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Biden Touts Expanded Child Tax Credit; Surgeon General: Vaccine Misinformation An "Urgent Threat". Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired July 15, 2021 - 12:30   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: A parent will get $3,600 a year. For every child six to 17, they'll get $3,000 per year. For example, middle class family with two young children who expect to receive $7,200 a year to help raise their children. This will be the -- they'll get the first half of this $3,600 starting today, today, today. And it'd be paid out at $600 a month, between now, July, and December. And then get the rest of the payment next spring around Tax Day.

Now, if you've filed taxes electronically, you can go to your bank account today, today, and you'll see a payment that says child CTC. Let me say that again, payments of $300 for each child under the age of six, $250 for each child between the ages of six and 17 on a monthly basis between now, between July, and December.

If you don't file electronic -- your taxes electronically as you did last year, you can expect to receive a check in the mail beginning today or a few days from now. And you'll get this payment on the 15th of every month for the rest of this year.

And if you're not required to file taxes at all in the past, you haven't filed because you didn't owe any taxes, then you can go to Let me say again, And you will give you -- they'll give you clear information and a link to help you sign up for the first time.

This can be life changing for so many families because of the way that tax credit was structured. Before the American rescue plan, more than 26 million children from the hardest press working families didn't get the full payment for the child credit -- for childcare, for a child tax credit. Half of all black and Hispanic children in America never received the full tax credit. We've changed all that.

In technical terms, we've made this tax cut fully refundable. In plain English, it means instead of families who need help, the most getting lay -- getting the least the hard working families, heartbreaking families will get this on a month, full monthly basis, 97 percent of children receiving this credit come from working families. And the other 3 percent include kids being raised by retired grandparents or by someone with a serious disability.

And by the way, this credit doesn't start to phase out until a couple is making $150,000 or a single parent is making $112,000. It begins to phase out then. This is a middle class tax cut. When I came up, when I decided I wanted this in the legislation, I referred to it in the way it really is. It's a middle class tax cut. It's just like the wealthy get tax cuts for a lot of things. It's a tax cut for your children having children.

And this can make it possible for hardworking parent to say to his or her child, honey, we get -- you can get your new braces now. We get your tutor to help you in that math class you're having trouble with. We can get you the sports you need to sign up to -- for your first team you're going to play on.

People have written to me to tell me they use the money to buy their kids new shoes, to send them a summer camp, to cover after school care when school starts up again. You know, and to give you a sense of how transformative this is, this would be the largest ever, one year decrease in child poverty in the history of the United States of America as we begin now.

Historic reductions in child poverty among white black and Latinos and AAPI communities, it's not even close. The benefits will be felt for years. Studies have shown that tax relief that helps children, that's OK. Don't worry about it. It's OK, let him cry or her whichever. That helps children can lead to better health, better school performance, and better future earnings.

In fact, research from Columbia University in New York, found that for each dollar this tax cut cost, it returns $8 in benefits down the line. $8 will have to be spent other ways. It's a gigantic help. It's an eight to one return. Your head, your heart, and your budget, all leads to the same place. This is the right thing to do. And it's a smart thing to do.


Today, these tax cut payments are arriving automatically. But it didn't happen automatically. The result of the work of people who did this advocating for this for a long, long time, and we finally got a pass to my American rescue plan. I want to particularly thank those who have been fighting for this for years, Congressman Rosa DeLauro from Connecticut. She has been a champion for this issue. Congressman Richie Neal and Torres, and Senators Bennet, Brown, and Booker, and Ron Wyden, you probably hear from our Republican friends, all who voted against this, but they'll tout the success as it helps working families and in their states and their districts.

But in the coming days, we're also going to hear from them saying, I want to now extend this tax, really, it's only for one year now. All I can get it for the first time. And so I want to extend it into the future now. I have another piece of legislation we voted on. So then we're going to continue this.

To the people who say we can't afford to give the middle class a break, I say, we can afford it by making people at the top and the big corporations over 50 of which paid no taxes last year at all, to finally just start paying their fair share. I'm not going to gouge them, just pay their fair share. Because people who are working hard and paying taxes deserve a break.

That's why, excuse me for all these terms I'm using, but my bill back better agenda, which still needs to be voted on in the Congress keeps this tax cut for working families in place for years to come. We shouldn't let taxes go up on working families. We shouldn't let child poverty continue to stain the conscience or dragged down our economy.

And so I say to my colleagues in Congress, this tax cut for working families is something we should extend not end next year. And I say to all of you watching, make sure your family, friends, and community know about this tax cut. Send to them, as I said, to learn more about the difference this is going to make in their lives.

Let me close with this. I signed the American Rescue Plan less than two months after taking office in January 28th. Four months later, we've implemented the -- we've implemented the first ever automatic monthly payment for any major tax credit ever, as the Vice President was talking about on social security, which was a long time ago.

This groundbreaking effort is similar to what we did, in our -- what I called our wartime effort to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19 to mobilize the whole country. We're proving. We're proving that democracy can deliver for people and deliver in a timely way, saving lives and improving lives, helping fuel record setting recovery, giving working families a fighting chance again.

I received an e-mail today from a mother in Washington State. She's a young teacher who had just received her payment. She wrote, and I'm quoting, my family has been living hand to mouth to put me through school so I can follow my passion of molding young minds. This first CTC payment has come at the exact moment when we need it most.

These payments may seem small to some, but they're life changing for my family, for us. Millions of children and their families starting today, their lives are about to change for the better. And our country will be better off for it as well. This is a really good day. And parents are going to be able to tell your kids when they're 25 years old that you were there the day this happened, we talked about it.

We're showing once again, that there's nothing beyond the capacity, our capacity as Americans to get done, when we do it together. So I want to thank you. God bless you all. And may God protect your truth and kids. Thank you for being so polite while I was speaking. You're very, very nice. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. See you all. Bye- bye.

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: The President of the United States along with the Vice President of the United States, the President joking at the end thanking the young children in the audience for behaving as he highlighted a significant Biden administration achievement. Today, in many bank accounts across the country families are seeing the first child tax credit now that the President got passed through the Congress. He calls it a middle class tax cut. He called it that repeatedly. That was not a mistake. The President considers this a signature achievement of his first year in office but it will become a big issue next year in the midterm election campaign, as he asked the Congress to extend it saying the Republicans would be raising tax taxes on middle class families if they don't agree.


Let's get straight to our chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins. Kaitlan, the President trying to sell this today not only as critical to American families, but as proof that with him in the White House, a government can actually deliver in a relevant way for working class Americans.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And there's a reason he's trying to sell it, John, because he also wants to make it permanent, which is, it is not right now and he noted that several times, in his speeches, as he was talking about how this got passed with that COVID-19 relief bill that he signed into law earlier this year.

But he was saying, this is what I think it's going to look like now that these checks have started going out. These are benefits that he has been talking about for months. But now that they're actually going into bank accounts, he is saying this is what's going to be the tangible benefits that these families are going to be seeing.

But this does pose a test for the President because it is going to be essentially a trial run of how does this program work given this is really the first time that you've seen money being directly deposited into family's bank accounts in this way. And the Treasury Department says they have sent out checks to households representing about 60 million American children. And what the administration argues about the benefits of this is that it's enough to lift millions of children out of poverty, and they believe it's going to have long term benefits when it comes to nutrition, education, mental health going forward.

And so that's what they're focusing on. Some of the critics are saying that they believe that it could help -- it could fuel these concerns about inflation that you've seen several economic experts talk about recently. One concern, John, is just actually getting the money to people because there are a lot of low income families that have never filed income taxes. And so the question is, a lot of people are getting this into their bank accounts, because they just filed their tax returns. And that's the way the IRS is finding them.

But the question is, how do they find these others of millions of families? And so that's why he was talking about that website there. And one other thing we should note is the fact that this is not permanent, it was part of that COVID-19 relief bill, the President said there going to be looking for Republicans who are trying to take credit for this, given of course, none of them actually voted for that bill to go into law.

KING: Kaitlan Collins live at the White House, appreciate the live reporting. Let's bring it back in the room. It's interesting, you look at the specifics of this, again, $300 a month, $600 a month, if you have two children, you have more if you have more young children, that matters to families especially in the post COVID economy. But anyway, families who live week to week, month to month, check to check number one. And then how the president tried to link it together with the vaccine roll out with other pandemic economic relief, proving democracy can deliver.

A lot of blue collar voters who have not voted for Democrats in recent years are disillusioned in government. They don't think government cares about them. They don't think it is relevant to their lives. It is interesting political challenge here for the President if he can succeed in making that case.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: For sure. And that's what was the central issue here calling on Congress to make this permanent. And he also did something that we've heard him do a lot. He preemptively called out Republicans who are going to criticize this policy but embrace the consequences of it.

Look, if you're a Republican household, you're going to get the money, if you're a Democratic household you are, if you meet the income requirements. So this is something, you know, just a sign that, yes, government can work. And that's one of the reasons he ran for office.

JACKIE KUCINICH, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's also very hard to take away once people really --


KUCINICH: -- start because right now it is very it -- for a lot of these families needed help. It's only a matter of time before it becomes part of the budget.


KING: And other important story today we're going to come to just a moment, brand new on CNN. The U.S. Surgeon General now warning about the real world cost of health misinformation, as new cases of COVID thrice and vaccinations unfortunately, drop.


KING: Just moments from out the White House, the Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy will speak at the press briefing about the dangers of misinformation and misleading vaccine claims. In an advisory out this morning, the first of its kind, Dr. Murthy warns misinformation has caused confusion and led people to decline COVID-19 vaccines, reject public health measures such as masking and physical distancing, and use unproven treatments.

The White House now taking an aggressive stance in the vaccine disinformation war as vaccinations across the country plummet, listen here, this is Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health telling CNN that convincing Americans to get a shot is now critical in the race against the Delta variant.


DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH: We're losing time here. The Delta variant is spreading, people are dying. We can't actually just wait for things to get more rational.


KING: When you hear the experts talk about the race, I'll just ask you to consider this map. If you've been with us over the last year plus, it's been a long time since we've seen so much red and orange. Now again, many of these states are starting from a lower baseline. But red and orange means more COVID infections now than a week ago. After months of progress the country, most of it, this is 47 states heading in the wrong direction, 47 of the 50 states heading in the wrong direction. They're heading in the wrong direction.

This is the CDC's community transmission map by county across the country. You want to be blue, moderate is yellow, red and orange are bad. Again, look at the volume of red and orange, the middle of the country, the southeast. Out in the West, the community spread of COVID is accelerating yet again. One of the reasons it is accelerating, you just heard Dr. Collins there is because of the nasty Delta variant.

It is 87 percent of the cases in the middle of the country, 80 percent of the cases out here, 63 percent of the West Coast, 50 percent near that down here, everywhere in the country is the Delta variant which is why the experts say please get your vaccine but, but I just want to show you the vaccination trends right now. Look at this, vaccines down 27 percent from last week. At this point, let's bring in for his expertise and insights. Dr. Jay Varkey, Associate Professor of Medicine at Emory University.


Dr. Varkey, help us. I know it's an inexact question I'm asking you, but when you see the vaccination rate across the country dropped so much, how much of that do you attribute to misinformation? People literally telling people things that are untrue, bad science, attacking science, and people saying I can't get a vaccine because of that.

DR. JAY VARKEY, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Yes, John, it's a -- I think it's a large contributor of it. And sadly, misinformation is not new. And it's not just vaccination. If you ask the nurses and doctors I work with at Emory, we've been battling two fronts going back to March of 2020. We've been battling the virus, and we've been battling misinformation.

So it's really frustrating that a year and a half, we still find ourselves in this position. And, you know, the reality of it is that at this stage, when we meet patients who are unvaccinated, you know, there's not just one cause, what we're dealing with is just trust, perceptions of risk, a lot of emotions, and deep seated beliefs.

But again, we can counter that. And again, we cannot give up making these easily available to people because but as you said, this is a race between vaccines and variants. And the longer we kind of languish, the more likely we are to actually select out for a variant that could render these safe and effective vaccines less effective. KING: And the experts like yourself who live based on science and know the proof of the efficacy of these vaccines. When you look at these numbers, it's stunning. I talked about down 27 percent from last week. You go back here to June. It's way down from where it was in June. And we could show you prior numbers when the Biden ministration first came into office and the vaccine supply rollout accelerated. They were even higher then.

I want you to listen to two fellow experts, two doctors who say the price that is being paid for people who simply refuse to listen to science and get a vaccine is more sick children.


DR. ALAN JONES, ASSOCIATE VICE CHANCELLOR FOR CLINICAL AFFAIRS, UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI MEDICAL CENTER: We are seeing an increase in the number of hospitalizations of children. Most of them are, you know, in the -- we've had infants as small as six to eight months old, but up to the teenage years.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, CO-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT AT TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: And the ones who will also pay the price other than the unvaccinated adolescence are the little kids who depend on the adults and adolescents to get vaccinated in order to slow or halt transmission.


KING: How? I asked this question a lot, because I'm frustrated, and I know you're frustrated. What works? How do you break through when you see, if you look at, I'm looking at the demographics of the screen, older Americans though, 75 and older those 65 to 74, the vaccination rates there are pretty good, 50 to 64, two-thirds of Americans, it's when you get into 40 to 49, 25 to 39. That's where you drop below 50. What breaks through?

VARKEY: Yes. And John, that's what we're seeing in the hospital among those that are coming in. They're unvaccinated in some cases, relatively young, so including those individuals, people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. So what breaks through? Look, I think what I would say to your viewers that are unvaccinated is again, please talk to your doctor, someone who is trusted, someone who's an expert in the field, because nearly all of us have chosen not just to vaccinate ourselves, but our families.

And again, just know the fact that there is a vaccine reserve for you likely at your local pharmacy, and that it's not too late to actually get it, to protect not just yourself. And again, you can be skeptical, you can you can have doubts, you can view this as a political thing, but I know that all of you have people that you care for, or have children that are under the age of 12 and can't get vaccinated yet.

So even if you're not doing it for yourself or you have a different perception of risk. What I tell my patients is, again, think about your loved ones. There must be someone in your family, someone in your church, someone in your community who has cancer or is more vulnerable, if anything, do it for them.

KING: Dr. Varkey, grateful for your time and your insights and we hope those out there listening who might be skeptical, listen to professional like yourself.


Just moments from now, we're going to take you to the White House, the new Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy will be right there in the briefing room battling misinformation in the COVID vaccine war.


KING: Live pictures we can show you of the White House briefing room. Any moment, the Surgeon General will be there to issue new warnings about health misinformation. Misinformation, he will say is killing Americans because of misinformation about COVID vaccines.

Let's bring the panel in quickly. Some of this comes in social media posts. Some of it comes word of mouth, in your neighborhood from people who are just spreading myths. Some of it comes from politicians. This is Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican member of Congress. Thousands of people are reporting very serious life changing vaccine side effects from taking COVID vaccines. She goes on to cite a number of deaths, social media, taking Biden sending people to push shots, just say no. It's -- I'm not -- it's not a family friendly word that was about to come out of my mouth. It is incredibly unhelpful, puts people's lives at risk when people who are elected to office spread false to its butt.

RACHAEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I mean absolutely. Number one with hesitancy, you have some people who are afraid to get the vaccine, number one. But if you add on top of that this layer that the government is, you know, pushing this down their throats, you know, the government is going to force you to do this. It adds more fear to people and so they've got to combat that.

KING: I assume she has door knockers got in her campaigns and asked for votes, Biden people are knocking on your door asking you to get a shot.


NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: And it's not clear how persuasive the government is going to be given that the government is part of the problem in terms of --

ZELENY: You're going to ask others to help out like neighbors --


KING: We got to end it there for today, but we appreciate you. Ana Cabrera picks up right now.