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GOP Kills Manchin's Bipartisan Election Bill Pitch; Iran Election Expected To Deliver Ultra-Conservative President; Big Wall Street Banks Looking To End Work From Home; Biden Commemorates 300 Million COVID Shots In 150 Days. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired June 18, 2021 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[14:32:30]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: June is said to be the month of action on the president's major legislative items. But there are new signs his agenda on voting rights and infrastructure may be in jeopardy.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Mitch McConnell vows to reject a proposal on voting rights from moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.

Manchin now searching for 10 Republicans to back what he calls a compromise.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (D-KY): I think all of you surely know how all Republicans feel about this proposal. It's a solution in search of a problem.

Debate among Democrats over a revised version, all Republicans I think will oppose that as well.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: OK, CNN's Manu Raju joins from us Capitol Hill. Kaitlan Collins from the White House.

Manu, to you first.

Chuck Schumer set the vote for next Tuesday. Today is a holiday and there's the weekend. Democrats don't have much time now. What's going to happen?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There was no expectation they would get the votes to pass this in the Senate.

They need 60 votes in order to even bring it to the floor to open debate. They won't get that. In fact, they probably will just get the 50 votes.

Manchin himself has not said if he would vote yes on the first procedural vote. But he is expected to do so assuming they can reach a deal on what Joe Manchin is talking about.

He is proposing a pared back of the Democrats sweeping election overall proposal is. He's the only Democrat that does not support the plan.

But his pared-back plan would include a number of things, including making Election Day a national holiday, including some voter I.D. requirements to try to get some Republican support. That's why he pushes the voter I.D. issue.

But Democrats are working with him on that. And that's still unlikely to win over any Republicans who believe simply that, as Mitch McConnell says, that this is not necessary at this time.

And in his view, is meant to -- as a Democratic takeover of sorts of the elections. That's the Republican rhetoric on this issue.

So what the Democrats really want here, guys, is to get 50 votes. That's it.

They want to make the election year argument that as Republicans stood in the way of what they believe is necessary to crack down on restrictive efforts on the state level by Republican-led efforts to clamp down on voting access.

They want to say all Democrats are onboard. Republicans are blocking efforts to make it easier to vote. That's a political argument.

So if Manchin would vote with Republicans, that would be a political problem for them, undercut the talking point.

Right now, this is an effort about politics, trying to get the caucus in mind and there's expectation of 50 votes but not the 60 they need on Tuesday.

[14:35:03]

BLACKWELL: This is a rhetorical point they are trying to make. It's not actually getting legislation passed?

RAJU: Yes, that seems to be it. This is a messaging bill really from the start.

But in the aftermath of the efforts by the states and the Republican- led states to clamp down on voting access and voting rights, this became a bigger issue politically within the Democratic caucus.

It shifted the dynamic a lot because pressure really built on Joe Manchin being the one holdout here.

And he shifted his approach on this. Initially, he said he would only grow on any changes that Republicans would agree on, given how big of a problem this is. He said the two sides need to come together.

But he backed off that approach, given how much emphasis the Democratic Party is putting on the issue, which he backs the pared- back version, that Republicans will not support.

But Democrats will tell voters, we tried here. It's the Republicans fault for block going.

CAMEROTA: Kaitlan, now let's talk about infrastructure. What's the status? Where are we that.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, they have not gotten anywhere yet beyond the negotiations that happened while President Biden was overseas.

We haven't actually seen a formal outline of what that looks like. There have been rough blueprints and numbers talked about but waiting on the proposal.

The White House has been briefed and kept abreast of all developments of what's happening with the new bipartisan proposal that is emerging on Capitol Hill.

And it has been gaining steam and getting more support from both sides of the aisle. But whether or not it's actually going to be what gets passed at the end of the day really does remain to be seen.

Because we know President Biden was briefed on this idea, this latest proposal we he got back, happening yesterday, his first day back at the White House after being abroad for several days.

He expressed optimism about it from his chief of staff, Ron Klain, who remained in Washington while he was overseas. And those talks with lawmakers were ongoing.

But there are still questions that remain about what it could look like and what the White House would support.

Because we have seen them come out tougher against the idea of indexing the federal gas tax to the price of inflation. That is something that the White House has not supported.

And they come out saying this is not something part of our what we would like to get behind given the president said he is not raising taxes on people, making under $400,000 a year.

They believe this would be part of that. And say it would essentially punish people who are taking kids to school, going to work on a daily basis.

That is something that has been suggested as part of the bipolar proposal that's happening on Capitol Hill.

But I think the other thing the White House is looking at behind the scenes as the negotiations have dragged on, is that you're still seeing Democratic leaders pursue another route.

You can hear behind me they're getting Marine One ready for the president's departure in a few moments. But they are preparing still for Democrats to use this fast-track

process known as budget reconciliation where they are saying they could go bigger than what President Biden has put forward for infrastructure.

So I still think a lot remains to be seen. But we are told that President Biden is still being updated by this by his aides and will continue to do so as the talks are ongoing throughout the weekend and next week.

BLACKWELL: So let's talk about that reconciliation proposal, $6 trillion from Bernie Sanders.

Manu, what's the reaction to that?

RAJU: Some nervousness among the Democratic moderates who don't want to go that high. A number of them wouldn't embrace the price tag when I talked to them about it yesterday.

It went from not just Joe Manchin, but others, like Jean Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat involved in the negotiations. Maggie Hasan, another New Hampshire Democrat, who is facing reelection, would not embrace that idea.

John Tester, a Montana Democrat involved in the bipartisan talks also said previously he had concerned about $4 trillion, let alone $6 trillion.

There's a need for negotiation on the Democratic side to determine what exactly to include here.

But it's a complicated dance of the Democratic leaders and the White House having to perform here because they are trying to get the bipartisan deal, see if they can get that.

And whatever they don't get in that, presumably rolls into the larger package that they could get along party lines.

They're talking about adding things like Medicare For All, prescription drug proposals that Bernie Sanders, who shepherded this process, is pushing as well.

To get it passed, you need all 50 Democrats in the Senate onboard. They don't have it yet. But there will be weeks of intense negotiations ahead -- guys?

CAMEROTA: Manu Raju, Kaitlan Collins, thank you for helping us understand the machinations on Capitol Hill and the White House.

[14:39:30]

OK, so there are just a few hours left for Iranians to cast their ballots in an election that the U.S. is watching very closely at this hour. We're live in Tehran, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CAMEROTA: Iranians are voting today in a controversial presidential election in which most of the candidates were barred from the race.

BLACKWELL: Now the U.S. is watching this closely because Iran and the U.S. are negotiating a potential revival of the 2015 nuclear deal.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Tehran.

Fred, it's evening there. What do we know about turnout? When do we expect a result?

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, turnout, Victor, was the big thing everybody was looking at here.

Because, as Alisyn perfectly correctly said, a lot of the candidates in the election, especially moderate candidates, were banned before the election even started.

In the end, there were seven candidates. And three dropped out in favor of the main hardliner. So his name is Ebrahim Raisi. He seems very close to the supreme leader.

He's looking to bring Iran on a more conservative hardline track. He is up in the judiciary and very hard in that role.

The turnout seems lower than in the last presidential election.

Let me look at the clock, real quick. It's 11:15 in the evening. You can see a lot of people who are still coming to the polls. In fact, we were looking outside before, and there's a line of people outside.

[14:45:01]

Now of course, that's not necessarily representative. We're in one polling station in the country of 80 million people. But it shows people going to polls.

The big question for the U.S. and other countries is, what would a more conservative leaning Iran mean for relations with the United States and with the West?

It was interesting because I was able to speak earlier to the head of Iran's Supreme National Security Councils, who is very close to the supreme leader.

And he said, as far as the Iran nuclear agreement is concerned, which, of course, right now, there's negotiations to bring the U.S. back in, bring Iran back into compliance, they said those negotiations would certainly continue.

Because Iran's supreme leader has said he wants the negotiations to continue. And he certainly wants the U.S. back in and wants Iran back in compliance.

Because Iran, of course, on the whole, is looking for sanctions relief and to get its economy back on track, which is still very much suffering from the crippling sanctions from the Trump administration -- guys?

CAMEROTA: Fred Pleitgen, really interesting and very lively polling place for 11:15 p.m. Thank you very much for reporting.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Fred.

The sweatpants lifestyle is coming to an end.

CAMEROTA: Maybe.

BLACKWELL: Maybe, on Wall Street. The big banks telling employees to get back to the office. We explain why, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:50:41]

CAMEROTA: As more Americans get vaccinated, bosses are trying to get them back to work.

BLACKWELL: There's a new push on Wall Street to get workers back in the office.

CNN's Christine Romans explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN MOYNIHAN, CEO, BANK OF AMERICA: As more people get vaccinated, we keep bringing more back.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Bank of America, one of the top banks on Wall Street, employees are already encouraged to get back to work in person.

And if they're not already at their desks this summer, the company's CEO says they'll be there by the fall.

MOYNIHAN: The view is after Labor Day, our view is all of teammates will be back and we'll be able to operate fairly normally. And we'll make provisions for the other teammates as we move through the fall.

ROMANS: Manhattan's financial industry is clearly in a rush to turn the page on this era of virtual work.

MATT MAYOR, MANAGING DIRECTOR & BANK ANALYST, WELLS FARGO: If you work in New York and you work in Wall Street, you're probably going back to work soon.

ROMANS: Goldman Sachs has already asked its employees to return to work this week.

At Morgan Stanley, where some New York employees are also back at their desks, the bank's CEO, James Gorman, said Monday he'll be disappointed if people weren't back in the Broadway office by Labor Day. JAMES GORMAN, CEO, MORGAN STANLEY (voice-over): If you can go to a

restaurant in New York City, you can come into the office. We want you in the office.

ROMANS: JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has been push for return to work, last month, saying exclusively working from home doesn't work for young people and those who want to hustle.

MAYO: New York-centric Wall Street banks are ripping the Band-Aid off and requiring employees to go back to work. One, for competitive reasons because they want to win. And winning is sometimes seeing customers face to face.

Two would be the culture. You create culture by having people around each other. There's creative combustion. There's spontaneous interactions. There's mentorship.

And, third, there's additional safety in having people, you know, face to face in meetings, as opposed to relying too much on remote communications, especially in a world with more cyber risk.

ROMANS: The effects on New York's economy and morale could be vast. According to a March report from the state's comptroller, the city's security industry last year employed 179,000 people.

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS LEAD WRITER: More so than almost any other industry, Wall Street is synonymous with New York City.

There's no question that this back-to-work push by the leaders on Wall Street delivers a huge vote of confidence in New York, a city that at one point was the epicenter of the pandemic.

ROMANS: Not everyone on Wall Street actually wants to go back to their desks.

EGAN: There's no doubt that there's a bit of a divide here. Managers do want their employees to get back. They're worried about the culture. They're worried about not collaborating.

But I'm told that lower-level employees are not really --

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm pleased to announce that, today, we will have reached the mark of 300 million shots in arms in just 150 days.

Let me say that again, 300 million shots in arms in under 150 days. That's an important milestone.

This didn't happen on its own or by chance. It took the ingenuity of American scientists, the full capacity of American companies, and a whole government response across federal, state, tribal, and local governments.

Together, we built an unparalleled vaccination program and managed one of the biggest and most complicated logistical challenges in American history. Above all, we got here because of the American people stepping up and

getting vaccinated, helping family, friends, neighbors get vaccinated.

Just remember what the situation was like 150 days ago. We didn't have enough vaccine supply for all Americans. We didn't have the vaccine infrastructure or the people to administer the vaccines or the places where the people could get vaccinated.

But we turned it around together by acting quickly and aggressively and equitably. We secured enough vaccine supply for every American.

And as I announced during my visit to Europe last week, we are now in a position to provide more than one half billion vaccine doses to the rest of the world. The 100 poorest nations.

We developed and deployed over 9,000 federal personnel, including 5,100 active-duty military, to support the vaccine effort and to get shots into arms.

[14:55:01]

And now we have more than 81,000 vaccination sites across the country, including over 42,000 local pharmacies.

Thanks to this wartime response, we've gotten 300 million shots in the arms of Americans in 150 days, months ahead of what most anyone thought was possible when we started.

In fact, if you remember, a lot of people were skeptical that we could even get 100 million shots in my first 100 days, into people's arms, but we did it. We kept going.

What we're seeing is a truly American accomplishment. And 65 percent, 65 percent of American adults have gotten at least one shot, including 87 percent of our seniors.

Just five months ago, we were at only 5 percent of adult Americans. 15 states and the District of Columbia have now 70 percent vaccinations in their state.

And 26 states and D.C. have fully vaccinated 50 percent or more of the adults.

Nationwide, we have the lowest number of daily deaths since the first days of the pandemic. And we've built equity into the heart of our vaccination program from day one.

And 73 percent of the shots administered at community health centers through the federal program.

And more than 58 percent of the shots administered by federally run vaccination sites have gone to people of color. Across the nation, people of color have accounted for more than half hour of -- half of all vaccinations in the past month.

That's important progress, but we have much more to do. Vice President Harris, as we speak, is in Atlanta getting the word out

about the vaccinations.

Yesterday, I signed a bill into law making Juneteenth a federal holiday. And this weekend, folks in communities across the country are going to be canvassing and hosting events to encourage their families, friends, and neighbors to get vaccinated.

The more we close the racial gap in vaccination rates, the more lives we'll save.

Now as our vaccination program is saving tens of thousands of lives. With that count growing each day.

It's also allowing millions of Americans to get back to living their lives. Grandparents hugging their kids, kids back to school and getting ready for the summer, people going out to restaurants and traveling, businesses are reopening.

Folks, we're heading into a very different summer compared to last year. A bright summer. A summer of joy.

But as I promised you from the beginning, I will always give it to you straight. The good, the bad, and the truth.

And the truth is that deaths and hospitalizations are drastically down in places where people are getting vaccinated.

But unfortunately, cases and hospitalizations are not going down in many places in the lower vaccination rate states. They're actually going up in some places.

A few days ago, we crossed 600,000 -- 600,000 Americans dead from COVID. More than every death in World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and 9/11 combined.

Even while we're making incredible progress, it remains a serious and deadly threat. And the data is clear -- if you are unvaccinated, you're at risk of getting seriously ill or dying or spreading it.

People getting seriously ill and being hospitalized due to COVID-19 are those who have not been fully vaccinated.

The new variant will leave unvaccinated people even more vulnerable than they are a month ago.

This is a serious concern, especially because of what experts are calling the Delta variant. It's a variant that is more easily transmissible, potentially deadlier, and particularly dangerous for young people.

The good news is we have the solution. The science and the data are clear -- the best way to protect yourself against these variants are to get fully vaccinated.

So please, please, if you have one shot, get the second shot as soon as you can so you're fully vaccinated. If you haven't gotten vaccinated yet, get vaccinated now, now. Don't put it off.

[14:59:59]

It's free. It's easy. It's convenient.

And as I said many times, text your zip code to the numbers 438829, 438829, to find the sites where you can get vaccinated closest to you.