'Your World' on the cruise industry reeling

QUESTION: The masks that you’re trying to procure, do you have a sense of that N95s, KN95s in that universe, or is that just — we’re not quite there?

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We will have more, I expect, in the coming days on that.

And — but, right now, just so people understand the backstory here, the history, I should say, is, we have distributed more than 30 million masks to food banks and community health centers. States have been doing that as well. We have a stockpile of 700 million high-quality masks in the government.

And they’re also widely available across the country. So what we’re talking about here is making high-quality masks, as you know, available to the American people for free. There are a lot of ranges of high-quality masks.

I think we will have more details on that and what that looks like next week.

QUESTION: And then I know you’re limited a little bit about what you can say about politics from the podium, but the RNC said today that they would ask their candidates not to participate in debates held by the commission that has done it for the last few decades.

Just do you or the president have any reaction to that move by the RNC?

PSAKI: Well, the president has participated in many debates over the course of his career, and believes they play a role in allowing the American people to hear from candidates and where they stand.

So, I think it’s more posed — a question best posed to the RNC on what they’re so afraid of.

QUESTION: Would he participate in a debate that was (INAUDIBLE) and would he would participate in the debate outside of the commission in…

(CROSSTALK)

PSAKI: I would point you to the DNC for that and any more specifics.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: The president, when he spoke to reporters after the Senate lunch today, he spoke about the voting rights push in the past tense. He said, “We missed this time.”

What then is the political value in moving forward with these show votes, given that the president effectively has acknowledged that this process has ended and risk potentially shining a light on Democratic divisions?

PSAKI: Well, I think you all can count who’s for and against each vote, whether it’s changes to the Senate rules or supporting these voting bills themselves.

And I think it’s very — people publicly know where senators stand at this point in time. I will leave it to — we will leave it to and we will work in lockstep with him, Leader Schumer, to determine what the next steps are here. And I know he’s spoken a bit to that.

But, ultimately, this is about continuing to press, to move forward on the protection of voting rights, and to use it as a moment to elevate this issue as an important issue for people across the country. And, of course, any senator is going to be put in the position of determining what side of history they’re going to stand on.

And that’s, I guess, the purpose of a vote.

QUESTION: The president also spoke about voter subversion when he spoke to reporters.

PSAKI: Yes.

QUESTION: But neither the Freedom to Vote Act nor the John Lewis Voting Rights Act deal with subversion. They’re focused more on suppression.

Would the president want to see Democrats, if this process does move forward in the future, address laws in these 19 states, some of which would potentially allow for the overturning of a free and fair election?

PSAKI: Well, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, actually, in Section 112, actually makes it illegal for state officials to willfully fair or — fail or refuse to certify the aggregate tabulations of votes or certify the election of the candidates receiving sufficient such votes to be elected to office.

That is obviously addressing a root problem we’re seeing in laws in many states across the country. And what these laws are meant to do is provide some fundamental baselines for protections for voters. And that’s an important part of doing it.

Obviously, the there’s more you will continue to build from there. But that’s an important component, I think, that sometimes everyone isn’t always aware of in the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

Oh, go ahead.

QUESTION: But one unrelated question about the U.S. Postal Service.

PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Yesterday, the Board of Governors elected a new chairman, someone who has expressed support for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, who, as you know, has had a very controversial tenure.

What’s the White House position on the persistent delivery delays that the Postal Service seems to be experiencing, at least anecdotally, and DeJoy’s current place as postmaster general? Does he deserve to have that role?

PSAKI: You know I love anecdotal data.

(LAUGHTER)

PSAKI: I will tell you that, going back to the holidays, 97 or 98 percent of packages from the Postal Service were delivered on time. So there may be anecdotes from that 1 or 2 percent. But those are — that’s actual data.

QUESTION: The delays (OFF-MIKE)

PSAKI: OK, but 97, 98 percent across the country.

We have expressed concerns in the past about delay’s leadership, that — delay — sorry — DeJoy — that was a little slip there — DeJoy’s leadership in the past. That has not changed.

I will say, though — and I know this has been raised, so I’m just going to use this as an opportunity to address it — that many members of the Postal Service, including leadership, has expressed confidence and an interest in playing the role in delivering tests to people across the country and their confidence in doing exactly that.

So, we take them at their word. And, certainly, we’re encouraged by the data we saw from December.

CHARLES PAYNE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: The White House just reacting to the Supreme Court’s slap-down of President Biden’s vaccine mandate for large companies. Meanwhile, key Democrats’ slap-down of the president’s push to change the filibuster is another big news item.

We’re going to get a lot into that this hour, businesses breathing a sigh of relief.

Welcome, everyone. I’m Charles Payne, in for Neil Cavuto. And this is YOUR WORLD.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt will be joining us in just a moment.

But first to Peter Doocy, who’s at the White House with the reaction — Peter.

PETER DOOCY, FOX NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: And, Charles, the new guidance from the White House, same as the old guidance.

So, even though the Supreme Court has ruled that key parts of this vaccination requirement for businesses is unconstitutional, the White House is saying businesses should do it anyway.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PSAKI: President Biden, you will see this in his statement, will be calling on and will continue to call on businesses to immediately join us those who have already stepped up, including one-third of Fortune 100 companies, to institute vaccination requirements to protect their workers, customers and communities.

We have to keep working together in order to get this done to save more lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOOCY: She mentioned a forthcoming statement from the president.

Here it is: “I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block commonsense, lifesaving requirements for employees at large businesses that were grounded squarely in both science and the law.”

And now critics are coming forward to reiterate that they have not been anti-vaccine, but rather anti-vaccine mandate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN BARRASSO (R-WY): This Supreme Court ruling to me is a big win for the American people and for freedom. And it’s a big loss for President Biden and for big government.

Look, I’m a doctor. I’m pro-vaccine, I’m anti-mandate.

To me, the mandate was a massive overreach by the government. And now to know that there are 100 million workers in this country who work for private companies who now are not subject to this mandate, I think that’s a good thing for our economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DOOCY: So, a very challenging afternoon for President Biden.

He went up to Capitol Hill to meet with a friendly crowd, the Senate Democrats, came out of their upset, saying that he did not know if they could get voting rights done. And then, basically, while he was motorcading back, the Supreme Court handed this down, essentially undercutting something that the administration has been promoting for months — Charles.

PAYNE: Peter, thank you very much.

And we’re going to get more into the business reaction in just a moment.

But, first, I want to bring in Judicial Crisis Network president Carrie Severino.

And, Carrie, I follow — I followed some of your comments leading up to today. And one that caught me was the question that was asked during this was that this whole thing was — quote — “trying to squeeze an elephant into a mouse hole” with respect to OSHA having this sort of authority.

Was that one of the many tells that maybe this would have been the decision?

CARRIE SEVERINO, CHIEF COUNSEL AND POLICY DIRECTOR, JUDICIAL CRISIS NETWORK: Yes, that was Justice Alito in oral arguments last week.

And the mouse hole really is that the extent of authority OSHA has. They’re supposed to be regulating things that have to do with the workplace, and then things that are really emergency things that come up. As the court pointed out, not only does this go well beyond things that happen in the workplace. It’s not a workplace-based type of risk, like having to wear hardhats or something.

But it’s also something that is not an emergency in the way that this type of short-circuiting the regulatory system is supposed to work. And so it wasn’t a complete surprise that we saw the court here going in the direction that they were already going during oral arguments and saying, yes, we’re not going to get into weighing whether this is a good rule or a bad rule, but we’re just saying that OSHA does not have the authority to do it, and, in particular, doesn’t have the authority to do it in this emergency way, where they evade all the regular process that they would normally have to go through.

PAYNE: Right. Yes.

And many people who criticized this from the very beginning felt the administration knew this probably would be unconstitutional, found the best agency to try to sneak it through. And, obviously, that didn’t work.

What about the White House, though, their argument that people are dying every day, and that this is the sort of emergency that the Supreme Court should have taken into consideration?

SEVERINO: Well, look, the Constitution doesn’t go away in times of a pandemic.

And what the court pointed out is, it’s one thing if there’s something that there was some meltdown of the plant that they needed to address in a quick way in one workplace. This is not something that just happened overnight. This is a pandemic that’s been with us for two years.

Even in the case of the administration itself, they announced this rule in September. They don’t come up with an actual regulation until November. And then they didn’t enforce it until January. If this was the kind of thing that needs to happen overnight, it wouldn’t be behaving this way.

PAYNE: Right.

SEVERINO: So, it’s not to say it’s not an important issue, but this is not the type of emergency type of thing that they’re talking about when we’re talking about circumventing all of the regulatory process that we normally go through.

PAYNE: Carrie, it’s a 6-3 decision, all the so-called conservative justices going the same way.

Just moments ago, President Biden saying that he was disappointed that the Supreme Court has chosen to block commonsense, lifesaving requirements.

This is the second time this week that he’s taken a shot at the Supreme Court. Are you concerned at all about the sort of relationship? I know the framers knew this might be the case and they designed it a certain way. But it feels like there’s a growing animosity toward doing something to make the Supreme Court friendlier to this particular White House.

SEVERINO: You know, President Biden is certainly entitled to his opinion about the decisions.

What really concerns me are, one, the types of decisions that we have seen from him where he has actually flouted the court’s authority. We saw that in the eviction mandate case, where the court clearly was saying this is unconstitutional. He went full steam ahead the opposite direction, and then also concerns about the court-packing initiative.

So if you’re trying to intimidate the court by saying, well, we’re going to pack extra justices onto it, like FDR spectacularly failed in doing so even amongst his own party, that’s the kind of thing that concerns me. He’s certainly welcome to disagree with the court.

PAYNE: Sure.

SEVERINO: Presidents have done that. President Trump did that.

But I think we just need to make sure there’s not this problem where the administration — the executive branch is trying to then reshape the judicial branch to try to intimidate them. That would be really out of line.

PAYNE: Absolutely.

Carrie, fantastic work, as usual. Thank you very much.

SEVERINO: Thanks, Charles.

All right, so, folks, from the legal sides of the business side.

Elaine Parker from the Job Creators Network is celebrating today’s news. And she’s with us.

Elaine, the fines started at $ 6,00, up to $ 136,000. I mean, this would have been one heck of a financial burden. And it already probably has had a major negative impact on businesses anyway.

ELAINE PARKER, JOB CREATORS NETWORK: Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Charles.

And it is a good day. It’s actually a great day for all Americans. It’s a great day for our small business owners, because, from the beginning, the administration framed this as a big business mandate.

And the reality is, it affected businesses that had 100 employees or more. The administration’s own Small Business Administration defines a small businesses as any company under 500. So we were really concerned about that population in that 100 to 500 range. And that’s why we took up this lawsuit.

We were the first small business organization to file against the Biden administration. We were the first to petition the Supreme Court and asking them to block this mandate. So we’re very excited that the Supreme Court blocked this mandate.

It would have had a disproportionately negative effect on our small businesses, who can least afford it when they’re facing massive inflation and labor shortages.

PAYNE: Yes.

And that was one of the really interesting, I wouldn’t call it an irony, but certainly aspects of this. If you look at the lawsuits, from your lawsuit, National Retail Federation, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, truckers, all of the folks that we needed to help get us out of this supply chain issue to help keep us alive, to help keep the networks going, they were the ones most impacted by this.

And yet it felt like the White House was tone-deaf. Did you ever get a chance to reach out to the White House and say, this isn’t the way to go about this?

PARKER: We certainly did speak with the White House and OSHA officials when they were bringing — writing the rule, actually, and stated our case.

We talked about some of our small business owners who actually were co- plaintiffs on our lawsuits. And you mentioned trucking. We had a trucking company in the Northeast — or — I’m sorry — in the Midwest who — it was a refrigerated trucking company. So they were moving food from place to place and delivering to grocery stores. They were deemed essential during the pandemic and during all the shutdowns.

But this mandate was going to disproportionately affect him. He couldn’t afford to lose a single trucker because he was already experiencing massive labor shortages. And he said, what’s the science between somebody who has 99 employees and somebody who has 100 employees? My guys are going to go down the street to my competition, who has under 100 employees, and isn’t affected.

And he said, and then I have got trucks off the street and can’t make my deliveries. So it was going to be a huge burden on our small businesses. This is a huge win for small businesses, great day in America. And I hope that the administration does not continue their legal fight when it’s sent back to the Sixth Circuit.

PAYNE: Yes, or any acts of intimidation.

Elaine, thank you very much.

And, by the way, congratulations.

I want to switch gears now to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. KYRSTEN SINEMA (D-AZ): While I continue to support these bills, I will not support separate actions that worsen the underlying disease of division infecting our country.

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): But you change the rules with two-thirds of the people that are present. So it’s Democrats and Republicans changing the rules to make the place work better.

Getting rid of the filibuster does not make it work better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAYNE: Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema saying no to Joe, the two defending keeping the filibuster, as the president tries to bust it through to push voting rights legislation.

To Chad Pergram, who is on Capitol Hill with the very latest — Chad.

CHAD PERGRAM, FOX NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Charles.

Well, President Biden, he’s wearing the collar. President Biden has paid congressional Democrats three visits in recent months. He’s implored Democrats to pass the touchstones of his domestic agenda. And each time, the president left without an immediate victory.

Today was no exception, when they huddled with Senate Democrats about changing the filibuster to pass voting rights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I hope we can get this done. The honest-to-God answer is, I don’t know whether we can get this done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERGRAM: Democrats need all of their members on board to change the filibuster just for voting rights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): The president made a powerful and strong and impassioned presentation for us to get this done. And we are going to do everything we can to pass these two bills.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERGRAM: It’s about the math. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin oppose changing the filibuster custom.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SINEMA: The Senate 60-vote threshold has proved maddening to members of both political parties in recent years to save the country from radical policies, depending on whether you serve in the majority or the minority.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PERGRAM: It takes 60 votes to end the filibuster, 51 votes for a nuclear option to change the filibuster provision.

Democratic Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz tested positive this week. So even if Democrats had the votes, they could not implement a filibuster change. There is no remote voting in the Senate — Charles.

PAYNE: Chad, thank you very much. Appreciate it.

Now to Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt, who’s chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee.

Senator, the president saying that they may not be able to get the voting rights through now, of course. It’s been a rough week for him. He’s lashed out. He was obviously extraordinarily livid today coming out of that caucus meeting.

So, where does this all go from here?

SEN. ROY BLUNT (R-MO): Well, I think what the Senate is going to be doing is moving forward as the unique body the Senate is, where we have the ability to reach some consensus before you move forward.

The option is what happens in the House. Every time the House changes parties, they send a lot of bills over to the Senate that aren’t going anywhere because they’re too drastically headed in one direction. And then the next time it changes parties, they send bills over that would have reversed those bills if those bills would have ever become law.

That’s certainly not what you need. And, also, what we have got here is an attempt to once again federalize something that’s been working well for a couple hundred years. I think states and local election officials are the place for elections to be conducted.

There’s generally been a consensus on that for decades, including President Obama in 2016 saying the diversity of the election system in America was one of the strengths of the system.

The bill that come over from the House is 765 pages. It’s not a reiteration of the 12-page 1965 Voting Rights Act. It’s a federal takeover of elections. It is not the right way to go. And I think Democrats are not going to be able to get this done. But, more importantly, you had Senator Sinema and I think other Democrats may now step up and say, we’re not for changing the rules.

We don’t want the House to become the Senate. The economic impact of that uncertainty, the regulatory impact of that constant uncertainty would all be bad. And I hope we can continue through the rest of this Congress to maintain that unique ability that the Senate has, where you have to work with the other side.

PAYNE: Right. Right.

And, of course, that’s Senator Manchin and Sinema both have expressed that they believe that is a sacred part of the job.

What about the messaging part of this? It’s — the notion — and it dovetails with an overarching narrative that’s been building up that, if the Republicans win the midterm and the next presidential election, democracy in itself is at great risk, that this country will never look the same.

But now that — you mentioned the Voting Rights Act of 1960 — 1965. It was extended in 2006 for another 25 years, yet the narrative is that it’s — there’s an urgency or lots of folks, including black Americans, will lose the right to vote. How dangerous is that?

BLUNT: Well, it’s very dangerous.

And what the Democrats are doing here is destroying faith in a system that people should have every reason to have faith in. They’re looking at states that leaned forward in 2000 (sic) and did some things they’d never done before because of the pandemic environment.

When that election was over, those states looked back, and I think, in virtually every case, they kept some of the things that they thought should become permanently part of the system. But other things they might have done, like drive-in voting and mailing ballots to everybody that — in various states, didn’t meet the long-term standard.

PAYNE: Right.

BLUNT: I haven’t found a state yet that made any — that hasn’t made really steps forward in this process from 2018 than this list of states the Democrats are talking about.

They generally have more early voting, more places to vote, more days of voting than states like New York or Connecticut or Delaware. I think the idea that Republican legislators are trying to take away voting rights and Democrat legislators or not is just not true.

I’d be glad to debate this bill on the floor. But it’s not what our friends on the other side say it is.

PAYNE: Right.

BLUNT: And the more people look at it, the more they begin to realize that.

You have got money for politicians, tax money for politicians for campaigns. You make the Federal Elections Commission a partisan entity. There are so many things in there that people don’t want, and eliminating so many things like voter I.D. and no ballot harvesting that people want to see continue to be where they are now.

PAYNE: Right. Absolutely.

And I do — I share that hope with you, that people will take it upon themselves to learn more about that.

So we just had the Supreme Court ruling moments ago, siding with business against the president’s vaccine mandate. How surprised were you?

BLUNT: Well, not very surprised.

I do think — maybe I’m going to take a little different tack here than probably most of the people you have talked to. I think one of the big winners today was probably the Biden administration by not having to go forward with something that had all kinds of consequences that they hadn’t anticipated.

We just heard the person you had talking about various businesses where you could go from the 100-employer business to the 90-employer business. You could go, Charles, from the 100-employer-or-more police force to the 20- employer police force or the fire force, of people working at grocery stores that have more than 100 employees.

What happens if they decide they can make just as much money working somewhere across the street, and, suddenly, if you even had things to put on the shelves, another problem we’re facing right now, even if you had things to put on the shelves, you wouldn’t have people to put them on the shelves?

There may — there might be some secret sighs of relief going on at the White House…

PAYNE: That’s…

BLUNT: … right now, that this is a problem that they can now think about in a different way.

I’m pro-vaccine, but I have been anti-mandates…

PAYNE: Sure.

BLUNT: … because I think the mandate actually has had a counterproductive impact on people getting vaccines.

PAYNE: No, I think you’re absolutely right.

And I want to segue off that, Senator, because — and bring up the topic of inflation. It’s roiling throughout this country. We had the producer price number today, second highest in history. We’re back to 1982 levels of inflation for the average person out there.

And part of this has been the inability to get workers to go to work. And, certainly, the idea of kicking people out of jobs. Just airlines say, oh, it was weather. We know, well, maybe some of that was the mandate.

And, again, shouldn’t we be working somehow to fix this, because this is a tax on all Americans, particularly those on the lower economic scale?

BLUNT: Well, it has dramatic impact on people who are at the lower economic part of the scale with things that you have to have, a way to get to work, a way to heat your house, groceries from the store.

When those go up 50 percent, 20 percent, 15 percent, you don’t have any real options except to cut back on those necessities. And whatever you would have done two years ago with the extra money from the same paycheck, you don’t have the opportunity to do now.

It is an insidious tax on people, if the government doesn’t manage the economy in a way that maintains a low inflation rate. Putting $ 1.9 trillion in the American recovery plan into the economy in a very short period of time, something Democrats did all by themselves in March, has had an inflationary impact.

And the Build Back Better or build back broker campaign effort would have had the same impact. I hope we can continue to resist adding a bunch of new government programs on top of an economy that’s already overheated.

PAYNE: Yes.

And, to your point, even Larry Summers, a noted Democrat economist, warn the administration, do not do this. And these are the consequences he warned.

Senator, a short time ago, your colleague Senator Lindsey Graham called on Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to acknowledge that Donald Trump is the leader of the Republican Party.

I want you to take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): All I’m saying is, I like Mitch a lot. He has a lot to be proud of.

But if you want to be a leader in 2022, I expect President Trump to run again for president. You don’t have to agree with everything President Trump does or says. I don’t. But you got to have a working relationship, because our party will not do as well as we could or should if we don’t have a team approach from 2022 to 2024.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAYNE: Senator Blunt, what do you think of that?

BLUNT: Well, as you know, Charles, this is my — beginning my last year in the Senate, so I won’t be here the next time we pick a leader.

If by want Lindsey means by that is, we all need to do our best to work together and be talking about what a difference it will make if we win these elections, of course I’m for that.

But the Republican Senate leader needs to be chosen by Republicans in the Senate. One thing Senator McConnell has never done is put our members out there on a vote that wasn’t going to pass, like the vote that Democrats are taking this week, and they’d have a hard time explaining at home.

Those are the kinds of things you need to look at when you’re looking at the Senate leadership or House leadership. I have been a leader in both the House and the Senate. And I think those decisions need to be made by the senators who come together next year and form a new conference.

And when you look at the track record of Mitch McConnell, I think it’s pretty good.

PAYNE: Well, I want to just say, congratulations on an amazing career. If you and I never get a chance to speak on television again, Senator Blunt, it has been a pleasure. Thank you very much.

BLUNT: Well, I hope we get to talk again.

One of the reasons I wanted to be on the program today is that you were doing it, and I’m one of your big admirers.

PAYNE: I appreciate it. Thank you so much, sir.

BLUNT: Thank you, Charles.

PAYNE: So, we’re coming back with a fair and balanced debate on this whole voting rights issue.

Also, with inflation surging, should Democrats be worrying? We have got pollster Lee Carter on that.

(MERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: In the middle of a wild news day, stocks taking a big step backwards, the Nasdaq especially hit hard, down 2.5 percent. And that’s the good news, so many of those big names crushed.

Worries about interest rates and the Fed maybe going too far.

(MERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: The debate over voting rights continues to escalate.

Democrats vowing, though, to get this thing done, even if it means changing the filibuster to make it easier to pass this bill. But should it be done in the first place?

With me now, FOX News political analyst Gianno Caldwell, Democratic strategist Kristal Knight.

Kristal, let me start with you.

What is the central urgency factor here, considering we just came from — through a presidential election, almost 159 million people voted, amazing turnouts, the Democrats won? Where’s the emergency to get this done?

KRISTAL KNIGHT, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, the emergency is that 19 states have already enacted laws that would limit black and brown voters from gaining greater access to the ballot.

This is an important issue. We’re seeing it happen all across the country. And the reason that it’s important is because Republican-led legislatures are enacting these laws because they’re afraid of black and brown power. This is just white supremacy reinventing itself and finding a way to limit the power and the voices of black and brown voters in this country.

PAYNE: Gianno?

GIANNO CALDWELL, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: That sounds like an analysis from “Legally Blonde.” That is not true at all.

(LAUGHTER)

CALDWELL: The truth of the matter is, African-Americans all across the country are pissed off, why Joe Biden made certain promises to the community that get them to put him in office, and he’s not kept not a single one of them.

He told them that he was going to pass police reform. Democrats didn’t want to work Republicans on police reform. He said that he was going to get people back to work. Well, in December, we see that the unemployment rate for African-Americans is over 7 percent. He said that he was going to do a number of things that just have not come to fruition.

And now you got leaders in the black community like Charlamagne tha God and many others who are calling out the inaction of the Democratic Party and what they continue to do, use these issues like voting or anything that’s involving race to rally up African-Americans and then try to win elections.

And it is un, un-American, and is not what we should be seeing on a daily basis out of any of our political parties.

PAYNE: Kristal, do you ever worry, though, like, whenever the Democrats want to push through an agenda item, that they use the pain of suffering and the past of black Americans, whether it’s for solar energy and climate change, whether it’s for tax breaks for rich people who live in the Northeast?

I mean, do you ever consider that, if some young black kid 14 years old watched President Biden’s speech this week in Atlanta, they would feel like this was — this is not — the country he painted, it’s not the country I live in.

And my grandmother’s is from — my mom, the whole family’s from Alabama. I know about that. She was warned not to vote. She was so scared once only five people in her town, black people went to vote. They put them in a room for a couple hours. They were scared they were going to be hurt. The door opened up, it was Martin Luther King. He said, you guys can vote.

We don’t live in that world anymore. Should we promote that sort of idea that really this country hates black people like that?

KNIGHT: Well, look, I don’t think we should ever promote an idea that a country that we live in doesn’t like us or value us or value our opinion.

But what black voters are saying right now is, what have you done for me lately? That’s what we’re asking this Biden administration, because we were promised voting rights. We were promised policing reform. We were promised the child tax credits that have already expired and the social spending plan provisions that would help the economic situation of many black Americans in this country.

And it hasn’t passed because Build Back Better hasn’t passed. And so if you’re a black voter watching what’s happening in this country, you’re thinking, what has this administration done for me? And why do we have to continue having these speeches, rather than action and failure by leaders like Kyrsten Sinema, who won’t make the vote to pass voting rights?

PAYNE: Yes.

KNIGHT: And so that’s — this is critical.

PAYNE: Let me — Gianno, I will give you the last word here.

But people should understand. For instance, this child tax credit, it’s a scam. Folks making $ 400,000 got the money, Kristal. I hate to break it to you.

CALDWELL: Yes.

PAYNE: A large chunk of people making like 25 grand didn’t get anything because they don’t file IRS. So they actually got nothing, zero.

And this is what I mean about being used, letting your pain or suffering be used to push things that don’t help you in the first place.

I’m sorry, Gianno. Last word to you.

CALDWELL: Forty-eight percent of African-Americans now approve of Joe Biden. That number has significantly declined and is going to continue to decline, because Joe Biden made commitments that he will not keep.

And African-Americans need to realize this isn’t about just Joe Biden. Democrats do this year after year.

PAYNE: Yes.

CALDWELL: And if we as a community don’t stand up against it, they’re going to continue to use us and we cannot have that continue.

PAYNE: If you keep giving away the vote for nothing, you will keep getting nothing.

I wish we could continue this.

CALDWELL: Absolutely.

PAYNE: Thank you both very much. See you soon.

KNIGHT: Thank you.

PAYNE: Talk about cruising for a bruising. The cruise lines, they can’t catch a break when it comes to COVID.

We’re going to give you a live update from the Port of Miami later in the show.

But, up next, Nancy isn’t too fancy on barring members of Congress from trading stocks. Meet one of the lawmakers, though, ready to buck the powerful speaker on this one.

(MERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: There’s a new push on Capitol Hill, and it’s gaining momentum, to limit stock trading for members of Congress.

My next guest was way ahead of all of this. He’s been actually calling for changes since early last year.

So, let’s get the read from Texas Republican Conference Chip Roy.

Congressman Roy, first of all, congratulations.

What’s precipitating this? Why all of a sudden — and, by the way, this is one of the weirdest things, because it might be the only bipartisan thing going on in Washington, D.C. But why is it now gathering this sort of steam?

REP. CHIP ROY (R-TX): Yes, Charles, first of all, great to be on the show. Happy new year to you. Always glad to be with you.

This is something that does have some bipartisan potential. My friend Abigail Spanberger and I introduced this a year ago, important legislation, we think, because we don’t think that members of Congress ought to be able to be capitalizing on their positions of power as public servants, when you’re making really important policy decisions, for example, on big tech, big pharma, big insurance, in light of in — in the wake of Obamacare.

You shouldn’t be trading and making profits while you’re sitting there and serving in public office. Now, you and I are both market people. I want people to be able to make…

PAYNE: Sure.

ROY: … their wealth and prosperity and then take that and then come to Capitol Hill and serve.

But our legislation designed to say, put it in a blind trust or use broadly traded index funds.

PAYNE: Sure.

ROY: But you shouldn’t be buying and selling equities that you’re voting on, the issues and policies that affect them directly, while you have that position of public trust.

PAYNE: Well, Representative Roy, with all respect, that makes sense, right?

There shouldn’t even be the implication. No one should even believe that there’s any improprieties going on. And yet the speaker of the House is calling this part of a free enterprise. She’s saying this is part of the free markets.

And, by the way, they have made a fortune. Her and her husband have made an absolute fortune. They buy $ 400,000, $ 500,000 worth of calls. You know what it means to buy $ 500,000 of a call? That’s not even equity. You’re betting on something working out in a relatively short period of time. You have got to have some serious confidence that’s going to happen, and they have made millions.

And so we’re talking about the speaker of the House. How do you get around that?

ROY: Well, first of all, I’m glad to see other members of the body starting to make some common sense.

I think Leader McCarthy has suggested his interest and willingness and in trying to address this issue. But I really find it amusing, Charles, that Speaker Pelosi suddenly has an affinity for the free market and free enterprise. Like, where is she concerned about the small businesses getting absolutely decimated and destroyed with their mandates and all the mask mandates and all the impact on the small businesses out there and the highly regulated environment?

PAYNE: Right.

ROY: She doesn’t seem to care about them then. But when it talks about her wallet and fattening her portfolio, she’s all of a sudden grand in supporting the free enterprise.

Look, we can make sure that people who work hard and have small businesses and have equity positions when they come to Capitol Hill can maintain those in blind trusts at arm’s length. But we shouldn’t have members of Congress day trading, trading on a daily basis, buying, as you said, calls, puts, whatever, and betting on the market while they’re making decisions about Google and the power they have…

PAYNE: I have got…

ROY: … about big pharma, big insurance, and all of these big corporations and corporate cronyism that are tied at the hip with big government and undermining small businesses in the process.

PAYNE: I have got 40, 30 seconds. And I want to be bipartisan myself.

So, last year, according to Unusual Whales — I want to give them a shout- out, amazing work — folks who have beaten Congress, who beat the market, Republicans Austin Scott at the top of the list, Brian Mast, French Hill, John Curtis, Dan Crenshaw. They actually all did better than Nancy Pelosi.

So I hope you can get this through. Too many people go to D.C. and come out millionaires. They’re supposed to be public servants. No way in a world that should be getting wealthy in that job.

Representative Roy, we got to leave it there. Thank you so much. I miss you. Got to get you on “Making Money” soon. Talk to you soon.

ROY: We will come back on, Charles. God bless you. Appreciate you.

PAYNE: All right.

By the way, folks, we are reaching out to Speaker Pelosi’s office to come on this show. We would love to have her discuss this and other issues.

Meanwhile, COVID still rocking the vote for cruise lines, with Omicron raging, to send this industry reeling yet again.

Our own Phil Keating is in Florida’s Port of Miami — Phil.

PHIL KEATING, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Charles.

Excited parents and their kids on board the Disney Magic as we speak getting ready to sail out of here tonight, this as COVID cases are surging over the past few weeks on cruise ships.

And just in two days, the CDC will let expire a strict requirement on vaccines and negative tests.

I’m Phil Keating with that story straight ahead.

(MERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: There could be some rough seas ahead for the cruise industry, new concerns, as the CDC is reporting a 30-fold increase in COVID cases on ships.

FOX News correspondent Phil Keating is in the Port of Miami in Florida with the very latest — Phil.

KEATING: Hey, Charles.

Strict requirements that all crew and most passengers be vaccinated and everybody must show a negative COVID test before boarding are set to expire in two days. The CDC is allowing it to expire, making the policy voluntary for the cruise lines.

But, according to the CDC, just the past two weeks alone have shown a 30- fold increase in positive cases on the big vessels. Just like in every state across the country, the highly infectious Omicron variant drastically surged on cruise ships in December.

Take a look, in the first two weeks, 160 positive cases. In the second two weeks of December, that number shut up to 5,000.

Stewart Chiron is taking a dozen cruises since last summer, when the industry resumed sailing after the pandemic froze it for more than a year. He says he feels safer at sea than on land.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEWART CHIRON, THE CRUISE GUY: Our incidence of COVID on board ships is disproportionately lower on a ship than what we’re seeing on land.

I mean, we’re talking not even 1 percent. The protocols are working. People are confident in cruising. And people are going.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEATING: Still, due to the latest wave of COVID-19, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian have canceled about a dozen scheduled cruises over the next couple of months.

Financially, the industry has lost dozens of billions of dollars since the pandemic began. And recent cruisers telling us, with their vaccine cards on them and a supply of masks, they had no hesitation climbing aboard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MELISSA DISTEFANO, CRUISE PASSENGER: It’s more precautions than you have when you get on an airplane. So, yes, I feel pretty safe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KEATING: Still, thanks to the highly infectious Omicron, the CDC is still recommending no one get on a cruise ship right now, regardless of your vaccine status, until this Omicron wave sinks — Charles.

PAYNE: Well, for what it’s worth, cruise stocks were one of the rare earths positive groups today, so maybe something is turning there.

Thanks a lot, Phil.

In the meantime, folks, inflation has American spending more green. Will it have midterm voters seeing red? Lee Carter will be on us — with us later on just what it means for the party in power.

Also, you think filling up is a pain in the gas now?

Grady Trimble in Chicago with some new details that could have drivers hitting the brakes — Grady.

GRADY TRIMBLE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Charles, whether it’s at the pump or the dealership, drivers are among the hardest hit by inflation.

Coming up, we will have your 2022 fuel forecast, and you might want to buckle up for it.

That’s next.

(MERCIAL BREAK)

PAYNE: Adding to the inflation nightmare, drivers still dealing with pain at the pump, the national average around $ 1 higher than it was at this time last year, and some say $ 4 dollar gas is right around the corner.

To Grady Trimble at a gas station in Chicago with the very latest — Grady.

GRADY TRIMBLE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Charles, GasBuddy says the price run-up between February and Memorial Day is typically between 35 and 85 cents a gallon.

With the national average today around $ 3.30, if we hit the higher end of that range, that would certainly take us to $ 4 a gallon in the not-too- distant future. And some states are already seeing prices rise at the pump. Indiana leading the way with an increase of 17 cents a gallon from a week ago, according to AAA, Ohio and Illinois, not too far behind.

Illinois saw a 10-cent increase from last week. And it’s not just gas prices climbing, but what you put that gas in to. New car prices reached record highs in 2021. And now Edmunds says the average transaction price for a new car is more than the average manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

So to sum all of this up, since last year, motor fuel is up almost 50 percent, used cars and trucks up almost more than 37 percent, and new vehicles up nearly 12 percent — Charles, not a good time to be a driver right now, unfortunately.

PAYNE: Yes, it certainly isn’t. Thank you very much, Grady.

Surging inflation is raising worries that the Democrats, particularly for this party ahead of the midterm elections. And so how much of an impact should price spikes have on voters this fall?

Let’s bring in Republican pollster Lee Carter to weigh in.

Lee, they always say it’s all about the economy. So — and this is the part of the economy that the White House hates to hear about. But people are shouting about it, aren’t they?

LEE CARTER, REPUBLICAN POLLSTER: They sure are.

I mean, the economy is the number one issue to Americans right now. It is like by far and away; 68 percent of Americans say it’s the most important issue to them; 50 percent of Americans right now are saying Biden’s policies have hurt them. And five out of six actually say they’re worse off today — today than they were when Joe Biden took office.

Things are not looking good for the Democrats right now.

The most recent poll that came out today by Quinnipiac is just absolutely devastating for the president. Obviously, it’s a little bit off-trend, saying things are worse than the average, but really not looking good on any single segment or any single measure.

PAYNE: And the economy, the polling specifically to the economy as well is the main thing that really is hurting him, President Biden the most, isn’t it?

CARTER: Yes, there’s no doubt about it.

This is the worst economy polling that we have seen since Jimmy Carter in 1977. Only — 57 percent disapprove of his handling of the economy. I mean, every president since Jimmy Carter in 1977 has performed better. He’s performing on average 18 points below the last several presidents on the economy.

That is just not acceptable. And most people are saying that they’re worse off. The concerns about COVID have become secondary to concerns about the economy, because people are wondering, how are they going to pay their bills? People across the board are saying that it’s impacted their household. It impacts how they’re grocery shopping. It’s impacting them across the board.

PAYNE: And to underscore that, yesterday, we found out that after the CPI number, the inflation data came out, that those wage gains that are — that the president sort of took a victory lap for when you add in inflation, we’re down 2 — over 2 percent.

So, again, I tell people — and they already know — you go into store with more money, you feel pretty good. But you actually are coming out with fewer bags. And that stinks, doesn’t?

CARTER: It sure does.

I mean, there’s no doubt about it that — I mean, even in this latest poll by Quinnipiac that came out today, the things — there’s two things that I think are really alarming for the president and for the Democrats they need to pay attention to.

One is independents; 57 percent of independents disapprove of Joe Biden. But more importantly for him even is this. Democrats have gone from 87 percent approval in the same poll to 75 percent approval in just one month. He’s lost eight points among his base in one month.

That’s devastating for him and for the Democrats.

PAYNE: Lee, real quick.

We remember the infamous shellacking that President Obama endured in the midterm, losing 63 seats. President Trump lost 40. Bill Clinton lost 52 and pivoted. Is it too early to guess how many could be lost in this midterm elections?

CARTER: It is too early to tell.

I think the thing that’s most surprising to me in all of these polls is that, when you look at the head-to-head and what you expect to happen, is that it’s closer than you would expect between Republicans and Democrats in a generic poll.

So, I’m not exactly sure what to expect.

PAYNE: Right.

CARTER: But it does still not good for the Democrats.

PAYNE: Lee Carter, always appreciate it.

CARTER: Thanks so much.

All right, folks, we have got some breaking news on the House investigation into the January 6 riots. The House select committee has subpoenaed social media giants Meta, Alphabet, Twitter, and Reddit, and to see how — what role perhaps their platforms played in fueling the riots.

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