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EARLY START WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD AND ZORAIDA SAMBOLIN

Politics And Your Paycheck; High Stakes Battle Over Bush Tax Cuts; Egypt's Parliament Reconvenes; Nine Border Patrol Stations Closing; Families Brawl At Florida Courthouse; The Mid-Summer Classic; Break From The Heat, At A Price; Washington Monument Closed Until 2014; Interview with Congressman ERIK PAULSEN; Egypt's Power Struggles; Final Vote Count: Rangel Wins Again; Penn State Gets $280M In Donations

Aired July 10, 2012 - 05:59   ET

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


ALI VELSHI, CNN HOST: The battle lines drawn both sides in the race for president are sticking out their ground in the debate for tax cuts.

ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN HOST: Plus, big delays for the now damaged Washington Monument. A live picture from the National Mall this morning. Coming up, find out when the landmark is finally going to reopen so you can book your trip.

VELSHI: I'm going to take your word for it. That's a live picture?

BANFIELD: It is. See the little word on the bottom right hand corner of your screen?

VELSHI: I was making a funny. A little early for my funnies.

BANFIELD: Truth and honesty and news.

VELSHI: I hear you. All right.

BANFIELD: Live picture.

VELSHI: This I'm going to show you is taped. Rage in the courthouse, punches thrown in a crowded hallway with both sides trading blows.

Good morning. Welcome to Early Start. I'm Ali Velshi. Zoraida Sambolin is off today.

BANFIELD: (INAUDIBLE). Good morning. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. Nice to have Ali here.

VELSHI: Happy to be here.

BANFIELD: 6:00 a.m. Seconds actually before. Ten seconds to 6:00a.m. on the east coast. Let's start with this.

Democrats and Republicans playing politics with your paycheck. Are you outraged? Here's how it all breaks down. If the two parties cannot agree on extending those Bush era tax cuts by the end of this year, a middle class family making $70,000 is going to face a tax increase of about $3,000.

That's what you call a big red hit. Right now, House Republicans are crafting a plan that extends those tax cuts for everyone, not just for people who make up to $250,000 or a million, for the whole kit and caboodle of us, rich to poor.

It's all political posturing because the plan, no matter how it is, is really going to be dead in the water in the Democratic controlled Senate.

And even if it passes there for some crazy reason, the president has said, forgot about it, going to veto it if it comes to my desk.

So what's the story? Is the president going to make a push to let the tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans? Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We have the bush tax cuts set to expire at the end of this year. And I feel very strongly that the middle class tax cuts, which would affect 98 percent of Americans should be extended further.

Now is not the time for a tax increase on the middle class. The Republicans say they agree with that. Well, what we should do is work on what we agree on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: The problem is you agree on one line, not the money part of it, just the one line, the campaign part of it. CNN's political editor, Paul Steinhauser live in Washington, D.C. this morning.

They give the bumper sticker and then they say the other guy doesn't disagree. But here's the deal, for anybody who's watching and feels like this is a lot of math at a very early hour.

They both are looking at tax cuts, it's just how rich you are, according to the Democrats, at least President Obama's plan, up to $250,000 a year, you can have your tax cut.

After that, you're considered the rich and don't get the tax cut. But Mitt Romney's folks, they want it for everybody. Are we going to have any consensus here? Is there any kind of consensus that can be drawn between the two positions?

PAUL STEINHAUSER, CNN POLITICAL EDITOR: No, probably not because as you mentioned, the House and the Senate doing very different things. And on the campaign trail they don't see eye to eye here.

There's a fundamental different view between Democrats and Republicans, Ashleigh, in this town in Washington over whether America's highest earner should pay more or not.

And yes, with four months to go now, just under four months to go until the presidential election, this is playing out on the campaign trail.

This is kind of part of the president's plan to portray the other guy, the guy who's challenging him, Mitt Romney, as somebody who is not fighting for the middle class, somebody who's looking out for himself and other wealthy Americans.

Well, Romney and Republicans say that what the president is doing is a bad prescription and a horrible thing to do in a tough economy. Take a listen to Mitt Romney's response yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Small businesses are overwhelmingly being taxed not at the corporate rate, but at the individual tax rate.

So successful small businesses will see their taxes go up dramatically and that will kill jobs. That will be another kick in the gut to the middle class in America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEINHAUSER: So should taxes be increased on people making more than $250,000 a year? Take a look at this. Our CNN/ORC national poll from last October, we asked this on majority, pretty solid majority, 63 percent favor that idea.

But go to next screen, there is definitely a partisan divide here. Democrats overwhelming support the taxes going up for those making more than $250,000 a year.

Look at the bottom there, Republicans by a 2-1 margin almost against it nationally. That's why you will not see any action here in Washington.

BANFIELD: I get confused when I hear these comments about small businesses and the individual tax rate, et cetera. "Washington Post" came out with a story suggesting what are all of the different myths about the Bush tax cuts?

And one of the myths that the newspaper outlined was that the vast majority of small businesses would be unaffected if as proposed the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire for the highest earners.

So where is the disconnect here? Why does Governor Romney's campaign have one thing and then at least the "Washington Post" and the Democrats have another?

STEINHAUSER: Politics I guess you could say. And Governor Romney is not alone here. Republicans across the board in Washington feel the same way. You can see they feel the same way across the country.

All of this is playing out as the president and his campaign are now really going after Mitt Romney for a lack of transparency. Take a listen to the president. This happened last night in an interview he gave in WMUR in New Hampshire, a CNN affiliate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: What's important if you are running for president is that the American people know who you are and what you've done and that you're an open book. That's been true of every presidential candidate dating back to Mr. Romney's father.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

STEINHAUSER: This is part of a full frontal assault I guess you could say by the president in this campaign going after Mitt Romney. Here's how Mitt Romney responded last night in Radio Iowa.

He said, I understand the president's going to try to do anything he can to divert attention from the fact that his jobs record is weak and he has to plan to make things better.

Ashleigh, four more months of this on the campaign trail.

BANFIELD: These candidates, you know, what's the point of these people spinning their positions so that they can get elected, so that they can be in gridlock until they have to spin again until they get elected. You don't have to answer that, I'm just venting.

VELSHI: When somebody makes a statement that doesn't need to be answered --

BANFIELD: It's rhetorical.

In the next half hour, by the way, we're still going to keep up with the Bush tax cuts story. We're going talk with ERIK PAULSEN, who is a Republican congressman from Minnesota and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee too. So we'll have some great questions for him.

VELSHI: Rhetorical, but entirely relevant. A full blown power struggle in Egypt, you've been following this. The Egyptian parliament was back in session this morning for the first time in a month. You would think that's a good thing, right?

Well, a decree by the newly elected president, Mohammad Morsi called those lawmakers to parliament because the military had decided to dissolve parliament.

Egypt's highest court affirmed the military's decision calling it final and binding, which means the president some say didn't have the legal authority to recall parliament.

The president belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood Party and that party has called for a "Million Man March" protest today in support of his decision.

Reuters is reporting Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is calling on all sides in Egypt today to work together to safeguard the political transition.

BANFIELD: Nine border patrol stations are being shut down in the next six months. Top officials saying it's part of a strategy to refocus resources closer to the country's borders.

The move is also going to save $1.3 million a year if it's expected to be carried out as planned. Most of the posts that are being eliminated are in Texas with some of them hundreds of miles from the actual border.

So border stations not really on the border. The border patrol stations in California, Montana and Idaho are also getting axed.

VELSHI: Raw emotion raged. Look at these pictures, a nasty brawl breaking out in a Florida courtroom between the family of two murdered brothers and the suspect's family.

The fight happened after a hearing on Florida's so-called "Stand Your Ground Gun" laws was canceled. Look at the police trying to break this thing up.

By the way, that law, that "Stand Your Ground" law is in the middle of the Trayvon Martin shooting case as well. One of the victim's friends left this brawl on a stretcher and could have a broken jaw.

The victim's father and the defendant's stepfather were both taken away in handcuffs. That's a real fight.

BANFIELD: Man, that is some disorder in the court.

OK, there you have it, Prince, your home run king. Prince Fielder won the home run derby last night in Kansas City, which will host the Major League Baseball all-star game tonight.

The Tigers Justin Verlander will start for the American league and the Giants Matt Cain for the national league. And the league that wins gets home field advantage in the World Series.

VELSHI: OK, first it was heat. Now it's a wave. Storms bringing flash floods in the mid-Atlantic, leaving as much as 5 inches of rain in downtown Greensboro, North Carolina stranding 30 cars on the interstate.

You thought it was a mild winter and steamy spring, you were right. Alexandra Steele is in for Rob Marciano with the details. Good morning, Alexandra.

ALEXANDRA STEELE, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Hi. It's one record after the next. Keeping me employed, right, Ali. All right, well, the latest now climate figures are in and if you thought it was hot, you were right. The last 12 months were the hottest 12-month period on record since records began in the 1800s from the 1890s. So it certainly has been and this, believe it or not, doesn't even account for the over 2,000 records we had in July alone.

That was only up until June. We continued with that so July certainly going down on the record books as certainly one of the hottest. Las Vegas, breaking a record, 113 yesterday. Boise, 108, Reno, 99, doesn't sound like much compared to some of these numbers.

But the story so now, of course, in the east, temperatures are much cooler because the front has passed, but again, what we're seeing with it, it stalled here through the mid-Atlantic now.

So we've got this stalled front, a very buoyant, unstable atmosphere and heating of the sun, all of the ingredients, localized flooding. We saw it yesterday in North Carolina over 3 inches of rain, expecting another 1 to 2 inches today.

Temperatures department, 88 in D.C., where all of the flooding will be temperatures with the clouds late in the afternoon, staying in the 80s. It's 84 in Memphis, 92 only in Kansas City so certainly out of the 100s.

This is where the extreme heat is. We're watching the next heat wave get its act together in the southwest, Las Vegas to Phoenix, maybe perhaps in the deserts of Southern California, temperatures between 110 and 120 degrees.

So, of course, up in June, we're in the report books, but certainly, Ali, we'll be in the record books for July as well.

VELSHI: But aren't you going to say --

STEELE: It's a dry heat.

VELSHI: Exactly.

BANFIELD: Like a married couple now really.

STEELE: Honestly, we complete each other's sentences.

VELSHI: Didn't you grow up with a dry cold?

BANFIELD: It was, your eyelashes will freeze after being exposed for 10 seconds.

So this is one of the nation's most recognized landmarks. Coming up why with this beautiful live picture of the Washington Monument, you cannot visit for a long time.

VELSHI: You get my point. I'm not doubting that it's live. I'm just saying it could be tape like it's nothing happening. It's just -- when you have a picture like that --

BANFIELD: It's Ali versus the live bug coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: The Washington Monument is going to be shrouded in giant scaffolding to fix those huge cracks that shut it down after earthquake. Remember the east coast earthquake last year?

This was what it looked like inside the monument. That's going to be really frightening for those people who are enduring this. It happened last August.

Quake hit and you can see debris falling inside as people try to run down the stair case. The monument has been closed ever since this happened back in 2011.

If you thought it was going to open any time soon, think again. No public tours until 2014. Our Sandra Endo is live on the National Mall this morning.

I assured Ali that, Sandra, you are actually live, reporting live to us this morning. So break this down for me and let me know why it's going to take so long to get that reopened and how extensive this damage is.

SANDRA ENDO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Ali. We are live out here on the National Mall and this is not taped, Ali, I could assure you because I am here to tell you that the repair work is set to get under way in the fall and that's when this extensive project is set to begin.

As you mentioned, Ali, the Washington Monument has been closed since last August when the 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit this area and obviously created a lot of damage.

Now, engineers went through a thorough investigation of the monument and they determined this 555-foot tall monument will not extensive internal and external repairs. We're talking about ceiling cracks and repairing joints and reinforcing beams inside. And at least nine outside marble panels near the top of the monument have been cracked. So, it's a big job ahead for a lot of these workers.

And this is high time for tourists. They are all out here enjoying the nation's capital and the sights and sounds of Washington, D.C. -- well, the national park service says 700,000 people come to the Washington monument to go inside annually and now they may have to wait until 2014.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Came a long way. Like to see it, take the whole tour and the experience in. But unfortunately, the powers that be say that's not going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's Mother Nature, brother. You know, Mother Nature did its thing. I mean, I'd rather be safe than sorry here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Safety's important.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ENDO: Mother Nature put a price tag on -- the repair cost of this to the tune of $15 million, $7.5 million of that is coming from a donation from the co-founder of the Carlisle Group and the rest will be congressional funds. But clearly, a long road ahead until the monument is open -- Ashleigh.

BANFIELD: That is nice that the Washington Monument has a sugar daddy.

Behind you, by the way, Sandra, I've got to say, it kind of looks like the leaning Tower of Pisa.

VELSHI: The shoot looks like -- the way it set up looks like it's leaning.

BANFIELD: You've got to look around and just clear it up for Ali, you know, give him off the ledge and tell him it's not leaning, it's the wide angle lens.

ENDO: Yes, it is not leaning. It sank a little bit during the earthquake, but the engineers say it's structural sound. That's good news.

And, Ali, you have to report out here live 2014 when it opens.

VELSHI: Sandra, let me ask you one thing, do you wear a watch? Do you have a watch on?

ENDO: No, not today. It's early in the morning I forgot.

VELSHI: Convenient you don't have a watch on.

BANFIELD: He's going to ask you to hold up a newspaper to.

VELSHI: With your iPhone or BlackBerry. All right. Sandra, good to see you.

ENDO: Next time we talk, I'll have -- I'll have a watch.

BANFIELD: Thanks, Sandra Endo. We are really live today, not taped, Ali. There's today's "New York Post" "Top Kat".

VELSHI: And it is 17 minutes after the hour. So, let's get you up to date on what's going on.

President Obama calling for an extension of those Bush era tax cuts for middle class Americans. House Republicans are already crafting a plan to extend those cuts for all taxpayers which means middle class plus wealthy Americans. And the president has promised to veto that plan calling it way too expensive.

We're going to get to the truth on that.

BANFIELD: And a new source with close ties to top Russian officials is suggesting that Russia may be distancing itself from Syria. CNN's Christiane Amanpour spoke with Dmitri Simes, who's the Russian-born president of the Washington think tank National Interest. And he told her that Moscow would not oppose military intervention in Syria. Again, it would not oppose any kind of intervention.

VELSHI: Doesn't mean they embrace it.

BANFIELD: Right. And that's the next point to, because although officials say they wouldn't welcome this kind of a thing, if an intervention happened, they said it wouldn't become a major issue between the United States and Russian and the relations. It's a really big development.

VELSHI: Yes.

All right. Smartphones and laptops are essentially for most business travelers, but what happens when your battery is in the red at the airport?

BANFIELD: You send up sitting on the ground.

VELSHI: Near the outlet.

BANFIELD: And then you have a dirty behind, I can't stand when that happens.

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: This happens to all of us. I know it's happened. I'm sure it's happened to you. You're always in an airport, Ali.

BANFIELD: You're a word, you're a road warrior, but there are solutions to this.

KOSIK: Yes, there are. Yes, if you're at the airport and the battery on your smart phone or laptop is about to run out, you become desperate to find a power outlet. I know I've been in that situation before.

So, the good news is that airports and airlines are answering the call by offering more ways to plug in. At the new international terminal at the Atlanta airport, you can recharge your phone or laptop at one of the 52 recharging posts at the gates or sit down and power up at the desk top seating areas.

Airlines are also taking actions. Delta is going to be having close to 1,200 power polls at gates in 40 U.S. airports by the end of the year. U.S. Airways will add work spaces to its gates at New York's LaGuardia Airport early next year and this is going to include charging stations and tablet devices for travelers to use.

Alaskan Airlines is expanding from 30 to more than 200 outlets at its gates in Seattle this summer. And if you're at the airport and you can't find an athlete, there are several portable electronic chargers can buy for $10 or more, depending on what your charge this. But you know this, charge this before you leave your house and then you can of course use the portable chargers if you're left with nothing at the airport.

VELSHI: And I carry an extra battery wherever I go. I'm always ready to go.

KOSIK: Smart.

BANFIELD: That is so civilized that video you were showing. All too often, I've been one of those people on the ground and like battling with the guy next to me, do you really need both of those, sir.

KOSIK: They are hogs, right?

BANFIELD: I know, waiting for gossip column, battling some poor unsuspecting tourists for one of the outlets.

All right. Thank you, Alison.

VELSHI: Alison, thank you.

All right. You know the saying sex sells.

BANFIELD: Never heard it.

VELSHI: There's an old saying, sex sells and it applies to "Fifty Shades of Grey." Alison is combing through the book right now so she can speak on it with some authority. I was on makeup with her on this morning. I'm pretty sure she hasn't read it.

But she's back with this hot selling sensation after the break.

BANFIELD: And in make up, Ali reads it.

VELSHI: Makes the time go by.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: OK, there's too much silliness going on this morning. So, we're going to get down to serious news now. It's minding your business.

Alison Kosik is in for Christine Romans --

BANFIELD: Very serious,

VELSHI: -- talking about "Fifty Shades of Grey."

BANFIELD: And actually it is serious because this is a money juggernaut, like none other.

KOSIK: It really is. So, the trilogy is expected to be one of the fastest selling book series.

VELSHI: And the fasting selling dirty books ever.

KOSIK: Well, yes, as you like whips and chains and handcuffs, as Ali does, as he said just before in the break. He's all into that.

VELSHI: That's not what I said.

KOSIK: These are steamy books about an innocent college student and rich handsome tycoon who are into whips, chains and handcuffs.

BANFIELD: Baloney.

KOSIK: It's being called mommy porn. And as everybody knows, it's really become this year's pop culture book to read, especially in the land of suburbia for moms.

Digital sales are doing real well.

BANFIELD: Why are you looking at Ali when you said that?

KOSIK: Because Ali's read them, I think.

Didn't you read them?

VELSHI: Everybody had read them and I keep having to talk about it on the news. So, I downloaded it to my Kindle and I'm 30 or 40 pages in and I don't get why it is doing as well it is. I just stop reading it because I'm a guy. I can't get into a book if it takes 40 pages.

(CROSSTALK)

BANFIELD: I don't get it how a 27-year-old could be a self-made billionaire tycoon.

KOSIK: But, you know, do you think about the digital sales, digital sales here in the U.S. reached 9.6 million. A lot of these women, mostly women are reading these books. Ali is an exception, of course.

Nine-point-six million digital copies have been downloaded, these women love reading it on digital so they can hide it.

He was going to take his tie off.

VELSHI: I'm not taking my tie off.

But apparently, I've heard, to the point I've got in the book, it's not there yet. But it apparently ties play a bit of a role.

KOSIK: Did you not get to the sex scenes? That's why you put it down, Ali?

VELSHI: I didn't get what was so compelling about it. It seems overwrought and I didn't get it.

KOSIK: I hear it was poorly written.

BANFIELD: You hear?

VELSHI: Clearly people are buying this book.

KOSIK: It's like reading "Playboy," you don't read it -- you go for the articles, Ali was looking for the sex scenes. He wanted to learn more about the whips and chains and feathers.

VELSHI: So, the point is clearly everybody is not like me. This book is being read and written and bought.

KOSIK: Reading like crazy for women.

BANFIELD: I guess it's a good beach read.

KOSIK: Exactly.

VELSHI: Reading on the subway. Maybe I'll get past page 30 or 40. Good to see you.

BANFIELD: Thanks, Alison Kosik.

Both sides making claims today in the debate over the Bush tax cuts, we're going to do a bit of a fact check coming up.

We're also going to talk with ERIK PAULSEN, who is a Republican member of Congress from Minnesota, just so happens to be on the House Ways and Means Committee. So he knows a thing or two about taxes. That's all coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: The truth about tax cuts, the fact and fiction of key claims being made by both Republicans and Democrats.

VELSHI: While you were sleeping, political chicken with Egypt's brand-new president taking on the country's military rulers and the Supreme Court. Guess who blinked.

BANFIELD: Caught on camera. A New Jersey teenager's sudden decision to jump from a chair lift. Hear in her own word why she did this and find out if she's OK.

Welcome back to EARLY START, everybody. Good to have you with us today. It is Tuesday, that means Ali Velshi is here. Zoraida is off.

Nice to have you with us.

VELSHI: Pleasure to be here.

That's about 30 minutes after the hour.

You've been hearing about the Bush tax cuts for the last 24 hours. President Obama called for the Bush tax cuts to be extended for everyone making less than $250,000, families making less than $250,000. There's been a ton of claims back and forth.

Let's break down fact and fiction starting by listening to what the president had to say yesterday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many members of the other party believe that prosperity comes from the top down. So that if we spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, that that will somehow unleash jobs and economic growth. I disagree.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: OK. The president is talking about government spending trillions more dollars on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. That's a little bit of fiction. First, it's obviously not yet the case. It only happens if the Bush tax cuts are extended for everyone -- something the president said he won't even approve. And according to the White House, and it's not even a trillions of dollars, not even a full trillion dollars.

The administration itself says it would save $968 billion over ten years by allowing the bush era tax cuts to expire for higher earners.

Let's listen to what Mitt Romney had to say.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Small businesses are overwhelmingly being taxed not at the corporate rate but at the individual tax rate so successful small businesses will see their taxes go up dramatically and that will kill jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: OK. So, will allowing the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans to expire hurt small businesses? No, that's fiction too. If the president gets his way and cuts expire for wealthy Americans, the vast majority for small businesses in the United States will not be affected according to Congress's own joint committee on taxation, just 3 percent of small business owners would take a hit.

Now I want to bring in Republican Congressman Erik Paulsen of Minnesota. He's the member of the House Ways and Means Committee -- very, very important committee. This is ways and means. It's how you pay for things.

Congressman, thank you for being with us.

You know, it's just frustrating to hear the rhetoric on both sides. The reality is we're on the thin edge of a wedge with respect to this economy. We've got all sorts of problems coming in from Europe and from Asia and need to make good decisions in the United States.

And yet every discussion that comes up, important discussions like this become partisan within 46 seconds. We just need some real answers.

REP. ERIK PAULSEN (R), MINNESOTA: No, that's true. Thanks for having me on this morning.

I think this is an important debate to have. I will tell you this, though, I did meet with a small business owner yesterday in Minnesota who did point blank tell me if these tax rates go up, it will affect him. He pays as a small business owner that employees 84, 87 people. It will mean that he'll invest less in his employees, less in his company and that's not good for the economy.

The bottom line is we need a tax code that's going to be --

VELSHI: Congressman, let me ask you, let me ask you -- why would that be the case? Because he's got a small business that employs 80 employees, he's not filing as an individual. It's got nothing to do with this business absolutely whatsoever.

How in any way would that affect his ability to run his business?

PAULSEN: He is actually filing as an individual. He files as an S corporation. He pays the individual tax rate.

But the bottom line is we need a tax code that is more simpler, that is more fairer, that gets rid of the special carve-outs, the special lobbyist loopholes. That's the direction we need to go.

VELSHI: And that is a point of agreement between Democrats and Republicans. Why don't we see it?

PAULSEN: Well, I think what you're going to see now is that the House Republicans will extend, and it will actually be a bipartisan effort in the House that will extend all rates for one year to make sure we're going to alleviate this weak economy by having a simple tax code. That's where we need to go for economic growth.

VELSHI: That's what it takes. Really, I mean, the tax code is 73,000 pages long. It will take a very, very long time to reform it. There's no real act -- everybody says, every time somebody runs for office, we need to reform the tax code. We need to make it fairer. We need to have more people paying at the lower rate.

We all agree that's going to happen, but there's no real legislation to get this done and it will be a two or three-year exercise, wouldn't you guess?

PAULSEN: I actually think it's going to be less than a one-year exercise.

VELSHI: Really?

PAULSEN: We've already spent a year and a half having over 19 hearings on comprehensive tax reform. The foundation is being laid. It's being done on a bipartisan basis. We've actually have joint hearings with the Senate. That isn't happening over 70 years.

And so, I think you're seeing that foundation being laid. That's how you're going to alleviate a weak economy to get job growth, whether small business or large business to have competitive tax code with global trading partners. That's where we actually need to go.

VELSHI: We have full agreement on this. Where is that going to come from? When am I going to first see anybody, maybe you, put forward the legislation that says this is going to be the way we reform the tax code?

And I don't -- I'm not asking you to do something silly by putting it forward without it being meaningful. When might we actually see that happen? Because I will tell everybody who watches to go out and help the person get that done.

PAULSEN: You're going to see a three-step process in July in Washington, in the House. You're going to see an extension of all of the tax rates for one year, taxes on investment, taxes on individuals, taxes on families. And then you're going to see a vote that will layout the principles for comprehensive foundational tax reform.

And then third, you're going to see a vote on a time line for a one-year time line with the House and Senate to actually move forward on this next year after the election and politics and after the silly season ends to help our economy, and get job growth going.

VELSHI: Congressman, I want to believe you on this. I want to believe you on this. But we are going to hit a debt ceiling again in January or February. We're going to hit all sorts of things.

Do you have -- can you give my viewers a reason to believe that's actually going to happen? Because we seem to wait until the last minute and not plan anything ahead. If this is going to happen soon, boy, I want to reach out in the TV and hug you. Is this really true?

PAULSEN: This is going to happen in the House, in the ways and means committee. It's going to absolutely lead with this -- this month, in July.

I will tell you this though, it's frustrating. We do need leadership at the top. It is going to have to be bipartisan. This a growing course of bipartisan leaders that are saying stop the tax hike but look forward to more comprehensive tax reform.

So, I mean, is a new generational young Republican leader in Congress, I want to move us in this direction, this is really needed.

VELSHI: All right. Congressman, great to talk to you. I don't mean to make you uncomfortable. I wasn't going to hug you. But I will make sure --

PAULSEN: We can actually use that in Washington right now.

VELSHI: Good to see you, Congressman Erik Paulsen, member of the House Ways and Means Committee, a Republican from Minnesota.

BANFIELD: Thirty-five minutes now past 6:00. A teenager making a daring decision. Would you do it? Would you do what she did if you were worried about the weather? Jumping from a chair lift.

Find out more about this story and how she's doing today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: In Egypt, more evidence of a growing power struggle between the country's new president and the old military. The parliament convened overnight despite the fact this was hugely defiant.

The military backed order said they couldn't do that. Egypt's Supreme Court dissolved that assembly but they came to work anyway.

This follows a decree by the president, Mohamed Morsi, the brand-new president to reinstate those lawmakers -- all of this as our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is weighing in on the need for dialogue to keep the transition to democracy on course.

CNN's Ivan Watson is following the developments and he's live outside the Egyptian parliament in Cairo.

And the last we heard before this decision to reconvene this morning your time, Ivan, was that there was riot police surrounding the parliament and it could have been ugly and yet they avoided any kind of violence.

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Despite court decision to ban, to dissolve the elected parliament, despite a statement from the ruling military council, the general saying that parliament really shouldn't meet, the police let the lawmakers in and they had a short meeting here, about 45 minutes and they were able to meet peacefully and gather.

They've decided that they are going to try to fight the decision to dissolve the parliament in one of Egypt's many different courts. It looks right now like the battle will be fought in different courts. You've got the constitutional court that dissolved the parliament. You've got a court of appeals that the lawmakers want to use to overturn that decision. You've got an administrative court where there are a number of lawsuits under way right now as well.

The important thing, Ashleigh, that the battle is being fought legally and in courts and between competing judges rather than in the streets where we've seen so much bloodshed over the past year and a half.

BANFIELD: So, Ivan what was the point of meeting for one hour? I mean, was it just truly to prove that they could, or is this the start of a regular series of sessions?

WATSON: Well, it's a good question. What you have is a power struggle right now. And you've got a president from the Muslim Brotherhood and parliament dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. The court which seemed to be allied with the military generals said that this parliament is not constitutional. It's illegal.

And after being elected the president basically, he tried to flex his muscles. He called the court's bluffs, he called the general's bluff and he said we're going to meet with parliament here.

So, with this political brinksmanship, the interesting thing is that the generals, the military and police, let the lawmakers in and they seem to have come to an agreement that (AUDIO GAP) they are not going to send protesters out fighting. They are going to use courts to fight this political battle between each other.

And all of this is against a back drop of a country that is suffering from deep economic crisis amid the political turbulence of the last year and a half. That's what some of the lawmakers are saying is the most important thing.

Let's get past the wheeling and dealing and political crisis and focus on what really matters, which is jobs for millions of unemployed Egyptian people.

BANFIELD: Yes, and hopefully they can get to that stage and avoid all violence as well. So, well, it's a good step today I suppose, anyway.

Ivan Watson in Cairo for us -- thank you.

VELSHI: Last sentence could apply to us here in the United States. Get past all of the wheeling and dealing and focus on stuff that matters.

Hey, Soledad is on assignment today. Christine Romans joins us with a look ahead for "STARTING POINT."

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning you guys.

Big show, the truth over taxes for you. We're talking Republican and Democrat congressional leaders keeping them honest on President Obama's call to extend tax cuts for low and middle income earners.

Joining us Republican Congressman and Tea Party member, Steve King of Iowa, Romney surrogate and Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, and Democratic Texas Congressman Lloyd Doggett, all coming up.

Plus, I love this -- she's a cheerleader from Indiana. She's also an EMT and a firefighter. She's still working right now by the way, and Jessica Anderson came to the rescue after the football coach collapsed on the field. She's joining us live with her incredible story after she finishes her overnight shift as an EMT.

Plus, a lesson in forgiveness from actor Steven Baldwin. He's going to stop by live. I'm going to ask him a little bit about politics. What their family dinners are like, too, I wonder.

BANFIELD: And the wedding.

ROMANS: Yes, he's got a new film of forgiveness with a very really interesting, interesting deep story. We'll talk about that.

BANFIELD: Great. Christine, thank you. Looking forward to it.

We missed you on the business hits this morning.

ROMANS: I know, there's nothing going on in the business world.

BANFIELD: We were getting so giddy, you were good to be where you were.

VELSHI: In case you want to remind them, they are al about "Fifty Shades of Grey."

ROMANS: I will rewind it.

BANFIELD: Thanks, Christine.

For the first time in history, women in the Marines training an infantry combat officers. Not everybody thinks this is a good idea, including our next guest. And before you say anything, that guest is a woman herself and she knows a thing or two about being in combat, been there, done that. Find out why she thinks what she thinks.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELSHI: It is 47 minutes after the hour. Time to get you up to date.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

VELSHI (voice-over): President Obama is calling on Republicans for cooperation to help him extend the Bush era tax cuts for middle class Americans, but House Republicans are already crafting a plan to extend the cuts for all taxpayers, including the wealthiest Americans. That plan President Obama has promised to veto it.

BANFIELD (voice-over): Embattled New York congressman, Charlie Rangel, appears to be headed for his 22nd term in Congress. Final count of a primary vote has the veteran Democrat ahead of his challenger, Adriano Espaillat, by nearly a thousand votes, too. So, that's a significant amount. So much so that although Espaillat had originally conceded the race, sued for a recount, he's decided to finally drop the legal challenge all together.

VELSHI: Despite the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal, Penn State had one of its best fundraising years ever. School says donations total more than $208 million during the 2011-2012 fiscal year, and that is the second highest figure in Penn State's history. A spokesman says, despite the scandal, Penn State has never lost the support of its alumni and boosters.

BANFIELD: Lance Armstrong's legal battle against the United States anti-doping agency ended the same day that it began. A federal judge tossed out his lawsuit just seven hours after he filed it yesterday. The seven-time Tour de France champion was trying to block the doping agency from punishing him for allegations of doping allegations.

But a Texas judge said his complaint was filled with legally irrelevant claims that were designed to solely attract media coverage and really chewed out Armstrong's lawyers.

VELSHI: Those crazy jersey shore kids, not the TV show, by the way. This is a real one. That was 17-year-old Melanie Rossomando who you see there. She took a 35-foot leap from a seaside heights skyride as debris started flying and the ride lost power during a nasty storm. Melanie was afraid she was going to be struck by lightning so she took the plunge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELANIE ROSSOMANDO, JUMPED FROM SKYRIDE: I looked to my side and I was like, we're right next to a huge, metal pole. In my mind, I was like we are in a metal death trap right now. In my mind, I was like, I'm either getting struck by lightning or I break a leg, maybe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELSHI: Wow! Her friend, by the way, sitting next to her apparently didn't take the leap. Both Melanie and her friend are OK.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BANFIELD (on-camera): It is now 49 minutes past 6:00 on the east coast. And for the first time ever, the United States Marine Corps allowing women to train as infantry combat officers. It is a move that really could open the door for women to fight on the front lines. But one Marine Corps captain is warning that women are too weak for the battlefield and that putting them on front lines could damage our military.

And she's a woman, she's not just any woman. She served in combat in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Her name is Captain Katie Petronio, and she's live with us in D.C. Kat -- Katie, thanks so much for being with us this morning. Those are fighting words, aren't they?

CAPTAIN KATIE PETRONIO, U.S. MARINE CORPS: I guess, you could look at it that way.

BANFIELD: So, tell me why it is you have this position, because I think a lot of people certainly your critics would say, you have no leg to stand on when it comes to looking at the entire force and that this is really your opinion based on your service.

PETRONIO: Sure. First off, women have been in combat for decades, and we've proven successful in combat. I'm not saying that women don't have a role in combat. We do not fight a conventional enemy. There's not a front line anymore. What I'm opposing is women in the infantry.

BANFIELD: And essentially, what's the problem with women in the infantry? If a woman can hack it, if she can get through training, why can't she actually serve alongside fellow infantrymen?

PETRONIO: It's an issue of cost versus benefit. The cost is absolutely going to outweigh the benefit. It's not going to help the individual and it's not going to help the institution. We are a war fighting institution, and combat readiness is going to be affected by this.

BANFIELD: And I know that you -- I read the piece that you wrote recently, and it was very extensive. It was called, "Get over It, We Are Not All Created Equal." And I know that you created the image of yourself, your abilities, the way you trained, the way you ranked, and then what it was s like when you were actually on the front lines and how you managed.

Can you -- in a very short version of it, tell our viewers what you went through and why you began to have this epiphany about yourself as a combat soldier and why you could extrapolate to others -- other women?

PETRONIO: Sure. There's a time five years ago where I joined the Marine Corps and thought, heck, I'm strong. I'm one of the best. I can serve in the infantry. This last deployment really hit it home for me. You know, I went from breaking school records to being broken in a matter of a short amount of time. I left seven months deployment, 17 pounds lighter.

I had muscle atrophy. I stopped producing estrogen which, for me, caused me to have infertility. And I was only doing a portion of what my (INAUDIBLE) were doing. My concern is that there's a lot of gender specific medical conditions that we haven't even begun to identify, and that there's going to be a cost associated to that.

BANFIELD: And you yourself wrote in your very expensive piece that there is just truly a drastic shortage of historical data on female attrition when it comes to medical ailments and, you know, what they sustain in long combat operations. But I will say this, the Servicewomen's Action Network, which is a basically an advocacy group for women in the arm forces was quote critical of you.

They said -- and I'm just going to ask if we can maybe drop out that graphic and put this one up, instead. The said, "Plain and simple. If a person can meet the standards required for any occupation in the military, then they should not be disqualified due to gender. The same strident arguments were articulated from within the ranks when the military integrated racially in the 1940s and more recently as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" was repealed.

And that's from the Servicewomen's Action Network spokesperson, Greg Jacob (ph). That seems fair. If you can make it, why can't you make it? If you can make it through the training, if you can prove yourself, why can't you got into a combat role?

PETRONIO: Sure. This policy isn't for the best. It isn't for the exception. It isn't for the female who wants to do it, thinks she can do it, and can do it. If we revoke this policy, it's going to be open to any female to take on this role, whether a private or second lieutenant, willing or not.

Revoking this is going to essentially say that everyone has the same opportunity to be slated as an infantryman or infantrywoman. And I'm glad that you brought up the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." We're talking about accepting a lifestyle instead of a capability. And this is a concern about capability and longevity. These are apples and oranges and cannot be compared.

BANFIELD: Well, I think you make some fascinating arguments, and I don't think that your conversation with me is going to be the end of it. That's for sure. Captain Katie, thank you for your service, ma'am. It's an honor to meet you, and it's great to talk to you. I do appreciate it.

PETRONIO: Thanks for having me.

BANFIELD: Cheers.

VELSHI: Remarkable. Very interesting conversation.

BANFIELD: I did not think it was going to be a female captain who I was going to have the conversation with. There you go.

VELSHI: All right. Today's "Best Advice," Casey Anthony's defense attorney, Jose Baez. Hear what he has to say about making emotional decisions, something that confronts us all. He's got some interesting advice. Stay with us. You're watching EARLY START. 54.5 minutes after the hour.

BANFIELD: You are accurate.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BANFIELD: "STARTING POINT" less than a minute away. So, we wrap things up as always with some "Best Advice."

VELSHI: Today, we hear from Jose Baez. You remember him as Casey Anthony's defense attorney. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSE BAEZ, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Best advice I've ever received was don't make an important decision when you're emotional. I think if you sit on things for 24 hours, you can really think things clearly and think things through, and that's always the best advice. And it's certainly the best I've ever gotten.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BANFIELD: I think it is. VELSHI: I like that.

BANFIELD: I wonder how much advice he gave Casey Anthony.

VELSHI: About not doing things when she's emotional and not making decisions when she's emotional.

BANFIELD: Boy, she made some bad decisions when she was talking to the police that first time around, though. That's for sure.

Hey, that's EARLY START, the usually news from "A" to "Z." Today, it's a news from "A" to "A," but fairly in depth. I'm Ashleigh Banfield.

VELSHI: I'm Ali Velshi. "STARTING POINT" starts right now. Christine Romans in for Soledad O'Brien.