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Inside Politics

Manchin & Tester "Open" to $3.5 Trillion Go-it-Alone Budget Plans; $3.5 Trillion Budget Proposal Will Test Democratic Unity; This Hour: Biden to Capitol Hill to Talk Trillions in New Spending; Young, Unvaccinated Drive COVID-19 Spread and Fill Hospitals; Daily Cases in Missouri Up 181 Percent From One Month Ago. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired July 14, 2021 - 12:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: It is good to see you David. Thank you so much really appreciate it.


BOLDUAN: Thank you, great reporting as always. Thank you all so much for joining us this hour. "Inside Politics" with John King starts right now.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, INSIDE POLITICS: Hello and welcome to "Inside Politics". I'm John King in Washington. Thanks for sharing your day and it's a big one testing time for the Biden agenda and democratic unity Senators make a deal on a $3.5 trillion in new spending this hour president by the heads to Capitol Hill to begin a giant sales challenge.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): This budget resolution will allow us to pass the most significant legislation to expand support and help American families since the new deal.


KING: Plus a new and exclusive CNN interview Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney goes on the record about her role on the insurrection committee and sends a message to Kevin McCarthy. And new COVID cases are up in 46 states, the young and the unvaccinated, filling up hospital wings. Where the virus is spiking overlaps with where vaccinations are low.

We begin here today though with the president and what you might call the "Goldilocks Challenge" that will define his first year. The president will visit Capitol Hill this hour to celebrate a new agreement among Senate Democrats on a budget resolution with $3.5 trillion in new spending. It keeps the core of the Biden and the Democratic agenda, new commitments on Medicare expansion Pre-K childcare and climate change. But the $3.5 trillion price tag is too big for some moderates, way too small for many liberals. So for a president whose party has no votes to spare in the Senate, and only a handful extra in the House today begins the effort to sell $3.5 trillion as just right.

Let's get straight up to Capitol Hill and CNN's Manu Raju. Manu, president will be there momentarily.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and he does have that sales job trying to keep his Democratic Caucus in line. There are lots of different views about how to move forward. And there are two different proposals that they have to actually get together and a lot of details to actually draft to get those proposals and then actually get the votes in line.

There's a bipartisan effort, negotiations are still ongoing. Can they get a deal that would get 10 Republicans and all 50 Democrats on board? That is still a very open question at this point. And then there's a big, larger Democratic bill $3.5 trillion, that can deal with much of Joe Biden's domestic agenda, expand Medicare, do lots of things that folks on the left have been pushing for some time.

But to get that bill through, they have all 50 Democrats on board right now, that's still an open question. And speaking to some of the key Senate Democratic moderates today, they told me they are open to these the idea of spending that much money, but they made clear they need to see the details.


RAJU (on camera): You've said pretty clearly that 2 trillion was probably the max you can go - you even open to the idea of going to 3.5 trillion.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Well, I'm open to looking at everything they provided.

RAJU (on camera): 3.5 trillion, can you swallow that?

SEN. JON TESTER (D-MT): It's a big amount. Yes, I think we just got to figure out how it's being spent, and figure out how it's being applied, figure out how it's going to be paid for and then make the assessment then.


RAJU: Now on a positive side for Democratic leaders, those two Democratic Senators Jon Tester and Joe Manchin, both indicated openness to the idea of expanding Medicare as part of this proposal. So there's some openness there, which is positive with Democrats.

But again, John, so many details need to be sorted out, they have to draft the legislation, and then these members have to agree to vote for it. So a lot of hurdles ahead but at the moment this is when the salesmanship begins, John.

KING: Might see you later in the hour and the president arrives up on Capitol Hill Manu Raju grateful for the live tee up right there from the Hill. With me in studio to share their reporting and their insights CNN's Melanie Zanona, Olivier Knox of "The Washington Post" Seung Min Kim, also of "The Washington Post", and Josh Jamerson of "The Wall Street Journal".

This a big visit, first visit to Capitol Hill to meet officially with members of his own party this the Senate Democrats at a huge time for the president who needs to try to thread that needle. You just saw there, Joe Manchin and John Tester, the center, if you will the moderates among the Democrats, the president has to tell them, and you need to go a little higher.

Then he's got the problem with others who say no, no 3.5 trillion. What is the biggest test for the president today?

SEUNG MIN KIM, WHITE HOUSE REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: It's the biggest test is being able to do a sufficient enough sales job to keep all of the Democratic Caucus at least open and on board to considering the kind of the agenda that has been crafted so far.

Because like you mentioned, you have some of the more conservative deficit minded Senators who are not always easy with a $3.5 trillion figure, even though they have indicated openness to at least considering that in interviews this morning.

And then you have to contend with people on the left who say that figure was not going to be enough. We wanted 6 trillion plus to go really broad do a once in a generation opportunity to really reform the government social safety net.

Right now from the reporting it shows that at least in the Senate, it's not going to be an issue on the left but it certainly will bubble up in the House.


KIM: And let's not forget too while President Biden is trying to keep the 50 Democratic Senators on board with the 3.5 trillion resolution that was unveiled last night, he's also going to have to do a sales job on that bipartisan infrastructure framework.

So don't forget about that piece as well. And he's going to be talking with governors and mayors this afternoon. The bipartisan group has a key deadline of tomorrow to resolve all the outstanding issues. So Joe Biden is doing a salesman pitch on multiple fronts this afternoon.

KING: And it's incredibly complicated. One asset he has at his disposal is Senator Bernie Sanders, a former campaign rival, a progressive who said just days ago, 3.5 trillion would be too small; you need to go bigger than that. But he worked the system.

He's the Budget Committee Chairman. He's part of the compromise. He told Manu Raju just a few moments ago, this is a good deal. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): This is the most consequential program in the modern history of this country could impact millions of working class people, very proud of what we've accomplished, thank you.


KING: How important is Bernie Sanders to the point Seung Min raised about House progressives? Here's one of their leaders Pramila Jayapal, earlier today on Twitter saying we need to go big and bold. That means expanding Medicare by lowering the eligibility age and increasing benefits, investing in affordable housing and the care economy acting on climate change and creating a roadmap to citizenship.

Let's get this done. Let's deliver. That does not specifically endorse the deal. But it doesn't attack it, which is a big deal.

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Right. I think there's going to be a lot of hemming and hawing probably from both corners of the caucus on the moderate side and the liberal side. Bernie Sanders is a very obviously important voice for progressives.

He is very - he also got a deal on the Medicare expansion to something that he had been pushing for, that's likely going to be in the deal as well. But the reality is, this is probably the last legislative train leaving the station other than those must pass spending bills that Congress will have to do.

And that makes it both harder and easier in some ways. It's harder, because everyone's going to be jockeying to get their priorities included. But it also makes it easier because when the president goes behind those closed doors and says, I need you to pass this in support this to get my agenda through, it's going to be hard for Democrats to say no.

KING: And that cheese up, we're going to focus on every little detail, because they're important, especially a lot of these proposals will change your life. If they become enacted with Medicare expansion, childcare credits and the like but this is the first year Biden agenda on the line right now.

So when he goes up to Capitol Hill to try to sell this, that's part of it, isn't it that no one's getting everything they want but--

JOSH JAMERSON, NATIONAL POLITICS REPORTER, THE WALLSTREET JOURNAL: But and I think just exactly to your point, when he goes on the Hill today, it's important to step back, remember, politically, he did run for president on big government spending programs.

So his task today when you get to the Hill is to kind of remind Democrats, and in some instances, perhaps persuade Democrats that hey, this is what I said I was going to do and try to convince them that he does have a mandate to get some of this through, and that there's not that not doing anything is not an option. The challenge there, of course, that a lot of Democrats will say, you know, perhaps Joe Biden won the presidency a lot more because of who he is not than what he was saying. And so I think him accomplishing that task. This bill is going to rise and fall on that.

KING: And we've been here a while the two of us. You know, it's I say that it's interesting, just to see, there was not a lot of negotiating and governing during the Trump Presidency, were a couple of big initiatives and then Washington went into the chaos.

But if you look at what's in this is just the gold alone plan just to go it alone plan, Medicare and Obamacare expansion, paid leave program, expanded child tax credit, clean energy tax breaks, two years free community college, again, not everything progressives wanted, but that is a pretty - that would be the roots, the beginning of a wide ranging Democratic progressive agenda. Bernie Sanders is right.

OLIVIER KNOX, NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: This is a once in a generation spending proposal. I mean, it $3.5 trillion would. When's the last time you know what other president has overseen that kind of spending program?

The most important two words in that tweet you referenced, let's deliver, but right Democrats want to prove they can govern. They want to prove that they can deliver the goods for not just their constituencies, but for Americans writ large.

We know that Republicans have an interest in gumming up the works and creating chaos and saying as they did during the Obama era that the Democrats are unable to govern. So those two words are really, really important. And that goes to where Bernie Sanders is.

He's - that was the Senate Budget Committee Chairman talking that was not the presidential candidate talking and people forget, Bernie's really pretty pragmatic on a lot of things. You go back and look at his bipartisanship on Veterans issues.

You go back as I do, because I've been here a really long time to Bernie Sanders as Mayor of Burlington, the guy with the police union endorsement, the guy who made compromises on urban development, I mean, he may be more than others wants to deliver that that good.

KING: But it has a friendship with President Biden from their Senate days, which I think makes sense here. You mentioned the other piece of it, which is, this is a Democratic go it alone, three and a half trillion dollars big spending a lot of Democratic priorities.

However, it is connected to the separate bipartisan infrastructure build which you know; one can collapse the other, if you will. Lisa Murkowski came out of one of the meetings on the bipartisan group yesterday quite optimistic. Well, you know what I'm looking around the room feeling the numbers are solid and have the potential to grow.

Others are more skeptical. And you've seen some I would say under pressure from their leader Senator McConnell to say let's not give Joe Biden this. [12:10:00]

KING: But if you add it up, if you add it up the infrastructure framework, the bipartisan $600 billion, then this budget resolution, which would be Democrats going all alone $4.1 trillion in spending. The question is when the Republicans who are right now part of the bipartisan plan, see the 3.5 trillion, will they say, OK, it's not six?

They didn't go as big and bold as they were threatening. So we can do this, or will they just get pressure to say never mind, walk away?

KIM: For the people who have been actively involved I don't think the big reconciliation number turns them off, because for so many of them, they're either pragmatic dealmaker for example, for Senator Rob Portman, this is a legacy item for him before he retires from the Senate.

So for those people who have been very involved, I don't think it changes the calculus at all, but for those tangential Republicans, a second tier, third tier Republicans to make this a truly broad bipartisan deal. A lot of these issues matter.

You know, Senate Minority with John Thune indicated that this morning that just having this major, big - trillion dollar, massive budget reconciliation number does kind of turn off Republicans as well. And Republicans are also turned off about some of the papers that have been put forward by the bipartisan group and whether they're real or not.

And also just on a side note, Joe Biden will certainly be in his element among Senate Democrats on the Hill this afternoon. He does have four more - privileges as a Former Senator though, he should go back on.

KING: And you were telling me before he went on air, they have him scheduled to be there about 30 minutes. Raise your hand if anyone thinks that's a remote possibility.

ZANONA: Tomorrow, maybe.

KING: I think they meant 30 days. We'll track the president when he gets to Capitol Hill and this quick programming note as well. President Joe Biden joins our Don Lemon for an exclusive CNN Presidential Town Hall that's one week from tonight Wednesday, July 21st at 8 pm.

Up next for us the COVID crisis disturbing new evidence that younger unvaccinated people now is driving the new case surge.



KING: The COVID numbers are heading in the wrong direction. Again, new cases are up hospitalizations too. One new twist many of these new patients are younger than in previous COVID spikes. Let's walk through some of the numbers and we'll get some perspective from two states on the frontlines right now.

This is just a dismal look at these map 46 states red and orange that means more new COVID infections now than a week ago. Now many of these states are starting from a lower baseline but still heading in the wrong direction right now 46 states heading in the wrong direction.

If you want to look at it this way, from a case trend line cases are up 75 percent from last week 13,600 plus new infections a week ago 24,000 just shy of that on Tuesday. So again, that's a lower number than we went through in the horrific winter surge but that is the wrong trend line right now.

The Delta variant is responsible for more and more cases around the country. You look here region seven the center of the country 87 percent of the cases the Delta variant, nearly 40 percent up in region one about half of the country more and more as you go 79 percent there 42 percent.

The Delta variant taking root everywhere driving the case spike and this is the CDC's map about community transmission right now. You want to be blue on this map. Yellow is not bad, orange and red you see way too much of it especially out here in the center of the country down here as you go through to Florida.

So let's look at this from a couple of different perspectives. Let's start here in Florida doctors at a Miami-Dade hospital now say they're treating twice as many Coronavirus patients than they were earlier this month. And they're seeing more cases in 30 and 40-year-olds than in older age group.

CNN's Leyla Santiago is live for us in Miami and Leyla joined the conversation I just want to bring up on the wall so people can see it. Just the Florida vaccination 47 percent fully vaccinated, but now averaging more than 3300 new cases a day. Tell us what you're learning.

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, I'll explain it to you also I explain the dynamic to you, as one epidemiologist just said to CNN. She said that you're seeing the rates double or the number of COVID cases double. And the positivity rates also double while you're seeing the number of vaccinations continue to decline.

So that dynamic that mix of factors really doesn't play well. I want you to listen to what the Chief Medical Officer here at Jackson Health System said to us.


DR. HANY ATALLAH, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, JACKSON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: The biggest thing we're noticing really is that the people who are being hospitalized are those who are unvaccinated. And we think that that's come with a lot of the unmasking in that everyone's unmasking even those who are still at risk.


SANTIAGO: And so that is part of the problem is that a lot of the concern right now is not only in the younger population, but also the unvaccinated. I spoke to one infectious disease expert who works with the W.H.O. as well as collaborates with CDC.

And she was saying that, you know, they have a lot of unvaccinated people that are following CDC guidelines, but for vaccinated individuals in the meantime the governor here saying he doesn't have any plans to have any lockdowns in the future.

KING: Leyla Santiago grateful for live reporting on the ground in Florida and again to back up what Leyla was just saying you see the trend lines just heading in the wrong direction. Florida cases up 135 percent in June, from Florida to Missouri now the surge of new cases there so high the U.S. government deploying a surge team to provide some public health support.

In the City of Springfield, Missouri, the Cox Health Hospital System began transferring patients infected with the virus to some other facilities in hopes of providing better staffing. With us to share his insights and perspective is someone who is right on the front lines Dr. Howard Jarvis, the Emergency Department Medical Director at Cox Health in Springfield, Missouri.

Dr. Jarvis grateful for your time, I just want to shift my screen here to these Missouri trends. 40 percent of the state is fully vaccinated, but the average daily case rate right now 25 per 100,000 people that's more than three times the national average. What is driving the surge in Missouri right now?


DR. HOWARD JARVIS, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT MEDICAL DIRECTOR, COX HEALTH: I think the biggest thing driving the surge in Missouri is the lack of vaccinations combined with the Delta variant. And so for whatever reason we have - we really have the Delta variant that is the dominant strain in our part of Missouri.

And so when you combine that more transmissible strain with a population that has a lower vaccination rate, it's really inevitable that your numbers are going to go up, that your hospitalizations are going to go up and that deaths are going to go up.

KING: You just heard our Correspondent Leyla Santiago in Florida saying that the doctors there are telling her that the surge this time has a younger face, if you will, the younger unvaccinated. You've seen the same thing there?

JARVIS: Absolutely the same thing. When you go back in the winter, we were certainly dealing with predominantly older population of patients that we were seeing in the emergency department and having to hospitalize.

Now we're seeing and we see some older patients, but we're seeing many more than we were younger patients 20s, 30s, 40s, early 50s it's clearly a much younger group that we're seeing now.

KING: And so I just want to put the CDC map back up here. So we can go through it just to show it. Your state is just a blur of red, which is the high transmission right now. We've been at this for 14, 15 months.

Take me inside the emergency room, in terms of the stress and the strain, and how busy it is. And a question we used to ask months ago that I hope we don't have to ask any more in terms of PPE supplies and all the like, are you OK, on that front?

JARVIS: So as far as supplies we're in great shape. We have been pretty proactive even early on before we were seeing this, you know, more than a year ago, as far as procuring sufficient PPE. So from a supply side, we're in pretty good shape.

One of the problems is from a staffing side, we're not as good as we were, you know, back in the height of the pandemic, when we had a lot of additional staff augmenting us from around the country, you know, nurses, respiratory therapists that would travel there to, you know, to travel here to provide us some additional staff.

So we have, you know, we're ramping back up, you know, when you look at where we were, and in early May, for example, early to mid-May, we had 15 patients roughly in the hospital sick enough to be in the hospital for COVID.

You know, we're now well up over 100, probably 115 or 120 patients currently in the hospital. So just - we've just had this really large spike in a very short period of time. So you know, we're transitioning, we're doing what we can, but it's a difficult situation to be in.

And quite frankly, I think it's a situation that other parts of the country are going to be and if they are not, you know if they're not well vaccinated, just because this new strain really seems to be more transmissible and the illness we're seeing seems to be faster and more people seem to be requiring hospitalization.

KING: So let me follow up quickly on that point, if I can. I'm not a doctor, and I'm not a scientist, I look at this. If I hear what you just described, to listen to what you just described, and I look at this map, where Missouri is almost all red, and you say, watch out everybody, this could come to you.

Are you seeing any evidence there that the vaccination right, the people who have been hesitant are now saying, holy, you know what, we got a problem, let's get vaccinated or people just locked in if they're not getting one?

JARVIS: You know, I think we're starting to see some movement on that. You know, you have, of course, the earlier adopters that have already been vaccinated. And then you had the fact that, you know, really rates around the country were declining in the spring and I think younger and healthier people were thinking, oh, you know, we're doing better, maybe we really don't need to get vaccinated. I think the message is getting out there to some degree now that there are you know, that we have this new variant that is really transmissible, people are getting really sick. And I think that message has gotten out and quite honestly, we've had some people that are influential in the community, other than outside of healthcare, even that are, I think, speaking up a little more and encouraging people to get vaccinated.

So we've had, you know, churches, for example, that might not have been, you know, actively encouraging people to get vaccinated doing so. So I think there's definitely a - I think there's definitely an upward trend in vaccinations, we've got a long way to go, quite honestly. But, you know, I think at least that part seems to be moving, you know, in the right direction.

KING: I certainly hope you're right, and we will watch the numbers to see if you are? Dr. Jarvis, thank you for your time today. More importantly, thank you for what you're doing every day to try to keep the people in Missouri safe appreciate it very much, sir.

JARVIS: Thank you John I appreciate it.


KING: Up next for us an exclusive CNN interview with Liz Cheney how she views her role on that January 6th Insurrection Committee and her very strong message for the House Republican Leader, Kevin McCarthy.


KING: Liz Cheney has some tough new words for Donald Trump and for the House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy as McCarthy now moles filling the GOP seats on the Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection.