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tv   Katy Tur Reports  MSNBC  July 16, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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turns out i was wrong. so when a hand specialist told me about nonsurgical treatments, it was a total game changer. like you, my hands have a lot more to do. learn more at factsonhand.com today. it's great to be with you. i'm geoff bennett. as we come on the air, federal health officials are sounding the alarm, using the type of language we haven't heard in months. and that's because after so much progress, covid is roaring back. 90,000 new cases in just 48 hours. 11 states seeing a 100% spike, mainly across the south, where hospitals are again packed to
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capacity. >> they're storing wheelchairs and other equipment in the hallways because there's no place else to put them. they're planning on bringing someone in from the er any minute now. >> our colleague gabe gutierrez there in little rock, arkansas. that scene may look and sound family. here's why this point in the pandemic is far different than anything we've seen before. >> this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. we are seeing outbreaks of cases in parts of the country that have low vaccination coverage because unvaccinated people are at risk. and communities that are fully vaccinated are generally faring well. if you're fully vaccinated, you are protected against severe covid, hospitalization, and death, and are even protected against the known variants including the delta variant circulating in this country. >> a pandemic of the
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unvaccinated. 97% of those hospitalized right now are unvaccinated. and listen to this, because it's so stunning, we had to make sure we heard it right. just four states accounted for 40% of all the new covid cases in america in the last week. and one in five cases is from florida alone. the surgeon general, who says he lost ten family members to covid, says misinformation and disinformation are quite literally killing people. but perhaps it's messages like this that might ultimately change some minds. >> where you skeptical of getting the vaccine? >> yes. >> why is that? >> because it was not proven yet. >> reporter: tate and his wife did not get the shot. in may the couple and four of their five kids tested positive for covid. tate was hospitalized. so was his wife. >> we found our world turned upside down. >> reporter: they texted each other from separate rooms until
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she was placed on a ventilator, all the more terrifying because she was pregnant. >> we lost the baby. at some point her oxygen just got below. >> reporter: his wife survived and is now in rehab. for him, covid is far from over. >> i want other people to hear my story so maybe they'll think twice about not getting vaccinated. >> wow. with that let's bring in nbc news correspondent ellison barber in jackson, mississippi. ellison, we just heard gabe there in little rock. i understand it's a similar story where you are. you've got these unvaccinated adults putting unvaccinated children at risk. >> reporter: yes, this hospital where we are is the only designated children's hospital in the state of mississippi. they are medical system-wide. they're one of the largest hospitals in the state. the university of mississippi medical center. and they tell us that as of this morning they had six children in the hospital because of covid-19. three of them in intensive care. the vast majority of those
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children under the age of 12, which means they are not currently eligible to get vaccinated. doctors here say the issue is that people around those children are not getting vaccinated. adults, older children, who are eligible in this state, many of them have opted not to get a vaccine, and because they have not gotten vaccinated, there isn't a bubble, if you will, that can protect those who are not able to get vaccinated just yet. mississippi has steadily been at the lowest rate of vaccination statewide. they're 49th today. typically they rotate with alabama, back to 50, and have gone kind of back and forth, back and forth. one of the big issues appears to be misinformation. people for whatever reason are choosing to believe what they read on the internet instead of doctors who they normally trust. doctors here are doing everything they can to get as many people vaccinated and explain to them why it is important that they do that, especially because the dominant variant here is the more
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contagious delta variant. but they really are running up against a wall. listen to what we heard from one of the doctors here. >> sometimes i feel like the voices of science and medicine are drowned out by the, you know, facebook experts. but there are many voices out there saying this is the right thing to do, this is what we need to do, the vaccine is safe. but sometimes i feel like we're outnumbered. >> reporter: what's most worrisome to doctors here is the rate that they are seeing new infections and the fact that the vaccination rate really doesn't seem to be picking up here. i mean, obviously we're pretty far in. they say that people who want to get vaccinated in this state have every opportunity to do so. but again, as you heard the doctors say there, more people seem to be trusting opinions they see on social media instead of what health care professionals are telling them and asking them to do. right now, they say there is still time for people to make a
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choice to get vaccinated and maybe stop them from getting back to where they were last year with hospitals just filled to the brim of people needing care because of this virus. but they say that that time, that doesn't last forever, because right now you have three vaccines available in the united states that are effective, highly effective against all of the variants that are here. but if the virus keeps spreading at the rate that it is spreading in states like mississippi, that virus will eventually most likely mutate and the vaccines that are available might not be effective against future mutations. so that's really a clock that they're up against here, geoff. >> ellison barber with that live update there in jackson, mississippi, ellison, our thanks to you. let's talk more about this now with dr. paul offit, director of the vaccine department in children's hospital in philadelphia, also on the vaccine advisory committee. and the founder and ceo of advancing health equity, she's
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also an msnbc contributor. dr. offit, you pointed out that the tragic irony of what's happening in mississippi is they have one of the highest general vaccine rates for children in the nation, close to 99%, yet we just heard from ellison when it comes to covid vaccines, they're 49th or 50th. what accounts for that and what's needed to change it? >> so every state in this country has school mandates. as of at least a couple of years ago only two of them didn't have philosophical or religious exemptions. mississippi and west virginia were the only two states where if you sent your child to public school they had to be vaccinated unless they had a medical contraindication. your only choice at that point would have been to home school. they would have had immunization rates in the 99% rate. regarding percentage of kids vaccinated, they are higher than any other state in this country, which tells you that if you compel people to do the right
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thing, they'll do the right thing. and i think that's really what this is coming down to. we can talk as much as we want about sort of access and education and restricting misinformation and sort of providing, you know, other nudges like free beers or lotteries or whatever. but in the end, if it comes down to 60 or 70 or 80 million americans who are simply refusing for vaccinated, you're going to have to do basically what mississippi does for its schoolchildren which is compel vaccination. >> and dr. blackstock, let's talk more about these vaccines for children, especially children under the age of 12, because our team has said that emergency use authorization for children under the age of 12 could come in early or mid-winter, that's what an fda official tells nbc news. that strikes me as fairly late. what's your take on this? >> i also agree that it's late. students will be starting school actually in a few weeks in some parts of the country, especially in the south. many of them are located in
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areas where the caseload is very high, high community transmission and low vaccination rates. and some of these states actually are restricting mask mandates in schools. so essentially we have children under 12 who are unvaccinated will be incredibly vulnerable as we head into the school year and even more into the winter because we know the virus replicates more easily in cold, dry air. and so i'm really concerned about this deadline being too late for our students, children, putting them at risk. >> and dr. offit, how does this work? if the fda is telling our team at nbc that emergency use authorization will come this winter, if they know it's going to happen eventually, why then can't they just authorize it today? >> right, so i'm on the fda vaccine advisory committee. we need to look at the data, make sure the dose is right, the dose interval is right, that we
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have adequate data. it's hard to predict that. we'll see how this plays out. i agree that we need a vaccine for children by the fall, because as we head into, you know, the winter months, it's going to be different for children this year than last year. last year when children went to school, i think most districts were very good about masking, very good about social distancing, very good about not letting children eat together in the cafeteria. that's not going to be true this year. i think communities that are undervaccinated, those children without a vaccine will be at a special risk. >> when you talk about communities that are undervaccinated, let's talk about los angeles, dr. blackstock. you have african-american communities, latino communities, that are unvaccinated. l.a. county just imposed an across-the-board mask mandate for those vaccinated and unvaccinated. what's your take on that new directive and what does it mean in terms of equitable public health policy? >> i agree with the direction that l.a. county is going in.
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this mask mandate is really an issue of equity. it's to protect the unvaccinated people. we know, as you mentioned, in l.a. county, there are very low vaccination rates in both black and latinx communities. while it's unlikely that a fully vaccinated person who gets infected can pass on the virus to someone else, what this mask mandate does is essentially equalizes everything. it's easier to put in a universal mask mandate than to have an honor system or to have masks tied to vaccination status. i think as we're seeing the cases increase locally in l.a. county, this was the right move. i feel like we probably should be seeing this in other parts of the country that are seeing surges as well. >> the fact that l.a. is reinstituting their mask policy strikes me that it might have been too early to lift those mask mandates when the cdc said it was okay. i mean, is that a correct assessment, do you think, dr.
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blackstock? >> i think we're in a different time now than we were a few weeks ago when the mask mandates were lifted. the delta variant was not the dominant variant. it's a totally different situation. while those guidelines were definitely evidence based, i do think the cdc should have provided more guidance to local and state governments. i do think this is a dynamic situation, this pandemic. we're going to see ebbs and flows of this virus and we should expect localities and states to respond accordingly. >> dr. offit, as we wrap up this conversation, is this what awaits as we head into the winter, people having to wear masks again indoors whether they're vaccinated or not? >> i think that's what it's going to boil down to. it's dependent on the community, which is why it's hard for the cdc to offer a blanket recommendation for the united states. i do think it's going to be community to community communities that are highly vaccinated, you're going to be
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protected. between the delta variant and the large percentage of this population that's still not vaccinated, i think we'll see a surge that's worse than what's going on now. >> dr. paul offit and dr. uche blackstock, our thanks to both of you. more than 100 people are dead and hundreds more unaccounted for after catastrophic flooding swept across western europe. we'll get a live report on the very latest. and at this hour, vice president harris is meeting with voting rights activists after some were arrested yesterday by capitol police while demonstrating. two of the advocates in that meeting with the vice president today will join me soon. and coming up next, senate majority leader chuck schumer outlines an ambitious new plan to force a vote on infrastructure by wednesday of next week. only one problem. the bill hasn't been written yet. stay with us. ♪ ♪ when technology is easier to use... ♪
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from the #1 fastest-growing men's health brand in america. senate majority leader chuck schumer has set an ambitious
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timeline to get two major infrastructure deals up and running. on wednesday the senate will hold a procedural vote on the traditional bipartisan package which needs 60 votes to bypass a filibuster. then the significantly larger human-focused reconciliation agreement, that human infrastructure focused deal, which needs unanimous democratic support. there are two problems. neither framework has been finalized. and senators have already gone home for the weekend. joining me now is nbc news capitol hill correspondent leigh ann caldwell and nbc editor benjie sarlwell. what's the holdup in terms of writing the legislation itself? >> geoff, first let's start with the big $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. the way that process worked, because it's not the normal legislative process, they
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actually need to start the process with votes before they can even write the legislative text. that is normal, that they don't have the legislative written. so let's put that aside for a moment. as far as the bipartisan plan is concerned, schumer wants to start that process next week because he's running up against a very difficult timeline where he has a lot of things backing up and it takes a lot of time to pass things on the senate floor. but some of the republicans in these negotiations say they aren't going to start this process, they're not going to agree to that until they have an agreement on legislative text and they aren't there yet. one of the biggest holdups is this idea of funding for irs enforcement. they are going to put money into this legislation to enforce people paying their taxes, the wealthy and corporations specifically, and they think that's going to net them $60 billion to help pay for this infrastructure bill. but republicans are balking, and
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conservative groups, outside groups are putting pressure on republicans saying they don't want increased irs enforcement. these negotiators are still at the table trying to figure it out because they have $60 billion that they need to come up with in order to fund their transportation infrastructure bill. and they need to have agreement among all these people in the group, the republicans and democrats, they say, before they move forward. and so there's going to be a lot of pressure on this schumer-imposed deadline. senator schumer runs the senate floor, so he's pushing to get this done, geoff. >> but benjie, this would not be the first time that congress moved forward on a big bill without anybody knowing what's in it, right? i'm having health care/aca deja vu here. >> sometimes there are big votes on bills where leadership tries to get a vote to advance it, to show their serious, ready to move forward, without necessarily having the substance complete.
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a big example was republican efforts to repeal and replace obamacare back in 2017. mitch mcconnell famously drafted a bill with leadership and then sprang it on the floor very quickly that was called skinny repeal, just a bill designed to get them to negotiations with the house, and it failed because the only limit on the strangle -- strategy is that you might upset individual members. john mccain gave his famous thumbs down and that was the end of repeal efforts. >> skinny repeal, i can't believe we're hearing that again. it's a political truism that the passage of time kills deals. and the big fear from democrats is that they're getting dragged along by republicans further into the year and that could effectively slow momentum on their agenda. >> democrats are very informed by their experience in 2009 and 2010 on president obama in this
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case. we now remember obamacare as the biggest partisan lightning rod there is, it perfectly splits the parties. but it wasn't always that way. for months and months democrats were negotiating with republicans on health care in 2009. and there was considered a serious chance that some, maybe even many republicans might vote for it. but eventually it ended up dragging negotiations out to spring, summer, fall, finally winter, and eventually democrats lost their 60-vote majority when ted kennedy died and republicans won a special election to replace him. that ended up severely hampering their ability to pass legislation throughout the entire rest of the congress. right now democrats, their majority in the congress hangs by one vote. >> lee ann, how palpable a fear is that among folks you're
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talking to on capitol hill, that time is a finite resource in politics and democrats don't have a lot of it. >> people say, why don't they have time, it's july, there's five months left in the year. but this is very late in the calendar year for the legislative process. at the end of september you have all of the government funding that stops, so they have to fund the entire government. they have other things like the debt ceiling. and remember, they go away for most of august to speak to their constituents back home, to campaign for their next elections. there are not very many legislative days left until the end of the fiscal year, at the end of september. and schumer knows how long it takes legislation to pass the senate. a very quick bill could take one to two weeks. schumer is aware of this, he needs things to move quickly. that's why he's putting this pressure on these lawmakers. >> leigh ann caldwell and benjie
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sarlin, thank you for joining us. water in west is so scarce, cattle ranchers in arizona say they can't feed their herds. and floods have wiped out entire towns in germany. we're live on the ground with the latest. n the ground with the latest it only takes a second for an everyday item to become dangerous. tide pods child-guard pack helps keep your laundry pacs in a safe place and your child safer. to close, twist until it clicks. tide pods child-guard packaging.
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more than 100 people are dead and 1,500 people unaccounted for after historic flooding across europe. this is the scene in western germany, a main road turned into a rushing river, look at that. so much water came in so quickly that trains and cars were paralyzed across the region. over the border in belgium, entire towns were left underwater, forcing hasty evacuations. as the deadly floodwaters recede, the search is on for survivors. joining us now from germany is nbc news reporter claudio lavanga. what's the latest on the cleanup efforts? [ inaudible ] all right. we're try to go back to claudio when we can. meantime, the effects of climate
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change here in the u.s. are drying up the western united states, scorching temperatures and severe drought are taking their toll on farmers and cattle ranchers. in arizona, ranchers are facing tough decisions in the face of a water shortage, some forced to sell off parts of their herds. nbc correspondent cal perry, what have you been told about drought conditions out west and what are ranchers telling you about the problems they're facing? >> reporter: and keep in mind we're talking about a 21-year extensive drought. it is a mega drought, affecting the entire west of the country. cattle ranchers are selling their cattle because they don't have the water to keep them alive and rather than having them die on a ranch, they're taking them to a market that's driving prices down. this is the part of the country that feeds the rest of the country. you go west to california, it's happening. east to west texas, as far north
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as canada. u.s. laid out, it's the extreme temperatures, the fires, the lack of water. i started by asking a rancher who we were able to spend time with yesterday whether or not she thought it was climate change. >> absolutely it's climate change. we've seen that, we know there's climate change. if you don't have rain, you don't have cows. there's no way you can continue to feed the cattle. it's not cost effective. and right now, the cost of cattle are down because everybody was liquidating their herds to they're worth less. there's all kinds of domino effects that start happening with that. >> reporter: that knock-on effect is what is really going to affect the economy down the road. you add to that these cascading events, the fires here. we burned more acreage here in arizona this year than we did all of last fire season. the hotels around me, geoff, are
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full of firefighters. so you have the extensive drought, that mega drought, you have the fires, and these temperatures are unrelenting. we've had this heat wave come earlier in the summer and it's lasting longer, geoff. >> so cal, when these cattle ranchers are selling their cattle, who are they selling them to, what states are they being shipped to? >> reporter: they're going to auction houses. here in kingman, arizona, there's an auction house that went from selling one day a week cattle, these auctions, to two days a week. the meat goes to brokers, then to the supermarket. as i said, this is a seasonal thing. people want to hold onto their cattle to make the cattle fat. every pound you're able to sell, you make more money. with no water in the ground, the cows are unable to maintain their weight, their losing weight, and ranchers across the country are cutting their losses and unloading that cattle, geoff. >> cal perry, appreciate you as
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always. voting rights advocate met with vice president kamala harris in the last hour on the fight for federal voting rights legislation. marijuana is legal in 18 states but because of federal laws, researchers at university of colorado boulder admit there's so much we still don't know about its health effects. >> more than half the states made it legal in some way, yet the scientific literature could really fill this notebook. >> we feel the same way. there are risks, there are benefits. what are they? >> what they're doing to bypass legal barriers and continue with their research. stay with us. of everything you've been through. that's why dove renews your skin's ceramides and strengthens it against dryness for softer, smoother skin you can lovingly embrace. renew the love for your skin with dove body wash. this is the sound of change. the sound of a thousand sighs of relief. and the sound of a company watching out for you.
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scientific research on marijuana here in the united states, which is why one lab in colorado is getting creative. our zone cynthia mcfadden has more. >> i am a nurse that works in a school. >> reporter: deb kirk loves her work and loves her life here high in the hills of golden, colorado. she's climb 53 of colorado's 58 tallest peaks. in 2007 she nearly lost her life when she fell off a cliff. >> i was like, ooh, i have a horrible head injury. >> reporter: several surgeries later, she says she couldn't tolerate the opioid pain meds. did they make you feel loopy? >> absolutely loopy, and it didn't fix the pain. >> reporter: her surgeon suggested she try weed. >> i was like, well, if he's telling me. >> reporter: she takes a quarter of a gummy, a low dose, 1% of
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chb combined with cbd. it helped her get back on her feet and cope with the anxiety of the pandemic. half the states have made medical marijuana legal. but there is a stunning lack of scientific data about the appropriate dose, strength, and effectiveness of cannabis for particular ailments. was it trial and error for you? >> 100%. >> reporter: which is why she's happy to take part in one of a series of innovative studies being conducted at the university of colorado boulder, on the effects of legal cannabis on anxiety and stress. it seems crazy that more than half the states at this point made it legal in some way yet the scientific literature could fill this notebook. >> it's true. we feel the same way. there are risks, there are benefits. what are they? >> reporter: but doing that research has been tough. federal law characterizes marijuana as a schedule 1 drug like heroin.
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so university researchers can't buy pot even in states where it's legal and study it. the university of colorado boulder could lose all its federal support for student aid. >> that's exactly right. >> reporter: this team figured out a workaround. if cannabis couldn't be brought to the lab, the lab would go to the cannabis, with a so-called canna-van. they showed us how it works. before deb takes her gummy, the team evaluates her. an hour later she returns for more testing. >> we're looking at the real world and how people use these products. >> reporter: results to come. but even in marijuana-friendly colorado, deb is still concerned about speaking out. >> i was afraid of all the things i want to get rid of. the judgment, the stigma, fear of what other people would think. >> reporter: how many of the people you work with know that you in fact use marijuana? >> i would say a handful. >> reporter: and now, more. >> and now, more.
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>> reporter: cynthia mcfadden, nbc news, golden, colorado. >> our thanks to cynthia for that reporting. we want to turn back to that deadly flooding in parts of europe. joining me now from germany is nbc news reporter claudio lavanga. we were able to reestablish communications with you. walk us through the latest in the rescue and cleanup efforts. >> reporter: geoff, the scene behind me speaks for itself. as you can see, this used to be, at least until a few days ago, a very gentle water way running through the small town of erstadt, one of the villages an hour's drive from the city of cologne that's been most affected by the flooding. even though it hasn't rained all day, it stopped raining this morning after a few days of record breaking rainfall for two or three days, even though it hasn't rained all day, it's still a raging river.
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what you see behind me here to my left is not part of the river. this used to be a river bank. it's entirely flooded, completely flooded, because now the water is receding from the nearby fields that have been completely underwater for a number of days, and now it's feeding back into this river. this tells you that this is an ongoing situation even if it has stopped raining. this particular town of erstadt is particularly affected because there are still people trapped in their homes being saved by rescuers, which we have seen going back and forget with their boats. they need to use the boats because essentially, as you may have seen on those videos earlier, the town's streets here have turned into rivers just as they've done in nearby villages. some villages that have been reduced to rubble by the sheer force of nature, geoff. >> unbelievable devastation.
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nbc's claudio lavanga there in erstadt, germany for us. claudio, thank you. that white house meeting we told you about as just ended and two of the advocates in that sit-down will join us coming up next. ♪ when technology is easier to use... ♪ barriers don't stand a chance. ♪ that's why we'll stop at nothing to deliver our technology as-a-service. ♪ (vo) conventional thinking doesn't disrupt the status quo. which is why t-mobile for business to deliver our technology as-a-service. uses unconventional thinking to help your business realize new possibilities. only one 5g partner offers unmatched network, support, and value-without any trade offs.
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over at the white house, vice president kamala harris just wrapped a meeting with prominent groups respecting black women including members of the black women's roundtable and the national council of negro women. the white house extended an invitation to meet, i'm told, after some of the group's members were arrested yesterday at the u.s. capitol while protesting in support of voting rights legislation. some of those folks were zip tied, arrested, and taken away by capitol police. president biden has repeatedly made it clear that he sees the wave of republican-backed laws restricting ballot access around the country as an existential threat to american democracy. we'll take a closer look at this issue with ms. latasha brown, co-founder of the black voters matter fund, and a civil rights attorney is with us as well.
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latasha, you just came out of the meeting with the vice president. what were the takeaways? >> we were able to have a conversation with the vice president around the state of voting rights in this country right now. secondly i think we were able to have assurances from the vice president that she is deeply committed to this issue and will work in conjunction with those on the ground, and that this administration takes it very seriously. i think the third piece, the sense of urgency. what we wanted to do is communicate a sense of urgency and our hope that the white house would use the full weight of the administration to push voting rights. i think the fourth piece is that this is an open conversation, an ongoing conversation. this is a fight we're very clear about that as black women, we're going to be relentless around this issue, that we're going to stay the course, because we need for the people act and the john lewis voter advancement act. >> did the vice president get into specifics, how she intends to use the full weight of the administration to bring this about?
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>> you know, a couple of things. one, she was able to be open about the recommendations that women who are experts in this area are able to share. she was able to share some things she's doing in terms of being able to activate the white house, the different agencies and departments, to make this a core issue. there was an exchange of ideas around how we move this forward and it was very promising. >> latosha, yesterday you were part of the a peaceful demonstration in a senate office building. it strikes me as sort of the importance of civil disobedience when it comes to voting rights, lbj would not have signed the first voting rights act back in 1965 were in not for the movement that preceded it. that piece of legislation was not the result of closed door meetings in washington. it was the activists who at the time really dramatized the issue, who demonstrated what was at stake. do you see a parallel between what you all are doing now and
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what happened back then? >> absolutely. i think that the way that we actually strengthen democracy is people have to hold our elected officials accountable. that's why we went to the halls of the senate to say we're not going anywhere. we have to think about it. it was 1965 when we were talking about the voting rights act. at it 2021 and now what we're seeing is a full-fledged, coordinated attack, particularly on black and brown voters in this nation because they participated in the process. we're not willing to go back. we have to move forward and strengthen democracy in this country and build the political infrastructure and the policy to make sure that all voters no matter where you are, whether you're in alabama or iowa or california, you have equal and fair, open access to the ballot. that's why we've been relentless and will continue to be relentless around really demanding the passage of the for the people act and the john lewis voter advancement act. >> debo, you were involved in defending the voting rights act in the landmark shelby county case in which the supreme court
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ultimately gutted the preclearance requirement which said that states with a history of racial discrimination in voting had to get preclearance before they made any changes. talk about what the erosion of the voting rights act means for the whole host of laws that we're seeing passed now. >> the supreme court has substantially cut back the major tools in blocking and deterring voting discrimination. it makes it harder for voting activists like vote activists to fight back against the measures that are intended or result in imposing obstacles in the way of minority voters. and these decisions have been terrible and they are reasons why they level the playing field. and really to have the nation recommit itself to the minority inclusion principle that the voting rights act represents. >> is legislation the only
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option as you see it? is it practical to think that voting rights advocates can fight this out state by state, court by court? >> the history told us that doing it that way is very hard. while litigation and fights in the courts are an important piece of the movement for voting rights and inclusion, they're only one piece. and a larger remedy that would try and block some of these things before they happen as the preclearance provision did would be a lot better and a lot more effective than having to go county by county, town by town, state by state to try and block these things. it's really difficult to win these cases. they take a long time. they cost a lot of money. very often, elections are happening before you can get a result in the case. so you actually have people sometimes elected who might not have been proper office holders if the system had been fair. and so it's really important to have legislation as part of the
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effort that we will continue to wage this fight for democracy in courtrooms as well. >> yeah. la tasha brown, a question about how we talk about all of this. the right to vote, the right to vote freely is a fundamental american right. and yet so often the way we talk about voting rights, we talk about it in terms of being a partisan issue or a black issue. what do you see the us are being of that. >> i think what is happening is we have hob tonnest and that black and brown voters have been targeted. they've been the target of. this we also have to understand how interconnected our history and our faith is that fundamentally when weaken democracy for some, you weaken democracy for all of us. there is an attack on the very foundation of this country. you don't have a strong democracy. so the we need people to really understand kind of the connectivity around that. the second thing that i think is really important for us to understand is that this is not just a national attack.
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what we're seeing is counties being attacked on the state, federal, and local level. so we're going to have to -- we cannot organize our way out of. this we cannot litigate our way out of. this we have to have federal legislation that literally gets us closer to what the constitution says, what the declaration of independence says so that people that all citizens of this country, whether they live in alabama or california have equal and fair access to the ballot. >> yeah. reporters were led into the end -- to the end of that meeting you attended with the vice president. i'm told we have video we can play back now. >> is this lbj moment? are they making you do it or making republicans in congress do it when it comes to voting rights? >> no one is going to make us do what we know is our right and responsibility which is to fight for our democracy and fight for our rights every day of the week. and this is -- let's be clear, not about any one racial group
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or gender group. this is about all americans. this the is not an issue about democrats versus republicans. this is about americans. and this group of national leaders are very clear about that. this is the fight for all people regardless of who they voted for in the last election or who they vote for in the next election. thank you. >> the vice president there talking about what we just talked b she says a fight for all americans. >> absolutely. you know, i think it's really important for us to really recognize that democracy that right now we're literally democracy, american democracy is being tested. are we going to go forward or go backwards? we have to really recognize that voting rights impacts all of us. what we're seeing is we're seeing a punitive measure. the think about it. what you're seeing is black and brown voters. many of the states that have been targeted, when we talk about texas and georgia, that fundamentally because they participate in a historic election last year now what we're seeing is punitive measures. what the message does that send about democracy? if we're -- if we allow that to happen, then that completely
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undermines democracy. that is the actual definition of political corruption. that means the political party is trying to use and use weaponize the administrative provide process to prevent certain people from voting . >> tomorrow it will be a year since we lost john lewis. i understand after you were involved in litigating the shelby county case you spoke with him on the bridge during one of the anniversaries. what did he have to say to you? >> well, he had actually attended the shelby county argument. he was there to observe it and to witness history try again. he didn't say nug. he just grabbed me and gauff me a big hug and said you did.
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you did. that was a moment in which we were thinking about all that and so many others had done all the way from that bridge to the court, the highest court in the land. en that and that fight continues today in part because of the example of john lewis and everybody that helped narrow the gap between the constitutions, high promises and low practices and continues because we will not be satisfied until we have equality as the constitution promises. >> in the 15 seconds that remain, i want to give you the final word here. ♪ keep your eye on the prize and hold on hold on ♪ that is the spirit and that is what i hear and remember about the late john lewis. >> all right. thank you both. i appreciate you more than you know. that's it for me today. ayman mohyeldin picks up our coverage coming up next. n mohyer coverage coming up next. r what you need. how much money can liberty mutual save you? one! two! three! four! five!
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