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GOP Unveils Final Tax Bill; Manchin on Franken Resignation; Holiday Travel Forecast; CNN Hero of the Year. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired December 18, 2017 - 08:30   ET


[08:31:56] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: Our Democratic colleagues had every chance to participate and simply refused. And it's not too late for them to join us in passing this massive tax cut and tax reform bill, which will help awaken the sleeping giant of the American economy. They can do that on Tuesday, and I hope some of them will.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, that was Senator John Cornyn responding to a wave of criticism from Democrats over the Republican tax plan and the timing of it.

Joining us to discuss is Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia.

Good morning, senator.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: Good morning, Alisyn. How are you?

CAMEROTA: I'm well.

So is Senator Cornyn right that you had every chance to participate and you simply refused?

MANCHIN: That's not -- I like John Cornyn. He's a friend of mine. And that's just not accurate. When I say that, because I have four different occasions here and four different examples of everything that I tried to do over a period of time starting in early September, clear up to the first of this month, sharing with them --

CAMEROTA: And give us -- yes, give us some illustrations of what you -- I know you spoke to the president.


CAMEROTA: Give us some illustrations from your wish list there --

MANCHIN: Well, here, let me --

CAMEROTA: Of what you tried to do when you tried to insert and how you were rebuffed? MANCHIN: Well, let's go over the first. This started back in the first

of September. I gave them this list here. This was shared with the White House, Mark Short. It was shared with some of my colleagues on the Republican side, also. Corporate tax rate at 25 percent. Territorial, repatriation --

CAMEROTA: Yes, you're getting lower now. You should be -- are you happy, they've lowered it beyond your 25 percent?

MANCHIN: No, no, I thought it should be 25 percent, basically. I think that's competitive -- globally competitive. I didn't think we should give the extra $400 to $500 billion, you know, if we saw that the debt was coming down and the GDP was growing like they say it will, then three to five years from now you want to go further, you can.


MANCHIN: But I guarantee that every corporation was happy with a 10 percent reduction. So we talked --

CAMEROTA: So, so that was at the top of your list.

But I just want to ask you, what happened? So when you -- when you submitted that list that you have in your hands to the president and to Mark Short and to your Republican colleagues, then what happened?

MANCHIN: Well, nothing really happened. I think that once Mitch McConnell decided that they could get 51 Republicans -- and that's what they needed -- that we were no longer in play. They was no use to talk to me.

So -- but I didn't give up. I continued to start (ph). I went to the White House -- we went to the library and met at the congressional library with Mark Short and Gary Cohn. We also, on Thanksgiving week, we shared more.

And then the last ask I had was at the end of -- if you still wanted to make it a bipartisan bill, which I thought anybody would want a bipartisan bill -- all we asked was to reconsider the tax rate at 25 percent, remove the individual mandate language, which basically we have a fix. If we didn't have a fix, which is a bipartisan fix with Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray, that would be a different story. But we have a fix.


MANCHIN: So before you throw caution to the wind and the mandate out, don't let that go back. And outsourcing, which stopped tax havens overseas for corporations that were parking their money. And then remove the tax breaks for the highest income earners that had the biggest breaks. That would --

CAMEROTA: So why didn't they take you up on your suggestions?

MANCHIN: You'll have to ask them that. But if they said we didn't get involved, we spent an awful lot of time, we did. And we were sincere about it. We had other Democrats that would vote for these. And it was more than just myself. But it didn't get any traction.

[08:35:03] So once they decided it was going purely political and down political lines, and I'm the least politically party person that's entrenched. I want to do what I think is right for our country and my state of West Virginia and I want to work with Republicans, the president, and Democrats, everybody.

But I think everybody overplayed their hand on this one. I think they could have had 60 votes or more.

You know, the whole thing we're caught on, Alisyn, right now is the $1.5 trillion because of the budget reconciliation.

CAMEROTA: The deficit.

MANCHIN: The gimmick. The gimmick that they're using to get a 51 simple majority in the Senate.


MANCHIN: The Senate was designed differently. We're supposed to be able to bring people back together in a bipartisan way. Make an effort. I think -- I don't think any major piece of legislation should be done in a partisan way.


MANCHIN: I think that Democrats were wrong in 2010 in passing the Obamacare Affordable Care Act with not one Republican vote. I know they tried for about a year and had different hearings and that, but it didn't happen. But still yet, nothing of this magnitude should be passed without a bipartisan vote. And that's what I tried to do.

CAMEROTA: I want to ask you about something else that's happening in the Senate.


CAMEROTA: And that is Senator Al Franken.


CAMEROTA: Is it true that you believe that Senator Al Franken has been railroaded, basically, by fellow Democrats into resigning and that you don't think he should resign?

MANCHIN: I think that Al Franken should go through the process of what he's asked for, due process. I believe that we should have a process to where women can come out and be protected when they have been violated and they should be able to state that and be protected in doing it. And I believe a person that's been accused ought to have a process that we can investigate thoroughly. And whatever the findings are, be prosecuted or be removed or found innocent of those charges or not of danger to where they should be someone eliminated.

I also -- CAMEROTA: Right, so you think it was premature that your -- that some

of your fellow Democrats called for it.

MANCHIN: Most certainly.

CAMEROTA: In fact I read that you said that the hypocrisy of the Democrats about Franken has made you sick. What do you mean?

MANCHIN: It did make me -- it did. Yes. When I saw a human beings life -- I mean Al Franken, he and I don't agree politically on many things, OK, but I try to be friends with everybody and I consider Al a friend.

But here's a person who says, hey, take me through. I have a lot of faults in life. I don't think this one of them, but I'm willing to go through this. And if it's something I haven't picked up on, then, fine, do what you want with me. He asked for that. And they wouldn't even -- my own fellow Democrats wouldn't even give him that courtesy.

It just -- just the political -- this, the political rancoring here is just -- it's just unbelievable to me how you can destroy a human's life and his family and everything that they stand for without giving him a chance.


MANCHIN: That's all I said. And I just think that everyone's caught up. Who's going to be -- you know, who's going to outdo the other. And it's just ridiculous.

CAMEROTA: So you think that Senator --

MANCHIN: People should have a process.

CAMEROTA: You think Senator Franken should not resign in January?

MANCHIN: I definitely think he should not resign. I think he should submit himself, which he has willingly done and offered to do, and go through this complete process of an extensive ethics review. And whatever the outcome is, I will live with that. I can live with that.


MANCHIN: And I say, Al, I'm sorry, you have faults that you've maybe never recognized and these ladies have basically brought those forward.

CAMEROTA: Yes. If you could --

MANCHIN: And the ladies should be protected. These women should be protected.

CAMEROTA: But they have come -- I mean, listen, six have come forward. Three of them, I believe, named. What more could an ethics committee find out than the fact that these six women say that he inappropriately touched them and/or forcibly kissed them? What more are you waiting for? MANCHIN: I don't know. I want to find out what Al says. I know I

listened to his speech the same as other senators did. And his speech seemed to be different, OK, than what the accusers were. The accusers have their process and they should be protected and be able to come forward. Let that be confronted and let people investigate, see if this is predatory, see if this is something that's repeated, repeated, repeated.


MANCHIN: Was it when he was in his professional life, which was much different before, in the professional world he came from --


MANCHIN: To where he is today.


MANCHIN: I'm not defending Al, I'm just saying that Al Franken and every other man or woman should have a process they are able to go through.

CAMEROTA: And do you have any sense that Al Franken is listening to you? Do you think he really will resign in January?

MANCHIN: I don't know. I really don't. And my -- you know, here's the thing about it. I've seen a person that his own caucus has turned on. It just made me sick. It really did. And I've said this. They know how I feel. My caucus knows I'm very upset with this process, or a lack of a process. And the only thing I'll ask for is expedite, put extra investigators, do whatever you have to, to go through this investigation, through the ethics. And there's nothing worse than being found ethic violations from your own peer group.


MANCHIN: But to be accused but never having a chance to defend yourself, his best defense was the day he spoke and he says, I'm going to leave. And, my goodness, I think people in that audience that already signed for him to leave had a second thought. So I think they wish they would have gone through a process, too.

[08:40:06] CAMEROTA: Very quickly, do you think that President Trump should be investigated for the accusations of sexual misconduct against him?

MANCHIN: You know, I'm not going to make that determination because he went through an election process with all this in the open.

CAMEROTA: Right, but that's different than an investigation.

MANCHIN: Well, then -- then that's -- you know, if people feel that to be done, I think we have other things to be done, too. Other things. And I think women ought to have a right to come forward. They feel very strong about this. They should be protected. They can't be retaliated on. And then --

CAMEROTA: So, yes, to an investigation for the president or, no, you've moved on?

MANCHIN: I've moved on. I really have moved on. I'm just -- I just -- you know, we're talking about health care. We're talking about a tax cut, not tax reform. Things that we need to do to really solidify. We're talking about the military and the lack that they have of the funds. We're talking about CHIPs program going down, the Children's Health Insurance Program, doesn't seem to be a priority.


MANCHIN: And I don't care whether you're a Democrat or a Republican, you've got to be an American, Alisyn. You've got to do things for your country. And I've said this, if I'm just here for the political process, the right thing for me to do would probably be to vote for a tax bill in my state that might be popular.


MANCHIN: But it's not the responsible thing. Not when we can fix thing in a bipartisan way and not have this spiraling debt be a chain around our children's neck in this country.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I hear you, I understand. You want to get back to the business of government.

MANCHIN: I sure do.

CAMEROTA: But it just does seem to be a bit of a disconnect between why you are calling for an investigation into Senator Franken, but not one into the president when there are more --

MANCHIN: Senator Franken has asked for an investigation. He's asked for an investigation.

CAMEROTA: Is that the standard?

MANCHIN: Well, to me there was a standard here when a person's asked to go through. And President Trump thinks he went through that scrutiny basically when he went through the election process. I would assume. I'm not going to speak on that -- I'm speaking on Al Franken being a colleague of mine sitting there saying, listen, go ahead and scrutinize, go ahead and investigate. Do everything you have to. I'll live with whatever you decide on, OK? And that's where we are on this -- you know, this topic. And I don't know -- people just want to continue to regurgitate so many things and there's so many important things that we have to deal with.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Understood. Senator Joe Manchin, we always appreciate having you on NEW DAY. Thanks so much.

MANCHIN: It's good to be with you, Alisyn. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Chris. MANCHIN: Bye-bye.

CUOMO: All right, look, everybody's getting ready to run around the country and the world. How about your weather? Is it going to affect your flight? We have the forecast for travel, next.


[08:45:52] CUOMO: Storms are coming and they could disrupt the busy holiday travel week with systems affecting everyone from the Rockies to the south, even up the East Coast. How do I know? Chad Myers. He's got the forecast.

What do you see?

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I see it's OK, the original part of the week, the early part. I think we're going to be in great shape. But on Friday, the rain can get to the Northeast. Not snow, but rain. Right now fog still affecting Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, not making that commute any easier.

This weather is brought to you by Tempur-pedic, where sleep is power.

Temperatures across the Northeast today going to be fairly mild with that humidity 56 in D.C., 63 in Charlottesville. Really not all that bad.

Here's how it shapes up for today. The rain is down in the South or the Pacific Northwest. Those are the two options for now. But the Pacific Northwest storm, right here, that's the one that will bring snow to the Rockies and also snow to the Midwest and then to the Great Lakes by the time we're into Friday. But notice it's warm enough on Friday, when everybody's trying to get out of town, that it should be just rain in all of those I-95 cities.

So, not so bad so far. We'll see. If it changes, we'll let you know. But right now, everybody should get where they want to go.


CAMEROTA: That sounds very good, Chad. Thank you so much for that forecast.

MYERS: You're welcome.

CAMEROTA: So, up next, a woman you have to meet. Amy Wright. She's the newly minted CNN Hero of the Year. How she is changing the world from her North Carolina coffee shop. That's next.


[08:50:48] (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

AMY WRIGHT: And most of all to my two youngest children, Bitty and Beau, who are my inspiration. I want you to know, because I know you're watching at home tonight, Bitty and Beau, that I would not change you for the world. But I will change the world for you.


CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, it was a tear jerker last night and this morning. That was Amy Wright, the owner of Bitty & Beau's Coffee. She was accepting the CNN Hero of the Year Award. Amy's coffee shop in Wilmington, North Carolina, employees 40 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

And Amy joins us now.


AMY WRIGHT, FOUNDER AND CEO, BITTY AND BEAU'S COFFEE: Thank you so much. It's a real honor to be here with you this morning.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, what a thrill last night was.

WRIGHT: It was.

CAMEROTA: So many people were pulling for you. Look, all of the heroes are so wildly impressive. But there was something about your personal story, that your own kids have down syndrome and you wanted to change the world because of that.

WRIGHT: It is a very personal story for me. When Beau was born 13 years ago, my husband, Ben, and I didn't know anything about down syndrome. And I reflect on that and the fear we felt and the grief we felt and how we transformed that into some of the greatest joy we've known in our lives.

CAMEROTA: You use the statistic that 70 percent of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities like down syndrome, like cerebral palsy, like autism, are not employed. And so what kind of life is that?

WRIGHT: It's terrible because, you know, what is happening is these individuals get through high school and then they fall off the cliff. And there is very little opportunity. And we feel like the real problem is that it's not that the jobs aren't there, it's that people don't value people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. And so if we can reframe the way people think about people with IDD, then opportunities are organically going to follow.

CAMEROTA: And you're living that.


CAMEROTA: I mean you're just living this experience because you opened Bitty & Beau's Coffee Shop. You employ 40 people --


CAMEROTA: With those developmental disabilities. And what has been the reaction? I mean what have you learned from that experience --

WRIGHT: Oh, gosh.

CAMEROTA: And how do customers respond when they come in?

WRIGHT: I think I've learned, most of all, that people want to connect with people that are different from them. And maybe they've just never had an opportunity to do that before. And so what I feel like the coffee shop has done, it's created that opportunity, it's made it safe, people can wade into the water. They can spend some time together. And I think what they take away from that experience is changing their lives in ways we haven't even realized yet.

CAMEROTA: Have you seen any evidence of it spreading beyond your coffee shop across the country?

WRIGHT: Oh, yes. Definitely. I mean our goal is to expand itty & Beau's Coffee. Every community could support a coffee shop like this because it is a national epidemic. But more than that, we hope that people come into the shop or see our story and they look around their workplace and they say, we need to hire somebody with an intellectual or a developmental disability.

CAMEROTA: Very quickly, what did Bitty and Beau, your eight-year-old and 13-year-old, think when you won last night?

WRIGHT: Oh, they were so excited. Our babysitter videotaped their reaction and it is just priceless. They're just blowing me kisses and high fives. And it's --

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. We want to see that. Have you tweeted it or put it on FaceBook?

WRIGHT: I haven't. I need to share that. Yes.

CAMEROTA: OK, we'd love to share it for you, as well.

WRIGHT: That would be wonderful.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. Well, Amy Wright, thanks so much for your story and for everything you're doing. You're such an inspiration.

WRIGHT: Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you.

All right, more "Good Stuff," next.


[08:58:30] CUOMO: Oh, a little Monday "Good Stuff."

There's no question that there's room for criticism of the tax plan and whether helping corporate America is the best way to help workers. But that doesn't mean that businesses don't do the right thing, even when they don't have to. Example. Meet Carrie Gill (ph). She's a veteran of the U.S. armed forces. She returns from a deployment in Africa and she really wanted to make a difference. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARRIE GILL: Global pollution and kids without shoes. I wanted to do something good for the world, so I founded Savannah Sandals.


CUOMO: She had the idea, but she didn't have the money. She couldn't found the company. But that's where We Work came in. Now, this business has tons of special programs, including one for veterans. It pairs them with mentors and gives them a sponsored work space. And then even helps them with networking for capital and otherwise


GILL: That last piece of the transition, from military to civilian life, never would have happened if it weren't for this group.


CUOMO: So, thanks to We Work, Carrie's company, which makes sandals out of recycled tires, booming.

CAMEROTA: That's awesome. Between this "Good Stuff" and CNN Heroes last night, I couldn't feel more inspired and inadequate. So we have to redouble our efforts, everyone, every day, to be as good as all of these angels.

CUOMO: Well, you'll feel better now, because you're tossing to John.

CAMEROTA: And that makes me feel better because?

CUOMO: You know, less than adequate. I mean you're certainly better than he is.

CAMEROTA: You think?

CUOMO: Oh, absolutely.

CAMEROTA: He did win the quiz show.

CUOMO: It was fixed. Everybody knows.

CAMEROTA: Rigged! Rigged, as usual.

All right, that does it for us. Time for CNN "NEWSROOM" with Poppy Harlow and John Berman.

[09:00:02] CUOMO: It was fixed. All five times he won.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: It was not fixed.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm John Berman.

HARLOW: And I'm Poppy Harlow.