tv NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt NBC January 11, 2022 6:30pm-7:00pm PST
the president saying, quote, i'm tired of being quiet. but does he have enough support in his own party? and why some voting advocates boycotted the president's event. also tonight, top u.s. health officials under fire on capitol hill for the federal covid response as omicron surges and the fiery moment dr. fauci accusing senator rand paul of attacking him for political purposes >> that kindles the crazies out there, and i have threats upon my life, harassment of my family. >> also his new cdc mask guidance coming, and which ones give the most protection. the medical helicopter crashing near a church. four people including an infant onboard. all surviving. witnesses calling it a miracle. the coldest day in years in parts of the u.s. how long will the dangerous deep freeze last the new warnings about the irs. why your refund could face big delays this year and the old-school
sport catching on with a whole new generation how it is "inspiring america. >> announcer: this is "nbc nightly news" with lester holt. good evening from the cradle of the civil rights movement, president biden today appealed to the lessons of history in his strongest call yet for the passage of voting rights legislation and announcing his support for an exception to the senate filibuster rule in order to get it done. speaking in georgia, the president blasted recently passed state voting laws he says are meant to subvert the vote, allowing partisans, he said, to seek the results they want the president has spoken on voting rights before, but a lack of action has left many in his own party disappointed today the president turned the spotlight on the senate where current rules remain a major obstacle toward passing legislation. mr. biden throwing his support behind lifting the filibuster, declaring today the majority should rule in the united states senate
peter alexander is at the white house. peter, the president's call to action could be tested very soon. walk us through it >> reporter: lester, that's right the top senate democrat says he'll call a critical vote on this as soon as tomorrow president biden needs democrats to be united, but even before he left washington today, he was dealt a major blow by a member of his own party. president biden tonight casting this new voting rights push as a critical turning point for america. >> will we choose democracy over autocracy, light over shadows, justice over injustice? i know where i stand. >> reporter: framing today's effort through the lens of the civil rights movement, the president in atlanta first visiting martin luther king jr.'s grave, as well as the church where he preached asked if he has the votes to pass the bi official in america, how do you want to be remembered do you want to be on the side of dr. king or george wallace?
>> reporter: despite threats of republican retaliation, president biden tonight endorsed a major change to long-standing senate rules that would end the 60-vote requirement to avoid a filibuster, specifically on voting rights so that democrats could approve that legislation alone with just 50 votes. >> i support changing the senate rules, whichever way they need to be changed to prevent a minority of senators from blocking action on voting rights. >> reporter: it's a reversal for the president, who as a senator spent decades defending the filibuster >> at its core, the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or a bill. it's about compromise and moderation >> reporter: but moderate democrat joe manchin earlier reiterated his opposition to changing those senate rules, which would sink the democrats' efforts. >> we need some good rule changes to make the place work better, but getting rid of the filibuster doesn't make it work better. >> reporter: notably absent today, top georgia democrat stacey abrams, citing a scheduling conflict.
the democratic legislation includes requiring all states to allow mail-in voting, making election day a national holiday, and loosening state voter i.d. requirements. republicans accuse democrats of orchestrating fake hysteria >> there is no widespread effort to suppress minority voting rights in america. it's nonexistent it doesn't exist this has nothing to do with this. this has to do with power. >> reporter: the president gambling on a new campaign for voting rights legislation without the votes right now to make it happen peter alexander, nbc news, the white house. >> reporter: i'm blayne alexander in georgia, where organizers tell us it's a race against the clock to pass democrats' new voting legislation. >> democracy hangs in the balance. >> reporter: but they're worried president biden is speaking up too little, too late his georgia trip marks a return to the state that gave democrats the senate majority, but he's being met with an icy reception from some of the very organizers behind those victories. while some voting rights activists are in attendance, others
choosing to skip the speech, calling anything short of a concrete plan to pass democrats' legislation unacceptable, an empty gesture. georgia has progressively become more progressive, narrowly flipping for biden in 2020 by less than 12,000 votes. now the groups that helped drive record democratic turnout say to bring voters out again, it's time for a return on their investment. >> what is your biggest fear if this legislation does not pass >> our biggest fear is we have nothing to say to these voters as to why they should come out again in the midterms and make their voices heard because this administration has given us no -- there's no meat on the bone. >> reporter: tonight republicans are defending georgia's controversial new voting law slammed by critics as voter suppression. governor brian kemp says it's the opposite. >> georgia's elections integrity act makes it easy to vote and hard to cheat >> reporter: last year, president biden told georgia democrats electing two democratic senators
would mean a green light for his agenda >> the power is literally in your hands. >> reporter: now the pressure is on from democrats for him to deliver. and after the speech, some of those activists told me they liked what they heard today, but they wanted to hear the president call out the holdouts in his own party lester. >> blayne and peter, thank you. the nation's top officials in the covid battle faced some pretty harsh criticism today over what senators call their confusing and often conflicting guidelines as the country deals with the most aggressive surge yet here's miguel almaguer >> reporter: on the very day covid cases tallied a staggering record high, 1.3 million new infections reported in 24 hours, key members of the white house covid task force are blasted over their handling of the pandemic >> i'm not questioning the science, but i'm questioning your communication strategies it's no wonder that the american people are confused >> reporter: testifying on capitol hill as new hospitalizations soar,
up 83%, dr. fauci and dr. walensky faced withering criticism over perceived missteps and miscommunication >> the american people don't trust the words coming out of your mouth. every day you appear on tv, you do more damage than good. >> reporter: a frustrated fauci caught off camera on a hot mic after a series of heated exchanges. >> what a moron. jesus christ >> reporter: as the biden administration pushes for more testing amid a serious lack of supplies and overwhelming demand -- >> tests are hard to find they are costly. >> reporter: frustrated lawmakers also called out the cdc's evolving guidance over shortened isolation times for those who contract covid as pressure mounted from big business short on staff. >> you are scientists, not politicians. nevertheless, you are being made subject to the political whims of various political
individuals, and that comes at a high cost. >> reporter: today's four-hour hearing at times personal >> what happens when he gets out and accuses me of things that are completely untrue is that all of a sudden that kindles the crazies out there, and i have life -- threats upon my life. >> for you to somehow suggest that somehow i or people who dare to oppose you are responsible for threats, that's insulting. >> reporter: the contention reflective of our national divide >> and the purpose of the committee was to try and get things out how we can help. >> reporter: as our nation braces for what could still be the worst of the spike in the days ahead, there was also this sobering warning as hospitals today struggle to manage the current surge. >> i think it's hard to process what's actually happening right now, which is most people are going to get covid. >> miguel, all this comes as there's a spike in cases where you are in california. i know one county taking some really drastic measures
>> reporter: that's right, lester. sonoma county, which is famed wine country, is also asking residents to voluntarily stay home for the next 30 days because of a spike in cases. the county is banning large gatherings which would include weddings and conferences in a region popular with tourists lester. >> miguel almaguer, thank you. near philadelphia tonight, an incredible survival story the crash of a medical helicopter carrying an infant, and everyone made it out alive. gabe gutierrez is there. >> that's a helicopter >> reporter: it may be hard to believe, but tonight everyone including an infant who was in this mangled medical helicopter is alive. and incredibly, no one on the ground was hurt >> i literally see the chopper in the sky like right there so i'm stopped, but then there was a moment where i realized this is going to hit the ground. so that's when i pulled into reverse. >> reporter: this man was driving his family in a neighborhood just west of philadelphia this afternoon and barely dodged a catastrophe.
>> this is absolutely a miracle from the lord. >> reporter: a miraculous landing, witnesses say, right next to a church >> it's an absolute miracle here what you see behind you there's no debris, no wires down, no trees. >> reporter: the chopper had been flying to a children's hospital in philly carrying two crew members, a nurse, and the infant all four of them were able to escape the wreckage even before emergency crews arrived. >> everyone is out of the helicopter >> reporter: no word yet on what caused the crash. the ntsb will investigate. >> it was absolutely insane i've never seen anything like this. >> reporter: but tonight, authorities here are crediting the pilot. >> this is a miraculous landing. >> reporter: and perhaps a higher power for a remarkable landing against all odds >> so, gabe, how did the pilot do it? >> reporter: well, lester, authorities say the pilot noticed a problem in the air and searched for a place to land for about a mile before ending up here what really strikes you on the ground here, lester, is just how close this chopper came to the church
right beside it, and remarkably no one was killed lester. >> incredible. gabe, thank you. while the eyes of the world are on russia and ukraine these days, another serious threat is emerging north korea's most advanced missile test yet. it was the second in a week, and it caught the attention of aviation authorities here andrea mitchell tells us more. >> reporter: kim jong-un's latest missile launch a new hypersonic ballistic missile according to south korea. traveling at mach 10, ten times the speed of sound, landing in the sea of japan experts alarmed by its speed and its ability to evade missile defenses because its warhead re-enters the atmosphere on a detachable glide vehicle that swerves back and forth mid-flight before reaching its target. >> once one of those missiles takes off, it's not always clear just exactly what direction that missile is going to take the direction of that missile could very well be directed at
the west coast or directed at some of our other assets in the pacific. >> reporter: this after kim's new year's pledge to keep advancing his nuclear program. how close are they, do you think, to perfecting this new missile? >> they are further along than we ever expected in terms of this ballistic missile capability. >> reporter: minutes after the launch, the faa grounded all flights up and down the west coast for five to seven minutes as a precaution. >> what's the ground stop for >> we don't know we are trying to find out. >> reporter: tonight the u.s. denounced the test for violating u.n. resolutions and said kim has not responded to president biden's offers to negotiate limits on his nuclear weapons. lester. >> andrea, thank you in just 60 seconds, protecting yourself with the right kind of mask as covid explodes as never before and the news about inflation and what it could mean for american jobs.
millions of americans today across the upper midwest, great lakes and northeast. new york city and boston seeing their coldest days in three years. windchills as low as 30 below 0 in northern new england but a warm-up is on the way with temperatures expected to rebound tonight into tomorrow. let's return now to the covid threat and how to protect yourself the cdc is now considering a recommendation to wear those more protective masks used by medical professionals, the same ones we were told not to use when supplies were low back in 2020. tom costello with what you need to know >> reporter: from the best masks to those at-home test kits, it can all be confusing tonight some answers the n95 hospital-grade mask remains the top choice for filtering out airborne particles. certified by the national institute for occupational safety and health, niosh, it should carry the stamp. the more comfortable kn95 is made in china and also offers very good protection.
so does the kf94 mask, which is made in korea. the difference -- >> n95s have two straps that go around the head as opposed to a kn95 usually will have ear loops >> reporter: the typical medical procedure mask provides decent protection but doesn't seal tightly around the nose and mouth so you're concerned about this gap here, right? you want it completely tightly sealed >> that's correct. and you will know if it's not sealed if your glasses fog up. >> reporter: in short supply two years ago, the cdc recommended against using n95s for the general public now with plenty available, they're the best option. but beware, there are many fake masks online look for that niosh certification stamp on n95s this website, projectn95.org, is a nonprofit with links to certified masks this is also important.
experts say cloth masks provide very little protection against the omicron and delta variants >> those two variants are more transmissible, and that is why we're recommending that people wear a higher quality mask. >> reporter: meanwhile, insurance companies will now pay for everyone to receive eight at-home test kits per month. most experts say the antigen tests are very accurate though you could get a false negative in the first 48 hours of infection. >> if you have symptoms and you have a negative test in that first day or two, you could still have covid. so you should still isolate. you should wear a mask around others. >> reporter: evolving guidelines in an ever-changing pandemic tom costello, nbc news, washington. up next, we're going to talk about your money and the warning about this coming tax season. what you should know
♪♪ thousands of women with metastatic breast cancer are living in the moment and taking ibrance. ibrance with an aromatase inhibitor is for postmenopausal women or for men with hr+, her2- metastatic breast cancer as the first hormonal based therapy. ibrance plus letrozole significantly delayed disease progression versus letrozole. ibrance may cause low white blood cell counts that may lead to serious infections. ibrance may cause severe inflammation of the lungs. both of these can lead to death. tell your doctor if you have new or worsening chest pain, cough, or trouble breathing. before taking ibrance, tell your doctor if you have fever, chills, or other signs of infection, liver or kidney problems,
are or plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. for more information about side effects talk to your doctor. ♪♪ be in your moment. ask your doctor about ibrance. back now with the battle against soaring inflation. fed chairman jerome powell today warning lawmakers that inflation poses a serious threat to the job market at his senate confirmation hearing for a second term powell said the central bank is prepared to raise interest rates to get soaring consumer prices under control and a new alert out about your tax refund the treasury department warning of significant irs delays this year. our stephanie ruhle on why you should file as early as possible. >> reporter: assistant schoolteacher lauren tracey filed her taxes online for the first time last year. >> we got all -- everything squared away
it wasn't that complicated. >> reporter: but then she realized because she had been furloughed from a previous job, she was due a bigger refund. >> i filed $1,050 through my amended tax return, and on paper, and i've heard nothing about it everything is showing as received. >> reporter: nine months later, lauren is still waiting for that refund. >> there are over 6 million individual returns that have not been processed. >> and that's from last year? >> correct. >> reporter: this year treasury department officials have a warning for taxpayers. prepare to be frustrated due to the pandemic, the irs is entering tax season with a significant backlog, and the department is facing staffing shortages. last year, fewer than 15,000 workers had to handle 240 million calls. the irs' workforce is the same size as it was in 1970 with a budget nearly 20% less than ten years ago covid has only increased challenges in the agency, especially for paper returns. >> irs employees have to be in the building
to process those paper returns. covid, with the social distancing restricting the employees in the building, it limits how many employees can work at one time. >> reporter: to avoid delays in getting your refund, experts advise file online. triple check for errors and choose direct deposit. and if you have to file a paper return -- >> the irs will work first in, first out. so the sooner you can get your return in, the sooner you are in the beginning of the process. >> reporter: if you do end up waiting for a refund, at least you'll collect some interest stephanie ruhle, nbc news. up next tonight, inside a program that has changed the lives of thousands on and off the court.
finally tonight, "inspiring america" with an old game that's seeing a new surge in popularity and a program helping young people score success. here's tom llamas. >> reporter: at 4'11", reyna pacheco may not look intimidating. but in the game of squash, she's a giant. running opponents like me all over the court. >> there we go now i'm working you. now i'm working you. >> reporter: it's a game she takes seriously because it taught her to dream big.
>> there were points in my childhood that i just wasn't sure and when you're undocumented, nothing is secure, right >> reporter: at times homeless and constantly in fear of being deported, this type of racquet sport was nowhere on reyna's radar until a squash program came to her school in san diego. >> we take low-income students from areas that often have never seen squash before so they spend half of the time studying and half of the time training squash. >> i had to take a bus ride at 4:00 a.m. in the morning to get to the squash court by 7:00 a.m., and i would go to school and do it all over again at night. >> reporter: the work ethic she developed paid off reyna would go on to earn a scholarship and play at columbia university, later joining the pro tour she's now an investment banker on wall street. her first coach gets emotional when he looks back proof, he says, this program works. >> it's more than a sport. >> yeah, it's life, you know
>> reporter: currently, there are more than 2,000 kids enrolled in squash and education alliance programs across the u.s. organizers say 94% of their kids graduate and go to college. >> did squash give you confidence >> yes i think that when you step on a squash court and in a different country, in a different court with a different language, and you do it consistently, you become really good at adapting and you become really good at being brave. >> reporter: learning court to later lead in life new york. and that's "nightly news" for this tuesday thank you for watching, everyone i'm lester holt. please take care of yourself and each other. good night
i'm raj mathai. next on nbc bay area news tonight, it is a mess. the covid testing crisis seems to be getting worse, from san francisco to washington, d.c. we have new plans now to cut down on long lines and increase the supply of those at-home tests, but will it really happen? and how can you tell if your testing kit is legit and accurate? we'll share a few things to look for when you're shopping online, plus. >> i really am kind of leaving kicking and screaming, but at the same time, there's been so much resistance, i can't fight it anymore. >> a celebrity chef from oakland tells us why she's closing down her iconic east bay res