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Louisiana Facing Power and Fuel Shortage; Schools Face Nurse Shortage; Expanded Jobless Benefits Expire; Notre Dame Escapes Upset; Klobuchar Calls for End to Filibuster; Biden Faces Multiple Crises. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired September 06, 2021 - 06:30   ET



JOE VALIENTE, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR, JEFFERSON PARISH, L.A.: And so we've had a tremendous amount of support from the state and LDH, the Louisiana Department of Health and their officials have been working very closely with us. And so we've been able to obtain a transportation. We use one of our playgrounds as a triage center. Made sure that they're stable, and then we get them assigned to a bus and then we get them out of harm's way and to a facility that's set up to meet their special needs.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: A week ago the parish put out a tweet which basically said, if you evacuated, don't come back. Does that still stand this morning?

VALIENTE: Absolutely, because you need -- you need critical infrastructure to survive. For instance, we only have 50 percent of our sewage capacity, which is incredible considering we had zero. We're at about 50 percent water in the parish. Well, the entire parish on both banks, east and west bank, have water, but the pressure is very low. And there's still a boil water advisory in effect. Ninety percent of our traffic signal lights are still not functional. And area stores that don't have generators, which are most of them, aren't able to open anyway. And so this -- this area simply isn't ready to sustain every -- to sustain everyday normal living.

BERMAN: Joe Valiente from Jefferson Parish, we appreciate you being with us. We wish you the best of luck. I hope -- I hope that things accelerate over the coming days.

VALIENTE: We do too. And we appreciate these platforms that are offered to us, to get our message out by the news media.

BERMAN: You got it. And let us know anything else that we can do.

VALIENTE: Yes, sir.

BERMAN: So a dire shortage of school nurses threatening to make the coronavirus crisis in school even worse. New details about what lawmakers are planning to do about it.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, jobless benefits expiring for millions of Americans today. What impact could it have on the economic recovery? We'll have that, next.



KEILAR: The timing for a school nurse shortage couldn't be much worse with schools open or about to open and the delta variant sweeping the country and kids under 12 ineligible for the vaccine. More than half of the nation's schools either have part-time nurses or they have no nurse at all. And now some Democrats want to address this shortage.

We have CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard with us on this story.

What's happening here, Jacqueline?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Well, to put it in context, Brianna, first the nation has been grappling with a shortage of school nurses for years now. This has been an ongoing issue. It's just that now with the pandemic, scientists I've talked to and school nurses I've talked to now say that the shortage is turning dire. And based on data from the year 2018, we can estimate that about 39 percent of schools employ full-time nurses, about 35 percent employ nurses part- time. But there's still about a quarter of schools remaining, 25 percent, that have no school nurse at all.

And that's why we're now hearing from some Democratic lawmakers, Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus and Montana Senator Jon Tester, they've introduced what's called The Nurse Act. And in a letter Congresswoman Titus writes that, The Nurse Act would provide federal funding through Department of Education grants to hire school nurses, the first investment of its kind, end quote.

And Titus' office is really pushing for this bill to be included in the upcoming budget reconciliation package. We'll see what happens there. Again, this is just proposed legislation.

But, Brianna, school nurses I've talked to say that at the very least they hope that the pandemic can raise awareness around this shortage and hopefully, in the future, we can see more schools employing nurses, especially occurring health crises like the pandemic today.

So, we'll see what happens.


KEILAR: Yes. That is baffling. One in four schools without a school nurse in the middle of a pandemic.


KEILAR: Jacqueline, thank you so much for that reporting.

BERMAN: So, today, millions of Americans will lose federal unemployment benefits meant to help during the pandemic. It comes after last week's pretty disappointing jobs report showed a big slowdown in hiring. CNN chief business correspondent Christine Romans here with me now.

Romans, you've been warning that this date was coming.


BERMAN: This is unprecedented, what we're about to see.

ROMANS: It really is. It's 7.5 million people whose personal finances just changed overnight. They won't get that fatter jobless check anymore.

The benefits, John, were always meant to be temporary. It was a temp emergency aid for millions of people thrown out of work because of the pandemic. At the time a critical lifeline. It started, remember, as $600 a week extra. That was last year. It was cut to $300 in President Biden's American Rescue Plan.

Now, you've heard those criticisms that these checks kept people from looking for work. But don't expect a surge in hiring because they have now ended. Two dozen states cut benefits during the summer. They did not see a hiring surge because of it. In fact, job growth was about the same as the states that kept the benefit. Yes, companies are struggling to hire enough workers to meet the demand of this booming economy. A record 10.1 million job openings in June. That is a huge numbering. Still, people aren't rushing back to the new normal.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's -- it's frustrating because, yes, there are any number of jobs that I could do in and do, but not all of them can support me. Not all of them can pay my bills in the way that I need.


ROMANS: The fact is, this pandemic has reordered priorities amid health and safety concern, childcare issues and we've seen low wage workers use the time and the cushion to retrain for hire paying jobs. Workers here still have the upper hand and companies are raising wages to attraction them. You saw Walmart giving 565,000 workers a raise.


Starting pay there now above $16 an hour for its hourly workforce.

The jobs report Friday showed wages grew a strong 4.3 percent in August, but only 235,000 jobs were added back last month after a really strong June and July.

You can see, John, the delta variant at work in these numbers. Hiring in leisure and hospitality stalled. That's the sector that drove so much of the job gains this year. Employment there still down about 10 percent from before the pandemic. And there were job losses, John, last month in retail stores, bars and restaurants. That's the delta variant. People, even though there are not lockdowns, there are not big

restrictions, people intuitively know that the delta variant is dangerous and they're starting to protect themselves a little bit by not going out as much.

BERMAN: Right. I mean, and they're not going back to the workplace, to the office quite as much.

ROMANS: Right.

BERMAN: They have to maybe stay home a little bit more because school is a little less certain than it was with the delta variant. Until that gets under control, the economy may not get that juice that it needs.

ROMANS: It's unprecedented. Nobody knows what's going to happen next. Anybody who tells you they do is wrong. We're all living this new history together.

BERMAN: I'll take your word for it, though.


BERMAN: Christine Romans, thank you very much.

Coming up in our next hour, we're going to speak with the Labor secretary, Marty Walsh, about what's going on and the jobs report.

BERMAN: And Tom Brady says he had coronavirus and that the pandemic could cause even more trouble this football season.



BERMAN: So, Notre Dame holds off Florida State's upset bid in an overtime thriller.

Carolyn Manno has this morning's "Bleacher Report."

This was something.


Good morning, John. How are you?

The first weekend of college football in the books. The NFL is on the way. I know you're excited about that.

The best game of the weekend turned out to be the very last one. It looked like ninth ranked Notre Dame was going to walk away from this with an easy win. The Irish were up by 18 late in the third quarter but backup quarterback McKenzie Milton, who was back on the field after almost three years away because of a devastating leg injury, providing a spark for Florida State. The team had the ball first in overtime. They were unable to move it. So kicker Ryan Fitzgerald, oh, missing wide left.

So this comes down to the leg of Notre Dame's Jonathan Doerer. He is able to connect from 41 yards out. Notre Dame escaping with a 41-38 win.

Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady, one of the many Americans who has battled coronavirus, the quarterback revealing that he tested positive shortly after his seven Super Bowl win. Brady telling "The Tampa Bay Times" he contracted the virus back in February after the team's championship boat parade. At this time -- John, stop laughing -- no confirmed link between attending this parade and the positive test. Brady and the entire Bucs organization now fully vaccinated against the virus. Tampa kicking off the regular season on Thursday against the Cowboys. He did say that he feels like the pandemic is going to be challenging. He said, John, that it's going to play more of a factor this year and that's likely true with athletes having a little more freedom of movement, fans coming back into the stadium. We saw this weekend in college football they're going to have to navigate it.

BERMAN: I have to tell you, like, my phone was buzzing with this story. I couldn't quite figure out why it was such a big deal that he had COVID and got better. I'm thrilled he did get better. Obviously, he let his guard down a bit during that boat parade.

But he's right about COVID, I think, going to play a huge role in the NFL season.


BERMAN: More than people realize.

MANNO: Yes, and Bruce Arians has said, hey, we're going to lock down and do things the way that we've been doing them. But right now they're only one of two teams that are fully vaccinated. So it's going to be an issue.

BERMAN: Carolyn Manno, great to see you. Thanks so much.

There is uncertainty growing this morning about the rollout of coronavirus booster shots. We have the latest details about when you should expect to receive a third dose.

KEILAR: And calls to abolish the filibuster are growing louder as Democrats try to preserve voting and abortion rights. We're going to have a debate on this issue, next.




SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): I believe we should abolish the filibuster. I do not believe an archaic rule should be used to allow us to put our heads in the sand, to use Justice Sotomayor's words, to put our heads in the sand and not take action on the important issues. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar calling on the Senate to abolish the filibuster in order to protect Roe v. Wade.

This comes after the Supreme Court, of course, refused to block Texas' new ban on abortions after six weeks, essentially making it impossible for most people to get an abortion in Texas.

Speaker Pelosi has promised that the House will vote on a bill guaranteeing abortion rights, but as along as the filibuster rule exists in the Senate, that bill is almost certain to stall.

And joining us now to talk about it is CNN's senior political analyst Kirsten Powers.

OK, so let's first off take a look just at what Senator Klobuchar said. It -- how -- how important is that, how significant is it that she's now taking this position to you?

KIRSTEN POWERS, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think it's significant. Look, I think that -- and I do think that Democrats have been frustrated about this, obviously, for a long time. I do think what happened in Texas is taking things to another level.

But even without that, there's so many things that are happening that Democrats can't do anything about, whether it's protecting voting rights, which is so central to the country, to the functioning of the country and to protecting the rights of people to vote. I mean there's nothing more fundamental really to democracy than that. The fact that the planet is literally on fire and something needs to be done about climate change. I mean there are huge issues that aren't being dealt with because Republicans refuse to work together to reach any kind of consensus, which is interestingly what people will say about the filibuster, you're not supposed to get rid of the filibuster because it's supposed to encourage people to reach consensus.

But does anybody really think that that's what's happening? Nobody's trying to reach consensus. The Republican Party has been explicit for quite some time, since Barack Obama came into office, that they don't want to reach consensus. They want to block everything the Democrats want to do.

BERMAN: You know who wanted to get away of the filibuster a few years ago? Donald Trump.


BERMAN: Donald Trump wanted to get rid of the filibuster bae because he wanted the Republican-led Senate to pass more of his stuff.

So, Kirsten, the flip side of this is, OK, you get rid of the filibuster now with Democrats in control, what happens in two years if/when the Republicans take over the Senate, what happens in four years if they once again control all three branches? POWERS: Yes, I think that that's something that everybody's pretty

realistic about, that that, obviously, will be an issue and -- but, like I said, there are things that are happening right now that need to be dealt with and Joe Biden isn't going to be able to do -- to deal with a lot of these major issues as long as the filibuster exists.


And so, you know, what else is he supposed to do or what else is -- are Democrats supposed to do? It's not going to be great when Republicans are in power. I will say, generally speaking, when you look back over history, the really big sort of history changing legislation is done by Democrats for the most part. Republicans spend much more time blocking things, undoing things, and it's true they could undo some things. But once you are able to make something the law of the land, it makes it a lot harder to undo things.

And so I think you have a choice of doing nothing basically and sitting back and watching voting rights being dismantled and watching nothing being done about climate change and watching, you know, this -- this insanity in Texas of what's going on in other Republican states -- you know, Republicans in other states now are saying they want to imitate this kind of lawlessness of really overturning Roe v. Wade at the state level and deputizing people to turn against each other. I just -- I feel like Democrats' hands are tied, right? It's just -- you can't just sit here and do nothing.

KEILAR: You know, long term, what would this do to Congress envisioned as the House, of course, being the tea --


KEILAR: The hot tea cup and the Senate being the saucer where the hot tea bubbles over and cools? How would you not have the situation where there's these wild swings, even if it is Republicans undoing legislation of Democrats, and then it's sort of whiplash instead of, I guess, intransigence that you see in the Senate.

POWERS: Yes, well, so that's -- that's what's supposed to happen, right? But -- but I don't think that the founding -- the founders of this country envisioned -- like when -- when they envisioned the Senate, they envisioned what's happening right now. They envisioned a place where people would -- well, first of all, they envisioned a majoritarian Senate. That's what they created. There was no filibuster. There's no filibuster in the Constitution. It's something that was added. And they envisioned -- they didn't envision minority rule. They envisioned majority rule, which means you need 51 votes to pass something. That's what's supposed to happen.

They also envisioned people working together and trying to reach a consensus. I don't think they envisioned people saying we're going to block everything that you do and we're going to try to ruin your agenda. That's not -- that's not what's supposed to happen. And, frankly, it's not what's even happened in our life -- lifetimes if we're to look back at the way the Senate used to operate. This isn't how they used to operate. It used to be more like what you're talking about.

But let's not pretend that that's what it is now. It's just not. It's just a place where everything goes to die basically because the Republicans refuse to work on the Democrats with anything. You know, occasionally they'll work on something, but on major legislation, it's very difficult to get anything done.

KEILAR: Yes, look, we're going to have to see, what is maybe the thing that tips Democrats over when it comes to really --


KEILAR: You know, is this sort of the tipping point when it comes to the filibuster? Could it be this?


KEILAR: Certainly if it's going to be anything, maybe it is.

Kirsten, thank you so much. Really appreciate it.

And NEW DAY continues right now.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I am Brianna Keilar, along with John Berman, for this special Labor Day edition of NEW DAY.

And, this morning. The Biden administration is dealing with some serious challenges on this holiday weekend.

President Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, refusing to say when booster shots will be available, only that the president is committed to following the science. The Pfizer vaccine booster plan remains on track for the week of September 20th. That is according to a source familiar with the discussions here. But it may actually take a few weeks longer to move forward with boosters for Moderna's vaccine.

Klain is disputing reports that some FDA officials were not on board with the White House putting out a specific date for when people should expect booster shots, saying that boosters would only become available after they received full approval.

BERMAN: This comes as the U.S. sees cases continuing to rise, averaging 160,000 new cases per day. Numbers not seen since January. Numbers that are three times higher than last Labor Day.

One positive sign that we're just beginning to see is a slight drop in hospitalizations, at least a plateau. You can see it at the end of that -- well, you can't see it anymore, at the end of that graph there. Let's hope that continues. I mean if the hospitalizations start to go down, that would be a positive trend.

About half the country at this point is fully vaccinated. Will boosters or anything be able to reach the millions of adults who have yet to get even a single shot?

Let's bring in CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.

Elizabeth, this issue of boosters, where do things stand this morning?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Where they stand this morning right now is that the boosters for Pfizer may indeed happen starting the week of September 20th.


But that won't be true for Moderna most likely.