tv CNN Newsroom With John Berman and Poppy Harlow CNN March 16, 2017 7:00am-8:01am PDT
all right, good morning, everyone, i'm john berman. serious blockage for president trump this this morning, the bill to repeal and replace obamacare very much in jeopardy. the house budget committee gets to vote on this today. if four republicans vote no, it could be blocked today. house speaker paul ryan is set to speak in a few minutes. will he announce what chains he is willing to make to save this bill? also this morning, a judge in maryland blocks the president's new travel ban, the second judge in 24 hours.
the message: it's not the order, it's you, mr. president. on capitol hill, senior republicans now rejecting the claim that he was wiretapped by president obama. but last night president trump said "wiretapping" can mean anything. can it? the white house's budget plan has many cuts but won't necessarily be the plan that passes congress. at any moment, nancy pelosi will have a lot to say about wiretaps, but the budget, and much more. cnn's suzanne malveaux is at the capitol. >> reporter: john, nancy pelosi will be holding her press conference soon. at the same time we have our cameras trained on the budget
committee, where the house bill will go for markup. it's far from certain, john, whether that will get through that committee today. you say know, republicans cannot afford any more than 21 no votes. so far our latest cnn count now showing 19 republicans are leaning no or saying no to this legislation. president trump in the meantime quietly behind the scenes as well as publicly has been trying to would some of the conservative republicans to get on board, offering some points of negotiation, if you will. he's even publicly now saying that this is going to require some changes in order to pass. >> are you satisfied that the bill we're now looking at, that paul ryan is pushing, is the best the republicans can do after seven years of thinking about it? >> i think we'll have a negotiation. you have to understand, we have a two-vote margin. and to get 52 people is very
hard. if we had 60 or 60 votes, connected do something differently. but we're never going to get a democrat vote. they're never going to vote for us. if i had the greatest bill in the history of the world, they would not vote for us. >> reporter: john, the president has a problem with the republicans, not even necessarily the democrats, because republicans clearly in control of congress here. the main sticking points, very killed, is the fact that you have this debate over federal dollars to states for medicaid, that there is an increase in premiums for seniors, and finally, the devastating cbo score, the controversial score that estimates 24 million over the course of ten years would be out of health care insurance with this current plan. house republicans are frustrated now because they feel that they are being pushed forward and being pushed too fast, they need to look at these serious issues, debate them, and see whether these are changes that can be made. take a listen. >> i'm quite confident that as it stands, leadership doesn't
have the votes they need to get this bill as written through the house. and i want to vote for a bill. but, you know, we're the same group that lamb basted majority leader pelosi for not letting us see what's in the bill. right now, the timeline is actually faster. >> reporter: house speaker paul ryan has been leading the pace, leading the charge here, trying to push this through as quickly as possible. there is a sense of urgency if this does not get done right away, that they will lose their opportunity and lose their momentum. we'll hear from paul ryan in about 40 minutes or so, where among other things he will talk about or at least be pressed on what kind of changes can be made in this bill, john. >> where is he going to change? that is a big question. a lot of republicans including the once we're speaking to want answers soon if they're going to vote yes on this. suzanne malveaux, thank you so much. also new this morning, the president's new travel ban blocked anew, twice actually. judges in maryland and hawaii
both issuing temporary orders. the president is vowing to fight back. let's bring in cnn justice reporter laura jarrett. laura, where are these judges saying they're blocking this and what does the president say about it? >> reporter: the judge in maryland, john, is squarely focused on the constitutional problems, with treating muslims differently than n nonon muslims in the new executive order. and the judge in hawaii says, look, i can't ignore the president's own statements on muslims during the campaign as well as statements from trump's senior advisers since he's been president. the judge in maryland listed page after page of statements that indicated that it was a religious purpose and not a national security purpose behind the ban. we haven't heard from the justice department yet but president trump blasted the hawaii judge last night. >> a judge has just blocked our
executive order on travel and refugees coming into our country from certain countries. [ audience booing ] the order he blocked was an awarded down version of the first order. we're going to fight this terrible ruling. we're going to take our case as far as it needs to go including all the way up to the supreme court. and let me tell you something. i think we ought to go back to the first one and go all the way which is what independe wanted the first place. >> reporter: he goes on to talk about breaking up the ninth circuit court of appeals on the west coast. the irony is five republican nominated judges came out in support of trump's travel ban last night, saying even if we don't like it, our colleagues last month were wrong when they declined to reinstate the ban because trump has the legal
authority to do this. those comments from the five judges do not impact the ruling of the federal judge in hawaii who blocked trump's travel ban last night, john. and none of the five judges who came out with that statement last night are on the emergency panel of judges who would hear the challenge if the administration wants to move forward on appealing this decision. but it could be insight into the larger members of the court who could rule en banc eventually. >> that you ank you, laura jarr. now, in an interview with fox news overnight, president trump insisted he has proof that president obama wiretapped him. >> i've been reading about things. i read, i think it was january 20th, a "new york times" article
where they talked about wiretapping, i think they used that exact term. i read other things. i watched your friend bret baier the day previous where he was talking about certain complex sets of things happening and wiretapping. >> but you're the president. you have the ability to gather all the evidence you want. >> i do. but i think frankly we have a lot right now. i think if you watch -- if you watched the bret baier and what he was saying and what he was talking about and how he mentioned the word "wiretap," you would feel very confident that you could mention the name. he mentioned it. other people have mentioned it. if you look at some things written about wiretapping and eavesdropping. when i say wiretap, those words were in quotes, because wiretapping is pretty old fashioned stuff, that really covers surveillance and many other things. and nobody ever talks about the fact that it was in quotes. but that's a very important thing. but wiretap covers a lot of different things. i think you'll find some very
interesting items coming forefront over the next two weeks. >> so the president here clearly changing his explanation for what he very clearly wrote. why? well, members of his own party, including that man, house intelligence chair david nunes, who is an ally of president trump's, says he sees no evidence, no evidence in fact that trump tower was wiretapped. he held a news conference yesterday with adam schiff right there. you can see, fbi director james comey is testifying on capitol hill monday. he asked the justice department weeks ago to clear this up, basically saying that he wanted the justice department to say there were no wiretaps. what will he say when he testifies under oath? meanwhile, senators whitehouse and graham have asked the fbi to tell them in a letter if there is a criminal investigation into the president and also to talk about his wiretap claims. also new this morning, the white house budget, we've never
seen anything like this before. there is a big boost in military spending, also homeland security, but huge cuts elsewhere, including eliminating entire programs. cnn's christine romans is here with more. >> this is hard power, america first. it's pretty dramatic. it's little but it's dramatic. it reshapes how government interacts with american life, shrinks government. what you would see if this budget were enacted would be an awful lot of empty metal desks in washington, dc and a lot of smaller programs. let's take a look at how much smaller. epa, down 31%, that's what this budget calls for. state, 28%. hhs, health and human services, down 16%. and hud, a $6 billion cut there. this is the housing and urban development department. there are concerns among advocates for the poor and for equal housing that this would dramatically reshape how low-income people receive their housing. what you hear from the government, what you hear from the white house, is that they see a lot of duplicative
programs, they would move money around, get red id of waste and things that shouldn't be done, eliminated. the corporation for public broadcasting would be eliminated entirely, a 50-year-old wish list for conservatives who see a leftist propaganda in re-airing theater on public television. here is where the money would go, you're not cutting the deficit, you're moving it to defense, $52 billion there, veterans, $4.4 billion. and the border, this is kind of a down payment on the promises the president has made, about a billion and a half to get that wall started, $2 billion the next year. you would be hiring immigration judges, you would be hiring immigration authorities, immigration officials, immigration agents, hundreds and hundreds of them to fulfill some of the president's promises. this is what the world would look like under donald trump's
vision, his world view. it is his world view. his budget director says they took his words on the campaign trail and turned it into numbers. this is what those numbers look like. >> congress is the one that gets to write the full budget, there are many members of congress who say this budget is dead on arrival. but as you point out, this gives us a window into donald trump's thinking. >> he sees america first here, more security, national security, public safety, and getting the government out of your life. of course advocates for the poor say that means getting government safety nets out of your life. and that is a problem in their view. >> christine romans, thank you very much, great to have you with us. president trump facing serious challenges. we've been talking about health care, we've been talking about his evidence-free claims about wiretaps. so much on his plate right now. what can he get through congress? plus the secretary of state overseas in asia, as defense
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live pictures right now of the house budget committee. this committee today will vote on the republican plan to repeal and replace obamacare as it is currently written. they can block this plan today. four republican votes on this committee would sink it. we spoke to dave bratt of virginia who is one of the "no" votes. i spoke to him today and he says it's going to be close. we'll be watching this closely in the next few minutes and hours. the president has a new explanation for why he claimed,
evidence-free, for why he wthat wiretapped by president obama. joining me, david farenthold, rick santorum, former senator. gentlemen, i made a joke there that wiretapping can mean almost anything, but listen for yourselves to why the president claimed he was wiretapped. >> when i say wiretapped, those words were in quotes. because wiretapping is pretty old fashioned stuff, but that covers surveillance and many other things. and nobody ever talks about the fact that it was in quotes. but there's a very important thing. wiretap covers a lot of different things. i think you're going to find some very interesting items coming forefront over the next two weeks. >> all right, david farenthold, how low has president obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process.
this is nixon/watergate. bad or sick guy. no quotation marks in this tweet, but he did have it in others. but this is a different version, the president now clearly shifting his story now that it's under scrutiny from democrats and republicans, dave. >> that's right. the thing about this is, this is a guy, this president is somebody people put a lot of faith in. he told them he could bring back jobs, bring back the coal industry. instead of doing any of that, this is what president trump has chosen to spend his time on, arguing what a quotation mark means and what he read in "the new york times" and saw on fox news. it's not where his voters expected him to be or what they expected him to be doing. >> senator santorum, the part that was truly interesting to me is the picture we saw yesterday, david nunes, republican chair of the house intelligence committee side by side with adam schiff, democratic ranking member of that committee, both men there agreeing they have seen no evidence that president trump or trump tower was wiretapped.
there is the picture right there. they were clearly trying to send a message, particularly congressman nunes there, chairman nunes, essentially a message to the president, look, there isn't the evidence of this, it might make our lives easier if you stop talking about it. nevertheless, last night he did again. what kind of a pressure does this put on congressman nunes? >> devin is doing a good job, he's doing a favor to the administration by trying to direct them to focus their energies on things that the electorate wants him to focus his energy on. the fact that donald trump tweeted this at 3:00 a.m., my advice would be the advice that donald trump gave to ivanka when she was a teenager, which is nothing good happens after midnight, and he probably should not be out doing things after
midnight. let's wait until the sun rises and your head is clear and tweet things that are probably much more in line with what your administration should be working on. >> am i wrong that chairman nunes, and you look at lindsey graham and john mccain and others, chuck grassley now in the senate, am i wrong that they're trying to send a message to the president, and is it wrong to suggest that maybe the president isn't getting that message? >> they're definitely trying to send a message. i'm trying to send a message. i think a lot of other folks are trying to send a message that he has some very important -- this budget was exactly in line with what his campaign promises were, what he's trying to do with obamacare, is in line with defense spending. there is a lot of things that the president is doing that is right on the nose. if he would focus on those, i think he could have a very successful presidency. >> all right. one of the issues he's been trying to get through is this travel ban. he's got this new revised travel ban. now a new revised blocking of
his travel ban. bakari, two federal judges have put a block on this in the last 24 hours. they say one of the big issues is things that donald trump said during the campaign like this. >> donald j. trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of muslims entering the united states until our country's representatives can figure out what the hell is going on. >> so, but bakari, that was december 2015. that was a long time ago. candidates can change their minds, candidates can revise policies when they become president. i know the judges are saying that gets to intent. but isn't that an insanely high bar if everything you've ever said on a subject can have an impact? >> well, no, it's not an insanely high bar. but if you read the opinions of the hawaii judge, i haven't had
a chance to read the most recent opinion that came out this morning, you realize he included more than just the words of donald trump. he included the words of stephen miller and other advisers who said this is a ban on muslims. the fact that this included just six countries, muslim majority countries, which include 12% of the world's muslims, it makes it an impact the majority of which will be felt by muslims entering the country. yes, this is a muslim ban. yes, many people including two judges feel this is unconstitutional. the fact, as david was saying earlier, the president is struggling in his first two months, probably the worst first two months of any president's history, he's focusing on a muslim ban that's been beaten not once but twice, focusing on a health care bill that is doing badly in the house and senate, doing all these things, instead of focusing on things that would help his voters like an
infrastructure bill or tax reform. it's mind-boggling to see him flail away on these issues instead of issues that he could get support for. >> it may be a democratic view that it's the worse two months ago. a new fox news poll says his approval ratings are down, but the economy has good ratings. all three of you know, if people have a good view of the economy, a president's numbers can turn around. david farenthold, on the health care issue specifically, because bakari brought that up, it's a fight within the republican party to figure out how this can be changed to get through the house of representatives. paul ryan, who we'll be hearing from in just minutes, now says changes will be made, they will adjustme adjust this bill.
can they make enough changes in a week, because that's when ryan wants a vote on the house floor, that will satisfy both wings of the republican party? >> unlikely. the criticism is coming from both sides of the republican party, moderates feel it doesn't do enough to help the poor and seniors, and the conservatives feel it does too much. if you move toward one camp, you alienate the other. if there were a way to thread this needle, paul ryan would have found it already. their plan had been the kamikaze approach, to have a vote as soon as possible and not ask much about the details. that strategy has already failed. i don't know how paul ryan is going to adapt. >> we'll find out in a few minutes when paul ryan speaks and lets us know if he is willing to change this bill, i guess he said he is willing to change it, but what he's willing to change and whether he's willing to put it on the house floor. thank you all so much for being
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good morning, everyone. john berman here. new this morning, cnn has learned that u.s. intelligence and the defense department expect north korea to start a new round of nuclear and missile testing any day now. this news comes as secretary of state rex tillerson is in tokyo on his first major trip to asia. cnn's michelle kosinski, these
imminent nuclear tests coming as the secretary of state says we need to reevaluate policy. >> reporter: they are looking new ways of dealing with the situation. he's saying that the policy that's been in place for a long time is basically failing. you can look at that from two ways. i mean, the good news lately is that just in the last year, the international community came together through the u.n., including china, which the u.s. has long felt has doesn't enough to pressure north korea, and instituted unprecedented sanctions against north korea. that shows unity there, it shows a willingness to punish north korea for its nuclear advancements. the bad news, of course, is it really hasn't been working. here is what some of what tillerson said on his trip. >> again, i'm not going to speak to, you know, i mean, i mean, look, we can dissect, you know, the cross-section of u.s. media. >> reporter: okay, sorry, guys,
that was the wrong sound bite there. rex tillerson, while he's in japan, he came out during this press availability and said, look, this policy is not working, it is a failing policy that's been there for 20 years and it's time to do something more. i think what everybody wants to know is, what does that mean? what does the u.s. want to change? how is it going to raise the level of pressure on north korea to the point that it actually will change behavior? he didn't want to go into any detail but we know from other sources that it could mean things like putting additional pressure on china, maybe sanctioning chinese companies that do business with north korea still, possibly treating the problem more as a global threat, really, not just a regional threat, which is how china tends to see the north korea problem. so you have to deal with north korea. and everyone who is threatened by it. but you also have to maintain that relationship with china. that's where it gets very
tricky, john. >> michelle, the secretary of state oversees traveling behalf of the state department on a day when the president says he wants to cut funding to the state department. >> reporter: right. the funding, we know that it's an enormous cut to the state department's budget, it's going to be like 37%. then when you look at other programs look usaid, u.n. programs are expected to be cut by 50%. this has raised a lot of consternation among all kinds of people, including members of the military, writing a letter about the need to keep funding for those kind of state department programs. it's called soft power, spreading u.s. democracy and values and influence around the world, aside from military power. it's viewed as very important. but tillerson in response to a question about it said that, you know, he wants to really look at, since the state department has been at a record level of funding, he wants to make it more efficient. he said that literally on his
first day in his position. but we also know that he wants to try to preserve as much as he feels is necessary. how this will all turn out in the end, that's what we'll have to see, john. >> michelle kosinski for us at the state department, thanks so much. we're getting word this morning that a top adviser to president trump is changing jobs. dina powell is expected to be named deputy national security adviser according to a senior administration official. powell currently serves as senior counselor for economic initiatives. cnn's senior washington correspondent joe johns, joe, dina powell is widely respected across different fields. >> reporter: that's exactly right. put this under the heading of h.r. mcmaster trying to bolster the national security team. dina powell does have that role now as economic adviser. also closely associated with the president's daughter, ivanka trump. and dina also is a former
goldman sachs executive. but she also has chops right here in washington, dc, going all the way back to the george w. bush administration, where at the state department for a period, she's an arabic speaker, an egyptian-american well-known in washington. and the administration sort of rolled her out in public just last week when the deputy crown prince of saudi arabia was here visiting with the president, she was in the room also. so they are hoping she can help h.r. mcmaster. he is being positioned as very on board with dina powell coming in and making this move on the national security team, john. >> all right, joe johns for us at the white house, thanks for the update, joe, appreciate it. the fbi director briefed the leaders of the senate judiciary committee about president trump's claims of being wiretapped. i'll speak to a key member of that committee, coming up.
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just a few seconds ago, president trump greeting the prime minister of ireland, here to visit for st. patrick's day, which is tomorrow. this is a visit that happens every year, the president and prime minister will sit down and enjoy lunch together. this is the prime minister's last trip as the leader of the irish government to the united states, he is stepping down not long from now, but it is always a nice visit. that is going on right now. we'll bring you any news if they make it. meantime, democrats and republicans now say there is no
proof to back up the president's claim that he was wiretapped by former president obama. so where exactly did president trump get that information? this is what he said overnight. >> i've been reading about things. i read in i think it was january 20th, a "new york times" article where they were talking about wiretapping. there was an article. i think they used that exact term. i read other things. i watched your friend bret baier the day previous where he was talking about certain very complex sets of things happening and wiretapping. i said, wait a minute, there's a lot of wiretapping being talked about. i've been seeing a lot of things. now, for the most part i'm not going to discuss it, because we have it before the committee, and we will be submitting things before the committee very soon that hasn't been submitted as of yet. >> all right. fbi director james comey briefed the leaders of the senate judiciary committee just yesterday on all of this. joining me now is democratic
senator patrick leahy of vermont, he is on the judiciary committee. >> happy to be with you. happy st. patrick's day to you. >> i'm having lunch with the prime minister and the president this noon. >> fantastic. have a great lunch. in the meantime, yesterday dianne feinstein, the ranking member of your committee and the chair of the committee, chuck grassley, met with fbi director james comey. senator feinstein said the briefing was all on sensitive matters, highly classified. are you satisfied now, senator, that the fbi is providing the information that your committee is seeking on the president's claims that he was wiretapped by former president obama? >> i am satisfied that president trump was never wiretapped by former president obama. it's a terrible thing for him to
say. he ought to have apologized to the american public. he ought to have apologized to president obama for not telling the truth. you know, this idea that president obama could have personally ordered a wiretap, i don't know why president trump makes these outlandish statements. he knows they're not true. he knows he's not telling the truth when he says that. he ought to apologize. it makes you wonder what it is he wants to distract the american people from. >> he gave a new explanation overnight, president trump did, about this. he said, "when i said wiretapping, those words were in quotes, and that really covers it because wiretapping is pretty unfolded, it covers surveillance and many other things." is that a satisfactory explanation? >> of course not. and for him to say "i read something" or "i heard somebody on fox news say something which made me think" -- this is the
president of the united states. he has access to all the intelligence in this country. he knows it's not true. he knows that president obama did not spy on him. he knows in fact that as president he would not have the power to do that on an individual american. so i don't know what it is he wants to distract us from. unless, well, we've seen he set up trumpcare which takes millions of americans, including some of his best supporters, off health care. he's now sent us a -- says he's sending us a budget which would cut a lot of needed programs in the united states, from liheap to infrastructure. he would cut out security at embassies, even thee they tried to make a big thing about benghazi. it's almost, don't look at the man behind the screen, it's that kind of strange behavior.
>> look, there is no evidence, we have been told by you, by republicans and others, that president obama ordered the wiretapping of president trump. but you get trump allies who say, yeah, but there was surveillance that maybe picked up trump associates. now, i know that is not what president trump initially claimed, that is not what he claimed in those tweets, full stop right there. but is it a fair question to ask what was picked up in that surveillance and how does it relate to anyone connected to donald trump? >> then the question is, was anybody connected with donald trump breaking the law, where they doing things with, say, the russians that broke the law, and if they were, what were they doing? that's a lot different now, you know, every time he
gets pushed back on a claim and is shown that what he says wasn't true, he says, well, what we really meant was. or you have his press secretary going, air quotes, air quotes, air quotes. that's not the way to run the presidency. >> all right, senator leahy, we just got breaking news, the house budget committee over on the other side of capitol hill just voted to advance the republican plan to repeal and replace obamacare. so it got through another committee. we are about to hear from speaker paul ryan any minute right now. we're expecting the speaker maybe will offer up some changes to this republican plan. >> i don't know. we have trumpcare, which has passed the house committees on a party line vote. trumpcare did not have a single hearing, a single public hearing, unlike the affordable care act, as they call it, obamacare, which had dozens and
dozens of hearing, in fact your network covered a lot of them. so now we have trumpcare passing on a republican party line vote. but i think at some point somebody is going to say, what do you mean, you just took away my health insurance, you just took away the ability for my spouse who has a debilitating illness to get the care they need to stay alive. that's going to raise the real question, what is in trumpcare? >> all right, senator patrick leahy from vermont, thanks for being with us, happy st. patrick's day, early. >> happy st. patrick's day to you too. coming up, house speaker paul ryan will hold a news conference, no doubt speaking about the republican plan to repeal and replace obamacare. what changes will he make to get this bill through the house of representatives?
live right now, he's talking about st. patrick's day, but any minute we expect him to tell us maybe what changes he's willing to make to the republican plan to repeal and replace obamacare. let's listen. >> today the house budget committee took up the american health care act. it is the third committee to debate this bill in our regular order process. we look forward to strong support there, putting us another step closer to keeping
our promise, keeping our promise to repeal and replace obamacare. from there, the bill will go to a fourth committee before it goes to the house floor. lastly, as we have said from the start, repeal and replace will be a step by step approach. that is why yesterday the majority leader announced that the house will begin considering additional legislation to include reforms that eliminate antitrust protection that creates more competition, to make sure people are not left with few or no choices like we're seeing across the country, allowing small businesses to pool together across the country, giving our small businesses more purchasing power so they will have more choices and lower costs and they'll be able to harness the power of bulk buying. medical malpractice reform that helps prevent abusive lawsuits, helps cut down on defensive medicine, which is another way we can lower costs and increase choices. these are just a few of the ideas and these are ideas that we strongly believe in.
they were part of our better way plan. but we know we cannot advance all of them through the reconciliation process. that is why we are acting on these reforms separately but also immediately concurrently. we're not going to wait on these things. you all remember the slide from last week. first, we pass our bill to repeal obamacare's taxes, mandates, and spending. and we replace all that with reforms that build a better patient centered market-based system. second, secretary tom price will take administrative actions to help lower costs and increase consumer choice and restore market freedoms and states' rights. third, we pass additional reforms to further lower costs and increase choices for families. we're very pleased with where we are because we are on track and on schedule with where we intended to be the whole time. we've made a promise. we've made a promise to repeal and replace obamacare. we're going to keep our promise to the people that elected us. questions.
>> reporter: mr. speaker, last night on fox news, president trump suggested that his assertion that president obama wiretapped him -- >> i thought you were going to ask me an obamacare question. >> reporter: this is something the white house has had to deal with. the president suggested this was based off of press reports, his accusation is based on press reports. are you comfortable with the president making an assertion like that based off press reports and frankly, do you believe that he was wiretapped? >> i've already answered the question about whether the wiretap occurred. i think devin nunes and adam schiff answered that question clearly. i got the same briefing with them on that as well. but after we heard about this, we did see a number of press reports that made this allegation, that made this suggestion. so yeah, those press reports did exist. frankly, i didn't know about it until i think bret baier asked me about it. this was something i was unaware of until we did see a few press reports on this.
but the point is, the intelligence committees in their continuing widening ongoing investigation of all things russia, got to the bottom, at least so far, with respect to our intelligence community, that no such wiretap existed. >> reporter: do you believe the president when he says that president obama ordered a wiretap on trump tower? >> no, that's what i said, we've cleared that up, we see no evidence of that. thank you. [ inaudible question ] >> so end of the fiscal year, we're at the bca cap level. i don't see a big issue there. we just got the president's budget submission just this morning. so this is the beginning of that step. what i'm encouraged by is the notion that we're going to begin
rebuilding our military which is something we're all very worried about, the hollowing out of our military, it's something we believe in fixing. they just got this process started. this is a long, ongoing process. this is the very beginning of the budget process. and no, i'm not worried about the end of the year. august 28th is where the funding lapse is. i'm not concerned about that. i think we'll hit our benchmarks. [ inaudible question ] this is news. we are. i just spoke with the president a half hour ago. i speak with the president pretty much every single day. i spoke to him twice yesterday. so we are clearly in sync on this. we're working very hand in glove on this, and the president's team. we're working extremely closely. i've got to tell you, i am very pleased and very excited and i've got to tell you, it's something i hadn't seen in a
long time. this president is getting deeply involved. he is helping bridge gaps in our conference. he is a constructive force to help us get to a resolution so that we we get consensus on how to repeal obamacare. we're working hand in glove, listen to the consensus of our members. clearly the main part of this bill will stay exactly as they are. we're making improvements and refinement based on feedback we're getting from our members. and the president of the united states is the one who has been mediating this, bringing people together, sitting around a table, hashing out our differences so that we can get to a consensus document. the goal here is get to a bill that can pass, that we can pass and that actually is great policy. and the president is playing a very constructive role on this and literally hand in glove, every day we talk, we compare notes. our teams are feweused in worki
together. [ inaudible question ] of course he's unorthodox, and it's constructive in many, many ways. >> reporter: is it more likely you'll pass a bill if he's unorthodox? >> what i just said is, the president's listening and negotiating skills are bringing people together so that we can pass a bill. so we have a bill that we can get consensus on and make good on our promises. >> reporter: the fact that he might bring up wiretapping, is that unorthodox? >> sure, it's unorthodox. did you see him yesterday in detroit, tennessee? the president has a connection with individuals in this country. he goes -- no offense, but he goes around the media and connects with people specifically and individually. this is a power that we haven't seen since ronald reagan. and so what this president is showing is that he knows how to
connect directly with people. that helps us bridge gaps in congress and get republicans unified so we can deliver on our promises. and that is extremely constructive. >> reporter: just to follow up, the past few weeks, months, we do hear about palace intrigue going on between you and the president. how often do you and donald trump address a lot of these reports that there is constant tension going on between both of you? >> there really isn't. i would say there is no intrigue, palace intrigue divisions between the principals. i can't speak for low level staffers. i can't speak for outside groups. but the principals, the chief of staff, the vice president, the budget director, the hhs secretary, the president himself, we're all on the same page. we talk constantly. our teams are working together. so there really is no schism whatsoever. and of course you're going to have this chattering class stuff. that kind of happens in this day
and age. it's something that, a, isn't true, b, isn't intimidating or daunting to us in any way, shape whatsoever. i'm excited with the fact that we have a president that likes closing dealings. he thinks bold, thinks big, wants to act, andme wants to ge to the finish line and is constructive in doing that. >> reporter: you've been arguing your plan will inspire people to buy coverage because the premiums will go lower. the cbo says they'll go up, just not as quickly as premiums under obamacare. how many people do you really think are going to be -- >> yeah, so the market stabilization in the interim, remember we said we're not going to pull the rug out from under peel, n people, not just end it tomorrow and nobody has anything. it will take time for companies to offer products in the new reregulated setting. you're not going to have catastrophic double digit
increases. just wait. when your reforms kick in, premiums go down. and this is before we get to phase ii or phase iii. the cbo estimate, which shows our reforms when they kick in bring premiums down, but more importantly, cbo ignores, because they can't score what tom price is going to do to further bring market competition and freedom, bring prices down. we're very confident that this bill, which already shows lower premiums, combined with things that price will do, and also state-based high risk pools. let me go back to one thing. and it's hard to quantify. we had a really good risk pool in wisconsin. utah had a really good risk pool. when you have a risk pool that covers the catastrophic costs of people with catastrophic illnesses, the rest of the insurers, the rest of the insurance pool don't have to pay for those costs. by directly helping support the people who have preexisting conditions with their catastrophic costs, all other insurance products don't have