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Manchin On What He & Sinema Have Been Discussing With McConnell; Manchin Rejects Pelosi's Adding Of Paid Leave To House Bill; Write-In Candidate Defeats Socialist In Buffalo Mayor's Race; White House Sets Jan. 4 Vaccine Deadline For Large Employers; Man Mauled By Bear Loses Sight But Gains Wisdom. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired November 04, 2021 - 08:30   ET



SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Reconciliation was never designed for major policy changes. I sat in Bob Bird seat, and he put what they call the Bird Rule.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Is there a rule that says that Republicans can't vote for this?

MANCHIN: Oh, not at all. Not at all. But they know when there's no participation, you're not going to get either side. The same as we didn't participate --


MANCHIN: -- in the tax cuts in 2017, John. It was all done with Republicans, and we Democrats were all against it. Don't you think we ought to be able to come to agreement just to fix the tax code?

BERMAN: I'm going to come back, I'm going to come back to the Build Back Better agenda in a moment, because I want to stick with the lessons learned from the election if I can.


BERMAN: Abigail Spanberger, Congresswoman from Virginia, Democrat said of Joe Biden, she says nobody elected him to be FDR. They elected him to be normal and stop the chaos. What do you think about that?

MANCHIN: And I think he can do that. And I really do. I believe in President Biden, I still do. And I will always because he's a good person. He's here for the right reason, he really isn't in government for the right reason. We just have to work together, we can't go too far left. This is not a center left or left country. We are a center, if anything, has a little center right country in his means that's being shown. And we got to be able to recognize that. And all my friends on the left are progressives or liberals, whatever I said, I'm not. I always say that I'm, I'm a responsible West Virginia Democrat, and I am fiscally responsible and socially compassionate. I think most people in the middle feel that way. But I also empathize with the people on the far left in the far right, that's aspirational. But come together, realize what can and can't be done. Don't force basically something that's not going to happen to make it make people believe it will. Let's look at the finances, John inflation. You asked about the election, people are scared to death in West Virginia, about the high rising cost of gasoline, of food, now of utilities, the basic needs of life is going up and making more of a burden on them, no matter how much money we send out.

BERMAN: One of the issues that seemed to play a large role in Virginia was education and parents role in education, and in some cases, the way that America's history regarding racism has been taught in those schools. Now, you're a former governor, you have dealt with schools directly. Why do you think this was a fertile issue there?

MANCHIN: I don't know. I think that basically, during the debate, and Terry might have, when he said what he said, and it was just taken and they ran with it, you know. We all know the parents must be involved in children's education, you must be paying attention to what's going on in the classroom. And you must be working with both the school that your children go to the teachers that they have, and your children at home, if you're involved in you should be. But with that being said, the curriculum is going to be set if everyone agrees, but if they don't, they should speak out. That's what PTO is about. Parent Teachers Organizations are for that reason. And that reason is why they've always been involved in as far as I can remember in an education when I was governor, I always enjoyed having the input of parents and all that, and then we have to make decisions. And then you have to explain those. What you're teaching.

BERMAN: Do you think Democrats are in the wrong place somehow on education right now?

MANCHIN: I don't know. I don't really I hope not, I'm not, I can tell you that. I still looked to the parents to see what they think their children should be or how they're reacting back home when they get home from school. And social media plays such a part in their life on it's not been a good part as far as I can see. But, you know, to each his own, I guess on that.

BERMAN: I want to ask you about a few moments that happened on the Senate floor yesterday, if I can, you can't see the video, but I'll give you a really good pay by play of what happened. And you were there. So maybe you remember, at one point, yesterday, and I believe this was about the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, it was being discussed. You were on the floor. And we see you talking with Kyrsten Sinema, senator from Arizona, I think we can see this talking to Mitch McConnell, and John Thune, what was that about?

MANCHIN: You know, we always tell -- I talked to everybody, but I always talk to my Republican friends finding there's a pathway forward on anything, I need help. We all need help. We need to work together. And I think that voting is basically the bedrock of democracy. I really do. And I like to see us and how in the world and we talk about this all the time. They give me their point of view. I give them my point of view. Back in 1965, you know, we passed it and the last time we passed it unanimous was in 206. What has changed? Why do we not want to protect the polling place?

When I was Secretary of State, John, we used to have basically contest with all the secretaries of state or in the organization who got the greatest turnout and what so -- what did you use? What new things that you do in your state to get more people to turn out early voting? That's how I found out about early voting.

So, when this for the people, I thought it was a very overreaching piece of legislation. It really just didn't get back to protecting the Voting Rights, protecting people's rights, no one being blocked from voting or making it hard. And we started talking and working all summer long. But, you know, that all those talks on we never had Republicans involved.


BERMAN: Right.

MANCHIN: That was wrong.

BERMAN: You did. I mean, you keep on hoping for bipartisanship, but you don't seem to find any partners when you reach across the aisle.

MANCHIN: (INAUDIBLE) you have to work at John, you have to -- and today's divided country and divided government that we haven't divided politics that we have, you have to work a little bit harder. How many people did you see on the floor working and talking to both sides? How many times do you see that John, look out? And ask them how many times they've had coffee with each other? Ask them how many know each other's wives or children or what their pleasures are as far as sports or recreation? Why don't we find out who we are? Why don't we talk to each other, rather than talking through an over?

BERMAN: Let me --

MANCHIN: John, I go, let me just say this, you won't know what's wrong with the place. I go to work in a hostile working environment every day. If you're a Democrat, and a Republican is up for election, you're supposed to be against that person. If Donald Duck's running against that person, you're supposed to give money from your pac to help the other person, be the person that you've been working with. And even sometimes, they'll say, can you come campaigned against so and so. And then we come back on Monday. And here's the person that we've given money against. And here's the person that we're supposed to give basic work against saying, hey, could you sound on this amendment for me? Could you work with me on this amendment? How well do you think that's going to work, John, and I've never done that.

If we ever do anything to change this place, there should be an ethics law against us campaigning against each other against us, basically sending money to the candidate against the setting colleague. These are people you're working with. You have an obligation or responsibility to get something done. And you can't get something done if you're the enemy on the other side every time there's an election. BERMAN: Want to ask you about one other moment that did happen on the floor and happen after you were talking to McConnell was soon there. Someone came up to you. We think it was Senator Tim Kaine, Democrat from Virginia seemed to point at you and Kyrsten Sinema it looks a little tense there. OK, what would happen there?

MANCHIN: Tim Kane's most beautiful person, I swear to God, there's not a pure heart and Tim Kaine. Tim comes in, says, Joe, good work on this on the election bill, on the John Lewis Bill. Good work on that, let's work some more on this. OK.


MANCHIN: Thanks for Tim.


MANCHIN: That was it.

BERMAN: Doesn't sound like a hostile environment as far as --

MANCHIN: Not at all.

BERMAN: -- (INAUDIBLE) you were concerned there.

MANCHIN: Look, my colleagues have been very, very concerned. They understand they know my state, and they know me.

BERMAN: Let me dig in a little bit if I can --


BERMAN: -- to the Build Back Better agenda and exactly where you are. Because you have made yourself pretty clear on some cases.


BERMAN: Paid family leave.


BERMAN: The Democrats and the House are putting it back in the bill.


BERMAN: That changed your view on it at all?

MANCHIN: John, I don't think it belongs in the bill. And I'll tell you why. That's a piece of legislation that really is needed from the standpoint if we do it and do it right. When there's participation between the employer and employee, from the small, small companies, small businesses that I represent all over West Virginia and all over the country. But basically, it should be participation. We can do that in a bipartisan way we can make sure it's lasting. Right now we're putting something in there that is --

BERMAN: Can I ask, have you have you tried to find Republican colleagues to work with this on?

MANCHIN: Oh, yes, I've been talking to him. I've talked to Susan Collins, to Lisa, all my friends.

BERMAN: Do you have (INAUDIBLE)?

MANCHIN: They want to do something. They -- absolutely. They're willing to work with this.

BERMAN: You have 10 Republicans to help you on that right now.

MANCHIN: Well, basically, we just need to -- you can. No, we haven't gotten to that point yet, because it's been part of this. It came up. John, I had not heard an awful lot about that before. I know it's been an agenda on some people. And I think Kirsten Gillibrand has been very committed and dedicated to this. She's worked extremely hard. And I told her, I said, Kirsten we can work together. And I will, I'm committed to that. And I'll give you my word that we will work on it, we can get something done. That's going to be lasting.

John, when you do something and reconciliation, and you said all the costs and all the debt towards our national debt and taxpayers, usually that's flip flop back and forth, as soon as someone else takes over, as the as the majority.

BERMAN: Let me stay.

MANCHIN: Let's fix that.



BERMAN: In West Virginia, the law is that you can't put a newborn in daycare until they're six weeks old. Right? Four weeks of paid family leave, that would help people get to that six weeks where they can put their child in daycare, it'd be something that could help a lot of a working class people, your constituents. You always talk about the fact you have to be able to go home and explain to your constituents, the decisions you're making. How do you explain to a working mother that your afford paid family leave but you're only going to vote against it because as part of this process bill?

MANCHIN: John, because basically the people in West Virginia I work with have common sense. They have responsibilities. They do understand that when you do need to pay for these things, they want that to last, they don't want to be flip flopped back and forth and be used as like a yo-yo. So, I'm committed to working on that. We'll get something done. We can if we're committed. You can't just say that if it's not in here it's gone forever. That's not going to happen. We can get it done, let's just commit to getting it done. But let's commit to getting it done in the right way. So people can build up what time they need. And as they build the time up, they can use it as they as they desire or as they need. These are things that can be done.

[08:40:18] BERMAN: You're willing to spend --

MANCHIN: Absolutely John --

BERMAN: -- you're willing to spend deficit spend on infrastructure, yes, but not on --

MANCHIN: (INAUDIBLE) spend spending on anything --

BERMAN: Well, but, but, but --

MANCHIN: -- John (INAUDIBLE) we had to accept what we had at the end (INAUDIBLE).

BERMAN: But the infrastructure bill, but the infrastructure bill will create by the scoring there will create a bit of a deficit or there is a deficit related to that.

MANCHIN: If you look at basically dynamic scoring on that there's nothing going to be more than we know for certain that's going to grow our economy, because we're going to be paying -- that bill goes out to eight to 10 years, no gimmicks was played there wasn't like, oh, we're only going to do fix the bridges for two years. But we're going to take eight years to pay for.

BERMAN: On paid family leave, there are many look at and say there's a clear economic benefit to pay family leave, you get women back in the workforce, by and large --

MANCHIN: Get it done, John.

BERMAN: -- much quicker. They pay into Social Security, there's an economic benefit there.

MANCHIN: Let's get it done. That's exactly what I'm saying. Let's get it done in regular order through the process.

BERMAN: OK. But, you're going to vote no, you're going to vote against it (INAUDIBLE) --

MANCHIN: John, I'm not saying what I'm going to vote, I'm seeing the bill yet. You know, we haven't even worked it in the Senate.

BERMAN: That is fair, we will wait and ask you again, when you see the bill on immigration.

MANCHIN: Wait and wait until I vote, John, and you'll know.

BERMAN: OK. On immigration, Democrats, there are Democrats in both the House and the Senate who want to include immigration provisions, as part of the Build Back Better agenda. In some cases, it would ban deportation for some immigrants who are here, on other cases would create work permits. What's your view on this?

MANCHIN: My view basically is the same as it been since 2013, John, we have to secure our borders, there cannot be calamity and chaos at the borders, which is what you see. And basically not addressing border security, my heart bleeds and I voted for the 2013 bill, I want a pathway to citizenship for the people who've been here contributing. I'm all for all of those things. But you have to secure our borders.

And that's what the people of West Virginia, that's what the majority of people that I talked to across the country one. And the other thing is, we can find a way that we can have people are here for the right reason. I think immigration, we all got here some way my -- I'm second generation, my grandparents came from Italy, half my on my father's side, and on my mother's side came from Czechoslovakia. So, I'm a proud European immigrant, I guess, or descendants of immigrants.

I know when you come for the right reason, you work hard. You live by the rules and you play by those rules. You can make a life for yourself and you have to give them a pathway for that. And I'm all for that. But basically you have to take care of the boarder.

BERMAN: But if the parliamentarian Senate parliamentarian says it's OK to be in reconciliation. Would you be OK with that?

MANCHIN: Reconciliation?

BERMAN: If, if the problem is --


MANCHIN: You know, I've said this, when the parliamentary makes her ruling, that's when I make a decision on that --


MANCHIN: -- yes, I would be if they make a decision. But I haven't seen that because I think the scrub is going on to the scrub will go on as we're speaking.

BERMAN: In terms of extending Medicare benefits for dental, which is something that Bernie Sanders still wants very much. And you've been in discussions with him. You and Senator Sanders --


BERMAN: -- have had a lot of talks. Is there any middle ground there for you to expand Medicare or you just?

MANCHIN: John, I love this, I love to expand to, to dental, to eye, to ears, everything that you that we've talked about, it'd be wonderful. But guess what, in West Virginia, the lifeline to these people that I represent and people all over this country is that Medicare, I mean, Social Security and Medicare are the lifelines to many, many people. That's all they have. And they're told right now, by 2026, Medicare will be in default. It'll be insolvent. And they're told by 2033, the Social Security, should we be adding more weight to take it down sooner or quicker? Or basically, they have to pay higher premiums? Let's get our finances in order, John. That's all. You go out and buy everything you see and everything you want, even if you can't afford it. And you say I'll worry about the debt later. I don't think so. BERMAN: State and local tax deductions. This was something that was removed as part of the 2017 tax bill. This is something that Northeastern and Coastal Democrats have wanted to get some of these deductions back in. There appears to be some kind of an agreement between Senator Menendez and Bernie Sanders, again, to allow for some of these deductions, but maybe cap it at people with income of $400,000. How do you feel about that?

MANCHIN: I just heard about that. John, I heard about it last night. I haven't seen it at all, so to speak on it without having more knowledge on it. I really don't know. I know, it's a very big price tag to it. And it'd be -- so we'll just see how they're working. Depends on how they work it through the program. I have not seen it. So, to talk about it, I don't have the knowledge to do that.

BERMAN: Joe Biden, the president said when he was asked directly was still in Europe, he said, where's Joe Manchin going to be on the end here? And President Biden said, in the end he thinks that you Senator Manchin will be a yes. You've talked to him a lot what. Why does he think that? Why does he think that?


MANCHIN: Well, you know, what I think we're cut out the same cloth basically from a legislative process. And I really think Joe Biden is a moderate. I think that he understands he wants to sit down. He did it for 36 years, people that worked with him that are still in the Senate now, tell me that Joe Biden was great to work with, you always knew where he came from, but he was always willing to meet you in the middle. So, if we can meet in the middle, he's right, we will find something be able to move forward. And if we're not in an error, consolable, and they have to do what they have to do. I understand that. But we're going to continue to work.

The President, I believe in Joe Biden, I really do. I think he's the right person, the right place, the right time.

BERMAN: When was the last time --

MANCHIN: We have just to work together? And they're just, you got it. They're just pushing him left. We're pushing him for the left. And that's not Joe Biden.

BERMAN: You don't think it's Joe Biden? When was the last time you spoke to him?

MANCHIN: Before he left, before he left on the trip. We'll be speaking I'm sure again.

BERMAN: No doubt. But have you given him reason to believe that you will get to yes.

MANCHIN: I think that he -- I mean, if you look at my basically public service, I have always tried to bring people together and find a compromise. And I do that up until the end, sometimes you never get there. But you can't quit trying. And I think that I'll try up until the end, we'll see what happens. But, you know, you always want to be positive about this and make something good happen.

BERMAN: And, and --

MANCHIN: It's a lot of good net. Let me say, John is I would say again, if the things that we don't get in the bill, because we don't agree, and if they want to push it through, then we'll have to see what the vote will be. We'll live with that. If they want to compromise and work on it, and then the things that don't get in that we think are very good. It's going to give all of the progressives all the people in the caucus progressive and on the House and the Senate, something to go out and run on in 2022. And maybe they'll elect more people that are progressive or like minded, and that'll be great. I would be insignificant. I can't wait for that day to come.

BERMAN: I've got to let you go. And I got two very quick questions for you.


BERMAN: Number one, would you be willing to look President Biden if it got to that point where it didn't get to a bill you like, would you be willing to look him in the eye and say no?

MANCHIN: Oh, I think that's no way you can be you have to be honest, John.

BERMAN: OK. And then the second question, not nearly as weighty is that. We understand that the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle has been calling senators to argue for paid family leave. Has she called you?

MANCHIN: I haven't talk to her, no.

BERMAN: Do you feel slighted and that's got to hurt not getting a call. She called Senator Capito your colleague from West Virginia and apparently Senator Capito thought it was you on the line it was Meghan Markle.

MANCHIN: I think surely knows my voice pretty well by now. We're good friends.

BERMAN: Senator Joe Manchin, we appreciate your time. Thank you so much for being with us. Always appreciate the discussion.

MANCHIN: Thanks John, appreciate it. Sure thing. Bye, bye.

BERMAN: So the jury finally seated in the Ahmaud Arbery murder trial. Why is his mother calling the selection devastating?

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, he was defeated by a Democratic socialist in his party's primary how Buffalo's Mayor fought back to keep the seat? He's going to join us next.


[08:52:04] KEILAR: What an unusual race for mayor in Buffalo, New York after losing the primary to Democratic Socialist India Walton. Incumbent Byron Brown decided to run as a write-in candidate coining the slogan Write Down Byron Brown. Now votes are still being counted. But Walton seemed to concede last night, she wrote this on Twitter, it seems unlikely that we will end up with enough votes to inaugurate a Walton administration in January.

And joining us now to discuss this is Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. OK, Mayor, congratulations, it appears are in order here (INAUDIBLE).


KEILAR: I just I just wonder, as you were enjoying your win, what the takeaway is here for you. Is this a rebuke of socialism? Is this a rebuke of defund the police? Is this a rebuke of the progressive wing of your party?

BROWN: I think it clearly is a rebuke of defund police. It is a rebuke of socialism. And I think there were those from outside the city of Buffalo that underestimated the Buffalo community. They tried to come in and tell us who to vote for. And the people fought back and we won.

KEILAR: So, Ms. Waltons accusing you of dirty tricks. She's saying that you are backed by Republicans? How are you going to manage this? How are you going to heal this rift moving forward?

BROWN: Well, Ms. Walton is wrong again, she was wrong about a lot of what she said during the course of the campaign. She was wrong about wanting to defund police, she was wrong about wanting to raise our taxes as we're coming through a pandemic. So just another misstatement by Ms. Walton. And the reason why she is the loser in the election is because of her inexperience and lack of qualifications for this position. I'm a healer, I'm a uniter, my entire political career, I've brought people together. And that's what we're going to do going forward in the city of Buffalo.

Prior to the pandemic, we were seeing a real renaissance in our city. We have plans to make sure that that Renaissance reaches every neighborhood in every household, and I'm looking forward to getting back to work and continuing to move our city forward.

KEILAR: And look, it's very clear, this was a tough race between you two, but you know that, pardon me, part of the reason that she appealed to folks in your city is because of her personal story. She has worked her way out of very tough circumstances. And that's something that speaks to a lot of people who are your constituents. So, you know, what do you say to them? How do you heal this rift?

BROWN: Well, I think again, part of that personal story was fake. You know, we later found out that every nursing job she had she either was terminated from or resigned from. She called herself a successful, not for profit executive. The goal of her organization under her leadership was to build 50 houses, she didn't build a single house and took credit for two houses being built that some other entity built.


I have a personal story, and I have a record, too. And I think the story and the difference is trying to do things the right way, working hard, getting an education, following the teaching of your parents and your community. So, there are other stories, I think that are compelling as well.

And it's important that other stories and other ways of doing things and moving forward are told to the community. And that's what I will do. I will talk to the community about the value of working hard of doing things for yourself, not depending on the government to do things for you. Those are the teachings that I got from my parents, as a child, and those are the things that I and my wife, Michelle, we teach our family.

KEILAR: Like your story, clearly compelling to voters, because congratulations to you, Mayor Byron Brown, and we appreciate you being with us this morning.

BROWN: Thank you, good to be with you.

KEILAR: Here's what else to watch today.


BERMAN: So we have some breaking news involving the deadline for when large employers need to have their workers vaccinated.


BERMAN: Incredible story of survival after a young man was attacked by a grizzly bear while fishing in Alaska. Dr. Sanjay Gupta brings this today's "The Human Factor."


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In 2003 Dan Bigley was a free spirit and the backcountry guide in Alaska. That summer, the 25-year-old and his friend headed out on a fishing trip. Bigley said goodbye to his girlfriend.

DAN BIGLEY, CLINICAL DIRECTOR, DENALI FAMILY SERVICES: And I told her that I would call her when I got off the river. And unfortunately, you know, that was a promise that I was unable to keep. I had had lots of bear encounters. And this one was very, very different, very unique. The bear comes ripping around the corner and she was upon us. She was standing on top of me basically with either claw digging it, she cocked her head sideways and bit down across my face. Every single bone in my head had been broken except for my mandible.

GUPTA (voice-over): But they were so remote. It would be five and a half hours before Bigley got into surgery.

BIGLEY: I always remember them telling me that I would always be blind. I realized early on it'd be easy to slip into life and bitterness. GUPTA (voice-over): Waking nightmares haunted him for years. He got therapy and made up his mind to reengage in life. Six years after the attack, Bigley got his master's in social work. And today he's a clinical director working with families dealing with trauma.

BIGLEY: These experiences off sometimes cause people to disengage from life but what I've learned is that the more engaged the less disabled.


GUPTA (voice-over): Bigley and his girlfriend got married and had two kids.