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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin
Senate Passes Landmark $750 Billion Inflation Reduction Act; At Least 19 People Rescued in Denver-Area Flooding; Pete Rose Dismisses Questions Over Statutory Rape Claims. Aired 5-5:30a ET
Aired August 08, 2022 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: On this vote, the yeas are 50, the nays are 50. The Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative, and the bill as amended, is passed.
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CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: A very big day in Washington, and now it is Monday, August 8th, 5:00 a.m. in New York, thanks for getting an early start with us, I'm Christine Romans. That was Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie and delivering Joe Biden with the crowning achievement of his presidency.
The Senate passing the Inflation Reduction Act, it's a $750 billion healthcare tax and climate bill that will likely define Biden's legacy. The Democratic-controlled house is expected to take up this legislation on Friday and must approve the bill before it reaches the president's desk.
It has been a good week for Biden. In the words of his predecessor, he's been doing a lot of wining, and that has Democrats energized about the upcoming Midterms. More now from CNN Capitol Hill reporter Melanie Zanona.
MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER (on camera): Democrats are on the verge of a massive victory with less than 100 days before the Midterm elections. The Senate voted on Sunday along party lines to approve a sweeping economic package, and this vote came after a marathon voting session that began Saturday evening and lasted into the next day.
And this bill includes a number of key Democratic priorities. It includes a historic investment of nearly $370 billion for the climate. It would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. It would extend expiring Obamacare health subsidies, and it would impose a 15 percent corporate minimum tax.
Now, it wasn't always an easy road to get here. At multiple points throughout the negotiations, it looked like the talks had broken down entirely, and even up into the very last minute, it was a lot of work to keep the entire Democratic caucus on board. Here's what Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer had to say about it.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): It's been a long, tough and winding road. We did it without a single vote to spare. To do something with 50 votes is rough. To do small things with 50 votes is rough. To pass such a major piece of legislation with only 50 votes, an intransigent Republican minority, a caucus running from Bernie Sanders to Joe Manchin, wow.
ZANONA: Now, the bill heads to the house where we're expecting a vote on Friday, and we have already heard from a number of key house Democrats that they are supporting this bill even though the bill does not include some key tax provisions that they previously were demanding. So this is a pretty clear sign that this bill is likely to pass and head to Joe Biden's desk by the end of this week. Melanie Zanona, CNN, Capitol Hill.
ROMANS: Yes, you can hear a lot about the politics of this, but from your medicine cabinet to the breaker box in your basement, to the car in your driveway, this is legislation every household could feel. Congressional reporter for "Axios", Sophia Cai joins me this morning. Nice to see you this morning.
Democrats had no room for error on this with a 50-50 vote. Tell -- talk to me a little bit about how important the win was for Democrats, and does it give them an edge in November?
SOPHIA CAI, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, AXIOS: I mean, this is really key, right. This is Biden's biggest policy win as, you know, in the two years that he's been here. And what we know is that this is something that Democrats can now bring to the campaign trail and talk about to prospective voters.
But the key will be whether they will be able to capitalize on this bill that they've just passed, and it's massive. It's a big deal. But we'll have to see whether they'll be able to effectively message and also take credit for the bill that they've passed, and they worked very hard to do this. They had to get both Manchin and Sinema on board.
ROMANS: Yes, and they had to sort of show the American people what's in it, right? All of these tax breaks and investments in climate and healthcare and the environment. What's in it that the American people will feel? That's got to be part of the messaging, too. One of the shortcomings, critics would say in this bill, was this effort to cap insulin costs at $35 for private insurance. Now, this was allowed for Medicare, so seniors would have a cap on
what they would spend for insulin. But Republicans blocked it for private insurance, for basically the rest of everybody else to cap this insulin.
One in ten Americans have diabetes, 1 in 7 million Americans rely on insulin. What was the Republican strategy? It feels as though that is a campaign ad waiting to happen.
CAI: Yes, so, what we know is that the Senate parliamentarian, this rules person, decided that this piece of the bill was not enough, you know, affecting the federal budget. And so Senate Republicans came in and they said, look, this doesn't abide by the rules, so we're going to object to it. And, you know, of course, they managed to get this through and strike that part of the bill.
ROMANS: And strike that part of the bill out, the insulin part, except for the Medicare. Does the Inflation Reduction Act live up to its name? I guess time will tell, but this has been branded as something to help reduce inflation. We've heard from the Moody's -- you know, Mark Zandi at Moody's says it moves the needle in the right direction.
And Larry Summers, someone who's been critical of past Democratic efforts for inflation has also said that this will move inflation, the needle in the right direction. You know, I guess it remains to be seen whether it lives up to its name in terms of inflation reduction.
CAI: Yes, absolutely. I mean, the key is how much the needle will move, right? And we'll have to see by the time that the Midterms comes, where gas prices are. To see, you know, really, how much of an impact this will have on voters. Because you know, if gas prices are still at $4, for instance, voters will really care what is in this bill and what's passed. They'll be looking at the gas prices.
ROMANS: Again, overnight by the way, to $4.06 a gallon is the 50 -- I think the 54th, I mean, I'm actually losing count now, 54th day in a row that gas prices have been declining. So that is at least something that has been moving in the right direction, although not getting the same amount of attention as it was skyrocketing as when it's dropping. Sophia Cai, "Axios", so nice to see you this morning, thank you for dropping by.
CAI: Thanks so much.
ROMANS: Right, joining me now, CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright. Jasmine, a major win for the president. What has he said about the Senate passing this bill?
JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Christine, he said just that. He praised it as a major win. Now, he thanked Senate leader Chuck Schumer and the other Democrats for passing it through. Remember, he was not the president as involved in this integral negotiations and details as he has been in previously bills when he tried to let the Senate work on its own.
But in the statement released just hours or -- excuse me, just minutes really after the Senate passed this really profound bill of his, I want to read you some of what he had to say. Biden said "Senate Democrats sided with American families over special interests, voting to lower the cost of prescription drugs, health insurance and everyday energy costs and reduce the deficit while making the wealthiest corporations finally pay their fair share.
I ran for president promising to make the government work for working families, and again that is what this bill does -- period." So there you go, President Biden framing it as a real win for the American people.
Now, also in the statement, he urged the house to take this bill up immediately, pass it so it could be signed on his desk, really trying to reap the benefits for all Democrats ahead of the Midterms, really as his party is going to be on the ballot, really trying to defend some key seats there.
And obviously, if this passes, this is going to cement a very productive week, plus for the president here in D.C.
ROMANS: Yes --
ROMANS: Eighteen days of COVID quarantine and all this stuff gets -- all this stuff gets done seemingly in the doldrums of Summer, right? So much for the doldrums of Summer. Today, Biden and the first lady are going to Kentucky to see the damage from that horrific flooding there. What do we know about the visit?
WRIGHT: Yes, well, this will be the president's first work trip since he has left isolation over the weekend for the second time after testing negative multiple days. He and the first lady this morning will head to Kentucky where they will meet with Governor Andy Beshear, where they will survey some of that devastating flood damage that you're seeing on the screen right now.
We know that the president when he does these things, he takes his time, talks to people, walks through really to see just what happens. Now, of course, this comes after on Sunday when the president amended that emergency declaration for Kentucky, increasing coverage from 75 percent of eligible costs to 100 percent of eligible costs.
So, I'm sure that the president will tout that again, exactly what his administration is doing to help the families affected by this flood. So we will see the president and the first lady leaving their home in Rehoboth, Delaware, around the 8:00 a.m. hour to head to survey the damage.
ROMANS: Yes, absolutely --
WRIGHT: Christine? ROMANS: All right, Jasmine, we know you'll be following it for us
this morning. Thank you. In Denver, heavy rainfall caused flash- flooding across the area. At least, 19 people were rescued after being stranded on a highway for hours. Let's get right to meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. We're learning 14 million people, Pedram, facing the risk of flooding here.
PEDRAM JAVAHERI, METEOROLOGIST: Yes, Christine, good morning. We've got plenty of thunderstorm activity this morning across portions of eastern Colorado, beginning to see them wane fortunately, and really been a wild weekend across areas of Colorado.
Tornado reported on Friday across areas of Denver International Airport. Now these floods and thunderstorms, but notice really, the active pattern across the southwestern U.S. Beneficial rainfall for some, we know significant drought has been in place here, so any rainfall that comes down here is going to at least, wipe away some of the drought conditions. And you'll notice additional rainfall here has brought the drought from 98 percent coverage across the state of Arizona down to 90 percent, so very little improvement.
But anything at this point, we'll take and tell you what? It's going to remain unsettled in the coming several days. Also watching some strong storms around the upper Midwest, portions of northern Illinois, near Rockford, seeing some flood warnings, meaning flooding is imminent or occurring this morning across that region
And you notice, widespread across this area, 5, 6-plus inches have come down in a span of 24 hours. So, lots of rainfall across areas of the Midwest, and big-time heat also across parts of the northeast. Heat indices this afternoon will climb up to the 100s, Boston, New York included, so plenty of hot temperatures still in the northeast.
ROMANS: All right, Pedram, thank you so much for that.
JAVAHERI: Thank you.
ROMANS: All right, dozens killed in a violent weekend in Gaza. A live report on a newly declared ceasefire. Plus, a warning from the U.N., the fighting in Ukraine could lead to a nuclear disaster. And we know what she thinks of Donald Trump. So how does Liz Cheney feel about his rival, Ron DeSantis?
ROMANS: A ceasefire is holding this morning between Israel and Islamic militants in Gaza. The Palestinian health ministry says 44 people, including 15 children were killed in a weekend of violence. Israel insists its airstrikes killed mostly Palestinian militants. CNN's Hadas Gold standing by near the Gaza border for us. What's the situation on the ground, Hadas? HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT: Christine, I'm in
Sterot(ph), this is one of these Israeli towns right by the Gaza border that was just being pummeled by rockets up until last night. More than a 1,000 rockets the Israeli military said were launched from Gaza towards communities like these, and even as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Now, as you can see behind me, life is carefully coming back to normal after that ceasefire was agreed upon at 11:30 p.m. last night. It was an Egyptian-moderated ceasefire that brought the quiet here. Now, Israel, importantly, this morning reopened the border crossings between Gaza and Israel, and that's important because an already precarious humanitarian situation in Gaza was reaching a critical level, because their only power plant was running out of fuel.
Now, the fuel trucks are going in again, and the cleanup and the assessment is beginning. As you noted, 44 Palestinians were killed as well as more than 300 were injured. The Israeli military says the vast majority of those were militants, but we do know that 15 children were also killed.
Israel says of the 1,000 rockets, something like 20 percent of them fell within Gaza, also killing some civilians as well. The Israeli military saying that it essentially wiped out the top security class of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. They say they struck more than 150 targets including tunnels and rocket launchers.
Now, this was a relatively short conflict, and what's important is what didn't happen here, Christine, and that's Hamas. Hamas, which is the biggest militant group in Gaza, they essentially run the Gaza Strip, they did not get involved. They stayed on the sidelines. And that's important here, because had they decided to get involved, that would really have escalated this entire situation and brought us to the dangerous levels that we saw last year in that 11-day conflict.
They did not get involved, and so things stayed relatively short. Now, the calm is returning, but really the status quo here between Israel and Gaza hasn't changed much despite this conflict. Christine?
ROMANS: All right, Hadas Gold, I know, you'll continue to follow it for us, thank you so much. To the war in Ukraine where the U.N. nuclear watchdog is warning of a possible nuclear disaster after the largest nuclear power plant in Europe came under rocket fire twice in two days. Ukraine and Russia are blaming each other for these attacks.
EU officials are demanding international inspectors be allowed into the complex which is under Russian control. CNN's David McKenzie is in Kyiv for us. David, what do we know about any damage to this nuclear plant?
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine, we know that there's damage at the plant. It's a -- it's a very large complex, about 10 hours drive south of where I'm standing. And this is a very alarming situation, say officials. The president of Ukraine saying this doesn't only threaten, of course, Ukraine, should there be the unthinkable happening in a nuclear fallout. But of course, the whole of Europe, and they're calling for inspectors
to go in to assess the situation, the head of the Atomic Energy Agency saying that the combatants are playing with fire here. And as you alluded to, the Russians are accusing the Ukrainians, Ukrainians accusing the Russians of shelling this site.
Of course, no damage to the nuclear reactors themselves. But just a short time ago, the head of the U.N. weighed in from Tokyo. Take a listen.
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ANTONIO GUTERRES, SECRETARY-GENERAL, UNITED NATIONS: Any attack to a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing, and I hope that those attacks will end, and at the same time, I hope that the IAEA will be able to have access to the plant and to exercise its mandate competencies.
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MCKENZIE: Russians have controlled that site for some months now, and they've been shelling according to Ukrainians from within the complex or very close to it, across the river to the Ukrainian position. This is, of course, an extremely dangerous situation. Those nuclear reactors themselves are very well-protected. It is something that the U.N. wants inspectors in there very soon to try and make sure that safety is ensured. Christine?
ROMANS: All right, David McKenzie for us in Kyiv, thank you for keeping an eye on that for us. Ahead on EARLY START, a CNN exclusive one-on-one with Taiwan's foreign minister as the Chinese military is drilling offshore.
These military drills look like an invasion dry run. Plus, what the police are saying about the murder of four Muslim men in New Mexico.
ROMANS: All right, Pete Rose gets a hero's welcome in his first trip to Philadelphia since been banned for life. But his visit quickly turned controversial. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT". Hey Andy.
ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Christine. So Pete Rose was there in Philly as part of the celebrations of the Philly's 1980 World Series Championship team, and the team had planned to celebrate Rose in 2017, but scrapped those plans after a woman alleged that Rose had sex with her when she was just 14, 15 years old.
Rose did get a standing ovation from the fans during the ceremony, but he was asked about the allegations that he had sex with a minor during his playing days, and he told the female reporter Alex Coffey of the "Philly Inquirer", quote, "it was 55 years ago, babe." Rose has been asked about that when he was made available to the media.
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PETE ROSE, FORMER AMERICAN BASEBALL PLAYER: I want to tell you one more time, I'm here for the Philly fans. I'm here for my teammates, OK? I'm here for the Philly organization, and who cares what happened 50 years ago. You weren't even born, so you shouldn't be talking about it because you weren't born. And if you don't know a damn thing about it, don't talk about it.
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SCHOLES: Yes, Coffey later tweeted that Rose said, "will you forgive me if I sign 1,000 baseballs for you before eventually saying sorry." All right, the women's Open Championship meanwhile was a nail-biting finish in Scotland. South Africa's Ashleigh Buhai starting yesterday's final round with a 5-stroke lead, but she let it slip away.
She ended up going into a sudden death playoff with In-gee Chun that lasted four holes, and with the sun going down, Buhai who had never won an LPAG tournament in her 221 previous attempts made a clutch bunker shot to leave herself with a short par putt for the victory.
Buhai getting a big bear hug from her husband, David, who caddies for another player. She's the first woman and third South African to win a British Open at Muirfield.
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ASHLEIGH BUHAI, GOLFER & 2022 WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN CHAMPION: It is just so difficult to put into words now. I think it might hit me in a few days, but obviously I'm very proud. We're a very small country, so to be able to produce quite a few major champions, I think it's quite something.
And now, for me to be a female South African and a major winner, yes, I've got no words. It's life-changing.
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SCHOLES: All right, history also being made on the PGA tour as well. Twenty-year-old Joo Hyung Kim taking the Wyndham Championship in North Carolina. Kim shooting a final round of 61 including 6 birdies and an eagle on the front 9. He's the first player born in the 2000s to win a title.
And he's the second youngest to win since World War II, the youngest Jordan Spieth back in 2013. Now, Kim's nickname is Tom, because he's a huge fan of the cartoon "Thomas & Friends". And now Tom is chugging his way to the PGA tour playoffs starting on Thursday.
To baseball, where the Yankees still have the best record in the American League, but not by much. The Cardinals sweeping the Yankees over the weekend after a 12-9 win yesterday. First time the Yankees have been swept this year. They've now lost five in a row. The Cardinals, the first national league team to get a three-game sweep of the Yankees in 15 years.
And Sue Bird being introduced in her final home game for the Seattle Storm yesterday. A record crowd of more than 18,000 were on hand to pay tribute to the four-time champ who spent all 19 seasons in Seattle. You can see the girl there in the front row, trying to give Bird a flower mid-game. Bird said, hey, hold on to that for me for the time being, Christine, but Sue Bird definitely a legend, sad to see her go, but what a career.
ROMANS: All right, absolutely all right. Thanks, Andy, nice to see you --
SCHOLES: All right --
ROMANS: This Monday morning. A very good week for President Biden. A week of winning. Democrats are hoping that winning will carry them through the Midterms. The foreign minister of Taiwan speaking exclusively to CNN as China simulates an attack on the island nation. And the condition of actress Anne Heche after a near fatal car crash.