tv PBS News Hour PBS July 27, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
captioning sponsored by newshour productions, llc >> woodruff: good evening, i'm judy woodruff. on the newshour tonight, health care legislation in critical condition again. republican senators struggle to muster enough votes to pass even a slimmed down reform bill. and, the white house is busy with its own battles as backlash heats up over the president's call to ban transgender people serving in the military and the public fallout with his own attorney general. then, stuck between a rock and a visa, one of the nation's top vacation spots struggles to get seasonal employees as immigration rules become more restrictive. >> it's impossible to run a business if you don't know if you're getting 43 of your 96 people. the rest of them are all americans.
we were open six weeks late. next year, we may not open at all. >> woodruff: all that and more on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> carnegie corporation of new york. supporting innovations in education, democratic engagement, and the advancement of international peace and security. at carnegie.org. >> and with the ongoing support
of these institutions: and individuals. >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: republican efforts to pass health care reform ran into even more roadblocks this evening. a group of key senators balked at voting for what some have called the last resort-- a version that's been labeled "skinny repeal." this came as plans were laid for debate and maybe a final vote, later tonight. lisa desjardins begins our coverage. >> desjardins: it's been a long day of debate, setting up a longer night of votes.
with republicans stressing the failures of obamacare. >> conditions have changed in tennessee. insurance market is quote very near collapse. that means that up to 350,000 individuals in our state, song writers, workers, farmers, who buy their insurance on individual market are sitting there worrying in july and in august whether if they will have any option to buy insurance in 2018. >> desjardins: and democrats insisting republicans' plans could mean no choices - especially for the poor. >> where there is a serious disagreement, we say that the children of this country who have serious illnesses have the freedom to stay alive even if there parents do not have a lot of money. >> desjardins: the debate, all leading lead up to a whirlwind called vote-a-rama. senators will take up amendment after amendment with little debate and five minute votes. all or nearly all are expected to fail.
then, at the end of the legislative marathon, comes the key moment. republicans plan to propose the one idea they think could pass now: a stripped-down, minimal repeal. it would abolish obamacare's individual and employer mandates as well as one tax on medical devices. it would leave medicaid and much of the rest of the affordable care act essentially unchanged. some on capitol hill call it the "skinny' repeal" but the nonpartisan congressional budget office found it would mean 15 million fewer americans with health insurance. and there is another issue: the c.b.o. also found the idea would save $78 billion dollars. but to comply with special rules republicans are using, this plan would need to save at least $133 billion, the score for the original house bill. as the votes stack up, so has more white house pushback at alaska senator lisa murkowski -
who voted against starting debate. first reported by "alaska dispatch news," murkowski, along with fellow alaskan senator dan sullivan, received grave phone calls from president trump's interior secretary ryan zinke. he warned that the "no" vote "put alaska's future with the administration in jeopardy." the paper speculated that "jeopardy" means problems for alaska's energy concerns. murkowski is standing her ground. >> i'm a pretty strong and independent individual i listen >> desjardins: meantime, as to the end game, republicans admit if they pass a bill, it would be a placeholder to negotiate with the house. >> it is not a solution to affordable care act problems. but is its a solution to how we get to a place where we can write a solution to a.c.a. problems >> desjardins: meantime, democrats predict a last-minute bill would backfire.
>> if they jam it through, they will be held accountable for the millions of people who lose care and millions more who see their premiums going up. >> desjardins: and on both sides, everyone is ready for a long night. >> you can sleep out in the hall in between votes. >> woodruff: so, lee centennial park late today what we were suggesting as we introduced your piece is you had a group of republicans coming out and saying they're not even prepared to vote for this so-called "skinny repeal," which many had thought was going to be the last resort. >> this is a late and rather potentially pivotal twist led by senator lindsey graham of south carolina. also john mccain was standing there and ron johnson of wisconsin. all three senators said they will not vote for that so-called "skinny repeal" or that smaller repeal bill unless they are guaranteed that that is not the end, that they are guaranteed that the chance to debate a
larger bill in conference with committee in the house. that's critical. that means we won't see the healthcare debate end this weekend as some people were starting to talk about. >> woodruff: lisa, how did they get to the point where right here at beyond the eleventh hour, you still have republican senators saying they're not comfortable with the options they're being offered? >> i think there is a graduate level class and probably several in the works that will look at ha exact question, judy, but from my viewpoint, one of the issues here is they did not go through the usual process. they did not go through committees. they did not have public discussion or drafts of this bill. judy, as i talk to you right now, there is still no draft of what could be the final proposal before senators. i talked to ron johnson who says he wants to improve this bill along with other senators to give more money to states in bloc grants. i said, when is your mental being drafted? he said we can't draft it now because we didn't me what we're amending. i think the process itself has led to these large questions
near the very end. >> woodruff: when are the argument, lee centennial park mainly being used by the republican leadership, and for that matter by the white house, do they have any presence as this moves closer to an attempt to passes something? >> vice president pence has certainly been an important factor. he was here today speaking to small business owners. i have not seen him on the senate side today, but i understand he has been making phone calls. but i think the basic jist is simple, republican leaders saying, "vote for this or nothing. this is your one shot." initially they said, we'll add to it and improve it later. and late today they were saying, we could passes this with the house this weekend. the house has now signaled to its members they should be ready to stay this weekend, and they are preparing a rule that would allow them to pass anything, including a healthcare bill, same day. so if the senate passes something, the house could pass it very quickly, but just like on the senate, it's not clear that the house republican conference supports any one
vehicle. very complicated and right now it seems the last hour has not worked to the leadership's advantage. >> woodruff: so as we stand here, you stand there, lisa, as the evening gets under way, you're saying this is truly up in the air? >> that's right. it is. i think it will be a listening night, and that votearama, that is on hold. a lot of people have ordered pizza. i brought my toothbrush. my husband doesn't know that yet, but i think we don't know what's going to happen, but it will be an important next 24 hours. >> woodruff: tooth brush wetter than pizza. good luck staying up all night. >> thank you. >> woodruff: we keep talking about "skinny repeal." let's look at exactly what that means. for that we bring in sara kliff, a senior policy correspondent for the web site vox. welcome back to the program. we are throwing around this term as we heard from lisa. there are senators saying even this may not be acceptable to
them. but for purposes of conversation, it is going to be one of the measures we think on the table. what does it mean? >> so it basically means repealing the individual mandate, this requirement to purchase health coverage. we've seen other parts come in, come out, the medical device tax, funding planned parenthood, but at the core, it's the requirement to purchase health coverage. >> woodruff: so it's rolling back some of obamacare, some of the affordable care act, but not as much as full-blown repeal. >> it's certainly not as much, so compared to the bill that passed through the house, the american healthcare act, which would get rid of much more in the healthcare law, the essential health benefits, for example, this is smaller, but it would affect a lot of people. >> woodruff: that's what i want to ask you about because you wrote a piece for vox today entitled "skinny repeal isn't skinny at all. >> sreenivasan: this bill would cause about 15 million people to lose coverage. i si "skinny" as a misnomer. the medicaid expansion would
fung sthun the same, but for peop in the individual market, they could expect premium increases of 20%. a lot of people would drop out of the market. i don't think most people would see that as a skinny, small change. >> woodruff: one thing you wrote about is the integral role the individual mandate plays in all. this remind us why that matters. >> the requirement that nearly all of us in the united states have to purchase health insurance. and the draft version of the affordable care act, they knew that was unpopular. they included it because they needed a way to get healthy people into the insurance market. if you don't have mandate, the fear is only sick people who really need coverage sign up, premiums get really high, you could enter a death spiral with premium goss higher and higher. even republican senators agree on this point, that the mandate is what makes the market work. it gets the healthy people to sign up. >> woodruff: that explains the number you gave at the beginning of our conversation, the 15 million. the larger repeal would have meant 24, 25 million people losing coverage. but you're saying even this is
15, 16 million. >> yeah, the big difference is medicaid. those other bills would have ended medicaid expansion and had much more significant medicaid losses. and there are actually some medicaid losses associated with individual mandate repeals, the cbo thinks if there isn't a mandate, health insurance is mandatory in the united states, they might not sign up for medicaid, but the real challenge here is in the individual markets. >> woodruff: it does sound like with this, as we said, late-day news conference, senator lindsey graham, other republicans coming out and saying, we're not prepared to support this unless we know the house is going to work with us on this, indicate they're getting some of this message. >> they understand, lindsey graham was saying, you know, in his press conference, we don't think this is good policy. we don't think it's good the take the individual mandate out of the marketplace, so they recognize these consequences. >> woodruff: sara kliff with vox watching it all very closely. thank you so much. >> thank you.
>> woodruff: we'll turn to republican senator james lankford for his insights, after the news summary. in the day's other news, the u.s. military's top commander said there won't be any changes regarding transgender troops for now. president trump tweeted yesterday that he's re-instating the ban on transgender service members. today, in an internal memo, marine general joe dunford said that, pending actual direction, "we will continue to treat all our personnel with respect." the army's chief of staff, general mark milley, echoed that in a washington appearance. >> we grow up and learn to obey the chain of command and my chain of command is the secretary of the army and the secretary of defense and the president so we will work through the implementation guidance when we get it and then we'll move from there. >> woodruff: defense secretary jim mattis has been on vacation, and has made no public comment on re-instating the ban. the u.s. house has approved
$1.6 billion for president trump's proposed wall on the mexican border. that's the amount he formally asked for in may. the vote today attached the money to a much larger bill that includes a major increase in defense spending. it now goes to the senate. a top senate republican had sharp words for the president today, over attorney general jeff sessions. mr. trump has repeatedly attacked sessions for recusing himself in the russia investigation. but senator lindsey graham warned there will be "holy hell to pay" if sessions is fired. he also warned against getting rid of special counsel bob mueller. >> any effort to go after mueller could be the beginning of the end of the trump presidency, unless mueller did something wrong. right now i have no reason to believe that mueller is compromised. if you got reason to believe he is compromised and shouldn't be serving as special counsel, let me know. >> woodruff: house speaker paul ryan also said mueller should
stay where he is and continue doing his job. attorney general sessions was traveling in el salvador today. he said again he'll serve as long as the president wants him to, but he acknowledged it hasn't been "the best week". the u.s. state department is condemning iran's claim that it launched an advanced rocket into space. the announcement today said it happened at a site east of tehran. state tv said the rocket could carry a satellite weighing about 550 pounds. the u.s. says it could lead to long-range missiles, and violates the spirit of the iran nuclear accord. clashes erupted today between palestinians and israeli police near a jerusalem mosque. thousands rushed to pray there after israel finished removing security devices that had triggered a boycott. palestinians threw stones and israeli police fired back with tear gas and stun grenades. the red crescent said 37 people were hurt. each side blamed the other for the trouble.
back in this country, investigators are asking why a ride at the ohio state fair broke apart wednesday evening and killed a teenager. two others were critically hurt. this cellphone video, slowed down, captured part of the fireball ride giving way, just before it hurled people to the ground. the fair opened as scheduled today, but all rides were shut down. governor john kasich promised complete inspections. >> i think about those people that were hit by debris. i think about that moment when some were thrown from that carriage. that's a nightmare. it's a terrible situation. but all we can do is what is humanly possible to make sure that we provide the safety and the inspections. >> woodruff: state inspectors had checked the ride before it began operating. officials in several other states today shut down fireball rides.
kansas' embattled governor sam brownback is set to become u.s. ambassador-at-large for religious freedom. the white house announced it last night. the republican's popularity has plummeted, over steep tax cuts that led to severe budget problems. but conservative religious groups pushed brownback's nomination, for his opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage. a court in china has handed a first-of-its-kind victory to that country's l.g.b.t. community. the verdict today sided with a man who said he was fired from his job for being transgender. the court ruled workers cannot be discriminated against for ethnicity, race, gender or religion. the head of the boy scouts of america apologized today for president trump's speech this week at the scouts' national jamboree. michael surbaugh said, in an open letter, "we sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the scouting program."
the president appeared monday night before thousands of scouts, visitors and staff convened in west virginia. he laced his speech with a series of partisan attacks. and on wall street, tech stocks slumped, but the blue chips hit a new record. the dow jones industrial average gained 85 points to close at 21,796. the nasdaq fell 40 points, the s&p 500 slipped two. still to come on the newshour: oklahoma's republican senator james lankford on the health care debate. a shortage of seasonal workers at one of the nation's top vacation spots. the feuds dividing the white house and capitol, and much more. >> woodruff: back to healthcare now. at this hour, it's fate remains uncertain. republicans have not been able to muster enough support among their own ranks.
i spoke to one of them, senator james lankford of oklahoma, shortly before four of his colleagues said they'd vote no without assurances from the house. i began by askng him if he thinks any version of the health care bill will pass. >> i do actually, but i don't think it's the final version. what we have is the house verse. the senate will have a version. neither of us want it to be the final version at this point. it will go to a conference committee and we'll work out the difference, and there will be significant differences between house and senate and bring a final version out after cbo can score it some time in september. so cbo is taking about four weeks to score just about everything we put out, so we have to give them a lot more time again to be able to run through scoring, and then we'll have that final vote. so this week and the next 24 hours is a step again but definitely not the final step. >> woodruff: in terms that voters, that a layman could understand, what is mainly this legislation going to consistent
of as it comes out of the senate do you think? >> so this version that will come out as i mention is a step that's coming out. it will deal with some basic things, like the individual mandate, the employer mandate, state flexibility in allowing states to have greater options. when the affordable care act was passed, it took all the control of healthcare to washington, d.c., away from all the states, and so we want to be able to return some of that control back when prices were much cheaper in the time before when the affordable care act was passed. so those will be the basic elements. there will be some other smaller parts to it. the employer mandate and individual man did and state control versus federal control. >> well, as you know, senator, democrats and even a number of republicans are saying, what's being called skinny repeal, which i gather is what you're referring to, would leave, what, more than 15 million americans without coverage. other versions would leave many more millions without coverage. any one of these versions we're told would raise the cost of premiums. how do you explain a vote to support that? >> so again, today's vote is not
the final vote. i understand that. they're trying to score something that's not finished by any means. that's one big piece of it. the other one is to look at how cbo scores. this cbo, they basically assume if there is not mandate the buy it, most people won't buy the insurance products that are put out there under the affordable care act. so literally there's nine million people right now on the exchanges. they assume 22 millio people won't have insurance in the days ahead based on them changing this. now, it may seem odd and it only works in an economist's mind, nine million people have it, 22 million people lose it in that sense, but here's what's really going on, of the mine million people having it, if they're given the choice to buy it, individuals don't want to buy that product, and they only buy it because they're forced to buy that product, so that's the number that's sitting out there. i would also say in my state, cbo never saw in their original estimates when the affordable care act passed that in my state the insurance rates would go up over 200% for the individuals that were buying their insurance. so cbo is making their best
guess, but i can assure you they don't always guess correctly. no one can see into the future on that. so they're laying out an exist view versus what's happening on the ground. >> woodruff: we know that hospital officials in oklahoma have said if one of the versions of this were to pass, they thought it would be devastating on their ability to take care of low-income individuals. whether or medicaid or otherwise. what do you say to them, the folks in you own state? >> yeah, same thing, judy. we're looking at part of a plan. i know my democratic colleagues have been very good for distributing pits and pieces of plans and saying here is the whole plan without putting the full picture out there to individuals to be able to see how the stability works, how aspects of it work. they'll put out and say, this is going to be a cut that happens to this particular area, what will happen? well, that will be dramatic. i hear about how medicaid goes down. medicaid increases every year for the next eight years in that proposal by twice the rate of inflation, and then nine years
from now it increases at only the rate of inflation. that's put out by my democratic colleagues as a big cut in medicaid because nine years as now it doesn't increase as fast, but every single year it's increasing and for the next eight years it increases twice as fast as inflation. >> woodruff: senator, i want to ask you about attorney general jeff sessions. as you know, president trump has been publicly criticizing him for the last several days, mainly because the attorney general recused himself from the russia investigation. what do you make of the president's public campaign against him? >> it's something i would never do. obviously the president is the president. he can lead his staff however he chooses. to i would never say to my staff in a public setting, there is a problem. if i have a problem with a staff member, they sit down with me in my office and with sit down and work it out. if we can't work it out, they'll leave. but that's something we work out in private and not in public. quite frankly, jeff sessions had to recuse himself. that's something all the legal counsel and the dependent of justice, once he joined at the attorney general, they laid out
the law, the statute, everyone read it, looked at it exactly the same way that jeff needed to recuse himself. did jeff understand that before he got there? no, i don't think he did, but once he was in that spot sitting down with all the attorneys, he understand full well he had to do that. i understand that frustrates the president, but it was the right thing to do. >> woodruff: what would it mean if the president were to fire the attorney general or if jeff sessions were to step down because of this pressure from the president? >> well, there would be... obviously it doesn't have to be pressure from the president. the president chooses who the staff is and they serve as the pleasure of the president. if the president is uncomfortable with jeff sessions, he can choose to remove him. that's what the president does. that's not the issue. the issue is then going through the process, going through all the nomination, going through that aspect again starting all over again and getting someone in will take months and months. right now the attorney general is getting a good stride and dealing with u.s. attorneys around the country, getting with his staff, getting on board with different investigations that need to be done. so i hate to be able to lose
that progress right now. >> woodruff: what would it mean for the russia investigation if that were to happen? >> it wouldn't change the russia investigation at all. jeff is completely disconnected from what is happening in the russia investigation. he's recused himself. we've had numerous interactions with people in the doj. he's not tried to interfere in any way. that's already in the special counsel's responsibility. it doesn't change that investigation at all. >> woodruff: an finally senator, the president's announcement by twitter yesterday that he wants to ban individuals who are transgender from serving in the military. >> we're trying to get additional details. the pentagon was unaware of an nument like that. the pentagon was already in a six-month review dealing with transgenders in the military. unit cohesion, deployment capabilities. what that means? >> woodruff: would you support the ban? >> i'm waiting for that six-month review to come back from the military officials. we opened up the military for all aspects of any individual that comes into the military that wants to be able to serve.
there are unique issues. not just with a gay soldier or member of the military, but someone who is in transition. you deal with medical issues and a lot of additional costs and implementation. what happened to the unit. that's not a single surgery. that's a series of surgeries that happened. a long time to be away from their unit. there are additional questions that are unique to that. that individual should go through transition and after. all of those things are still up in the air and the military is walking through that right now. >> woodruff: senator james lankford of oklahoma, we thank you. >> great. thank you. >> woodruff: and you can continue >> woodruff: you can continue watching the senate as it votes on the health care measures. we'll be live-streaming throughout the night on our website, pbs.org/newshour. >> woodruff: it's that time of the year when many folks flock to beaches, resort towns and weekend getaways. those communities can be quite dependent on foreign workers to
help staff them through the summer season. but this year has a different kind of pressure point, as the trump administration has pushed for some big changes on immigration rules. economics correspondent paul solman has a look at the impact of this supply-and-demand story, part of his weekly series, making sense. >> reporter: ah, the iconic seaside summer getaway provincetown, at the tip of cape cod. a single mom prison guard in new york state, joy mcnulty got away here to bring up her four kids in a safe place and bought a tiny restaurant, the lobster pot. 40 years later, the family and about 100 hundred employees serve 12 to 1,300 meals a day during peak season, prepared in the back of the house by six- month-a-year immigrants from jamaica. mcnulty insisted i find out for myself for how many years they had been coming: 21 years; 22 years.
you're the new champ, 24, that beats everybody. >> yes. >> reporter: provincetown has a year-round population of just under 3,000 which swells to 10,000 in the summer. add the estimated four to five million tourists that visit the cape every year, and you've got the poster child for peak demand. >> how do you run a business where all your kids work for you, all your children work, grandchildren work for you and i don't know if i can open next year. how could you do that? >> reporter: the problem is getting americans, of any vintage, to do the back of the housework. so businesses here rely on foreigners, says jane nichols bishop, known as "mama visa" to the workers. >> in a seasonal economy, there are usually not enough american workers to fill all of the jobs. they're not year-round jobs. so the congress allowed something called an h-2b. >> reporter: which allows half- year work if no one else can be found, and must be renewed
annually, for temporary positions like hotel housekeepers and restaurant workers. in the past, congress has made 66,000 of these visas available annually nationwide. and workers with previous h-2bs, like almost everyone here, could return without being counted against that limit. but not this summer. >> congress did not pass a returning worker exemption in the continuing resolution to fund the government, which is where it's always been. and because they didn't do that, the number of visas available was greatly restricted. so there are not enough visas for all the employers to bring in their temporary workforce. >> reporter: the department of homeland security did add another 15,000 visas last week. but, with the exemption gone, the total number of h-2b's is way down. and, with employers now having to prove irreparable harm, to get one of the additional visas, the paperwork that might, or might not, get a worker in has
mushroomed. pwhat an irony for a supposedly anti-red tape administration, says congressman bill keating, who represents the cape, though of course he's from a district even bluer than its fish. >> the fix is staring us right in the face: it's just raise the cap on returning workers. we've done it for the last 11 years; it works. >> reporter: but they just did it now. >> no, they didn't. they created a whole new series of regulations and requirements that would scare any small business person into not using this. because of politics. >> it's impossible to run a business if you don't know if you're getting 43 of your 96 people. the rest of them are all americans. we were open six weeks late. next year, we may not open at all. we don't know. >> reporter: gui yingling got none of the requested 26 h-2b workers for nearby bubula's by the bay.
>> it's been next impossible. we've had to close days, we've had to shorten hours. >> reporter: and a corollary problem, say restaurateurs like yingling and mac hay of mac's seafood is that if and when they close... >> i'd have to lay off way more than half of the workforce that i have now. american workforce. >> reporter: and look, they say, it's not for lack of trying. to recruit natives, that is. in fact, the h-2b application requires employers to offer the jobs locally. >> i advertise on the internet, i advertise in every job fair, we advertise in every newspaper, everyone on the entire cape knows that we're all looking for help, there's nobody here, they will not take seasonal dishwashing and cook jobs for anything. >> reporter: but wait just a second, counters h-2b skeptic jessica vaughan of the center for immigration studies. >> i don't think there's any such thing as a job an american won't do. there are millions of workers in
the united states who are not employed and we need to find a way to match them up with some of these opportunities, as well. >> reporter: employers just aren't trying hard enough, vaughan insists, while driving down wages, and maybe even working conditions. more and more, teens and those with a high school diploma at best. >> employers should look to those workers first before they take the easy route out, and bring in workers from overseas. >> i have no problem, i would prefer to do that. trying to bring workers from jamaica or mexico is incredibly challenging, incredibly expensive. >> reporter: mac hay worked in kitchens on the cape since he was 12, now owns six businesses, restaurants and seafood markets. the pay? >> it ranges from a dishwasher is $12.50 to a cook can make $17, $18 an hour plus overtime. >> reporter: not bad. so why aren't these summer jobs for students? >> the majority of them leave august 12 or august 13 or august 14.
we have a 10-week season. it runs through labor day. i can't lose more than half my workforce with three weeks to go, with 30% of my season left. >> reporter: and non-students who are un- or underemployed? >> americans, they don't want to relocate their life for six months. they don't want to move down, but if they're willing to do it, i'm more than happy to hire them. >> reporter: like joy mcnulty at the lobster pot, mac hay utterly depends on visa workers. egan bonny's been with him for ten seasons. >> i do cleaning, clean the restaurant and do all kind of jobs which no american kids would come and do. this grease job here, fill the grease job, no young kid's coming to come around and do this stuff. keep everything nice, clean the bathroom. >> reporter: because they're spoiled? >> they're spoiled, seriously, they're spoiled. >> reporter: really? there is no wage at which they would do these jobs? >> i've hired every employee who has tried to walk through the door, i've advertised, most of them don't show up is the truth, once i hire them, it's pretty
incredible. i've had 17 employees no-show this season, after being hired. >> reporter: now we did run into one underemployed american worker. so what are you doing this summer? >> i'm working in a church nursery every sunday. >> reporter: and you've applied for other jobs. >> yep, that's right. >> reporter: and? >> i have not heard back from any of them. >> reporter: 17-year old claire vaughan lives about two hours from the cape. >> reporter: so now, why aren't you here? >> i didn't know there were jobs here, i had no idea you could do that. >> reporter: claire vaughan happens to be the daughter of our immigration skeptic. >> i'll look now that i know about it, i will definitely look. >> reporter: but it turned that she, like most students, would have to leave before the season was over. and her parents didn't want her living on the cape. and so, we come to the bottom line. bubala's is down 10% and may actually lose money this year, mac hay worries about next year, and the lobster pot? in the six weeks it had to close, it bought a lot fewer lobsters from local fishermen,
hired fewer americans for fewer hours. >> all of the americans are out of work for six extra weeks. the state doesn't get the taxes, the vendors don't get the work, nothing happens here. what harm is that to anybody? i just want to run a restaurant. >> reporter: for the pbs newshour, this is economics correspondent paul solman, reporting from cape cod. >> woodruff: stay with us, coming up on the newshour: from the newshour bookshelf, a war correspondent's love of africa. and another brief but spectacular take from africa on frivolous art. but first, as senators continue their fight over healthcare,
there are new feuds bubbling on the other end of pennsylvania avenue. from cracking down on leaks to weighing attorney general jeff sessions' future and the president calling for an end to transgender military service members, the white house is putting out a number of fires this week. we turn to karine jean-pierre, a senior adviser to moveon.org and a veteran of the obama administration. and matt schlapp, he's the chairman of the american conservative union and the former deputy political director for president george w. bush. welcome to both of you, matt and karine. speaking of fires, i have to ask both of you first about a story, a remarkable story that has just appeared late this afternoon in the "new yorker" magazine, matt. essentially it's the new head of communications at the white house, anthony scaramucci, placing a phone call last night to the writer ryan lizza and screaming at him, wanting to know who leaked information about a dinner using very strong
language, threatening virtually him, saying, "i need to know who the leakers are," saying he's gone to the f.b.i., the department of justice. what's going on at the white house? >> well, my driver over to the studio was going to have my 14-year-old care read this article to me. i'm glad i didn't because it does have some colorful act waj. i think anthony scaramucci is already on twitter apologizing for the language, but i think the key here is this whole question of leaks inside the west wing is a real cancer. for those of us who want president trump to succeed in his agenda, it's been a real distraction to getting the agenda through. i think scaramucci's trying to take care of the leaks, and unfortunately he thought he was having a conversation that was off the record, but apparently he didn't make that clear to the reporter. >> woodruff: karine, what does it say when you have this level of leaking and animosity going on inside the white house this early in the administration? >> well, it's quite insane. i worked in the white house in
the obama administration. i have never seen anything like this before, but if this is scaramucci's role to, take care of the leaks, that's really going to be a full-time job for him, and honestly, judy, if that is something that he's truly working on, he needs the start in the oval office. he needs to start from the top all the way down. that's where the leaks are. it's not the junior staffers. it's the senior staffers starting with donald trump, the president, and the senior staffers trying the save their jobs, and that's why they're leaking the way that they are. but also this is a reason why for the first six months of the administration this administration has not been able to get anything done. they have not really passed one piece of major legislation, because of stuff like this. >> woodruff: matt, what about that, the fact that it's not just lower-level people who are talking to the press. it's people up and down and going all the way to the top of the white house? >> yeah, there are always leaks that come out of the white house. sometimes those leaks are
intended to inform the press in an anonymous fashion, but what's happened in the trump white house is it's a melee of weeks where people are leaking on each other in the west wing. >> woodruff: why? >> i think the west wing was set up to be efficient and successful from the very beginning, it wasn't set up. they can look at the way they set up the west wing, and there's not a kind of a sheriff in town. i remember when i worked for andy card in the west wing, he told me, especially when i took the job as political director. he said, if you overstep your trust with the president, there will be a cardboard box on your desk, fill it and leave. >> woodruff: i was struck... >> he didn't this that to me, but he would have had i overstepped the boundaries. >> woodruff: i want to stay with you a moment, matt, because there is a line that strikes me. ryan lizza with the new yorker writes, "unlike other trump advisers, i have never heard him, scaramucci, say a bad word about the president." so he's saying everyone else is criticizing the president who hired them. >> i don't want the get into...
i don't know these conversations. all i can tell you is one of the issues as the west wing was pulled together and the staff was pulled together is it was an interesting concoction of people that weren't really with the president's campaign, so he did pull together people. maybe in the hopes of kind of bringing unity to the party, but it has always been fearful that you had people who were either never trump or didn't have much respect for president trump who got senior administration positions. and i worked for a republican president who i admired and who i loved and i would have just done almost anything for professionally, and when you don't have that spirit with some staffers, it can cause a lot of problems. >> woodruff: karine, i know i'm asking you as an outsider and someone from the other party to weigh in on, this but do you see a solution here? >> no, not at all. look, i think i said this before on your show, judy, which is the fish walks on his head. this is the type of environment that donald trump has set up. he's brought in the corporate
life, the way he was as a c.e.o., as the head of the trump organization, and brought it into the white house. he loves this stuff. he loves the fighting. he likes when they're fighting for the dear leader affection of donald trump. and so it's not going to... it doesn't matter if it's scaramucci, it doesn't matter who it is, it doesn't matter if priebus stays or leaves, it starts with the person at the top, and that's donald trump. >> woodruff: two other things i want to ask you both about, but first the announcement by twitter yesterday from the president that he wanted to ban all people who are transgender from serving in the military. and matt, i want to go back and show everybody in our audience, this is what the president had to say last year, just a year ago, that this is a day after the orlando nightclub shooting, he gave a national security speech in new hampshire, and here's what he had to say. >> ask yourself who is really the friend of women and the
l.g.b.t. community. donald trump with action or hillary clinton with her words? i will tell you who the better friend is, and some day i believe that will be proven out bigly. >> woodruff: so how do you expain the transgender military position? >> well, for seven and a half years of the obama administration, they had a prohibition that equates to what president trump announced. now, all we have is a tweet. i don't know what it means in detail. i don't know what it means for the people serving, but you get to this basic question, right, which is, you know, what do the commanders want in the field, right? i think what was intended by this administration, at least with sarah huckabee sanders said to expand upon the tweet, was that he is listening to the services and what they want, and for seven and a half years in the obama administration, they had a similar plan, not because i think there was animus toward transgender people or the gay community. i think it was because they were simply focusing on what generals were saying they needed to be
ready in the field. but this will all be handled in congress. the funding all goes through congress, and we'll have a democratic debate on whether or not this should happen or not. >> woodruff: and karine, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general joe dunford said today that they said we're waiting for guidance. right now we want to continue to respect everybody in the military. >> that's right, judy. look, usually when you make this type of policy, you articulate it on paper, you create a policy. you don't tweet about it. so the pentagon can't actually act on this. they can't act on a tweet. they were never give an piece of policy. so once again you have a president who doesn't care to learn, who doesn't know how the process works, and he uses twitter to put... to really feed his base. that's what we're seeing. and look, the other part about this, too, is that he made that promise during the election. it was an outrageous comment when we heard it. no one really truly believed it. and it became a lie on day one
of his administration. this is not an administration that cares about brown people, black people or transgendered or l.g.b.t. communities. we've seen this, or women. >> woodruff: matt. >> i don't think that accurately describes donald trump's heart. i've talked to him about these sets of issues. for seven and a half years of the obama administration they had the very same policy. i don't think president obama was discriminating for those seven and a half years. and i think the next question... >> woodruff: you're saying it was only at the end. >> they changed it at the end. the military hasn't understood how to implement this and secretary of defense mattis and all of the service chiefs knew they were in the process of review. they have been discussing this. people who track this issue knew that they were trying to figure out, could this be implemented or not. >> woodruff: but still no paper. it was a tweet. >> well, the announcement was completely unconventional. it's hard for somebody like me to even explain what the implications are. the country needs the details on. this i think karine's point on that is very fair. >> drew: very quickly. to both of you, karine, you
expect the attorney general to say where he is, jeff sessions, given what's going on? >> i'll try to be really quick here, judy. look, i do not think the attorney general should be the attorney general. i think he is a racist. i think he has racist background. and i think he lied and perjured himself in from the of congress. but that's not the reason why donald trump doesn't want him in the job anymore. he doesn't want him in the job because of the russia thing. he wants... he was upset that sessions didn't recuse himself, and he wants to fire bob mueller. that's why he wants to get rid of sessions. >> president trump does not want jeff sessions to leave the office of the attorney general. i think what president trump is saying is he's frustrated that a special counsel was picked without it even being run by jeff sessions, and that that investigation seems to be when you have seen the leaks. that have come out against donald trump, when you have seen that the dnc has a staffer that's worked with the government of ukraine. there are plenty of things on the other side of the ledger that i think republicans would like to see department of
justice look at, as well. >> woodruff: he's been pretty tough on this attorney general. >> he has been. >> woodruff: matt schlapp, karine jean-pierre, thank you both. >> thanks, judy. >> woodruff: we close tonight with two affectionate looks at africa: first, a journalist's love of the continent, family and his craft. jeffrey brown begins with our latest addition to the newshour bookshelf. >> brown: as a 19 year old college student, jeffrey gettleman traveled to east africa and fell in love with a place. he also fell in love that year with a woman back home. their time and work apart, and his life and work covering a continent, as a pulitzer prize winning correspondent for the "new york times," make up the story told in "love africa: a memoir of war, romance, and survival." jeffrey gettleman joins me now, thank you. >> thank you. >> brown: this is a place, a region you have looked at for a long time, in a certain voice
right? as journalist. but now you're presenting a different voice. what is this? >> well, i feel very conflicted about my work sometimes in africa because as journalist, we focus on conflict. we focus on argument and dispute. >> brown: this is the way we hear about africa most of the time. >> and this is true for all journalists. but my job as a journalist in east africa, i'm often steeped in these conflicts. but that wasn't why i came to east africa in the first place. i came on a safari as a student and was blown away by the warmth, by the sense of connectedness between people. like just a different way of life, and so this book, to me, is a bit of an escape. you know, often we get frustrated with what's happening in today's world. we feel sort of the woes of the world on our back. and i wanted to write a book that celebrated something that meant a lot to me. >> brown: you were drawn to this place, it wasn't real obvious why.
>> but i think, thinking more deeply about what it was that moved me, it was experiencing a part of the world that's very different from how i grew up in suburban chicago. how most of us grew up. a lot poorer, a lot less developed. but there was this spirit, this sense of warmth and openness among people. and even though we were outsiders, even though i had so much more than the people i was around, i felt very little resentment. i felt very little bitterness. i felt welcome in a part of the world that couldn't be anymore different than the world i experienced. >> brown: there is a kind of fraught situation writing about africa, right? how to write about africa. you have to deal with that as a journalist and in this case. >> and, i was trying to be honest about that in this book, because there's many books written by passing correspondents and the term in africa is mazundu, which means white man, gringo. i covered these conflicts, i go into a famine zone. i go into a part of south sudan where people are killing each
other, and they're stuck. their houses have been burned, they've lost everything they owned, they've lost loved ones. they're sharing their misery with me, and i am dutifully recording it in my notebook, transmitting it to the world, and then i get on a plane and take off, and go back to my wife and kids and my comfortable life. and that's morally problematic in some ways. but, that's my role. we all have our roles. the aid workers have their roles delivering aid, the militaries have their role in providing security. and as a journalist, my role is to just try and gather as much material, and open a window to a different part of the world. >> brown: and in this book, there is the other part of the love story, which is your wife, who you now go home too. but, you're open about the problems of a marriage amid the life you were leading. she comes, she leaves behind the life of a lawyer to come and work with you. >> yeah, i think what we struggled with, is what a lot of people struggled with. we were both really determined to pursue our careers, she was
dead set on being a criminal defense attorney. i really wanted to be a journalist, we had to go where the jobs took us, and we did a lot of damage to our relationship. and we didn't respect and honor what we suspected that we had, which was a very special bond. and there we years where we screwed it up, and we threw away a lot of time together. >> brown: it's not giving away the ending to say that it worked out, right? >> yes, we were lucky enough to finally sort of see which way is up. and we have a wonderful life in kenya. it's a great place to raise a family, we have two little boys that were born there. >> brown: i mean what do you want to convey here? that we either miss as viewer or watchers of the world. or that america, itself misses, right? in its policies. >> where do i begin? okay, a couple quick things. one is, in a lot of these really bad situations, there is an undercurrent of hope, and of dignity, and of humanity, and community from. for instance, i covered the westgate mall massacre.
where some terrorists came into a crowded mall in nairobi, and gunned down dozens of people. they didn't kill more people because there was a response by neighborhood police officers who were much more lightly armed, than these terrorists that had assault rifles. and these guys went streaming into this mall, under fire, with these cheap pistols, fighting against these terrorists. they were taking shots, they were getting hit, they were getting wounded, and they kept going. these guys basically came in as volunteers, and saved a lot of lives. so even in this moment, that was there was still an element of humanity, and community, and pulling together at the right time. and, i've seen that in war zones, and in battle zones, and in famine situations. the one other thing i think is, a lot of the problems in africa, are because of things that happened outside of africa, or because of american policy, especially. and i wrote a bit in this book about the mistakes that the american government has made under different administrations. it wasn't a republican problem or a democrat problem. it was kind of a lack of
interest. and the results were famine, and chaos, and pirates. but some of that was because of specific decisions that the american government had made, that were bad decisions and led to a whole chain of events, and but in this part of the world, a lot of people are paying that close of attention. and so i felt that it was my responsibility to write a very personal book, and accessible book, a kind of escape, adventure story. but to do some educating, some trying to explain, like why is >> brown: alright, the book is "love africa," jeffrey gettleman, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> woodruff: read jeffrey gettleman's reflections on closing the "new york times" east africa bureau. his essay was published by the times today. staying on the subject of africa, we turn to another in our brief but spectacular series where we ask people to describe their passions. tonight, kenyan filmmaker wanuri kahiu, who's using a new style to tell modern african stories.
>> i am a filmmaker and storyteller and i've made films and written stories about rusted robots that fall in love, about nairobi pop bands that want to go to space, about girls who want to race camels in the future, girls who risk future, girls who want to dance in the future, i just love creating stuff that is fun, fierce, and frivolous. love stories, anything that's fun, fizz, and frivolous coming out of africa. >> a couple of years ago, i was looking for funding for a love story, and while i was looking for funding, i talked to art, because when i asked for funding for a love story, somebody said to me, "well, if you add a rape scene, we might be able to get you some funding." and i thought this was so i pushed backs with this idea of bubble gum art.
you can be just for being fake. you can just create for creating sake. it doesn't have to have an issue. i always knew i wanted to cr i always knew i wanted to stories, i wasn't sure what kind of stories i wanted to create, but the more i started to create, i started to realize that i wasn't seeing myself in these films. all i could do was write stories that represented the people that i knew and the people that i grew up with, but i didn't realize at the time that i was making a political statement. i was just making films with black people in them. i think, i think it's so important to see diversity in front of the camera, if for no other reason, so that when my daughter asks me about the princesses that she sees, and she doesn't see any black princesses, i can say, "well, there's others." so thank god for dr. mcstuffins who's completely saved my daughter's life, because she can finally see an image of herself on the screen. and we work to represent other people, so that the children who grow up after my children, can also see images of themselves, so that they can see that they belong in the world that they live in as well.
my name is wanuri kahiu, and this is my brief, but spectacular take on afro- bubblegum. >> woodruff: and you can watch more brief but spectacular videos online at pbs.org/newshour/brief. online right now, a reminder that you can continue watching the senate as it votes on the health care measures, as we live-stream the action throughout the night on our website, pbs.org/newshour. and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm judy woodruff. join us online and again here tomorrow evening with mark shields and david brooks. for all of us at the pbs newshour, thank you and see you soon. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> and with the ongoing support
. >> rose: welcome to the program, we begin this evening with a look at north korea's nuclear program. we talk to david sanger of the new york times. >> the united states goat out to build a nuclear weapon, it is to highly precise specificses. these guys do not plan to be in a nuclear exchange. this missile is for one thing. it is to guarantee that kim jungun stays in office. so they're not actually thinking operationally about how they might do this. and launch missiles on the united states am they know that is the end of their regime. it is the end of everything. if this entire weapons program is all about survival for kim junkun. >> we conclude this evening by looking at the conflict between qatar and some sunni arab states and also the growing power of iran. we talk to michael morell, former deputy direct o