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Senate Debates on Continuing Resolution as Government Shutdown Looms; President Trump to Delay One Year Celebration in Mar-a-Lago Until Continue Resolution Passed. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired January 19, 2018 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: You can share your feelings on Twitter using the hash-tag New Day CNN, or post your comments on Facebook.com/NewDay.
We're following a lot of news, so let's get right to it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are absolutely at this point headed to a government shutdown. There is no resolution currently in sight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Schumer, do not shut down the federal government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to sit down together and solve this, with the president or without.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're prepared to shut down the government over the issue of illegal immigration.
If Mitch McConnell wanted a budget, we would have a budget. At some point in time we have to do our job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a completely dysfunctional appropriations process. I don't like playing shut down politics or gamesmanship.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what the White House's position is with respect to the continuing resolution to fund the government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, Mr. President, get off the campaign trail, come back and be the leader, and we will negotiate with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is NEW DAY with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. It's Friday, January 19th, 8:00 in the east now. So where is the countdown clock. There it is. Less than 16 hours and the government will shut down if the Senate does not pass a short-term spending bill today. What's the calculus? Republicans don't have enough votes. First of all, they don't have the entire caucus in the Senate behind anything. So they're going to need Democrats, maybe as much as a dozen votes from Democrats. And the Democrats are saying they won't support the GOP plan unless protection for Dreamers is in there. So right now they have the votes to block it.
CAMEROTA: Meanwhile, President Trump was planning to leave town this afternoon for a big party at Mar-a-Lago to celebrate his first year in office. CNN has just learned the president's plans may be changing. Republicans and Democrats are blaming each other if the government is forced to close to night. Who will Americans blame if this happens? CNN's Ryan Nobles is on Capitol Hill with the latest. What's happening the morning, Ryan?
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, it's at a mad dash by Senate Republicans to try and come up with those 60 votes that they node to put in place the short-term spending bill that was passed by the House yesterday. But as to where we stand right now, the votes just simply aren't there.
SEN. ANGUS KING, (I) MAINE: I object.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection is heard.
KING: I don't know why we're adjourning when we're in this urgent situation. This is irresponsible, and I just don't understand it. So I object to the motion.
NOBLES: Tensions rising on the Senate floor as the government barrels towards a shutdown with a deadline at midnight tonight. A 60-vote majority is needED in the Senate to pass the proposed short-term spending Bill that Republicans passed in the House. The future of the Bill is uncertain as more than a dozen Democrats are ready to vote no because the Bill does not protect DREAMers. Republican senators Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul also saying they'll vote no, and Senator John McCain will be absent from the vote due to cancer treatments.
But it's not all bad news for Republican leadership. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin will break with his party and vote yes. And Republican Senator Mike Brown is changing his vote to support the bill after a late night deal on defense appropriations.
CHARLES SCHUMER, (D-NY) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: We could get this done in a few short days and not kick the can down the road. This is the fourth CR that we have done and accomplished nothing.
NOBLES: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to push for a vote last night but failed. Republican senators heckling Schumer as he pitched a much shorter continuing resolution to allow the Senate to continue debate over the next few days. However, aides to Senate Majority Leader McConnell are skeptical of this proposal. With just hours left before the shutdown deadline, the blame game is in full force.
MITCH MCCONNELL, (R-KY) SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Democratic senators' fixation on illegal immigration has already blocked us from making progress on long-term spending talks. That same fixation has been threatening to filibuster funding for the whole government.
NOBLES: Two Republican aides saying Senator McConnell is already drawing up plans to bring forward a series of votes that could be uncomfortable for Democrats leading into midterm elections, especially for the 10 Democrats up for reelection in the states President Trump won. Democrats are holding their ground.
SEN. JON TESTER, (D) MONTANA: I think we need to force the leadership on the other side of the aisle to take this issue seriously, and they haven't for 110 days. If Mitch McConnell would have wanted a budget, we would have had a budget.
NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: This is like giving you a bowl of doggy doo, put a cherry on top and call it a chocolate sundae.
NOBLES: A new national poll shows captures how deeply entrenched both sides are in their positions -- 57 percent of Democrats believe it's worth shutting down the government over DREAMers, 51 percent of Republicans feel it's worth a shutdown to fund Trump's border wall.
NOBLES: And the Senate I set to reconvene at 11:00 this morning eastern time, and that means they only have 13 hours to come up with a deal before the government shuts down.
[08:05:05] It's important to keep in mind that this is the only real leverage that Democrats have. Yes, they are very interested in finding protections for DREAMers, but they would also like to see more funding for disaster relief. They'd also like to see something put in to help with the opioid crisis. There are quite a few Republicans that are unhappy with the short-term spending Bill. They'd like to see more money from the military and they're generally unhappy with the way this process is as it relates to the budget. So Alisyn, the showdown continues, and time is running out.
CAMEROTA: Ryan, you are at the epicenter of that showdown, so come back to us when you have anything to report. Thank you very much.
So we do have some breaking news out of the White House now about how this potential government shutdown may change the president's plans today. CNN's Abby Phillip is live for us with all the breaking details. What have you learned, Abby?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. The president is expected in about eight hours to go to Mar-a-Lago in Florida despite the threat of a shutdown. But a senior administration official tells me this morning that those plans are now in flux. The official says this person does not believe that the president will go to Florida if there is a government shutdown.
Now, the White House is still watching this, and they do believe that there will still be a deal made tonight even if it comes at midnight. Now, they don't think that Democrats at this point actually want a shutdown. They believe this idea of having a short-term bill, a short-term funding bill is a sign that Democrats are getting cold feet here, and they also don't believe that there is a possibility of getting a bigger deal in a short-term period anyway.
So the White House still feeling a little confident here that eventually they will get something on the table before a shutdown at midnight tonight, but if there is one, there are no plans for the president to go to Florida where he was initially planning to do a big gala to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration, Alisyn and Chris.
CAMEROTA: Thanks, Abby.
CUOMO: Abby Phillip with the scoop. Let's bring in CNN political analyst and White House correspondent for "The New York Times" Maggie Haberman. First, an objective truth. He should stay. This is not the time to go to Washington, D.C. and --
CUOMO: What did I say?
CAMEROTA: Washington, D.C.
CUOMO: I'm tired. It's time to stay in Washington, D.C. -- thank you. Without you, nothing.
CUOMO: And it is a reflection -- tell me if I'm wrong about this -- that he has been too uninvolved in this process. Fair point?
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, although I think the issue with his involvement in this process is always dubious because there's a degree to which, as you see, they don't always want him involved in this process. Where he could be helpful is getting House conservatives on board, and he has never quite been able to make that happen, or at least not in many aspects.
They know the optics is terrible. They know the optics will look awful for the president if he is seen partying $100,000 a ticket at his private club. This is an inaugural fundraiser and he's not even doing in D.C. So that is one aspect.
The other aspect is he has been involved to some extent, he has been making calls, he has been involved in talks. He does talk to leadership pretty frequently. As messy as his relationship has been over the last year with members of the GOP leadership, he has been involved. There are people with whom he has a good relationship including Kevin McCarthy in the House.
But the White House's read on a lot of these things has not been great because the staff is being pressed, both from Democrats who are very angry and don't want to deal without DACA, and from their own boss who tweets, as one White House aide put it to me yesterday, incoherently about issues of the child health care proposal that is currently being bandied about as a leverage chip.
CAMEROTA: So you've covered the president for a long time. When the rubber meets the wall, when his back is against the wall, when there's a crisis like this today when the clock is ticking, is he generally a cool customer? What will he do today to try -- how will he be spending the morning and afternoon?
HABERMAN: I think he'll be spending the morning getting updates and most likely talking to members of the GOP leadership and whomever Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan suggest that it would be good for him to talk with.
CUOMO: He tweeted an hour ago.
HABERMAN: Well, I expect there will be more.
CAMEROTA: Of course. But will he be working the phones?
HABERMAN: He will be working the phones, he'll do what he does every day. How influential he is in doing that, of course, is the open question. It's not clear to me again, because you saw yesterday, I believe it was Lindsey Graham said we do not have a reliable negotiating partner in the White House. He didn't just mean the president, but he was including the president. He means when you see the president tweeting his own view when you have had his staff working all week to try to get a deal done and he tweets something that appears to contradict it, it leaves members at the Senate and the house at a loss for what to do. So I'm not sure how involved anyone wants him to be.
[08:10:00] CUOMO: We're lucky to have you this morning in particular because one of the flash points this week in terms of counterproductive behavior out of the White House, specifically the president, was we saw Kellyanne Conway say since the president has been elected, he's been with experts, he's learned things about Mexico's border. It turns out there are rivers involved, the wall doesn't make sense. Then John Kelly came out, and the general said the president has evolved on the wall. It means different things to him now. And then he said, you know, he was uninformed on immigration reform. That word reportedly triggered fury from the president and led to him undoing all that process and tweeting the wall is an absolute, never changed. It was always going to be this, it has to be in the bill. What is it the deal inside the White House at this point?
HABERMAN: Sure. Two things in terms of what you just laid out very nicely about how this took place. I thought Kellyanne Conway got an unfair rap for what she said. She was criticized for saying he had discovered, I think that was the word people seized on. She knows Donald Trump very, very well, and she knows how to speak in a way that is not going to incite an emotional riot.
John Kelly is not used to being in the national political spotlight. He is not used to having to watch his words and be very careful, and he put it in way that made the president sound both dumb, frankly, and as if he was being hyper-managed as if he was a child. It was very reminiscent of something we saw on the campaign in April, 2016 where Paul Manafort told a closed door meeting of Republican National Committee members that the part that Trump is playing is evolving. And that sent Trump into a fury.
My understanding on this one is that he initially was calm when he was first told about it by White House aides. But he spent the evening working the phones, as he always does, talking to friends, people saying to him you really got undermined by John Kelly today. So by the morning, especially as he is watching all the news broadcasts, he was very angry and he tweeted without mentioning John Kelly's name, but it was clear who he was talking about, the wall is the wall, and there's no deal without the wall. I'm paraphrasing, but that was it.
CAMEROTA: We have some breaking news. This just in from the White House spokesperson. The president will not go to Florida until a bill is passed. That makes sense.
HABERMAN: Yes. That is a sensible and rare nonreactive decision that they are making. It's actually proactive as opposed to doing something and having a bunch of headlines that they have to clean up.
CUOMO: In a way, it's a little bit of both. We've been saying it all morning, I'm sure others have as well, that this just didn't make any sense, makes him look bad, especially with Mitch McConnell saying on the floor, we don't know what he'll agree to. We don't want to spin our wheels.
HABERMAN: It would have been terrible for the party certainly, for the GOP, although I don't think that has ever been an overarching concern for him certainly. But the video of him at this party would have been used by essentially either every hard right Republican primary candidate who is challenging an incumbent or every Democrat in a general election. It would have been very, very dangerous, and it would have been bad for him electorally.
CUOMO: Queen Victoria could have used it in a campaign to show how compassionate she is about letting people eat cake.
CUOMO: You know what's a great idea for him if he's watching the shows this morning, why doesn't he do another one of those televised meetings? Ask the leadership to come up. You guys keeping saying you want to cut a deal. Let the American people see that you mean it. Come to the White House, I'll provide the lunch, McDonald's, and you'll make a deal here, let people see on TV again.
HABERMAN: Because then he's not the center of the focus. I don't think he wants to star in a TV show that has a bunch of other cast members getting more attention. That's just my theory.
CUOMO: I burned a lot of calories coming up with that idea.
HABERMAN: I like it.
CUOMO: With one stroke of the eyebrow, it's gone.
HABERMAN: You mentioned McDonald's, so you didn't burn up too many calories.
CUOMO: It turns out he's pretty health. I'm been trying to sell it on my wife all week.
HABERMAN: He's a lucky man to be able to eat that way and still -- anyway, most of us couldn't do that.
CAMEROTA: Maggie, thank you.
CUOMO: So, the big question, can Republicans get Democrats to vote for a Bill to avoid a shutdown? Now we know the president is going to stay and do his job. With we have a GOP senator next with the latest on negotiations and prospects.
[08:17:54] CUOMO: Breaking news. The clock don't lie. We're getting closer to a potential government shutdown. CNN has just learned that the president will not go to Mar-a-Lago today for this anniversary dinner. He's going to stay and do his job and try to get a bill passed.
So what is the proposition? Republicans need Democrats to pass a bill in the Senate. Can it happen?
Joining us now is Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana.
Sir, always a pleasure.
SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R), LOUISIANA: Thank you, Chris. Good morning.
CUOMO: So give us hope.
KENNEDY: Well, I'm encouraged. I was encouraged by what Senator Schumer did last night.
CUOMO: Which is?
KENNEDY: Chuck instructed his colleagues or asked his colleagues on the Democratic side to vote for the motion to proceed to allow us to take up the CR, and then he -- I was sitting there listening to him. What I heard him say is he'll agree to a CR, he's not going to agree to a CR, a continuing resolution until the middle of February. He wants a shorter one to allow us to keep talking.
And Chuck is a very shrewd tactician. It's the first time I've seen him show flexibility and I think he understands what we all understand that it would --
CUOMO: Which is what?
KENNEDY: It would be foolish to shut down government for 300 million Americans. It just would be. I mean, we're talking about closing opioid treatment centers and stopping checks to military widows and stopping the funding for community health centers. And I'm not saying that the DACA issue isn't important. It is. But right now it's not an emergency. Nobody is being deported. The president gave us until March.
I think we can probably get more time if we needed it because he controls immigration enforcement.
CUOMO: Well, Senator --
KENNEDY: I just hate to see it -- I just hate to see the country shut down. I just think it's a mistake.
CUOMO: Understood, understood. And of course there's the great irony that you guys are deemed essential personnel and keep getting paid even though you're the reason for the shutdown.
[08:20:05] CUOMO: Thanks to the 27th Amendment.
CUOMO: But that's a conversation for another day. I bet that would be something the American people would get behind in terms of changing that rule. So the idea of what is urgent and what is not, every day families are having anxiety introduced into their existence as Dreamers because of this period. You've had months to do something, you've done nothing.
This is the Democrats' moment of leverage. Will you put a DACA fix in this CR?
KENNEDY: Well, you're right, Chris. I'd also point out that every day families are experiencing anxiety over our refusal to extend the CHIP program. I've said a month ago, this is silly.
CUOMO: Well, you guys have delayed on that as well.
KENNEDY: Well, everybody has. And it's in this continuing resolution.
CUOMO: But you're in control.
KENNEDY: And they -- well, we need Democratic votes to do it. I think -- but we're going to lose a handful of Republican votes, two or three. We need I think about 12 Democratic votes to be able to pass.
CUOMO: Is the president in favor of CHIP extension, child health program extension?
KENNEDY: I think so.
CUOMO: You think so.
KENNEDY: The president changed his mind on immigration.
KENNEDY: Now there's nothing wrong with that. Thinking people change their minds all the time. You do, I do, most Americans do when they test their assumptions against the arguments of others. Having said that, we need to know where the president stands because let's suppose we reach an agreement with the Democrats, and I think we will, I want to know the president is going to sign it.
And that's -- I respectfully ask him to please put on the table exactly what he would accept. If he changes his mind after he puts it on the table, just pick up the phone and call us and say, hey, I've changed my mind on this, but let's talk about it.
CUOMO: Why hasn't that happened? He is supposed to be the master of the art of the deal. And it seems like he just keeps injecting confusion as opposed to any kind of conciliation.
KENNEDY: Well, I don't know. It could be a number of things. I mean, I honestly don't know. I probably shouldn't speculate, but it could be because he's getting conflicting advice. He could be using it as a negotiating tactic. You know, some people change and do things when they see the light. Others they need to feel the heat. And around Congress, it seems that we can't get anything done, which I regret, until we feel the heat.
If I were king for a day.
KENNEDY: And I'm not and I don't aspire to be, what I would do is take some immigration bill and go through regular order, send it to committee, let everybody off of their amendments and then bring it to the floor and let us talk not just about amnesty, but let us talk about a rationally based, color blind immigration system like Australia has. Let us talk about e-verify. Put it on the table and let everybody vote. And something will pass and something won't. And then we'll try to solve this problem.
CUOMO: If 87 percent of the American people, which is the latest poll, say help the Dreamers, why isn't that enough motivation to just do a clean bill on that? Get it done, you supposedly all agree, and then talk about these other immigration issues separately?
KENNEDY: Well, a vast majority of the American people also agree, though, with mandatory e-verify. I don't think you're going to solve --
CUOMO: But one is about families in moments of need now and the other one is something that is procedural, incremental, and there's really no connection between the two. I get security matters. But if you guys really do want a bill of love, as the president suggested before he denied the plan from Graham and Durbin, why wouldn't you just do that, deal with the urgency, put it aside, it's done, you've helped those people, you've made good on your promise, and now do what you're saying?
And bang out security, bang out the procedures and have more of what the president borrowed from George Bush -- comprehensive immigration reform?
KENNEDY: Chris, I don't see the urgency. I am not minimizing for a moment the anxiety that many of the DACA folks feel. I'm not minimizing. CUOMO: Forgive me, but if you're not minimizing it, how can you not
see the urgency?
KENNEDY: Because no one is in danger right now of being deported. The president controls the deportation process, and he has said, I think correctly, that the executive order issued by President Obama is unconstitutional. It was about to be thrown out in court. He said I'll give Congress until March. I think if we went to him and said we need until April or May, no one is being deported right now.
CUOMO: How -- do you know that? I mean, there's reporting out of California that there are ICE roundups going on and you've got Javier Becerra, the AG out there, with this weird conflict of state and federal law now saying he's going to prosecute people who work with ICE agents. I mean, it seems like it's pretty urgent right now.
[08:25:11] KENNEDY: I'm not saying that the normal deportation process is not going on as the country enforces its immigration laws, but I don't believe the Trump administration has said target the DACA folks.
CUOMO: OK, fair point. Fair point.
KENNEDY: I think -- yes.
CUOMO: All right, Senator Kennedy, I appreciate the candor as always. I wish you a very busy weekend. Ordinary I'd say have a good weekend. But I hope you have to work your butt off this weekend and get something done for the American people.
KENNEDY: It's about time. It's about time we did what the rest of America does and have to work on a weekend.
CUOMO: And as soon as you find out who's being unfair, who is failing to be resolute, we'll pick up the phone or you do the same and you come right back on and address it with the American people.
KENNEDY: Thanks, Chris.
CUOMO: Be well -- Alisyn.
KENNEDY: You, too.
CAMEROTA: All right. Democratic whip Steny Hoyer voted against the House budget measure to keep the government up and running. Will his colleagues in the Senate do the same? And what's his plan? He joins us next.
CAMEROTA: Breaking news, the White House tells CNN that President Trump will stay in Washington instead of going to his resort in Mar-a- Lago until a spending bill is passed.