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tv   This Week With George Stephanopoulos  ABC  November 29, 2021 12:00am-1:01am PST

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>> announcer: "this week" with george stephanopoulos starts right now. covid concern. >> we should expect this variant will come to the united states. it will become truly global soon. >> new travel bans, the stock market tumbles as the omicron variant spreads across continents.
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>> this is something that you have to pay really close attention to and be prepared for something that's serious. >> we'll get the latest on this new pandemic threat from dr. anthony fauci. sticker shock. >> disruptions related to the pandemic have caused challenges in our supply chain and contributed to higher prices. >> president biden taps the strategic petroleum reserve to combat soaring fuel prices. will it control inflation? for how long? plus -- >> we the jury find the defendant travis mcmichael guilty. >> days after the kyle rittenhouse acquittal, three guilty verdicts in the killing of ahmaud arbery. >> the jury system works in this country. when you present the truth to people, and they can see it, they'll do the right thing. >> we'll discuss it all this morning with senators amy klobuchar and bill cassidy. plus, our powerhouse round table. plus, a grim milestone. america passes 100,000 deaths from drug abuse. this morning, we're in an
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american city hit hard by opiods, debating a controversial solution. >> announcer: from abc news, it's "this week." here now, george stephanopoulos. good morning and welcome to "this week." as we come on the air this thanksgiving sunday, a new covid strain is raising alarms around the world. the omicron variant first discovered in southern africa has now spread across europe, to australia and hong kong. global markets plunged when the news broke. countries imposing new travel bans, the most restrictive in israel which has closed its borders to all foreigners for two weeks. in the u.s., new york's governor has already declared a new state of emergency. the big questions now, how dangerous is this new variant? will it evade our defenses? are new lockdowns coming as we approach the third year of this pandemic? we begin this morning with the president's chief medical adviser dr. anthony fauci. dr. fauci, thank you for joining us this morning. have we detected the omicron variant here in the united states yet?
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>> no, we have not, george. we have a pretty good surveillance system. as we all know, when you have a virus that has already gone to multiple countries, inevitably it will be here. the question is, will we be prepared for it? the preparation that we have ongoing for what we're doing now with the delta variant just needs to be revved up, and that's the bottom line. the preparation by getting more and more people vaccinated and getting the fully vaccinated boosted. that's what we can be doing. we are on the look out for this. the cdc has a good surveillance system. if and when, and it's going to be when, it comes here hopefully we're ready for it by vaccine, masking, all the things that we do and should be doing. >> let's go through what we know and don't know about the omicron variant. is it more transmissible than other variants? >> it appears to be, george. it has the molecular characteristics that strongly
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suggest that it would be more transmissible. it has a bunch of mutations, a disturbingly large number of mutations in the spike protein, which is the business end of the virus which really binds, particularly that binds to the receptors in your body in your nose and your nasal pharynx and your lungs. the mutations would strongly suggest that it would more transmissible and that it might evade some of the protection of monoclonal antibodies and even antibodies induced by vaccine. if you look at the pattern in south africa, when you have a spike of infections, they're very heavily weighted towards this new variant, the omicron, and therefore, you have to presume it has a good degree of transmissibility advantage, which is very likely what is going on right now in southern africa and would likely be going on in other countries as it
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spreads. >> do we know if it causes more severe disease? >> great question, george. we don't know that. in fact, we were on the phone with our south african colleagues who have been incredibly good about being so transparent about what's going on there on friday. we're meeting with them later today to try and find out if the cases they identified that are clearly caused by the variant, what is the level of severity in that. hopefully it's light. south africa has a relatively small proportion of the population vaccinated. you have to take that into the equation when you're trying to figure out where this virus is really going and what its impact is going to be. bottom line, george, we don't know yet the level of severity will be. >> you mentioned it could possibly invade our defenses. what do we know about how resistant it is to the current vaccines? >> we don't have a definitive
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answer to that, george. we will know that likely in a period of about two weeks. the way you find that out is you get the virus and put it as a whole virus or as what we call pseudovirus and you take antibodies from people who have been vaccinated and you determine whether those antibodies can neutralize the virus. that whole process is already under way right now and hopefully we'll be able to determine. when you talk about that, george, it's important to point out, when you have a high level of antibodies, the way you get with the boosters we've been doing lately in this country and elsewhere, you lift up the level of the neutralizing antibodies high enough that it generally crosses over and covers several of the variants, including the delta variant, which makes us even more emphatic and saying that even with a variant we don't know yet the full impact
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that it's going to have on protection against vaccine-induced antibodies, get boosted, get vaccinated and you'll bring that level right up. i don't think there's any possibility this could completely evade any protection by a vaccine. it may diminish it a bit, but that's the reason you boost. >> what do we know about whether vaccines can be tailored to address this variant? >> the companies are already doing that as you and i are speaking, george. there are two ways to approach it. there's to get the level of the regular type of classic antibodies we've been dealing with right now, get it at a high level and/or develop a variant specific boost, a variant specific vaccine. we've been on the phone with all the companies right now. they're already in the process of doing that. >> we're seeing these travel bans. are they going to make any difference? >> you know, it will slow things down, george. travel bans, when you have a highly transmissible virus, never completely would get the virus -- prevent it from coming into the country.
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no way that's going to happen. what you can do is delay it enough to get us better prepared. that's the thing that people need to understand. if you're going to do the travel ban the way we've done now and that we're implementing right now, utilize the time that you're buying to fill in the gaps. by time buying, you learn more about the virus. you learn what its relationship is to the antibodies reduced by vaccines and above all you use this time to really put your pedal to the floor and get people vaccinated and get people boosted. it's going to give us a period of time to enhance our preparedness. i think we have to give kudos to the south africans for being so transparent so quickly by giving us this information. they're giving us time to be better prepared. >> and what's your best guidance about traveling outside of the country right now? >> you know, travel during a period of a pandemic, george, is always risky.
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right now people should be prudent. the best way to protect yourself, if you're going to travel, have to travel or want to travel, is to get vaccinated and be prudent when you travel about wearing masks in indoor settings like the airport, which is one of the most congregate settings you can imagine with all the crowds in an airport. make sure you wear a mask. but above all vaccination is the most important way to really prevent you from being at such a high risk that you would not want to travel. >> should we expect to be seeing more lockdowns, new lockdowns, more mandates? >> i don't know, george. it's really too early to say. we just really need to, as i've said so often, prepare for the worst. it may not be that we're going to have to go the route people
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are saying. we don't know a lot about this virus, so we want to prepare as best we can, but it may turn out this preparation, although important, may not necessarily push us to the next level. people talking about lockdowns, people talking about that, let's see what the information we're getting in real time tells us. we'll make decisions based on the science and the evidence the way we always do. you want to be prepared to do anything and everything. that's the reason why we're paying such close attention to this and why we're all over it. >> dr. fauci, thanks for your time and your information. >> thanks. good to be with you, george. let's bring in senator amy klobuchar from minnesota. she's the democrat from minnesota. senator klobuchar, thanks for joining us this morning. we heard dr. fauci there. i know you have a tough situation in minnesota with covid. how big a setback is this new variant? >> it's hard for everyone. people have been going through hell all over the country because of this pandemic. we know that. dr. fauci just gave you the answer. get vaccinated.
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when the show is over, george, everyone watching, get your appointment to get a booster, to get your kids vaccinated. if you say you care about our healthcare workers who are increasingly exhausted, get your vaccine, get your booster. if you care about our troops who in my state right now are staffing our nursing homes, helping at our hospitals, then get vaccinated. get a booster. that's his message. that's my message. >> let's talk about the other big challenge, the economy and inflation. we saw the president tap the strategic petroleum reserve at the beginning of this week. what more must be done right now? >> i look at it this way, we have an increase demand, shortage of supply. the petroleum reserve was a temporary measure. obviously in the long term we have to bring down greenhouse gases and do something finally about climate change.
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but in a bigger way, supply/demand, what does that mean? that means we have to improve the infrastructure at our ports. take emergency actions. by the way, the infrastructure bill, bipartisan bill we just passed, does that. secondly demand, we have workforce issues. that's why this build back better agenda is so important, george. look at it. we need people, we need kids to go into jobs where we have shortages. we don't have a shortage of sports marketing degrees. we have a shortage of healthcare workers, plumbers, electricians, construction workers. this bill puts us on the right path. helping people with child care. a lot of people want to go to work, but they don't have child care that's affordable in their area, or they have aging parents they have to take care of. in my state what we see in the midwest and in tourism areas, we need to do something about immigration reform, also in build back better. finally, making things more affordable for families. that means bringing down the cost of prescription drugs.
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to me that's what we do about the problem in front of us, which is to have the backs of the american people. that's our top priority. >> you laid out what you see are the benefits of the plan. your democratic colleague from west virginia, senator joe manchin continues to signal he wants to push this off until next year. what are the consequences of delay? are you confident it will get done before christmas? >> i am. senator manchin is still at the negotiating table talking to us about voting rights, getting that bill done, restoring the senate. he's talking to us about the bill. when i look at this drama next month, i break it down into a miniseries. the first part is the defense bill and a bridge to the budget. vast majority of senators support that. we'll get that done. second thing, the debt ceiling. if the republicans want to scrooge out on us and increase people's interest rates, make it harder for people to pay their car payments, go ahead and make that case. we'll stop them from doing that. third, voting rights,
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fundamental to our country. you see partisan gerrymandering going on. what we're talking about here is restoring the rules of the senate so we can pass a bill that senator manchin can sign his name on, the bill i lead, the bill senator schumer has been bringing people together on, that is the freedom to vote act. finally, what we just talked about, the build back better bill. we can get this done. it's the same old song. >> you say -- >> go ahead. >> go ahead. i want to hear the song now. >> the song is a little less talk and a lot more action. >> there does seem to be a lot of talk. you mentioned the debt limit. are you confident democrats can do that alone? >> i am. if you saw what happened back in november, both senator manchin and senator sinema -- i would personally get rid of the filibuster. they don't want to do that. they pushed the envelope so we made sure that we didn't welch on our debt. i believe we'll find a way
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forward on that again. >> senator klobuchar, thanks for your time and your information. >> it was great to be on. >> let's bring in senator bill cassidy republican from louisiana. senator cassidy, thanks again for joining us this morning. let's start out with the pandemic. you're a medical doctor. we just heard the message from dr. fauci, go get vaccinated. >> totally agree with that. get vaccinated. if you meet the guidelines, get your booster shot. folks ask me about vaccinating children. yes, less likely to have significant illness, but they bring it home to grandma, grandpa and the parents. follow the recommendations. as a physician, i would say follow the recommendations. >> you still seeing resistance in your state? >> yes, but if you look at my state right now, we actually have, i think, near the lowest incidents of infection. one beef i have -- i think it's a very valid beef. it's clear that previous ifection gives immunity. dr. fauci said that in a committee hearing. there's been no analysis as to
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the longevity of that or anything else that folks want to know. i've been previously infected. am i immune? cdc is totally not interested in looking at that. i think the american people know they're being gamed a little bit. i would still get vaccinated. the cdc should do that work too. >> you heard senator klobuchar on the build back better plan. she believes the democrats will get it done this month. you voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, but you're against the build back better plan. you say it's going to fuel inflation. the administration put forward nobel prize winning economists that said it won't. >> so 17 nobel prize -- "the washington post" looked at that. they said that was the bill they had then, not the bill they have now. and they pointed out, if you're going to avoid inflation, you have to pay for it. the wharton school of business has a better analysis. their analysis is that it's about $1.53 billion in new
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revenue. but as it's going to be implemented, there's things that don't sunset or that are supposed to sunset and don't. it's going to cost $4.65 trillion. $4.65 trillion on top of what the federal government is going to pay. may i make a note, george? one third of the expenditures are tax cuts for billionaires. there's corporate welfare. it's going to raise the price of gasoline by about 20 cents a gallon. it begins to have federal dictates as to how your child's preschool is handled, the curriculum. what's not to like? it's a bad, bad, bad bill. >> you mentioned the tax cuts. republicans passed a huge tax cut under president trump. that's one of the things that the debt limit has to pay for. why are you against extending the debt limit? >> the debt limit has been the result of bipartisan negotiations, bipartisan votes about the spending, bipartisan votes about the debt limit. if you haven't noticed,
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republicans have not been invited in at all to discuss this. i wouldn't be giving the tax cuts to the billionaires this bill does. the corporate welfare in this bill, if you earn $500,000 a year and buy an $80,000 electric vehicle, you can get a $12,000 credit. what? my middle class person can't afford a used car is paying for a tax credit for someone who makes $500,000 a year. republicans wouldn't agree to that. now we're being asked to increase the debt limit to pay for it. that's not a fair deal. >> we're going to be taking a closer look at the opioid crisis later in the program. your state has been hit so hard. what needs done? >> it's multi-factorial. what is also clear is that the situation at the southern border is contributing. if you look at the amount of drugs coming in at the southern border, along with the millions
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of people coming, are coming tens of thousands of pounds of drugs. that is contributing to our ownership opioid overdose. you have to control the southern border. there's other issues as well. the prescription drug problem is largely abated. we have treatment plans in place. we're working on capturing that which comes through the mail. it's the southern border which is out of control which is squarely in the lap of this administration. that is contributing to the abundance of drugs which is contributing to the opioid overdoses. >> senator cassidy, thank you for your time. >> thank you, george. round table is next. we'll be right back. you, george round table is next. we'll be right back. building a future where cancers can be cured. strokes can be reversed. joints can be 3-d printed. and there isn't one definition of what well feels like. there are millions.
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we the jury, in the above entitled manner as to count one unintentional second degree murder while committing a felony, find the defendant guilty. >> as to the fifth count of the information, we the jury find the defendant kyle h. rittenhouse not guilty. >> count one, malice murder, we the jury find the defendant travis mcmichael guilty. >> three verdicts in three of the most controversial cases this year amid a national reckoning on race and criminal justice. our roundtable will analyze the fall out after this report from pierre thomas. >> reporter: ahmaud arbery, kyle rittenhouse, george floyd, we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. but america's quest for the more perfect union is constantly being tested.
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in the ahmaud arbery case, many especially african-americans were alarmed about a largely white jury in the south would con victim three white men for chasing down and killing an unarmed ambulance who committed no crime. the answer, yes, they would. >> we find the defendant guilty. >> the jury of 11 whites and 1 black in the deep south said that black lives do matter. >> reporter: kyle rittenhouse's legal team argued the young man had the right to self-defense even after inserting himself in the chaotic protests in the wake of the killing of jacob blake in kenosha, wisconsin. many pondered whether a 16-year-old black boy could walk around with a rifle and not be arrested or potentially killed by police if he fatally shot two people and wounded another. rittenhouse acquitted on all counts. >> kyle h. rittenhouse, not
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guilty. >> he should not have had to suffer through a trial for that. >> this system is corrupt as hell. >> reporter: george floyd, a black man killed by a white officer in a confrontation over allegations of a counterfeit $20 bill. many especially people of color were holding their breath before the verdict for derek chauvin was read worried the white officer might be given the benefit of doubt and george floyd fighting to live, just to breathe, might be seen as resisting arrest. conviction. >> we the jury find the defendant guilty. >> let this be the precedent where we overcome systemic racism and oppression. >> reporter: these three cases and the debates about them in a deeply divided nation, simultaneously reflecting signs of progress, but also a journey toward a more perfect union that is far from over with many challenging miles yet to be traveled. >> thanks to pierre thomas for that. let's bring in chris
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christie, donna brazile, former democratic senator heidi heitkamp and the manhattan institute president reihan salam. donna, let me begin with you, do you look at these cases and say the system works, justice was served? >> i look at this past year, george, and i say the system is still imperfect. it still requires a video in order to convict someone of murder. i say that we must hold on to hope, but understand that we still have a long way to go as pierre just said. you know, you got the two lawyers here so i don't want to mess up the law, but there's a law on the books in 1863 that says, if there's someone running away from slavery, you can capture them. that was the law. that law was finally abolished in may of 2021. we argue about critical race theory, but when the law is still embedded with what i call the hate of the past, what will it take for us to correct it? i don't want to wait for a video
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to know that somebody should be charged with murder. yet the first prosecutor said go home. wash your hands. it took the pastors and a crying mother and a community that was outraged and a video that was leaked accidentally for us to get justice in brunswick, georgia. we don't have too much longer to wait for this perfect union to come together. i would hope that this case and cases going forward that we can finally put to rest some of the old vestiges of the past, so that we can go down that road of a more perfect union. i welcome that day. so should you. >> a lot to unpack there. >> yeah, well, i agree with most of it. what i would say is, the jury system did work in all those cases because as a prosecutor what you learn is that your job is not to set social policy. your job is to investigate cases, evaluate the evidence. if the evidence supports bringing a charge, because the
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guilt is beyond a reasonable doubt, you bring the charge. if it doesn't, you don't. in this instance each time the jury system, imperfect as it is, it's still the best system that anyone has ever devised to bring justice in a civilized society. in all these cases, despite all the doubts that people had, on both sides of the argument, the juries sat there, the only ones who probably listened to all the evidence, sat there and listened to everything came up with the right verdicts. that should give us a sense of hope we're making progress. not that we're there, you're absolutely right about that, donna, that we're making progress towards that. if we had said 30 years ago in the deep south that kind of verdict would have happened -- >> would it have happened without the video? >> george, that's the evidence in the case though. in the end where we are now as a society -- that's why body cams are so important with law enforcement. we're in a visual society now. juries are used to watching tv shows where evidence is put out.
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they want to see things like that themselves. in cases like this where you have the evidence, the jury did the right thing. what it means is that race didn't play a role in their determining guilt or innocence. >> that is one of the interesting points, heidi heitkamp, the prosecutor in the arbery case made what considered a risky decision. only mentioned race only once in the closing arguments. >> it's critically important. to their point we're so focused right now on what happens in the trial. what happened before the trial? that's what donna said. the prosecutor told them go home, wash your hands. she's now being charged. good job on the grand jury indicting her. but as somebody who worked on missing and murdered indigenous women, now you see an african american movement to talk about all the missing and murdered african americans who have never received justice. the trial comes at the end. we have to look behind that. the department of justice has to
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do a deep dive on all the incidents where there wasn't a prosecution, where there wasn't an investigation, there wasn't even a search party to look for a native american girl who went missing. we are a long way. if we just look at the justice system as this one slice, we'll miss the underbelly that's so dangerous to this country. >> chris christie, reihan, said the jury system worked. in this situation. you saw former president trump say in the kyle rittenhouse case justice wasn't served because he was prosecuted in the first place. >> well, i think what you see is a social media climate where everything gets nationalized. every story is placed in the context of what is the most useful political agenda to advance, what is the most compelling for building an audience. in a jury system the whole idea
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is to make contextualize, to make things very specific, to have a deliberative process. that's a good and healthy thing. there's a reason we have that process. there's a conflict here between the appetite of social media and wat you actually need to ensure that justice gets done. my concern is that with these video images, these are incendiary. guess what, with a video image you can take images out of context. you can use them in ways that -- and vance pre-existing -- >> but how about donna's point but for the video in the ahmaud arbery case, but for the video in the george floyd case justice might not have been served? >> i absolutely think we live in a society where we're saturated with video images. what i think we need to do is always take a beat and have some faith that the deliberative process is going to work. i'm not saying don't use video. when you see these video images go viral in the moment, as to the context as to what i'm not seeing. in the arbery case this was extreme, egregious and you had a
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prosecutor who approached it in exactly the right thoughtful way. not in a way that would inflame, but a way that would deal with the process as it should work. >> let me ask you a question, why when we talk about race do we get inflamed? what is it about race that inflames emotions? it's because some people are denied their human rights. emmett till had no video. therefore when he was murdered z it took his open casket to see how this young boy who we know now was innocent how he was murdered. we need to have some way to reconcile the past. when we talk about race we should be able to say we're bringing it up because it's a social construct that needs to be pulled apart so we're not judging people simply because of the way they look. i don't want my nieces or my nephews or even myself to be targeted if i'm jogging or going to a store. you never have to worry about me on a black friday. i'm not going nowhere.
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i'm staying home. i don't want to be targeted. i have a purse, a credit card or two, maybe some cash, but i don't want to be targeted. this is the reality. i'm not trying to prolong any conversation. i don't want to make nobody uncomfortable. i don't want any child to be scared. i want people to understand we have to sometimes put these difficult issues on the table if we're going to resolve these matters. >> here's what worries me. when you're looking at the number of murders that do not fit a narrative, right, that get ignored, where you don't see the resources necessary to solve crimes. when you talk about missing and murdered indigenous, black, you name it, women and children, what's going on is we do not clear homicides. we do not clear shootings. the reason for that is in my view, under investment in policing and public safety. that's a real crisis, but it's an invisible crisis. that is an invisible crisis. it does not fit the narrative. >> you can't ignore the fact if
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it's a white girl we spend all kinds of resources at the fbi looking for her murderer, but you say we're under-resourced. i totally agree. nothing could be more true on an indian reservation. but why is it, when the resources are deployed, they seem deployed to the white girls that go missing instead of native american girls or black girls who go missing. >> chris, let me put that question to you. when you were a prosecutor, how did the resources affect your decisions. >> you can only make a decision as a u.s. attorney what the police or fbi brings to you. it's the very, very rare instance where a prosecutor will go out and say i want you to investigate that matter. usually it's the other way around. the way what reihan is talking about the underresourcing, it's also prioritization at those agencies. that's always the fight. the fight between the prosecutor and the investigating agency. my fight with the fbi when i was
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u.s. attorney or the dea or any agency was, here's what i want you to focus on. much of what you're talking about, donna, are things we need to make sure that prosecutors who are either elected or appointed, depending upon the system, make as an emphasis of their work and say i want this stuff to be done because you can -- you can pressure appropriately investigative agencies to spend the resources they do have on things that you think are very important at this moment in time in your jurisdiction. >> i want to move on to another topic. heidi, let me bring you in on the build back better plan. your friend, former colleague, senator amy klobuchar -- >> she did a great job. >> she expressed great confidence this will get done. not everybody shares that opinion. >> i think it will get done. i think there's so much pressure after the virginia election and now we see biden's numbers sliding. i think there's a kind of come to jesus moment among the democratic factions to let's get this done. let's spend a year talking about
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the great things, implementing, doing our ribbon cuttings. i think that there's a recalibration that occurred after virginia with the poll numbers, so i agree with amy. i think it's going to get done. >> we certainly saw that in the house. reihan, i'm not sure if senator manchin is part of that faction coming together. >> i think there's a huge struggle over the fact that the democratic party increasingly relies on upper middle income, affluent voters and donors. there's a rise of this faction reconciling those things in the name of some kind of a majority coalition. it's really challenging. you see this with the debate over the salt cap. senator cassidy was talking about it earlier, for good reason. this is an instance where, if you're talking about nancy pelosi from san francisco, chuck schumer from brooklyn, new york, close to where i live, these are both very -- they're interested
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in protecting those affluent professionals. but guess what, that's a lot of money off the table for other programs. >> let me put this question to chris christie. it's important to the state of new jersey. it's interesting to hear republican senators who voted for the huge tax cuts under president trump to be complaining about the tax cuts in the democratic bill. >> there's an ideological inconsistency. the democrats are saying we're for the middle class folks. in new jersey, the middle class folks, despite our high property taxes, they'll not be the one who get the majority benefit from bringing the salt cap tax back as a deduction. it will be folks in the higher income brackets who pay higher state and local taxes in blue states who will benefit from it. so i think what they're seizing on is the ideological inconsistency, some would say hypocrisy, in saying you're for these folks, but on the other hand -- let me tell you, the
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average property tax bill in new jersey is $8,000 a year. under the current salt cap, everybody who has the average property taxes in new jersey can fully deduct them. who you're benefitting in new jersey are the higher income folks. that's not the democratic hymnal. when you're speaking -- when you're in politics and you're speaking against brand, people kind of raise an eyebrow. the salt -- lifting of the salt cap is against brand democratic moment and the republicans are going to seize on it. >> fair point. >> republicans will seize on anything. they'll seize on the opening of the envelope because they didn't provide the stamp. here's what democrats need to do. i agree. they need to pass it. if we spend another month talking about what's in the bill and how much it costs and who is going to get what we're going to lose the debate and the republicans will continue to win by not offering anything. this is what i tell my friends in the party, get real. it's over. pass it and go home and tell the
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voters exactly how this will benefit them. we spent 20 years investing trillions of dollars in two wars, trillions of dollars, and now we're hearing about the debt. we're hearing about how much it's going to cost. we're investing in transforming our society and making this country stronger for the future. that's what democrats have to go out there and talk at the street level. get out of this bubble we're in. that's why you have to leave washington, d.c. chris, i need to visit you more often. i found toilet paper and paper towels on sale. i gotcha, baby. >> you come up and bring them. >> i'm bringing them. >> very popular if you do. >> reihan, when people hear the specifics of the bills, they are popular. >> i've got to say there are a lot of ticking time bombs in this legislation. if you look at the child care provisions, it's fascinating to see a lot of people on the left pointing out the fact that this is a provision that actually changes the cost structure of
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child care. you're introducing new regulations, all of which you can make a case for, good or bad. regulations designed to increase wages. you're only subsidizing people below the median income. these are provisions that are temporary and provisions that require state lawmakers to pass enabling legislation. there's a huge amount of complexity in this bill and the attitude of, let's pass it and figure out what's in it, you know it's -- >> we know what's in it. >> there's a lot of things in there that, when people find out, particularly those voters that democrats depend on, they're not going to like it. >> it's not just the daycare provisions, but also the pre-k provisions. we can argue about whether we should federalize the regulation of pre-k which senator cassidy talked about. this bill clearly is targeted towards working families and that's what we need to do. we need to send a message that we're about helping working families. let me tell you, there's a lot of people deferring having children today in america because they can't afford
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daycare. they can't afford to raise children. we have to turn that around today. i want to say about the salt tax, it is cumulative with the income tax. to say the average is $6,000, your income tax in new jersey it's pretty high too. you add that to it. this is going to help a lot of middle class families. we can argue about whether it should be 80 grand or 50 grand, but i think there's a lot of middle class families that will benefit in those blue states. >> of course. you're subsidizing in blue states the decisions of blue state governors and legislators to make decisions. that's what you're doing, heidi. >> that's -- >> if you want to do that, that's fine. you're saying higher taxes at the state level are going to be forgiven in new jersey by people in south dakota. shouldn't be. >> they get more federal assistance than northern states. >> no.
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>> that's all we have time for. up next, as opioids fuel a record number of overdose deaths, we'll take a closer look at how one american city is dealing with it and talk to america's top government drug official. stay with us. american city is dealing with it and talk to america's top government drug official. ♪ my work helps save lives. ♪ my work has gone platinum. ♪ my work gives people hope. ♪ i work at fedex. ♪ take your career to the next level with one of our many open positions. ♪ with one of our many open positions. i don't just play someone brainy on tv - i'm an actual neuroscientist. and i love the science behind neuriva plus. unlike ordinary memory supplements, neuriva plus fuels six key indicators of brain performance. more brain performance? yes, please! neuriva. think bigger.
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our special report on the opioid crisis is next. we'll be right back. xt. we'll be right back. opoid crisis is next. we'll be right back. ♪ say it's all right ♪ ♪ say it's all right, it's all right ♪ ♪ have a good time 'cause it's all right ♪
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harming and killing our citizens at an alarming rate. since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths in america has increased 250%. the pandemic has made things worse. >> that's the hhs secretary addressing the opioid crisis days after a report was releasing revealing 100,000 people died from the opioid crisis. we're going to discuss what to do about this epidemic with anne milgram after kaylee hartung reports. >> reporter: as the country emerges from the covid-19 pandemic, another crisis is gripping the nation. >> it looks like genocide. that's what it looks like. >> reporter: deaths from drug overdoses in this country have set a new record every year for the past 20. now, for the first time ever, the number of americans who fatally overdosed over the course of one year surpassed 100,000, up nearly 30% from the previous year.
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>> the severity and worsening nature of this epidemic requires an all hands on deck approach. >> reporter: the biden administration releasing a plan last month to fight the spike in overdoses and earmarking $4 billion in the covid relief packages for expanding services for substance use. cedric and craig, both recovering addicts, provide substance abuse treatment taking actions they say government officials aren't. >> we're in a state of emergency, but they're not treating it that way. >> reporter: in san francisco, more people have died of opioid-related drug overdoses during the pandemic than from covid. >> people don't even know they're taking fentanyl. >> reporter: fentanyl is ten times more deadly than heroin and other opiods, but cheaper to produce. in dr. mary mercer's emergency room at san francisco general hospital, already pushed to the brink by covid cases, she's seeing more lethal side effects of the pandemic. >> the pandemic just exacerbated
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the social fabric that our most vulnerable people rely on to literally keep them alive. >> there's no way that my sister who was in her 20s should have died from an overdose. >> reporter: mayor london breed lost her sister 15 years ago. now she's on a mission to give others support her sister didn't have. >> we always had people who suffered from substance abuse disorder. the question is, how do we adapt to providing the support and services to get people clean? >> reporter: one solution, the straight overdose response team. >> the person is often at the brink of death, right, paramedics arrive, the individual is not breathing well and require immediate life-saving intervention. >> reporter: after the team of paramedics respond, nurse practitioners follow up with the individuals. >> we really all came to the table and said how can we rewrite the playbook. how can we improve our care and do something that no one in the country is doing? we're bringing the clinic to you. >> reporter: the mayor also
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proposing legislation to open controversial safe injection sites. >> anyone who wants drugs can find drugs. you're saying let's do it in a safe manner. >> we need to look at solutions again that make us uncomfortable in order to try and change this. >> reporter: experts say safe injection sites in other countries have proven to save lives. to open in the u.s. laws would need to change and cedric and craig say don't bother. >> it's ten years too late. >> right, it was a good idea a long time ago. if they had safe injection sites, we wouldn't see so many people on the street using. why should i go inside and use drugs when i can use drugs outside? >> thanks to kaylee hartung for that. we're joined now by the head of the dea, anne milgram. thank you for coming in this morning. let's start with those safe injection sites. good idea? >> the department of justice is in the midst of litigation on safe injection sites, so i can't speak about that. what i can say is we're seeing this devastating overdose crisis. right now in america 100,000
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lives are being lost. at dea what we try to do is go after aggressively the people who are causing the harm, the criminal networks and to help the people being harmed. what we do at dea is we prioritize can we improve access to treatment, to access to medications which can help with medical treatment that help with opioid disorders. >> how about this issue that senator cassidy was talking about? he says that the opioid crisis he believes -- the problem with the manufacturers here has been mostly solved, he believes the real problem now is the border. >> the real problem are the criminal drug networks in mexico that are mass producing the fentanyl driving the overdose deaths we're seeing. we should be really clear that 64% of overdose deaths are attributable to fentanyl. about a quarter of those deaths are attributable to methamphetamine. those two drugs are being mass produced in mexico. sourcing chemicals mostly coming from china. what those criminal drug
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networks then do is flood the united states with those drugs in any way they can, whether it's the border, by air, by ports. those networks want to sell drugs to americans. it's how they profit. they'll exploit any vulnerable they can to get those drugs to the united states. we've seized more drugs this year fentanyl and meth than ever before. those drugs are coming to the united states from those criminal drug networks. we have to be aggressive in dismantling the networks. >> that's the supply problem. how do we deal with the demand problem? >> there are a couple problems. one is the supply challenge. the drug threat today is different than it ever was before. when i was a prosecutor, we did cocaine cases, heroin cases. those largely came from plants. now today this is all synthetic or manmade. there's an unlimited amount of these drugs that can be made. so what we're also seeing, the networks are doing this in new ways. they're making these counterfeit pills that are fake pills. they're made to look -- they're
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exploiting our opioid epidemic in the united states and the fact that we take a lot of pills. they're making these pills look almost identical to real vicodin, percocet, xanax or adderall, but they're fake. they contain fentanyl and sometimes they contain meth. when we seize those pills now -- and it's every age. and it's really important to say, this cuts across every line, rural, suburban, urban, race, geeography, religion. it's in every state in america. those pills are meant to look like real pills and they're not. they're deadly. four out of ten pills we're seizing now have deadly doses of fentanyl. >> what's your message to those who fear that a family member or friend might be abusing these drugs? >> there's two really important messages. the first is that talking about it works. we know from the research that
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just making individuals aware that the only pill they should take is pill prescribed by their doctor and understanding that we're seeing other drugs, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, being laced with fentanyl. everything is potentially deadly right now. people need to be aware of this and have these conversations. the holidays are a high risk time. we do see overdoses spike at this time of the year. it's really important. we're out there at dea trying to make communities safe and healthy. all of us can do our part by talking about this. >> anne milgram, thank you for coming in. >> thank you for having me. >> we'll be right back. thank y >> we'll be right back.
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that is all for us today. thanks for sharing part of your sunday with us. check out "world news tonight." i'll see you tomorrow on "gma." ♪ ♪ orrow on "gma." ♪ ♪
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