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Senate Takes Key Procedural Vote On Bipartisan Deal After Delay; More Than Half Of Unvaccinated Say "Hard Pass." Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired July 30, 2021 - 12:30   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: There's a hiccup in the Senate, the vote debate. We'll tell you what's going on next.


KING: Live pictures here that's the floor of the United States Senate. There was a procedural vote underway right now on a key issue for President Biden, the bipartisan infrastructure plan. That vote was supposed to be over by now but there was some confusion, some procedural mix up on Capitol Hill. Let's get to our chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju. Manu, what happened?


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And fight actually at the last minute broke up between Republicans and the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer about what the bill actually looks like.

Now, this is the result of the fact that this bill, $1.2 trillion over eight years has not been formally released yet. There are different versions of this bill that are floating around even though the Senate has cast its first procedural vote a couple of days ago to move forward. And today is another procedural vote to actually get onto the bill. The actual legislative language is not even of publicly available yet.

So senators aren't even clear about what they will ultimately be voting on. But the way the Senate works is that the Senate majority leader has the -- after this vote can offer the First Amendment as what's called a Substitute Amendment, which essentially would be the underlying bill, the $1.2 trillion bill. Now the Republicans thought that Chuck Schumer was pulling essentially a fast one on them that he would offer his own version of the bipartisan agreement.

And they pushed back and they said that they were not -- didn't want to move forward on this vote. So there had been a delay, they fought about it behind the scenes for about an hour. And Rob Portman, the chief Republican negotiator came out just moments ago and told reporters that he had gotten personal assurances from Schumer that Schumer would not pull a fast one on them, and that the underlying bill would actually reflect the agreement that was reached between 10 senators from both sides of the aisle.

So that's where we are right now and why this vote is moving forward. Now after today's vote, assuming this motion is adopted, which is expected that it will. Then it will be open to the amendment process, John, were senators could offer amendments, they can offer changes. But to do that, it would require almost certainly require 60 votes in order to make any changes to the bill. So that's why it is so important right now, what does the legislative language look like because that's what ultimately could pass the Senate and ultimately could potentially become law, which is why this squabbling is happening behind the scenes fighting to get every provision, right and get every pet provision that every senator wants here. So we'll see what it looks like here. But we still have not seen the text here, John.

KING: And this is remarkable. Manu, thanks for clearing up the confusion. Yes, to your last point there, we still have not seen the text. Let's bring that part into the conversation with our reporters at the table here. It is stunning. And we're going to get to a bigger Democratic spending plan in a minute. This is a bipartisan plan. It's over a trillion dollars and members of the United States Senate are casting a vote. It's only a vote to proceed. It's not a vote for final passage. But still, none of them know exactly what's in the bill.

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: It shows you how precarious really every step along the way of this infrastructure battle is going to begin and it's going to be a play in two acts, at least, and maybe more than that. But this is just the beginning of the bipartisan discussions. Nevermind the House and there are deep concerns and squabbling in the House, among House Democrats about essentially how they've been railroaded.

But we see if anything gets this many votes in the Senate, 67 votes to proceed. That's a clear sign that Speaker Pelosi is going to corral her troops and push this through. But look, we have to follow this every step of the way. It's not a done deal until it's a done deal. The one thing that the White House it gives them confidence is that Senator Portman has a very good relationship with people in the West Wing and they're negotiating in good faith here. But look, this can go off the rails at any point. We'll see if it does.

KING: Right. And this lack of trust is one of the reasons, nevermind the specifics of the bill which are complicated and everybody has their own, you know, pet projects and the like. But just the lack of trust tells you this is very fragile of the Senate. But let's, for the sake of argument, and you can laugh at me next week if necessary, say it gets through the Senate, say they keep it together and it gets through the Senate. Then it goes over to the House where progressives, Democrats run the House, they have a tiny margin in the House. But progressive say we're not voting on this until we see the second piece which Biden has a go it alone, they call it reconciliation, a spending plan, who is supposed to have Medicare and Obamacare fixes and then health care legislation, paid leave programs, expanded child tax credits, clean energy tax breaks, other climate initiative, two years free community college. Progressive say we want to see that. And listen to Ilhan Omar, one of the leading members of the progressive now say, until we see that and until we know that everybody's ready to vote on that. Don't count on anything.


REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): There is no path forward for a bipartisan bill. That doesn't move simultaneously with the reconciliation bill. We've been very clear. We've got five priorities. If those priorities aren't met, there is not going to be a piece of legislation that passes.


KING: So fragile is an understatement here, right?

ANITA KUMAR, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT & ASSOCIATE EDITOR, POLITICO: Yes. Well, this is the thing that got President Biden into trouble a few weeks ago. He tried to put those two bills together, two packages. And the Republicans said no. So now, you know, here we see the House Democrats saying it has to be together. So I mean, fragile is not even the word here. It's beyond fragile, because you have two sides saying two different things. And they don't match. So it's unclear what's going to happen.

The five things that she mentioned that need to be in there. It's unclear that they're going to be in there. And it's really unclear that it's going to, to get through all these Senate Democrats, these moderate members that are just not sure about that. And you have one senator saying she's about to go on vacation. So hurry it up so.


KING: Welcome to Washington. And among the issues the President wants to put in there, and I'll try to explain this as clearly as I can. And I'm sorry if I frustrate you at home, is a lot of the progressives don't think even the infrastructure package is big enough, but they say we're willing to eat peas if you will swallow our pride, as long as we get enough of what we want in that other package.

One of the things the President is trying to put in there to keep them happy is a conversation we've been having since the Obama administration. What about the DREAMers? What about those who has children were brought across the border by their parents or by family members or by others, who've through no fault of their own are here and undocumented? We know what happened during the Trump administration. President Biden says I'm going to get it into this spending plan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did your meeting on DACA go?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It went very well. What I think we should, I think we should include in the reconciliation bill, the immigration proposal. My staff is putting out a message right now. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Easier said than done. Number one, the Senate parliamentarian has to say it's OK, it fits the rules to do it. And then there's the politics of immigration.

RUSSELL CONTRERAS, RACE AND JUSTICE REPORTER, AXIOS: Yes. And people are so cynical right now, because we've been seeing this since the 90s. We need some sort of immigration reform. And DREAMers right now are in this bind. They were giving this pathway for residents their residential status, and now they're in limbo. Can they get this in this sort of reconciliation bill? And right now, Senator Schumer is trying to be kind of like the LBJ except he's not as tall and he can't give anybody the treatment.

He's not -- he's just not in that position. But he needs to have this strategy to get this 50-50 split Senate to get this over the line. Can he do this with DREAMers? Can you do with infrastructure? And by the way, some senators are even asking us what do you know? Is my broadband stuff in there? Is the infrastructure? Senator Heinrich, Senator Lujan want this broadband. They want the infrastructure, especially with water where travel governments are struggling with water treatment and clean water, which was exposing the pandemic.

KING: Right, water issues everywhere, but particularly out in the West, the immigration issue, police reform, voting rights, they say they want to put that in there. You're right. I was wrong to use the word fragile. It's much worse than that. But we'll watch it's on the track. We're going to watch as this plays out. And we'll test I like the analogy with Lyndon Johnson there.

When we come back, COVID case is still surging across the country. Half of America is still not vaccinated. Who are they? We'll take a closer look just ahead.



KING: Vaccines are the best weapon in the war on COVID. And seven months of experience tells us they are both safe and highly effective. Supply is not an issue anymore. Yet, some 90 million Americans who are eligible to get a vaccine have not. So what do we know about the holdouts? Let's look at some of the data. This data here are some Ipsos surveys done for Axios. These are among the people who say I haven't gotten a vaccine. Don't want to get a vaccine. Fifty-three percent of them have majority or a hard path, meaning they say, hell no, never, no plans at all.

Forty-seven percent say I'm hesitant, but maybe under some circumstances, I might get a vaccine. So let's break this down a little bit more. Among those who say maybe, maybe I'm hesitant, but maybe more than half are women, 54 percent. You see 46 percent are men. Among this group, we're calling them persuadable. They're hard to persuade, but they are potentially persuadable, half of them are black or Hispanic, 50 percent. You see 43 percent are white again Again, they're hesitant, but they say talk to me, maybe, under some circumstances. What about those who say no, absolutely not, I am not getting a COVID vaccine? Well, they tend to make less money, 70 percent of them make less than $100,000 a year, so lower on the income scale, if you will. They also tend to be somewhat less educated half, half, 49 percent of those who say hard pass, no, never, go away. When you ask about a COVID vaccine, have a high school education or less than that, 34 percent some college, 17 percent college and there aren't many Democrats in the group that say, hell no.

Only 12 percent of the hard pass, are Democrats. But you do see 42 percent of them are independents, 45 percent of them are Republicans. If you have not gotten a vaccine, and you won't listen to the President, you won't listen to Dr. Fauci, and you won't listen to your governor, maybe listen here to a patient.


AIMEE MATZEN, LOUISIANA COVID-19 PATIENT: Exhausting, extremely frustrating, tiring. And the fact that I am here now, I am furious with myself.


MATZEN: Because I was not vaccinated. I just don't want anyone else winding up like me, especially when the vaccine is so easy to get now.


KING: Our panel is back with us to discuss. It is a difficult sales message. You have Americans for different reasons, saying no, some saying hell no. With this new CDC information about the Delta variant that if you have it, infected, you can infect eight or nine other people now, it raises the stakes. So let's look at those who say maybe. They're hesitant, but they say maybe, half of them, Russell, are black or Hispanic. This is an effort the White House has said we're going to get into these communities. We're going to knock on doors. We're going to find influential people. What else do they need to do?

CONTRERAS: Well, they need to start a campaign. And they really need to go these areas where there's news deserts. So you have black and Latino who live in places where there's no, there are no newspapers, there aren't -- there isn't information. So there's a lot of scattered false information floating around, especially on social media. So places like Southern Colorado, places like Eastern New Mexico, that's where you're facing the resistance.

And these are areas that want to go out and play football in the fall. They want the right to not wear masks. They don't want to be vaccinated. But they didn't want to spread this vaccine that's going to go on like chickenpox. So that's a concern. Not only they need to address that but they need to go places like to East Las Vegas, right?

[12:50:06] I talked to recently Senator Cortez Masto's office, she is right there, 33 percent of those are -- the vaccination rates at 33 percent. And those are mainly Latino casino workers. That needs to be addressed. There needs to be a campaign to allow them, trans -- free transportation for vaccine events. But until then, we're going to be staying in these numbers.

KING: And so you mentioned there about the vaccine mandates will kick in there too. As more businesses say, if you want to work in our casino or elsewhere, you have to have vaccine. So let's look at it by political party here. And again, Democrats are not the issue when it comes to the hard pass, only 12 percent and you want everybody to get a vaccine. I'm not saying they're not an issue at all. But so you have a Democratic president who's trying to talk to people to say get your vaccine.

With 45 percent of the people who say under no circumstances are Republicans, 42 percent of them are independent, which is why I thought it was interesting. When the President talked about this yesterday, he made a point of adding some Republicans to the pitch.


BIDEN: The vaccine was developed and authorized under a Republican administration. I have to compliment Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He had made it political. Alabama Republican Governor Kay Ivey recently spoke out to encourage vaccination. Look, this is not about red states and blue states. It's literally about life and death.


KING: You can say it's not about red states or blue states, but it is. It is about a Democratic president very frustrated. He can't reach these people. He has tried and tried and tried. And he can't reach these people.

AYESHA RASCOE, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NPR: And you have some people who have gotten sick with the coronavirus, who say they did not get the vaccine, because they felt like they were conservative, it was a conserve. They took it as a conservative position. We are a conservative family. We're not going to get the vaccine. That's how deeply embedded it has become that they feel like it is a part of their political identity to not get it.

So unfortunately, Biden is not going to be able to make the case for them. And as long as you have people in Congress who are saying you don't need to wear a mask or raising these concerns about vaccines, I think it's going to be difficult because a lot of people they don't want to hear it from the government. They don't want to hear it from doctors, maybe their family doctors, but they want to hear it from people in their community who they trust. I mean you really have to figure out who that is.

KING: And so it opens just we -- it's been open. But now there's new CDC data about how deadly trends and transmissible the Delta variant just throws open the store to this conversation. If you look at the 30 states that are less than 50 percent fully vaccinated, and the data shows you if your state is above 50 percent, the hospitalization rate is much lower. So you just you want to get above it, the data is under 25 of those 30 states, Trump won 25 states, 25 of the 30 states below 50 percent are the Trump states.

KUMAR: Yes, I mean, it's not just members of Congress, it's people in their community, people they know who are saying, look, I'm not getting vaccinated. And local officials and, you know, President Biden did compliment Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But there are a number of other Republicans who are saying I'm not getting vaccinated. He offered yesterday or encouraged state officials to use money to offer $100 for people to get vaccinated.

This morning, you're hearing some Republican governor saying, look, we're not going to do that. So, you know, for everything that they're hearing from the government. They're also hearing it from the other side. It's very confusing. It's a patchwork of different comments and laws and guidelines, so they don't really know what to do.

KING: And if they won't listen to a Democratic president, are we going to see more? Some have tried, Governor Justice in West Virginia is trying very hard to get people vaccinated, voicing his frustration Governor Ivey in Alabama, Governor Hutchinson in Arkansas, but a lot of these Republican governors in recent days have said, hell no, we're not bringing masks back. And we don't trust the science of the CDC.

ZELENY: Exactly. And several Republican Senator Pete Ricketts in Nebraska, Kim Reynolds in Iowa, Texas, and on and on, so we are going to see again, this red-blue divide we saw a year ago. But as we end the month of July here, the White House thought this was a turning point in the pandemic, it turns out it was but not in the way that they had hoped. So the question here is they're trying to go after the 47 percent, who are at least open to this idea.

And that would be a sizable chunk of people. Some students going back to school will do it, some other people. The incentive question is an interesting one, the President talking about the $100 incentive. I was thinking back yesterday to the young man I met in Cincinnati last week, who said he was skeptical of the government offering all these things. He said, if someone paid me $1,000 to jump off the cliff, I wouldn't do that either.

So it's unclear how much all of this actually works. But through faith communities and doctors and families, that is where. And probably at the end of the day, the sheer, you know, people being afraid of the Delta variant that probably will drive this more than anything that President does.

KING: I think the rising case count and the marketplace, employers is going to drive more than politicians at this point because the lack of trust in government, appreciate everybody coming into the Friday.


Ahead for us, brand new information about the subpoenas. We can expect now from that January 6th Select Committee investigating the insurrection.


KING: Topping our Political Radar today, new word the Select Committee investigating the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol plans to issue quote quite a few subpoenas and issue them soon. The Chairman Bennie Thompson would not say when the subpoenas would issue or exactly who would be targeted.

Look here, here's the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this morning swearing in the newest member of Congress, Representative Jake Ellzey will represent the 6th Congressional District in Texas. He's a Republican. He defeated another Republicans who had been backed by President Trump in that race. Democrats still cling to a slim House Majority. Ellzey's win gives the Democrats an eight seat margin in the House.


Appreciate your time today on Inside Politics. Hope you have a fantastic weekend. Please stay safe. We'll see you Monday. Ana Cabrera picks up our coverage right now.