdout senators. They thought they could -- had a possibility of getting a comprehensive deal last night that would permit the passage of the infrastructure bill. They didn't but they are closer to getting that than they were before.

In terms of a vote today, the most urgent thing if they don't get the infrastructure bill is to temporarily extend the federal highway programs, which expire at the end of the fiscal year, and the end of the fiscal year was last night. So you may see another punt -- another short-term passage kind of like the continuing resolution that kept the government from shutting down. They'll keep the highway program from shutting down.

And they'll continue negotiations, which may stretch over a matter of days -- maybe even a couple of weeks. But they do think they're closer to the goal line.

JARRETT: Washington loves a punt.

Let's talk about Joe Manchin. All week we've been hearing from progressives what's his topline number? We don't know where he stands. It turns out he has a topline number and it is far short of what progressives want. It's $1.5 trillion. HARWOOD: Yes.

JARRETT: He's actually been pretty clear about that number since at least July. Politico scoops this yesterday -- this agreement that he has with Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader. He also hinted on it pretty clearly with Dana on "STATE OF THE UNION."


JARRETT: So we've known this number but progressives apparently didn't get the memo on it. Why not?

HARWOOD: Well, because it's one thing to say -- have a number and say that's my topline number. It's another thing to actually begin to seriously negotiate. You also had another senator in Kyrsten Sinema who was not quite as forthcoming as Joe Manchin.

Yes, that whole $1.5 trillion number has been out there. We didn't know until yesterday -- and it was made public in the scoop that you mentioned by Politico -- the amount of details surrounding what Joe Biden -- Joe Manchin had laid out and Chuck Schumer had initialed that piece of paper.


But now is when we really find out what -- where that package is going to end up. I suspect it's not going to be $1.5 -- it will be higher than that. I think the expectation among leaders in Congress and the White House is it'll be somewhere between $2 trillion and $2.5 trillion. That will be a compromise. Progressives will not be happy at that level but they may be happy enough.

The strategy of the House leadership in this situation, and the White House, is to negotiate to a point in which they -- Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi can say to those progressives this is it. This is the best we can do. It's either going to be $2.2 or $2.4 or $2.1 or nothing -- take it or leave it. And the progressives, in their calculation, are going to take it and that will be the second part of Biden's agenda, and then they'll pass the infrastructure bill as well.

JARRETT: Well, the problem is the progressives feel like they've already compromised, right?

ROMANS: Right.

JARRETT: They've come down from -- what was it, six or seven, so they feel like $1.5 is not even a beginning of negotiations.

ROMANS: You know, the progressive Democrats are steadfast, too.

HARWOOD: It's still a lot of money, though.

ROMANS: Yes, it is.

JARRETT: It's a huge amount of money.

ROMANS: Yes, I know.

This -- they say this is about the president's agenda -- listen.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): This is all part of the Build Back Better agenda, which is the president's agenda. And so, we've got the president's back here.

REP. BONNIE WATSON COLEMAN (D-NJ): We are -- we're eager to pass both of those bills. They represent the president's agenda.

REP. ILHAM OMAR (D-MN): This is not a progressive agenda. We are fighting for the Build Back Better agenda, which is the president's agenda.


ROMANS: So they've been looking for leverage. If nothing gets passed, leverage then, of course, becomes blame.

What does the president do to make sure his agenda isn't torpedoed here?

HARWOOD: Well, I think they're doing it.


HARWOOD: They're trying to get very serious negotiations. White House aides were on the Hill in intensive talks. Joe Biden, of course, was engaged during the week with Sinema, Manchin, and others on the telephone. So I think they're getting closer.

This is an interesting, guys, transition moment in Democratic politics because those progressives are correct. They are standing up for what Joe Biden laid out.

And it's a little bit hard for people to get their minds around because you think well, Joe Biden was the moderate Democrat. He was more moderate than the rest of the Democratic field in 2020 and he won the election. So people presume that his heart is closer to those moderates.

However, he has laid down the agenda that the progressives are standing up for --


HARWOOD: -- which reflects the power of their influence within the Democratic Party. So, you have to marry the moderate temperament and sensibility that Joe Biden brings to this with the actual policy proposals he's laid on the table, and that's where the compromise is going to come.

JARRETT: Which is why I think some progressives feel a little bit frustrated that he hasn't been more publicly aggressive about supporting their position.

There's so much going on today we actually get a bonus question for you, John. So, lost in all of this debate over infrastructure is the debt ceiling. Frankly, much more time-pressing than infrastructure's sort of self-imposed deadlines.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki addressed this yesterday. Listen to this.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Republicans are playing politics with an economic catastrophe and they're treating a calamity for working families like a D.C. game. There are huge impacts here. You touched on the fact but let me give the public a little sense of that.

An instant recession. Six million jobs lost. Fifteen trillion in savings wiped out. Social Security checks and payments to our troops blocked.

Those are real impacts. Republicans in Congress are treating this like a game.


JARRETT: Leader Schumer insists the GOP will come to its senses -- optimistic -- as this October 18th deadline reaches closer.

But one senior GOP aide, John -- he tells CNN Republicans could hold out, quote, "longer than Biden and the Democrats. That's for sure."

Do you think it's true?

HARWOOD: Probably.


HARWOOD: Look, Biden and the Democrats are the governing party. They're in charge. This is a true game of chicken where if the two cars collide the world economy blows up.


HARWOOD: And it is true that Republicans are playing political games, trying to extract a political pound of flesh from Democrats. But Democrats do have the power to do it -- to do it as part of this reconciliation process. It's difficult, it's time-consuming.

But if you're the President of the United States and you're trying to avoid what would be catastrophic for the economy on your watch and on everybody else's watch, the path of least resistance may be to go ahead and do it on your own through the mechanism of reconciliation.

I don't know that that's going to happen and we did get a little blink from Mitch McConnell earlier in the week when he said well, I'll make the reconciliation path easier. That was an accommodation that McConnell was offering. Will that be the last accommodation he offers? You know, that's something that Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer are going to have to make a decision about. But I suspect that they will end up deciding to do it through reconciliation.


And the debt limit will get raised. The question is how much of a white-knuckle time for markets --


HARWOOD: -- and for political leaders is it going to be?

ROMANS: When I start reading all these stories about trillion-dollar coins being printed to get out of this problem, I always know we're in silly season -- dangerous silly season in Washington -- and here we are again. You know, how can we get out of this mess --


ROMANS: -- get out this mess by Congress raising the debt limit.

JARRETT: Thanks, John.

ROMANS: John Harwood, nice to see you -- thanks.

HARWOOD: All right.

ROMANS: Catastrophic is how the Treasury secretary describes not raising it and defaulting on America's debt, and she'd be fine with just getting rid of the debt ceiling altogether.


JANET YELLEN, TREASURY SECRETARY: I believe it's very destructive to put the president and myself, the Treasury secretary, in a situation where we might be unable to pay the bills.


ROMANS: This step risks a financial crisis and a crisis in confidence in the U.S. ability to pay its debts. It's a self-inflicted political wound, as Harwood said. You know, in the past 50 years, Congress has raised the debt limit 78 times -- 49 under Republican presidents, 29 under Democrats.

We'll be right back.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

After a rash of combative school board meetings over masks, a group representing school boards is now asking for federal help managing the threats from angry parents.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you want?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know what you want.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Really? But we can find you and we know where you are.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will never be allowed in public again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm going to come for everybody that comes at my kid with this stupid, ridiculous mandate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They're fighting!

PARENTS: No more masks! No more masks!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are allowing child abuse. You are allowing child abuse. You are allowing child abuse. You are allowing child abuse. You, with your snotty little face -- you're allowing it as well.


ROMANS: Adults with their faces on camera.

A similar scene in Alaska. Arrests were made at an Anchorage assembly hearing where a mask mandate was being debated. Some people wore Star of David badges that said "do not comply."

The unvaccinated Anchorage mayor is now apologizing for defending that group. He actually suggested that using the star to make an anti- masking point is a credit to Jewish people. A Jewish assembly member disagrees.


FORREST DUNBAR, ASSEMBLY MEMBER, ANCHORAGE, ALASKA: It was heart- wrenching for me when I noticed individuals wearing yellow Stars of David, mimicking my Jewish ancestors who perished during the Holocaust. For myself and most Jews, seeing the Yellow Star of David on someone's chest elicits the same feeling as seeing a swastika on a flag or the SS insignia on a uniform.


JARRETT: All these fights over mask and vaccine mandates are concerning the former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb there. He's suggesting mandates may actually be the wrong idea just as a national mandate is set to go into effect soon for bigger businesses.


DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER COMMISSIONER, FDA: I think where this gets touchy is when you mandate vaccination for private businesses down to the level of 100 employees. That's where you're going to get resistance, you're going to get lawsuits, and you're going to turn this into more of a political issue.

If vaccines become another political issue that we divide ourselves on as a society, that's going to have impacts not just on the COVID vaccination rates, but vaccines across the board. That's why I think we need to tread very carefully here and make sure that the incremental benefit that we're getting in terms of additional people vaccinated is going to have enough public health payoff that it's worth the policies that we're enacting.


JARRETT: It's already a political issue, sadly.

Meanwhile, a new study has also found that the coronavirus death rate outside metropolitan areas where vaccination rates are lower is more than double than that inside metropolitan areas.

ROMANS: All right. A rural-urban divide on deaths.

All right. New Homeland Security directives say immigration officers can no longer deport people from the U.S. solely because they are undocumented. Authorities are now being ordered to prioritize deportation of undocumented immigrants who pose a threat to national security, public safety, and border security.

These new guidelines may spare many immigrants who were at risk under the Trump administration, which had allowed the arrest of anyone residing in the country illegally. These new rules go into effect November 29th.

JARRETT: The tight housing market colliding with an influx of refugees. Resettlement agencies are racing to find housing for 53,000 Afghans. There's been a shortage of affordable homes for years and refugees are in the U.S. with limited funds.

President Biden is also doubling the refugee cap for the fiscal year that begins today. After years of low emissions under the Trump administration, some agencies were forced to close offices and lay off staff, losing some existing relationships with landlords.

ROMANS: All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this morning to start a new trading month. Looking at markets around the world, markets in Mainland China and Hong Kong were closed for a holiday. On Wall Street, stock index futures at this hour are moving down a little bit.

Stocks on track for what could be the worst week of the year, closing out the month and the quarter on a sour note. The Dow fell 546 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also closed lower.

September was the worst month of the year for all three major averages. The worst month for the S&P 500 since the beginning of the pandemic. Markets hate uncertainty and it's, frankly, hard to see through the policy fog in D.C. and hard to see the end of the supply disruptions feeding inflation. Prices are rising for everything from paint to bacon, to clothing.

Meantime, an important update on the economic recovery. GDP expanded 6.7 percent in the quarter. That's showing an economy that is roaring ahead, looking for the year like maybe we could have the best economic growth since, potentially, the Clinton years. And despite the rough end of the month and the quarter, the S&P 500 still up nearly 15 percent so far this year.

Say goodbye to rent discounts and pandemic pricing. Rents across the country are climbing again. The national median rent rose to $1,302 last month. That's up 15 percent from last year.


Rents in New York, one of the most expensive markets in the country, dipped during the pandemic. Now they're coming back. The median rent in Manhattan was $3,200 in August. That's up 1.5 percent from July.

Several factors are feeding these higher rates. People are moving back to urban areas. First-time buyers are still being priced out of the market.


EMINEM, RAPPER: "Lose Yourself."


JARRETT: That infamous, rather unappetizing lyric from Eminem's hit song "Lose Yourself" coming to real life. The rapper is opening his mom's spaghetti restaurant in his hometown of Detroit this week, surprising customers by serving up pasta from the restaurant's takeout window.

ROMANS: Yes. A lot of people on social media really had a field day with that one.

All right. A Japanese princess is relinquishing her title and it's all in the name of love. Princess Mako will give up her royal status to marry her college classmate, adhering to a centuries-old Japanese rule on female royals marrying commoners. The wedding is set to take place this month and the princess will reportedly forego the $1 million payment typically given to members of the royal family when they leave the household.

JARRETT: Tom Brady will make his much-anticipated return to New England this weekend to play the Patriots for the very first time since leaving.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Hi, Andy.


You know, this is the most anticipated regular-season game we've had in a very long time, and the ticket prices are reflecting that. According to Vivid Seats, the average ticket price for Brady's return is more than 1,100 bucks.

And Brady says this weekend -- it's not going to be a time to reminisce on his time in New England. But it's certainly going to be a special game. On top of his return, Brady is also going to become the NFL's all-time leading passer during the game. Right now, he's 68 yards away.

The Patriots -- the only team in the NFL that Brady has not beat. And as he looks back at the breakup with the Patriots and coach Bill Belichick after 20 years together, Brady says it all went down perfectly.


TOM BRADY, QUARTERBACK, TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: We handled everything as gracefully as we could. It was an amazing, like is said, time and it was handled -- it was handled perfectly. I think everyone understood where we were at -- the people involved in the situation -- and things worked out for the best for all of us.

But they know I want to kick their butt this week, so they'll know exactly how I'm feeling once I'm out there.


SCHOLES: Yes. Brady losing his voice at practice. He joked that it's because he's been trying to get so many tickets for friends and family this weekend.

All right, to "THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL." The last two number-one picks, Joe Burrow and Trevor Lawrence, squaring off. The Jags dominated this game early on, taking a 14-0 lead into halftime. But the Bengals rallying late. Joe Burrow to C.J. Uzomah -- it's going to tie the game here with nine minutes left to go. Cincinnati would then kick a game-winning field goal as time expires, to win it 24-21 to improve to three and one.

Urban Meyer called the loss devastating and heartbreaking as the Jags stay winless.

All right, 95 percent of NBA players are now vaccinated with at least one shot. That's according to a league source. The NBA recently announced strict protocols for unvaccinated players, including daily testing and restrictions on where they can go on road trips. The pre- season tips off on Sunday.

All right, to baseball where the Braves had a losing record at the All-Star break. But they turned things around to win their fourth- straight National League East title. Atlanta clinching the division in front of their home fans last night with a 5-3 win over the Phillies. They're going to face the Brewers in the playoffs when they open the best of five division series a week from today.

The Astros, meanwhile, clinching their fourth division title in the last five years with a 3-2 win over the Rays last night. Houston now locked into a division series matchup with the A.L. Central champion Chicago White Sox, starting next Thursday.

Take a look at 72-year-old Dusty Baker leading the locker room celebration by drinking champagne out of a cleat.

ROMANS: Gross.

SCHOLES: He's the only manager in baseball history to win division titles with five different teams.


SCHOLES: And, you know, Laura and Christine, next time you're at a party and can't find a glass, just take off your shoe.

ROMANS: Never, never.

SCHOLES: Apparently, that's a thing.

JARRETT: Was that a used shoe? Was it -- was it --

SCHOLES: I mean --

JARRETT: Was it clean?

SCHOLES: Who knows? But, I mean, a cleat is a cleat, right? It is used at some point.

JARRETT: It's still gross.

ROMANS: I carpool -- drive around high school soccer players, and there's no -- I can't even breathe around those shoes, let alone drink out of it. Disgusting.

JARRETT: Thank you, Andy.

ROMANS: Thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right, have a good one.

ROMANS: All right.

The president's agenda in limbo. Progressives defying pressure from the House speaker forcing a delay of the vote on infrastructure. Will it happen again today? A busy day ahead, folks.

Thanks for joining us. Have a great weekend. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. It is Friday, October first. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

And breaking this morning, nothing -- no deal. No vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal. It turns out the old 'if you don't give me what I want then I won't give me what I want' is a complicated negotiating position.

Now, there is a chance it could change over the next few hours. But as of this moment, for Democrats, this is a huge problem, embarrassment, humiliation. Those are the words being tossed around this morning, and all self-inflicted at that.