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Health Bill Faces Uphill Battle in Senate; French Presidential Candidates Clash; Global Markets Lower. Aired 4:30-5a ET
Aired May 5, 2017 - 04:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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[04:30:38] DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to get this passed through the Senate. I feel so confident.
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DAVE BRIGGS, CNN ANCHOR: The Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare now heads to the Senate, where a mountain of opposition awaits from within their own party. Will the House passing the bill come back to hurt the Republican majority in next year's midterms?
But the big question here, of course, is what does this bill mean for the American people? And we will try to get to the bottom of that. But it's difficult.
Welcome back to EARLY START. I'm Dave Briggs.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The answer is we don't know.
ROMANS: We don't know, and this bill is a vehicle, and now the Senate has to put the parts, put the engine in.
I'm Christine Romans. It's 31 minutes past the hour.
OK, so, this morning, the battle to repeal and replace Obamacare begins anew in Senate. Now, conservative and moderate Republicans will try to forge a compromise to get them to 51 votes, no small task, given that there are only 52 Republicans in the Senate.
The open question: how much of the newly passed House bill, including last-minute changes on pre-existing conditions, how much of that ends up in the Senate version?
Senators warn, some parts may not fit under budget reconciliation rules that allow them to pass a bill with just 51 votes, not 60.
Despite the obstacles ahead, president Trump declared his optimism overnight.
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TRUMP: I think we'll get it through. The Republicans are very united, like seldom before. I mean, you see that today. The Republicans came together, all of a sudden, two days ago, and it was like magic. They're very, very united. You saw that today, and you'll see it again.
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BRIGGS: The bill is stacked with policy changes, including eliminating certain taxes on the wealthy, deep Medicaid cuts, and allowing higher premiums on older people. With that in mind, Republican Senate leaders are already saying they'll take a different path from the House, building consensus with an unrushed, deliberative process, and they say they won't begin floor action until the Congressional Budget Office, the CBO, scores the bill's cost and its impact on the uninsured, a process that could take several weeks.
We begin our coverage with Sunlen Serfaty on Capitol Hill.
SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Dave and Christine.
Well, House Republicans and have been promising and campaigning on repealing and replacing Obamacare for the last seven years, so this is certainly a significant legislative win for them, but to note, this a short-term victory. There still is a lot of work to do, and the battle now heads over to the Senate, where they will take up this bill for consideration.
And that's something that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan spoke about and alluded to when he was celebrating this win in the Rose Garden with President Trump.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Today was a big day, but it is just one step in this process, an important step. We still have a lot of work to do to get this signed into law. And I know that our friends over in the Senate are eager to get to work.
They are. We're going to see that work through. You know why we're going to see this work through? Because the issues are just too important, the stakes are just too high.
SERFATY: And as the Senate now gets started on their piece of the work in all this, many Senate Republicans are already expressing concern, not only of the process of how the bill got over to them, the fact that it wasn't scored by the CBO, the fact that many of them felt it was rushed, but also about the policy of this. Many senators describing the House bill as just a starter piece, a skeleton.
So, that's the big question now -- how much of the House bill will the Senate actually keep? Very clear they are setting themselves up to make significant potentially dramatic changes -- Dave and Christine.
ROMANS: All right. As Sunlen mentioned, the Congressional Budget Office has not even evaluated the GOP health care bill. That didn't stop House Speaker Paul Ryan from hastily calling that vote and shepherding the message through.
And this is not a tactic he endorsed eight years ago when he was trying to stop Obamacare from passing. In fact, the opposite. Listen.
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RYAN: I don't think we should pass bills that we haven't read, that we don't know what they cost. And if you rush this thing through before anybody even knows what it is, that's not good democracy. That's not doing our work for our constituents. We shouldn't rush this thing through just to rush it through for some artificial deadline. Let's get this thing done right.
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ROMANS: On June 23rd, 2009, Ryan signed a letter to the director of the CBO demanding a wide-ranging analysis of the Affordable Care Act, now called Obamacare, which then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi was trying to pass.
[04:35:06] BRIGGS: It was only step one in an uphill battle to repeal and replace, but the House vote on Thursday did represent the first significant legislative win for the president and a major one. So, he celebrated, Mr. Trump marking the occasion by taking a victory lap back home in New York City for a shipboard event with the Australian prime minister.
CNN's Jeff Zeleny has more from the USS Intrepid.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Christine and Dave, President Trump came back to New York last night with a spring in his step after the House passed his version of the health care bill. Of course, he talked about it before leaving Washington. He was delayed coming to New York City to meet with the prime minister of Australia.
When he did sit down with him, he had health care on his mind.
TRUMP: Could change a little bit, could get maybe even better. It's a very good bill right now. The premiums are going to come down very substantially. The deductibles are going to come down. It's going to be fantastic health care.
Right now, Obamacare is failing. We have a failing health care.
ZELENY: The president and the prime minister were at a black tie dinner, but it is clear that domestic politics front and center for President Trump. They believe they need to carry this momentum from the health care bill, though without question, a legislative victory for President Trump, something that eluded him in the first 100 days. He got it in the second week after that -- Christine and Dave.
ROMANS: All right, Jeff Zeleny, who very aptly called this the second or third inning, actually, in health care reform. So, all this goes on to the Senate now.
Republican lawmakers say the new bill will lower costs. Critics say it could leave millions facing higher bills or uninsured. There are always winners and losers, and this is dramatic and big legislation. So, let's try to figure out who this GOP bill helps.
It helps younger Americans. They save under this new plan. They helped pay for older people under Obamacare, so their premiums will shrink up to $4,000 a year.
The healthy would pay less. States can offer cheaper plans, stripped- down plans if they waive coverage for things like maternity benefits and prescription drugs. You can get plans potentially that could rule out hospitalization, and rule out all kinds of other factors.
And the rich get a tax cut. The bill repeals two high income taxes used to pay for Obamacare.
If that's who benefits, who's the hardest hit? Well, it's mainly older, lower-income Americans, ironically, Trump's base. It's why the AARP and American medical association and a lot of other groups are against this.
Many Obamacare provisions that helped lower-income Americans disappear, like those subsidies to help you pay for your insurance. Those making $20,000 at any age would see less money under the new tax credits, $5,900 less for a 60-year-old. In fact, adults in their 60s would see premiums go up by about 22 percent, this according to the AARP. Older Americans could pay five times as much as younger policy- holders. It's why the AARP calls it an age tax.
The new bill also cripples Medicaid, ending the planned expansion and cutting the current amount of federal support. It also hurts low- income children, the disabled and senior citizens, and finally, those with pre-existing conditions could be charged more or could lose their coverage. States don't have to guarantee that insurers cover everyone, and critics say the GOP replacement of high-risk pools doesn't have enough funding. The GOP has set aside $138 billion total, total --
BRIGGS: Total, right.
ROMANS: -- to offset the cost of the bill, but it hasn't been scored. This is a vehicle at this point that now goes to the Senate, and we're hearing that there are key senators who don't want to roll back the Medicaid expansion so much. BRIGGS: Rob Portman, notably, from Ohio.
ROMANS: Yes, and they really want to guarantee that the pre-existing conditions part is handled, because that was really the most popular part of Obamacare, and that's going to be tough for them when they're facing re-election.
BRIGGS: The policy's almost impossible to really figure out at this point because there's so many unknowns.
BRIGGS: But the politics are pretty clear, because you have moderates like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, conservatives like Mike Lee and Rand Paul who think it doesn't go far enough, and then Rob Portman, somewhere in the middle. You can only lose two senators --
BRIGGS: -- to get this thing through. So, a long way to go.
Opponents of Obamacare repeal not surprisingly angry after the vote.
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SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: You take this bill and you -- we don't want to clog up toilets or anything, but you just toss it into a garbage can and you start again. This health care bill is an embarrassment. It's an insult to the American people. And in the Senate, we will start from zero and do something that will work for ordinary Americans.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: I am convinced that while this is the second version of Trumpcare, I think in many ways, it is probably worse, and I think there are probably more people when the CBO comes out with its ratings within the week or two, more people will not have insurance more than the 24 million that we estimate over the next many years.
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BRIGGS: Now, the vote also provoked a rather unusual response on the House floor.
[04:40:01[ Listen carefully.
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BRIGGS: That, folks, is the sound of House Democrats singing to Republicans to signal their belief that the health care bill will ultimately hurt the GOP in the next election and cost them their majority.
ROMANS: We also heard from former Vice President Joe Biden who famously called Obamacare -- remember that, when he whispered to the president, "This is a big F-ing deal"? BRIGGS: Yes.
ROMANS: I'm actually, you know, sanitizing his words.
ROMANS: That was at signing ceremony.
Well, he tweeted this, "Day of shame in Congress. Protection for pre- existing conditions, mental health, maternity care and addiction services, all gone. Millions of Americans will lose coverage. Up to the Senate now. Hoping for courage to return."
BRIGGS: That singing on the House floor, it's a little bit dangerous if you're the American people and you're looking for some honesty on what this bill means to you, not a bunch of congressmen and about midterm elections, how does that make you feel if you're worried about your pre-existing condition coverage?
ROMANS: When I first heard that, I thought it was the GOP singing good-bye to Obamacare --
BRIGGS: As did I, full disclosure.
ROMANS: -- but it was the Dems serenading and mocking their colleagues.
BRIGGS: Could come back to haunt them.
Now, the obvious question, will this end up costing the GOP, as they've just suggested with the singing, its majority in the House next year?
Let's take a look at this graphic. It shows House Republicans who voted for the health care bill, Republicans whose districts were won by Hillary Clinton last November. Now, there are 14 of them, and Republicans only hold a 23-seat majority in the House, not enough to flip the House by itself, but a long way toward that.
ROMANS: When you look at some of the folks who didn't, the GOP members who didn't vote for it, many of them are in really tough districts, and they don't want to be painted as Trumpcare hurting their people.
BRIGGS: 2018's a long time from now. A lot can change politically in this country. Let's see what comes out of the Senate.
ROMANS: All right. Progressives are pouncing on president Trump for praising Australia's health care system hours after the House voted to repeal Obamacare. Now, Australians have a government-run universal Medicare system, much like the one advocated by Bernie Sanders.
Listen to President Trump's remarks during a photo op with the Australian prime minister.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: We have a failing health care -- I shouldn't say this to our great gentleman and my friend from Australia, because you have better health care than we do, but we're going to have great health care very soon.
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ROMANS: President Trump also denying he had this heated phone call with the Australian prime minister back in January, remember when the pair discussed an agreement made under former President Obama for the U.S. to accept refugees from Australia? Remember, there are reports that he maybe even hung up on his friend and ally? The president calls those greatly exaggerated.
BRIGGS: Yes, he called them fake news, but there was genuine leaks as to how this conversation went. They weren't theories.
A big jobs report due out this morning. What to expect. What it means for your money, next.
[04:47:22] ROMANS: It is jobs day in America. America's job market poised for a rebound. The April jobs report is due out this morning. What can it tell us about President Trump's economy, especially his promise of 25 million new jobs?
First, what do economists expect? Unemployment rate's still at 4.5 percent, solid wage growth. That is really important. And 190,000 new jobs. That's a nice bump after a bit of a slowdown in March to just 98,000. That could be good new for President Trump.
While he boasted about previous strong job reports, he blamed weak GDP data on Obama. So, can he take credit for today's number?
Corporate America loves his pro-business policies but he inherited a strong economy of job gains and failing unemployment. So, the true test would be his plans for tax cuts and deregulation if they pass and stimulate further growth.
And if the president wants to reach that 25 million goal, he's just a shade behind. He needs to create about 208,000 net new jobs on average a month. Numbers just aren't there yet, so we need to see a bit of a pickup. We'll find out the exact number when I break them live at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time on NEW DAY.
BRIGGS: Very good.
Members of the House Intelligence Committee expressing frustration after a classified briefing with FBI Director James Comey. Sources tell CNN the closed-door session revealed few new details about the bureau's investigation of Russia and its ties to the Trump campaign. They say the answers provided by Comey during the two-hour briefing were the same he's made in public, but Democrats focusing on Russia's meddling in the election and Republicans pressing for more details on the source of the leaks of classified information to the media. ROMANS: Pentagon announcing it is considering sending more troops to
Afghanistan in an effort to break what it calls the stalemate with the Taliban there. U.S. military officials say the troops would assist in the NATO-led mission to train and advise the Afghan army and that sending them is only part of a broader set of recommendations for U.S. involvement in the future.
Top military commanders have expressed a need for additional troops in Afghanistan. The Pentagon plans to present these options to the president within a week.
BRIGGS: President Trump heading overseas later this month. It will be his first foreign trip with visits to the Vatican, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. Top aides say they are hoping to change the way the president is perceived abroad, but it's also part of a strategy to fight ISIS and further isolate Iran by reaching out across religious and national boundaries. The president's visit to the region comes before a NATO meeting in Brussels on May 25th.
Josh Rogin from the "Washington Post" will join us in the 5:00 hour --
BRIGGS: -- to help us break down what that trip abroad means for the president.
ROMANS: All right. Uber is facing criminal charges. We'll tell you why on "CNN Money Stream," next.
[04:54:11] BRIGGS: One final day of campaigning in France before voters pick a new president. Centrist Emmanuel Macron and far right candidate Marine Le Pen tearing into each other ahead of this critical election. They're on opposite ends of the spectrum on issues like terrorism, the economy and Russia.
With Sunday's closely watched outcome sure to impact relations with the United States, let's go live to Paris and bring in CNN's Melissa Bell.
Melissa, good morning to you.
A pivotal election for the future of the E.U., not just Paris and France. Where do things stand a couple days before the election opens?
MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely pivotal, as you say. And you mentioned the spectrum. It is not, of course, the spectrum that we knew so far. It is no longer left and right. It is Marine Le Pen, the far right candidate who wants to pull France out of the European Union, and out of the Euro, out of NATO as well, who wants to introduce the kind of economic protectionism that we're seeing Donald Trump try to introduce in the United States, who wants to retreat behind France's borders and really would represent a massive change with all that's gone before. [04:55:13] And the other and entirely untested quantity, Emmanuel
Macron, the centrist who's managed to push the mainstream left and the mainstream right out of the campaign but now essentially relies on those votes for Sunday, hoping to go ahead to become the first president of France never to have been elected to any office before and to have gotten there without the benefit of an established party. Whatever happens, France is in for a massive change with what went before.
Now, of course, he represents more continuity in terms of policy, especially when it comes to questions like the European Union and the Euro, but he does represent a massive change for France and something of a political experiment, since, Dave, we still don't know how he's going to govern without a single parliamentarian to his name.
This is the crossroads at which France finds itself on Sunday. And as you say, that campaign has become increasingly bitter as those two very different visions of France are put before the French in this crucial second round. On Wednesday, we saw the two face each other off in a 2 1/2-hour debate, incredibly vitriolic, incredibly brutal debate.
France now will decide on Sunday. By about 8:00 p.m. local time, we'll have an idea of which path the country's chosen.
BRIGGS: Boy, not just a pivotal election, but a fascinating one, considering the dynamics of these two candidates.
Melissa Bell, thank you.
All right, still thinking about a gift for mom on Mother's Day?
ROMANS: Wait, when is Mother's Day, this weekend?
BRIGGS: No, next.
BRIGGS: All right, you've got some time.
Consider a warm sweater if you live along the eastern seaboard. Here's meteorologist Derek Van Dam.
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Christine and Dave.
Hopefully, our viewers didn't pack away their sweaters or jackets too early this season, because temperatures are going to be running anywhere from 10 to 25 degrees below where they should be this time of year.
Take, for instance, Atlanta. Today, 53 degrees. We should be 77 this time of year. Cooling off nicely into D.C., as well as New York for the entire weekend. In fact, this cold stretch of air's going to last right through
mother's day weekend, so get used to it across the Southeast. Above- average temperatures, however, expected for the Northern Plains.
Here's a look at our flood threat today, stretching from Ohio through parts of Illinois and into Missouri. Still our departing storm system bringing quite a bit of rainfall to this area, including the Mid- Atlantic States. You've got a wet day from New York into Washington, Norfolk as well as Charlotte, Nashville, and Charleston.
Here's a look at our rainfall totals. We're anticipating anywhere from 1 to 3, even locally higher amounts across much of the mid- Atlantic.
Back to you.
ROMANS: All right. Thank you for that. Let's get a check on "CNN Money Stream" this morning.
Stock futures flat, global markets lower after a flat close on Wall Street. Investors tuning in today for April's jobs report and a whole lot more earnings. The Dow fell as much as 100 points before closing, just down 6 points.
The market was dragged by energy stocks which fell 2 percent. You got oil prices back below $45 a barrel. Oil prices falling more than 3 percent overnight. Crude at the lowest now since OPEC agreed to slash production in November.
The historic agreement initially gave prices a boost, but high out put and sluggish demand for gas has renewed fears of a supply glut. Same old story there.
More trouble for Uber. The ride-sharing company is under criminal investigation for using software to avoid regulators. "Reuters" first reporting that the Department of Justice is looking into a program called gray ball, hiding cars in areas the company was not yet allowed to drive in.
In a statement to CNNMoney, Uber denied the charges, adding the program was mainly used to hide drivers from users who violate their terms of pay.
BRIGGS: A new bill in one of the country's largest labor markets is taking aim at the gender pay gap. Employers in New York City will no longer be able to ask applicants about their salary history. Women earn 79.6 cents for every dollar men made in 2015, and experts saying asking an interviewee about her salary history increases this problem. More than 20 states are considering similar legislation. The law would go into effect in October.
Why does it change the debate to ask?
ROMANS: Interesting. Because when you ask what is your salary history and the person says, you know, $45,000.
ROMANS: When you offer them a job, you offer it at 3 percent above $45,000. If the man is making $47,000, you're going to offer him for the same job 3 percent above $47,000, and so, the pay gap persists.
It's just one of the many things, I think -- I think there are a lot of different factors in the pay gap, but it's interesting to me that so many states, 20 states and some of these big cities are considering that. Just banning that question on the application alone, will that help? I am not sure.
BRIGGS: Incremental step, but certainly some progress.
ROMANS: Little thing, yes.
BRIGGS: All right. EARLY START continues right now.
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TRUMP: We're going to get this passed through the Senate. I feel so confident.
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BRIGGS: On to the Senate now. The Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare faces a steep climb in the upper chamber. We'll look at what's in the bill, what's not, and whether it can ultimately pass the Senate.