tv Katy Tur Reports MSNBC October 28, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PDT
but they're transformative. even on housing, this $150 billion into housing, which has been one of our priorities, i think we were the loudest caucus, in terms of housing being necessary, that is the biggest investment in housing since the new deal. so there are many things to love in here, many progressive priorities. and that's why we're i think going to unanimously endorse this framework in principle. >> congresswoman, thank you. we've got to go. i'll be back tomorrow with more "meet the press daily." msnbc coverage continues with the penultimate program with my friend geoff bennett, right now. it is great to be with you on this thursday. i'm geoff bennett. and we start this hour with the breaking news out of washington, where today the president and
fellow democrats announced a framework on that massive infrastructure and social spending package. we expect to hear the first official reaction from house speaker nancy pelosi at any moment. president biden delayed his flight to meet with the pope at the vatican today, seemingly in order to seal the deal with one last sales pitch on capitol hill, to get everybody on board and push his signature spending plans over the finish line before boarding air force one. today the president made clear compromise is at hand. he is on board even without everything he wanted. >> today i'm pleased to announce that after months of tough and thoughtful negotiations, i think we -- i know we have an historic economic framework. it's a framework that will create millions of jobs, grow the economy, invest in our nation and our people, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path not only to compete but to
win the economic competition for the 21st century against china and every other major country in the world. it's fiscally responsible, it's fully paid for. i want to thank my colleagues in the congress for their leadership. we spent hours and hours and hours over months and months working on this. no one got everything they wanted, including me. but that's what compromise is. that's consensus. and that's what i ran on. >> but house and senate progressives say not so fast. forget the framework the president just mentioned, there will be no vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill until they see the full text on what's in and what is not in that social spending plan now pegged at about $1.75 trillion. again, we're awaiting those comments any moment from the house speaker and we'll bring them to you live. the question now, who's on board, who's not, what's in the bill, what's not, and what's
still on the chopping block? joining us as we start, nbc white house correspondent mike memoli who has traveled to rome ahead of the president. nbc news capitol hill correspondent ali vitali and punchbowl news co-founder anna martin. if the house speaker comes out, you have my apologies in advance, you know the drill. mike, we'll start with you, because you were in rome where the president is heading. i was struck by how straightforward the president was in his meeting with house democrats this morning. a source in the room told us that he made clear that his presidency and democrats' majorities in the house and senate hinge on what happens this week, getting these deals done. does the white house feel like he closed the deal? >> well, geoff, at this stage i think the way the president is looking at it is something of an air traffic controller, he's trying to bring this in for a
landing. at the start of his remarks today remember said "i think," then he corrected himself, "i know we have a framework here." there's still some i's to dot and t's to cross. but it's been five hours since the white house laid out the details of this framework, it hasn't fallen apart yet. there was always a point in this process where the president was going to have to call time, to say the time for negotiations are largely over and it's time to bring this to conclusion. there were two deadlines the white house consistently said was not a factor that have proven to be very much a factor. the first is the elections next tuesday in virginia as well as new jersey. democrats across the country are tired of hearing about the sausage-making and eager to see this process come to a conclusion. the big feature of what the president was saying behind closed doors to house democrats say is the idea that america's
credibility is on the line, that the counterparts he's going to be meeting with here in rome, some of our closest allies but some of our competitors as well, need to be seeing the u.s. making progress and showing democracies can deliver, and that was part of the timing as well. >> ali, both president biden and speaker pelosi want a vote now, but progressives, and we heard congresswoman jayapal in the last hour, say they want to see the legislative text, not just a framework, not just an agreement. so what does the house speaker do now? >> and they're willing to say that's exactly what they want. speaker pelosi is about to come out within minutes, if that happens i will quickly toss it back to you, but you're right on stakes for progressives right now. just before i got on the air with you i was forwarding an email where they're trying to whip members of the progressive caucus to figure out where they are both on voting for the
bipartisan infrastructure bill but also on whether or not they want to endorse a statement that they want to see both these bills in tandem. it does not look, despite the fact that there were cheers in that caucus meeting today for a vote that could come today on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, at the same time it doesn't look like they have the numbers to actually do that at this time. mike is also right that while it's been five or so hours since the white house announced this framework, it hasn't fallen apart but we're also not hearing a lot of full-throated endorsements of it. joe manchin said this morning it's with the house right now, he looks forward to continuing to move forward and talk in good faith. when you're hearing words like progress, talk, that doesn't sound like it's a done deal at this point. as much as democrats would like to agree to move forward, they're still bogged down in the process of how to do that. it's always been a debate over
do we move forward on the bipartisan infrastructure bill or do they wait to get leverage on the larger social spending package. even when you look at the package, there are some things that have yet to be hammered out. that $100 billion that's in there right now for immigration, the parliamentarian on the senate side says the ways democrats want to move forward on immigration don't fit what needs to happen to move forward on reconciliation. the questions on the actual minutiae of getting the policies into the reconciliation bill, that all means for progressives who want to see something written and voted on in the senate, they're still a ways off. >> anna palmer, i think the minutes that we have left, because someone just came out and put remarks and what loosely a cup of water on the lectern there, walk us through the rest of the day. if they have this framework, it is within the realm of possibility that leadership could put some legislative staffers in the room with some
papa john's and say, here's the legislative framework, let's get something in black and white. couldn't they do that today and have a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill? >> they'll be pushing, certainly, as aggressively as possible. to ali's point, which is very smart, it's not just drafting the legislative text, it's coming to agreement on things like drug pricing. that negotiation still isn't over. as much as the speaker has said we're 90% of the way done here, that 10% is really crucial. and the fact that we don't have a full-throated endorsement from senator joe manchin and senator kyrsten sinema is also giving progressives real pause here. the body language on all sides is very positive. clearly they want to have a win for the president. but so far there has not been any sign that progressives are going to cave with their demand that they have legislative text before they put their support behind the bipartisan infrastructure bill. president joe biden's visit today did not change anything
when it came to that. >> mike, let's take a step back, this white house would say, look, if you told them a year ago that in the first year of a biden presidency he would get a $1.9 trillion american rescue plan, a $1 trillion hard infrastructure plan, a $1.75 trillion social spending plan, you know, they would have been ecstatic. big picture, this is still historic and transformative, two words that this white house likes to use. put that into context for us. >> yeah, i thought it was interesting, i mean, if you told the white house that was possible before january 6, and i say that not because of what happened at the capitol that day but because the results came in from georgia that day, they would have been especially surprised at what they were able to accomplish. i thought it was so interesting, geoff, though, when the president talked today about compromise and consensus, that this is how democracies function, he said this is what i've been telling the american people, nothing can be done without compromise and
consensus, it's important to distinguish how he characterized consensus now versus how he talked about it in the campaign. we have never been talking about republicans as part of these negotiations. republicans have just flatly denied or been unwilling to be a participant in any of these discussions. they would probably argue they haven't been welcomed into those discussions. during the campaign i heard on a daily basis candidate joe biden talk about the need to bring republicans on board, to forge consensus, to get things done. now president biden is defining consensus as getting joe manchin, kyrsten sinema, and bernie sanders to vote for the same piece of legislation, getting the house progressive caucus to work together with the new democratic caucus. it's a certainly shifting definition, but you're absolutely right, what the president said today is right as well, taken individually, some of these components, had they been enacted into law, would have been seen as significant accomplishments. if he's able to get all of them enacted together, it's going to be consequential in this
respect. the white house and democrats, progressives, one reason i think they're moving along even though they're not satisfied with what they've gotten is they know once you've enacted a new program, it's very hard to unroll it. they see this as a down payment on more that they can do down the road as well, geoff. >> and political hindsight being what it is, did this white house make a mistake by -- and here we go to house speaker nancy pelosi, hold that thought, mike. >> good afternoon. thank you very much for accommodating the excitement that we had this morning with the visit of the president of the united states. the president with a big vision for america. and he came to speak to us about how he saw things now, presenting a framework about building back better with women, i've said over and over again, the provisions in the bill are about children learning, parents
earning, and that means with universal pre-k and childcare, with home health care, with childcare tax credit and all the rest that is a liberation for women to be able to pursue their careers, help take care of their families, while their children and their family members are cared for. so in any event, what we talked about was the fact that if any one of these features were in a bill that we were taking up in the congress, if we were taking up the childcare pieces of this and the home health care pieces of it, it would be historic, big, nearly a trillion dollars. children learning, parents earning, caring for loved ones at home, and respecting those who do so. second piece, on the health care, this one is particularly meaningful to me because of the affordable care act, the
affordable care act has been expanded, of course, to make it stronger, but also to include the people who were not covered in the states that did not expand medicaid. we don't expand medicaid, we expand the affordable care act to enable those folks to have -- those families to have access to the affordable care act. if that were the only thing we were doing in this legislation, it would be transformational. it's transformative and cause for celebration. on the health side, there are many aspects to it. but that one makes a drastic difference. and then when we go to the third bucket, climate, well, when i was speaker, the first time, the climate issue for a long time has been my flagship issue, but at that time i formed a select committee on climate and we did good things with president bush in terms of an energy bill but
not a climate bill. we didn't get 60 votes in the senate, that's when president obama was president, and we moved on, at the same time we were dealing with the health issue. but it was then so important, now drastic and urgent, a short fuse on the wellbeing of our planet. so in this bill, i mean, imagine, a half a trillion dollars in this framework that the president discussed, a half a trillion dollars, both in tax credits and outlays of what we need to do to protect the planet for the children. all three of these, health, planet, childcare, et cetera, are all about the children. they're also about jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs. how people access them, jobs that are created by the new green technologies. jobs that are part of the national security of our country, necessitated by our protection of the environment. so it is an initiative that
gives big tax cut to the middle class, creates jobs, good-paying jobs, lowers costs for families, and while making the wealthiest and big corporations pay their fair share. that's the framework that the president shared with us this morning and it's remarkable. it's remarkable in that it's a big vision, a bigger vision than we've seen in a very long time, maybe dating back to president franklin roosevelt and the new deal, in some respects to lyndon johnson, who had a great agenda as well. i remind, we always remind everyone that franklin roosevelt had 319 democrats in the congress at the time, and we have 220. and that makes a big difference. so, again, the transformative agenda. the president was knowledgeable, he knows chapter and verse,
because he wrote this. he campaigned on this. he spoke to this in his state of the union address. i told him last night and this morning, on the phone last night, but today in front of our colleagues, that when he gave that state of the union address, we were standing behind -- sitting behind him. the vice president of the united states, kamala harris, and the speaker of the house, me. and people said, how did it feel, how did it feel, the two women? i said, that was exciting and historic, but what was really exciting was the speech the president made about women, not about two women but about america's women, and what would happen with this progressive agenda that he was putting forth. at the same time, we're moving forward with bif, a once in a century chance to rebuild the infrastructure that has passed the senate a while back.
this has good things and it has missing things. and of course the fact that we have the reconciliation -- we don't call it that anymore, let's call it the build back better legislation -- is essential, because that's where we have the major investment in climate, although there is some in the bif. roads, bridges, water systems, crumbling. some water systems are over 100 years, colleagues talked about their own experiences in their own communities, some made of bricks and wood. that's a nice water system. the electric grid is vulnerable to catastrophic outages, which we've seen, and decades of underinvestment have taking a devastating toll on the safety of our infrastructure. there's absolutely no question, the most expensive, the most expensive maintenance is no maintenance. and that's where we are in many cases. it's about jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs.
over the life of this bill, it will be 7.5 million jobs, just in the bif. if you take it with the other bill, it would be more like 20 million jobs over the ten-year period. just with these two bills, not talking about what else happens in the community. in the economy. it's pretty exciting. so where we are on time, that's what you want to know, right? at 3:00, 2:30, right now the rules committee is preparing to go in. they have text, the text is up. people have said i want to see text. the text is up. the text is up for review, for consideration for review. people will then say, well, this should be this way or clarification or addition, subtraction, whatever it is, this is the legislative process. and right now, though, today, we are having a hearing, we'll hear from our chairman about the
greatness of the build back better initiative. it's pretty exciting, i'm so proud of the work that our chairs have done. and the work that everybody did to try to cut it in half, and in a way that we could maintain support for it, because there's competition for the dollar, even at $3.5 trillion, when you cut it in half, that becomes, shall we say, keener. so that's what's happening now. so we had said for a long time now, if we had a framework that had our priorities spelled out clearly and agreed to, that added up to a top line, started with the priorities and added up to a top line, which was the limit, priorities i mentioned, the top line, 1.75
approximately, and the commitment that we would have the same bill pass the house and the senate, that's what we have now. that's what the president presented. and we won't have anything, regardless of whatever input we had in the bill, unless it is agreed to by the senate. and of course we have to have it comply with the 51-vote rule, the byrd rule and the privilege scrub. is that more on the subject than you wanted to know? anyway, that's what we have to do. and we hope to do that soon. but we, again, have to listen as the printed version goes out. there are some clarifications that will come forth, because it's always a moving a bit, and that will happen with amendments. we're on a path to get this done. for those who said i want to see text, the text is there.
for you to review, for you to complain about, for you to add to, to subtract from, whatever it is. and we'll see what consensus emerges from that. but we're really very much on the path. so that's where we are. we have the bif. we have the hearing today. we have the text out there. we're on a path to get this all done. >> reporter: madam speaker, thank you. we've been hearing from a lot of progressives who say they would still not vote for this package. so is it premature to move forward with a vote on the bipartisan package today and do you trust that senators manchin and sinema will vote based off what's outlined in this framework? >> i trust the president of the united states. and again, the text is out there. if they have some -- anybody, any senator, any house members, has some suggestions about where their comfort level is or where their dismay might be, we
welcome that. but i trust the president of the united states. we have -- all the things i named, we have agreement on most of those things. now, when people see the language, they may say, well this goes further than i thought. i don't know. we'll see what they say back. but we are within range on those things. there are some things that are not in. i frankly have not given up on. but being a mother of five in six years, i always bring that up, i changed more diapers than anybody in the congress. i still would like to see the things for the babies, if we can't get the rest. that's still a work in progress, shall we say. >> reporter: we hear from some of your members like cori bush from missouri, she felt, her words, she was bamboozled, and pramila jayapal, chair of the progressive caucus, saying she
has the votes to keep the infrastructure bill from passing. what's your response when you hear that sort of dissension when you present a very positive picture of where you are? >> i have respect for all the members in the full spectrum of the big tent that is the democratic party. they have concerns when they hear senator manchin say something. others have concerns when they say something. everybody has the chance to say what they wish. >> reporter: one of the things the progressives want is to have a vote on the build back better bill at the same time as the infrastructure bill. >> that's right. that's what they say. >> reporter: why not just wait, delay for a few days, a week, whatever, in order to move these bills at the same time, why are you insisting on having the infrastructure -- >> we've had this target for a long time. we planned for $3.5 trillion. we were totally ready. i say this because i feel some level of responsibility for working everybody so hard to be on time for september 15.
and then the rug was pulled out when they said we're not going that high. and then we had to take it down. but in the meantime, the clock did not stop ticking on the calendar. did i mix my metaphors or my time frames? so when we see october 31 is the date of expiration of the highway trust fund, then we made the target date for us to get this done. we need certainty. let me just read this to you from our colleague. "if the house does not pass the bill by october 31" -- this is from peter defazio -- "without an authorization in place, the federal highway administration, the federal motor carrier safety admission, the national highway traffic safety administration,
have affected operations as a result that would force furloughs of approximately 3700 employees at the u.s. department of transportation. short term extensions are highly disruptive of transportation project planning and delivery carried out by the department, the states' departments of transportation, transit," it goes on. so this is professional. let's do it in a timely fashion. let's not just keep having postponements and leaving any doubt as to when this will happen. >> reporter: madam speaker, you have -- and the president have called this transformational. how is it transformational if
you're having to cut climate programs and what are the plans going forward? >> thanks so much for your question. it is transformative, it is historic. the issues that it addresses, and it's not issues, these are values. these are values and the resources that are allocated there. i'm still fighting for paid leave. i frankly have a hard time debating it because i don't understand why we wouldn't have that. but nonetheless, it's not undermined that we have nearly a trillion dollars in universal pre-k, childcare, child tax credit, home health care and the rest. one component, as important as it is, does not subtract from the west. we passed it in the department of defense bill, former
department of defense bill which is paid family leave, not medical, family leave for federal department of defense employees and the civilian workforce associated with them. so we've already gone down that path very nicely, in fact senator manchin said some very good things when he voted for that bill, which had that in there. but how can i say that this is transformative? because it is. because it is. because children in 12 states, families in 12 states will now have access to the affordable care act. millions of people added to that. that's very important, because we'll have a half trillion dollars to save the planet. and that's a jobs issue. well, it's a health issue first of all, clean air, clean water, addressing the asthma issues and all the rest and the environmental injustice of it all. it's a health issue, it's a jobs issue, new green technologies,
have america be preeminent in the world in those technologies. it's a national security issue as or security experts tell us, the conflict that could arise for competition, habitat, resources, because of rising sea levels and all of the other consequences of the climate crisis. and it is a values issue for us, our responsibility for future generations, to pass this planet on in a responsible way. and the fuse is growing shorter on the time frame for us to do that. matters are getting worse. and we are not going to make matters worse. we're going to pass this legislation. and as i say that, we have to -- what this legislation will do is to help the president meet his goals. the goals of america, for how we reduce emissions and pollution and the rest, and not only how we do that, meet and beat the goals of the paris accord, but also how we help other countries
do so. the poorest nations in the world have contributed the least to the emissions challenge that we face and we need to share technology and other resources with them so that they can meet their goals as well. so the third part, i talked about the care piece, the health care piece. this is quite remarkable. and if you took any one piece of it, it would be transformative and historic. taken together, it's quite a spectacular vision that president biden has put forget. i salute him for it, and tried to say this or that, he said, you don't have to tell me, i wrote it, i know the particulars. that was what was so demonstrated this morning, his meticulous attention to detail, his encyclopedic knowledge of everything that was in the bill. we're really blessed with his leadership. when he goes to these meetings
with the g20 now, and then to meet his holiness, the pope, and to go to glasgow, he wanted to go as strong as possible. when i had my meeting with his holiness, the pope, i brought the president's greetings, of course i brought the greetings of the congress of the united states, and climate was a very big, important issue for his holiness, as i know it will be part -- i assume it will be part of their discussion. but the climate issue is not just about, as i say, health. it's about people in poverty, taking a terrible bite of this wormy apple called the climate crisis. so it's a big values issues for us. any time you want to ask me why i think this is transformative, i'm happy to answer that question. >> reporter: the white house framework includes a $100 billion investment they say is separate for immigration. is that separate within the build back better act or is it separate from the build back better act? >> it's over and above the 1.75.
>> reporter: madam speaker -- >> thank you all. >> reporter: simple question, are you holding an infrastructure vote today, have you made that decision? >> this is the most important question, let's listen to the answer. >> reporter: will there be an infrastructure vote today? >> that sounds like it's a no if you're not going to say yes. >> all right. well, that was the most important question of the hour, will the household a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill today. the house speaker did not engage on that question. let's bring in nbc's mike memoli who is in rome ahead of the president's trip there. ali vitali is with us too in the room where the house speaker just was, it will take her a second to put her microphone back on. mike, i was struck by that, the fact that the house speaker didn't answer that question, will the house vote today.
it's probaby because she might not know yet. >> i think that's right, what have we heard, geoff, since the details of the framework were put out this morning, the president delaying remarks because he was on a number of phone calls himself with lawmakers to sort of judge how this was falling within the respective caucuses. and then to see that the speaker and leader schumer have also been huddling with distinct groups with their members as well. part of the goal of the white house was to bring a little more urgency. we've been using that word a lot. this is the moment, this is happening, moving forward, final train leaving the station, let's get a sense of where we stand. it was a little bit of a bluff calling exercise because there has been a lot of discussion about manchin and sinema, the evolving demands, are they changing. there was an effort to put this framework forward and say, okay, this is it. so the fact that the reaction on the progressives, this was also a call from the leadership to say, are you going to -- can we
bring the bipartisan infrastructure deal to a vote, without the senate having moved forward with the final reconciliation measure, and the progressives still don't have that level of trust, it appears, not with the president, they're clear that they trust the president, but with manchin and sinema. so that is an important answer, non-answer, from the speaker there, as you point out, geoff. >> i'm told we have ali vitali back with us, there you are, ali. democrats always make the point, it's a fool's errand to bet against the house speaker. at the top of this hour, ali, i asked you what's the house speaker going to do, what's the plan going forward. i asked anna palmer, can they write the bill today. the house speaker walked into the briefing room said, the bill is online, all 1,600 pages of it, read it, complain about it, do what you will. will that be enough for the progressives saying, show me the legislative text? nancy pelosi is saying, the text is here, folks.
>> yes, and there are progressives who did want to see the text and there are other progressives i spoke to today who said, yeah, the text is great, we endorse the principles behind the text, but the level of trust is such that we want to see the house vote on it before they feel comfortable moving and voting on it before the hard infrastructure bill. it seems like, as we're hearing from speaker pelosi, she's still moving forward with a vote today, though you noticed that i and another reporter in the room tried to pin her down, are you voting on something today, and instead of answering that question she came back to the podium and said, i'm just here to get my mask. what we have in the next half hour or so is the rules committee beginning to debate the 1,600 pages of the text that speaker pelosi was in here talking about.
at the same time that doesn't mean we're going to see a vote. it just means procedurally they're moving forward at this point. and again, when people say don't bet against speaker pelosi, one of the things they continuously remind us of, she knows where her caucus is. she doesn't like to bring votes to the floor that don't have the votes to pass. certainly we've seen them back off of having this vote before, because that has been the reality within the caucus. it does seem like at this point that that's still the reality within the caucus. putting the text forward does blunt the criticism or at least the non-full-throated endorsement that we haven't heard yet from senator joe manchin, for example, who just a little while ago was saying he wanted to see a text and how could he support something without seeing a text. speaker pelosi's words here in this room are a challenge to someone like that, saying, okay, you have the text now, what comes next. so i think that that is an important step in this. but there's also the truth that -- and she said this, there are lawmakers who are trying to push for things that aren't in the bill right now to be included in the bill, that could mess with the price tag.
we know they have some wiggle room in terms of paying for more than they're spending in this. there are still some things that are clearly in flux. it's hard from where i'm standing right now to see how they move forward on a vote. that's frankly the one question here that wasn't asked and answered in a direct fashion by the speaker. >> mike memoli, as the resident biden whisperer here at nbc news, in your conversations with biden folks, do they let on that they might have made a mistake in talking about what was in the bill, what they wanted to have in this bill before they actually figured out who would be on board? >> well, geoff, there's certainly going to be an after-action report. once this process comes to a conclusion, about what they could have done differently, what could have been improved about the process. and i think what it boils down to is this. this is a white house that has from day one been a big believer in the power of momentum. and you saw the president trying to build momentum right away with the passage of the covid
relief law and to follow that up with subsequent legislative initiatives, they really turned very quickly from the covid relief law to -- remember, we used to call it the families plan and the jobs plan before it became build back better once again. free nights and weekends, geoff. what happened was, when you look at the date that the senate passed the bipartisan infrastructure plan, it was august 10. what happened later that week, geoff? kabul fell. that was really, when you add to that the surge of the delta variant, a real halting of the momentum that the white house was trying to keep going and trying to carry through. and i think it's impossible to say, but i would bet that if the president's approval rating remains stronger, if the political situation was as robust as it was just a few months ago, maybe some of the, you know, difficult negotiations that we've seen since might not
have paved the way, because ultimately what are democrats worried about? they're worried about can they defend a vote at the ballot box next year or in the case of some of these, two or three years down the road. the collaboration was a popular democrat coming into my district to sell these plans was going to be on my side and maybe i can put my reservations aside for that. now they're talking about a president with a much weaker approval rating. that's why you also hear the rhetoric now, and they're very much in line, the speaker and the president, you heard her reference fdr and lbj. it's a point that we're going to hear a lot as it relates to democrat base voters, which is taken together, the infrastructure and the reconciliation measures will go beyond anything that fdr or lbj, seen as two great progressive presidents within the party, were able to do, and that's something they can be proud of. >> democrats just need to get there. thank you for the context, mike memoli, ali vitali, two of the greats. next, top oil execs raked
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profits are up! on to next month. on to next month, linda! get your books done for you by trusted experts. intuit quickbooks live bookkeeping. a hearing on capitol hill is billed as a big oil moment. the ceos of the world's big energy companies faced a grilling about whether they spread disinformation about the role of fossil fuels and global warming in order to slow action on climate change. >> the statement was consistent with the science. >> i don't even want to argue that, we can -- you said it's a false statement. when i make a statement that's wrong, when most people make a statement that's wrong, they say, okay, it's a mistake, we regret it. >> i think the expectation would be we look at the time it was said, years ago. >> forget whether it was consistent or not.
can you just acknowledge that it was a mistake to make? if someone makes a mistake, just say it was a mistake, and you regret that statement was out there. would you say that? >> i don't think it's fair to judge something 25 years ago with what we've learned since that time. >> i'm disappointed that you're not willing to say that something is a mistake. >> that was congressman ro khanna there. joining us now from capitol hill is nbc news correspondent josh lederman. josh, what has the response been to the hearing so far and what did the committee members expect to see come out of all this? >> ro khanna says he hopes this leads to an end of fossil fuel subsidies but really, geoff, what the house democrats want here is for big oil to have what they are calling a big tobacco moment like that 1994 famous hearing where the tobacco executives were dragged before congress and one by one testified they didn't think their product, cigarettes, was addictive. but the oil ceos, much like those tobacco ceos, are not
saying today what the house democrats want them to on climate change. not only were they not willing to say that their companies had misled in the past on climate change, disputing that very firmly, but they also weren't even agreeing with house democrats about how to describe the challenge from climate change. take a listen. >> ms. watkins, do you agree climate change is a threat to our existence? >> chairwoman, i agree that climate change is one of the biggest challenges that we have in the world today. >> do you agree that it's an existential threat? yes or no? yes or no? >> i agree that this is a defining challenge for our generation. >> now, these oil ceos, their argument today, geoff, has been, look, we followed the science as it evolved over the decades, people didn't know in the 1980s what they know now. they say they're working to
reduce emissions in technology and investments in clean energy, but democrats say that amounts to green-washing, saying the amount they're spending is a drop in the bucket compared to their continued increasing production of fossil fuels. >> josh lederman, thanks so much for the great reporting. joining us now is democratic congressman sean chasen of illinois, he's also a scientist and was a clean energy entrepreneur and ceo. good to have you with us. what's the ultimate goal of today's hearing? are we looking to publicly shame these oil executives or are you hoping for real action to come out of this? >> the ultimate goal is to preserve our habitable planet for our kids, right? as legislators, as executives, we all have a role in that. you gave my bio, i'm a chemical engineer. exxonmobil, they employ a lot of smart chemical engineers. in the '70s their energies were saying what we now know, if you
double co2, you're going to see one to three degrees of warming, it will be catastrophic. now you have people delaying, denying, and somehow they have to go home at the end of the day, look their grandchildren in the eye and say, i still deserve your respect. we're all in this together. we only have one planet. >> we know these companies stand accused of spreading disinformation about climate change. as we heard in the exchange at the top of this segment, some of these companies are still unwilling it call it a mistake, even knowing what we know now. how confident are you that these oil companies are going to do the right thing, as you see it, given that they have such entrenched, moneyed interests on capitol hill right where you stand? >> to some degree it depends on how they see their business model. are they in the business of providing people with access to reliable, affordable energy or are they in the business of pulling things out of the ground and setting them on fire? if they believe that the latter is their job, then they can transition.
there's lots of companies that have found that you can actually make more money if you spend less money on inputs. and this transition to a clean economy is a transition to a cheap economy. as long as they remain stuck in this paleolithic way of thinking, they're standing in the way of progress, they're standing in the way of people's wallets and livelihood. they're personally responsible for a west that's on fire. what are they going to do in this moment? >> i would turn that question back around to congress and say, what is congress going to do in this moment? >> well, you know, a lot of this ties into things going on right now in the media. we're sitting here with the facebook revelations of this week, knowing we have a social media engine that is massive, that is incapable of curtailing disinformation on its platform, that's actively amplifying disinformation. and in the -- justice since march to october, exxonmobil's spending on targeted facebook ads increased by 12. might that be because we're in the process of debating a transformative climate bill? right? so we need to understand to what
degree do the social media companies have a responsibility to curtail the spread of disinformation or perhaps be regulated in ways, if they're incapable of doing that, and to what degree do we hold people accountable like the exxons of the world, who are using a platform to spread that disinformation. just imagine what the proud boys could have done if they had exxonmobil's budget, right? if they could encourage people to believe elections were wrong and white supremacy is good, what could you possibly do with exxonmobil's balance sheet? >> congressman sean casten, giving us a lot to think about, thanks for joining us. next, the duel in the old dominion. conservative buzzwords and reports of republican poll watchers with virginia's governor's race now in a dead heat. stay with us. they customize my car insurance, so i only pay for what i need. how about a throwback? you got it. ♪ liberty, liberty - liberty, liberty ♪ uh, i'll settle for something i can dance to.
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defendants conspire to commit violence under the guise of free speech. >> the evidence in this case of planning, execution and celebration of violence is so clear that it is far from any first amendment protected activity. and this is the first time that the true story, the full story, of what happened in charlottesville is going to be told. and the evidence is going to be overwhelming. >> the plaintiffs talking to ken dilanian. the defendants argued that their comments amounted to protected free speech. turning now to another big story in virginia, the hotly contested race for governor. early voting has started, been underway for weeks. and "the washington post" today reports that an army of republican poll watchers has descended on polling stations in loudoun county. it's one of the many cultural flash points that are driving the republican side of this race. but republican candidate glenn youngkin focused on conservative
buzz words like freedom, liberty and critical race theory in the final days of the contest. >> do you want government control in your life or do you want freedom? it's a movement led by -- by those that we value, we value individual liberty. we're walking in the footsteps of our founders. jefferson, washington. we are here. we are standing up for liberty. we are standing up for freedom. >> joining us from virginia is nbc gary grum bach. youngkin has tapped as close as he can get to donald trump's language without embracing donald trump himself. describe for us that line he's walking. >> reporter: yeah, it really is a fine line. glenn youngkin is putting himself in a position he wants to make it clear he's a conservative and he's a republican. but he doesn't want to be too conservative or too republican.
you can't just win the bluest of the blues or the reddest of the reds. you need the voters in the middle. he's using terms that may be a little bit vague, things like freedom, things like liberty, things like education. of course when he's talking about freedom he means mask mandates and covid vaccine mandates. and when he's talking about freedom, he's talking about critical race theory. older events like the ones here are really buying into this idea. glenn youngkin is for his part trying to keep the idea of national republicans campaigning with him at arm's length here. there was the statement from donald trump yesterday saying, see you soon, arlington, and it brought up a couple of questions about what that could mean for glenn youngkin's campaign. i asked glenn youngkin exactly that earlier today. >> well, he's not coming. and in fact we're campaigning as virginians in virginia with virginians. >> why not have him come out
before the election and campaign with you? >> because this is about virginia. >> reporter: so, gary, regardless of -- if it ain't broke, don't -- yeah. he believes if it ain't broke, don't fix it. they are really trying to keep national republicans off the campaign trail. >> we have a bit of a delay here. quickly, regardless of who wins here virginia's lieutenant governor's race, the winner of that race is going make history. tell us about that in 30 seconds or less. >> yeah, either one is going to be either the first black woman or woman of color in the position of lieutenant governor. so, that will make history. i was just speaking to win stom sears at the glenn youngkin event. she says she is thrilled about the idea of making history in this position. and she calls it the american dream. >> great to see you. that does it for us this
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♪♪ so, we just heard from house speaker nancy pelosi as we come on the air, who confirms she is moving full steam ahead with a possible vote possibly tonight on that bipartisan infrastructure bill. after president biden announced that framework on the bigger social spending bill. and for skeptical progressives in her party, speaker pelosi has announced that framework is now in writing. >> for those who said, i want to see text, the text is there. >> president biden now on board air force one. you can see him leaving the white house on screen. he headed to europe without a deal or vote in his back pocket, without a vote at least. the president making that high stakes visit to capitol hill this morning to sell the framework that leaves out a few key things. >>