CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I’m Chris Wallace.
President Biden tries to end the fight between the moderate and progressive
wings of his party that threatens to derail his domestic agenda.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): We need to get this reconciliation bill.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): For them to get theirs, elect more liberals.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It doesn’t matter whether it’s
in six minutes, six days, or six weeks. We’re going to get it done.
WALLACE (voice-over): The president pledging to bridge the divide between
centrists, who want to vote now on a bipartisan infrastructure bill, and
progressives who want to wait for agreement on a sweeping plan to reshape
the nation’s social safety net.
This hour, we’ll talk with White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond and
ask Congressman Ro Khanna, a member of the Democrats’ progressive wing,
about the president’s call to lower the price tag. Plus, get reaction from
the number three Republican in the Senate, John Barrasso — only on “FOX
Then, we’ll ask our Sunday panel about Joe Biden’s presidency at a
And our Power Players of the Week: the team working around the clock to
ensure no service member is left behind.
All, right now, on “FOX News Sunday”.
WALLACE (on camera): And hello again from FOX News in Washington.
Well, this was supposed to be the week House Democrats passed that
bipartisan infrastructure plan and give President Biden a much-needed
legislative victory. But this Sunday, the party is still deadlocked between
the moderates who want infrastructure and progressives who are determined
to block that bill until they get the massive social spending they want.
President Biden is now talking about taking weeks about trying to resolve
the differences inside his own party. The real danger? That he ends up with
neither part of his domestic agenda.
In a moment, we’ll speak with Biden senior advisor Cedric Richmond and
California Congressman Ro Khanna, a key member of the progressive wing.
But, first, let’s bring in David Spunt at the White House with the latest
on the effort to find a compromise — David.
DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Chris. As the U.S. Senator Joe
Biden spent almost 40 years on Capitol Hill compromising, finding a
compromise in this Congress will be tough, but he’s not giving up.
BIDEN: There’s nothing in any of these pieces of legislation that’s
radical, that is unreasonable.
SPUNT (voice-over): Before leaving for a week in Delaware, a confident
President Biden said he’ll take his time, pushing both items on his wish
list. But telling progressives that they must come off of their $ 3.5
trillion top line for their social spending bill.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): We need — we need to be real. Are
we going to deliver universal pre-K to this country or not? Are we going to
expand health care to our seniors and include vision and dental or not?
SPUNT: While moderates led by Congressman Josh Gottheimer have no time for
the delays, writing: It’s deeply regrettable that Speaker Pelosi breached
her firm public commitment to members of Congress and American people to
hold a vote and to pass a once in a century bipartisan infrastructure bill
on or before September 27th.
In a Saturday letter to her caucus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote: We will and
must pass both bills soon. We have the responsibility and the opportunity
to do so.
But centrists like Gottheimer are focused on the infrastructure bill and
they have support from Republicans.
SEN. BILL CASSIDY (R-LA): That’s what’s wrong with Washington, D.C. We
don’t put the needs of the American people first. We put some other agenda
and nothing ever happens.
SPUNT (on camera): Negotiations, Chris, are ongoing until this comes to
vote. Meanwhile, there’s another clock ticking, raising the nation’s debt
ceiling until it hits its limit in just a few weeks — Chris.
WALLACE: David Spunt, reporting from the White House — David, thank you.
And joining us now, senior advisor to the president, Cedric Richmond.
Mr. Richmond, welcome back to “FOX News Sunday”.
CEDRIC RICHMOND, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT: Thanks for having me.
WALLACE: So, the House is out of session for the next two weeks. The
legislation for this massive spending bill hasn’t been written yet.
Here was President Biden on Friday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I’m telling you we’re going to
get this done.
BIDEN: It doesn’t matter when. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in six
minutes, six days, or six weeks. We’re going to get it done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: When the president says six weeks, Mr. Richmond, aren’t we
talking, realistically, about something in that timeframe?
RICHMOND: Well, no, we don’t have a time frame on it. This is just about
delivering and making sure that we deliver both bills to the American
people because it meets their needs. So, we’re not using an artificial
timeline and we’re not concerned with process. We’re cerned (ph) — we’re
concerned about delivery.
WALLACE: But you can’t deliver until you complete the process.
The president has, at various points, been frankly all over the map on
whether or not the big infrastructure bill and the big social spending bill
are linked. First, they weren’t. Then, they were. And as of Friday, they
RICHMOND: Well, the president wants both bills and he expects to get both
bills. Nancy Pelosi, the speaker, has said that they’re going to pass both
bills and we believe that because we know that both bills are very popular
and both meet the needs of the people right now.
And so, we’re going to continue to work on both, keep our heads down and
make sure that we deliver.
WALLACE: But would you agree that at this point, both the moderates in the
Democratic Party have a veto over the spending bill in effect and the
progressives in the party have a veto over the infrastructure bill?
RICHMOND: Well, the future may be intertwined a little bit. We don’t
necessarily agree that it is — that they’re mutually exclusive. But the
point is very simple. It is — we need to make sure that we look at all of
the programs that we need to deliver, create a bill, and so that we can get
it passed through the Congress. And I think it’s really just that simple.
WALLACE: So, the president on Friday told the House Democratic Caucus, and
especially the progressives, they’re going to have to come down on the
price tag for that big social spending bill from $ 3.5 trillion. What they
have been talking about, to more in the neighborhood of $ 2 trillion —
still a pretty pricey neighborhood, which is still even more than Senators
Manchin and Sinema are talking about.
My question is this, as the president talks about bringing the price tag
down by at least a trillion and a half dollars, does he want to eliminate
some of the proposed new programs that were included in this measure, or is
he talking or thinking about funding all of them but at a reduced level
and, frankly, for a shorter time period — in other words, with an
expiration note — which as you know as well as I as a former member of
Congress, that that’s an old budget gimmick here in Washington?
RICHMOND: I’ll tell you that those decisions will be made in conjunction
with members of Congress. But there is unity of purpose. Everybody wants to
bring down the cost of prescription drugs and health care and expand it so
more people have it. We want to make sure that we do the child tax credit
and that we make sure that we cut taxes for working families. Those are
things that the entire Democratic Caucus is united about.
And so, we don’t look at this as a number. We look at this as what programs
are we going to deliver, how do we ensure that we have child care so that
parents can enter into the workforce and stay in the workforce?
So, for us, this is about making sure that we meet the needs and the vision
of President Biden.
WALLACE: But this is a pretty big decision, because you can fund fewer new
programs and keep them going for a longer time, or you can fund all of the
programs in the wish list but then you’re setting dates when they go out of
— you know, that there are no longer in effect. And that runs the risk
that when they run out, let’s say, in 2025, that the Congress and president
at that time won’t renew them.
RICHMOND: Well, that would just make an argument, whenever they expire,
the vision of the people of this country and what they want. And we know
clearly that by passing the child tax credit in American Rescue Plan, we
reduced child poverty in this country by 50 percent. That’s why the child
tax credit is the number one thing that we’re trying to get accomplished
now, because we see how it lifted children and families out of poverty and
we want to do it again.
And so, if that fight comes back in 2025, 2026, or any other year, we’re
going to be prepared to fight for it and American people will know just how
important it is.
WALLACE: So, Senator Joe Manchin. He is still at 1-1/2 trillion, not 3-
1/2, not 2, $ 1-1/2 trillion for the total social spending bill.
And here’s what he said it in a statement this week: Spending trillions
more on new and expanded government programs when we can’t even pay for the
essential social programs like Social Security and Medicare is the
definition of fiscal insanity.
Is Senator Manchin wrong?
RICHMOND: Look, I won’t say that Senator Manchin is wrong, but I will say
that this administration, we know what we need to do. We need to deliver
for the American people. Seventeen Nobel laureate economists said that if
we pass both of these plans, we would reduce inflation.
And so, what we have work to do is make sure that Senator Manchin
understands how this affects the future in terms of making sure that we
invest in American families so that they can determine their own destiny.
We think we have unity of purpose with Senator Manchin. That’s what the
president does best and that is to talk to Senator Manchin and make sure
that he understands the entire vision why we need to do it and what amount.
But at the end of the day, Chris, I think what’s important for people to
understand is that this piece of legislation cost zero. We’re going to pay
for it all by raising taxes on the very wealthy and big corporations, which
is favored by 70 percent —
WALLACE: Mr. Richmond, I’ve got to — I’ve got have to stop you there. It
doesn’t cost zero. Whether it’s $ 3.5 trillion or $ 2 trillion, it — or $ 1.5
trillion, whatever, it costs that amount of money.
Now, you can pay for it either by borrowing it or you can pay for it by
raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, but it doesn’t cost zero.
RICHMOND: At the end of the day, it will cost zero because we’re going to
pay for it. Now, if you go back and look at the Trump tax cuts, which
weren’t paid for, they cost billions and billions.
But we’re going to pay for everything we spend here. And that is not
including the economic benefits and gains that we will get from it.
WALLACE: But —
RICHMOND: We know what we’re doing. If you look at the American Rescue
Plan, the economy grew faster than it’s grown in the last 40 years. We
created more jobs than any administration in the history of this country.
The president has a vision. He knows what he’s doing. He’s going to deliver
for the American people. And we’re confident that we will bring the
Democrats along with us.
WALLACE: But again, I just want to press down on this, because — I can
understand the argument, a lot of people say that your math is wrong and
even that it won’t add zero to the debt. You could make the argument if you
pay for it that you add zero to the debt, but that doesn’t mean that it
costs zero. I mean, the fact that you’re raising people’s taxes is a cost.
RICHMOND: Well, we’re also reducing taxes in this piece of legislation.
Fifty million Americans are going to get a tax cut in this piece of
WALLACE: But net-net, net-net, if you for it —
RICHMOND: These 50 million working families.
WALLACE: But net-net, if it’s a $ 2 trillion spending plan, net-net, you —
cost $ 2 trillion.
RICHMOND: Well, I’m not necessarily sure about that, Chris. And that’s why
we will make sure that all of the Democrats are involved in how we shape
But everyone is worried about a top number. What we should be worried about
is the programs we deliver so people can reenter the workforce and that
children don’t drink poison water at school and in their homes.
And remember, this is really not about politics or process. It’s about
purpose in accomplishing and meeting the needs of the American people
WALLACE: Final question. What is at stake here? If Congress fails to pass
both the infrastructure package and the social spending package, what’s at
stake in terms of the Biden presidency and the fortunes for the Democrats
in the 2022 midterms?
RICHMOND: Well, this is exactly why left Congress, because President Biden
is not worried about politics. He’s worried about delivering for the
people. And that’s what we’re focused on.
We’re going to keep our head down and we’re going to deliver. We’re going
to lower prescription drug cost. People can’t get their drugs at the end of
the month to save their lives. We’re going to keep focusing on COVID.
So, this is not about politics. This is about delivering for people, and
this president’s desire to make sure that he empowers his families to reach
WALLACE: Mr. Richmond, thank you. Thanks for your time today. Always good
to talk with you, sir.
RICHMOND: Thank you.
WALLACE: Let’s turn now to Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna, a member of
the Congressional Progressive Caucus that’s demanding an agreement on the
big social spending plan before it will back the infrastructure bill.
Congressman, as we have noted, President Biden, in his talking to House
Democrats on Friday, said to progressives that this number, $ 3.5 trillion,
is going to have to come down. And here’s how the head of your Progressive
Caucus, how she reacted to that. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PRAMILA JAYPAL (D-WA), CHAIR, CONGRESSIONAL PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS: It’s
going to be tough. Like we are going to have to come down in our number and
we’re going to have to do that work. So we’re going to get to work and see
what we can get to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: So let me ask you the same question I asked Mr. Richmond. How do
you get down to that lower number? Because there are two ways. One is that
you push forward fewer proposals but back them more fully, or you keep all
of the proposals but you give them sunset dates which, as we both know, is
an old D.C. budget gimmick.
REP. RO KHANNA (D), CALIFORNIA: Chris, we can front-load the benefits and
have less years, but ultimately the president is as honest broker. He’s
going to bring all of the stakeholders together. And I trust his judgment
to get a compromise. Let me just put one thing in perspective. Donald Trump
left us with $ 7 trillion in debt in his term. His vision was cut taxes to
grow the economy. And we had overseas wars. We have a different vision. We
do want to spend money, invest to grow the economy. We believe that
investing in the American people in a modern economy is the way to grow —
to growth. And that’s our vision.
WALLACE: Let’s talk about other ways that you could cut the expense here.
One of them, Joe Manchin — actually, two of them Joe Manchin has talked
about. One is means testing. Instead of giving these benefits to everyone
regardless of income level, say they either — they phase out, gets lower
and eventually are cut off for people above a certain income level. There’s
also talk that, which is not included in current ideas, for a work
requirement for people getting those — that child tax credit. What do you
think about those as ways to target these benefits to people?
KHANNA: Well, it depends what we’re talking about. If we are talking about
a child tax credit, that’s already phased out, Earned Income Tax Credit
that’s already phased. But there are some things, Chris, that we have to do
together as Americans. I mean, should we really have segregated classes in
When I went to first grade, you had blue collar kids there, you had rich
kids there. So when we’re talking about having every American get the
chance to have preschool, which they already have in countries like France,
I don’t think that ought to be means-tested. And we’re talking about
everyone should get to go to some community college because they’re going
to need skills for the 21st Century.
Senator Manchin says we have 11 million jobs that are unfilled. How are we
going to get people credentialed? I don’t think that should be means-
tested. And in terms of the senator’s proposal, I think we can compromise
on what does require means-testing and what doesn’t.
WALLACE: What do you think of Joe Manchin?
KHANNA: I respect him. I’ve been down to Beckley, West Virginia. He was
deeply gracious. He cares deeply about his state. He, frankly, has has
always been transparent. We disagree, but he has been clear about what his
views are and I think we can come to an agreement. But he is a straight
WALLACE: All right. Let’s talk about something that he has shot straight
about. He says that this social spending program needs to come down
dramatically. He is saying not $ 2 trillion, $ 1.5 trillion. And here was
something he said this week, take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I don’t fault any of them who believe
that they are much more progressive and much more liberal. God bless them.
And all they need to do is we have to elect more, I guess, for them to get
theirs, elect more liberals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Does Senator Manchin have a point? Because one of the things he’s
basically saying is, look, you don’t have a mandate, Joe Biden didn’t have
a mandate, the Democrats in Congress didn’t have a mandate for this kind of
enormous social spending. If you want to govern like FDR with the New Deal,
if you want to govern like LBJ with the Great Society, then win the kinds
of supermajorities that FDR and LBJ had and that Joe Biden and all of you
KHANNA: Chris, I don’t think Senator Manchin and I are that far apart.
Again, in context, Trump’s spending, which folks aren’t talking about, was
$ 7 trillion. This is $ 3.5 trillion over 10 years.
And here’s what I would say to Senator Manchin having been to his state.
You know who created the wealth over the last year, where all the wealth is
going? It’s in my district. I mean, Silicon Valley has done terrific over
the pandemic. And I’m saying, why don’t we tax some folks who have made
millions of dollars with the digitization of the economy so we can help so
many parts of this country, rural America, places that have been left
behind, frankly, places in West Virginia that need investment in
industrialization, in the new jobs, in child care. I think Senator Manchin
and I, if we sat down, could come to an agreement. This is about economic
growth. It’s about opportunity in the 21st Century. And we don’t believe
that just having tax cuts and overseas wars is the way to get there.
WALLACE: Why is there such a split inside the Democratic Party? It — just
in the House, in your body the House moderates were saying, look, give us a
vote this past week on infrastructure and we will support — we will
negotiate, but we will support a social spending plan, and you progressives
wouldn’t trust them. Why not?
KHANNA: Chris, honestly, there wasn’t a split. We agreed to do what Joe
Biden wants. You know I chaired Bernie Sanders’s campaign. Medicare for All
isn’t in here. Free college isn’t in here.
WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait, wait. Congressman, time out here. The fact is
that Nancy Pelosi —
WALLACE: — wait a minute, promised the moderates a vote this past week.
First on Monday, then on Thursday. And she said to them, I’m going to give
it to you, and you and the Progressive Caucus refused to give it to them.
Why didn’t you trust them that if you passed their plan they would vote for
KHANNA: What I said, what the Progressive Caucus has said is we will do
what the president wants to do. Chris, I didn’t get one call from the White
House saying that we want the infrastructure bill to pass first. I didn’t
get one call from the Speaker’s Office or from the Majority Leader’s
The reality is 95 percent of the party has been with President Biden. He
wants both bills. Those are his bills. He wrote those bills. And that is
His vision is we want people to have child care. We want people to have
community college. We want folks to get dental and vision. And I will
follow the president on the compromise —
WALLACE: So are you saying —
WALLACE: I’ve got 30 seconds left here, sir. Don’t mean to interrupt.
WALLACE: But are you saying that the White House wanted these two bills
linked? Because there have been reports that some top White House people,
including White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, were saying to
progressives, hey, stand your ground, it’s OK to link these two bills.
KHANNA: Ron never said that to me, but they never said that we have to
vote for the infrastructure bill. And what I heard directly from the
president is he wants both bills. I think that has always been his vision.
And I’ll tell you this, at least I can speak for myself, I would not have
contradicted the president’s vision. What I have said —
KHANNA: — consistently when most progressives have said is we want to do
what the president wants. And I think the House moderates thought Joe Biden
is a moderate, he agrees with us. Actually, this time, he didn’t. He agreed
that we want both bills.
WALLACE: Congressman Khanna, thank you. Thanks for joining us today and we
will be tracking how the negotiations go over the Biden agenda in the weeks
KHANNA: Thanks for having me.
WALLACE: Up next, reaction from Republican Senator John Barrasso who says
Democrats big spending plans will boost inflation and push the country
WALLACE: While Democrats are locked in a battle over spending priorities,
Republicans are watching from the sidelines with an eye on next year’s
Joining us now from Wyoming, the number three Republican in the Senate,
Senator, welcome back to FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO, (R-WY): Great to be with you, Chris. Thank you.
WALLACE: You just heard my conversations with Cedric Richmond and
Congressman Ro Khanna.
BARRASSO: Well, what we’re seeing is like watching an episode of the
twilight zone. I thought Joe Biden went to The Hill on Friday to try to get
that bipartisan infrastructure bill passed and instead he surrendered to
the radical wing of his party. And now you have this big government
socialism reckless spending bill being basically used to hold hostage the
think that the American people want are roads and bridges, highways, all of
When a bipartisan bill passed a 50/50 Senate, it had 69 votes. It was a lot
of momentum on its side. In any kind of a normal world, that would’ve been
signed into law by the president. This was two months ago. This was before
Afghanistan, when the president lost a lot of political muscle. Now we’re
at a point where the president is weak and really Bernie Sanders, the far
left Democrats are driving the bus and Joe Biden is just along for the
WALLACE: Well, let’s talk about politics on both sides, though. As you
point out, 19 of your fellow Republican senators voted for the bipartisan
infrastructure plan in the Senate. You didn’t. You called the
reconciliation bill a freight train to socialism. You and all of the
Republicans are refusing the normal course, bipartisan passage of raising
the debt limit.
So I guess the question to you and a lot of Republicans is, are you viewing
these issues on the merits or are you just playing partisan politics?
BARRASSO: Well, I think the American people want the sort of things that
are in that bipartisan bill, roads, bridges, ports, airports, all of those
things are important. I had some concerns with some of the gimmicks that
were used to fund it. I thought it spent too much. There were some issues
that I didn’t like in terms of — I thought it was going to make energy
more expensive and undermine our grid.
But, look, you have a 50/50 Senate. Sixty-nine votes is a big number of
votes to support something. But on this $ 3.5 trillion infrastructure
proposal that the Democrats are focusing on right now with trillions of
dollars of increased taxes and trillions of dollars of increased debt,
every Republican is united against it. We’re a party at that wants to grow
the economy. The Democrats are a party that wants to grow the government.
And you heard it right there, they’re continuing to try to mislead the
public by saying it is free. It is not free. They said, oh, inflation —
Cedric said, oh, inflation will go down. Inflation — people are feeling
the bite of inflation right now when they buy groceries, when they buy gas,
all of those things.
BARRASSO: And they think if this stuff passes, this massive spending and
tax bill, that inflation is going to get much worse.
WALLACE: But let’s talk, Senator, about some of the specific programs in
this big social spending bill. As part of the Trump tax cuts in 2017, you
voted to increase the child tax credit from $ 1,000 to $ 2,000.
Now, as part of this bill, the Democrats would extend that to 2025 at a
higher level. The fact is that your state of Wyoming is one of the states
that benefits most from the increase in the child tax credit. Why oppose
BARRASSO: Well, what you’re talking about, though, a $ 3.5 trillion massive
bill, lots of things —
WALLACE: Well, but no — but, forgive — forgive me, sir.
WALLACE: I’m — I’m — but I’m asking you about this specific part of the
bill. I — I understand there are parts that you don’t like. But, for
instance — I mean the — I guess part of the question is, could you have
worked with them on this child tax credit, which you voted for in 2017?
That’s one of the things that you’re voting against now. Why– why oppose
that specific program?
BARRASSO: Well, you — it’s part of the bigger bill. You know the issues
for any member of the Senate or Congress, you have to look at the entire
bill and say, are you for the bill or you’re not. And I would point out,
Chris, the Democrats are not coming to talk with Republicans on any of
these things. I mean Bernie Sanders, the other day, said 48 people ought to
be able to overrule two, but there are actually 100 members of the Senate.
It’s 52 against a number of things that the Democrats are proposing here.
And the content of this bill matters almost as much if not more than the
cost. I’ve gotten more letters in the last two weeks on one component of
this, which is the issue of giving a whole new army of IRS agents to rifle
through your checking account, to look at any check that you either deposit
or write for over $ 600. This is an invasion of privacy. Every senator’s is
hearing about this. That’s included as well.
So when you take a look at the entire bill, which is why, you know, Joe
Manchin said, it’s time for a strategic pause. Well, it looks like there
may be a long pause on both the real infrastructure bill and this big
spending blowout bill.
WALLACE: You talk about things you don’t like, like the added IRS agents
and added IRS intrusion. Let’s talk about another part of the bill, which
is universal Pre-K.
In a state of Wyoming, less than one quarter of children three to four,
which is — who would be covered in the bill, are enrolled in publicly
funded preschool. Less than one quarter. Wouldn’t a lot of Wyoming families
benefit from universal Pre-K?
BARRASSO: There are a number of things that will help the people of
Wyoming. Overall, Joe Biden’s policies have been hurting the people of
Wyoming. And I believe that there should be tested. You just don’t give
things universally to everybody. I think there should be work requirements
involved. The Democrats are trying to separate work requirements from just
free government checks and programs.
You heard the congressman from the Progressive Caucus say, everybody ought
to get free community college, everybody ought to get free daycare, Pre-K,
all of those things, and that’s not the way that our country has been
founded and how we work together.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Right. I — I’ve got — I’ve got less than
a minute left. Are you and your Republican colleagues thoroughly enjoying
this divide inside the Democratic Party?
BARRASSO: Well, I’ll tell you, you know, the thing is, Joe Biden ran as a
centrist and as competent. And what we’re seeing is that he is neither. And
people across the country are feeling less safe with Joe Biden as
president. Their paychecks are less safe because of the inflation. When you
look at hundreds of thousands of people legally coming to the country every
month, they feel less safe.
BARRASSO: When the generals testify, as they did, that we are less safe to
terrorism, Joe Biden has now walked the plank for the socialist Bernie
Sanders budget. He’s man overboard and he cannot swim. He is sinking and
he’s sunk (INAUDIBLE).
WALLACE: Senator Barrasso, thank you very much. I love the metaphors. Thank
you. Thanks for your time. Always good to talk with you, sir.
Up next, we’ll bring in our Sunday group to discuss prospects for both of
these bills and what failure to pass them would mean for the Biden
WALLACE: Coming up, DHS tried to avoid an October surprise surge of
migrants making their way to the U.S. from Central America.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We are still applying Title 42. We
are still sending people away at the border.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: We’ll ask our Sunday panel about the crisis and the administration
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There is no reason why both
these bills couldn’t pass independently, except that they’re not supposed
to do it that way. It’s a simple proposition. And so I think it makes
sense. I support both of them. And I think we can get them both done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: President Biden expressing confidence Congress will ultimately
pass his domestic agenda despite continuing deep divisions within his own
And it’s time now for our Sunday group.
Steve Hayes, editor of “The Dispatch,” Fox News contributor Marie Harf, and
Jonathan Swan, national political reporter for “Axios.”
Well, Jonathan, I think it’s fair to say, at the end of this very eventful
week, that there’s even more backbiting among Democrats right now. A lot of
the House moderates thought that when Joe Biden was coming to The Hill on
Friday, he was coming to rally support for the infrastructure bill. He
didn’t do that. He seems now to link them.
And I thought it was interesting to hear Ro Khanna say that he didn’t get a
single word from anybody at the White House this week, support the
infrastructure bill, which is a message in itself.
So what is going on in the Biden White House?
JONATHAN SWAN, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, “AXIOS”: Well, I think Joe
Biden, that you just played the clip, said it pretty succinctly, they don’t
have the votes. It’s very, very simple, they don’t have the votes.
And what people expected — some people expected, not everyone, but some,
was that the progressives would fold. That Nancy Pelosi, with her hammer,
would — would basically push them to have that vote and — and they would,
you know, dissolve.
But, actually, you’ve got to give them a lot of credit, they stuck together
and they were very cohesive. And Jayapal and Ro Khanna’s part of the
Progressive Caucus, they stuck together and said, no, we’re not going to
separate these two bills, we are going to demand that they stick together.
And they won the fight. And — and right now they’re going to face and
externally painful few weeks because it’s not about, you know — everyone
talks about the topline number, you know, $ 3.5 trillion, $ 1.5 trillion. But
within that are a whole bunch of programs that are considered vital by many
of these Democrats and — and their constituents. So they have to make
really tough choices, do we get rid of paid family leave, child care, what
do we do with climate change, helping the homeless? They have to make
really tough policy choices underneath that top line number.
WALLACE: Marie, you have close ties across the party. Some people are
saying this is no longer just a fight between House moderates and House
progressives. This is now a fight between the House Democrats and Senate
Democrats, between Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, and between Nancy Pelosi
and President Biden.
MARIE HARF, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR AND FORMER STATE DEPARTMENT
Chris, it’s interesting, a lot of those fights — or those reported fights
are very inside baseball here in D.C. And they’re important because they
help — they help guide what policies eventually will get in. I think what
will be a successfully passed bill, eventually.
But, look, these deadlines, I think, are fairly artificial. There’s nothing
magical about yesterday or Friday when they were trying to get this bill
done. So if Democrats, all those different factions, can come together and
get these bills done whenever that is, and after a painful few weeks, I
think it will be incumbent upon them to go out to states and say, here’s
what your citizens are getting out of these bills. Exactly the questions
you asked Senator Barrasso. A lot of the pieces of these bills will help
people in states, including states led by Republicans. And so Democrats
have to, you know — eventually they have to get this passed. And I think
they will. I think these will be a compromise. But they — they don’t have
a good answer on the Republican side on things like the child tax credit,
on some of these very popular pieces of this bill.
And, look, Republicans — Democrats are going to say, Chris, none of these
Republicans bat an eye at spending, not just on the Trump tax cuts, but on
defense spending, for example,
HARF: Can’t we spend as much money to take care of our people coming out of
such a crisis year and a half?
WALLACE: Steve, if there is one phrase I hate in Washington reporting, it’s
make or break, because any of us who have been around for a while have seen
legislation that appears to be in real trouble or even to be dead, and then
it’s suddenly revived.
So what do you think are the realistic chances that, you know, it may be
reduced but both infrastructure and a big social spending plan in the end
will be passed by the Democrats, even with their razor-thin majorities?
STEVE HAYES, CEO, CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR, “THE DISPATCH” AND FOX NEWS
CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. Look, Chris, I think you’re exactly right. I mean it’s
still possible. There’s no question that Democrats could eventually come
together to pass these plans. And — and you’ve seen this again and again
and again covering Washington.
I think the challenge for Democrats right now is this bitterness amongst
these factions is increasing right now, not decreasing. I mean I think your
— your interview with — with Representative Khanna and the question you
put to him about reporting about what the White House has been signaling
privately to — to these progressives, I think the White House gambled that
— that the infrastructure wouldn’t work eventually. And what they wanted
to do was essentially show people like Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema,
other moderates, that Republicans couldn’t really be worked with, that they
were going to have to pass the Biden agenda on a partisan basis. That
complicates matters. The face that Republicans did go along with it, that
there was this vote in the Senate with 69 votes, that complicates their
And what you’re seeing now are these, you know, I think principled,
significant difference among these factions. But you now have progressives,
they were nice on — on your show, I thought, but, you know, they’re taking
shots at the moderates saying these are sellout to corporate interests,
they want to boost the Republican agenda, they’re not committed to
President Biden. These are hard feelings that will take a while, I think,
to get past if they ever are going to — going to make these things work.
WALLACE: So, Jonathan, briefly, in — in this very charged situation, does
the White House have a battle plan, does it have a strategy to pass both
parts of this agenda? And, if so, what is it?
SWAN: If they do, it’s been very well concealed. But there is a debate
inside the White House right now between President Biden’s top aides and —
and his economic advisors on whether to cull programs altogether and — and
reduce the number and deliver a few things really well and try and make
them permanent benefits that the American people feel, or proceed with the
— the vast range of programs that they have in the original bill but lower
the spending on them, which means, as you pointed out, sunsetting them.
That — there are — there are downsides to both approaches. One being, if
you go for the second approach, you might deliver a whole lot of programs
poorly and create a whole lot of uncertainty in the lives of vulnerable
people around the country with all of these cliffs, you know, every few
months — you know, when unemployment benefits expire, you know, in these
crises. So it’s a really, really tough set of choices they now have to make
to bring the number down to around $ 2 trillion.
WALLACE: Yes, down — who ever thought we’d ever talk about down to $ 2
trillion and who ever thought you’d say to some congressmen, you can have
your entitlement but he can’t have his.
Panel, we have to take a break here.
When we come back, there’s a new flood of migrants headed for our southern
border, and it’s even bigger than the last one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We’re a nation state. We have borders.
The idea that we can just have open borders is something that, I think, as
a practical matter, is — is unsustainable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Former President Obama laying out the challenge the Biden
administration now faces as huge number of migrants continue to make their
way towards our southern border.
And we’re back now with the panel.
Before we get into this, I just want to say, because we’re getting some —
some people sending us messages, we did not cut off Senator Barrasso. He
was on Skype in his home in Wyoming and his Skype — I don’t want to get in
trouble with Skype either — it went bad. But we did not cut him off and we
would never do that. In fact, I was enjoying his talking about walking the
plank and not being able to swim.
All right, Steve, with that cleared up, there are reports that 60,000 to
80,000 more Haitians are on the way coming up from Latin America, through
the jungles of Panama, into Mexico, up to the border, which makes the —
the — what we’ve seen so far from the Haitians in Del Rio pale by
What does this say about the Biden administration and its failure to get a
handle on the immigration crisis?
HAYES: Yes, look, it’s a — it’s a huge problem and it is, in fact, a
crisis. The Biden administration came into office taking, I think, a rather
long-term view of the approach to the border and the approach to the — the
growing migration, which really has been taking place for a decade. We’ve
seen these kinds of inflated numbers for ten years. Now there’s been an
I think the problem is you had Vice President Harris, in her — her —
working out deals with the northern triangle companies — with —
countries, with the countries in Central America. And, in fact, asking them
to be a frontline border patrol for the United States. The problem is, it
wasn’t necessarily in their interest to do that kind of preemptive
enforcement for us. They believe, in many cases, that it’s in their
national interest not to do that. So she tried to push the problem forward
and I think, in effect, has — it — it hasn’t worked, as we’re seeing with
this increasing surge.
The conditions that are leading people to come are unlikely to — to abate
in the coming months. You’re — you’re having COVID, economic crises,
you’re having governance crises, you’re having personal security crises.
They’re going to keep sending people north.
WALLACE: Jonathan, the administration announced a new enforcement policy
this week that they will focus primarily on migrants who have just come
over the border illegally or migrants in this country who pose a threat to
national security or are a real threat to security in general.
Do they — but not — not focus on migrants who have been in this country
for a while and not committed crimes. Do they think that’s going to do
anything to stop the flood of people coming up from Latin and Central
SWAN: No, it’s just a band-aid. I mean when you talk to senior officials,
they acknowledge — I mean this is a — the — the set of crisis that Steve
just outlined, it’s probably unprecedented. When you — when you overlay a
global pandemic with, you know, in Haiti, the earthquake and — and the
assassination of the leader, the economic crisis in the region. And — and
it’s only getting worse.
I mean my colleague interviewed Panama’s foreign minister. As you laid out,
this is only getting worse. Some of it is endorsement from the Biden
administration’s policies and — and traffickers using that to message to
people in the region, come on up, come on up.
SWAN: So the only way to solve this is a regional solution. That there’s
obviously got to be enforcement from the U.S. side, but they’re going to
have to get cooperation from others in the region, otherwise you’re not
going to — because the scale of the problem has become so massive that it
is going to require a regional solution.
WALLACE: Here was a Texas county commissioner describing the situation on
the border this week. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEAU NETTLETON, VAL VERDE, TEXAS, COUNTY MISSIONER: This is a huge
national security problem. I mean we have people crossing this border and
we’ve heard number of this group, up to 20,000, and we’ve had thousands
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Marie, this is the kind of uncontrolled, illegal immigration that
can really cost a party politically. And you — and you even had former
President Obama this week talking about anything that smacks of open border
as being unsustainable.
HARF: Yes, Chris, the two constituencies I think Democrats are and should
be concerned about. First, in these border states, Texas, New Mexico,
Arizona, Democrats have made some gains over the last years and we’re
hoping to make more. But I think they’re — they’re nervous about the
politics in these states as these crises at the border get worse.
But they’re also worried about the progressive flank. Joe Biden may have
sided with them on infrastructure and reconciliation, but the progressive
flank is — of the party is increasingly noisy about the fact that Joe
Biden’s keeping some of the Trump policies in place, or trying to, with
Title 42, for example. And, look, the progressive say, Joe Biden, you ran
on — on restoring dignity and humanity to the White House, so why is the
border looking quite like this?
Democrats are worried about the politics of both and trying to walk a line
that is, quite frankly, very tricky to do. There are no easy answers and no
good answers right now.
WALLACE: Steve, how potent an issue is this for Republicans, or how potent
an issue do they think it is for them if we continue to have this — this
crisis at the border in the run-up to the 2022 midterms?
HAYES: Yes, pretty darn potent I think for a couple different reasons. One
is the reason that Marie suggests. And it’s chaos down on the border. I
think that is likely to have follow-on effects for people running in
competitive races, swing districts down there.
Secondarily, if you look nationally, I think it’s a further indictment of
what President Biden said that he was running on, which was returning the
country to normal after the chaos of the Trump years and competence. He
hasn’t shown that. I mean this — this — I think if you look at what’s
been happening on the border since he was sworn in, we knew this was going
to happen. None of this was a surprise. All of the conditions were there.
We understood. And the Biden team was asked before he was sworn into office
what they were going to do to handle this understood crisis that was
growing. And we haven’t seen competent governance. They took this long-term
view. They thought they had years to solve a problem when, in fact, it was
a growing crisis. I think that is something that’s likely to last
throughout the next year, throughout the next 13 months as a reflection on
his own words on competence.
WALLACE: Thank you, panel. We’re going to have to leave it there, but to be
continued. See you next Sunday.
Up next, our “Power Players of the Week,” the skilled investigators behind
the military’s effort to return lost heroes to American soil.
WALLACE: It’s a pillar of the U.S. military creed, leave no one behind. And
it turns out the Pentagon is determined to keep that commitment in life as
well as in death. It’s the job of our “Power Players of the Week.”
MAJ. GEN. KELLY MCKEAGUE (RET.), DIRECTOR, DEFENSE POW/MIA ACCOUNTING
AGENCY: For me, this is the most purposeful mission in the entire
Department of Defense.
Ladies and gentleman, good afternoon.
WALLACE: Retired Major General Kelly McKeague heads the Defense POW/MIA
Accounting Agency, for DPAA, charged with finding and identifying missing
service members. DPAA teams search around the world for remains from
conflicts dating back to World War II.
MCKEAGUE: They are currently close to 82,000 that are still missing, of
which we believe 38,000 are recoverable.
WALLACE (on camera): How do you determine whether or not remains are
recoverable or not?
MCKEAGUE: So our historians will comb through battlefield records, archival
information. And if they’re able to narrow down an area, we can send an
archaeologists or anthropologist with which to conduct a field recovery.
WALLACE (voice over): There are case files on every one of the missing. And
the work combines international diplomacy with CSI technology.
MCKEAGUE: We will look at anthropology. We will look for DNA associations,
material evidence, clavicle matching, as well as stable isotope analysis.
WALLACE: Some 15 percent of our nation’s unknown are buried in places like
the National Cemetery of the Pacific, in Hawaii’s Punch Bowl Crater. That’s
where the DPAA made a major discovery this year, the remains of Medal of
Honor Winner Army Chaplain Emil Kapaun.
MCKEAGUE: A few months after arriving in Korea, his unit is overwhelmed by
Chinese forces. And as the unit leaders ordered a retreat, he said, I need
WALLACE: The chaplain went from foxhole to foxhole comforting the wounded
until he was captured.
MCKEAGUE: Chaplain Kapaun ministered to all the POWs in the camp. He stole
food and medicine under the noses of the guards to provide comfort and
relief to his fellow prisoners. And for that he was mistreated badly.
WALLACE: Kapaun’s defiance of his captors didn’t end there. He held Easter
mass for his fellow POWs.
MCKEAGUE: And then because of starvation, malnutrition, as well as
maltreatment, he ended up passing away in May of 1951. His colleagues that
were in the camp revere him.
WALLACE: Seven decades later, his remains were finally returned to his
family. And this week, thousands watched as a horse drawn caisson carried
the chaplain to his final resting place, back home in Kansas.
WALLACE (on camera): What did it mean to you having devoted so many years
to this endeavor to identify Chaplain Kapaun?
MCKEAGUE: Here we are, literally, well, 70 years after he died in that POW
camp, able to bring this final answer or a man that made the supreme
sacrifice to our nation is an absolutely indescribable feeling.
WALLACE: Chaplain Kapaun was named a servant of God by Pope John Paul II.
That’s the first step on the path to sainthood.
And that’s it for today. Have a great week and we’ll see you next FOX NEWS
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