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Democratic Leadership Says Votes on Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and Build Back Better Act To Take Place; U.S. Senate Still Negotiating on Contents on Senate Version of Build Back Better Bill; Special Examines January 6th Insurrection; Pfizer: Anti-COVID Pill 89 Percent Effective at Preventing Hospitalization, Death. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired November 05, 2021 - 08:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[08:00:21]

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Friday, November 5th, and I am Brianna Keilar with John Berman. And we're looking right now at some live pictures of Capitol Hill on what is supposed to be -- we're actually looking at a live pictures of John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: There we go.

KEILAR: Here we are. Look at this. OK, some activity going to pick up here because maybe today is finally going to be the day that the party can get enough votes to pass President Biden's sweeping Build Back Better plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. We know that we have been saying this a lot. Democrats, though, do seem more confident that we've ever seen them. This will proceed, and we're watching for all the new twists and turns.

Months of infighting between moderates and progressives have led to this hour as House Democrats reconvene on the floor to debate and, potentially, they think they will vote on both pieces of legislation here.

BERMAN: Yes, as Brianna said, House leadership says it feels confident about the fact they will vote on this today. But I think we sort of heard that before. They mostly probably just feel anxious about getting this through, getting it done finally so they can move on to other things. We do know that President Biden called House members overnight in an effort to help rally support.

Let's being with Sunlen Serfaty live on Capitol Hill. What do we know is happening, Sunlen?

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: John, the House just gaveled in in the last few seconds here, and this sets up potentially a huge day for Democrats and the Biden White House. Democratic leaders are projecting confidence going into today, saying there will be a vote, both on the social spending bill, and the infrastructure bill. But certainly, they will be sweating out each and every minute of what likely will be a very long day up here on Capitol Hill.

Now, overnight there was a series of late last-minute negotiations, closed door meetings that ultimately pushed a planned vote for last night into today. There was some negotiations around a big sticking point, which had been state and local tax deductions, that will now be capped at $80,000 a year.

Also going in today, big questions coming from moderates who have been very vocal in saying that they only want to move to a vote today on the social spending plan if they have a score from the nonpartisan CBO, Congressional Budget Office. They said they need that to go into a vote today. Here's what one moderate told us late last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER, (D-NJ) CHAIR, HOUSE PROBLEM SOLVERS CAUCUS: I think until we get some of that information, it would be irresponsible until we get the final text, of course, and before we see the impact on the economy and our country. But again, we're supposed to get some of those numbers any minute now, waiting on those. And I think if we can get that analysis, that will be very helpful in moving forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SERFATY: Now today when and if the infrastructure bill is voted on and passed, it will then be sent to President Biden's desk for his signature, since it was already passed in the Senate previously. But on the social spending plan, this has a long way forward. If it is passed today, it will then be passed over to the Senate where very likely there will be big changes made. So John, just the start of a long process there.

BERMAN: All right, well, we're watching it closely to see what twist and turn happens next. Sunlen Serfaty on Capitol Hill, thanks so much.

KEILAR: And watching along with us, CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper here to talk about potentially -- it does seem like this is going to be the big day, Jake. What are you expecting here, and just how confident are Democrats about this actually proceeding?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: Well, first of all, as just a general note, when it comes to watching Congress, my philosophy is always bet the under.

(LAUGHTER)

TAPPER: Always expect that they're not going to -- always expect they're not going to achieve what they say they're going to chief.

Now, that said, I will say that the House Democratic leadership is voicing a confidence I have not heard yet throughout the months and months and months of discussing the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act. They are saying that they intend to vote on both, and when I say do you have the votes, they say, we don't take a vote unless we have the votes. So the final test will be do they actually bring this up for a vote. And if they do, then my expectation will be that they have -- they think they have the votes.

I have asked some of the individuals who have expressed concern about, for instance, the Build Back Better Act and the price tag of it or what's in it, and I have heard that some of those concerns still remain.

[08:05:06]

But that does not mean ultimately that they're not going to vote for it.

BERMAN: I do want to point out that if the infrastructure bill, if the House actually votes on the infrastructure bill today, in the next few hours, it could become law. President Biden could sign that into law. The Senate has already passed that. It could happen two months ago at this point. But that's still significant in and of itself. You there have a bipartisan achievement, a massive infrastructure spending bill. Infrastructure week would finally happen.

TAPPER: Yes, although I should note that I have heard from people close to the process of the infrastructure bill, and, remember, it passed the Senate with something like 69 votes. I think it was all 50 Democrats and 19 Republicans in the Senate months and months ago. I don't know how many Republicans in the House are going to vote for it, and that will be interesting to see, because this is something that Republicans have said they could support, they want to support, and yet because this has been engulfed in a long complicated process, and because I think some of the emotional, psychological, and political impetus for there to be bipartisanship has dissipated, especially among House Republicans, I am told that there will be fewer Republican votes for it today than there would have been a few months ago, even though it's the exact same legislation that would have the exact same impact on the American people and our bridges and tunnels and roads.

KEILAR: I thought when you were saying, Jake, that your advice about people watching Congress is don't, I thought that was going to be your advice, don't do it. But here we are, this is what we have been doing, this chutes and ladders kind of game that we have been watching when it comes to these bills. And here we are. But you were talking a little bit about the impact. I do think it is really important to focus on that, because we're talking about passenger rail, we're talking about infrastructure investments that really will change people's lives.

TAPPER: Yes. We're talking about clean water for people who can't get it in the United States, and there are millions of them. We're talking about all the broadband deserts out there where people do not have access to the same kind of Internet that we enjoy in big cities, the same kind of wi-fi. This could be, theoretically could really affect the lives of the American people in a very, very positive way. And that's why it got 69 votes in the Senate. And we'll have to see.

The real question is, of course, is does the Build Back Better bill, will that have the votes to pass. And if that does not have the votes to pass, well, then, progressives rebel and refuse to vote for the infrastructure bill. Again, as I say, generally speaking, take the under, but Democrats do sound more confident than I have ever heard them.

BERMAN: I do want to point out that if the House does pass its version of the Build Back Better plan, the huge social spending plan, really that's just the beginning. Then that goes to the Senate, and the Senate is where you may know that Joe Manchin does a lot of his work, and Kyrsten Sinema do a lot of their work. So they really may have to start not from scratch, but they have to piece something together that can get through the Senate, and it will not include everything that is in this House bill.

TAPPER: In particular the 12 weeks of paid family leave, or maybe it's four weeks of paid family leave. I'm not sure where Speaker Pelosi has landed on that. But she has said she is going to put that in the Build Back Better Act. Senator Manchin at the Senate does not support it. So that will be an interesting process to see what, if anything, Senate Democrats are able to pass, and then whether or not there needs to be a reconciliation where the House and Senate bills are then negotiated, voted on again, and then go to the White House. I suspect that there are a lot of Democrats that are wary of such a process as opposed to a more streamlined version of just removing one item and then sending it to President Biden for a signature.

KEILAR: Yes, look, she is sending a message about priorities, maybe, that she sees them as different in the House than in the Senate. Jake, as always, we cannot get enough of you, so if you would just stick around for us so we can talk more ahead here. We're going to be talking about Jake's new CNN special report on the efforts to overturn the 2020 election. It's really a must see here. What Congresswoman Liz Cheney told jake.

Plus, she's white, and blonde, but to her surprise that wasn't enough to keep her out of jail after the insurrection. We'll tell you how long this woman will be behind bars.

BERMAN: And we are going to have breaking news in 21 minutes.

[08:10:00]

The monthly jobs report, this is a big measurement of where the economic recovery is. An economists' estimates are all over the place right now. So we'll bring you those numbers when they come through.

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BERMAN: In a new CNN Special Report, Jake Tapper examines the failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election. It's called "Trumping Democracy, An American Coup," and it airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. In it, Jake speaks to several Republicans who stood up against Trump's efforts. Here's a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: You'll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength.

REP. ANTHONY GONZALEZ, (R-OH): January 6th was the line that can't be crossed. January 6th was an unconstitutional attempt led by the president of the United States to overturn an American election and reinstall himself in power illegitimately. That's fallen nation territory. That's third world country territory. My family left Cuba to avoid that fate. I will not let it happen here.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: That's Republican Congressman Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio.

GONZALEZ: I rise today in support of the Cuban people.

TAPPER: Grandson of an immigrant, he has a quintessentially American success story. A talented wide receiver who played three years for Ohio State, five more in the NFL, and when injuries sidelined him, he got a business degree from Stanford.

All this before age 34, when Gonzalez felt called to run for Congress.

REP. ANTHONY GONZALEZ (R-OH): I got into this because, look, my family came here from Cuba. My father's family came here from Cuba. We come from a country that has fallen. We come from a failed nation and we see what happens when the rule of law is dismantled, when a strong man is allowed to take hold, and democratic norms cease to exist.

TAPPER: And now the conservative Republican has a warning for all of us about what Trump and his minions tried to do when they tried to steal the election.

GONZALEZ: This country has been through a lot. We fought through it and we persevered.

As much as I despise almost every policy of the Biden administration, the country can survive a round of bad policy. The country can't survive torching the Constitution. That's the one thing the country can't survive.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BERMAN: And we're back with Jake Tapper, Jake, wow. It is so moving to hear from Anthony Gonzalez about why, why this is so important to him.

TAPPER: Yeah, as you know, Congressman Gonzalez, a conservative Republican from Ohio, some people had hoped he would some day be the first Cuban-American president, that he -- he hasn't done any TV interviews to talk about this. And he's not running for re-election because of the environment and also because of how tough this has been on his family, this job.

And he speaks very compellingly and movingly and he is a conservative Republican. He supported Trump policies. This is not about him being a squish or him being a RINO or a liberal. He's very conservative.

But he saw what happened on January 6th and he's very moved to warn the American people, and that's one of the things we try to do in this documentary is explain this wasn't just about January 6th. This was a months long process of Donald Trump trying to flip the results of the election because he did not like them, because they -- and because -- because he lost.

And it was a very methodical approach to try to overturn the election, January 6th was the most visible shocking part of it. But the warning that we hear in this documentary from people like Congressman Gonzalez and Congressman Kinzinger and Congresswoman Cheney and a bunch of Republican officials from all over the country, who helped keep democracy in tact on -- throughout the process, the warning is Donald Trump is going to try to do it again and this time he might be successful.

KEILAR: Yeah, and what did Liz Cheney, that's fascinating, you spoke to her, what did she tell you, Jake?

TAPPER: Well, she was worried about what happened when Donald Trump started first before the election, not committing to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose. She tweeted about it. And she was worried about the message she was sending, but she didn't realize how bad it was going to get. And then she was just shocked at how bad it got. And at the acquiescence of House leaders who took her job because she doesn't think they believe any of the lies about the election.

And she can't even remotely understand the idea of -- especially after -- after the bloody insurrection, after there were dead bodies in Congress, that they still McCarthy and Scalise and Stefanik and the rest of the House Republicans, almost two-thirds of them, standing and voting to disenfranchise millions of voters from Arizona and Pennsylvania, based on this same lie. And she was just stunned.

She is confident she's going win re-election. But for her, it's not even a question of -- that her -- whether or not it is worth it because she might lose her job. This is just the right thing to do.

Again, a very conservative Republican, arguably more conservative than Donald Trump, Steve Scalise, Elise Stefanik or Kevin McCarthy. This isn't about that.

BERMAN: Jake, I know you've been working on this a long time. It's very important for all of us to see. I appreciate the work you've done on it. We appreciate you getting up and talking to us this morning.

TAPPER: What do you mean getting up? It is the morning. I'm awake.

BERMAN: Look, it's like 10:30. When people come to you, and bring you your espresso with the light cream on top and crumpets.

I know this is a hardship, and I appreciate it so much. Thank you. Take the thanks!

TAPPER: Okay. But you said getting up, as if I'm not up at 8:00 in the morning? Okay. Anyway -- thank you so much.

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[08:20:01]

TAPPER: By the way -- I do want to tell -- I do want to tell our viewers we have an auction to raise money to build homes for specially designed homes for wounded veterans. If you go to my Twitter feed I have a link to it. And, Brianna and Berman both donated items for this. It is a wonderful cause for homes for our troops. So, thanks to both of you for your generosity.

BERMAN: We appreciate all the work you've done there and we appreciate you getting up this morning and telling us about that too. You can see more on the CNN special report "Trumping Democracy: An American Coup", tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

Jake, thank you so much for that.

Breaking this morning, Pfizer says its experimental pill could be a game changer against covid-19. We have new details ahead.

KEILAR: And we're keeping our eyes on Capitol Hill, where President Biden's legislative agenda could finally be facing a vote. We're told it will. We have some breaking developments ahead.

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[08:25:00]

KEILAR: Breaking this morning, Pfizer announcing its experimental pill reduces the risk of hospitalization and death by a whopping 89 percent. This is among people who are at high risk for COVID-19.

We spoke to the company's CEO just moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALBERT BOURLA, CEO, PFIZER: The introduction of this pill will save millions and millions of lives. Not everybody are getting the vaccines. So, this is why we have this unfortunate situation, but our ICUs in hospitals is overcrowded by unfortunate people that are getting COVID. Now, we have a solution for that. And this is exactly where it fits.

This is not to prevent at this stage COVID. This is to treat those that unfortunately got the disease.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: So, this could be a huge breakthrough in the battle against the pandemic. But even for at least a million Americans who have survived COVID, the battle is far from over.

CNN's Gabe Cohen is joining us now with more on this.

This is proof this story that you're showing us today, Gabe, why you do not want to get COVID.

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's absolutely right, Brianna. That's a warning coming from doctors.

So what we're talking here, what we're talking about here are COVID long haulers. These are the patients who are developing these brutal neurological issues, often months after infection. It is a long-term fight for many of these long haulers and these symptoms can be debilitating.

And now a doctor at the Mayo Clinic is estimating at least 1 million Americans are out of work because of long COVID. And it is happening as the country deals with a labor shortage.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COHEN (voice-over): Laurie Bedell feels trapped inside her Pittsburgh home and her ailing body.

LAURIE BEDELL, SUFFERING FROM POST-COVID SYNDROME: I feel like I lost the life that I had.

COHEN: It has been nearly a year since she and her family contracted COVID. Her father died.

Today she is still battling post COVD syndrome, a mysterious long-term condition plaguing some COVID patients.

Once perfectly healthy, she now keeps this long list of symptoms, like severe fatigue, brain fog and constant pain.

BEDELL: I literally can't even leave my house by myself.

COHEN: She needs a walker to get the mail.

How are you feeling now?

BEDELL: A little winded.

COHEN: Could you even work right now?

BEDELL: No. I barely function.

COHEN: Before COVID, Laurie was the nursing director for a home health agency. But she hasn't worked since January after using up her paid time off, she was laid off.

BEDELL: Sorry. Losing that job and losing that part of me has been really hard. I've become one of the patients that I cared for.

COHEN: Laurie's case is severe, but she's not alone.

DR. GREG VANICHKACHORN, OCCUPATION MEDICINE, MAYO CLINIC: Unfortunately, it's quite alarming.

COHEN: Dr. Greg Vanichkachorn is seeing this constantly.

VANICHKACHORN: Work issues have been one of most significant problems we encountered in our patient population.

COHEN: His team at the Mayo Clinic treats and studies post-COVID syndrome, looking at data from their clinic and several other studies, they noticed a troubling trend.

VANICHKACHORN: We estimate that approximately 1.3 million individuals are out of work right now, due to long haul COVID symptoms.

COHEN: He says that could mean more than a million Americans out of the labor force, as the country deals with a worker shortage. And more than 10 million open jobs as of August.

MARK ZANDI, CHIEF ECONOMIST, MOODY'S ANALYTICS: I think that's entirely plausible.

COHEN: Mark Zandi is chief economist of Moody's Analytics. He says the doctor's estimate makes sense.

ZANDI: Long COVID is a significant head wind to the labor market getting back to normal, for businesses to get business operations up and running and for the broader economy to can kick into high gear.

COHEN: Could this be an overestimate?

VANICHKACHORN: Absolutely. But it also could be an underestimate.

COHEN: Most of the long haulers they're study having well paying jobs and good insurance.

VANICHKACHORN: My fear is that there are individuals out there who are suffering severely from this condition. But they simply can't take time off of work to go get care.

COHEN: Jennifer Hobbs is a preschool teacher in Medford, Oregon, who suffered long haul symptoms for a year, from severe fatigue, to hair loss.

JENNIFER HOBBS, SUFFERING FROM POST-COVID SYNDROME: I had a headache every single day for a year.

COHEN: But she returned to her classroom needing income and health insurance.

HOBBS: It was nearly impossible for me to think about leaving. I don't know how I do it. I just make it through the day.

COHEN: The U.S. government recognizes long COVID as a disability. And patients can apply for assistance. But it can take months and some long haulers say they have been denied.

BEDELL: It's been a catastrophe for us.

COHEN: Laurie Bedell just applied for disability and is awaiting an answer. She and her husband have used up their savings and retirement funds to pay the bills.

BEDELL: Honestly, I'm terrified I'm never going to be able to go back to work.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COHEN: Now, many of the patients these clinics are studying are some of the more severe long COVID cases, so these doctors acknowledge it is hard at this point to say exactly how many long haulers are out of work. This estimate, it really reflects the concern from doctors about these long-term neurological problems and that's not just for patients who have left their jobs.

[08:30:00]