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Republican Senators Scramble To Adjust Their Controversial Healthcare Plan Ahead Of This Week's Potential Vote; Did The Obama Administration Drop The Ball When It Came To Dealing With Russia's Election Meddling? Health And Human Services Secretary Tom Price Defended Senate Republican's Plan To Repeal Obamacare; Debate on Senate Health Care Bill; Supreme Court to Rule On Travel Ban; Justice Anthony Kennedy Possible Retirement; Mayors Frustrated with White House; President Trump Loves Weddings. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired June 25, 2017 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:02] BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: Hey, there. And it is 4:00 p.m. on the East Coast. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Fredricka Whitfield. Thank you so much for joining us this Sunday on the CNN NEWSROOM.
A bill with heart, that's the request from President Trump today as Republican senators scramble to adjust their controversial healthcare plan ahead of this week's potential vote. Although five lawmakers have publicly oppose the bill in its current form, the President says he is confident they will get there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to see a bill with heart. Health care is a very complicated subject from the standpoint that you move it this way and this group doesn't like it. You move it a little bit of (INAUDIBLE), very narrow path.
And honestly, nobody can beat totally happy, even without the votes. Forget about votes. This has nothing to do with votes. This has to do with picking a plan that everybody is going to like. I would like to say love, but like. But we have a very good plan. We have a few people that are, I think you can say modestly, they are not standing on the roof tops and screaming. They want to get some points. I think they will get some points. And I don't think they are that far off. I don't think they are far off. You know, famous last words, right? But I think we are going to get there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Let's go to CNN White House correspondent Athena Jones.
Athena, this bill proposes some major funding cuts to Medicaid. On the campaign trail, President Trump said he wouldn't cut that plan. Is the White House commenting on that now?
ATHENA JONES, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Boris. Well, according to the White House, that proposed changes to Medicaid aren't actually cuts. They argue that stopping the expansion of the program, which was expanded under Obamacare and putting on a cap on the amount of money states won't get doesn't amount to a cut. But if you were one of the 11 million people who got covered because of the expansion of Obamacare and you were the kind of person who would qualify for this coverage in the future and you don't ultimately get it, then you might see this a little differently.
Certainly, one of the big concerns of states like Ohio, the governor of Ohio, John Kasich, was on "STATE OF THE UNION" this morning talking about his concerns about the changes to the Medicaid program. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: But the total number of dollars that are going to be dedicated to Medicaid are not enough. I mean, it's not enough resources there. And I have been very concerned here in my state about treating the mentally ill, the drug addicted, the chronically ill, particularly under Medicaid expansion. If you look at the entire Medicaid pie, there is a huge challenge to it, because the resources are just not there. And I think we will find that over a ten-year period, Medicaid funding will be significantly curtailed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: So there you heard governor Kasich worried about Medicaid funding being curtailed. And let's remind our viewers that the nonpartisan congressional budget office scoring an earlier version of this bill of the house version found that there were going to be more than $800 billion in cuts to Medicaid, regardless of what the White House is arguing.
Now, we are waiting for new CBO score of this Senate version, but it could be a large number that. And that is a concern to governors like Kasich and also senators like Rob Portman of Ohio, and also governors, Republican governors like Brian Sandoval in Nevada and Senator Dean Heller of Nevada who have expressed these issues.
And you have to remind viewers that it isn't just moderate people on one side worried about cost of Medicaid, you also have conservatives who are worried that this bill doesn't go far enough to repeal Obamacare. And that it is too generous. So that is the sort of gap that they are going to have to bridge. And as you know, Republicans can only afford to lose two senators and still get this bill through. So right now, they're heading in the wrong direction - Boris.
SANCHEZ: Quite a bit of ground to cover, Athena. Thank you so much reporting from the White House.
I want to bring in our panel now to discuss. CNN political analyst Julian Zelizer. He is a historian and professor at Princeton University. We have also got Tami Luhby with us. She is a senior writer for CNN Money.
Tami, let's start with you. As the bill stands right now, help us break it down. Who stands to benefit and who stands to lose?
TAMI LUHBY, CNN MONEY SENIOR WRITER: Well, there are a lot of people who are going to benefit or there are some people who are going to benefit. It's going to be the younger folks, the healthier folks and the wealthier folks. So the younger and healthier, they are going to probably pay less premiums. Kaiser foundation just ransom numbers. And it showed that in South Carolina, in a lot of places in South Carolina, a 27-year-old making $40,000 a year might be a premium decrease of $1,500. So that's nice pretty nice to pay less for a year.
But on the flip side, you have got a lot of older folks and a lot of sicker folks who are going to pay a lot more. And also some middle class strangely, because the House and the Senate said they wanted to help more people, but they are lowering the threshold of who is going to be qualified for the subsidies. So in Alaska, in some places, if you are 60 and making $40,000 a year, you might pay $9,000 more a year in premiums. And that is going to be a big hit.
[16:05:09] SANCHEZ: Julian, Rand Paul is very open about the fact that he believes Obamacare is fundamentally flawed beyond ideological reasons. He thinks it's practically flawed because of the death spiral, right. Regulations drive up the cost of insurance, meaning not enough young, healthy people buy it, which makes it even more expensive for those sick and older folks who actually need it. He says this bill doesn't fix the death spiral. All it does it throw more federal money at it. He said though that he would support a partial repeal. How does Mitch McConnell bridge the gap with Rand Paul?
JULIAN ZELIZER, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Right now it's unclear how he does it. Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, you have a number of conservative Republicans who are saying that this bill does not go far enough in dismantling the regulations that are in place, gives the states too much flexibility to maintain them.
But then you have moderates like Susan Collins and you have governors like Governor Sandoval in Nevada who has a lot of influence in the state, who are saying this goes too far, because it will cut Medicaid. That will be the effect of this.
So how does McConnell do that? The pressure will be to move to the right. I think it's very hard for him to move to the moderates because not only does he have that problem in the Senate, but if he sends a moderate bill to the House for conference committee, it won't work. But I don't think anyone knows right now how you bring these two sides together.
SANCHEZ: Tami, let's talk about this Medicaid debates right. There is an argument that it is a cut. There is an argument that are just limiting it from growing. I want to show you this. Currently, Medicaid covers about half of all births in this country, half of all births. Two out of five children, three out of five nursing home residents. If Medicaid doesn't pay for these people, ultimately who does?
LUHBY: All of us. So that is really going to be the problem here. Because Medicaid pays for a lot of people. There are almost one in five Americans are covered by Medicaid. You have more than 70 million people. Now, many of those will remain on Medicaid after this, but the states are going to make some really hard choices after this, because they are going to get a lot less federal support, so they are going to be in a really tough bind over whom to cover.
And you know, people still need health care. So if people are getting sick, remember Trump said that nobody was going to die in the streets. So the states are going to, you know, be left with a lot of sick people who need care. And they are going to still go to the hospital and they are going to go to the energy room, which is one of the most expensive places to get care, but it's going to be their only option, because they don't have health insurance. And county residents and taxpayers, and you know, through their county, their real estate taxes, their state taxes, are going to pay for it. And all of us are going to pay through it with our private health insurance, because hospitals still have to take care of these people, and who are going to get the bill? It is going to the people with health insurance who can afford to play.
SANCHEZ: Julian, we talk about the Republicans, let's talk about the Democrats. So far the only thing they have done to try to prevent this bill from passing is symbolic, right. They have that delay of business on the senate floor. Is there anything else that they can do at this point?
ZELIZER: It could. There is some talk about them proposing many, many amendments, when the vote actually starts, which is a way to filibuster this bill, even though they can't filibuster it, because the Republicans are using what's called the reconciliation process. So it is to keep proposing things to be added on. And basically, talk, talk as long as possible to delay this.
But you know what? They don't really need to do that. Right now, they can just sit and watch as the Republicans have 52 votes. They have about seven to nine senators in their own party who are expressing doubts, if not saying they won't vote for the bill. So the math is not in favor of the Republicans.
The last thing the Democrats want to do right now is make this about the obstructionist Democrats as opposed to the Republicans who don't have a bill that's viable to get through the Senate. And then the House and Senate.
SANCHEZ: Tami, one of the proposals in the House bill that ultimately helped that version pass was the ability for states to opt out of Obamacare. If that does go through, how does this affect the whole system?
LUHBY: It's going to be a big problem. And the CBO, in the revision of their score, shows that it could make markets very unstable in a lot of states. Because once you start opting out, you know, we like to describe Obamacare is a major Jenga (ph). So once you pull pieces out, the whole thing starts to become unstable.
So in states that do up for waivers, that there are going to be a lot of changes because the healthy people are going to opt out, and you know, the people who need the care are going to find themselves with a lot higher premium. Remember, the Senate bill does it a little differently. So the Senate
bill does not allow states to waive out of what is called community rating which would allow insurers to base premiums based on your health history. That was the big controversial piece because that was part of the preexisting protections that Obamacare provided people, so states would not be allowed to do that, but they would be allowed to opt out of other Obamacare regulations that do help those with preexisting conditions. Something called the essential health benefits, which requires insurers to cover many different kinds of services and many treatments. So if the insurers don't have to cover that, then people who are sick are not going to be able to get the drugs that they need. They are not going to be able to get the treatment that they need and it's going to be a problem for them.
[16:10:43] SANCHEZ: Julian, I apologize to my producers. They are not going to be happy about this but I do want to ask very quickly, I believe it was Chuck Schumer who said it was 50-50 of whether this thing would pass. What percentage would you put it at?
ZELIZER: Right now, I think it less than 50-50. I think it's a 30 to 40 percent chance of this passing. And I personally not convinced that McConnell really has the drive right now to get this through. I think there is part of him and the Republicans who are actually willing to let this die. But I think you're at 30 to 40 percent. It is about votes that contradict the President and they don't have them right now.
SANCHEZ: All right. Tami Luhby, Julian Zelizer, thank you both so much. I apologize to my producer.
Coming up, did the Obama administration drop the ball when it came to dealing with Russia's election meddling. The criticism now coming from Republicans and Democrats, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the Obama administration should have done a lot more when it became clear that not only was Russia intervening but it was being directed at the highest levels of the Kremlin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:15:45] SANCHEZ: President Trump is once again taking aim at his predecessor, accusing former President Obama of quote "doing nothing about Russian interference in the 2016 election." And now, it's not just Republicans criticizing the former commander in-chief.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), RANKING MEMBER, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think the Obama administration should have done a lot more when it became clear that not only was Russia intervening but being directed at the highest levels of the Kremlin. And indeed that Senator Feinstein and I were repeatedly trying to make that case to the administration initially when they didn't want to make attribution, they didn't want to publicly talk about Russia's role.
And later, after we issued our own statement and they did attribute the conduct to Russia, I was urging that they begin then the process of sanctioning Russia. The administration talking more forcefully about what the Russians had done. I think that was a mistake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Here to discuss, CNN national security analyst Steve Hall. He is the retired CIA chief of Russia operations. And CNN legal analyst Michael Zeldin.
Gentlemen, thank you again for joining us. He worked to special counsel Robert Mueller justice department, I should say about Mike Zeldin.
Michael, this bantering back and forth between political parties seems to be escalating. So does President Trump put himself in any legal risk, continuing the post about this ongoing investigation?
MICHAEL ZELDIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, not directly, unless he says something that I can't foresee that would put him in legal jeopardy. But indirectly, I think what it hurts him is with the matter of his credibility. If he says one thing one day, another thing another day, there were tapes, there were no tapes, this is a Democratic hoax, this is not a Democratic hoax, then he becomes an unbelievable witness, if you will. And he may have to become a credible witness as the case with obstruction or other aspects of the collusion inquiry go forward. So the more he undermines his own credibility with these random tweets that seem to have some sort of schizophrenia underlying them, I don't mean that in medical sense, I mean just that in different points of view, I don't think it's helpful to him.
SANCHEZ: Steve, one of the most interesting aspects of this "Washington Post" reporting is this program that Obama put in place to try to serve as a deterrent on Russia, these implants that would go into Russians system and could be activated if there is some kind of more meddling from Russia. Would that really keep them from interfering in our democratic process moving forward?
STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Probably not. One of the problems is, it's a very slippery slope. You have to be very careful when you are talking about essentially engaging in cyber warfare. I mean, it's very similar to essentially nuclear warfare when you start something like that. You have to be very concerned is to where it is going to stop.
But there is a little bit of good news I think in this issue with regard to, you know, how much the Obama administration did or didn't do. Because what you have now is the current administration, you know, admitting, acknowledging that it's not a hoax, like they said it was earlier.
Remember, the platform that Donald Trump ran on was making America great again and making America respected with their foreign allies. The one thing that Russians respects is power. So I would expect to see an extremely strong Russian policy out of the Trump administration, now that they have essentially acknowledge the yes, this indeed was a direct attack, there is got to be some pretty strong stuff out of the Trump administration to counter and to go back against that.
SANCHEZ: Well, President Trump is set to meet with Vladimir Putin or at least be part of talks at Vladimir will be present at the G-20 next month. Do you think it is something they chat about?
HALL: I would certainly hope so. Again, this is, you know, Donald Trump has said, you know, that he makes great deals so he can be very strong and that he is going to put America first and that he is going to make America respected, as he claims it was not during the previous administration.
As a start, I would think, you know, that a good push against Putin about this and about a lot of other things to include Ukraine, Crimea, a whole bunch of other issues where Russia has essentially acted inappropriately and international partner. It's time that the Trump administration come up with a strong policy that will push back hard. Next week's meeting will be an opportunity to start that process.
SANCHEZ: Now Michael, I want you to listen to Senator Joe Mansion earlier this morning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANSION (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Russia is not our ally. Russia is not our friend. And to treat Putin as an ally and a friend is wrong. I don't look at him as a friend. I don't look at Russia and I'm very skeptical of what they are doing their intensions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[16:20:11] SANCHEZ: Now, Russia is not our friend. But again, President Trump is set to meet with Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit next month. Is that a legal risk with an ongoing investigation, the fact that it's possible that someone in the administration may have colluded with Russia?
ZELIZER: I don't think so. In the sense that the oval office meeting he had with the Russian diplomat was not a legally jeopardizing event when he said that he ended the collusion investigation because of Comey's pressure. You know, it has some tangential impact on it. But I don't think it's a direct.
But again, you don't know what he is going to say. So what he says can be jeopardizing. You can spin out hypotheticals where that is the case. What seems to me that if, to follow up in the last point, though, that if it is viewed that Russia is an adversary and if it is viewed that something needs to be done, and from a legal stand point there is a mechanism through the office of foreign assets control which is economic sanctions. And that's a possibility that we will see if it gets played out along lines that Obama tried to in the previous administration. SANCHEZ: Now, Steve, you made the case that Russia is still an
inherent risk with interference and meddling in our election. What would it take to fully push them out of our democratic process from your perspective?
HALL: Yes. And there lies the question and I think from many, many administrations, certainly the ones that I worked under when I was at CIA, struggled with to include the Obama administration. I remember watching policy being -- trying to be formulated when President Obama was there. And it's tricky to figure out a way to push back hard against Vladimir Putin because of the involvement in our elections, the meddling in our elections or any of the other activities Russia is engaged in worldwide. It's difficult to find a good line of policy that doesn't have a lot of unintended consequences which at the end of the day weaken the United States.
So you know, it goes from the range of what we were discussing earlier, a very strong cyber, you know, approach, are there cyber vulnerabilities that the United States can launch attacks, and all the way back to the somewhat emotionally less satisfying and probably a little bit less effective sanctions, and there are wide varieties of opportunities in between. But it is really, really hard. It's easy to say they ought to do this, that, or the other. But when you sit down around the table and say OK, what are going to be the ramifications if we do x, y, or z. It becomes quite a bit more tricky.
SANCHEZ: All right. Steve Hall, Michael Zeldin, we have to leave it there. Gentlemen, thank you so much.
Secretary of state Rex Tillerson is encouraging cooperation between Qatar, a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, and the Arab countries boycotting it. Tillerson wants the countries to meet and resolve their diplomatic disputes. The Arab country has cut ties with Qatar earlier this month accusing the country of supporting terrorism. Now last week, those Arab countries delivered a list of 13 demands to Qatar and gave the country ten days to comply.
Up next, the Senate GOP healthcare bill and your wallet. What will the new proposal bring? Will it bring down premiums or push them higher? Top Republicans are split on the answer to that question. We will explain, next.
[16:27:39] SANCHEZ: We are expecting a possible vote in the Senate this week on the GOP's healthcare bill. This morning on CNN's "STATE OF THE UNION," health and human services secretary Tom Price defended Senate Republican's plan to repeal Obamacare. And by doing so, he made a pretty big promise.
TOM PRICE, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: The plan that we have to put in place would not allow individuals to fall through the cracks. We would not be without pull the rug out from under anybody. We would not have individuals lose coverage that they want for themselves and for their family. We want to make certain that health care is available to all Americans. Right now, we have got 28 million Americans who are uninsured, who don't have insurance right now in the current plan. Is that a plan that works for patients? Absolutely not. That is the kind of thing we are trying to fix.
DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I want to look at a different part of the plan before the senate and certainly what was on the House as well. And that is that it would slash taxes on the wealthiest of Americans.
Looking at the bill that came out of the House, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said that your plan would reduce his tax bill by $680,000. And he has a question for public officials that I wanted to pose to you. Let's listen.
WARREN BUFFETT, BILLIONAIRE INVESTOR: I think it would be very interesting for the constituents of every congressman that voted for that bill to ask question, just one question, are you above 250 on your adjusted gross income? And if you were, how much would you save from what you paid last year from this bill you just passed?
BASH: So what's the answer? How much would you save under the House and Senate bills, sir?
PRICE: Remember, that Obamacare taxes were put in place to build the whole new government program, government-run health care. But when you back out of that, when you make it so you have a patient centered system, where patients and families and doctors are running healthcare and not the federal government, then that of necessity allows you to do so with not as much money.
And so, we believe it's absolutely vital that we decrease taxes for the American people, allow them to keep their hard-earned money. Did you appreciate - and I don't know if your listeners do, there are 6.5 million Americans right now who are paying $3 billion in penalties, in taxes, just for the privilege of not purchasing health coverage. Can you imagine that? That's a system that is not working for those 6.5 million. How about lowering the taxes for those 6.5 million.
BASH: And I understand that. But the question now is, when it comes to the bill that is before the United States Senate, the fact of the matter is, people like you are going to get a tax cut.
PRICE: Well, the fact of the matter is that those 6.5 million will no longer have to pay $3 billion in a penalty or a tax to the federal government because they're not interested in purchasing what the government wants to force them to buy. Look, this is a system right now that run by the government, for the government, dictated by the government and it's not responding to patient needs and that's what we want to get to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: I want to bring in our panel to discuss. Art Laffer is a former economic adviser for President Reagan, Seth Harris is a former acting secretary of labor under President Obama. Art, let's start with you. You've gotten a chance to look at this bill, in your opinion, what does it do to the American Economy?
ART LAFFER, FORMER ECONOMIC ADVISER FOR PRESIDENT REAGAN: Well, I think this bill would be very good for the economy. I disagree with Warren Buffett. I mean whenever you have a limited supply of something like health care, whenever you put in subsidies, it raises prices. I mean, you can't get more with the health care. Now it does change the distribution of health care away from those who have it now and to those who didn't have.
Those who didn't have it will get more of it, that's true but the one thing that bothers me and I do like in this bill, is insurance is not health care. And when you require the medical community to fill in forms and do all sorts of other bureaucratic things that does reduce the availability of resources to actually serving patients in the totality of the economy. So, those are the issues I think we have to face.
SANCHEZ: Seth, health care is responsible for a huge portion of the American economy, millions of jobs. So, are fewer federal going to end up costing jobs?
SETH HARRIS, FORMER ACTING SECRETARY OF LABOR FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: No question about it. The health care industry has been really surprising for 25 years, in good times and bad, Republicans and Democrats in office, the health care industry has grown jobs consistently. But what this bill will do, what the House bill and the Senate bill would do is pull hundreds of billions of dollars in financing out of the health care industry.
That means that a lot of people who need care won't be able to afford care. A lot of people who need insurance won't be able to get insurance. So it's possible that some portion of that money will be made up by states or by working families, borrowing against their houses or running up their credit card debt. But we're going to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in investment and health care and that means that one of the most reliable job engines in our economy is going to be stumbling.
SANCHEZ: Back to you, Art.
SANCHEZ: Republicans are seemingly disagreeing about whether or not this thing is going to bring down premiums. You heard what Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price had to say. I want you to listen to what Rand Paul said earlier today on ABC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRICE: The plan in its entirety will absolutely bring premiums down because you increase competition, you increase choices for individuals, you allow folks to be able to purchase the kind of coverage that they want, not that the government forces them to buy. Those are all of the secret keys to a market that actually works for health care and works for patients. That's the key.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: They promise too much. They say they're going to fix health care and premiums are going to go down. There's no way the Republican bill brings down premium. Look, I've been in medicine 20 years, I'm 54-years-old, premiums have never gone down.
They're not going to go down after the Republican bill and it's a false sort of overpromising to say oh, yes, insurance premiums are going to go down, but we're keeping 10 of 12 of the mandates that cause the prices to go up? It's a foolish notion to promise something you can't provide.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Art, is Tom Price promising something he can't provide?
LAFFER: I don't think so. I think Rand Paul is correct about the history of premiums going up, that's very true, but getting rid of just two of those things that have caused premiums to rise will be better than not getting rid of any. I mean, it's a very simple thing. Health care industry, insurance companies and hospitals have done very, very well in the last few years and especially under Obamacare.
I was chairman of the board of the board of Centennial, a hospital near in Nashville, which is the flagship for HCA, and I can tell you there are lots of ways of bringing competition back in. Just transparency, just knowing what you're paying for the medical services you get. No one knows that. No one knows the quality of the medical services. They don't have any quality.
Those would be really easy to make the markets far more competitive and make them respond to consumers, but that's not it. Doctors don't even know what the cost of some of these procedures are. They just tell you to get them and that's it. And that's not a good system, it really isn't. And it doesn't lead to control over costs. That's for sure.
SANCHEZ: Seth, Democrats let's say haven't been shy to express their feelings over this proposed bill. I want you to listen to Senator Chuck Schumer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The president said the Senate bill needed heart. The way this bill cuts health care is heartless. The president said the House bill was mean. The Senate bill may be meaner. The Senate Republican health care bill is a wolf
[16:35:00] in sheep's clothing. Only this wolf has even sharper teeth than the House bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: Hillary Clinton also tweeted out when the bill came out saying that if this passes, it makes the Republican Party a death party. Is all the Democrats can do at this point rhetorical? In other words, is there any strategy to shoot this thing down other than just talking about it?
HARRIS: Well, I think what they have to do is point out that this is not really a health care bill. Let me say, I'm so delighted that Professor Laffer is in this discussion. He is the god father of supply side economics in America and I say that with all due respect, but that is a philosophy that says cut taxes for the wealthy and you're going to help everybody. It hasn't worked. That's precisely what this bill does.
It gives billions and billions and billions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest people in our society and cuts that money out of health insurance and health care for poor people, working class people and middle class people. In the process, it's going to devastate industries like nursing care, opioid addiction treatment in the United States. Rural hospitals are going to get slammed by this bill. Many of them are going to have to close.
So as Democrats fight this bill and I hope they will vigorously fight this bill, they need to point out that this is a tax cut bill for the wealthy that is going to do devastating damage to middle class communities around America.
SANCHEZ: Art, he mentioned you by name, I think that he knows you.
LAFFER: Yes, I guess he did. Well, I just -- I think he's wrong. OK, I think we did pretty well with Reagan. I think Kennedy did pretty well. I think Bill Clinton did pretty well. Those were all supply side administrations. What he doesn't realize and what is really important here, Seth doesn't realize that there are fixed amount of medical resources and if you give one group medical resources, and I don't disagree with that by the way, Boris. I really don't.
Just remember you're going to take them away from someone else as well. It's a fix them upper and you're going to push prices up. That's just simple economics. As Larry Gatlin says, Seth, it ain't rocket surgery.
SANCHEZ: Art Laffer and Seth Harris, we'll have to leave it at that. Thank you gentlemen so much. Appreciate your time.
LAFFER: Thank you.
HARRIS: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Coming up, a crucial test for President Trump's travel ban as the Supreme Court is set to rule as early as this week on whether it should be allowed to take effect. All of this amid questions over whether or not one justice will soon step down.
But first, this week's CNN Hero decided to help adults with developmental disabilities find work. It's estimated that nearly 70 percent do not have jobs. So Amy Wright, a mother of two kids with Down syndrome set out to change that with Bitty & Beau's Coffee.
(BEGIN VIDE CLIP) AMY WRIGHT, CNN HERO: People with disabilities are the largest
minority in the world and yet, they're an invisible minority because most of them are so used to being in the shadows.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you're first latte today.
WRIGHT: Our 40 employees are proud to be employed by Bitty & Beau's Coffee and they will shout it from the roof stops. And it's given them a sense of being valued and respected in ways that we take for granted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: If you want to learn more about Bitty & Beau's Coffee and Amy Wright, visit cnnheroes.com and while you're there, nominate someone who is changing the world to be a 2017 CNN Hero. Stay with us.
[16:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SANCHEZ: There could be high drama on the high court this week, as the Supreme Court issues final opinions of its current term. CNN's Ariane De Vouge covers the court. She joins us now from Washington. Ariane, nefore we get into the final opinions, there've been several discussions about a possible retirement on the court. What's the possibility that Justice Anthony Kennedy might hang up his robes?
ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Well Boris, all eyes are on Justice Anthony Kennedy. Sources say that he's seriously considering retirement, but no one knows if it would come as early this term. And of course it would be a big change not only for the court but for the country. He's that critical swing vote.
He is -- he votes with the liberals on issues such as affirmative action, abortion access, same-sex marriage, and he votes with conservatives on gun rights, campaign finance, Bush v. Gore. If President Trump were to be able to get this second vacancy, it would be a real opportunity to replace a centrist on the court with a conservative. That would solidify the conservative base for decades to come.
This morning, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, she was asked if Kennedy had said anything about his plans. Listen to what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS HOST: Final question, last day of the Supreme Court tomorrow. A lot of speculation about Justice Kennedy. Has he said anything to the White House about his retirement plans?
KELLYANNE CONWAY, WHITE HOUSE COUNSELOR: I will never reveal a conversation between a sitting justice and the president or the White House, but we're paying very close attention on these last bit of decisions and I can tell you one thing, just as the president did with Justice Neil Gorsuch, whenever there are vacancies, whenever that happens, he will look for somebody who has fidelity to the constitution who doesn't make up the laws, they go along and somebody who has a judicial temperament and a record that's beyond reproach as to Justice Gorsuch.
We just hope the next time we can get more than a handful of Democratic senators to vote for our nominees to the Supreme Court and to the federal courts. We like a lot more cooperation from our Democratic friends. We know obstruction and resistance is their motto.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DE VOGUE: Well it's interesting because the liberals are really nervous. They really want Kennedy to stay on, Boris.
SANCHEZ: Ariane, we know that there are some final opinions coming, but is there any indication as to whether or not the court is going to intervene in the debate over the travel ban?
DE VOGUE: Well, that's what we're waiting, right, for the travel ban. We expect an order that could
[16:45:00] come as early as tomorrow. We're not quite sure on the timing there. And of course, we're waiting to see what the court will do there. That's that provision of the executive order that stops travel for people from Muslim majority countries, six of them.
The lower courts have said -- one court said it's unconstitutional likely. Another said that it probably violates the law. So the administration is coming to the Supreme Court and says look, let it go into effect now, and hear arguments next fall. And the court is expected to act on that and it could act as early as tomorrow.
SANCHEZ: All right, Ariane De Vogue reporting from the nation's capital. Thank you.
DE VOGUE: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Coming up, as the rift deepens among Senate Republicans over Medicaid funding and the GOP health bill, mayors from around the countries are expressing grave concerns over who is going to suffer most. That story next.
[16:50:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SANCHEZ: Some mayors across the country are frustrated with the Russia cloud hanging over the White House. They say the attention needs to be focused on health care, climate change, immigration, and a host of other issues, and those mayors have a message for President Trump. Rosa Flores explains.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I met with the mayors every single year I was president and I always looked forward to it.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: While the 42nd president spoke to more than 250 mayors at the U.S. Mayor's Conference in Miami Beach, it was the 45th president who was on some of the mayor's minds, especially on issues such as climate change, immigration, and health care.
GREG FISCHER, MAYOR OF LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY: What the promise was more and better health care, lower cost. So that's really what America is looking for right now. When you take a city like my Louisville, 100,000 people could lose health care.
MARTIN WALSH, MAYOR OF BOSTON: I think it's going to affect somewhere around 300,000 plus Massachusetts folks.
SLY JAMES, MAYOR OF KANSAS CITY: This is unfortunately a political solution. They're looking for a political win.
FLORES: And it wasn't just Democrats. Here's the republican mayor of Mesa, Arizona, John Giles.
JOHN GILES, MAYOR OF MESA, ARIZONA: And if we fumble this, you know, it could be the end of the Republican Party if people, you know, see us take something that is flawed like Obamacare and think that the way to fix that is to make it worse, then I think I'm not sure what we have to offer as a party. So, this is going to be a defining moment for the Republican Party.
FLORES: But on sanctuary cities, a different story.
GILES: We cooperate with ICE.
FLORES: Mayor Marty Walsh who once offered to turn Boston City Hall into a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants says that Trump's executive orders on the matter have only created fear and mistrust.
WALSH: In Boston, what we try is just continue to build that trust with people who are undocumented in our city.
FLORES: On climate change, when President Trump exited the Paris Climate Accord, more than 300 mayors pledged to honor the commitments of the agreement.
FISCHER: We see no difference between being environmentally responsible and being successful as a business as well. So, we're moving full speed ahead with all of our environmental programs in Louisville.
FLORES: Knowing that the president often turns to twitter, we asked these mayors what their message to President Trump would be in 140 characters or less.
JAMES: Be careful what you say, it may come back to bite you. And once it's out there, you can't take it back.
WALSH: Act responsibly. You're the president of the United States of America. People are watching you.
FLORES: Rosa Flores, CNN, Miami.
SANCHEZ: Rosa, thank you.
Coming up, President Trump, he is the president, a real estate mogul and a wedding crasher? The nuptials he was actually invited to this weekend, next.
[16:55:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
SANCHEZ: We have some terrifying moments to show you from a New York amusement park. Watch this video, a teenage girl falls from a ride. A crowd is gathered below. They saw the girl dangling from the gondola ride at "Six Flags." She fell about 25 feet and hit a tree on her way down. You see it there. Fortunately, the crowd was able to catch her and the girl was taken to the hospital with only minor injuries.
President Trump stayed in Washington this weekend to celebrate Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin's wedding. But you don't have to be a cabinet official to get the president to make an appearance at your nuptials. Yu just have to be in the right Trump property at the right time. Here's CNN's Dana Bash.
BASH: If there's one thing we know about President Trump, it's that he loves a wedding.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- and you really are special, a beautiful couple, and I hope every right next to you get back (INAUDIBLE).
BASH: He's the chief wedding crasher at his properties. A perk that was once advertised in a Trump club brochure although the club says it's since then removed. This time he is an invited guest at the wedding of his treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, who is a former Hollywood movie producer who invested in hits like "Avatar" and ironically "How To Be Single."
His bride, Louise Linton, is an actress. She also briefly took over as CEO of MMnuchin's film financing company until Democrats raised ethical objections. The president will surely approve of the bridal bling, which Linton modeled for "Town and Country" magazine. But none of it is likely to trump Melania's giant diamond engagement ring, all 15 carats of it.
LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Let's show the ring. Did you pick it?
MELANIA TRUMP, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: He picked it.
BASH: The Trumps of course splashed out every aspect of their wedding. Melania posed in her designer gown for the cover of Vogue, and the guest list was a who's who of the power elite including Bill and Hillary Clinton. But when it comes to making a marriage last, President Trump says it's less glitz and more grit.
TRUMP: What Melania is so good at, we just have this natural relationship. It's like my mother and father who were married 63 years. I've always heard you have to work at a good relationship. My father didn't work at a good relationship. He went home, he had dinner, he went to bed, he took it easy, he watched television. My mother does the same thing. She cooked him dinner.
BASH: This weekend though, it was all about the newly married Mnuchins and the presidential guest, who loves his weddings like his walls, big and beautiful.
SANCHEZ: That was Dana Bash. Thank you for that reporting. Thank you so much for joining me this afternoon. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Fredricka Whitfield. The next hour of "Newsroom" with my good friend from Denver, Ana Cabrera, starts right now.
ANA CABRERA, CNN NEWSROOM SHOW HOST: Thank you, Boris. You are live in the "CNN Newsroom." I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Great to have you with me. Up first this hour, full court press. The president and his supporters in fierce fighting mode, unleashing a series of attacks on TV and on twitter, aimed at discrediting the Russia investigation.
[17:00:00] A pro-Trump group released a new ad targeting special counsel Robert Mueller and members of his legal team who have donated to Democrats. The title, witch-hunt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: FBI Director Comey leaked information to the press--