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Trump Comments on DACA; Bipartisan Hearing on Health Care; Governor of Florida's News Conference; GOP and Dems to Hold News Conference. Aired 9:30-10a ET
Aired September 6, 2017 - 09:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[09:32:27] POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So President Trump punting DACA back to Congress, putting pressure on lawmakers to fix that legislation that shields undocumented immigrants brought here as children by their parents from deportation.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, he punted, but then overnight seemed to try to regain possession, sort of.
Let's discuss this with Democratic Senator Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.
Senator, thank you so much for being with us.
Maybe you can help us understand. The president overnight said that if Congress can't legalize DACA, he will revisit the issue. How do you interpret that? What do you think he means?
SEN. MAGGIE HASSAN (D), NEW HAMPSHIRE: Well, first of all, thanks for having me this morning.
Look, I am very concerned about President Trump's decision here, and his tweet last night just seemed to add uncertainty.
What we should be focused on is making sure that we are deporting criminals and those who pose a threat to our public safety, not hard working dreamers who know no other country than the United States of America and who are contributing to our economy and our society. So I strongly support the Dream Act and hope very much that we're going to be able to pass it with bipartisan support because we know that these young people who are, by all intents and purposes living in America, being Americans, contributing to the economy and society, should have a path forward to citizenship.
HARLOW: Senator, what if that legislation in the next six months came to you and your fellow Democrats with also some funding for border protection, or for a border wall even --
HASSAN: Well, we know --
HARLOW: Is that something you could get on board with, meaning what will you and what do you think your party should give on this to protect the dreamers? HASSAN: I think it's very, very important that we find a path forward
for dreamers. It's also very important that we strengthen border security. So I think you'll find a bipartisan commitment to make sure that we can accomplish both things.
It's long past time for comprehensive immigration reform in the United States, which has to include border security and a path forward for people to become citizens after they've paid fines and taxes for instance.
And there's been that kind bipartisan support in the United States Senate in the past. I hope that we can come together and really focus on solving the problem and stay away from our partisan corners on this.
BERMAN: Wall funding, yes or no?
HASSAN: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you.
BERMAN: Funding for the president -- funding for the president's border wall, though, would that be a yes or no for you?
HASSAN: I don't think there's support for the kind of border wall that the president's been talking about. I think a lot of us understand that that isn't the most effective way to secure our borders. And so I'd focus on how we can secure our borders, listening to the people on the front lines of this, so we can do both things, have border security and support our dreamers.
[09:35:12] HARLOW: The thing, though, senator, is that that was sort of promise number one from this president on the campaign trail. I will build a wall. Right now I think we all know Mexico's not going to pay for that wall.
HARLOW: But if this is his and the Republicans' line, some money, not full funding, some money for a border wall, if that protects these 800,000 dreamers, will you do is it?
HASSAN: What I will do is focus on how we can protect our dreamers and strengthen border security. Right now what we need to do, though, is eliminate the uncertainty that these young people are facing. Here they came forward giving information to the United States government after DACA was enacted, and then now they're facing this kind of uncertainty, which is just unfair and immoral.
And I strongly disagree with the president's decision. And I think we should be protecting the dreamers. And I'm very hopeful that we'll have bipartisan support for doing just that.
BERMAN: A couple of other quick issues, if we still have time with you. Number one, there's going to be something very unusual on Capitol Hill today. It's a bipartisan hearing on health care reform. This is something that I can't remember the last time we saw such a -- such a remarkable thing. What do you think the chances are? Give me odds that Congress could pass funding to fund these subsidies to insurance companies, the $7 billion, to provide insurance for low income Americans?
HASSAN: Well, what we know is that there's bipartisan support for continuing and insuring the cost sharing reductions, which are subsidies that help everyday Americans afford their deductibles, out of pocket costs and copays on their insurance policies. So they go back to the people that need them the most so that they can afford health care.
There's also bipartisan support for reinsurance. And something we will hear from insurance commissioners from around the country today, as we just did earlier in an informal discussion with them, is how important reinsurance is to stabilizing the market.
There is bipartisan commitment. I'm very grateful to Senators Lamar and Murray for calling this bipartisan hearing. Our health committee has a tradition and record of tackling difficult issues in a bipartisan way and getting some results. And we don't have a lot of time here. So I think what you'll see is us focusing on what the conditions are on the ground, how we can stabilizing the markets right now and then move forward because Democrats also realize that the Affordable Care Act needs improving and there are some measures we need to take in the long term to do that. But I think what you'll see right now is the focus on how we can stabilize the market.
HARLOW: Senator, it's nice to have you and it's nice to see some bipartisanship in this hearing that is going to get underway on Capitol Hill. We'll see what comes of it. Thank you for joining us, Senator Hassan. We appreciate it.
HASSAN: Thank you very much for having me. Thank you.
BERMAN: All right, we have our eye very much on Hurricane Irma right now, the most powerful hurricane ever in the open Atlantic, going right towards millions of Americans right now. You're looking at live pictures. We're expecting a news conference from Governor Rick Scott of Florida any minute. Miami could be right in this thing's path. We'll bring you the very latest, next.
[09:42:29] HARLOW: Florida Governor Rick Scott addressing Hurricane Irma. Let's listen.
GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: The track now has forecasted direct impact to the Florida Keys on Sunday as a devastating major hurricane. The Florida Keys should be preparing to start feeling the effects of this storm as early as Saturday. Storm surge and extreme winds are the biggest concern right now.
This storm is bigger, faster and stronger than Hurricane Andrew. We are being very aggressive in our preparation for this storm and every Floridian should take this seriously and be aggressive to protect their family. It is important not to forecast on the exact path of this storm. A
storm of this size could have effects statewide and everyone must be prepared. I know it shifted east in the latest forecast, but we all have to understand that this is serious and we cannot take chances.
Regarding evacuations. Right now there is a mandatory evacuation order in effect for all the visitors in the Florida Keys. Tonight this order will go into effect for all residents. If you are told to evacuate, get out quickly.
We can expect additional evacuations as this storm continues to come near our state. Everyone must listen to their local officials. Listen to your local officials on the evacuations. Individuals with special needs will be evacuated from Miami beginning this morning. Miami-Dade County officials are also advising resident that live in low-lying areas to start evacuating today.
I cannot stress this enough, do not ignore evacuation orders. Remember, we can rebuild your home but we cannot rebuild your life.
Real-time traffic information and evacuation routes is available add wwwfl511.com, www.fl511.com.
At my direction, all tolls have been waved across Florida roadways. This should help families evacuate quickly and safely.
We are preparing for Irma to directly impact our state. And while it's still too early to tell exactly where this storm will hit, it is incredibly important that all Floridians keep a close eye on this incredibly dangerous storm. Do not sit and wait for this storm to come. It is extremely dangerous and deadly and will cause devastation. Get prepared right now.
Regarding the Florida National Guard. Yesterday I activated the 100 members of the Florida Air and Army National Guard to support with planning, logistics and operations in preparation for potential impacts from Hurricane Irma. These 100 members are stationed across the state right now. And air assets from the North Carolina National Guard are beginning hospital evacuations in the Florida Keys this afternoon.
[09:45:07] Today, I am activating another 900 guard members for a total of 1,000 by the end of the day to respond to prepare for Hurricane Irma. On Friday, all 6,000 remaining available National Guard members will be reporting for duty. I stand ready to activate additional guard members throughout the week as need.
In addition, 13 helicopters and more than 1,000 tactical high water vehicles are on standby. The Florida National Guard is coordinating with other states and the National Guard Bureau is to ensure approximately 30,000 troops, 4,000 trucks, 100 helicopters and their evacuation crews are ready to support our state.
Regarding fish and wildlife. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission it preparing search and rescue teams for potential deployment. Regarding utility providers. I've been in constant contact with
Florida utility providers. They're already working on staging a massive allocation so that they can return power as quickly as possible following this storm. There are actually pre-positioning resources throughout the state and in neighboring states. We know from previous storms how incredibly important it is for power to be restored quickly. I will be talking with the utilities often throughout the day and have urged county and city officials, including sheriffs and police chiefs, to reach out to their utility providers so we can all work together in response to Irma.
Regarding shelters. If you're evacuating from The Keys, you can shelter at Florida International University. We're working hand-in- hand with the county to insure that shelters are available for other communities who may need to evacuate. There's absolutely no reason for anyone not to evacuate if you're ordered to do so. Shelters will be available and you should follow the directions of your local officials to go to the shelter that fits your needs.
Families can go to www.floridadisaster.org/information -- or dash info to learn where shelters are in your area. The state is staging supplies such as meals, shelter support trailers, (INAUDIBLE) the state logistic resource center in central Florida for deployment as need. We will be pre-positioning the goods once we have a better understanding of the path of this storm.
The state has also established local points of contact with volunteer organizations to coordinate sheltering and feeding operations. The American Red Cross has also established a disaster relief operation in Orlando.
Last night I spoke with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price. He told me that HHS has disaster medical assistance teams en route to Florida. These rapid response teams aid in the provision of medical care to those who need it after the storm.
The Florida Department of Education is in contact with school districts, state colleges and universities. They will be receiving updates before, during and after the storm. To find out if your local school district is closing, please visit the Florida Department of Education website at www.fldoe.org. At this time all school districts and colleges are monitoring Irma and her path. For any questions on school closure, please call your superintendent.
Lake Okeechobee. I've been in touch with the South Florida Water Management District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to discuss Like Okeechobee water levels and the Herbert Hoover Dike. And I will be speaking with them again later today. The U.S. Army Corps of engineers and the South Florida Water Management District have begun lowering water levels in Lake Okeechobee, as well as the surrounding canals, and moving as much water as possible to tide and south through flood control structures throughout its flood control system in preparation for this storm. Routine inspections of the Herbert Hoover Dike have taken place and additional inspections will begin once the lake approaches 17 feet. The lake level right now it's 13.68 feet. We've seen reports on the news of grocery stores being out of water.
Members of the media, we ask that you partner with us to identify areas of need and report any confirmed shortages to the state emergency operations center by calling 850-921-0217. If you'll call, we will -- we will work with our retailers to get -- to make sure they've getting the supplies back as quickly as possible.
Yesterday I signed an emergency -- a state of emergency and resended all weight and driver restrictions for highways. This allows us to get all the resources we need into our state. This includes bottled water and non-perishable foods. While the retailers are working as quickly as possible to fill grocery shelves with water and other emergency resources, we ask that you prepare -- that as you prepare, be considerate of your neighbors. Take what you need, but only what you need.
We have been in touch with retailers and more supplies are on the way. If you visited a store yesterday and found a shortage, you should go back today to get your supplies once everything has been replenished.
Fuel availability. The state is monitoring fuel assistance (ph) request and has contacted emergency fuel equipment providers for a status of emergency fuel supply and equipment. We're moving as fast -- as much fuel through the system as fast -- and as fast as possible. And our waivers on truck weight restrictions and driver hours are helping move fuel so we can get it to you quickly. While our state is working as quickly as possible to bring fuel to communities, again, be considerate of your neighbors. Take what you need to evacuate. Don't take extra.
[09:50:21] State offices in Monroe County are closed today until further notice. State office closures in other counties will follow the direction of county officials and will be announced as they are determined. I've directed state offices in 67 counties to be closed on Friday.
We now need volunteers. That's what our biggest need is right now. I encourage all Floridians that can volunteer to do so to help prepare and respond to this storm. Floridians can go to www.volunteerflorida.org to sign up for volunteer opportunities. Volunteers make a huge difference in these emergencies and help with shelters, food distribution and response efforts. Your efforts could make the difference a family needs to get through the storm.
In Florida we prepare for potential storms all year and Irma is no different. Every family needs to have a plan, have a disaster preparedness kit and be ready today. Do not sit and wait. Prepare right now. Don't watch the path, assume right now it's going to impact the entire state.
For details on how to create a personalized plan, visit www.floridadisaster.org/getaplan. If you need to fill your prescriptions, do it today. You can fill them early at your local pharmacy so you're prepared.
We are working closely with our federal and local partners to make sure our communities have all the resources they need. Yesterday, President Trump approved my request to declare a pre-landfall emergency for the entire state of Florida, which freed up much needed federal funding and assistance as we prepare for Irma. We are 100 percent focused on making sure Floridians and visitors have timely information on this storm and we will continue to closely monitor Hurricane Irma and issue updates throughout next few days.
But I cannot stress this enough. Get prepared. Know your -- this is your responsibility. Know your evacuation zone. Listen to your locals. This storm has the potential to devastate our state and we have to take this very seriously.
Now, I've gone through a variety of tragedies. We went through Andrew. I had hospitals that we evacuated. We evacuated a hospital south because we thought the storm was going to go one path. It moved and directly hit that hospital (INAUDIBLE). It was devastated. All the windows blown in. We had to hand (INAUDIBLE) patients for hours. So understand that even though we've seen the latest panel and it moves it a little bit further to the east, this thing is -- can still go anywhere. There's still a great chance it's going to go up the west coast and even to the panhandle. So the entire state needs to be prepared.
I'll be glad to take any questions anybody has.
QUESTION: Governor, is there any specific plan to get fuel here into The Keys because there's going to be gas shortages all along the area here?
SCOTT: Absolutely. We are calling the suppliers. We are working with highway patrol. We're doing everything we can to get fuel here. We believe we're going to continue to bring fuel anywhere (ph) in the state. I talked to a mayor this morning up in Broward that they said some of the stations didn't have fuel and we're doing the exact same thing there. We're doing everywhere where we have any fuel shortage. If you know of any, make sure you're letting the state emergency operations team know and we'll do everything we can to get the fuel here.
QUESTION: Do they have escorts of police? I saw (INAUDIBLE).
SCOTT: Yes, we do. We're doing everything we can. Highway patrol is helping. Everything we can to get the fuel down.
QUESTION: How long do you anticipate bringing in those supplies?
SCOTT: We'll do it as long as we can. We'll continue -- we'll continue bringing supplies as long as we can. But we've got to know, you know -- I know the retailers want to do their job. But if you -- if you let us know, then we can help the retailers make sure they have the information.
QUESTION: Is there a concern that as people try to leave The Keys, try to leave Miami-Dade County, you're going to see a serious traffic issue kind of like Houston saw years ago during Rita? SCOTT: It's a -- here's -- here's the (INAUDIBLE). If you listen to
the evacuation orders, the evacuation orders are going to be given in a timely manner so people have time to evacuate. But if you wait, that's where the problem's going to -- that's going to happen. Whether it's highway patrol, after you leave, local law enforcement, DOT, we're going to try to keep all of these evacuation ways (ph) open. And so -- but if you hear something, you've got to tell us. And we'll -- but we're going to keep doing it.
QUESTION: Governor, you -- how do you reiterate the seriousness of this? Some Floridians tend to -- we see hurricanes enough. They don't take it seriously necessarily. You brought up Hurricane Andrew. That's something that people remember. How do you reiterate how serious this is?
SCOTT: Well, let's think about Andrew. Andrew -- I -- in my case, I had -- I lost -- I had 500 employees without homes. But we -- here's what we didn't have in Andrew. We didn't have this amount of wind. Andrew was not as big as this -- as this one -- as this is. The -- this is 185 mile an hour winds. And they're tracking even higher than that at some times. It's -- this has the potential for significant storm surge. We didn't have that in Andrew.
[09:55:05] If you remember last year in Hermine, and, fortunately, it happened in an area where we didn't -- we weren't -- there were citizens but not like in a major area. We had ten feet of storm surge. And that devastated -- I mean it goes in for miles. So you've got to -- we have -- we have a plan in every community for how -- if we're going to have storm surge, how far the water's going to go and that's how they're making their evacuation orders. Listen to them.
I have -- I have a daughter in Naples and she lives inland a little bit but she -- I mean she's looking -- she's listened. She's calling me all the time asking me and so I'm saying, make sure you listen to your local. But we have a plan. The whole state does. And so you have to listen.
QUESTION: If the storm does travel northward, it will possibly affect the state. So even after it passes south Florida, is there a concern that after the rain has stopped, even the storm close up to the Jacksonville are of getting supplies down this way?
SCOTT: We're going to do everything we -- you're always worried about everything. And so you worry about what's going to happen to bridges. You worry about what's going to happen to our roads. You worry, you know, you worry about all of these things. And so what you have to do, you plan what you're going to do to respond to it. So we are prepositioning assets to the extent we can. And we'll move it south as fast as we can. But we -- you know, you've got to be careful because you know -- not knowing exactly where this thing's going to go.
But if you remember -- if you remember Matthew last year, which scraped the -- scrapped the coast. But at any moment, I mean, it was only 20 miles off our coast. It could have come in and completely scraped the coast. And it was not as big as this. This is way bigger. This is the potential for way more storm surge than Matthew had. And Hermine was never this big. And Andrew was never this big.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We got time for one more.
QUESTION: What about plans for traffic flow in the overseas highway in the coming days?
SCOTT: Well, right now, if you look, you know, the roads are open. You can get out. So if you're -- if people are listening to their evacuation orders, that's not going to be an issue. You know, we're going to do everything we can to keep the evacuation routes open. We've got -- whether it's the National Guard, whether it's the highway patrol, they're all going to keep doing it. So we'll deal with the issues as they come up. But our goal is to make sure that it's more efficient is -- is to keep, you know, keep it going both ways because then if we have -- the emergency vehicles have to get down here, then that slows that down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.
SCOTT: All right. Thanks, everybody. Take care.
BERMAN: Governor Rick Scott with a warning to the people of Florida, take Hurricane Irma seriously, very seriously, and take it seriously right now. He called this a devastating, catastrophic storm. He said it is bigger, stronger and faster than Hurricane Andrew. And those words matter in Florida. They matter in Miami-Dade, which was so badly devastated by Andrew more than 20 years ago. The point that Governor Rick Scott made was this could do even more damage than that storm.
HARLOW: And he said it could affect the entire state. And he said over and over again, do not ignore these evacuation orders. Get out if you are ordered to do so. The biggest concern right now is the storm surge and the wind speeds, which we know in the Caribbean are hitting 185 miles an hour right now.
Again, that is the directive from the governor of Florida. We'll keep an eye on this as it develops. And it is the top of the hour.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
BERMAN: All right, good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.
HARLOW: I'm Poppy Harlow. A very busy morning today. We're tracking two developing stories.
Up first, of course, Hurricane Irma. This is a category five monster storm. It's currently slamming the Caribbean. These are images -- look at these new images out of Saint Martin. This is where part of the mayor's office and firehouse have been completely destroyed. You can -- I mean it's so bad you can barely see the structures there. The entire island has been in the dark since 6:00 this morning after losing electricity completely.
President Trump has declared states of emergency in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida as forecasts show the state of Florida could begin to feel the impact of Irma on Saturday with the potential for a very strong hurricane very close to or over Miami as early as Sunday.
BERMAN: Irma, of course, is just one other issue that the federal government now has to deal with. Also talking about funding for victims of Hurricane Harvey, tax reform, protection for dreamers, some 800,000 people in the United States.
And just minutes from now, leadership from both parties will hold news conferences before heading over to the White House for the first joint meeting with the president that they've had since January.
CNN's Joe Johns at the White House with a look ahead.
[09:59:48] JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this is setting itself up to be a very interesting day here at the White House, also on Capitol Hill. As you know, the top congressional leaders expected here at the White House to speak with the president about the fall agenda. As you said, at the top of the list is the issue of funding for the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Louisiana, as well as Texas. Now the emerging question