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U.S. Economy Adds 850,000 Jobs in June, Beating Predictions; Axios Reports, White House Mobilizes to Defend Vice President Harris amid Flurry of Leaks; Biden Speaks about June Jobs Report, 850,000 Jobs Added. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired July 2, 2021 - 10:30   ET

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


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And hangout and being in touch with each other.

[10:30:01]

That delta variant spreads so easily. They are concerned that they're going to have a surge of that, an increased surge of that in to the summer. And if there's enough of the virus hanging out into the fall, they're going to have another massive surge if people don't get vaccinated, simple as that. Jim?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: It is available and it works, and it's to keep people safe and people around them safe as well. Miguel Marquez, thanks very much.

Here with us now is Dr. Clare Rock. She is an expert in infectious diseases physician and assistant professor of medicine at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Rock, great to have you on.

I wonder, when you see numbers like that, I mean, it is obvious, lower vaccination rates, higher infection rates. The Biden administration has tried to address that particularly in rural areas where you see some of the lowest vaccination rates, particularly by going to G.P.'s, right, going to people's personal doctors because they trust them. Are any of those efforts working at break through this?

DR. CLARE ROCK, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: You know, Jim, it is extremely challenging because we are so fortunate to have these highly effective vaccines available to us. And the problem that we're now dealing with, as Miguel so nicely outlined, is that we have pockets of the population across the country and that are hesitant to avail of these vaccines.

And so there is lots of community efforts engage these populations, help educate and allay the fears that they may have about these vaccines because they've been given to millions of people across the world and really are so highly effective and highly safe.

And with this delta variant that is spreading through our communities, really raging through the unvaccinated population, this is truly a significant concern for hospitalizations and the health care system and the community health at large, so an extremely challenging situation.

SCIUTTO: No question. We have a question now about with the delta variant rising, and it is more highly transmissible. Do you believe the CDC should update its mask guidance? I mean, do you think folks should be, because of that, wearing masks again particularly indoors or in other crowded situations?

ROCK: You know, Jim, every person has their own independent risk tolerance. And the way I interpret the CDC guidance is, really, they're not saying that everybody that is fully vaccinated cannot wear a mask. Really, it is saying that if you are fully vaccinated, and that you could feel safe not wearing your mask.

But there is lots of people, for different reasons, whether it is medical problems or they're anxious when they're in crowds of people, that continue to wear a mask. So this is perfectly fine and shouldn't be looked at in any sort of negative way.

I think many of us are looking to protect ourselves in whatever way is possible. And the only real constant about COVID is change and it has really thrown us curve ball after curve ball. So I would say that many people feel more comfortable wearing their -- continuing to wear their mask and while they are inside, and I think that is perfectly reasonable. The CDC is really giving the option and not wearing it if people are comfortable not doing it.

SCIUTTO: It is good advice. Dr. Clare Rock, thanks very much.

A quick programming note, be sure to join my colleagues, Don Lemon, Dana Bash, Victor Blackwell and Ana Cabrera for a star-studded evening of music and fireworks celebrating independence day. Fun begins July 4th, 7:00 P.M. Eastern only here on CNN.

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[10:35:00]

SCIUTTO: The White House is celebrating a stronger than forecast June jobs report. The U.S. economy added 850,000 jobs in the month. That is higher than the expected 700,000 or so. It is also the biggest monthly jobs gain since August 2020 when the economy at that point added 1.6 million jobs.

The hospitality and leisure sector, which saw the most damage from the pandemic, they had the strongest growth. But the industry and the economy as a whole still not fully recovered. There are a lot of folks still out of work out there.

Joining me now to discuss is Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. Secretary, thank you so much for taking time this morning.

MARTY WALSH, LABOR SCRETARY: Thanks for having me today.

SCIUTTO: So this is unquestionably a good number ahead of forecast. It does follow a couple of months which were below forecast. What gives the White House confidence that this is part of a positive trend line for jobs going forward?

WALSH: I mean, I think if you look at President Biden's economic plan since the beginning of his presidency, the average monthly growth was about 600,000 new jobs, laying out the plan for an aggressive vaccination program, we're seeing more people being vaccinated and in those areas, lots of those areas where there is high vaccination rates, you have lower unemployment. We're seeing that the economic plan is working. These are encouraging as we move forward here. And, hopefully, as we continue to get beyond the pandemic and get more people vaccinated, we're going to see these numbers even grow and getting more Americans back to work.

SCIUTTO: There are still about 6.8 million Americans out of work, jobs lost as a result of the pandemic. At least 20 states, as you know, have now stopped the enhanced unemployment benefit of about $300. CNN has done a fact check of this because, as you know, there is a dispute as to whether that helps or hurts getting people back to work. But CNN did find that that extra federal payment means that some people actually make more on unemployment than they did in their lost jobs, perhaps estimates ranging from 25 percent to 40 percent.

[10:40:06]

In your view, is it time to end that enhanced unemployment benefit nationally?

WALSH: No, and I don't think I heard you say that when you looked at the numbers that we're seeing that this additional $300 cutting it off, seeing more people going to the job market in those states. I mean, the thought process is that people aren't going to work in those states because they get the $300.

And now some states have ended that $300, we're not seeing more and more people going to the job market there. What we're seeing is a consistent increase in the job market across -- I don't mean consistent because that would mean every month is the same. But what we're seeing is more and more people enter the job market as we move forward. The number I'm looking at is the number of people that are vaccinated in those areas to see the increase in participation, number one.

And the second thing is you just brought up a great point, there is about 6-plus million people still out of work. Some of those 6 million people, their work is gone. Their restaurants are gone. Their industry they worked in it gone. So there is going to be a component of retraining, rescaling some workers to get them into some other industries here as we continue down this path.

SCIUTTO: Let me ask you this, because the infrastructure plan is actually part of the job creation plan for the Biden administration. As you know, the expectation, the hope is that creates many more thousands of jobs as it gets underway. But that deal is still not signed, sealed and delivered, as it were. And some Republicans who have expressed support for it, Lindsey Graham among them, are now backtracking. He's now opposing extra funding for the IRS to pay for it. Are you confident that that deal is still on track? WALSH: Well, I mean, like anything, legislatively, you're never fully happy until the vote happens and it is done. But, certainly, this is a good, strong group of bipartisan legislators that got together for the first time in recent history to be able to come out and hammer out a really good package to keep our infrastructure moving forward.

These investments, it is not a matter of should we do them or is it going to happen, these are investments that have to happen in America, in our roads and bridges, in our broadband and clean drinking water. So, I think at the end of the day, there is going to be a good vote in front of Congress, in the Senate, as we move forward here. And then on other path, the CARES economy, moving forward with the CARES economy, making investments in schools, making investments in childcare and adult care.

So these two plans the president laid out, it is not about recovering from the pandemic, it is about the future of America and strengthening our outcome as we move forward.

SCIUTTO: As you know, the president's comments following the announcement of that bipartisan deal unsettled some Republicans, and the president did come out and correct himself in effect. But I wonder, has Biden convinced Republicans who are part of that bipartisan group that he is not tying the infrastructure deal to a broader, as its own human infrastructure plan that also has support of Democrats? Has he convinced Republicans of that?

WALSH: Well, certainly, I've had conversations with Republicans and Democrats about it and a lot of people are very excited about this infrastructure deal that was made the other day. They're excited because these are investments they can bring back to their states, bring back to their districts as Congress people. These are major investments.

I was on a call yesterday with the United States Conference of Mayors and talking to mayors, mayors, Democrats and Republicans, were on the call. They're excited about this. You can't dangle in front of cities and towns across America that we're going to make a $1.2 trillion investment in your infrastructure and all of a sudden have the deal fall apart. We've come too far for that.

This has been a long time coming over the last six or seven years, Congress have been talking about infrastructure plan. Now is the time. The American people like it. The American people deserve it and the American people want it and it is time for us all to put politics aside and do it on behalf of the American people.

SCIUTTO: Before I go, I do want to ask you on another topic, this controversy surrounding the domestic violence allegations against a man you appointed as Boston Police commissioner. A question to you is, did you know about those allegations? Were they reviewed as part of his internal affairs fire before his appointment?

WALSH: Yes. The way that that came about was it was said that I knew about that in 2014 when I first became the mayor when he was put into the command staff. I had no knowledge in 2014. This officer has risen through the ranks as a police officer to a sergeant, into the command staff. I had no knowledge of it. If I had knowledge of it before, making that appointment, it would have been a different situation, I can tell you that.

SCIUTTO: All right. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, thanks so much for joining the program this morning.

WALSH: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Still ahead this hour, new reporting that the White House is moving to defend Vice President Harris as reports of dysfunction and infighting leak from inside of her office.

[10:45:03]

We'll discuss what we're hearing, next.

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SCIUTTO: A new report says that top White House officials are rushing to defend Vice President Harris amid leaks about infighting in the vice president's office. This comes after Axios asked the White House about scathing reports of growing tension between west wing officials and Harris' team.

Stand by. President Biden at the White House reacting to the jobs report.

JOE BIDEN, U.S. PRESIDENT: We're prepared to celebrate independence day, today's job news brought us something else to celebrate.

[10:50:03]

This morning, we learned that in June, our economy created 850,000 jobs, 850,000 jobs. Wages went up for American workers. Since I took office, our recovery has created an average $600,000 -- I wish that was 600,000 jobs paid $600,000 a year, but 600,000 jobs per month. We've now created over 3 million jobs since I took office, more jobs than have ever been created in the first five months of a presidency in history thanks to the incredible work of the entire team.

This is historic progress, pulling our economy out of the worst crisis in 100 years, driven in part by our dramatic progress in vaccinating our nation and beating back the pandemic, as well as other elements of the American rescue plan.

Today, the U.S. is the only major advanced economy with the OECD projections of future output are higher today than they were in January 2020 before the pandemic hit. And America was ranked first in Bloomberg's COVID resilience ranking. None of this happened by accident. Again it is a direct result of the American rescue plan.

And at the time, people questioned whether or not we should do that, even though we didn't have bipartisan support. Well, it worked.

In February, the Congressional Budget Office projected 2021 economic growth would be 3.7 percent. Yesterday, they doubled that number to 7.4 percent, in large part thanks to the American rescue plan and our work to defeat the virus.

The last time the economy grew at this rate was in 1984, and Ronald Reagan was telling us it is morning in America. Well, it is getting close to afternoon here, the sun is coming out. At the time, the CBO revised their long run deficit projections down as a share of GDP, they just have done.

So the American rescue plan is strengthening our financial position and it grows our economy. It is continued to grow our economy. And the strength of our recovery is helping us flip the script. Instead of workers competing with each other for jobs that are scarce, employers are competing with each other to attract workers.

That kind of competition in the market doesn't just give workers more ability to earn higher wages, it also gives them to power to demand and be treated with dignity and respect in a workplace. More jobs, better wages, that is a good combination.

Put simply, our economy is on the move and we have COVID on the run. Yes, we have more work to do to get America vaccinated and everyone back to work. We're aiming for full employment, and that means keeping our pace on jobs growth including for black, Hispanic and Asian workers.

But this progress is testament to our commitment to grow this economy from the bottom up and the middle out. The American rescue plan provided resources to get shots in people's arms and checks in people's pockets. Schools, schools are struggling to reopen. So we made vaccinating teachers a priority. Getting schools much needed support. In March, we've added -- just in the month of March, we added 364,000 education jobs to the rolls.

Small businesses and restaurants are getting crushed, now we're delivering the loans and support they need to reopen and to stay open.

This morning, we've learned that jobs in some hard hit sectors, such as restaurants, hotels and amusement parks, were up by 430,000 last month, over 1.5 million in the past five months. And more help is on the way to give families just a little bit more breathing room.

Starting this month, families are going to receive one of the largest ever single year tax cuts that middle class families have ever received, and it is called the childcare tax credit. And here is how it works. In the past, if you paid taxes and had your good income, you could deduct $2,000 per child, and that would come off the total amount of taxes you owed. You have two children, you owe $10,000, you take off $4,000.

In the American rescue plan, we expanded that. Now, a parent will get $3,600 for each child under the age of six and $3,000 for dependents they have between the ages of 6 and 17. So instead of just being a credit against the taxes that you owe, it is now fully refundable credit, half of which will get paid out in monthly basis.

[10:55:04]

Look, what that means is this year, middle class families with two young children can expect to get -- receive a $7,200 in rebate, in effect, on a tax return, with the monthly payments of $600 a month starting this month until it is paid out.

Eight out of every ten families who use direct deposit will get their refunds, they'll be able to get a monthly payment on the 15th of every month from now to the end of the year so they get that paid out.

Help with families most needed, most needed help to make ends meet, it is important. I've said for a long time, it is time to give ordinary folks, ordinary Americans, middle class and working class Americans a tax break.

This is a type of tax cut that can help our economy, because it will go to families who are going to spend it. It will also help lead historic reduction in child poverty -- excuse me -- a historic reduction in child poverty, which have long-term benefits for our economy. And we're delivering $39 billion to help childcare providers serve more families, to help parents, particularly women, get back to work.

Last month, our economy added nearly 25,000 childcare jobs. Again, none of this happened by accident. We're proving to the naysayers and the doubters that they were wrong. None of this is guaranteed to continue unless we finish our work. Now is the time to accelerate the progress we've been making. Now is the time to build in long-term foundation that we've laid and build it in for long-term.

Economists of all stripes agree that my plan will create good jobs and drastically strengthen our economy in the long run. So we have to continue to make the investments that will allow our economy to build back better and deal everyone in.

We took a significant step in that direction last week when the bipartisan group of senators forged an agreement with me to move forward on key portions of my American jobs plan. It was -- I was just in Wisconsin, where I highlighted how this agreement is going to pave the way for a generational investment to modernize infrastructure, create millions of jobs, according to the experts, and what will mean an ever -- and it won't just be in the center cities. It will be every corner of the state and our nation.

We're going to create jobs repairing roads and bridges, replacing 100 percent of our nation's lead water pipes, making our power grid more reliable, delivering high speed internet to every American home, rural and urban. We're going to put people to work building a nationwide electric vehicle charging network, transitioning from diesel school buses and transit buses to electric buses, and bringing in world class rail service to more Americans by reducing and in the process reduce our carbon footprint.

For example, when I was up in Wisconsin, I said and I pointed out -- the governor was there and I said, Gov, I know it takes -- or I don't know how many people, a couple of hundred people, I guess, in the audience, said it takes, they tell me, four and a half hours to drive from here to Chicago. With the money we have and for mass transit here, you're going to be able to do that in two and a half hours. And all the data shows when it is easier to get someplace by rail than automobile, it is cheaper and it generates a whole lot less carbon footprint.

We're going to create good paying union jobs capping hundreds of thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells to stop methane leaks, which are devastating and to protect the health of our communities. These are good jobs. Taken together, these investments are going to position America to compete with the world and win the 21st century.

Now, as we bring home key parts of my American jobs plan, I'm going to make the case for equally critical investments that we still need, including those in which I introduced at the same time, my Americans family plan.

When I was running for president, I put together a bold, aggressive plan to deliver childcare, paid leave, universal pre-k for three and four-year-olds, free community college, maybe most importantly among them was extending the childcare tax credit I just mentioned for another five years, which will significantly benefit middle class and working class families.

That human infrastructure is as essential as our physical infrastructure. It can help us create more good jobs, eases the burden on working families and strengthen our economy, strengthen it in the long-term.

[10:55:03]

These investments are critical. And as the plans I put forward tackle our climate crisis.