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Trump White House Makes Big Push for Another Win; CNN Poll: Trump's Approval Rating at Historic Low; Trump Tax Plan Would Slash Corporate Taxes; Congressman Proposes Health Care Amendment. Aired 6- 6:30a ET
Aired April 27, 2017 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of really good things have happened in that first 100 days.
[05:58:39] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Forty-four percent approve of the job the president's doing. Fifty-four percent disapprove. That is a historic low.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This should be his high-water mark. It could well be downhill from here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is going to be the biggest tax cut and the largest tax reform in the history of our country.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only proposals we've seen are proposals to help the wealthiest in our nation.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's really handing his Democratic opponents a real sword to come after him with, if he's going to ask people to cut taxes for the rich and not show how he might benefit.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I see great moves when it comes to health care.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There's a lot of work left to do, but this unified government has made a solid start.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: All right. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, April 27, 6 a.m. here in New York.
And up first, President Trump says the 100-day mark doesn't really matter. And yet, the White House is making a big push to get an identifiable win before the century mark. Among the big-ticket items on the agenda: the president's tax cut wish list. Not really a plan, because it's unclear how it would work, how it would be paid for and whom it would help. Agreeing to renegotiate NAFTA with Mexico and Canada, and pushing for a vote on a new GOP health care bill. ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: There's also a new CNN poll to tell you
about, and it shows President Trump with the lowest approval rating of any newly-elected president at this almost 100-day mark.
So we have a lot to cover on day 98 of the Trump presidency. Let's begin with CNN's Joe Johns. He is live at the White House. Hi, Joe.
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn.
For an administration that has tried to downplay the first 100 days as a ridiculous standard, this administration is working hard to document and orchestrate the president's progress, even going as far as setting up a war room in the West Wing to track it.
And now, a flurry of activity in the final days.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do something really big.
JOHNS (voice-over): After much hype, the White House unveiling a one- page summary of President Trump's tax wish list, which includes slashing tax rates for corporations; reducing the number of tax brackets; and doubling the standard deduction for individuals. The skeletal outline would mainly benefit wealthy Americans and is devoid of any details of what it would cost and how it would be paid for.
STEVE MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: This will pay for itself with growth and with reduction of different deductions and closing loopholes.
JOHNS: Many economists are challenging this as a magic wand of growth saying the cuts could increase the national debt by trillions. A reality that would make Trump's tax goals a tough sell with fiscal hawks in Congress and goes against the president's repeated pledge to reduce the deficit.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It will simplify the tax code. It will grow the American economy, and all of this does not add to our debt or our deficit.
JOHNS: Democrats immediately calling the administration's bluff.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: They're saying, "Oh, the growth in the economy will cover it." But the fact is, it never has.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a plan to help the wealthiest in this country, the wealthiest corporations in the world, at the expense of our nation's deficit.
JOHNS: One of the many unknowns: how the Trump businesses stand to benefit from these steep cuts, given the president's refusal to disclose his tax returns.
MNUCHIN: The president has no intention. The president has released plenty of information.
JOHNS: Meanwhile, the White House announcing that the U.S. will not immediately pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement after speaking to the leaders of Mexico and Canada. This comes only hours after White House officials told CNN that the president was considering an executive order to withdraw from the deal.
The White House also eager to show progress on health care.
REP. CHRIS COLLINS (R), NEW YORK: The big block that we need to come over is the Freedom Caucus. And certainly, some indications are that that's moving in the right direction.
JOHNS: Republicans publicly posting their amendment online for the House to review, as it remains unclear if moderates will sign onto the changes or how soon they'll take it to a vote.
Trump's big push to show action in the final stretch on display Wednesday when senators were bussed to the White House for a classified briefing on North Korea. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say little was learned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was -- it was an OK briefing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I seriously felt like I could have gotten all that information by reading a newspaper. It felt more like a dog-and- pony show to me than anything else.
JOHNS: One thing that seems not likely to happen is a government shutdown at the end of the first 100 days. A stop-gap spending bill has now been introduced to bridge the government until the difficult details can be worked out -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK, Joe. Thank you very much for all of that.
So President Trump's approval ratings in this new poll are at an historic low. The president losing ground on three key campaign issues, health care, economy and immigration in this brand-new CNN poll. But there are good signs, as well.
CNN political director David Chalian joins us now with the numbers. Help us crunch them, David.
DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Sure thing. Good morning, Alisyn. You are right.
Take a look at the approval number at this 100-day mark. Forty-four percent approval, 54 percent disapprove. It's been about where he is, and where he is has been historically low.
Take a look, when you look in history, where Donald Trump lines up at the 100-day mark. He's at the bottom of the list of all his recent predecessors going back as far as there is polling. You had mentioned a couple of issues. Let's dig inside these numbers.
Health care and immigration have dominated everything in these first 100 days. First health care. Look at this: 61 percent disapprove of his handling of health care; 36 approve. This is a 25-point deficit. Last month, it was only a 10-point deficit. Going away from him.
On immigration, same story. Forty-one percent approve; 57 percent disapprove of his handling of immigration. This is now minus 16. It had been minus 11 for the president. Again, going in the wrong direction for him.
A couple of interesting notes of where some Republicans who overall still with him. Eighty-five percent approve of him, but where they are trending away, it's on his management style; it's on his appointments.
Take a look at this. Do you have confidence in Donald Trump appointments? In November, Republicans, 72 percent said they did. Now only 59 percent of Republicans say that. And take a look at this -- this notion of his management style. Is he effectively managing the government? We see a shift here also among Republicans. Ninety- three percent in November thought he would be managing the government effectively. Now, it's 85 percent. His own party drifting away. You note there had are a couple of bright spots. His own party drifting away on some key issues there.
And you noted there are a couple bright spots. Take a look at that. Are things going well in the United States today? Fifty-four percent of Americans say they are. Look at this. Going back to October. It's a high-water mark. Same thing on the economy. How do you feel about economic conditions in the country today? Fifty-nine percent feel good about economic conditions today. Going back to September, this also a high watermark.
So there are a couple of bright spots about people feeling optimistic about the country, the economy, but Donald Trump's numbers need a lot of work -- Alisyn, Chris.
CUOMO: All right, David, stay with us. Let's also bring in CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein and national security correspondent for "The New York Times," David Sanger. Sometimes brevity is good. Sometimes it is not.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
CUOMO: This tax wish list is one-page, Ron Brownstein. What does that tell us about where we are with this move?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, I think the biggest thing that tells me that Republicans are drifting away from the idea of permanent revenue- neutral tax reform, which is what -- you have to make revenue neutral to try to pass it for it to be permanent. And they're moving toward back to kind of page one of the playbook of unified Republican control, which is a tax cut. Because I think what this document says to me, above all, is that they have enormous difficulty finding agreement on ways to offset the cost of the cuts they want to make. They don't, for example, endorse the border adjustment tax, the House Republicans.
We're talking about the main idea they have in here for how to pay for these cuts in corporate and individual rates, is eliminate the deductibility of state and local taxes, which is essentially an assault on blue states. Calculated this morning from some figures from the Committee on Responsible Budget. Two-thirds of all of the state and local tax deductions claimed on federal income taxes were from states that Hillary Clinton carried.
CAMEROTA: Fascinating. So David, you know, it's been pointed out that the tax cuts here from what little we know about Trump's tax returns will benefit him. Lose the estate tax, lose the alternative minimum tax. Lower the top income earners down. But it will hurt blue states. But everybody hears "tax cut," and people get excited.
DAVID SANGER, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT, "NEW YORK TIMES": They do indeed, except you would think the Donald Trump who we all talked to during the campaign, because when you go in to interview him, the first thing you talk about, as both an economic problem and a national security problem, was what he called a deficit that -- I'm sorry. A debt that was approaching $21 trillion.
So if you believe the numbers on this and it's so vague, as Chris pointed out that it's hard to fail, Alisyn. But if you believe the sort of quick analysis of this, it could be $7 trillion in additional revenue loss for the U.S. government over ten years. That's a big increase if you're worried about a $21 trillion debt.
CUOMO: Well, look. One of the things that's remarkable about this is the lack of numbers. I've never seen any kind of proposal that comes to tax that wasn't completely, you know, layered and layered with all the rationale and math to impress you. This is the opposite of that, David Chalian.
This kind of reads and feels like a quick measure to get in under this 100-day mark that the president says doesn't matter.
CHALIAN: Well, of course. That's exactly what it is, Chris, and it's not a measure. I mean, it's just -- even the White House called it sort of broad principles. This is just trying to get out of the gate one of the key promises that he made in the campaign to show action on it, to show movement on it, to show continued commitment to it. But this is not a piece of legislation. This is not even close to that.
And so what Ron was talking about, I think we're going to see a big internal party battle among Republicans here for a little while before everybody just wraps around the notion that they're going to do all the goodies of tax cuts, but not figure out some elements of reform here and how to figure out how to pay for it. You cannot rely on hoped economic growth to pay for some portions of it.
I don't -- I don't think you can just rely on hoped economic growth entirely to pay for this. There may be less concern about deficits than there once was in the Republican Party, but there are still a slew of Republicans that Donald Trump is going to need the votes from on this tax plan. They're going to have to come along with some notion of how it's going to be paid for.
BROWNSTEIN: There is no chance. There is no -- there's zero chance that they can find offsets that they can agree on to cover anything of the magnitude of the cuts that the president talked about yesterday.
CAMEROTA: They say that this is going to sort of gin up the economy. That, you know, it's going to be...
BROWNSTEIN: Not to get too technical, but unless the Congressional Budget Office agrees, then they violate the terms of the mechanism, the reconciliation mechanism they want to use to pass it. Kind of the contradiction they're in is that you have Speaker Ryan and others saying, "Look, this will only generate the growth that we're hoping for if it is permanent, if people know they can count on it."
[06:10:20] Well, it can't be permanent unless it's revenue-neutral beyond ten years. And it can't be revenue-neutral, unless they can find the offsets to pay for it, and that is very hard to do. As this shows, they -- you know, they could identify almost nothing in here that they're taking back. It's pretty easy to identify the things you want to give away. A lot harder to identify the things you want to take back.
And conspicuous by its absence is this idea in the House which is, you know, core to their vision of how you pay for it. Of basically taxing imports, which is something that I think, like, starting with the two senators from Arkansas and Wal-Mart. I mean, that's pretty much a non-starter in the Senate. So I think this is very difficult to imagine how they pay for it, and if they can't pay for it, they can't make it permanent.
SANGER: And it assumes that we've forgotten the lessons of the Reagan era, the curve.
CAMEROTA: And what are those lessons we have forgotten?
SANGER: The main lesson was -- the theory was that the cut would cause the growth just as you discussed. That is not always the case. Ad there are a lot of other factors that step in to how a national economy performs. Especially we've had one that's been growing as long as this one has, and you would have to assume that this would end up being one of the longest expansions in American history. The natural cycle of slowdown would not -- would not take place.
CUOMO: But also, I think we have to kind of see this for what it is, though, right? I think that there's a very saleable thing politically for the president in this, David Chalian. "I'm trying to do something. This is my first offer. These people in Congress will go crazy and say, oh, it doesn't work. They are the problem, not me. I'm fixing your taxes personally. I'm freeing up business. I'm trying to grow the economy."
People are so simple when it comes to how they analyze taxes: Am I getting a tax cut or not? How does he lose by saying he wants to cut taxes? CHALIAN: I don't think he does. I think this is a winning issue for
him at the outset. He's going to get involved now in that muddy congressional process.
CUOMO: But that's on them. Doesn't he say, David, "That's those guys. That's them. You know, that's why you have to drain the swamp. I'm trying to do the right thing. I made it simple. One page. That's how good I am. They just gave me 10,000 pages back of 'We're not going to do it'."
CHALIAN: Yes. He's on much more politically popular ground, talking about tax cuts and trying to get that through than repeal and replace Obamacare, when that got sort of mired in Congress. So he definitely is on ground where, if he can sort of stay where I want to cut your taxes. You were right, Chris. That is a popular message. That doesn't mean it gets done. And that doesn't mean it has the desire to effect if it does get done.
BROWNSTEIN: I'm going to disagree a little bit, David. I think that the -- obviously, tax cuts by themselves are popular. When they are attached, though, when they can be attached to spending cuts, they become much more problematic and dicey.
And you go back to the 1995 budget showdown between Bill Clinton and the House Republicans, the pivot was that they basically -- Clinton was able to make the argument that they were cutting Medicare in order to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. If, in fact, Paul Ryan moves forward on the idea of converting Medicare into a premium support system, which is something that is at the core of what he's been trying to do since Republicans came in in 2010. And you have tax cuts going on at the same time, that is not guaranteed to be a winning argument. It's not even guaranteed to be a winning argument, even attached to repealing the key provisions of expanding coverage in the ACA, the Affordable Care Act.
So I don't think this debate has yet fully played out. On its own, sure. But when attached to the budget -- budgetary consequences? Not as simple.
CAMEROTA: David Sanger, let's talk about what's happening internationally. Or those policies. So there's been a pivot on NAFTA. And then there was this big meeting yesterday at the White House about North Korea. What are the headlines?
SANGER: So there have been two pivots on NAFTA. We were told by the White House staff yesterday the president was getting ready to pull out of NAFTA. Seemed a little bit strange, given what they'd said a few weeks before then. Then he gets on the telephone and talks to both his Mexican and Canadian counterparts. "I'm not really getting out of NAFTA. What I really want to go do is renegotiate provisions of it."
We think the initial announcement was probably just meant as for negotiating leverage. It was very classic Donald Trump. Then they gathered all 100 senators in a meeting at the White House in a room that is not usually secure. They tried to secure it for this for a briefing on North Korea that several senators who emerged from called me afterwards and said, "I learned less from this than I read in 'The New York Times' and in 'The Washington Post'."
CUOMO: Did he mention NEW DAY?
SANGER: They just didn't -- they just didn't get that far. So what was that all about? That was about showing the Senate that they're not forgetting about them as they head into this. The policy they're pursuing is not a strange policy right now. It is maximum economic pressure on the North Koreans. Try to get the Chinese in and build up some military pressure.
What's that sound like? It sounds like what President Obama tried and what President Bush tried before him.
[06:15:05] BROWNSTEIN: And just for a real quick point. Putting out this tax plan on a day that you back away from the idea of pulling away from NAFTA kind of captures a bigger movement here. We are seeing on many fronts, immigration the exception, Trump moving away from the America first, distinctive nationalism of the campaign towards more conventional Republican proposals on a whole series of issues, including health care.
CAMEROTA: Gentlemen, thank you very much.
CUOMO: So we're seeing this beautiful contrast here between when you look beneath the headlines, how are things going to get done, versus that shiny start. And we're seeing that on health care, as well. There's this talk now: "We think we have a deal with the Freedom Caucus. We believe they like it. Health care is going to get done."
What is the reality about where this bill is, whom it helps and the chances that it could get to a vote anytime soon? Facts ahead.
CAMEROTA: So two House Republicans have come together to unveil a new amendment that they believe is the key to repealing and replacing Obamacare. Can it work?
Let's bring back our panel. We have Ron Brownstein and David Chalian. We want to bring in political analyst April Ryan. Great to see all of you.
[06:20:06] April, I'll start with you. This is Tom MacArthur, Congressman Tom MacArthur. Let me show you what is in the MacArthur Amendment.
States can actually seek waivers for -- to get rid of the pre-existing condition rules. States can also seek waivers to get out of the essential health benefit rules. But if those waivers are sought, states must then enact state high-risk pools and that could lead to higher premiums for sicker and older enrollees. Is this the magical combo? APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it depends on who you ask. You know, I was around when they were trying to craft this ACA bill during the Obama years. And it was all focused on wellness. And this proposal seems to totally just upset the apple cart.
When you talk about these waivers for some of the mandates like substance abuse, mental health, states getting waivers to not have to deal with this, the interesting piece is, you know, during the election cycle, this past election cycle in the heartland. Many cried out for help from these presidential candidates for help against drug abuse, heroin and things of that nature. And now states are allowed to get waivers to take that off the insurance.
It's really interesting to see the details about these waivers. And then when you go into the waivers about people with pre-existing conditions, companies, insurance companies can raise the rates higher for people depending on their health status and also, if they do that, they have to have a pool for people who are at-risk or have many insurance -- health issues. That's very interesting.
It's so polar opposite of what the initial bill was about. And I really want to see if this really gets legs. And I mean, I know that a lot of the Republicans are saying you're either with us or you're not. But many people in the heartland may cry out about this.
CUOMO: We were in New Hampshire this weekend, and what April is saying was true 100 percent. They're underwater with the opioid epidemic. They voted up there in large percentage for Donald Trump on that one issue, and they're waiting for help. This bill will clearly -- does one thing. It's going to cover less people. It's going to take money from the states under the guise of giving them more optionality and how they deal with having less money. It's moving to the right. That's what this is doing.
BROWNSTEIN: And look, the history, as I've said to you before, I think the history since Republicans first took over the House in 1995 is they can almost always get a bill through the House by moving it far enough to the right. The question is whether they have created something in the process.
And they may get there this time. This is going to be on the margin. The question is whether they create something that has any chance of coming forward out of the Senate in anything like the form it is now.
I mean, the core problem Republicans have faced from the beginning is that their version of repealing and replace kits hits harder at voters who are at the core of their own coalition, older, lower, whites who have more health needs. And this greatly compounds it, the idea that you could charge more for people with pre-existing conditions hits primarily older working-age adults before Medicare. S
Seventy-eight percent of all Americans age 50 to 64 oppose the idea in the ABC/"Washington Post" poll this week. And those are core Republican voters at this point.
And by the way, on the opioid in Kentucky, because I was talking to someone there recently. They have seven times as many people receiving coverage under Medicaid for substance abuse than they did before the ACA. That is one quarter of all rural Americans are now on Medicaid. And that's where the opioid problem is most concentrated.
Again, the problem they've got, if you look at those states that expanded Medicaid, in the Senate, West Virginia, Ohio, Nevada. Some of those Republican senators. Can they vote for the kind of rollback that the House is envisioning? I think it's very hard. And you may have a lot of House members out on the limb for a bill that doesn't become law, but they still have to defend it in 2018.
CAMEROTA: In fact, David Chalian, I mean, you already hear members of the, you know, so-called Tuesday Group, the moderates, saying here's Charlie -- Congressman Charlie Dent. And he says, "I took everybody at their word when they said they wanted to reform health care and make it better. Based on what I've read, it does not change my position. I was a no. I remain a no."
I mean, why would they get rid of the one thing that was universally beloved? The no pre-existing conditions. And why would they tamper with that one?
CHALIAN: It is a little befuddling. Because Donald Trump on the campaign trail was saying absolutely nothing touching that. Of course that's going to stay. It was one of the things that Republicans always touted so that they can move on to different pieces of repeal, because they understood how popular pre-existing conditions were and playing with that in any way -- waivers, what have you -- to opt out or increased costs for folks, is not going to play well, as Ron was saying.
I do think you're right, Alisyn, to highlight Charlie Dent there. This is now going to be, should it get through the House, the way it's going to get through the House is the administration, Paul Ryan are going to have to pick off some moderates one by one. They're not going to move en masse in a group the way that, say, the Freedom Caucus seems to be doing.
[06:25:07] And so watch to see the sales plan one by one to see if they can peel off enough moderates or enough mainstream Republicans who are concerned about this to get over that 216. They do not yet have the votes.
CUOMO: One political victory that seems to be heading our way, April Ryan, is no shutdown. It seems they'll get a short-term deal, really short. We're hearing, like, the first week in May. But it's still something.
A. RYAN: Yes. That's next week. Is something. But you still have to deal with it until the end of the year. This is a stop-gap measure for the moment. Literally next week.
But you know, this issue is very big. You know, you don't have the wall there. That's one thing. That's off the table. That costly wall with the pretty door is off the table for now.
But going back to health care, Nancy Pelosi is trying to make sure in the C.R., if there's money to fund the subsidies for Obamacare or ACA.
And it's interesting, Chris. Yesterday, I'm going back to this tax reform sheet. And I want to read something to you. They are still trying to deal with issues of ACA. And I'm looking at something from this sheet, the tax sheet, tax reform sheet that the White House gave out. The one sheet. Repeal the 3.8 percent Obamacare tax that hits small businesses and invest -- and investment income. And this goes again to funding of the subsidies. Something that Nancy Pelosi is trying to make sure is part of this C.R. So it all goes back to ACA, Obamacare and defunding.
CUOMO: And remember, it's not just money. As April pointed out, you know, when you get to this opioid addiction and the need for mental health treatment, you're messing with people's families. And Mr. President, they believed you in New Hampshire when you said you were going to help, and they're waiting.
Panel, thank you very much.
Coming up on NEW DAY we're going to speak with Congressman Tom MacArthur. He's one of the men behind this new GOP health care amendment. He will make the case to you, and he will be tested.
CAMEROTA: All right. United Airlines announcing major changes in the wake of its flight fiasco. But can they win back customer trust after this video of them forcibly removing a passenger? This is next on NEW DAY.