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Senate Votes as Shutdown, Default Loom and Democrats Clash Over Agenda; Biden Gets COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shot; 1-6 Committee Chair Say More Subpoenas Possible This Week; Senate GOP Blocks Bill to Suspend Debt Limit, Avert Shutdown; FBI Reports Historic Spike in Murders in 2020. Aired 6-7p ET

Aired September 27, 2021 - 18:00   ET



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Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer right next door in "THE SITUATION ROOM." See you tomorrow.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Happening now, breaking news. Congress kicks off a high stakes week with a Senate vote on the bill aimed at an averted economic calamity, as the clock ticks toward a possible government shutdown and default on the national debt.

Divided House Democrats are meeting as well with the fate of the Biden agenda clearly hanging in the balance right now.

Also tonight, President Biden just got his COVID-19 booster shot, as many vaccinated Americans are uncertain about when they will get their turn. Dr. Anthony Fauci joins us live at this critical moment in the pandemic.

And the chairman of the January 6th committee says more subpoenas may be coming this week, this as the deadline is nearing for four Trump loyalists to respond to their subpoenas.

We want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.

And we begin with the breaking news on what one lawmaker is now calling the week from hell. This hour, the Senate is voting on a bill to suspend the debt limit and avert a government shutdown. Republicans are expected to block it. And House Democrats are meeting to discuss disagreements that are threatening to sink the Biden agenda.

Phil Mattingly is standing by for us over at the White House. But, first, let's go to Capitol Hill, our Congressional Correspondent Ryan Nobles is joining us. Ryan, there's a lot going on tonight, update our viewers on the latest.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. I do not think it's an understatement to say this might be the most important week for Joe Biden since he was sworn into office as president of the United States, a number of massive issues that both the House and Senate are dealing with this week that play central into his broad agenda that he outlined for the American people during his campaign.

Right now, the Senate is voting on a plan that would allow the government to continue spending money up until December and raise the debt limit so it was able to pay its credit card bills. This bill, this is a procedural move happening right now as Republicans attempt to filibuster this plan. It is expected to fail, which is going to put Democrats in a difficult position as they find a way to avoid a government shutdown, which could come as soon as the end of the week.

Now, that's just one thing that the Congress is dealing with right now. They are also in the midst of intense negotiations over the future of two massive spending bills. One, a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that's already passed the Senate, and then a much larger $3.5 trillion human infrastructure bill that they're attempting to pass through the budget reconciliation process.

Now, House progressives have been insistent that they're not going to vote for that bipartisan deal without the reconciliation package passed into law. And the key to all of this might be the senator, Joe Manchin, from West Virginia who is still signaling that he is not ready to make an agreement on the reconciliation package.


SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): That's a heavy lift, you know, there's a lot to do, a lot to talk about. Everybody has to keep trying to work if good faith, the best you can. There's a lot in that bill, the 3.5 reconciliation bill, tax codes, climate change, social reforms, there's a lot. And people need to know what's in it, so it's going to take a while.


NOBLES: Now, Manchin would like to take some time to debate this reconciliation package but he may not have that time because the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, would like to bring the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which Manchin supports, up for a vote as soon as Thursday. And House progressives have said in the past that they're not going to vote for that bill until the reconciliation package is passed in its totality.

I caught up with progressive lawmaker Ro Khanna earlier today. This is what he said about the status of those negotiations.


REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): There's got to be an agreement. There's got to be an agreement by the holdout senators, by the holdout eight House members. And the agreement has to be simple, we're going to respect and get behind our president.

I think it is actually really hurtful to the Democratic Party that you don't have people showing this president respect. He won the election. We ought to unify behind his agenda and we ought to start falling in line. The progressives have fallen in line.


NOBLES: Now, what's important about Khanna said there is that he is willing to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure plan as long as there is an agreement in place, of framework. That doesn't necessarily mean that needs to be passed by the House and Senate. That's what they're working on right now, Wolf. That seems to be the path that would allow Democrats the best chance to being successful. The question is can they pull it off. Wolf?

BLITZER: Yes, clearly a very critical moment, right now. Ryan, I want you to stand by. We're going to get back to you in just a moment. But I want to go to our Senior White House Correspondent Phil Mattingly right now.


Phil, what is the White House doing specifically behind the scenes during this clearly make-or-break week?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: You know, Wolf, I posed this question to a senior administration official a short while ago, and the official responded, whatever is necessary. And from the president's perspective, that means staff has built in a lot of openings in his schedule over the course of this week. Very cognizant of the fact that he is going to be needed to make calls, potentially bring lawmakers over to the White House, maybe even go to Capitol Hill, if it's necessary to help move this process along. The president has been in close touch with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, over the course of the last several days. He's also been on the phone with lawmakers as well, I'm told.

And what we're mostly hearing right now from White House officials is the president is trying, in one part, mediate, but mostly trying keep the conversations going. They feel like they made progress last week at the White House, those five hours of meetings, nearly two dozen lawmakers, at least breaking down or bringing down the temperature that had really have it fractured the party over the course of several days. Now, the biggest part of the process is to try and reach some agreement, something the president made clear, he thinks can happen eventually. Take a listen.


JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: I was a born optimist. I think things are going to go well. I think we're going to get it done. And I have meetings tonight, tomorrow and for the next little bit.

It may not be by the end of the week. I hope it's by the end of the week. But as long as we're still alive, we've got three things to do. The debt ceiling, continued resolution and the two pieces of legislation. We do that, the country is going to be in great shape.

(END VIDEO CLIP) MATTINGLY: And, Wolf, you heard the president allude to the fact that the deadlines may be slipping. It might be a necessity given where negotiations are at this point. But one thing we have heard from several Democrats on Capitol Hill, is they would like the president to take a harder line, start laying down demands.

However, the president to this point, I'm told, has not taken that path way, very cognizant of how fragile things are at the moment, at this point, just want to ensure both sides keep talking and moving forward toward the potential outcome.

BLITZER: Phil, I want you to stay with us. I also want to bring back Ryan Nobles into the conversation along with our Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.

Gloria, everything is on the line seemingly for President Biden this week, isn't it?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, I mean, this is -- if there ever were a governing moment for Joe Biden, this is it. I mean, it's infrastructure, it's the spending bill of, you know, $3.5 trillion dollars, which essentially remakes the social safety net, it's the debt ceiling, everything, wrapped into one.

And I think that there's nobody at the White House -- I was talking with a senior adviser last week about this. There's nobody at the White House who is down playing this at all, how important this is for Joe Biden. This is what he ran on. I don't think they expect over there, and Phil can tell you to get everything that the president wants in this bill because he understands where Joe Manchin and Sinema are coming from. But this is a president who's going to try and work to get what he can through the Congress.

And I don't think he's in a particular rush as you heard in that sound bite today, but this isn't his first rodeo. He's been through these kinds of negotiations and he's kind of letting it play out. And I think that's what we're seeing before our very eyes, and I don't know who's going to have to blink first, whether it's the moderates or the progressives, but the president is intent on getting something done.

BLITZER: Yes. I suspect everyone's going to have to blink a bit together.

BORGER: Together, maybe.

BLITZER: Yes. Is it a small sign of optimism, Gloria, to hear a progressive member of the House, like Ro Khanna say, they're going to, quote, get behind our president.

BORGER: Yes. I think it is a small sign of optimism. But you don't know what that means, really. Does it mean that they're willing to change the timing of the vote? Does it mean they're willing to put some things on the backburner? Does it mean that they're willing to change some of their priorities right now on child tax credit, for example? Does it mean that they may be willing to go along with some kind of a work requirement for that? So, you know, we're going to have to wait and see how that plays out. Right now, I don't think any of us sitting here can predict, but they do want to give the president a win here because he needs it. You know, as I said, this is the Democrats proving that when they control the Congress and the White House, that they can actually govern and deliver, and I don't think you can under estimate the importance of that.

BLITZER: I think you're right. You know, Ryan, the president says, if Congress figures out the debt ceiling, the continuing resolution, infrastructure, reconciliation, all these various bills, the president says the country is going to be in great shape. It's still a very tall order, isn't it?

NOBLES: It certainly is, Wolf. And I think that part of the argument that you hear President Biden making, and you also hear this argument being made by the two congressional leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, is that this is the contract that we signed with the American people when they gave us the opportunity to hold these offices, when they voted for us in the last election.


We promised a big sweeping social safety net expansion. We promised taking care of these big issues, like fixing roads and bridges across the country.

And if we don't deliver on that promise, then we're going to be in real trouble, not only in the midterm elections, which are coming up in a year but this first round of elections in the first year after the presidency, I'm thinking in particular that race in Virginia.

So, they are impressing upon their colleagues, we need to come up with a plan that gets us over the finish line or else voters are going to make us pay for it.

BLITZER: Yes, November 2nd, the gubernatorial contest in Virginia. All right, guys, thank you very, very much.

Coming up, there's breaking news. The chairman of the January 6th committee says he could send out more, more subpoenas as soon as this week.

Also coming up, Dr. Anthony Fauci standing by live. He'll join us here in the Situation Room. We have lots to discuss.



BLITZER: Breaking news, the chairman of the January 6th select committee now says the panel could send out more subpoenas as soon as this week as lawmakers press top Trump allies to cooperate with their investigation.

Our Senior Legal Affairs Correspondent Paula Reid is on the story for us tonight. Paula, this potentially could be a very significant development in the January 6th probe.

PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: More subpoenas, absolutely a very significant development. Now, Representative Bennie Thompson, who chairs the select committee investigating January 6th, tells CNN that the committee could be sending out more subpoenas this week, though he wouldn't specify who would be in this next group. He did say it would likely be a broader group associated with the Trump White House and potentially individuals who have been charged with crimes associated with January 6th.


REID (voice over): The House select committee's quest to get information about former President Trump as part of its investigation into the January 6th insurrection may soon be coming to a head. Trump faces a looming deadline for asserting executive privilege to block subpoenas for four of his closest allies and other requests for documents.

DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: A bias, hit job that is wasting everybody's time.

REID: Committee Member Zoe Lofgren threatens serious consequences for Trump allies if they do not cooperate.

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): If they don't, I think we'll continue to take all of the steps available to us, which include civil action and criminal action.

REID: Lawmakers are also soliciting testimony from defendants who have been charge in the January 6th riot to provide an account of why they traveled to Washington that day to join the mob. This comes as former President Trump continues his baseless attacks on the American electoral system.

TRUMP: They attacked and cheated on our elections.

REID: He lashed out at Republican leaders in Georgia who would not help him to undermine confidence in the election, going so far as to suggest the state would be better off with Democrat Stacey Abrams.

TRUMP: Of course, having her, I think, might be better than having your existing governor, if she won the (INAUDIBLE), might very well be better.

REID: And even seemed to confess to pressuring Georgia's governor to help him overturn the state's results.

TRUMP: And I come up, I said, Brian, listen, you know, you have a big election integrity problem in Georgia. I hope you can help us out and call a special election.

REID: Then outright lied about the recent sham review in Arizona, claiming he won.

TRUMP: We won on the Arizona forensic audit yesterday at a level that you wouldn't believe.

REID: When, in fact, the partisan exercise conducted by Cyber Ninjas, a Florida-based company with no experience in auditing, found 99 more votes for Joe Biden and 261 fewer votes for Trump.

In an interview with 60 Minutes, Republican Representative Liz Cheney said other Republicans privately tell her they agree with her criticism of the former president but won't say anything in public.

REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): If Republican leaders don't stand up and condemn what happened, then the voices in the party that are so dangerous will only get louder and stronger.

REID: And she singled out House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

CHENEY: What he's done is embraced Donald Trump. And if I were doing what he's doing, I would be deeply ashamed of myself. I don't know how you explain that to your children.

REID: She was critical of President Biden, specifically of his policies in Afghanistan and his handling of the economy but said the American people deserve a better option than Trump.

CHENEY: The alternative cannot be a man who doesn't believe in the rule of law and who violated his oath of office.


REID (on camera): Cheney is of course one of only two Republicans on the House select committee which has already sent subpoenas to Trump advisers they believe might resist cooperating in the probe. Now, if those Trump loyalists refuse to hand over documents due next week or the former president tries to assert executive privilege, that could set off a lengthy court battle. Wolf?

BLITZER: It certainly could. Let's see what happens. Paula, thank you very much, Paula Reid reporting for us.

Let's get more insight right now from CNN Political Analyst Maggie Haberman. She's the Washington Correspondent for The New York Times.

Maggie, as you heard Congresswoman Cheney, she can ring all the alarm bells she wants, but the fact is the majority of Republican voters still say they think the election was stolen.


So how much weight does her voice carry in all of this?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Look, I think, Wolf, her voice is much more significant, frankly, among people like us than it is among grassroots Republicans, and among some senior Republicans, some independents. She is a significant voice, but it does not carry the same sway as Donald Trump's voice does with this group of voters.

Now, I don't think that's going to deter her from saying what she's saying, and I think there are Republicans who are deeply opposed to former President Trump and who want to make sure that their voices are heard. But at the moment, the party's base is with the former president and contrary to predictions that that was going to change when he left office, we haven't seen that. If anything, we have seen the number of Republicans who have, you know, bought his falsehoods about the last election have all grown.

BLITZER: Representative Cheney, Maggie, also says that she talks to colleagues behind the scenes who agree with her. Among Republicans in Congress who backed Trump, how many are true believers and how many are just doing it for political expediency?

HABERMAN: It's some combination. Look, Wolf, I mean most politicians are interested in their own political future regardless of what they say, and that is across the board.

What is true about a lot of Republican lawmakers and/or at least some at this point -- I wouldn't say a lot but still a significant number. And the former president is -- a lot of them like him. A lot of them feel an affinity toward him. A lot of them feel very bonded to him in ways that you don't always see with political leaders and other elected officials.

It's part of why he was able to survive the first impeachment. That's why he -- on January 6th, that's so many Republicans who are willing to not vote to certify a secure election, and its outcome. And so there is this balancing act, but what the Congresswoman says about the number of lawmakers who also resent him, who feel as if he has his boot on their necks, who feel as if they are going to get threatened and are thrilled that he hasn't this Twitter feed anymore, that's real too.

BLITZER: It certainly is. I know, Maggie, you have explained that Trump operates in ten-minute increments. Is that still the case or is there a long-term strategy at work as he continues to question the results of the 2020 presidential election?

HABERMAN: He has not operated on the long-term strategy as long as he has been in adulthood. It has not changed since he left office.

Look, there's a division of opinion on whether he is going to run for office again. There are those who think he is definitely doing it. There are those who think he is going to act as if he is, and then ultimately not do it because he's -- that formulation is he's worried about losing a second time. He would likely win the nomination but a general election would be very hard for him.

That is not how he tends to project these things out. I don't think this is any different. I think at the moment his business is making money in politics and talking about running is how you do that. However, that can then trigger he'd actually running.

BLITZER: You know, what's so worrisome, Maggie, is that the threats posed by Trump and those who believe his lies about the election are not a thing of the past. The ongoing assault on democracy here in the United States is very real and very dangerous, isn't it? HABERMAN: It's very real, Wolf. And I think that what the people who want to say, nobody should pay attention to what Donald Trump is saying or missing is one of his abilities is to get other people to do things in his name and for him often so that he doesn't have his finger prints on them.

What's been so striking in the last couple of days is him talking about his call to Brian Kemp and the pressure that he was exerting on Brian Kemp because he often tries to have a little bit of buffer and some distance.

But it's not as if he's operating in a vacuum. There are people who will do things in support of him and in his name, and you're seeing it across the country. Is it a majority? No. But is it a majority of Republicans at the moment? It's approaching it.

BLITZER: Yes, it's really worrisome, as I said. Maggie, thank you very much, Maggie Haberman, I appreciate it.

Coming up, President Biden gets his third Pfizer vaccine shot today, promoting the booster rollout, and warning unvaccinated Americans they're putting the nation at risk.

Also, Dr. Anthony Fauci is standing big live. He'll answer questions about who can get boosters and when and how soon young kids can get their first shots.



BLITZER: Tonight, President Biden is touting the benefits of getting a COVID-19 booster shot when and if you are eligible. He got his third shot of Pfizer today with cameras rolling, and he put unvaccinated Americans on notice once again that they are doing damage to the country.

Our National Correspondent Nick Watt has details.


BIDEN: We have plenty, plenty of opportunities to make sure --

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): That's multitasking, President Biden answering reporters' questions while getting his booster. First, Pfizer vaccine shots for kids could be coming very, very soon.

ALBERT BOURLA, CEO, PFIZER: I think we are going to submit this data pretty soon. It's a question of days, not weeks.

WATT: Last year when Pfizer submitted the data for adults applied for authorization, the green light from the FDA came just three weeks later.

BOURLA: If they approve it, we will be ready with our manufacturing to provide this new formulation of the vaccine because the vaccine that the kids will receive, which is 5 to 11, it is a different formulation. It is almost -- not almost, it's one-third of the dose that you are giving to the rest of the population.

WATT: In New York State, deadline day for medical workers, thousands still haven't gotten the shot, as staff shortage looms.


GOV. KATHY HOCHUL (D-NY): I will be signing an executive order to give me the emergency powers necessary to address the shortages where they occur, and that's going to allow me to deploy the National Guard who are medically trained.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you're wearing a mask, you are blocking your oxygen supply.

WATT: In New York City today, an anti-vaccine mandate protest and --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How to survive through the divine power of breath.

WATT: -- wild conspiracy theory fest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not a vaccine. It's injectable fraud.

WATT: This was supposed to be first shot deadline day for school employees in the city but a court issued a temporary injunction. There's now a hearing set for Wednesday.

Meantime, around 38 percent of the NYPD remain unvaccinated.

COMMISSIONER DERMOT SHEA, NYPD: Right now, we have eight members of the NYPD at the hospital, all unvaccinated.

WATT: Is there a connection between vaccination and hospitalization rates? Well, take West Virginia, lowest vaccination rate in the nation right now and the highest hospitalization rate.

GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): We are going through the peak, and it looks like we're starting to turn down.

WATT: The delta driven surge is still rolling around the country. But --

DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: So I think by Thanksgiving it's probably going to have run its course across the whole country. Traveling should decline on the back end of this delta wave and hopefully we get back to more of a semblance of normalcy, especially when vaccines hopefully will be available for children as well, and people will feel more comforted by the fact that they can protect their kids also.


WATT (on camera): So, it seems very likely the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for those five to 11 year olds, that means about another 28 million Americans will be eligible for vaccination. But how many of those kids will actually get the shot? Well, a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll of their parents had about a quarter of them saying, yes, right away, and about a quarter of them saying definitely not. Wolf?

BLITZER: All right, we'll see what happens. Nick Watt, thank you very much.

Let's discuss this and more with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the national institute of allergy and infectious diseases and the chief medical adviser to President Biden. Dr. Fauci, thanks as usual for joining us.

We just watched President Biden get his booster shot but the CDC director says booster doses are what she calls a walk, don't run matter. If this isn't necessarily urgent Dr. Fauci, why were booster shots approved and rolled out?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, they are certainly needed. And as we will see, and I feel rather confident, Wolf, as we get more and more data, it will be clear that booster shots or the third shot, when you get the mRNA first and second dose, the third shot, they ultimately turn out to be the standard regimen that we'll use.

When he said -- when the CDC director said, walk, don't run, it means that you are still pretty well protected, in fact, quite well protected in many, many categories. We're talking about the need for a booster about the durability of the effect because data from the United States and a lot of data from Israel shows what's called a waning effect of efficacy, where particularly against infection and mild to moderate disease, and some strong suggestion in the United States and clear suggestion in Israel that you have a waning against protection, against hospitalization.

So what is isn't as if most people need it right now. We're talking about six months from the time your boost, particularly categories, particularly the elderly who generally do not have as robust a response. People who are in long-term care facilities and others. So, if you're a person who ultimately might get a booster that will make you optimally protected, you don't necessarily need to get it tomorrow. That's what she means that, ultimately, we will likely get more people getting it, but we don't all need it tomorrow.

BLITZER: The president is one of millions of Americans, Dr. Fauci who received the booster shot and is therefore eligible. He received his shots from Pfizer and he received his booster today. But as you know, there are millions of other Americans, tens of millions who didn't get Pfizer. They got Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines initially. When can they hope to have the same protection offered to them?

FAUCI: I believe that will be in a matter of a few weeks. A couple to a few weeks, Wolf, because both of the companies, both Moderna and J&J, are right now in the process of getting their data together to be able to get the people who initially had Moderna and who initially had J&J to be able to be in the same situation as the people who have gotten Pfizer are in right now.


It should not be a long wait at all.

BLITZER: Are we talking a few weeks, a few months?

FAUCI: You know, it's going to have to rely on an authorization by the FDA. I would imagine given the fact that this is an important thing, they've been very well and expeditiously moving these things along. I would imagine it would be a matter of weeks and not months.

BLITZER: Okay, that's good, I'm sure a lot of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson people are anxious for that booster.

Let's turn to vaccines for children between the ages of 5 and 11, Dr. Fauci. Pfizer says it will ask the FDA for authorization within days, not weeks, days. How long will it then take for kids in that age group to finally get a coronavirus vaccine?

FAUCI: Well, Wolf, that's a question that everybody asks when they say how long it would take. It's going to be an examination by the FDA to give regulatory approval. The way they have worked in the past, they have been extremely efficient and made this a high priority. So, I can't get ahead of them by predicting but I would imagine from past experience, Wolf, that it would be a matter of a few weeks. So, I would hope that by the end of October, we'll be there. I can't guarantee it, but I'm hopeful that that will be the case.

BLITZER: I know a lot of parents are hoping the same thing. They're really anxious to get their kids vaccinated.

Dr. Fauci, we have a lot more questions. I want to take a quick break. Our viewers have flooded us with questions. We have more. And we'll do that right after this quick break.



BLITZER: We're back with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and the chief medical adviser to President Biden.

Dr. Fauci, the FDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a man you know well, says he thinks this pandemic will probably have run its course by Thanksgiving. Do you agree with him?

FAUCI: You know, I don't think we can say that. I mean, obviously, Scott is a very experienced person who I know well, a good friend. I think we have to be very careful when we make predictions about this particular outbreak because we've been through now about 20 months of ups and downs here. Of course, we all hope that we'll be able to get this under rather significant control by Thanksgiving.

But a lot of that is going to depend, Wolf, on getting a lot more people vaccinated. As I've told you on the show so many times, when you have 70 million people who are eligible for vaccinations who don't get vaccinated, you give the virus ample opportunity to continue to spread, and when it continues to spread, you give it the opportunity to develop more variants. We've got to get a hold of this by pulling a great deal of effort that might include some of the local mandates that you spoke about that you and I have discussed but we've got to get those people vaccinated.

So I would be hesitant to make a prediction about where we're going to be unless we know where we're going with the vaccinations.

BLITZER: Yes. About 70 million Americans who are eligible for a shot 12 and older still have not gotten even one shot. That's very worrisome.

Do you expect, Dr. Fauci, the northeast will potentially see a surge from this delta variant, like we've seen in parts of the south in recent weeks and months?

FAUCI: That is possible, Wolf. Again, it gets sort of to the same theme of the question you just asked. It is within our power and within our grasp to prevent that from occurring. You do it by vaccination, number one, and you do it by mitigation methods, such as wearing masks in indoor places and congregate settings, masking in school as well as getting as many people vaccinated as you possibly can to surround the children with people who are vaccinated.

If we get the approval to vaccinate elementary school children that will be very helpful, as will getting many of the adolescents who are already approved to be vaccinated. That would be helpful. There are a lot of things that are going on that we can do to make a surge in the northeast or any other place much less likely if we implement the things that need to be implemented.

BLITZER: Yes, that's really critically important. As we head into this flu season, the regular flu season, Dr. Fauci, a lot of our viewers want to know should people get their flu shot and a COVID vaccine or a COVID booster shot at the same time as they get their flu shot or should they spread out those two shots?

FAUCI: What you should do is get it as soon as you can and in the most expeditious manner. If that means going in and getting the flu shot in one arm, the COVID shot in the other, that's perfectly fine. There's nothing wrong with that at all. In fact, that might make it more convenient and make it more liable, that likelihood -- excuse me, more likely that you would actually go get both of them if you can do it conveniently in one visit.

So, whatever it takes to get both of them, go ahead and do it. If it's one visit, it's perfectly fine.

BLITZER: Well, that's good to know. That's really important. Dr. Fauci, as usual, thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for all the important work you're doing. We really appreciate it.

FAUCI: Thank you for having me, Wolf. BLITZER: Coming up, Senate Republicans just blocked, yes, blocked a bill to suspend the nation's debt limit and avert a looming government shut down. We have details just coming in to The Situation Room. We'll share with you right after this.



BLITZER: Breaking news. The Senate just blocked a bill passed by House Democrats to suspend the debt limit and avert a government shutdown.

For more on that, let's bring back our congressional correspondent Ryan Nobles. He's up on Capitol Hill.

So, give us the latest, Ryan. What happened?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, essentially, what happened here, Wolf, is that Republicans successfully blocked this Democratic effort to tie the government's spending plan along with raising the debt limit. Of course, the debt limit is set to -- to reach its peak somewhere in the middle of October while government funding is scheduled to run out by as soon as the end of this week.

The Democrats wanted to tie both of these two critical pieces of legislation together to get it all done in one fell swoop and to put Republicans and Democrats on the record in supporting this.


But the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Republicans were just not going to support raising the debt limit.

Now, McConnell, right before this vote, did offer up a different option of a standalone continuing resolution which would keep the government funding going, and keep the government open but Democrats rejected that. So essentially, what we had is what we expected, a party-line vote. It would have required ten Republican votes in order for this piece of legislation to move to the next stage.

So the big question now, Wolf, is what do Democrats do now? The timeline is really tight at this point because as we said, the government could shut down as soon as the end of this week. So they are going to have to come up with a path forward here, and does it mean putting a continuing resolution to the floor that is not connected to the debt ceiling maybe even for a short period of time just to get them over this hump so that they continue these negotiations on the debt ceiling.

But as we talked about earlier, Wolf, this is all against the backdrop of these much bigger negotiations about these two big spending bills. A lot happening here on Capitol Hill. And Democrats, at this point, have not figured out a way to get them all accomplished.

BLITZER: Yeah. The stakes, clearly, for millions and millions of Americans enormous in these next few days.

All right, Ryan. Thank you very much. Ryan Nobles up on Capitol Hill.

Coming up. It turns out, 2020 was even deadlier here in the United States than we knew. The FBI now reporting a truly historic surge in the U.S. murder rate.



BLITZER: As so many Americans were dying of COVID-19 last year, it now turns out they were also being murdered at a truly historic rate.

Our Brian Todd has the disturbing details for us.

Brian, this was what the biggest one-year jump, the biggest one-year jump here in the United States on murders on record, is that right?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, it was, Wolf, and it was very alarming to the analysts who monitor serious crime in the U.S.

Tonight, we have new information on the spike in murders in 2020 and what fueled it.


TODD (voice-over): New crime stats are in, and they're even worse than many feared. Last year, the number of homicides in the United States jumped by nearly 30 percent, according to a new FBI report, almost 5,000 more murders than the year before.


TODD: It's the biggest jump in a single year ever recorded since tracking began in the 1960s. The number spiked in the summer of 2020 the fbi report says, and then remained elevated for the rest of the year. Why?

ROSS: There was a pandemic, and then we had increased street protests in connection with, as a reaction to the death of George Floyd at the hand of a Minneapolis police officer and similar kinds of cases.

TODD: Another possible factor experts say, after incidents of police brutality like the George Floyd murder, more police officers may have retired or become reluctant to get involved in altercations, and the public less likely to trust them.

Another reason? More gun violence. Last year, when gun sales skyrocketed, the FBI says 77 percent of the reported murders were committed with a gun. That's up three points from 2019 and up 10 percent from a decade ago.

ROSS: It's probably a greater availability of guns. Some commentators have suggested that people used their stimulus check to purchase a gun. We may have also had an increase of situations in which people resort to guns to solve their differences. This would include domestic violence.

TODD: As for 2021, Philadelphia saw 25 shootings in just one May weekend. Seven people were killed.

CHIEF INSPECTOR FRANK VANORE, PHILADELPHIA POLICE: I have been working here over 31 years. I mean, I have seen a lot of violence. This is more violence than I've ever seen.

TODD: But some experts believe this year's numbers are improving.

PROF. RICHARD ROSENFELD, CRIMINOLOGIST, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS: The pandemic with fits and starts may be subsiding. And the social unrest we saw last summer has, also, subsided at least for now. And for those reasons, it seems to me we're seeing some slowdown in the homicide increase.

TODD: In New York City, officials say they saw a decrease in gun violence this summer.

COMMISSIONER DERMOT SHEA, NYPD: Went down in shootings in September and we expect that is going to continue.

TODD: And while there could be an erosion of the public's trust of police in other cities, in New York, officials believe it could be improving.

CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT RODNEY HARRISON, NYPD: We're slowly and gradually getting back into a place where people are taking a look at the NYPD and saying, hey, listen, we trust you. We want to work with you.


TODD (on camera): There is some other good news in the latest FBI report. It says that overall crime reported to the FBI actually decreased by about 6 percent between 2019 and 2020. Now, we should note that the FBI report is not really complete because law enforcement agencies are not required to submit their data and many of them, about 2,000, did not participate. Criminologist Jeffrey Ian Ross also says we have to keep a close eye on the stats for this year when they come out because he points out that police departments across the United States have reported shortages of officers, and difficulty recruiting, wolf, so we got to keep an eye on the numbers for this year. May not be too much better than last year.

BLITZER: Yeah, these shooting incidents across the country. Last year. Still, this year, in some of the major cities like Chicago or L.A. or new -- I mean, here in Washington, D.C., going up and up and up. It is so disturbing, indeed.

Ryan, thank you very, very much.

And to our viewers, thanks very much for watching. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. You can always follow me on Twitter and Instagram @WolfBlitzer. You can tweet the show @CNNSitRoom, and THE SITUATION ROOM, by the way, is available in podcast form. Look for us on or wherever you get your podcasts.

"ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT" starts right now.