tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN October 21, 2021 8:00am-9:00am PDT
terms of its importance and you would think that if they take an oath to protect and defend the constitution, they would vote for the system of checks and balances. >> madam speaker, do you -- i'm curious if you think a package like this can be completed without rate increases, tax rate increases? >> we changed the subject? >> yes. >> well, that's one of the options, that's for sure. the last couple of days just to answer your question, the last couple of days we've come to narrowing what the possibilities are as we see what we need to cover because the bill will be paid for. and so what are the choices that will be made. so we met yesterday morning to narrow what needs to be done and the chairman of the finance committee, mr. wyden, chairman of ways and means committee, mr.
neal, have been working to that end. we had in our house bill which i was very proud of an increase in the corporate rate and increase in the capital gains and it was a very well received proposal because it wasn't punitive, it was fair. but we'll see what survives, prevails. >> what's your preference? do you have a preference? >> my preference is to follow the cooperation that the senate and house come to. >> madam speaker -- >> the next one is a woman, no matter who. >> you said -- yesterday morning you said some of the reporting about what was in and out of the bill was not accurate. is that because this bill is still in flux and does this have to be prebaked with the senate before you presenti it? does everything have to be nailed down with manchin and sinema. >> whatever it is you think i said, what i was saying is that instead of covering what is in the bill, you all seem to be on
a jag about a few people. 96% of the house and senate democrats support the president's proposal. you would never know that to see the reporting of it but that's your work. you do yours, we do ours. you couldn't possibly misrepresent because it isn't -- it isn't done yet and it will be because now we have to narrow the scope and we are in the process of doing that. >> and prebake it with the senate so that everything is signed off here and everything is finalized -- >> our agreement is that we will have an agreement that we will pass both houses. >> how critical is it to reach an agreement on a framework by tomorrow? leader schumer says he wants to get this done by the end of the week. are you on track to doing that? >> we've always been on track for doing that. the house has been on schedule. we have a goal. we have a timetable. we have milestones. and we've met them all. and this is one of them. >> on the child tax credit, you talked about the importance of that. would a one-year extension be
sufficient or acceptable to you? >> if that's -- that's what the president has agreed to. let me just say i want permanent child tax credit. i've wanted it for years. this is the president's big issue. it's called the biden child tax credit. so if it's acceptable to him in light of the bill, it's acceptable to me. >> madam speaker -- >> climate. on climate, the green energy performance plan we're told on the record by other democrats is now out of the bill. does the final bill have to meet those same emission reductions as was in the original house bill in order for you to accept it? >> the point is, is to reach the goals. the emission goals of, i think i said that in my remarks, of the 20 -- reduction to 50% by 2030, reduction 100% by 2050, maybe
even ahead of that. we have a responsibility to not only meet but to beat the paris agreement goals and we also have a responsibility to help poor countries with technology and assistance in order for them to meet their goals. those countries are not responsible for very much of the climate crisis. but they are paying a big price because of their vulnerability. i had the privilege of speaking in spain right before covid at the most previous covid 25 to a session on the vulnerables and those countries and their own presentations show that they pay the price sooner than any of us and yet they're least responsible for the emissions. so we have that big responsibility. so it isn't about a particular plan, it's about reaching our goals and how we do it. i feel very satisfied the path we're on to do that.
>> on the corporate tax question, senator sinema from what we understand has opposed increasing corporate and individual tax rates. has she conveyed that to you? and to follow up, could this be fully paid for as you have promised if her view prevails? >> the bill will be fully paid for and the matter is in the hands of our chairs of the finance committee and the ways and means committee. >> has she conveyed her position to you? >> her position is well known. >> madam speaker, will there be an infrastructure vote next week? >> so far congress has in recent years relied on referrals and civil suits. why continue to outsource enforcement of congress' own authority to the courts? why not advance the raskin-lieu bill to enable congress' contempt authority. >> what bill? >> the raskin-lieu bill, a
resolution to -- >> well, we have the protect our democracy legislation which we will be advancing and is being led by adam schiff and jamie, that captures many of those concerns. but we don't take it to court. we subpoena people. they take it to court. but the fact is that that's why we're going to criminal contempt here because this goes beyond. >> that still relies on the discretion of the justice department. >> that does. it's a system of checks and balances. again, you will be seeing in november -- i don't have a date that we will be ready to come forward with our protect our democracy legislation, and that captures many of the ideas that members have put forth in that regard. i don't know if the republicans want to protect our democracy. so far we haven't seen a lot of evidence of that. but just in the prospect of maybe one day they think they'll
have a republican president or we have a democratic president now and they want to protect our democracy from -- no, i want to tell you something. have you read the protect our democracy act? then you know it addresses many of the concerns that you have. >> madam speaker, will there be an infrastructure vote next week? >> all right. so we've been listening into house speaker nancy pelosi offering -- really trying to strike or is striking an optimistic tone on the state of the negotiations on the massive spending bill. let me bring in cnn's kaitlin collins live in baltimore as this dovetails at the site of tonight's cnn town hall with president biden. one thing you notice as speaker pelosi was talking is she was doing her level best to not really take a position on any one provision, any one mechanism for paying for something, any
one tax increase, doing her level best to not take a position publicly. kind of a sign of the state of how tenuous the state of negotiations really is. >> reporter: yeah. she said that they have always been on track when it comes to whether or not they're going to have an agreement by tomorrow and that is something that democratic leaders have been saying, they want to have that framework. that is what the senate majority leader, chuck schumer, said. we'll wait to see what plays out. but she did say several interesting things including what has been at the main point of the last 24 hours, which is how this bill is going to be paid forgiven we know senator sinema has opposition to increasing taxes on corporations and high earners. pelosi said there her position is well known when manu raju asked if sinema made that position enclosure to pelosi. she was talking about what it would look like when they do pay for this bill and what the tax structures will look like and that is an option for them to
use to pay for this, which has been one of the main proponents that president biden has pushed. she said that is in the hands of the finance chairs. they are the ones working on that and what this bill looks like in the end but no clear answers on what the direction is that they're going in when it comes to that. so she did still say the bill will be fully paid for. what is what democrats have said all along. it remains to be seen how it will be fully paid for and what senator sinema does in the end. is it she change her position or do they change the pay-fors on this bill and the tax structures which will be a pretty big lift if they want to have a framework by tomorrow and have a more substantial framework by the time the president leaves washington at the end of next week. i do want to note the other interesting thing that pelosi said about the child tax credit, which of course some democrats want to make permanent, some want to make it last much longer and of course we do know that president biden told democrats this week it's likely only going to get a year extension. she said there that she still does want it to be a permanent
child tax credit but if the president has agreed to do a one-year extension to come to a compromise to get an agreement on this deal, she said she would back that. >> absolutely. all of this going to be leading to many of the questions that are going to be probably coming at president biden when he takes the stage at the cnn town hall tonight. you mentioned manu raju asking a question. manu, as kaitlin was getting at, it sounds like we're getting into the weeds once again when we talk about this new idea of how to pay for this package. it might be in the weeds but it might also be the whole ball game at this point. tell people why biden floating dropping an increase to the corporate tax rate right now, why they're doing it, why it's so important. >> yeah, this is really significant and it was important here because nancy pelosi did not commit to raising taxes on corporations or high earners. this has been the democratic position for years. this has been what was central to how this bill would be
financed in the house proposal. but just moments ago when i asked her about it and another reporter asked her about this, she would not commit to that saying this was going to be a discussion ongoing. it's all because of one senator, kyrsten sinema, the arizona democrat who has resisted any increase in those rates. she has not been saying that publicly, even though i tried to ask pelosi about whether she has had conversations or been told sinema about this. she is having those conversations with the white house, with the president, not with fellow democrats on capitol hill andirked a number of democrats. by taking that position, that could ultimately upset the calculus in passing this bill out of the senate. as you know, you need all 50 democrats to sign on and vote yes. if one were to defect like s kyrsten sinema, that's enough to tank the entire agenda. that's why the democrats are trying to figure out another way to finance that because pelosi once again committed that this
bill would be fully paid for, which is a central commitment. how is this paid for? who will get hit with tax increases. they are looking at billionaire's tax, a tax on stock buybacks, minimum corporate rate tax, perhaps they think that sinema could get behind some of those issues but it's still uncertain how that plays out. even though there is optimism in democratic circles that they could get a deal potentially by the end of this week on just the general outlienes, there are still so many issues they need to deal with. and getting all the members from the most liberal like bernie sanders to the most moderate -- >> i've got to jump in. i want to take you to florida where the lee county sheriff is starting an update on the search for brian laundrie. let's listen in. >> sarasota sheriff kurt hoffman, the fbi, and all law enforcement agencies that are here today, this is my first time being here. we have deployed -- chief garrison and i have been in
constant contact. we deployed assets immediately, resources, deputies, our system which can analyze a crime scene and save hours and hours of man hours, our drones, the dragon fish. dragon fish has the capability of flying 67 miles an hour and 18.6 miles away from the operator with all the capabilities of a helicopter. today when i walked back there i got to see firsthand the treacherous conditions that they were working in. we're talking about water levels up above almost the chest area, rattlesnakes, moccasins, alligators. and these heroes go out there. while we can't change the outcome, we can bring justice. and today i'm very, very proud to say that chief garrison and our team of law enforcement, which is regional. it doesn't matter what color patch or uniform you wear, we
work as one team and one family. the law enforcement community came together and i'm very proud to be a part of that. chief garrison, would you like to say a few words. >> well, thank you, sheriff. it means a lot. as we said yesterday, not one agency can handle all of this and it's important that we rely on our partners. sheriff carmine marceno and sheriff kurt hoffman have been huge, huge players in helping this investigation throughout and also with the fbi so i just want to say thank you. >> thank you. you know, it's challenging times. i know everybody wants to know exactly what's going on every second possible. all of america is watching, okay? but we'll never, never jeopardize an investigation to give that information out until the time is right. but again, i want to reiterate this is a difficult business we're in, law enforcement. things change by the second, by the minute. these are very, very difficult conditions. i mean you're searching in areas
that you just can't walk up and look. it's not like you're searching a house or a car. these areas are huge and they're covered by water. so i couldn't be more proud of the team. once again, sheriff hoffman from sarasota, we're all one family. the sheriff has done a great job. chief garrison and our fbi, second to none. they came together from all over. we're talking about in different states of communication here. and the end result is one team, one family working to bring closure. again, our thoughts and prayers are with the family members and this tragedy. thank you [ overlapping speakers ] >> do you think the laundries would have cooperated sooner that you would have found him sooner? >> so this is an update from the local sheriff but it doesn't seem like there's much of an update that they are ready to give at this moment, which is fascinating as they set that up.
clearly the reporters on the ground are wondering the same as i heard one of them say, chief, is this even a press conference. let me bring in cnn legal analyst joey jackson and charles ramsey. chief, i have to ask, would you set up a press conference -- what do you think the point of this press conference was? >> i don't know. i thought we'd get some information. we really didn't. just a description of how difficult it was to search. granted, it was a very difficult area to search. i can certainly appreciate all that. but they didn't provide any real information. were the remains found brian laundrie's? what about this dry bag, what was inside it? anything that was legible that was written, if it was underwater for a period of time, obviously things could have gotten destroyed. you know, who found the bag? my understanding is, it's the father of brian laundrie. and in my opinion, he never should have been involved in the search. >> yeah. >> he can take you there and
point you in a direction, but he should not be physically involved in the search. there's a lot of unanswered questions. >> that's what i was going to ask you, chief, before this press conference came. but after a month of searching in this preserve, and, yes, it is a huge area and it's also covered in water in large part, the day that they reopened the reserve, brian laundrie's parents go in and essentially it seems go right to locating items linked to brian. i mean how is that, even trying to not just jump to conclusions? >> well, it's odd to say the least. again, there's a lot of gaps that need to be filled in. the parents perhaps can do that as long as they don't incriminate themselves, so don't think that all of a sudden should these remains turn out to be brian's that all of a sudden now they're going to be open and honest and talking about everything that took place. it depends on their role. it depends on what actually took place in terms of their interactions with brian after he
returned home without gabby. so they still are vulnerable, depending on what it is that they may have been involved in. >> and, joey, this kind of dovetails maybe off the strange appearance that the sheriff and police chief just made, because the family -- brian laundrie's family attorney was on with chris cuomo last night and speaking out. the way that the family attorney seemed to speak of what happened when the parents went into the reserve yesterday is that the way he said it is the parents assumed that the experts, the fbi, all of the tracking teams, would be able to locate brian based upon the information that they had provided, including these specific areas and trails. the fbi said that this area was previously under water, but do you think that this family's attorney is trying to suggest that investigators were doing a shoddy job or something? why would he do that? >> yeah, kate, good morning
touchlt gto you. good morning to you, chief. the first thing that comes to minding is it really seems a bit at odds and strange to me. you have the preeminent law enforcement really agency in the world in the fbi. they're searching the area for weeks upon end, bringing all the resources to bear, the manpower and technology. and the person who finds something belonging to brian laundrie happens to be the dad. you know, that's a head scratcher to me, quite frankly. and it really -- you know, you don't believe in coincidences, this perhaps is another reason not to. i have no information, i'd be speculating like anyone else, but it really leaves you with just the wonder of how is it that of all the people who were looking and searching, it happens to be you. and so that's problematic to me. number two, we know that the family had not been cooperative from the outset. certainly if they wanted to cooperate and i get and understand and as an attorney i give the same advice, don't talk to anyone. but you certainly through your
lawyer can provide information that can facilitate and move them out of forward. the last thing as relates to this press conference, also a head scratcher, it's very nice that law enforcement is cooperating with each other. that's what they need to do, should do to bring matters to justice. but beyond that you would think that there would be some scintilla of information that might satisfy our curiosity with respect to the many questions as the chief has noted that need to be answered and to this point have not been answered. the family certainly has those answers. whether they provide them is another matter. >> and this just kind of adds to what we've seen all along, which is just the strange curious nature of how this is all unfolded. all with still questions lingering out there of who killed gabby petito. it still remains out there and seems, at least after that press conference we're no closer to learning that today. chief, thank you. joey, thank you as always. really appreciate it, guys. coming up next for us, mixing and matching booster shots is being discussed at a
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heart disease, diabetes, obesity, moderate to severe asthma. you're talking 150 to 170 million people fall into that category of severe risk. finally people with high risk of exposure, getting lots of exposure due to health care work or frontline work, whatever it may be. that's sort of the same sort of pattern that we saw with pfizer. they say wait at least six months after that first dose, that first series of doses. with johnson & johnson it's a little bit different. what they are saying is all adults 18 and older should be eligible for a booster. again, we've got to wait for cdc to weigh in on this. the big difference there, two months after that initial shot, so that's the specific. >> yeah. and i find that really interesting because with that saying you can get -- i'm going to use air quotes now, the booster, if you've had johnson & johnson after two months. you're looking at other shots at least six months. so can we consider the johnson &
johnson vaccine a two-dose regimen now? >> i think you possibly could think of it that way. it's interesting, even if you go back and look at the original pfizer and moderna, what you hear from people like peter hotez, is there's always likely to be some boost at an interval. the first two shots together were just together to prime the immune system. you needed two together to prime the immune system. so the idea that you would need a boost later on was not that surprising to people who work on these vaccines. for johnson & johnson you're right, you could consider this a second shot. there's a difference in the terminology which most people don't use, but the boost is something to boost the immune system, whereas another shot like a third shot could be in people who did not respond to the vaccine well in the first place. like someone who has a weakened immune system, for example. but yes, two months at least for the johnson & johnson interval. >> there's one thing that i'm curious about when it comes to
moderna and pfizer and their kind of vaccine regimen here. you know, the guidance is the booster can come at least six months later. >> six months. >> if the maudeoderna booster i half the dose of the initial shot, is that significant? >> i think that's really interesting that you picked up on that and i think it is significant, but maybe for the exact opposite reason people think. i think what they do in these situations, they basically try and figure out what is the lowest dose we can use to get a significant antibody response. even with pfizer early on, you may remember they had some high doses they used that were causing some significant side effects and they just gradually settled in on the dose that they used for the pfizer vaccine, which is 30 micrograms. for moderna it was 100 micrograms so a higher dose, much higher. now they're saying 50 micrograms is enough for the boost. it's based on the data that they're collecting trying to
figure out the lowest dose to get the best response. >> it's all so fascinating. sanjay, thank you so much. >> you got it, thank you. coming up next for us, house lawmakers, all of them will be voting in just hours on holding steve bannon in contempt of congress, just as the attorney general who decides what to do with that charge is testifying on capitol hill. we have it all covered for you, next. johnson & johnson is building a future where cancers can be cured. strokes can be reversed. and there isn't one definition of what well feels like. there are millions. johnson & hnson is building your world of well. (kids playing) pnc bank believes that if your phone can help you track your pizza come on, cody. where are you, buddy? then your bank should help you track your spending.
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developing right now, the full house of representatives will begin debating and vote this afternoon on holding former trump adviser steve bannon in contempt of congress for defying a subpoena from the committee investigating the capitol insurrection. cnn's ryan nobles is live on capitol hill with more on this. ryan, what is going to happen today? >> it's going to be a pretty straightforward legislative day, kate. we don't expect too many surprises. as you mentioned, early this afternoon the house will take up the measures related to this criminal contempt referral of steve bannon. there will be a debate on the rule and then eventually a debate on the order itself before the full house votes on it and with its passage will be referred to the attorney general merrick garland and the department of justice. there is one interesting wrinkle and i'm sure this will interest you. because of the dynamics of the select committee, you have a
chair and a vice chair that are of different parties, liz cheney and bennie thompson, but they're basically aligned on this issue. so the rule that was passed actually allows for jim banks, who is a freedom caucus member of the republican party, to be the opposing person debating this issue today on the house floor. so cheney will get time, thompson will get time and then banks will be the one arguing in opposition to this measure today on the house floor. one of the things we're going to be watching for is how many republicans break ranks with their party and vote with democrats to refer this criminal contempt charge against steve bannon. republican leadership making it clear that they want them to vote no. they put out a specific leadership recommendation yesterday. but of course, kate, as we've seen with issues like this, for instance, the forming of the independent commission and the impeachment of president trump, there's always a couple of republicans to keep an eye on to see if they break ranks. we expect that to happen today as well, but overwhelmingly this will be a partisan vote.
almost all the democrats voting yes and almost all the republicans voting no. >> great to see you, ryan, thank you so much. so the man at the center of whether to prosecute steve bannon after that step that ryan is just laying out, attorney general merrick garland. he is testifying right now on capitol hill before the house judiciary committee. he just weighed in on the bannon decision. let's get over to cnn's jessica schneider who's following this for us. jessica, what is the attorney general saying? >> well, this has been a wide-ranging hearing, kate. the attorney general has very much tried to stay on message to talk about the moves that the justice department has made during his seven months at the top. in particular, he referenced the fact that they have doubled the staff of their voting rights section in the past year to be prepared to evaluate this influx of voting rights laws that have been enacted by mostly republican states. at the same time, the attorney general here, he is sticking to this message that he always focuses on. he repeatedly has said the justice department is not political and that its sole goal
is to uphold and protect the rule of law. but of course today is that house vote on the steve bannon contempt referral. when the attorney general was asked what the doj will do when this referral is ultimately handed over to them for potential prosecution, the attorney general did stick to the response that has been repeated for more than a week now by officials within doj and the u.s. attorney's office here in washington. here's what the attorney general said. >> the house of representatives votes for referral of a contempt ch charge, the department of justice will do what it always does in such circumstances. it will apply the facts and the law and make a decision consistent with the principles of prosecution. >> interestingly, so far republicans have not really been pressing the attorney general on this possible steve bannon prosecution. instead, kate, they have been slamming garland for a memo he sent out october 4th that directs the fbi and local prosecutors to work with school
boards to maybe thwart some of those growing threats that educators have faced when it comes to covid protocols, even teaching the issues of race. this has been a big republican talking point. but the attorney general, we saw him get a little bit rattled in response, defending his memo, saying this was just a memo not trying to tamp down on free speech, just saying any threats will be countered. kate. >> jessica, thank you very much. much more to come on that. in the meantime let me bring in cnn legal analyst jennifer rogers, former federal prosecutor. it's good to see you, jennifer. the way that the january 6th committee have been talking about this bannon situation, i will call it, is that it's an easy decision for garland to make. they are confident that steve bannon has no leg to stand on here in what he is claiming, which he says that executive privilege needs to be decided by the courts before he can do anything so he's not going to respond in any way, shape or form to the request from the
committee. you say for the justice department, though, it's not so easy. why? >> well, it's just not quite that simple, kate. you know, this is a winnable case, don't get me wrong. i think the justice department should do it. the reason is that what bannon is doing is not really claiming he's got executive privilege but in fact claiming an absolute blanket privilege, that he doesn't have to do anything. he doesn't have to supply any documents or testify at all. so that's the reason i think that doj should bring the case and this is frankly the best shot they'll get at it because bannon has by far the weakest claims on executive privilege. but they are going to be reluctant. they haven't been excited to do frankly any investigation surrounding trump or his inner circle. they have taken a pass it seems on the obstruction laid out in the mueller report, on the michael cohen/stormy daniels campaign finance case that was brought in manhattan. so far as we know on the january 6 activity. so this kind of puts it in the justice department's lap and i'm not sure they're happy to have it. they have been historically
reluctant to bring these kinds of pruosecutions on contempt of congress. the doj which is part of the executive branch has a long standing pursuant to its office of legal counsel opinions view that executive privilege is broad and it is relatively expansive. so i think for all of those reasons they're pretty reluctant to do this. >> and look, donald trump and steve bannon are using the word executive privilege when it comes to this, but what they're really seem to be seeking is obviously more than that. the way you described it as absolute immunity. why is that different and distinct here? >> well, the truth is we don't have a lot of information about the parameters of executive privilege because it hasn't been litigated very much. but one thing we do know, it is not an absolute privilege. you cannot just say i absolutely refuse to come, refuse to turn over any documents at all. instead what bannon really should be doing is engaging with the committee to go through what parts of his testimony he can give. what doesn't have anything to do with communications between him and the former president,
because the select committee is seeking a lot of information from bannon that it is clear he can give without executive privilege even coming into play. so we do know that. the problem is we don't know the exact parameters of executive privilege and it is possible under the case law that a court might find in this lawsuit that president trump brought the other day might be the vehicle to do that, that there is some limited executive privilege in some of the conversations between the former president and steve bannon. >> and what i hear in all of this is that if when this starts going through the legal process, it just takes a lot of time. it's good to see you, jennifer, thank you very much. appreciate it. coming up for us, less than two weeks until election day in virginia's governor's race, the most watched race in the country right now. vice president kamala harris will be campaigning today with terry mcauliffe. her pitch and what is at stake in this neck-in-neck race right now.
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glen youngkin, though, is in a dead heat with just 12 days to go until they start counting votes. let's get over to dan who's been watching all of this. dan, what does the vice president bring, what are you hearing from virginia? >> reporter: it's all about excitement at this point. that poll showed a dead heat. it's a monmouth university poll that showed glenn youngkin at 46% and terry mcauliffe at 46%. as you see in that graphic, that is a shift towards youngkin over the last month. and that is why democrats over that last month have really been dour about their standing in this race and whether their base, a base which helped tilt this state blue in 2020, you remember biden won it by ten points over donald trump, whether that base is motivated enough to deliver the state again for democrats. that's why they're calling on people like kamala harris, as you note stacey abrams will be in virginia on sunday, president barack obama will be there on saturday for a rally in the richmond area. there is expectations that
president biden will be back in virginia again. mcauliffe has said that he intends for biden to come back. but all of this is aimed at turning out voters, democratic base voters, those same voters that delivered biden a win in the commonwealth in 2020. there are concerns that democrats are not engaged enough and that's why you've seen mcauliffe repeatedly turn to tying glenn youngkin to donald trump throughout this campaign. the aim of that, if mcauliffe can successfully tie youngkin and trump together, the aim is to really see whether democrats are still motivated by trump and turn out because of their fear of trump coming back and republicans rising again. >> dan, thank you so much for your reporting. i want to turn to this, a big development in a story we've been following closely. a big move by the nfl. "the new york times" is reporting that the league has agreed to ending the use of a controversial practice known as race norming, to calculate payments to players for past concussion injuries. the original process involved assuming that black players
began their careers with a lower cognitive level than white players. and what this resulted in was black players needing to show greater cognitive decline than white players in order to be compensated in these sett settlements. so now they have agreed to a race neutral process, meaning millions more in additional payouts could be coming if a judge approves this deal. we'll continue to follow this and bring you more. ahead for us, democrats are facing two more roadblocks in their attempts to bolster voting rights. republican opposition in the senate and newly redrawn congressional maps in texas. don't turn away. this is important, because if you are frustrated in politics, this is why. and this segment is one you will wanting want to see. welcome to t the eat fresh refresh. refresh where there is so much new, some say that it can't fit in one ad. i say... ...we're talking a new all-american club, deli-style oven-roasted turkey and... oh, that's the new steak & cheese.
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senate republicans yesterday blocked for a third time this year legislation crafted by democrats to strengthen voting rights protections across the country. all 50 democrats and independents supported the bill. all 50 republicans voted against it again. that divide also playing out in a big way in texas where the republican-controlled legislature just approved their new congressional maps redrawn to further increase republican-dominated districts, and they do not reflect the fact that black, his panic and other minority groups account for
basically all of the population growth in that state, according to the census. joining me right now is longtime republican election attorney ben ginsburg who has been involved in drawing a few maps in the important and joining us also is texas native. jessica, texas gained more congressional seats this time around than any other state. you're looking at what the legislature has finalized. how bad is this gerrymandering? >> it's not great, and you can look only so far as the fact that the state has already been sued over these maps and was in fact sued before the maps were officially approved. as you said, all of the growth is due to mostly latino population growth in the state, but the maps don't take that into consideration at all, despite the huge growth. we're not going to see any democratic seats gained in the
next election most likely given these lines so i would say that it is -- it's really the republicans' last attempt to hold on to power here. >> ben, this is something you and i have debated for so long. he stops taking my calls, i'm warning everyone. here's a look at what the redifficulty ding looked like in texas this time around and gerrymandering is the source of all evil, i will declare. yet, it is still happening. why are these legislators allowed to do this? there is a portion according to "the journal why the "in it undistrict in texas that is just 28 houses wide. >> yeah. that happens from time to time. this is the time of the decade when the political animal behaves in this particular fashion, just like the texas map, the democrats in illinois have drawn up a map that would completely eviscerate the republicans, not only loses a seat, democrats would pick up two seats, republicans would
lose a seat, a swing of three. very oddly drawn lines. so this is a bipartisan exercise in incumbency exerting power at this particular time in the decade. >> but, jessica, hold on one second, i've got to go for a double tip here. then why, ben, why aren't they all independent commissions? if the choice is the legser of two evils in who gets to decide, why not try to take politics out of it, slightly? >> well, as you can see in the commissions that are now operating in virginia and colorado and several other states, you never take the politics out of it, and arguably redistricting by legislators directly elected by the people is a preferable way to do it than the commissions that are equally political but driven by staff that are not responsible to the people. >> arlington, texas, has now
broken into like 400,000 people. it's now broken into four congressional districts, jessica. really, it should make everyone upset. this is not a new problem as ben is clearly laying out though is what we see though is democrats are trying to tackle vote willing access, what they are target on a federal level, right. is that the place to fight this out when we see this going on in states? >> no. the democrats have really gone about this in a confusing way. i can't really understand what their political strategy is. they spent the last few months really laying in hard to joe manchin ignoring the fact that they still need a couple of repub republicans to pass whatever or need to reform the filibuster which they have no appetite to do. i'm not sure why they thought any of this would be successful.
they have not done a lot of things like fund election infrastructure which is crumbling by which would be a great way to serve of voters that they could have done a couple of times. >> ben, the easiest, here's the softball. what is the solution, as i will declare once again is gerrymandering is the source of all evil. >> i don't necessarily agree with that, that it's the source of all evil. >> cut his mic. i'm kidding, keep going. >> but the solution to this i think is to recognize the demographics of the country as they exist, which is to say that in this decade people are living more like other people, so it is really difficult to draw competitive districts, but the way to do this is to pass legislation in individual states that say our highest virtue is competitive districts as opposed to preservation of communities and things like that, and by creating competitive districts
as the top criteria in states you'll force states to actually look at how to make closer elections. >> a girl can dream that this could actually be solved. i will continue to try. thank you both. really appreciate it. thanks for being here, everybody. "inside politics" with john king begins now. >> hello and welcome to "inside politics." i'm john king in washington. thank you for sharing your day with us. tonight president biden gets a big opportunity and a big test, a live cnn town hall to sell his agenda. today the house speaker says democrats are moving closer to a deal. >> we're making great progress to our goal of securing a framework agreement for build back better in a timely fashion. although it's a smaller bill, it's still historic. >> plus,est day green ligh