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Republicans Review Draft; GOP Releases Health Care Draft; FBI Investigates Flint Stabbing; Hometown Mourns Warmbier. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired June 22, 2017 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:34:03] JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, it's all happening right now. Republicans are meeting behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, many of them learning for the first time exactly what is in their own version of the health care bill. Now the room they're in is off-limits to cameras, and Democrats.
I want to bring in CNN's Phil Mattingly, who's been buzzing around Capitol Hill trying to get some detail of what's in the bill and some opinions of lawmakers, but they are scarce this morning.
They're hiding from you, Phil.
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, what an interesting (INAUDIBLE). I swung by to grab my daily coffee, ran into a top aide to one of the senators who was in the original working groups. I said, hey, you know, what do you know? What are you seeing? And he looked at me and he smiled and he said, based on what I'm reading from CNN, you guys know more about what's in this than we do at this point. And that's actually true, we have a very good rundown of what's in the draft bill from sources that have seen it over the course of the last 12 to 15 hours.
But, John, I think the interesting element is, is the senators are really finding that out right now, behind closed doors. This will be a detailed briefing. An important one at that. Because what we know what's in the draft bill, at least according to these sources up to this point, will make some people happy on some issues, if you're a moderate senator that cares about the Medicaid expansion, well, you'll get a longer phase-out process than was in the House bill. But if you're a conservative senator that wants Medicaid spending to slow dramatically, you'll get something for that as well.
[09:35:12] Conservatives who care about Obamacare regulations, well, what you saw from the House bill, the waiver process, is not going to be in this draft, but they're going to give another waiver process that already exists in the ACA more flexibility for states to be able to get out of certain types of regulations. Will that make them happy? That's up in the air. There's also a year of defunding for Planned Parenthood. Obviously, abortion, a huge issue as well.
So that's what they're learning about behind closed doors. What's going to be really crucial, John, over the next kind of five or six hours is, once senators digest this, once their staff digests this, where do they sit? Do they need major changes? Will they be happy with it? Or are they out altogether? Those are the answers leadership is looking for and those are the answers we're going to be looking for as well.
BERMAN: All right, fantastic, Phil, we will let you get back to chasing people around that meeting and back to your phone to text them. Maybe we'll get some news from inside the meeting itself.
In the meantime, joining me is Douglas Holtz-Eakin. He is the president of American Action Forum and former director of the Congressional Budget Office. A pretty important place this week. And Jonathan Gruber, economics professor of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. And he is also described as the architect of Obamacare. Depending on which side is saying that it's meant as a good thing or not so much.
All right, gentlemen.
We don't know every detail that's in the Republican bill, but some of it has begun to leak out. And, Jonathan, to you. The Senate plan is going to drop the waiver. It's allowing states to let insurers boost premiums or some people with pre-existing conditions. So people with pre-existing conditions would be protected as far as we know. The Medicaid expansion, you know, the end of that would be much slower under the Senate version. So, again, just compared to the House version, does this bill have more heart, as the president would say, Jonathan?
JONATHAN GRUBER, ECONOMICS PROFESSOR, MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY: You know, I'm torn this morning. On the one hand, this is no longer an Obamacare repeal bill. That's good. On the other hand, this is just a giant cut in Medicaid. That's what this bill now amounts to.
GRUBER: And that's bad because delaying - look, we have a very long future ahead of us. If you delay for three years the Medicaid cuts, you have the convenient feature, which Doug knows well, which is CBO scores over a ten-year period. So by delaying it for three years, you reduce the headline number of how people lose health insurance, but over the long run it actually cuts Medicaid more. And why? It doesn't reduce the deficit barely at all, at least according to previous estimates. We won't know for sure until next week. The only thing it does is finance a giant tax cut for the rich. So really the Obamacare repeal has become a smoke screen. This is just a Medicaid cut to finance tax cuts for the rich.
BERMAN: So I want to break that apart and, Doug, I'm going to get your response to both sides of that.
But, first, Jonathan, when you say it's no longer an Obamacare repeal, specifically on that part, what do you mean? GRUBER: Well, what I mean is, if you look at what - what was
criticized Obamacare was subsidies. It was regulations. It was other things. This law wouldn't really change those. At least according to the leaked drafts we're seeing, it wouldn't change it very much. Now, the change that it would make are bad and I'm opposed to them, but they're not nearly as radical as the House changes. So really what they're doing is weakening the Obamacare repeal elements, which I like in some sense, but instead they're just doing a much more dramatic long-run cut to Medicaid.
BERMAN: All right, Doug, let's do this in reverse order. First, you know, Jonathan was saying what this would do to Medicaid. And you've been in the room that scores this right now. Based on what you've seen, when is all - when all is said and done, would this mean less money for Medicaid than would be otherwise there and would it mean less people served by Medicaid?
DOUGLAS HOLTZ-EAKIN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE: No. I think the important thing to recognize about Medicaid, about Medicare, Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, all of those are entitlement programs that are growing at rates that are unsustainable, all of those are contributing to rising deficits that will reach $1 trillion within the next eight years and all of those are going to face changes for that reason. We don't have a social safety net that is financially secure. So the Senate is taking sensible steps to build a secure social safety net and they're doing it in a way that is very different than the Affordable Care Act. They're going to rely on states. They recognize that health conditions and health delivery systems differ radically across the country. You can give the states the flexibility and the resources to use them effectively in their communities and that's the Senate approach. This is just the reality of our future, and Medicaid is just the first of these programs they're going to have to do this to.
BERMAN: But you do acknowledge that if you make the changes they're talking about making, yes, they're phasing - you know, they're phasing in the rollback of the expansion more slowly, but if you change the indexing, it does mean that less money would be going to Medicaid than otherwise would be. I know you think that these changes are necessary, but it means less money, correct?
HOLTZ-EAKIN: There's going to be less money, one way or another. This is just the way they've chosen to do it.
BERMAN: OK. And on the Obamacare repeal, I think it might be something, you know, from Jonathan's lips to Rand Paul's ears, the notion that this is not in fact a repeal of Obamacare. Do you agree with that statement, Doug?
[09:40:02] HOLTZ-EAKIN: I don't agree with that. If you look at the critiques of the Affordable Care Act, they come in many forms, but they really were a - a centralized, one-size-fits-all approach. It was a large tax increase and a large expansion of the entitlement programs at a time when the economy was not performing very well and we could not afford it. This is the reverse of all those things. And so -
HOLTZ-EAKIN: Yes, it's a - it's a trillion dollar tax increase, yes, it's to entitlement reforms, yes, that's exactly what the economy needs.
BERMAN: I have time for like just yes/no answers on these. Gentlemen, do you appreciate or approve of the way that the Senate Republicans have gone about doing this the last week behind closes doors? Doug, yes or no?
GRUBER: This is a middle finger to representative democracy. It's outrageous.
BERMAN: All right, the last question that both of you who watch politics very closely, do you think this will pass the Senate next week? Jonathan, yes or no.
GRUBER: I have no idea.
HOLTZ-EAKIN: I think the answer is, yes. And this product will be judged by the - by its merits, not by the process. The process is never the problem. The problem is always the product. We'll see how good this one is.
BERMAN: All right, well, we haven't seen it yet because it hasn't been released yet. The public just learning about it right now. And then the Senate gets to vote on it days after learning what's in it. Douglas Holtz-Eakin and Jonathan Gruber, a great discussion there. I appreciate it.
Today, the FBI is investigating the stabbing at Flint, Michigan's airport as an act of terrorism - a possible act of terrorism. New details on what authorities are finding. We're on the ground, next.
[09:45:33] BERMAN: All right, developing this morning, a juror in the Bill Cosby indecent assault case is offering a glimpse into the deadlocked deliberations. According to ABC News, the juror says that after dozens of hours of discussion, 10 of the 12 jurors agreed that Cosby was guilty on two counts, but the juror says the two holdouts would not budge. That is what ultimately led to the hung jury and mistrial. On a third count, only one juror believed that Cosby was guilty. The prosecutor says he plans to retry the case.
All right, new developments this morning. Also, the FBI is now investigating the stabbing incident at Flint, Michigan's airport as a possible act of terror. The Canadian citizen charged here allegedly yelled "Allahu Akbar" before stabbing a police officer in the neck. He was arrested at the scene and has been charged with violence at an international airport. The officer, Lieutenant Jeff Neville, is currently in stable condition. He is expected to fully recover.
CNN's Ryan Young is in Flint with all the details inside that airport.
RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: John, we are inside the airport. A lot of questions people have been asking us is about where this stabbing happened. Look, the checkpoint is down this way. So he didn't go through the checkpoint. But this is the area where the stabbing happened. And you can see this fresh piece of the carpet right here. That's because they were trying to cover the blood.
What we know from the FBI is, the man was carrying two bags. And this was all caught on video. He walked toward this bathroom right here. He left the two bags inside that bathroom. He doubled back and the officer was standing in this area and he stabbed the officer in the neck. Of course, he said "Allahu Akbar" before stabbing him.
That was a 12-inch knife with an 8-inch serrated blade. That officer never stopped fighting during this attack. There was also a maintenance worker in this area. He starting lending a hand to fight back against the attacker. Other people joined in to try to tackle him. They got him under arrest. He was making other statements during this. He said, "you kill people in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria" during this attack, but they - like I said, were able to get him arrested. You think about that officer still fighting after being stabbed in the neck. It's pretty grateful that he is still alive and, of course, in stable condition.
BERMAN: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) kind of his bravery to be sure. Ryan Young in the Flint, Michigan, airport. Thanks so much, Ryan.
All right, happening now, an Ohio community is coming together to remember a college student who died days after his release from a North Korean jail. Otto Warmbier, remembered. Stay with us.
[09:52:18] BERMAN: All right, this morning, Otto Warmbier's hometown is gathering to say good-bye to the college student who died six days after he was released by North Korea. His funeral is underway right now at his old high school.
CNN's Miguel Marquez is there.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, the service has just concluded, so we expect to see the casket of 22-year-old Otto Warmbier come through any moment now. There is a procession that is planned to the cemetery, which is about 3.5 miles away.
I will tell you here at Wyoming High School, they have filled it to capacity. They had about 2,500 seats. They're over that now. They're now asking people to line the way to the cemetery where Otto Warmbier will be laid to rest. A very simple ceremony here. His brother and sister spoke. Friends of
his spoke. It was officiated by Rabbi Jake Ruben. In attendance are several members of the Trump administration, including, interestingly enough, Ambassador Joseph Yun. He is the person that President Trump dispatched to Pyongyang to bring back Otto Warmbier in that comatic (ph) state just over a month ago.
The mystery surrounding this young man's death, though, does continue. The family asking that an autopsy not be performed on Otto Warmbier. The Hamilton County coroner saying that they might be able to have a cause and manner of death without having a full autopsy done.
I'm hearing bagpipes. I'm going to let you hear a little of what's happening here in Wyoming, Ohio.
[09:59:47] BERMAN: All right, good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman. Quite a morning.
Happening this hour on Capitol Hill, two very different moments for the two political parties. Right now Republican senators are behind closed doors finally getting to see what is in their own health care bill and maybe, more importantly, whether they can rally behind it for a vote next week.
And as for the Democrats, minutes from now, we are going to hear from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. This is the first time she will really make public remarks after members of her own party and own