welcome to "meet the press daily." it has been an extraordinarily busy tuesday in american politics. it's august, right? i've got to check the calendar. we've got a lot of breaking news out of washington. and of course out of albany. in washington what would have been our lead, the senate has finally passed the president's bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. it's a big piece of bipartisanship. it's nicknamed the b.i.f. i think somebody might say it's a b.f.d., the b.i.f. at the white house in just about 30 minutes or so president biden and vice president harris are going to deliver remarks about that landmark legislation, what makes it so landmark is the fact it was bipartisan. this used to be not that hard to do back in the late 20th century. but this will also be biden's first chance to respond to the
breaking news out of albany, which has dramatically interrupted the action in washington as the new york governor andrew cuomo announced to the surprise of many that he is resigning. >> i think that given the circumstances the best way i can help now is if i step aside and let government get back to governing. and therefore, that's what i'll do. because i work for you. and doing the right thing is doing the right thing for you. >> the resignation came one week after the new york attorney general released a scathing report outlining 11 different claims by women that cuomo sexually harassed them. and as state lawmakers continued with impeachment proceedings against him. now, despite stemg down as governor, cuomo continues to deny that he did anything wrong. >> the attorney general did a
report on complaints made against me by certain women for my conduct. the report said i sexually harassed 11 women. that was the headline people heard and saw and reacted to the reaction was outrage. it should have been. however, it was also false. >> cuomo's resignation comes as every democrat in new york's congressional delegation as well as the state's two democratic u.s. senators, as well as president biden, all of them were urging him to step aside. is it was hard to find anybody with a d next to their name saying he shouldn't just yet. the resignation will make the current lieutenant governor, kathy hochul, the first female governor in the history of new york state. all right. let's break all this down. we've got our investigations correspondent tom winter with us. kathy park is in albany, where the news was just broken there. by the governor himself. and nbc news political analyst
and former democratic congresswoman donna edwards, who was with me on sunday, is here to break it down. and from the new york state assembly we have state senator james scufus who chairs the government operations committee. kathy, let me start with you in albany. look, i had talked to plenty of people close to the governor who indicated he'd eventually get to this place. i think what is a surprise is right after sending out a lawyer to do some really questionable pushback on everything it did seem to surprise folks that today was the day he chose resignation. >> hey, chuck, i think you're absolutely right. i watched this press conference extremely closely as well. initially, we all thought it was just going to be his attorney, rita glavine, announcing news of these allegations and basically discrediting the accusers who had come forward. but to see governor cuomo himself and then to announce his
resignation was quite shocking. and it's having quite the ripple effect here in albany. i had a chance to speak with an assembly member here, and you have several people actually coming out, just reacting to this. but i do want to point out that initially when he did announce his resignation we heard people clapping, cheering, and these are just people, state workers here in front of the state house. but one assembly member said she was actually shocked because of the timing of all this. she knows governor cuomo's character. he is a fighter. so she thought he would likely drag this process out and possibly buy more time because yesterday was the judiciary committee meeting where they outlined the timeline for his possible impeachment. she thought that maybe the announcement would come a little later than,000. she was shocked it came today. but what's interesting, chuck, she mentioned obviously there is a wrinkle in the impeachment investigation because obviously it's still moving forward. he just announced that he has
two weeks, 14 days for this transition to take place. so she noted that they're still going to move forward. so technically if they wanted to they potentially could move forward, get the additional documents from the a.g.'s office that they requested, also get more documents from the governor if he sent them over on friday. he has that deadline. they will continue to look at all the information. it wasn't just the sexual harassment allegations they're looking into. it was the nursing home deaths, allegations that those numbers were miscounted. also that book deal and whether he misappropriated state dollars in writing that book deal and he profited off of that. so there is a lot that he is still tackling, even after this resignation. and i do want to point out, chuck, you mentioned kathy hochul. she will assume office -- >> right. i was about to ask you about her. >> -- as the first female governor of new york. yeah. and she is a new york native. she was born in buffalo. she went to syracuse university.
and she touts the fact she is an involved leader. she visits practically all the counties in new york on a regular basis. she was nominated by the governor in 2014. and she essentially moved up the ranks in politics. she started off as an attorney. she was a legal assistant. also served in congress as well. but she has built quite the reputation as being a powerhouse here in new york. chuck? >> mm-hmm. and kathy, when do we expect to see her on camera today, hear her first remarks? she's put out a release. is she going to keep a low profile until she's sworn in? >> reporter: that's a good question. we're trying to figure that out ourselves. she did release a statement, she believes that this was the right step for governor cuomo to make, his resignation. but as far as when she will speak it remains to be seen. perhaps she will wait until this transition period. but i know we are hot on her heels to get some sort of comment from her.
>> of course. of course. all right, kathy park in albany for us. kathy, stick around. tom winter, let's talk about what we saw today before the resignation. and it seems as if now in hindsight it appears to be hey, don't pursue these -- you know, don't pursue him legally and here's all the different ways we think we can push back on this. is he out of legal trouble? and if not, where does he face the most trouble? >> he's far from legal trouble here, chuck. basically, the governor's legal position has not changed at all, even in light of his resignation, which takes effect in 14 days. he will no longer be able to use the official governmental livestream, the governor's office in new york city to put out his personal attorney's statements and what she says she believes about the independent
report released by the attorney general. that's no longer a quiver that he has. but as far as his exposure continuing forward, nothing changes with respect to the five district attorney's offices who are looking at specific elements of that independent report as they try to determine whether or not the governor violated any sort of criminal statute, the most serious of which is occurring in albany. the albany county sheriff's office is looking into this allegation that the governor groped one of his employees, identified -- she's since become public, but identified as executive assistant number 1 in the report. they're looking into that in conjunction with the albany county district attorney's office. so they'll make a determination there. the conclusion of their investigation as to whether or not the governor would be charged there, the most immediate charge that comes to mind is a class a misdemeanor. it would not result in the governor having to register as a sex offender. but it is something that he could be arrested for. so that's the first thing. the second thing is the investigations that are being conducted by the manhattan district attorney's office as to
whether or not there's a criminal violation. they've asked for materials from the attorney general's office. same with westchester county district attorney mimi rocca. that investigation is potentially more interesting only because it really centers around trooper number 1, some of the allegations that she raised, some of the things that she says that were also according to the report corroborated by other new york state troopers, occurred at the governor's former home with his ex-girlfriend in mount kisco, new york. that's in westchester county, rocca's purview. so everything's changed but nothing's changed going forward. the timeline here today, chuck, first received word from a senior law enforcement official approximately 9:15 this morning that the governor was in his helicopter en route to new york city and would make a statement around 10:30. then that kind of changed as rita glavin as you suggested came forward and offered up some claims about the attorney general's report. you see her there on screen. a number of those claims we were able to fact-check in real time
as either not being consistent with her prior statements or not being consistent with the record. the governor himself for the first time addressed the allegations brought by trooper number 1 who has still not been publicly identified talking about his inappropriate touching of her though he suggested the efforts to get her on his protective detail were an effort to diversify the state police. that does not bear out according to the report. and the e-mails that they were able to obtain between a senior investigator with the new york state police as well as people from the executive chamber. it was very clear this was an effort including lowering some of the restrictions as far as the amount of time on the job to get this particular trooper on the detail as well as the governor's statements about her, some of the things that he suggested if you were to compare them to the report just don't add up, chuck. >> well, it is interesting to see the legal situation as it develops over the next couple weeks, what will the appetite be. and to check in on the appetite
for these investigations let me bring in state senator -- senator james skoufis. we've had you on before. what does this do to your investigation? what does this do to the legislature? is it worth pursuing impeachment to bar him from ever holding elected office again? >> well, first, thanks for having me back, cluck. and look, i mean, you don't have to go too far back into impeachment history to see precedent for moving forward with impeachment after the elected official has left office. and so yes, we have that same tool that was available to congress and we could bar governor cuomo, and he's still governor for the next 14 days from holding office, statewide office in the future. it remains to be seen if the assembly is going to continue moving forward with impeachment. this is obviously hot off the presses. i found out as i'm sure many of my colleagues through the
grapevine maybe two or three minutes prior to the governor going live he would probabliy be announcing he would be stepping down. as you can see i thought i'd be having a casual day of meetings with my staff, a couple community groups showed up to my office in jeans and a polo today and here we are with seismic news. the timing was very unexpected. but this was inevitable. last time i was on your show a week ago i mentioned the writing was on the wall, and i think maybe the governor finally internalized it when his top, top staffer melissa derosa, left, departed, resigned a couple of nights ago. and when you've lost melissa derosa, who's been with him for ages, it is officially over. i think maybe that was the moment when he timely realized it's time for me to willingly go down instead of being forced out and even further disgraced. >> well, look, it doesn't sound like you're ready to give an answer. maybe you would have given it to me already. do you think it's time to move on or should this investigation go on, should impeachment still be in the air? it's clear the governor decided he doesn't want to go through
with this investigation and trial. is him resigning punishment enough for you? >> well, look, i think one of the foundations here is that whether you're the 11 women who have come forward, there's word there are other women who are now coming forward to the attorney general since the report, there's got to be accountability. and certainly him being removed from office through resignation, that is some significant level of account. but my colleagues and i, we've yet to discuss whether that is enough, whether there should be impeachment. and look, this is going to be an ugly, ugly proceeding. there might be some appetite where my colleagues feel that resignation is enough, we can turn the page with him just stepping down. but let's not lose sight of the fact that andrew cuomo is still andrew cuomo. he mentioned even in his video he is a fighter, he's someone that has a long memory, he's someone that holds grudges. he's someone with $18 million in
his campaign account. and so it's not inconceivable that he could come back, whether it's next year, whether it's many years down the road, and use that war chest to launch some crusade in a comeback bid. well, the political elite removed me, the media removed me. shades of trumpism, by the way. and possibly launch a comeback. that is not inconceivable given the character that we know andrew cuomo is. so i think there's going to be some significant discussion in the hours and days ahead. i'm not ready to make any sort of prediction on your question, though. >> let me ask you this. it sounds like you think that resignation isn't enough. you don't think -- it sounds like you think he should be punished by not being able to hold office ever again in new york state. >> i think it is fair to say that i certainly feel and i think the majority of my colleagues feel that someone who is so unfit for office now likely remains unfit for office
forever. you know, it is -- it's unthinkable that anyone who has gone through this ordeal that we've all been put through and especially these 11 women that the perpetrator would even remotely for a second think oh, yeah, next year or in five years from now i'm going to make a comeback and show them. you know, i do think that we ought to consider taking that additional step. but on the other hand -- and look, this does cut both ways in my mind. i'm not sold -- you know, just a few minutes into this news, which direction is the most appropriate. on the other hand, maybe we do spare the state, we do spare the democratic party from moving through a months-long very ugly proceeding. and so it is a double-edged sword on my mind. i do want to one one hand make sure there is more significant accountability, that someone who is so unfit for office now remains unfit and cannot come back with $18 million in his war chest. on the other hand, do we put the
state through this ordeal? >> let me bring in donna edwards here. and donna, we were talking about this on sunday, where this would end. and it didn't -- i don't think any of us thought it would be within 48 hours that he would see the light on resignation. i think the assumption was he'd eventually get there. but he got there now. is it enough? you're here in this conversation. i feel like the senator's doing a pretty good job making the case on both sides here, moving on versus some more accountability. what's the line here to walk? >> it's such an interesting question because i think as a legislator i can see the argument for just moving on. and for enabling kathy hochul to begin the process of governing the state and uniting the state. on the other hand, there is a question of accountability. i mean, andrew cuomo had no
support from democrats in the state, from democrats nationally, from the president of the united states. and it would be unfortunate, i think, for him to be able to use his resources to overwhelm the airwaves and make a comeback. that would not serve democrats well, frankly. but look, i think that there is an appetite probably among new yorkers and among -- certainly among democrats to put this ugly episode behind them and to allow the criminal and the civil and the criminal processes to take hold. but that's a decision that new york legislators are going to have to make, and i don't think it's an easy one to strike that balance. i'm glad that he resigned. i do think that that is a measure of accountability for the women who were so courageous but who he continues to blame
and shame and deny. so i don't think this is over by any stretch of the imagination. andrew cuomo will continue to fight in the way that he can, using whatever resources he can, whether or not an impeachment goes forward. >> and donna, i've heard from some d.c.-area democrats going oh, cuomo stepped on the big news on the bipartisan infrastructure deal. i know that some people think the governor's petty. i've got to imagine he wasn't thinking about the timing of the passage of that because who has been able to keep up with when the senate's going to vote on x or y? but this does sort of get rid of a headline for the president today. but i imagine they'll trade the short-term headache for what could have been long-term pain. >> well, that's right. and this is actually the bipartisan infrastructure bill is really the first lev of the
stool to get through the senate and over to the house and on to the president's desk. there are going to be many more headlines for a really groundbreaking piece of legislation to repair our water, sewer, our transportation infrastructure and then to get on with the business of passing the reconciliation for the human infrastructure. and today those are going to move the economy forward. and joe biden is going to be able to take credit for that and go to every single state and travel throughout congressional districts really singing and selling the praises of the bipartisan deal but also the human infrastructure. there are more headlines -- >> human infrastructure. yeah. and there's more challenges ahead on that one. a lot to dig through. kathy park in albany for us. tom winter, our chief of investigations, james skoufus,
the state legislator. really appreciate you spending time with us. and don't worry about the polo shirt. it looks fine. donna edwards, thank you as well. we do expect we will hear from president biden in a few minutes and it will include the first comments from him on cuomo's resignation. he's scheduled to speak at 1:30. we know what he wants to speak about you about we have no doubt he'll speak about this as well. we will bring you those remarks when they happen. more cases. more problems. new concerns about covid in the classroom as the delta surge collides with the start of the school year. dr. fauci is now backing a vaccine mandate for teachers. fos g with the world. some changes made me stronger. others, weaker. that's the nature of being the economy. i've observed investors navigating the unexpected, choosing assets to balance risk and reward. and i've seen how one element has secured their portfolios, time after time.
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cases triple in that period of time. so we are talking exponential growth. the daily average of cases across the country has blown through the 100,000 a day mark and it continues to climb exponentially. there's some fear that we could hit or get close to that 256 number that we topped out at back in the winter. deaths, which as we've told you many times are a lagging indicator, have now nearly doubled in two weeks as well with an average of 542 americans now dying every day. the good news is that those numbers are much lower than they were the first time because thankfully before all the vaccine polarization started we got seniors vaccinated quickly. heaven only knows what would have happened if that hadn't been the focus in the very first month or two, whether we would start to see more polarization in that demographic group. but hospitals around the country are in crisis mode again and some are seeing an alarming spike in children facing some severe illness from covid. that has thrown a whole new layer of alarm into the surge because timing, right?
it's all happening right as school districts across the country are headed back to the classroom. and yes, everybody wants to be in the classroom. many republican officials are redoubling their resistance to masks. public health officials are clearly alarmed. here's dr. fauci this morning backing vaccine mandates for teachers. >> i mean, we are in a critical situation now. we have had of 15,000-plus deaths and we are in a major surge now as we're going into the fall, into the school season. this is very serious business. i'm sorry. i know people must like to have their individual freedom and not be told to do something but i think we're in such a serious situation now that under certain circumstances mandates should be done. >> we're in two hot spots. we've got kerry sanders in naples, florida for us with more on the fight over the mask issue in and around the state between
school districts and the governor. maura barrett is in memphis where they have a hospitalization issue among kids that is growing. kerry, let me start with you. we're seeing a threat from the governor. we're seeing some school districts decide to sort of call the governor's bluff about mask mandates in schools. where is this headed? is this headed to a legislative special session or are we going to court? >> it's likely going to court here, chuck. what's interesting in all of this is the governor has had a very strong role in how florida has handled covid. so for instance, when we initially had the crisis in the state, he took away and usurped the authority of local mayors to decide what they wanted to do in their communities and established rules. now he's doing the same again for school boards. so as you know, florida has 67 counties. school here in collier county -- i'm in osceola elementary school. kids started today. it was exciting.
they came in. they were happy to have their new book bags, wearing their new clothes. and in many cases bringing with them masks. now, in this county they're going to abide by what the governor has said. there is not a mask mandate. but at least eight counties in the state of florida, they're like no, we want to have a mask mandate. in fact, there may be more counties joining that. and so the governor has said you do that i'm going to take away the salaries of the school superintendents and the school board members. unclear whether he has that constitutional authority. but as all of this is playing out parents are having to make real world decisions about -- in districts like this do i ask my child to be masked all day and tell them that they need to be masked or do they sit next to somebody who's not masked and what does that all mean? let's listen to what the parents had to say here. >> i no he they're going to stay safe and try to stay as socially distant as they can. we'll just have to see what happens. >> i'd rather wear it because i don't want to get covid.
>> i want to wear it so like other kids won't be sick because of me if i have germs or they have germs so we won't spread it. >> i think it did more harm than any good really, actually if you really think about it. you know, wearing a mask all day long, being behind that, breathing their own toxins all day. >> so we hear from the kids, we hear from the parents, different points of view how they're going to handle all this. chuck, we do not know today in this school system, which has 47,000 students how many are masked and how many are not masked. and we probably won't know for sure because they're not taking that census. but just as a snapshot in osceola elementary school here, one of the fifth grade classes, we went in, we took a look. 15 kids in the class. six wearing masks, nine without masks, and the teacher wearing a mask. day one, first couple of hours. it could all change as it moves along. but really the political fight, chuck, that's unfolding here in florida and quite frankly elsewhere about whether the governor can mandate whether
there is a freedom of of choice or as we heard dr. fauci say maybe everybody needs to get together because of what's going on with the spread of the variant and especially we're seeing an increasing number of children winding up in pediatric hospitals. >> kerry, can a parent get the vaccine status of the teacher? or is that something that's up to the teacher whether they will share that information? >> such a good question. and i don't think that information is public. i'm going to have to check. i will say this. i spent some time here with teachers. and i asked them directly. and they did tell me that they were vaxed, that they were going to wear masks and they were going to see as the school year went along what they would do. but i don't know whether there's an actual registry you can go to. you know, they had an open house here for the kids and parents to come last friday where they could interact and kind of feel it all out and ask those sort of questions.
but i don't believe that there is actually a registery that says here's the teachers that are vaxed and here's the ones that are not. >> it's an important piece of information for parents. and i think that's going to be a tricky part of this conversation as well. kerry sanders in naples, florida for us. kerry, thank you. let's move over to tennessee. that's where we have maura barrett. and here it's the issue of a rising number of hospitalizations among kids. now, put it in context because there's a lot of debate. we're seeing the numbers spike. is it spiked within this small group? are we still looking at 97%, 98%, 99% of kids are fine? or is this something that health officials fear is much bigger than we realize? >> health officials and doctors alike, chuck, are warning there are, quote, scary times ahead when it comes to pediatric cases. that's because 10% of the new cases statewide are actually in children under 10 years old.
here in memphis at the le bonheur children's hospital and across the state there's been a 65% increase in pediatric hospitalizations just in the last week across the state there's nearly 40 kids in the hospital with covid. here alone 17 kids, six of them in the icu and two that passed away from covid complications within the last two weeks. so doctors incredibly frustrated because they say it's because of the lack of vaccinations in the rest of the population and the fact that there isn't a mask mandate. and of course those are the two things that we're seeing cause this political debate here in tennessee. i wanted you to hear from dr. monica taylor. she's the health director. michelle taylor, excuse me. she's the health director here in shelby county. talking about she's going to stand up to this political pressure. >> we understand that there's politics around this issue. but frankly, when you have sick children and you have dying children, that's never political. and i don't want to have even one more parent or parent -- a set of parents have to bury
their child because they died of what could be a preventable disease. >> and chuck, these are not the same minor cases that we might have seen in children at the beginning of the pandemic. if they're hospitalized, it's often doctors tell me they are getting intubated, they are having severe reactions and even respiratory issues after they get covid and leave the hospital. and right now they're seeing their icus fill up to what they might normally see in the winter. and this is again as we're going into back to school period. they started school here just yesterday. dr. taylor mentioning that of the 18-year-olds and under that are eligible for the vaccine here in shelby county, only 7 1/2% are vaccinated. so they're really pushing for that vaccine amongst the eligible kids. >> oh, my goodness. >> and adults in the community. >> 7 1/2%, maura? 7 1/2% of those that can get the vaccine, that's it in shelby county?
>> of the children under 18 that are eligible. and that's partly because potentially the health department here had urged -- was ordered to stop vaccine outreach to minors after republican state house pushback. that's something that was happening for a little bit, a few weeks, but obviously could have had an impact going into school. >> yeah. oh, my goodness. that is some damaging numbers there. maura barrett in memphis for us. maura, thank you. let me bring in dr. nahid bhadelia, infectious disease specialist, msnbc contributor. dr. bhadelia, i was going to start with a different question. but 7 1/2% of those that are eligible have gotten the vaccine among -- between 12 and 18. that's a disaster. i'm curious, are we tracking the vaccine status of the parents of children that have been hospitalized? >> i have not seen that, the studies, household contact is what you're really looking for,
how did kids get sick that are hospitalized. i have not seen those studies. what you are seeing is that this is a highly transmissible variant and so more kids are getting infected. and even if the percentage of kids who may be unvaccinated that get hospitalized might be smaller than a vulnerable high-risk adult who's unvaccinated getting hospitalized, but the sheer number of kids who are now vulnerable who are unvaccinated who are getting sick is increasing the percentage of people, percentage of kids who actually end up in the hospital. and add to that anecdotal data that i'm hearing and others are hearing from our frontline pediatrician colleagues that they are seeing sicker kids. we have less data on that. you started with this story about the schools, chuck. and i have to tell you, we have to treat a classroom full of kids as what they are. they're unvaccinated group of people in confined spaces. in a period of time where there's a highly transmissible disease, you know, cdc has said it's as transmissible as chicken
pox, all enclosed in one area. and if this was chicken pox and not covid, it wouldn't be as political. and the reason we're taking that risk, the reason we're sending them in person is because we're trying to balance the risk versus the benefits of in-school learning. but to do that, to make that space safe for them, we need to do what is necessary. and i do agree with dr. fauci that that includes vaccinating all the adults, not just the teachers, the bus drivers, everybody else who's in that space, to require that for schooling the way the vaccinations for schooling for kids who are already eligible, the way we do with other vaccinations, to ventilate, to give high-quality, high-filtration masks to kids so their parents feel that they're safe, particularly in areas of high transmission and to give them rapid tests. and the question that comes up, chuck, when you say that is what pools will be highest affected. are those that can't afford that, can't manage that. and as a product of public schools myself, i can sort of see this once again being a moment where highly impacted
states, the highest burden goes on communities that maybe don't have all those resources. >> where are the numbers going -- it was 118,000 as of sunday. average number of cases, the seven-day average. dr. fauci's been concerned it's going to get into the 200s. and again, what people need to realize, our worst week during the third surge, i guess we have to now look as this as the fourth surge. during the third surge was 256. given what you've seen around the country, are we going to surpass that? >> we're going to start continuing to see the increase in cases in areas that have low vaccination. but you're going to see a bump in cases even in areas that are highly vaccinated because of the reasons we've talked about. but what we've seen in other countries, you've seen some public health people argue that this variant seems to move through communities very fast and are we going to see a peak and then things will come down.
the concern for me is that here there is pockets of unvaccinated and are very broad geographically disparate country. i can see this rolling and finding vulnerable areas where people are not as vaccinated over a longer period of time. so we may not past this peak as, say, the uk or israel saw their peak with delta occur. so for us i think and others have said this, a couple of steps moving forward, we need to start keeping track of all infections. better reporting of -- and bring in testing as an important part of how we get to the other side. we need a better understanding of the disease burden in the unvaccinated by promoting testing again in that population but also tracking symptomatic disease in people who are vaccinated even if they're not hospitalized. and that's how we get to a better understanding of how widespread this current surge is. >> yeah. you're very gentle. it seems like you're not alone
here. we'd like to see more cdc surveillance and more timely information i think in the public sphere. that's for sure. dr. bhadelia, as always, appreciate you coming on and sharing your expertise with us. thank you. and later this week msnbc's going to be answering all of your back to school coronavirus pandemic questions. hopefully we're helping to answer some of them now. submit your question on twitter using your hashtag msnbc answers or just e-mail email@example.com. we'll have our experts answer as many as they can live on friday at 11:00 a.m. eastern on msnbc. up next, we are expecting to hear from the president after what is easily now his biggest win in congress yet. still got to get to his desk, though. that bipartisan infrastructure bill has finally passed the senate. but now comes the even harder part. i've never slept like this before. we gave new zzzquil pure zzzs restorative herbal sleep to people who were tired of being tired. what is even in this? clinically-studied plant based ingredients passion flower,
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welcome back. as we told you earlier at the white house we are awaiting remarks from president biden and vice president harris after the senate's vote to officially pass his bipartisan infrastructure bill. and right now in the senate democrats are beginning down the long and arduous road to pass a massive and what will be a partisan $3.5 trillion so-called human infrastructure bill. and they've basically finished that for now. at least the starting process of this. but there's a lot of uncertainty about what the democrats can get done, both politically and procedurally, via that reconciliation process. there are a ton of questions about how they're going to message the effort. and don't forget, speaker pelosi has tied the fate of both bills together in the house. and progressives and moderates are both champing, if you will, champing at the bit at that one. shannon pettypiece is at the white house for us and leigh ann caldwell is on capitol hill. so shannon, i think this would have been a big victory day for them had the governor of new
york not created his own set of headlines. but look, it's still a -- the b.i.f. is a b.f.d. for this administration. >> yeah. it certainly is. by far the biggest legislative win for president biden so far. as much as this is a win for infrastructure spending for this white house and the projects and the broadband and lead pipes this string has talked about wanting to get done, as much as it is about getting those things, it's certainly also about the bipartisan nature of it. this isn't one of these bipartisan bills where you get a couple of senators from the other party joining on like a mitt romney or a susan collins. this is a big number of republicans who have joined on to this bill. and it gives this white house the opportunity to say they are delivering on the promise that they believe encourage many people to vote for president biden that they will take down the partisan rhetoric in washington, that they can end
these forever wars between republicans and democrats and they can actually get something done. from the white house today the message is just as much about what they're funding as it is about the bipartisan nature of it. it was certainly not easy. there were a number of times this had to be brought back from the dead. and it's certainly not done until it's done, but a big step in that direction that we expect the president to make a point of later this afternoon. >> leigh ann caldwell, 69 votes. i take it this is mitch mcconnell's way of saying hey, don't kill the filibuster, the senate isn't as broken as its critics would like to suggest. is that the biggest motivation of getting sort of mcconnell's wing of the party on board this? >> that's one of the motivations, chuck. it is to prove a point that like you said the senate is not broken, the filibuster is intact, and it led to a big
bipartisan achievement. but there's other things as well, too, including the fact that roads and bridges are good for every state around this country. senator mcconnell thinks it's good for kentucky. there's a lot of funding in this legislation for kentucky, and he thinks it's good for his members too. they are going to be able to go and tout this legislation, whether they voted for it or not, in their districts. now, of the 19 republicans who voted for it, only four of them are running for re-election out of the 15 republicans who are running for re-election. so there is still some primary politics at play here, the fact there weren't more on that aisle, on that side of the aisle, who did jump in favor of in bill. including senator john thune, the number two in the senate who has not said if he's running for re-election but has been on the wrong side of the former president for quite some time. so moving forward, though, this
is something republicans are very happy to tout but also they're now starting this second can start to slam democrats as reckless tax and spenders because they are going to hammer home that $3.5 trillion bill that they're going to take up, that they think that republicans think is bad for the economy and is going to be bad at the polls next year. chuck. >> leigh ann, i'm curious. i have to say, i'm sure last week you didn't think they'd get done what the vote-a-rama as it's called in beltway speak if you will. they moved that reconciliation bill quickly. i guess these senators want to go home. >> yeah, they do. there was 50 hours of debate if they took that up that we would just be in the first hour. and yesterday it's funny, chuck, republicans were telling me yesterday morning that they expected republicans to use all of their time to force this process out. well, that shifted extremely quickly. the vote-a-rama and first step
of this reconciliation, $3.5 trillion process is baked. we know all 50 democrats are going to support this first process. so they're already four days late into their summer recess. and so why prolong it any more, chuck. >> and shannon, one of the points we made in first read today, and i'm curious if the white house believes they have to play this role, right now the human infrastructure bill is known for two things -- how big it is and that it's about placating progressives. the specifics are not well known yet. how are they going to sell this? and is this one of those they believe they can sell it after they pass it? because if that's their plan it didn't work out so well when they tried that with health care. >> right. well, they certainly have to get a sales pitch going on this because the large dollar amount's lost on anyone. i think one of the biggest obstacles, though, for the white house is going to be showing that they can keep democrats united. they have shown they can bring
democrats and republicans together in the senate. can they do that in the house? and the tension among the progressives in the house is certainly palpable. here at the white house they are aware of that. and they know they're going to have to sell this to the constituents in order to get those members on board as well. >> well, we will i imagine in a few minutes hear exactly how they're going to start selling this in a few minutes. shannon pettypiece, leigh ann caldwell, thank you both. and as we await president biden's remarks, i'm going to turn now very quickly to the dire situation in afghanistan. the taliban continues to gain territory there at an alarming rate. now capturing six of the country's 34 provincial capitals since friday. that's right. six since friday. taliban advances have forced thousands of afghans to flee. with nowhere else to go, really, many are now homeless in kabul. the u.s. is providing? air support to afghan forces but no ground troops. and the pentagon says the responsibility lies with afghanistan's government and military to defend itself, something that doesn't appear to be happening. joined now by the president
press secretary john kirby. john, it's good to talk with you. i'm sorry it's on these dire conditions. but look, there's a cliche out there that sometimes things go south quickly. everybody thought this was going to eventually look bad. are you guys alarmed at how fast the taliban is advancing? >> we're certainly watching, chuck, with great concern the security sip on the ground. there's no question about that. obviously, you're right. i mean, this was something that the entire community knew could be possible, that the taliban would continue to make advances. and again, we're watching this with great concern. and that is why we still retain the authorities and the capabilities to conduct air strikes in support of the afghan forces on the ground where and when feasible, knowing that of course it's not always going to be feasible because we don't have the same footprint in afghanistan that we had before. >> when's the last time we
launched an airstrike at the behest of the afghan government? >> what i can tell you without getting into great operational detail, chuck, is that we have conducted several strikes over just the last few days. >> mm-hmm. and have they been effective? do you feel as if the afghan government has used our resources resources effectively? >> we know that we're hitting what we're striking at, chuck. the strikes are precise, the ones that we're conducting on behalf and in support of afghan forces. but we also know that air streaks alone are not a panacea. they never have been. we know that you're not going to defeat from the air alone. you've got to have a credible, forceful presence on the ground. the afghans have a force of over 300,000 troops that we have funded and supports over the last 20 years. they have a modern capable air
force, an air force that we've contributed 130 aircraft to. they have the advantage. it's going to come down to leadership and the will to use that advantage to their benefit and the benefit of the afghan people. >> i saw you making a similar argument on another program. it's the equivalent of throw up your hands, like we've done everything we can under the rules of engagement we've agreed to. is that sort of where the pentagon is right now? without getting into the policy debate, you feel like you're doing everything you can in order to follow through with the policy that the president set? >> we are doing everything we can, chuck, to support the afghan forces in the field with the capabilities and authorities that we have in the country right now. the president's been clear that it's time for this war to end
and for our relationship with afghanistan to change to a different kind of bilateral relationship. we are in the midst of a drawdown. we'll still be there in support. the president's budget for next year pledged $3.3 billion for afghan security forces. we're still going to be able to supply aircraft for their air force. it's not like we're walking away from this, but our presence on the ground in terms of a combat role has ended. we'll look for other ways to continue to support our afghan partners in the fight. over the last 20 years they have grown immensely in capability, capacity, organizational structure. they have superior numbers to the taliban. it's really a matter of using advantages to their benefit. >> i was just going to say, so
what's the explanation? they just don't want to fight the taliban? has the taliban won the hearts and minds of afghans? >> i would not go so far to say that the taliban has won hearts and minds in afghanistan through their brutality. i can't speak for afghanistan decision making. clearly we understand that right now the outcomes are not good, but whatever the outcomes end up being, when we look back, we're going to look back and say it had a lot to do with leadership. >> i want to ask you about a vaccine mandate for enlisted military. it's clear that it's coming. how quickly can you implement something like this? how quickly do you plan to do it? and if somebody has an objection to a mandate, what would get them out of it?
>> i think we can move fairly quickly. the secretary has now given the services a chance to come back to him with their implementation plans. he's made it clear that upon fda approval these vaccines will be mandatory for all service members. the pfizer vaccine could be fda licensed by the end of this month. so we've got a couple of weeks to get our ducks in a row and plans in order. if there's no licensure by the middle of september, the president plans to go to the secretary and ask for his permission in order to mandate these regimes. as for your second question, first of all, i think the expectation is we're not going to see some mass determination by the vast majority of yet
unvaccinated military personnel to violate a lawful order to take the vaccine. if for some reason there's not a religious exemption or medical exemption, they'll be counselled, sat down, given information and advice and counsel by their leadership and medical professionals about the implications of that decision. our commanders have a lot of tools at their disposal to ensure this order is followed without resorting to the uniform code of military justice and strong disciplinary measures. again, we don't anticipate that being a huge issue. >> what happens if somebody's unvaccinated for yellow fever or some of the other mandatory vaccines that many enlisted military have to have? if you don't get it, are you allowed to serve? >> the same restrictions apply
for this vaccine as the other 17 mandatory vaccines we have. it's a lawful order to demand that you take a vaccine that is on the approved list. if you violate that, certainly commanders have disciplinary action they can take. we don't anticipate this being a big problem. what we want to see is that commanders will execute this new program with skill, professionalism and compassion. they're going to understand we're going to have an opportunity to discuss this with troops who might be hesitant to make sure they understand the best decision for themselves and their family. that's the point we're trying to make here is that getting vaccinated is not just good for you, it's good for your unit, your ship, your platoon, your squad, your family, your community and certainly good for the nation's defense because it makes you more ready to contribute to the nation's
defense. >> the last place we want polarization to influence is our military. that does it for us this hour. we are still waiting to hear from president biden. we imagine at the top of the hour we will hear from him. we'll be back tomorrow but our coverage will continue right after this break. ut our coverage will continue right after this break in the nutritional drink you choose. try boost glucose control. it's clinically shown to help manage blood sugar levels and contains high quality protein to help manage hunger and support muscle health. try boost today. my auntie called me. she said uncle's had a heart attack. i needed him to be here.
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