tv Washington Week PBS October 2, 2021 1:30am-2:01am PDT
>> division, delays, and distrust. >> progressives are not going to leave behind women who desperately need childcare, families who desperately need paid leave, communities who desperately need action on climate change. >> i cannot accept our economy or basically our society moving towards an entitlement mentality. >> democrats fiercely divided over the price tag of president biden's signature priorities, infrastructure and social policy. >> what we have seen from the democrats this week, dysfunction, delusion, and deception. >> as republicans look to capitalize on the infighting. meanwhile, with just hours to spare, congress averts a government shutdown. and disinformation in science
and government fuels intense battles over the pandemic and boating. plus -- >> a strategic failure. >> the nation's top military leaders contradict president biden as they testify on the withdrawal from afghanistan, next. ♪ >> this is "washington week." corporate funding is provided by -- >> for 25 years, consumer cellular's goal has been to provide wireless service that helps people communicate and connect. we offer a variety of no contract plans and the team can help find one that fits you. as a consumer cellular.tv. >> additional funding is provided by the estate of arnold adams. the u.n. foundation. bridging cultural differences in our committee. sandra and carl, rose herschel
and andy shreve's. and my contributions to your pbs nation from viewers like you. thank you. ♪ >> once again, from washington, the moderator. >> good evening and welcome to "washington week." this is another week for president biden -- another difficult week for president biden. he visited capitol hill to unit democrats run his agenda. he told lawmakers they need to reach an agreement on it doesn't matter whether it's just sounding confident. >> it doesn't matter whether it's six days or six weeks, we will get it done. >> the phone was derailed -- the vote was derailed. the reason? they are fighting over how much money to spend on a second infrastructure bill. progressive supported $3.5 trillion price tag.
moderate to say they are wored about "fiscal insanity." thursday, there was good news. congress made an 11th hour deal and avoided a government shutdown. joining me to discuss how we got here andhe consequences of this week's stalemate are garrett haik, senior capitol hill course from the for nbc who joins us from capitol hill. joining me in studio, laura lopez. what has corresponded for politico. white house reporter for cnn, and the chief washington correspondent for the new york times. thank you for being here. garrett, you are in the building where it's happening. tell us what is the latest on where democrats stand right now and what impact is president -- just president biden go into the capitol hill has on where it stands. >> they were locked into doing some kind of foot on infrastructure because of a deal that speaker pelosi made with moderate members.
it was clear the vote was going to fail. the president coming insulin the work they are all doing reminding them that they are in this together and leaving a little bit of a roadmap for how he believes it will be possible to ultimately pass both of these bills at a level everyone is comfortable with in the future was enough that allowed everyone out of this self imposed standoff they were in, saving face, kicking the infrastructure vote at some point in the future. six minutes or six days, six weeks, you heard the president say. it's likely this renewed debate around the size of the second package will probably last longer, like more on the six week timeframe here. but they were able to shake things loose a little bit. so everyone can go back to their districts and renew this negotiating that could take quite some time. >> it could take quite some time. i'm struck by the idea joe mansion put out a statement this week that said he was worried about fiscal insanity and vengeful taxing.
aoc can progressives, saying they want to tax the wealthy and have trans permission will change through social policies for americans. how do you get the two sides, progressives and moderates, to trust each other? what's on the line for democrats when you think about the optics of all this? can they win more seats in the house and senate if they don't get this done? >> every democrat knows their majority in the house and senate is on the line. they need to complete some of the promises they've made to voters. because other issues like voting rights, immigration, gun control seem certainly likely to not be addressed, based on the numrs that they do have in congress right now. as for making up the trust deficit, that's going to be enormously challenging and fall largely on joe biden's shoulders to do so. he is the bridge right now. he's the person that progressives and those moderates do still seem to trust. he can lean on his relationships in the senate, including with joe biden -- excuse me, with joe mansion. on the house side, i was struck by the fact that we saw so many progressives coming out of that
meeting today, praising the president for his commitment to this agenda, on which they are all aligned. i think he will be the key figure to bridge the trust divide. i don't see a joe manchin and aoc sitting down together to be able to pull that off themselves. that's too much of a heavy lift. the white house can provide that connective tissue. >> laura, garrett is talking about president biting being a bridge. a lawmaker i spoke to this week called him the closer. white house sources i talked to see the messiness is short of how the sausage gets made. the process is not over. i's not a failure. it's just sort of going down the road. what do you make up where president biden is and how he views all this? what does it say to you that he doesn't want to put a firm marker down this time around? we've seen him set deadlines for himself and not be met. what's the white house thinking? >> the white house strategy this week has been consistent. they are trying to work with manchin and sinema to figure out
what they can live within the social spending package. the substance of it. not just the top line numbers. but the provisions they are willing to say yes to. because then the plan was to take that to progressives and say, ok, can you live with this, what are your tweaks? and they can get the ball rolling with the infrastructure vote. the white house was not pressuring progressives to vote for the infrastructure bill. they weren't twisting arms. white house officials were telling progressives that were on -- that we are on the same page with you and what the bills passed. we will focus our energy written on the 5% of democrats in congress that are not on board with both bills. a lot of those are moderates. also everything that happened this week reminded me of over the summer when the infrastructure bill had a field vote. when schumer brought it up, they knew it was going to fail, that it wasn't going to get the votes the first time around. they use that as a pressure point. kind of what they are doing
here, which is everyone needs to hurry up and get to the table and start negotiating. setting up these votes even if they get delayed or if they fail, adds that added momentum and urgency to the whole process. >> carl, you've been covering capitol hill for a little but of time. but i started covering capitol hill, you taught me about capitol hill, i'm excited to have you for this conversation here. i wonder for you what you make of the power dynamics. the proessives showed they had muscle but also there was this reporting that there was this sort of secret document that joe mansion gave to chuck schumer saying i have -- i want to do 1.5 trillion dollars but nancy pelosi didn't know about it. talk about the power dynamic here. >> there's so much to learn about the document. people are surprised the president evidently and chuck schumer knew about joe manchin's position and everyone didn't while everyone knew what was going on. i think we will find out more about that. this week has been fascinating
for the democrats. there's one thing they -- there's one thing, they stop the government from shutting down. -- they stopped the government from shutting down. i know people who have thought, joe biden is going up to the hill today, but he's not there to close. he's there to unify. that was an unusual move. as far as the trust deficit, he's a big part of that. also nancy pelosi. nancy pelosi is the person who is going to have to convince her members that whatever arrangement they get with the moderates and joe manchin and kristin cinema is good enough. i do think this was an artificial deadline. votes are good. but this took forced action. but this one made the democrats look in disarray. it's certainly not the end of this. they are moving towards an agreement. what we've seen now is the
problems the president and the democrats have to deal with with small majorities. the biden vision is going to shrink here. they know they can't get the $6 trillion bernie sanders wanted. 3.5 trillion dollars the progressives wanted. now we are down to $1.5 trillion. they are trying to move him off that slightly. i still think at the end of the day, the democrats can get themselves a big sweing budget bill. it's just not going to be as big as they anticipated and the start. we do have a ways to go. i think they bought themselves some time. as for the progressives, i think the sense in washington is, they really held from this time. not usually what we have seen from some of these groups. i think there's a new power center on capitol hill. >> yeah. natosha, talk about the optics here for president biden. he ran on being a dealmaker
and an out o statesmen who could work on party lines. what are the stakes here? the former governor of virginia running for governor again said democrats need to be able to show that they can things done in order for not just them to have seats and the house and senate, but for more democratic candidates across the country to win. >> this is not the first time a president's legislative major legislative initiative has been tanked by members of his own party. we saw that in 2017 with the repeal of obamacare with mccain giving that thumbs down vote. this is not an unprecedented thing. but it is obviously -- you know, not ideal for the white house by any means. he is coming off of the -- the president is coming off a major foreign-policy tobacco. a couple of them actually. in afghanistan with the withdrawal that was so chaotic, and of course with the dustup with france, in which the country's ambassador was actually recalled. so he really needs this domestic wind to show that -- domestic
win to show that the party can govern well. he was also known as the foreign policy kind of kingmaker. the most experienced foreign policy president of the last couple decades. with regard to his abilities here at home and how he can strike deals here, that's obviously going to be key to the demo -- the democrats success in 2022. as garrett mentioned, with time running out to accomplish all of these things want to do on gun reform come on immigration -- gun reform, immigration, voting rights, this is going to be one of the last major things that the progressives in the biden agenda can accomplish before the midterms. >> and garrett, where's the gop and all of this? if you can, explain to people the looming issue with the debt ceiling and how that factors into all this. >> republicans have largely been on this sidelines of these spending debates. they've registered their
complaints about the size and scope of what democrats are trying to do. they've said it might lead to inflation, they've thrown around the idea that the programs are socialist. other than that, they've largely got out of the way and let democrats fight amongst themselves. their concerns about the spending democrats are putting forward here with the covid bill that was done to reconciliation -- the reconciliation earlier this year, now through this broader social and climate package, it is feeling, and their public comments, their desire to not participate in lifting the debt ceiling. something that has to be done every couple of years, to list or suspend the nation's borrowing power. -- lift or suspend the nation's borrowing power. and republicans are saying, we are not participating. democrats want to spend all this money on their own without consulting us, than they can raise the debt ceiling on their own without consulting us, try to force democrats to add a debt ceiling lift into this reconciliation bill or into another one.
this is a bad faith argument, they say we always do these things together, so much spending was done during the trump administration with republicans signing off. and republicans don't really care. they want this to be as politically painful as possible for democrats. they want them to own a number of whatever the u.s. national debt will be after they raise the ceiling. th nothing to negotiate, they are sitting on their hands waiting to see how democrats decide they want to handle this. >> so much going on. and meanwhile, the partisanship coursing through capitol hill is continuing to affect -- in fact how americans view the pandemic and american democracy. more than 700,000 americans have died from covid-19. still, political battles and disinformation about masks and masking and vaccine mandates are fielding angry confrontations at school boards and other public forums. just incredible video there. former president trump and his
republik and allies also continue to lie -- his republican allies also continued to lie. we saw president biden get his covid booster shot this week on tv. polls show over and over again that partisanship is the number one factor , looking at ho people view this pandemic. whether they think boosters are helpful or not. sort of looking at it as being -- proving science doesn't work. tell me how leaders and the white house is looking at restoring trust in american science, and what it says about where we are in this pandemic. >> the white house is very much leaning on local leaders to try to reach -- and local doctors -- to try to reach people, saying they are the best messengers. they see the polls. they know. polls show and statistics show that the majority of deaths now are happening in rural and trump voting counties. the death toll is far up in those parts of the country,
versus more urban democratic areas, because republicans for so long were saying not to trust a vaccine -- not to trust the vaccine. were encouraging their voters to not wear. that's what's contributing to that in the predominantly republican counties. the white house has been struggling to try to get people to go along with the messed mandates, to actually take -- get the vaccine shot. you saw that frustration finally blow over when they instituted more aggressive mandates. they decided they were going to instituted for federal employees. they also are really talking to airlines about, can you please instituted for your employees? and make sure that people are continuing to wear masks on planes. we are nowhere near the end of this right now. >> they are trying their hardest to try to get people vaccinated. but as we see new mandates
rolling out, just today, california said it plans to require fda approved covid vaccines for k-12 students. that's the first state in the country to do that. but what can leaders due to have more clear messaging on this? is there any way out of this sort of partisanship that started before president biden came into office? >> the red blue divide on this is as stark as any time it's been. president biden had his booster shot publicly. mitch mcconnell came out and said he had his booster shot. he's been a big promoter of vaccines. in washington even, there's a disconnect bween some of the republicans and the republicans out in the country. i think the booster messaging was very mixed up from the administration at the beginning. that's getting better. i think at the end of the day, there's all this going on with the legislation, on capitol hill, but biden's handling of covid is critical to the democrats and to his own ability to remain in power.
>> that's what i hear from the white house officials -- that they understand covid despite all other things going on is your number one priority. cannot tosha == natasha, connect these two things, how much of a risk is this -- natasha, connect these two things, how mucof a risk is this? >> we saw this play out in real time with the kidnapping plot against the governor of michigan earlier this year. people were so angry over the government's messed mandates. people who were angry about the restriction states were trying to put in place over -- to prevent the spread of covid-19. the reality at this point is that the national security risk stemming from the distrusting government is really obviously coming from inside, from inside the house. the rise of domestic terrorism cases the fbi has been handling has risen -- has doubled over the last year. according to the fbi director when he was testifying last week. that's not a cocidence that in the year of the pandemic and the
year of the election, all of these political frustrations were boiling over and now we are seeing that there's so much more discontent and so much more of a risk. not only to elected leaders but to school boards, in these local communities. that is stemming from, you know, the mandates we are seeing put in place. that's because even politicized, because people like donald trump, who was so -- who was a sewing distrust and the scientists, dr. anthony fauci, this is a major issue for the national security community as a grapple with the threats internally. >> garrett, some of the safeguards that really ensure that former president trump was going to have to leave office, they are crumbling. a lot of experts were very worried about was happening across the country. what are you hearing about what lawmakers think about the danger of former president trump's grip on the republican party?
>> a lot of it lies in the work of the select community right now -- select committee retina. -- the select committee retina. the reporting that's come out subsequently about the way that the attempts to overturn the election results were not coordinated through the white house. there's a fear that elements of what we saw an january 6 could be a dress rehearsal for another drum campaign and another contested election. that work takes on a level of importance that it hadn't necessarily prior. people think that committee's work is more backward looking. some people see it as forward-looking. there's a concern about future elections and distrust and results. you are seeing it play out and so many more states. my home state of texas, conducting an election on four of the biggest counties of the state after the present complaint about ection results. it's not the january 6 committee
and the efforts to pass voting rights legislation, which is very unlikely to happen at a federal level, but also these questions of who counts the votes and who doesn't at the state level that has a lot of folks here quite nervous about future election results. >> i want to turn now to another story of this would -- the pentagon's top brass testified before the house and senate. general mark millie and others told lawmakers they thought it would be best to keep some troops and of get a stamp instead of making a total withdrawal. -- some troops in afghanistan instead of making a total withdrawal. here's what they said. >> recommended 25 hundred troops stay in afghanistan and that we maintain 4500 at that time. those were my personal views. >> it was a wholesome debate on all of that. once decisions are made, i am expected to execute lawful orders. >> that contradicts what president biden told abc last month. >> no one told your military advisors -- no one told you,
your military advisors, that no, weekend continue to do that -- we can continue to do that. >> nobody said that to me that i can recall. >> what are the impacts here, natasha, of generals going on capitol hill contradicting the president? how did that land at the white house and the pentagon and with national security officials? >> i think there has beeno loss of trust by the president and his national security officials. what i think the white house perception of this was was they wanted to generals to go to capitol hill and tell the truth. that's what they were also doing with president biden over the last several months, telling him the reality is that once troops to withdraw, then the afghan army is going to collapse, and there's going to be a power vacuum in the televisio -- and the taliban is going to take over. joe biden wanted to get out for well over a decade. he's been determined to do that. the generals are not there to
make policy. they are not going to resign if they disagree with the president. their only job is to give him the best advice that they can. the president kind of caught himself saying i can't recall that kind of gave him a little bit of wiggle room. but it is against all reporting even before that moment to say that none of his military advisors were telling him that there should be troops remaining. >> how did this land on capitol hill? part democrats worried about whether or not this afghanistan story is going to follow them into the 2022, 22 for elections? -- 2023 elections? >> this was a competency issue. this was an administration that was coming in, president biden has his great foreign affairs background, it didn't go off very smoothly. i think the republicans are
looking at this now like, an attack on my competency, and this can be an opening into foreign relations. the story to me has faded quick from the front page. ifou talk to people, what's the staying power of afghanistan? there's so much other stuff going on that this might not be the issue that republicans think it is. >> we only have a minute left. laura, is that right, is the white -- they don't sound concerned. what are you hearing? >> the biden -- biden wanted to make his decision. he decided he was going to be the last president that was going to be in afghanistan.
>> where does this go next? >> they were relying a lot on public opinion being on their side during the withdrawal. saying the public has been wanting to get out of afghanistan for quite some time. they are hoping that stays as well. >> when i talk to white house officials, they are more concerned about making sure infrastructure goes through and all the things we saw this week go through. president biden will eventually be seen as doing the right thing in the eyes of history. that's it for tonight. thanks so much for your reporting. and thank you for joining us. on monday, tune into the pbs newshour for taking the bench -- a look at case aces at the u.s. supreme court -- cases as the u.s. supreme court begins a new term. this week's topic, police reform stalled in congress. good night from washington. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its
whilst we mourn the loss of a much-treasured royal figure, queen elizabeth has lost her consort, her husband, and the love of her life. throughout her reign, prince philip was there by her side. someone she and the country could rely on. [elizabeth] he has quite simply been my strength and stay all these years, and i and his whole family, and this and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim, or we shall ever know. their long marriage was a powerful symbol of durability and strength rooted in the values of an earlier age.
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