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State of the Union
Interview With Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT); Interview With Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA); Interview With White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients; Interview With Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR); Interview With Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC). Aired 9-10a ET
Aired July 04, 2021 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DANA BASH, CNN HOST (voice-over): Independence Day? For many Americans, this Fourth of July feels like a return to normal.
JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We have exceeded our expectations for where we would be for Fourth of July.
BASH: But as the highly contagious Delta variant spreads, what's the danger for unvaccinated Americans?
I will speak to the White House COVID response coordinator, Jeffrey Zients, and Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson next.
And internal affairs. Congress is set to investigate the attack on the Capitol.
REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): We have an obligation to have a thorough, sober investigation.
BASH: Where will they focus? And who will testify? House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn joins me ahead.
Plus: women in Congress. A record number are serving. Two veteran lawmakers who have been working for decades on how they're fighting to change the lives of millions of American families.
SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): It makes all the difference in the world.
BASH: Hello. I'm Dana Bash in Washington, where the state of our union is more than ready to celebrate this Independence Day.
And instead of warning about redcoats, this time, we can thank those in white coats for beach days and barbecues that, for many, feel like normal today. About two-thirds of adults in the U.S. have at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. And health experts say fully vaccinated people can celebrate the Fourth of July safely.
But President Biden fell just short of a goal he set in May, getting 70 percent of adults partially vaccinated by today. And with the highly contagious Delta variant now accounting for a quarter of all new cases, there is major concern for low vaccination areas, like communities across the Midwest and the South full of people who have no plans to get the vaccine.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning that the vaccine divide is creating two Americas, amid persistent concerns about what a new variant could mean and whether that could start circulating next.
Joining me now is White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients.
Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Happy Fourth.
ZIENTS: Thank you.
BASH: So, the United States has made a lot of progress over the last six months.
But, back in May, as you know, President Biden set a goal for 70 percent of American adults to get at least one shot in the arm by today. The U.S. is at 67 percent, which means almost eight million people short of the president's goal.
So, why did you fall short?
ZIENTS: Well, we have made a lot of progress. I think we're much further along than anyone would have anticipated at this point, with two out of three adult Americans with at least one shot, importantly, that seniors, people over 65, 90 percent have at least one shot.
They were the most vulnerable to COVID. In fact, sadly, 80 percent of deaths have been of people over 65 from COVID. So, really important that we have made all this progress, with close to 90 percent of seniors with at least one shot.
In terms of 70 percent, 27-year-olds and up, 70 percent have at least one shot.
If you have been fully vaccinated, you are protected. If you're not vaccinated, you are not protected. So, we're going to double down on our efforts to vaccinate millions of more Americans across July and August.
So, people get that protection and can enjoy life returning to normal.
BASH: So let's talk...
ZIENTS: If you're not vaccinated, get vaccinated.
BASH: Let's talk about that and perhaps some of the reasons why you have made progress, but fell short of the goal.
A new Kaiser poll out this week showed that 43 percent of unvaccinated Americans say a major reason is that they just don't want to, as simple as that. So, some Americans also have concerns about safety and efficacy. But what is your message and what are you going to do to make sure that those Americans who are saying "I just don't feel like it" will be -- will get the vaccine?
ZIENTS: The good news is, if you look at those polls across the last several months, as more and more people have gotten vaccinated, more and more people decide they too want to get vaccinated, so the trend is positive.
That said, we continue -- we need to continue to meet people where they are, make it easier and easier to get the vaccine. It's free. It's convenient. It's safe. It's effective. And we need to answer people's questions. People still have questions about the vaccine, the safety and the efficacy. So we need to answer those questions.
The most trusted messenger is the local doctor, the local health care provider. So, increasingly, we have vaccines in doctor's offices, at health care clinics, so that people can get their questions answered, and then roll up their sleeve and get a shot.
BASH: So let's talk about the highly contagious Delta variant. It has now spread to every state. The number of cases is climbing yet again.
And the CDC says about 1,000 counties across the U.S. have vaccination rates of less than 30 percent. So, how worried are you about the spike in areas with this Delta variant and others with low vaccination rates?
ZIENTS: We are concerned, because where we're seeing increases in cases is in those areas generally that have lower vaccination rates.
So, we need to make sure that we're doing all we can to vaccinate all Americans, and particularly focused on areas that have lower vaccination rates.
We are also helping state and local officials, partnering with governors and their teams, with surge response teams, that will not only help increase vaccination rates in those counties that are experiencing or could experience an increase in cases, but also providing increased testing, therapeutics and other tools to make sure that we're stopping the spread and preventing any increases at the local level.
But you're right that the vulnerability is where vaccination rates are lower. And that's just another reason to not only get yourself vaccinated for your own safety, but also for the -- for your family and for your community.
BASH: Dr. Fauci says the administration made -- quote -- "broad recommendations" that vaccinated individuals don't need masks, but that local governments have a -- quote -- "degree of flexibility."
But my question for you is, local officials are looking to you, to the federal government, for guidance. So, should high-spread, low- vaccinated areas consider reimposing mask mandates? ZIENTS: Well, as we have from the beginning, local governments will
make their own local decisions, based on their vaccination rates and levels of disease.
What the CDC...
BASH: They make their own decisions, but what your recommendation?
ZIENTS: Right, but the CDC has been very clear that, if you are vaccinated, you have a very high degree of protection. And if you're not vaccinated, then you need to get vaccinated and, in the meantime, wear a mask.
BASH: And would it -- I know you're letting local governments do their own thing, but would it be the preference of the Biden administration that they change the mask mandates back?
ZIENTS: The preference is that people get vaccinated, so they're protected.
ZIENTS: And if you're not vaccinated, you do have to mask up and -- to protect yourself and to protect others.
BASH: OK. Let's talk about children.
Pfizer says it expects to apply for emergency use authorization in September to vaccinate children as young as 2 years old. Do you think shots could go in toddlers' arms in two or three months?
ZIENTS: Well, I'm certainly not going to get ahead of the FDA.
The FDA is the gold standard, and we will look to the FDA to analyze the clinical data and make a decision on timing. I can tell you, we will be ready with supply, so that, once or if the FDA authorizes a vaccine for children, we are ready to have the supply and to help state and local officials and pediatricians apply those doses, give shots in arms.
BASH: The U.S. administered its first coronavirus vaccines back in December. We don't know when the immunity, thanks to those vaccines, will start to wear off.
So is the Biden administration making plans to give booster shot -- booster shots? Forgive me. And what do we know about when Americans will need them?
ZIENTS: Well, so, we're going to look to the doctors and the scientists, Dr. Fauci, CDC, FDA and others, to determine, based on the clinical trials, based on the science, when and if booster shots are needed.
At the same time, we are prepared. We will have the supply and the distribution if it's determined that booster shots are, in fact, needed. BASH: And some experts are saying that the continued spread of
coronavirus in pockets of the U.S. and around the world raises the possibility of a new variant that might be resistant to the vaccines that we have.
How worried are you about that happening?
ZIENTS: Well, I -- we worry about every possibility. We plan for every scenario. This disease has proven to be unpredictable.
But what all the scientists and doctors tell us is, the more people get vaccinated, the safer we are today and against any possible future variant. So, if you're unvaccinated, please get vaccinated as soon as possible.
BASH: So I hear you obviously making this plea, which I totally understand.
But with the reality that one in three American adults still haven't gotten the vaccine, and recent polling suggested that those who want it have it, do you think it's possible that the U.S. is reaching a plateau when it comes to vaccinations?
ZIENTS: I do not believe that.
As I said earlier, confidence in the vaccine, those who want to get the vaccine, that has grown steadily across time, as people have had friends and family and neighbors get vaccinated, and they see the safety and effectiveness in their loved ones and in their friends and family.
So I do believe confidence will continue to grow. But we need to continue to make it even easier to get vaccinated and answer people's questions. And doctors are really important and other health care providers. So, increasingly, we have vaccines in doctor's offices, in clinics.
And that's a great place for people to go to ask any outstanding questions and roll up their sleeve and get their first shot.
BASH: Before I let you...
ZIENTS: We have been vaccinating millions of people each week for the past several weeks, and we will continue to do that across the summer months.
BASH: Before I let you go. I want to ask about what's going on at the White House tonight.
There's a Fourth of July party, about 1,000 guests expected, including first responders and service members. Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, if guests have not been vaccinated, they're going to need to wear masks. But if your goal, as you have been saying this morning, is to send a
signal to America that the vaccine is safe and effective, why not just require vaccinations for guests who are eligible?
ZIENTS: Well, the reason to get vaccinated, we have talked about. It's very compelling. You're protected if you're vaccinated. You're not protected if you're not.
We are not mandating vaccines. At the White House tonight, there's very rigorous testing and screening protocols. Those who are vaccinated do not need to wear a mask. Those who are unvaccinated do need to wear a mask. We're there to celebrate front-line workers and our military.
And these are people who understand the importance of safety and doing the right thing. I think most of these folks are vaccinated, and we encourage all Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
BASH: Why not mandate it, though?
ZIENTS: Look, at the end of the day, the reasons for getting vaccinated are compelling.
We're going to make it easy. We're going to answer people's questions. But, at the end of the day, it's an individual choice. We hope all individuals make the right choice here and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
BASH: Jeffrey Zients, thank you so much for joining me. Appreciate it.
And have a wonderful Fourth.
ZIENTS: Thank you. And happy Fourth.
BASH: Thank you.
And some states are missing the White House vaccination goal by as much as 30 percent.
The governor of Arkansas on whether his state is facing a potential third surge, that's next.
Plus, the House select committee on the January 6 attack is taking shape. Who needs to testify about what happened that day?
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn joins me ahead.
BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION.
Dr. Anthony Fauci warns, the U.S. is beginning to split into two Americas, places where vaccination rates are high and COVID cases and deaths are low, and other places where widespread refusal to get the vaccine is leaving people more vulnerable to the virus, particularly now that the highly contagious Delta variant accounts for at least a quarter of new cases.
Joining me now is the governor of a state where vaccination rates are lagging, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas.
Thank you so much for joining me this morning, Governor. Happy Fourth of July.
Let me ask about the facts on the ground where you are. Only 42 percent of Arkansans have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. And in the last week, your state's cases have almost doubled.
I want you to listen to Dr. Cam Patterson, the head of the University of Arkansas for medical sciences.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. CAM PATTERSON, UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS: We are now going in the wrong direction yet again. We have to be concerned that this would be a trend that could continue.
And, if it does, it would appear that we may be in the beginning of the third surge of COVID-19 here in the state of Arkansas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: Do you agree that Arkansas is headed for a third surge of COVID-19?
And are you open to reimposing restrictions like mask mandates?
GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): Well, the solution is the vaccinations.
And Dr. Patterson was with me at my weekly news conference and emphasizing the points he made, so that that would encourage people to get vaccinated. And, in fact, we have done very well in our senior citizens, 65 plus-getting vaccinated, our nursing home residents and staff, high rate of vaccination.
But it is our younger adults that's now getting hit with the Delta variant, which is more contagious, has more severe consequences. And that's the concern that has caused an increase in hospitalizations.
And so what we have seen is that, as the Delta variant gets out more, you're seeing vaccination rates increase. And we want to accelerate that. So, it is a great concern.
Today, we're celebrating Independence Day. We're having in Arkansas a Pops on the River concert celebrating this great day. But we're also having vaccinations there that will be available to everyone. And that's the kind of thing we're focusing on, making it accessible, making sure everybody knows the need, because we're in a race against this Delta variant, which spreads very fast.
And every state is going to be faced with this.
HUTCHINSON: So, we have got to get those vaccinations out.
BASH: If you don't win that race that you're talking about to vaccinate more people, will a third surge happen?
HUTCHINSON: We will wait and see.
I don't think so. I think our vaccination rate is sufficient that we can avoid the surge in hospitalizations that puts us in jeopardy. But that remains to be seen. And we're -- we are in a race. And if we stopped right here, and we didn't get greater percent of our population vaccinated, then we're going to have trouble in the next school year and over the winter.
So, we want to get ahead of that curve. Working very hard to do that.
BASH: Governor, why are you having so much trouble getting people vaccinated? Why is it so hard?
HUTCHINSON: Well, in a rural state, in a conservative state, there is hesitancy. And you're trying to overcome that.
We got the early vaccinations out because people were anxious. They were in a very vulnerable population. Our cases went down dramatically. And that slowed the vaccination rate. The urgency diminished. And now it's picking up again.
One of the things we're going to concentrate on is working with our employers. They're really one of the keys. As Jeff Zients said, obviously, the medical professionals are most trusted, but the employers have an opportunity to make it accessible for them, give them paid time off, the employees, they can go get vaccination, and to encourage them with the right level of education and information.
Those are the kind of strategies that I think will make a difference in the coming days.
BASH: Let's turn to the latest here in Washington on infrastructure negotiations.
A group of bipartisan senators and President Biden agreed to a $1.2 trillion deal, no tax increases. The American Society of Civil Engineers says almost one in three roads in your state, in Arkansas, is in poor condition.
So would you like to see more Republicans in Congress support this compromise?
HUTCHINSON: Well, the bipartisan infrastructure bill is something that I support, because it's limited to the traditional infrastructure of roads and bridges, which has such a great need. It also includes some broadband, some water projects.
But the best news is, it's paid for. And I like that bipartisan approach. So I hope that that does pass. It's an amount that we can afford. I don't want that tied to passing the second level of human infrastructure, because states like Arkansas, other states, we have more money than we could spend right now in terms of some of the federal money that's flowed our direction.
So this bipartisan hardcore infrastructure bill is important for our country. I do hope that it can pass. But I hope the other one can be defeated as well, because that costs us too much. It's too great a burden for the next generation.
BASH: You announced you're sending up to 40 members of the Arkansas National Guard down to the Texas border.
The former head of the Customs and Border Protection under President Obama told CNN that moves like this are -- quote -- "political theater."
You're a former undersecretary of homeland security. Is it fair to say that this is more of a political gesture than actually helping the situation?
HUTCHINSON: No, I disagree with that completely.
And what they have given to us on the border is a political nightmare. And so it deserves a cooperative response between the states and the federal government. Whenever I was undersecretary of border security during the Bush administration, we had joint efforts with our state counterparts because we needed those resources.
Today, that partnership is even to a greater extent. So, when multiple states send additional resources down to support Texas and Arizona along the border, we hope that that has a beneficial impact. It ought to be coordinate with the federal government. And if that's not happening, then that's a shame.
But we're going to try to do our part, because what's happening right now is disaster. It's a human tragedy, what we're seeing with the change in policy coming out of the Biden administration.
BASH: I want to ask about what your colleague in South Dakota Kristi Noem is doing.
She's raising some eyebrows, because a billionaire Republican donor is funding her National Guard deployment, instead of South Dakota taxpayers. Would you ever use political donation to send your troops to the border?
HUTCHINSON: Not for this purpose. This is a state function. It is something that we respond to other states in terms of disaster. I would consider it a bad precedent to have that privately funded.
Now, whenever you're looking at supplemental pay for some state employees, we use private foundation money, so it's not an across-the- board rule against that. But, in this instance, I think it's very appropriate that we would have our -- paid for by the usual state budget.
BASH: Before I let you go, you said on this very show earlier this year that it was too soon to start thinking about a possible 2024 presidential run. Your term is going to be up soon as Arkansas governor.
Former President Trump said this week that he's already made up his mind about running. What about you? Have you ruled it out?
HUTCHINSON: Well, I'm concentrating on the present, which is getting through this pandemic and supporting Arkansas through my term in 2022.
I do want to be engaged in the national debate. It's important, the direction of our party, our country. And so that's my immediate concentration. We will see what the future holds.
BASH: OK. Definitely did not rule it out. I just want to say that for the record.
Governor, thank you so much, and have a great Fourth tonight.
HUTCHINSON: Thanks, Dana. Thank you. You too as well.
BASH: Thank you.
And they have blown past two deadlines. Are negotiations over police reforms stalling in Congress? House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn joins me next.
Plus, our latest installment of "Badass Women of Washington," two veteran female lawmakers who toiled on the fringe of their party for decades pushing for help for families, issues that are no longer fringe.
BASH: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Dana Bash.
The seven Democrats and one Republican already appointed to the House select committee on the January 6 attacks are getting started. They're hiring staff, and while they wait to see what other five Republicans might -- emphasize might -- join them.
Already, they are signaling they may need to hear from associates of the former president, President Trump, that is, about what happened that day.
Joining me live to discuss that and more is House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.
Thank you so much for joining me this morning. Happy Fourth.
So, the new chair of the January 6 select committee, Bennie Thompson, didn't rule out calling former President Trump to testify. Do you think that a full investigation requires hearing from him?
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): First of all, happy Independence Day to you as well. And thank you very much for having me.
Bennie Thompson is well-experienced at the state and local levels before coming to Congress. He's headed the Homeland Security Committee for a long, long time. And Bennie has been calling for a look into domestic terrorism for a long, long time. A lot of people may have missed that.
But in his job as chair and ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, Bennie has been seeing things for some time now and been calling people's attention to it. Sol, I think he knows that we know what happened, we know where it happened. What we don't know is why it happened and who made it happen.
And he intends to get to those last two questions, and do so in a bipartisan way. So, I...
BASH: What do you think? Do you think former President Trump should testify?
CLYBURN: Oh, if it comes to that, they should go wherever the facts lead. They may be able to get what they want and need without him testifying.
I would not want to see a former president testifying in such a situation as this. But if that's what it takes in order to get to the bottom of this, because this is more than any one person. This is this country.
We are celebrating today an independence. Since 1776, this country has been in pursuit of perfection. And we need to keep that pursuit going. We can't stop it. And this is a great time for us to rededicate ourselves to what we all have been looking forward to for a long time, liberty and justice for all.
BASH: So, on that note, let's talk about the Supreme Court's ruling this week.
They upheld two Arizona election restrictions, making your job in Congress to pass new election laws even more important. One of the sticking points is whether to require an I.D. to vote. You tweeted last year that voter I.D. was a form of voter suppression.
But now a key Senate Democrat, Joe Manchin, has a plan that requires an I.D. or utility bill. Some Democrats like Stacey Abrams say they could get on board with that. Could you? CLYBURN: Absolutely.
Dana, when I first registered to vote as a 21-year-old -- back then, 18-year-olds could not vote -- I got a voter registration card. And I always present that voter registration card when I go to vote. And that is voter I.D.
We are always for voter I.D. We are never for disproportionate voter I.D. When you tell me that you got to have a photo I.D., and a photo for a student for an activity card is not good, but, for a hunting license, it is good, that's where the rub is.
I don't know of a single person who is against I.D.ing themselves when they go to vote. But we don't want you to tell me my I.D. is no good because I don't own a gun and I don't go hunting.
BASH: So, you're drawing the line, just to be clear, at a photo I.D.?
CLYBURN: No, I'm drawing the line at inequitable I.D., any kind of I.D. that you got.
People, if you're 94 years old, you don't drive anymore, but you're still watching the news every day, and you want to keep up, you want to vote, and you don't have a photo I.D., then you ought to be able to vote with whatever I.D. that you have.
BASH: Got it.
CLYBURN: One being your voter registration card.
BASH: Got it.
But let's talk about how and if you can get this done. I know that you are pushing Senate Democrats to sidestep the filibuster and pass sweeping voting rights legislation.
I want you to listen to what Senator Joe Manchin had to say about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I'm hoping we have -- we have had 10 people working with us on many different things. We have a good group of moderate Republicans that want to work with us, are willing to work with us.
And we have come up with a bipartisan infrastructure bill, which we all worked with the president and took to him. So I know it can be done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BASH: So he's saying you don't need to get rid of the filibuster because bipartisanship is possible on voting rights. What's your response?
CLYBURN: My response to that is very simple.
We need to get rid of the filibuster for constitutional issues, just as we have done for budget issues. If you want to argue about how high a wall ought to be, whether or not you ought to build a wall, those are issues that are political, and let's have the filibuster, if it's -- so long as there's extended debate.
But we ought not be filibustering things like people's voting rights, because what we have done with the modern-day filibuster, we will allow a senator to sit downtown in a spa somewhere, pick up the telephone and call in the filibuster, and effectively stop voting rights and other constitutional rights while sitting in a spa somewhere, won't even come to the floor to argue his or her position.
That's what is wrong with this filibuster, and that's what they have done to it. So, Senator Manchin, I like him a whole lot. We have talked about this.
And I will say once again, Senator, I'm not against the filibuster, but you ought not be filibustering -- nobody should filibuster anybody's constitutional right. We have done it for the budget under reconciliation. And reconciliation is a much better word to apply to constitutional issues than it is to the budget.
BASH: Let's turn to negotiations on police reform.
Negotiators have blown past multiple deadlines during months and months of talks. Congresswoman Karen Bass, one of the lead negotiators, says part of the reason is infighting among police organizations.
Are these negotiations for police reform in trouble, sir?
CLYBURN: Well, we are at a point of, I would like to say, decision- making.
On day before yesterday, I spoke with Senator Tim Scott. On the same day, I spoke with my local sheriff here in Richland County. And they both tell me that this is not dead yet. I'm working with them. I'm working with Karen Bass. I'm working with Cory Booker.
I think we're going to get there. We have still got some time between the July break and August, beginning of August, to get this done. I really feel that we can do it.
I know that it is teetering on some divisions between the sheriffs and, say, the police chiefs, but we can reconcile those. I'm holding out hope that we get this done, because it needs to be done.
BASH: Mr. Clyburn, you took a pretty unusual step this week, wading into a heated Democratic congressional primary in Ohio, endorsing a more moderate candidate for Congress, Shontel Brown, over progressive front-runner Nina Turner. You also spoke out against the progressive wing of your party, saying
slogans like defund the police are -- quote -- "cutting the throats" of the party.
Was your endorsement trying to make a statement about where the party should head?
CLYBURN: Well, Shontel Brown, I know. I have known her for a long time.
She asked me. I went out to Ohio for Congresswoman Joyce Beatty's husband's homegoing services. And I saw her there. And she asked me, would I support her candidacy?
I said: "I am supporting your candidacy."
She said: "I need to be a little more active."
And I said: "Let me think about it."
And so I thought about it for a while. And, quite frankly, I like her a whole lot. She was chair -- the first African-American woman to chair her county party out there. She has demonstrated that she knows how to work with people. And I just think that she would make a great congressperson.
I served with Louis Stokes. I served with Marcia Fudge. Stephanie Tubbs Jones was one of the best friends I had in the Congress. And there are people that I have a history of working with, because, for some strange reason, I have always been pretty close to Ohio politics.
And I just think that Shontel Brown would be an outstanding number of the United States Congress. I am supporting her. And I'm looking forward to serving with her.
BASH: Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, thank you so much for joining me. Appreciate it. Have a wonderful Fourth.
CLYBURN: Thank you very much for having me.
BASH: Thank you.
And a record number of women are serving in the 117th Congress. Millions of families are about to benefit from that in a big way.
BASH: Women were hit especially hard during this pandemic, whether it was losing their jobs or having to supervise remote learning. Well, now help is coming from Washington, thanks largely to a growing
number of women in Congress, including a veteran duo in office for decades who paved the way for younger progressives.
Here's the latest in my series "Badass Women of Washington."
BASH (voice-over): For the better part of 30 years, the careers of these two lawmakers were marked by patience and persistence.
REP. ROSA DELAURO (D-CT): I first introduced the expansion of the child tax credit in 2003.
To provide relief to the families who need it the most.
And every year, just introducing it, reintroducing it.
I'm talking about extending the child tax credit.
Tried to get to building a coalition.
BASH: But, this year, when Joe Biden became president and put together a large COVID relief package, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro's patience on expanding the child tax credit ran out.
DELAURO: I say, enough. You have been saying we needed to have an election, we need the president. This is it. It's now. It's now our watch. Let's go. Let's get this done.
And I -- in all fairness, they came back within 24, 48 hours, and they said, it's in.
BASH: In through the end of the year. On July 15, some 39 million households with more than 65 million children, according to the administration, will start receiving government aid that will add up to at least $3,000.
DeLauro wants to make this permanent.
DELAURO: It really is a lifeline to middle-class families, as well as lifting over 50 percent of kids out of poverty.
BASH: Senate Health and Education Chair Patty Murray and DeLauro, House Appropriations chair, now hold the gavels of two of the most powerful committees in Congress and are joining forces on issues like paid sick days and family leave.
MURRAY: If you are a woman in the work force and you say, well, might not have childcare, or my kid is sick, or they have leukemia, all real things, my boss may not promote me because they won't think I can do the job.
So, women hold the stress right here. And now we're talking about it on a national stage.
BASH: Fighting for families in dire straits come from their own childhoods.
DELAURO: I went home with my focus on a Friday night, and our furniture was out on the street. We had been evicted.
And it's not that my parents weren't struggling trying to make ends meet, et cetera. They just couldn't do it. It's the personal experiences that you have in your life.
MURRAY: It's so funny, Rosa. I didn't know that about you. Well, so amazing.
MURRAY: And, for me, my -- seven kids in my family. I was a teenager, and my dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
And, all of a sudden, it's like, oh, my God the world. Fortunately, at the time, we had some things, like Pell Grants and student loans and food stamps, which we had to live on.
And, Rosa, I'm so glad to hear that about you, because we come with that passion that, it happened to me, but I don't want it to happen to anybody else.
BASH: Their determination is palpable, as longtime priorities are now front and center for the president and their party.
DELAURO: It's not that many years ago that they thought that this was so far on the fringe that you do paid family and medical leave, that you would bring this up, like crazy aunts in the attic.
BASH (on camera): Is that what they think you are?
DELAURO: Well, listen, hey.
But on some of these issues, they would say, where is she? What is she doing? And now they are center, center of the public discourse. They are the agenda. And so that's right. You see that urgency, because we're that close.
MURRAY: And I am not going to listen to anybody say to us, well, it's a really good issue. Let's hold it and run on it in the next campaign.
I mean, I have heard that too many times.
BASH: How many times have people said that to you about this issue?
MURRAY: Oh, more than you will ever know.
BASH (voice-over): These veteran progressive women paved the way for the growing younger social media-savvy generation.
(on camera): Do you try to mentor them?
And I think some of the things they have seen recently is, for instance, 18 years since 2003, and that child tax credit. Somebody says, wow, 18 years it took to get there. Just bringing people in, so that they understand what the -- what the institution is about and how it works.
MURRAY: Well, we want them to be successful.
I think experience in knowing which levers to push at what time and when to make an issue an issue is important. But you have to have both. You have to have both experience, passion, and that new, I'm here, I got to get something done.
BASH (voice-over): Murray famously won her seat in 1992 as a mom in tennis shoes, the first female elected to the Senate from Washington state.
(on camera): How much do you think the fact that these are front burner issues now is because there are more female lawmakers?
MURRAY: Oh, it makes all the difference in the world. I mean, I was the only one -- woman in a room so many times. And I could bring these issues up, and no one would echo them. It'd be: "Yeah. Right."
DELAURO: It's the same in the House. What's critically important is that the agenda changes.
BASH: But who changed the agenda? Is it the number of women?
DELAURO: Oh, yes. No, I think women at the table making the case.
And it's not so much that our male colleagues are in great opposition. Sometimes, it doesn't even dawn.
MURRAY: No, we have allowed them to talk about it. They didn't talk about it before because they didn't feel like it was manly or whatever.
BASH: Or it didn't occur to them.
MURRAY: And didn't occur to them.
DELAURO: And didn't occur. That's right.
MURRAY: And we have made it OK for them to talk about it.
DELAURO: This is still an institution where women have to work much harder.
BASH: Even with a female speaker and a powerful female Appropriations chair?
DELAURO: Women have to work harder.
You don't get that many bites at the apple. When you get up to speak, you need to know what you're talking about.
MURRAY: Totally. Oh, my gosh, that's so true.
Have you ever heard men speak to a Chamber of Commerce and talk about the weather?
DELAURO: They will say anything, and it's OK.
BASH (voice-over): It turns out, sometimes, life experience that helps get things done in Congress comes from unlikely sources.
(on camera): You have had to prove the utmost patience.
DELAURO: You bite the inside of your mouth a lot.
MURRAY: I taught preschool. I learned patience a long time ago.
BASH: That's why you're so successful in Congress.
BASH: That's why...
DELAURO: I was a substitute school teacher.
MURRAY: It comes from there.
BASH: Thank you so much for spending your Sunday morning with us. Don't forget, tune in tonight for CNN's "Fourth in America" special with the best firework shows coast to coast live and amazing musical performances including Bebe Rexha, The Beach Boys, Susanna Hoffs, and much, much more. Can you tell I'm excited? I'm very excited.
Join me at 7:00 p.m. Eastern also with my co-anchor Don Lemon. We are going to have a lot of fun. In the meantime, the news continues next.