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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  July 14, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT

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goodnight. tonight on all in. >> the big lie is just that, a big lie. >> the president outlines the greatest threat to democracy since the civil war. >> stand up, for god sake and help prevent this effort to undermine our election. the sacred right to vote. have you no shame? >> tonight, the biden speech, the rig system and the outcry for reform to fix it. then, texas democrats fleeing their state to protect voting rights meet with the vice president as the texas governor threatens arrests. >> as soon as they come back in the state of texas, they will be arrested. they will be cabinet inside the
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texas capital until they get their job done. >> and tennessee's top vaccine official is fired one day before the state removes all vaccine outreach to minors for all diseases, including covid-19. that fired official, doctor michelle fiscus joins me live. when all in starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes. today, more than six months after the insurrection with no real president in american history, a transfer of power marked by violence not by piece, the president of the united states, the man who the mob tried to stop from occupying the office came forward to say that the country is facing a major crisis. >> so hear me clearly. there isn't an food ling assault taking place today in attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote in fair and free elections. an assault on democracy.
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an assault on liberty. an assault on who we are. who we are as americans. we're facing the most significant test of our democracy since the civil war. it's not hyperbole. since the civil war. >> it's an incredibly powerful thing to say. he says it's not hyperbole, and i agree with him it's not hyperbole. republicans are passing laws making it harder to vote in states across the country. of course, they're using the predicate of the big lie to do so. conservatives on the supreme court have gutted suspensions to, four, and five of the voting rights act. the country has basically only been an actual multi racial democracy in a recognizable sense since 1965, on the voting rights act was passed. it's a very short history we've been working on. and the president made the case today that there is an urgent problem. and again, he's right. unfortunately, the solution to that problem, the path forward
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all comes down to this question about whether democrats will restore majority rule in the united states senate. do they use the power interested to the democratic party by the majority of americans in the house and in the senate, and by 8 million plus more voters to protect the basic fundamentals of american democracy by finding the votes, the unanimous 50 votes, we can or limit the filibuster and pass the agenda. or do they let principles erode because of some frankly ridiculous quasi-accidental reactionary procedural norm that creates a status quo that's completely a defense. that's the question. that's the choice. and despite his very strong rhetoric, president biden did not mention the filibuster in his speech today. he was pressed by reporters after the event. >> mister president. why didn't you talk about the filibuster? >> are you gonna? >> why didn't you talk about the filibuster, sir? >> i'm not filibustering now.
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>> are you gonna meet with the texas democrats? are you gonna meet with the texas democrats? >> what's the big deal when house majority whip jim clyburn who helped pave the way for biden presidency, perhaps as much as any single individual, called for a voting rights carve out for the filibuster. he saying if he can make exceptions for nominees for reconciliation, you can make an exception for legislation to protect fundamental constitutional rights. he also suggests that he's working presidents behind closed doors saying that i just don't think you negotiate these kinds of issues from the microphone, you do a much better from the telephone. and that may be true. i will tell you, i have no dog in the fight of how biden and seven democrats come to a consensus of getting rid of the filibuster and passing an agenda to protect voting rights. whether that's done in public or in private, or how best to move reluctant democrats.
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democrats on the record, opposing the filibuster including senators mention and sinema. everyone's throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks. i don't know the answers to those questions, i'm not sure anyone does. president biden is right about the threats that america is facing and if democrats are not gonna address the filibuster, then the threats will only get worse. at least 51 democratic members of texas state legislature have fled the state. they are now in washington, d.c.. they met today with vice president kamala harris in the afternoon. and they said instead of texas, because republicans want to pass a bill that will make it even harder to vote in the state. now, there is no filibuster in the texas legislature which is the case in most states. it's just majority ruled there, right? and there is a minority. they don't have the luxury of that majority threshold so they're taking desperate, extraordinary measures that in some ways the filibuster, once represented by the u.s. senate, to flee the state and break quorum. you need quorum to conduct
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legislative business because they think that threat to voter access in their state and texas and democracy is so extreme. they flow out to d.c.. one of the members of congress doesn't function by majority rule. to go plead with congressional democrats, who do have control, majority control of the senate to use that control. think of it from their perspective. texas state representative jasmine crockett said on our show, use the power you have to pass voting legislation to preserve and protect the right to vote across the country, please. and this points to something that is easy to overlook but i think is really important to focus on, which is the fundamental asymmetry and an sustainability of the current status quo. because state legislatures are by and large run by majority rule. and it's states that control, republicans can pass to restrict the vote. even in states like georgia where joe biden just won an election. where they elected to senate democrats. there is no filibuster in the senate, its majority rule.
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but then if you want to protect voting rights at the national role, then it takes 50 votes, 60 votes. and those votes are just not there because republicans won't play ball. not only that, but think of this craziness. the filibuster, as we say often on the show, it's not some nonnegotiable principles changing overtime. indeed, i covered it changing back in 2013. democrats got rid of it for most presidential nominations because republicans were using the filibuster to make it impossible to fill courts and office appointments. that was a big deal. republicans at the time said, you will regret it. and in some ways, probably true. donald trump got to confer a lot of judges. historic judge confirmation rate. but that's just what democracy looks like. that's the way the cookie crumbles. one thing democrats did leave in place back in 2013, right, they said we're getting rid of the filibuster for all these nominations but we're gonna retain it for the supreme court justices. and made a certain amount of sense, but wickets carved out, with doesn't, right? so democrats rightly furious
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that republicans stole the merrick garland supreme court nomination. remember, once trump and mcconnell take over it, the first thing they did was filibuster trump nominee neill gorsuch. and what did he do? he just got rid of the filibuster of supreme court nominees. don. that's it, we have control. we're not negotiating on this. we can use our power. so what were they able to do? and still three supreme court nominees for lifetime tenure with 54 books respectively. none of those are 60. so if you're keeping score at home, here's where things stand. republican state legislators can make laws to restrict the right to vote with just a majority vote. supreme courts already gutted the part of the voting rights act that would have stopped them to do that from preclearance. democrats need 60 votes to try to protect the voting rights that people fought for decades to achieve. but then republicans also just need 50 votes to appoint supreme court justices who have been and will continue to tear down the voting rights laws one after another.
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this doesn't make any sense. i mean, put simply, the system is rigged against democracy and it won't get better unless joe biden and all of the democrats of the united states senate come together to use their power to fix it. democratic congressman mondaire jones says biden should do more to push voting rights. he says, if he's serious about saving our democracy, he will voiced his support for at the very least reforming the filibuster is to pass the majority -- anything left at this point is an insult to voters, organizers, and activists to understand the dire stakes of this moment. and congressman mondaire jones joins me now. good to have you on congressman. what was your reaction to the speech today and what's been happening in washington with both the white house and the capitol? >> it's a weighty question and it's great to be on, chris. let me start by giving credit where credit is due. this is a president who is
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saved president democracy once before by defeating the former president, donald j trump. but now, we find ourselves at the precipice again. and the only way to get through, this the only way to walk back is to pass the for the people act and of course the john lewis voting rights act and we cannot do that without filibuster reform. and so to your point earlier, he was accurate today and describing the crisis, and diagnosing the crisis. but his prescription really fell short. there is no way out of this in terms of salvaging our ailing democracy without at a minimum, making an exception to the filibuster for purposes of securing the fundamental rights in this country. >> first certain things that joe biden has power on, certain things he does not. a huge parts of the immigration infrastructure of the country
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enforcement there's is executive latitudes. there are certain things that the president can do. but this is the senate's own rules. the question is let's say joe biden comes out today and says, reform the filibuster, and joe manchin, kristen sinema say no thank you. >> you have to try, and that's the thing. you don't get to just do a speech and be taken seriously on a subject, without also laying out a path forward. the path forward cannot, i will note, be expecting black and brown and aapi voters to turn out at higher rates than they have already been doing. people are tired of having to save democracy all the time. to your point earlier, democrats have unified control of the federal government and can deliver on the promise of a multi racial democracy by simply passing voting rights legislation on a majority vote.
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we have to try. we can have an lbj moment, where we make multi racial democracy the singular project of his presidency. and he can prevail. i have to believe, that there is something that they want, there is something that he can do in exchange for their support, to salvage our ailing democracy. and to be taken seriously, he has to describe a solution that is credible and that requires knowing that we can get ten republican senators to support a bipartisan commission to investigate january 6th, protecting the right to vote. the consequences otherwise are dire for our democracy.
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this is a party of insurrection, they voted not certify the election. after dying, nearly dying, hours before. these are people that are not interested in the project of governing, or delivering real relief for the american people. these are people who will re-district democrats for the next power if we don't pass the for the people act, and then they can't be trusted to certify the next presidential election, if a democratic president is fortunate enough to be elected president in november of 2024. >> congressman mondaire jones, laying out quite clearly, nice to have you on the program, come on back. adam jentleson, he was the deputy chief of staff, he's the
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author of the kill switch the rise of the modern senate, but and he joins me now. i thought you would be a good person to talk to since you were in the room the last time democrats did this, it was change in 2014, the mcconnell killed off the supreme court justice carve out in 2017 to get him confirmed. what kind of work had to be done, joe biden can't wave a magic wand? how did it have to get there in 2013, what lessons are there for this moment? >> that is right. that is the key point. people who point to the difficulty this efforts have, they will say biden can't wave a magic wand and that is true. but that's all but if requires. there is no trick here, no magic bullet. wooded for choirs is relentless engagement from the white house and the president on a near daily basis and constant
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pressure. it took the full year of 2013 to set up a series of votes to demonstrate to the senate caucus, senate democrats that this reform was necessary. that is what is required, we did a reform the filibuster in the november of 2013. i think people have hadn't education about it, we don't have to wait until november to do this. what is required is the muscle memory of seeing republican obstructions for themselves, seeing that there is no way to forge a bipartisan compromise on the issue at hand, combined with a president who is engaged on a daily basis talking to senators, taking the case to the public but also making phone calls, inviting senators to the white house, consistently applying all of the tools and pressures that are available to the entire senate caucus. >> and was that the case last time around? was this a joint house on this
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effort? >> it was obamas nominees who are being blocked, and so this was something that was being done on his behalf and there is definitely engagement from the white house. that was just four nominations. we it was an important change to the filibuster, one of the most important reforms in the last decades. doing it for legislation is even higher stakes. the level of engagement will have to be higher. it's a partnership. the white house working in concert with congressional leaders and that is what is required. >> and we should also note, with slimmer margins. reed was very deft, vote counter and vote whip or. he lost three democrats if i'm not mistaken on that vote to reform the filibuster. it was joe manchin of west virginia and karl 11 of michigan. one of those guys is still
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there. eight years later. and remains unconvinced. >> that is right. you've got the votes you need to get something passed. you lose the people that you can lose, you let people take votes that they need to take. but i think a lot has happened since 2013, we had eight years of republican obstruction. people still thought that it was going to break and that -- since then we saw republicans go far off to the right, to start to head in and authoritarian direction. if democrats can take the education of those years and apply them, apply those facts to the situation at hand, that is a problem. i have faith that they can do that. we have learned a lot. the democrats can be realistic about the prospects of voting rights and how dire those prospects are if we don't reform the filibuster. >> so you just think, what i'm hearing from you is that you just work this and you pressure,
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and you push, and you push and that push has to be coming from the white house. clearly in a focus and sustained fashion, otherwise it's not gonna happen. >> in 1964, lbj -- it wasn't one phone call or one active persuasion that won the civil rights act, that was a three month long filibuster that focus public attention on the opponents who were blocking the bill, and constant pressure from the white house. when senator reid past the affordable care act, they did impasse and until christmas time. it was on the floor for months, when it came to the for the re-massive deals that were cut while the bill was on the floor, but the act of getting into the floor, apply public pressure and for senators to get serious about forging compromises and making decisions. he also back the senate up with the christmas blizzard, these are the tactics that you need to apply and has to come from the white house working with congressional workers. >> adam jentleson your perspective on this is super valuable, thank you so much for
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joining us tonight. >> thank you, chris. >> as i mentioned earlier, more than 50 texas house democrats fled the state to block voting restriction bill, currently in washington d.c., now, texas senator greg abbott is threatening to arrest them when they were turned. we will have the latest after this. this longer need? now you can sell your policy, even a term policy, for an immediate cash payment. call coventry direct to learn more. we thought we had planned carefully for our retirement. but we quickly realized that we needed a way to supplement our income. our friends sold their policy to help pay for their medical bills and that got me thinking. maybe selling our policy could help with our retirement. i'm skeptical, so i did some research and called coventry direct. they explained life insurance is a valuable asset that can be sold. we learned that we can sell all of our policy or keep part of it with no future payments, who knew? we sold our policy. now we can relax and enjoy our retirement as we had planned. if you have one hundred thousand dollars or
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we are sad for democracy in the state of texas. and we took a solemn oath to protect the constitution of the
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united states. >> when i look at the african american museum, i thought about the struggle of my people fighting in this country to get the right to vote. i will not be a hostage. that my right will be stripped for me. we have fought too long and too hard for this country. >> one day after fleeing the texas state house to stop debate on the republican voter restriction bill, texas democrats met with kamala harris and senate majority leader chuck schumer and pleaded with them to pass legislation that will protect voter rights across the country. meanwhile, back in texas, the state senate republicans who do have a quorum and are in session past their own voter restriction bill tonight along party lines. though i should note, a whole bunch of democrats in the state senate also -- state house republicans, meanwhile, voted to send the sergeant and arms to obtain the democrats that have left even though they have no authority to make arrests outside of texas. and texas governor greg abbott
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promised to pass republican voter restriction bills even if he has to imprison democrats to do so. >> i can and i will continue to call special session after special session, after special session all the way up until the election next year. as soon as they come to the state of texas, they will be arrested, they will cabinet inside the texas capital until they get their job done. >> joining me now live from texas, adam serwer, author of "the cruelty is the point" which is now in bookstores that you should absolutely pick up. adam, abbott seems -- the uniform intensity and focus on this agenda not just on the state of texas is always so striking to me. they're more focused on this, it seems an almost on anything else. abbott use this as a challenge that he seems happy to take.
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>> well i think there are a couple of things going on here. one is that texas republicans did very well on the last election. they have no reason to be concerned about their ability to hold on to the state. they're proceeding with this election though because ideologically, they are invested in disenfranchising the other parties constituency as a matter of principle and not simply as a matter of survival. second, this is a pretty conservative state. so if abbott is not concerned -- if he's talking about bringing the texas democrats back at gunpoint, he's not concerned about facing a liberal backlash in texas. he's concerned about primary challenges to his right. so there's nothing he can do in terms of being too conservative from his perspective that would put him at risk. his risk is that somehow, he gets tagged as a rhino and some insurgent candidate from the right takes him out of the primary. >> you're also saying -- i want to play with schumer said today because in some ways
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i'm reminded of the texas democrats doing this back in the bush years went carl rove engineered this absurd redistricting gambit. and you know, it's never been done before but he was like, we can grab a few more congressional seats. we're gonna do it. texas democrats fled. eventually, they had to come home. and you know, they got reached destructed. here's schumer saying, these people are doing all they possibly can. take a look. >> democrats are doing all they can to block the dangerous partisan bill. they are brave, they are bold, they are courageous and history will show them on the side of right. and the republican governor i saw on tv this morning on this side of deep, dark, ugly, wrong. >> i think that democrats know that they don't have the power here and that you have to just fight with any tool at your disposal. >> yeah, i'm afraid that what schumer said is incorrect.
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history is written by the powerful. to the extent that the republicans succeed and this effort to disenfranchise the democratic party, they're gonna be writing that history and they're gonna be writing it with themselves as heroes saving democracy from the corruption of these non-american voters who have no right to participate in american democracy. so schumer is incorrect about that. what he is correct about it is that the federal government has to act here. texas democrats can't hold this off forever. it's not a sustainable thing to have to stay out of the state indefinitely to block this bill. to the extent that democrats want to defend their rights of their constituents, they're gonna have to do so at the federal level. and as long as senate democrats like kyrsten sinema and joe manchin are willing to give the republican party a veto on their own constituent rights, that's impossible. >> you know, one of the elements here i just keep going back to hear that proposed legislation would ban
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drive-through voting and early voting. these were placed in harris county by the supervisor there. and, you know, it made slice life easier. it made it easier to vote. there was zero evidence that it had any negative effect whatsoever. and as he said, texas republicans did well that night. even with all those people voting. it is a kind of principal objection, i think. >> it is a principled objection to keep more voters of color and port working class voters out of the electorate. that's what they want. unfortunately, it's gonna disenfranchise some of their constituents as well. but for them, it's a matter of principle. they want to keep these people from participating fully and texas democracy and american democracy. and that is why they're going all the way forward with this. and there's another factor here of course, which is that abbott is stated from his good graces, and the more he pushes this election, though, he stays in trump's good graces which is relevant for a potential
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primary challenge. >> all right, adam serwer that was really great. thanks so much for your time tonight. don't go anywhere, we have senator chris murphy on the stage. what's next? the filibuster as his colleagues raced to pass the infrastructure bill. we'll talk about that and more after this. ?
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things in government, they have a trifecta they control the white house, the house, and the senate. that senate majority is islamist possible, and it's not just the filibuster, just getting all 15 members is difficult. we've seen this back and forth on the infrastructure bill. today a piece by one of my colleagues caught my eyes. democrats plow ahead with party line spending bills for biden's economic bill and this quote, i have not been this optimistic in many months about getting that agenda passed.
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they told nbc news that they are going to do this, he and chris murphy are famously very public twitter friends and senator chris murphy joins me now. i want to get a temperature check with him. if you are feeling the same way about the direction of both the reconciliation spending part of the package and the bipartisan pack of this package? >> i would never contradict brian schatz, he is indeed right, this is an optimistic moment. right now we are being bold, we recognize the stakes, i would argue that the future of the country in many ways rides on what we do in the next several months. people are hurting out there. there has been this massive economic and political power shift in the last 20 years from the middle class to this cabal of billionaire elites. we have to have unanswered. donald trump had an answer, the mexicans are to blame, the blacks or to blame, immigrants
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are to blame, he enacted that agenda. he started building the wall, he banned muslims from the country. nothing got better, and that's why he's not the president. we have an opportunity to provide the right answer which is to shift power and money from those elites to raise taxes on the billionaires, and use that money to fund universal child care, and pay family leave and tax cuts for poor family. guess what? if we do that it will work. it all has to happen in the next couple of months because as we, know presidents get the short honeymoons by the time the end of this year, the beginning of next year, the window might be gone. we're doing it in a complicated matter. pack seeing a bipartisan package and then using the reconciliation to pass a bigger bill. today there is a good chance that we will get it done and hopefully, right decades of economic wrongs in this country in one fell swoop. >> the president speech should on voting rights comes at
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another fraught moment for this. we're watching what's playing out in texas, i know you've been watching it across the country. i wonder, some of the rhetoric you hear from democrats, even from the president, it's pretty existential, the greatest threat to democracy, which i happen to agree with. but do people privately feel that way or do they just say that. is that actually a fault belief of you, for instance, and your colleagues? >> so i do feel that, and i listen to your interview with adam, who is so smart, i have a little different take on it. it is strange the republicans have been consistently attacking mail-in voting's. it used to be that mail-in voting's advantage republicans. so it is not clear in the end with the practical impact of all these changes are going to be, it's probably going to be the less poor people and people of color vote. what they're trying to do is perpetuate this idea that there
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is fraud in voting, so that when democrats win, an election in texas for senate, or the next presidential election, republicans can invalidate that election. and that, in the end, is the agenda that i worry about. in 2022, or 24, a big election being won by democrats and republicans in a place like georgia or texas invalidating that election. if that happens, there's going to be a conversation about whether we can still be all in this together. if odors, if their opinions don't matter in certain parts of the country and their choices can be invalidated. that is an existential threat to the people of the united states. that's why i worry about what is happening in texas and other places. >> do you think that the -- the voting rights act one of the most successful pieces of legislation in american history,
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and a signature turning point in making the country truly a democracy. for the first time, i would argue, in the certain sense. but if the stakes are that high can the caucus get to unanimity on it? >> yes, good question, chris. right now, we have not been able to convince all over democratic colleagues that the stakes are that high thus we shouldn't give republicans in the senate a minority, minority veto. my hope is that we will be able to deliver a change in fools. we're talking about making it potentially limited to changes in voting laws that may be a way to get our caucus together. if we don't, i really fear that we're going to be sitting here two years from now, four years from now, with a senate
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democrat having won an election in a red state and republicans in that state refusing to see them. at that point, my colleagues in the senate will wish that they had to use this opportunity to take preventative steps to stop something like that from happening. >> final question, on an issue near and dear to your heart, you said this recently, an infrastructure bill that doesn't fix it doesn't -- this is our wanted to speed up the process. are you optimistic about that end of the process? >> this is still to be decided. i do not think it is worthwhile to spend four trillion dollars on infrastructure in this country if we have a rail line in one of the most populated parts of the country that is fundamentally broken. we're not gonna be able to attract companies and jobs to the united states if it takes
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seven hours to get from boston to d.c.. there is not enough money in the bipartisan agreement in order to create high speed rail in america, and shame on us if we don't use this opportunity to do that. china will continue to eat our lunch if they have high speed rail and we don't. one of the projects that is left undone is to make sure that between the bipartisan package and the reconciliation bill, we have enough money there to build high speed rail. it's so important for climate as well. the only way that we fulfill our climate obligations is to get people out of their cars to convince people to get out of planes, and onto rail lines, the most green of all mass transit options. >> the more that i studied the strategy here, the reconciliation, i feel like i'm watching a sidewalk free card monte person. do i know where the ball is? am i being tricked? i keep losing side of that. we will find out. senator chris murphy, thank you for making time tonight.
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>> thank you. >> ahead. my interview with the top vaccine official in tennessee who said she was fired for the crime of promoting vaccines. what's the state did nexus more shocking and that story is coming up. coming up. walk to end alzheimer's is full of them. because flowers find a way to break through. just like we will. join the fight at
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hey, i just got a text from my sister. you remember rick, her neighbor? sure, he's the 76-year-old guy who still runs marathons, right? sadly, not anymore. wow. so sudden.
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people rush to make vaccine appointments in france, why? surgeon vaccination appointments came in less than the day after french president emmanuel macron mandated special covid passes showing vaccination or negative test for anyone who wants to go to restaurants, or hospitals, or shopping malls, or get on trains or planes next month. he also announced vaccines will be mandatory for all health care workers. this state intervention comes at a time where france has seen a drop in vaccination rates. if there's one thing we know about the covid vaccines at this point, not from clinical trials from real work data is
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that they're doing exactly what they're supposed to do which is preventing the kind of hospitalizations and deaths that we saw across the world before we had them. vaccines were first approve, israel, uk and the u.s. were doing a better job than anyone at getting shots into arms. at one point during the first hundred days of the biden administration the u.s. was doing a better job than anyone on earth. but over the course of a few months are vaccine pace has hit a wall. that is not for lack of trying, it's the white house trying to figure out what to do, officials working on the covid response acknowledge that none of their outreach efforts are likely to supercharged vaccination rates. so now the u.s. vaccination effort has been surpassed by countries we were lapping before like italy, and germany, for instance. part of the reason for that is because of american exceptionalism. other countries do not have one half of their political movements, their parties, essentially whipping up fear
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against the vaccines. instead of taking more active steps to get people vaccinated, particularly as the delta variant continues to cause spikes among people who have yet to get the shot. republican party is discouraging vaccination, in the state of tennessee, only 38% of the population is fully vaccinated. that's low. according to the new york times the average daily case race has increased by 400% over just the last two weeks. not great. today we learned the tennessee department of health, which is state agency will halt all adolescent vaccine outreach, not just for the coronavirus but all diseases. amid pressure from republican state lawmakers, according to an report email that was obtained by a newspaper. quote, the health department will also stop a covid-19 vaccine events on school properties. it will no longer send postcards or other notices reminding teenagers to get their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine. this state has also fired its
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top vaccine official, doctor michelle fiscus, for her work trying to get teens vaccinated. in a statement doctor fiscus wrote it was my job to provide evidence based education and vaccine access so that tennessean could protect themselves against covid-19. i have now been terminated for doing exactly that. who is making these decisions to prevented citizens from receiving the lifesaving vaccine? who fired doctor michelle fiscus? i'm gonna ask that question when she joins me here, right after this break. after this break you now hold in your hands? yeah (laugh) keep your downstairs dry with gold bond body powder.
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show me the olympics. ♪ "bugler's dream" begins playing ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> right now in the u.s.,
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virtually all new covid deaths and hospitalizations are among unvaccinated people. doctors say there are seeing more young people hospitalized with the virus. covid vaccines have been improved for emergency use for anyone over the age of 12. only 24% of 12 to 15-year-olds are vaccinated, less than 40%
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for 16 and 17 year olds. that's one of the reasons why the top -- wrote a memo saying that some teenagers might get vaccinated without their parents permission. state republicans were quick to accuse fiscus of applying peer pressure to get kids vaccinated. she was fired after simply doing her job of raising vaccine awareness among teenagers. the health department that fired her puts an end to all vaccine outreach for teens for all diseases, not just covid. joining me now is doctor michelle fiscus, who served as tennessee's medical director for vaccine preventable diseases an immunization, it's great to have you on the program. tell us what was your job? what was your role in the public health agency there, particularly with respect to covid in the state of tennessee? >> as medical director of the tennessee vaccine preventable
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diseases and immunization program, i was responsible for the vaccine for children program which is a program for children who are insured by medicaid, or don't have insurance to make sure that they can get the immunizations that they need, and i'm responsible for the information system which is the registry of the state. and i'm responsible for vaccine preventable disease outbreak mitigation and response. hepatitis a outbreaks, measles outbreaks, and eventually covid-19 became a vaccine preventable disease and i was responsible for the rollout of that vaccine across the state and to make sure that that was done equitably, and in a way that any tennessean who wanted to access the vaccine could. >> from your perspective whatever the challenges in your state to get a higher vaccination rate in which currently have? >> we've had several. you initially said, it was vaccine supply, that is no longer an issue, then it became
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getting providers to be willing to give the vaccine because there have been challenges just with logistic, dry ice, large quantity for minimum orders, and then i have a -- vaccine hesitancy. we have seen in different ways, some folks that are unsure about the government, unsure about the vaccine, but our vaccine hesitant and are willing to have conversations with their providers, willing to listen to information that is given to them, and then this political divide, this toxic politicization of covid-19 and the vaccine where we now have almost hesitant population being royal mail conservatives, whites, who really do hang their hat on this political ideology that covid-19 isn't real, isn't a threat.
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or that getting the vaccine, somehow, props up the left wing part of our political system. and so it is really that, that politicization of public health, and peoples choosing not to protect themselves that has been the biggest challenge for us to overcome. >> so you are discussing, i understand, moralizing what's illegal authority what the parameters were for vaccine out region teenagers, and that's what triggered this firestorm that led to your firing, or resignation. what happened? >> so, on the cusp of the pfizer vaccine becoming available for children, 12 years and older, i began to receive questions from some of our covid-19 vaccine providers across the state about what
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they were to do if a child showed up unaccompanied to receive a vaccine. they just weren't sure where the lines were, i've reached our to our counselor, and i was given language around mature minors doctrine which is a case law from 1987, as tennessee supreme court ruling that children ages 14 and older can receive medical care under their own consent without the consent of their parents. i took that language that i was told an email was blessed by the governor's office and i could share with anyone that i so choose, put it into an email to our covid-19 providers and sent it out and overtime over very short period of time, there was some backlash from some of our providers who felt like that was an inappropriate email, memo, to put out that
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the information should've been shared. that it was somehow targeting our youth even though this was a memo sent to our medical providers like every other memo we send to our medical providers. that then sparked some backlash from some members of her legislature who went so far as to call for the dissolution of the state of health because of this information i had shared. that has now devolved into the department of health not only pulling back on messaging to teenagers about giving covid-19 vaccine but creating barriers for their ability to access the vaccine and now has devolved into of moratorium on messaging for any kind of vaccine to children, whether that is infants, children for back to school vaccines, or hpv vaccines, and even canceling schools base flu immunization
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for the fall, as a result of the rattling among some of our legislatures. >> so you check the lug-ology, you send the state supreme court decision of tennessee to say that this is with the law says, this backlash ensues and you are fired. in the last little bit here, fired you? >> i was fired by the commission erie of health, a lead or was delivered to me by the chief medical officer of the department, i was offered the opportunity to resign or to be terminated, and i have done my job very well serving the people of tennessee and that is my job and so i chose to be terminated. >> you said i have been terminated for doing my job because some of our politicians have bought into the misinformation campaign as opposed to speaking to medical
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experts. i'm afraid for my state, doctor michel fiscus, i'm sorry that happened to you but thank you so much for the work you've done and making time for us tonight. >> thank you for having me, chris. >> that is all in on this tuesday night, the rachel maddow show starts right now, good evening, rachel. vening, rachel republicans talking about abolishing the health department in the state and cutting off kids across tennessee from all vaccines, not just covid. it's just -- it's astonishing. >> really mind boggling stuff. and also just really important, i think, to see, like, we keep seeing in this, the progression of this pandemic, these civil servants just doing their job with integrity and getting whipsawed by in nihilistic


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