tv MSNBC Live With Stephanie Ruhle MSNBC October 18, 2017 6:00am-7:00am PDT
great to have you here again. that does it for us this morning. stephanie ruhle picks up the coverage right now. stephanie. >> thanks so much, joe. good morning. i'm stephanie ruhle with a lot to cover this morning, starting with after a day of backlash, the president calls the families of soldiers killed in action. now new controversy over what a congresswoman says the president told a grieving widow. >> he was almost like joking. she was in tears. and she said he didn't even remember his name! >> a rare bipartisan deal is struck to save a part of obamacare. >> chairman alexander and i were able to find common ground to stabilize the markets. >> democrats head to the white house this morning to talk tax reform, but with less than 30 days left in the legislative year, will anything else actually get done? plus, money, power, politics. [ bell ringing ] the dow crossing another milestone, 23,000 for the first time in history.
while wall street is soaring, is main street stuck on the ground? we'll begin this morning with the president balancing the political and personal aspects of his job, commending democrats and republicans, a little bipartisanship working on a health care deal, while at the same time trying to tamp down criticism of the ways he's handled the deaths of four u.s. soldiers by reaching out to their families. well, i have a great team here this morning to break into all of it, starting with nbc's kristen welker and the phone call the president placed that is getting a whole lot of attention this morning. tell us about it. >> reporter: steph, good morning. well, the white house has confirmed that president trump has called the families of all four fallen soldiers in niger. as you point out, one of those phone calls is getting a lot of attention. according to florida congresswoman frederica wilson who today told msnbc's "morning joe" when president trump called the widow of the late staff army sergeant la david johnson he said this. he said he knew what he signed
up for, but when it happens, it hurts anyway. the congresswoman saying that those comments were incredibly insensitive. she says she heard the comments because that call was put on speakerphone. she was riding in a car with johnson's widow as they were heading to essentially greet his casket to say good-bye. president trump tweeting moments after that "morning joe" interview, steph. here's what he said. democrat congresswoman totally fabricated what i said to the wife of a soldier who died in action, and i have proof. sad. important to point out that the white house isn't officially commenting on the call saying that his conversations with families of the fallen are private. of course we haven't spoken to that widow yet. but the congresswoman was asked about that allegation, that the president has proof on another cable network. take a look. >> i don't know what kind of proof he could be talking about. i'm not the only person that was
in the car. i have proof too. this man is a sick man. he's cold-hearted and he feels no pity or sympathy for anyone. >> reporter: the congresswoman also answering some tough questions about whether or not she is politicizing this very sensitive issue. the congresswoman pushing back on that notion saying that she was simply answering questions in the wake of overhearing that phone call. now, all of this adds to a mounting controversy for president trump. as you point out, steph, he was asked about why he hadn't weighed in earlier on those fallen soldiers and he used that moment to take aim at his predecess predecessor, former president barack obama, saying effectively he didn't consistently reach out to call, have visits with the families of the fallen. the obama team is not commenting on those allegations on the record except that former vice president joe biden did weigh in late last night during an event in delaware, pushed back very vigorously and said that former
president obama did spend a lot of time calling, reaching out to, spending holidays with the families of the fallen, steph. >> all right. i've got to bring my panel in because there's a lot to uncover this morning. first, i want to bring in heidi priz -- excuse me, robert toracelli is a former democratic senator from the state of new jersey. i want to go to you first before we go to our panel. this story, this is a hard one. when i read all that went down, i can't imagine what i would say. this is a very, very difficult call. could one make the argument president trump clearly has had a hard time explaining all of this over the last few days, but he made the call last night. are we pushing too hard? are we trying to parse his words? i mean does the family not deserve their privacy and dignity here? >> yeah, but that goes both ways. frankly having dealt with republican presidents most of my career, i would not have leaked this call. the president was inarticulate.
he was probably inappropriate. he has no ability to make this other than about himself in any instance, but nevertheless leaking the call in a call to a family, there's outrage on both sides of the story. >> here's what's outrageous, that this poor young mother has lost her husband. she's pregnant and she has two young kids. we've got more to cover. i want to go to capitol hill where there's a bipartisan agreement in place to restore those obamacare subsidies that the president said he is going to cut off. it's not a done deal and not even clear they can get a vote. garrett haake, i want you to weigh in. garrett, what is going on? i spoke to hugh hewitt this morning and he said, listen, if the president hadn't done anything on friday, we would not have seen lamar alexander and patty murray get together, that's a positive. but except, of course, the president undercuts it again last night. >> that may be true. the president sort of forced the issue here. now we'll see if he's willing to see it through. first to the substance of this
deal. what we have is an agreement to fund those csr payments, the subsidies for obamacare, through the next two years. that's what democrats wanted to get out of this. the question is whether republicans ended up getting enough. the concessions they got from democrats include allowing people over 30 years old to buy catastrophic plans. there's more flexibility and waivers for states to change the way they cover things and also to provide flexibility to buy insurance in compacts across state lines. so the question is, is this enough of a deal to get both parties to really drop what had been their absolutionist positions on obamacare and come to the middle here. the bill's two sponsors tried to sell it last night on the senate floor. take a listen. >> we were able to reach an agreement this i hope will set the health care discussion in congress on a very different path than the one we have all seen for the last seven years. >> in my view, this agreement
avoids chaos. i don't know a democrat or republican who benefits from chaos. >> reporter: and this is really both parties trying to sell this deal to their governing wings and say we need to change the conversation here. i can report this morning that the bill has at least two additional co-sponsors, tim kaine on the democratic side and lisa murkowski on the republican side. both say they will get behind this bill. that's a good start for people who want to see this pass. but it really is going to come down to the president and whether he decides this is something he could ultimately sign and that he would be willing to sell. because remember, if this is even going to get to his desk, it would have to go through the senate and the house, where they have already taken one tough health care vote. they don't want to get involved in this if they don't have to. the president has sort of been on every side of this so far. here was his comments on this last night. >> while i commend the bipartisan work done by senators alexander and murray, and i do commend it, i continue to believe congress must find a solution to the obamacare mess
instead of providing bailouts to insurance companies. >> reporter: not especially encouraging from the president of the united states, but it's also not him coming out and saying no. so i think the salesmanship is going to continue here on the hill and at the white house for at least the next few days on this until we get some kind of definitive statement from the president. >> listen, when lamar alexander says neither democrats nor republicans want chaos, i think most of us can agree on that. well, maybe not steve bannon, but i'm not sure he's either one. i want to bring my panel in. heidi przybyla, lanhee chan, kate kelly and bob torricelli from my state of new jersey. how important is this legislation? >> it's very important potentially. the question is, is there enough
for conservatives to get them across the finish line. president trump could be very helpful in that regard but there's been somewhat confused or mixed messaging because this is tough. they have to thread the needle between trying to achieve some kind of balance in the marketplaces while still being able to argue in favor of repeal and replacement of the law. the question will be does this take the pressure off legislators to act next year more broadly on obamacare. those will be the questions we are going to have to ask to see if this agreement can get across the finish line. >> kate, we have already heard from house and senate republicans, they're not going to get on board. does this have a chance? >> i think it's really hard to predict. i read all the major paper coverage of this this morning. i noticed that "the washington post" was leading with uncertainty. they took a similar tone to what garrett took, looking at trump's initial comments of support and then following up what he said in the evening to suggest the obamacare bill doesn't have a
future. >> "the wall street journal" had a different tone. >> i thought "the journal" and "the times" were much more optimistic. they made the caveat we don't know what's going to happen with all the oppositional views on capitol hill but there was more of an air of confidence. i think the bottom line is we really don't know. if the senate can reach some sort of consensus that they need to back this, and i'd love to hear your view on this, it will certainly put pressure on the house. we just don't know whether republicans are going to try to be ideological here and say, look, we promised repeal and replace. we're going to do everything we can to undercut the current legislation and counter weight that with the needs of americans who have come to depend on this government subsidized health care system. >> senator, think about all these republicans that have to face midterms. they promised repeal and replace. don't they seem so hung up on the title of this health care? >> the problem is, is that the reform has such a positive
connation. i commend patty for what she did. i understand the impacts of people losing these subsidies, but this isn't about making things easier for the republican party. in the end this is about getting control of the congress back, saving obamacare and going beyond it. in a lot of ways, what we engaged in last night is an enormous long-term problem. if we're going to make their outrageous tax reform, which isn't reform at all, it's a giveaway. if we're going to make their reform of obamacare, which is not a reform, it's taking away health care in america. >> it's creating a two-year bridge, right? >> to get them through an election. the problem with my party is we are plagued with responsibility. that's one of the things i love about the democratic party, but in this instance our sense of responsibility is doing nothing but saving the republican party from the reality of the giveaway with what they're doing on tax reform and this abuse of the american people by repealing obamacare. there is historically, and it's
hard to look at it historically because of the immediate pain to the american people. historically we need to take the republican and the trump record to the american people. this is what they said they were going to do. this is what they did. is that what you want? why are we making it easier for them. >> so are you saying let's see some republican legislation go through and give it to the american people? this is what you voted for, take it? >> so the starker example is on tax reform. so they're taking 80% of the benefits to 1% of the american people. so we're going to go negotiate with them and work with them. what are we going to do? we're going to take it so 1% of the american people only get 70% of the benefits and this is our goal and make it a little easier for them? if that's what they want to do, let's take it to the people. >> at a time when the trump administration is looking for a legislative win, they would love to get tax cuts passed in this calendar year. mnuchin is on the road trying to sell it. so is gary cohn. the ways and means committee is going to start working on this in earne eest we think in the
coming weeks. is there a notion that if there's bipartisan support for this short-term plan for obamacare cost subsidies, there will be good will toward a bipartisan backing of tax reform. >> maybe democrats are supposed to let all these things go through and give the trump supporters what they voted for. because this legislation is not going to help president trump's base. that's what's stunning here. heidi, you are our white house insider, so take us inside the white house. when i look at what president trump has already done as it relates to obamacare, whether we're talking about slashing the advertising funding, having the website go down for repair during open enrollment, there's lots of little things if you tick down the line, he's just looking to gut obamacare. >> subterfuge has been going on behind the scenes. the difference with this and with yanking the subsidies is that they're now being overt about it. and let me just throw a radical idea out there. >> bring it.
>> i spoke with senator susan collins the other day. and she said if mitch mcconnell would just agree this to the floor, they'd actually have the votes to pass it. all the democrats would vote for it and a number of republicans like senator lamar alexander would vote for it. but the problem is that the republicans know that long term that would weaken their hand in arguing that this law is impossibly failing and there's nothing we can do to fix it, which has been the only way that they have been able to force through an alternative. their alternative that has really been proven to be so much more unpopular. so is the white house willing to do that and is mitch mcconnell in partnership with the white house willing to allow this legislation to come forward, which members like susan collins are convinced, yes, could pass. >> but didn't president trump win on the fact saying that he was pragmatic, he was not tied to any ideology, so mitch mcconnell can think what he wants. but in a broader scheme, the whole point why so many people voted for president trump is because they felt like partisanship had broken the
system and they wanted a coming together. couldn't this be a massive win for president trump to say let's just solve things for actually the american people? >> it could, steph, but here's the problem. and it was the problem with the obamacare repeal too. you've seen it in brilliant detail demonstrated in the past 24 hours, which is that he -- there's a big question about whether he actually understands the substance of what's being put forth. >> there's not a question. he hasn't spent the time to learn anything. it's not a matter of can he understand it. he hasn't spent the time to do the work on you. you and i both talk to people inside the white house. whether we're talking health care or tax reform, he hasn't opened up a single briefing doc. >> he's conflating two very different bills. what alexander and murray are doing, which is to shore up the market and what graham/cassidy are doing which is to completely tear it up and go with this different approach of like block grants. he was conflating those within the past 24 hours. look, i caught mark short in the driveway before any of this happened and he told me we're
going to need a lot more than alexander/murray for us to get behind this. and then the president goes out and completely undercuts that and appears to support the deal and then pulls it back by his evening speech. so a lot of this is just chaos within the white house and the president not understanding the basic nuances of the legislation that's being put before him. >> then lamar alexander is right, republicans and democrats agree chaos doesn't work, but the white house doesn't agree. the president loves chaos. lanhee chen, final point on this. >> i think there's enough for republicans and democrats to like. democrats get stability for obamacare. the problem is it almost seems too reasonable, stephanie, i think that's really the issue. i'm not sure where the republican votes are, but for sure if it comes to the floor, i do think a combination of republican and democratic votes gets it over the finish line. the question is are mitch mcconnell and paul ryan willing to allow those votes to happen
with a majority of republicans potentially don't support it. that's the open question. >> country over party. we're going to take a break. coming up, former press secretary sean spicer is back meeting with robert mueller's investigators as another trump associate has to be subpoenaed to testify. the latest on the russia investigation. but first, we are finally hearing from the mandalay bay security guard who first encountered gunman stephen paddock. the night of the mass shooting in vegas. he opens up to ellen today to tell his harrowing story. >> i heard rapid fire and at first i took cover. i felt a burning sensation. >> he shot through this door, right? >> from behind the door. i don't know how he was shooting, but he shot out. we s plit it equally. except for one of us. i write them a poem instead. and one for each of you too.
thats actually yours. that one. yeah. regardless, we're stuck with the bill. to many, words are the most valuable currency. last i checked, stores don't take "words." some do. not everyone can be that poetic voice of a generation. i know right? such a burden. the bank of america mobile banking app. the fast, secure and simple way to send money.
welcome back. i'm stephanie ruhle. the specialty counsel investigation into russian election meddling is inching closer to the oval office. politico reports former white house press secretary, yes, he's back, sean spicer, met with robert mueller's team monday for an interview that lasted most of the day. this comes less than one week after former chief of staff reince priebus had a lengthy interview of his own. nbc news has learned the senate intelligence committee has subpoenaed documents and testimony from former trump campaign foreign policy advisor carter page. politico white house reporter
josh dossey covered spicer's interview and joins me now. josh, according to your reporting, what was spicer asked? >> spicer spent most of the day with robert mueller's team and he was asked about a number of events that happened in the oval office. he was asked about the firing of james comey and the statements he made around the firing a few days before the firing he said the president had full confidence in comey. they were interested in that. he was asked about meetings the president had with russian officials, sergey kislyak. we know others have been asked about michael flynn and his short tenure as the national security advisor. you know, one of the reasons i think spicer is an interesting witness here, he was in, you know, myriad meetings. he was in almost every senior staff meeting. he took copious notes of a lot of meetings. and he was also involved in the campaign. so it's not a totally unexpected development. we knew at some point he was
going to be questioned. but he had a lot of visibility into what the president was doing and thinking on a daily basis. >> did he have to turn in all those notebooks? >> i don't know the answer to that. but i can imagine if he had notes and bob mueller was aware of his notes that they would be interested in what the notes said. >> who else are we expecting mueller's team to interview? >> sure, we're expecting don mcgahn, the chief white house lawyer in the next few weeks, hope hicks, top communications aide to the president who's been with him for the entire campaign is expected to go in and lower level staffers. those are important because prosecutors like to build up the chain. they like to talk to assistants and deputies and folks who were in meetings, around meetings. >> and all these folks have their own lawyers? >> good question. i don't know the answer to that. but many of the lower level people in the white house make 40, 50, $60,000 a year and lawyers are an expensive proposition so i think they
probably need some help paying for them. >> quick before we go, we know the rnc is covering president trump's legal bills and i believe some of don jr.'s. how about everybody else? you know, the people who could use the money? >> right. they spent more than $1 million on legal fees in the last quarter, which was a sharp uptick. they haven't exactly delineated who they're paying and who they're not. but it was a big increase from previous quarters in their legal filings and it showed how the russia investigation is weighing on the rnc and their pocketbook. >> we heard michael caputo say he had to liquidate his kids' college fund. some people felt sorrow and others said, well, he walked too close to the sun. josh, great reporting. next, after a record-setting day on wall street yesterday, the market is minutes away from opening. despite the president's victory dances, does anything up mean really a positive for the 9-to-5
worker? half of the people in this country don't actually own stocks. the stock market gains are great for those who own stocks, but for the rest of america, they don't mean nothing. first, according to "forbes" president trump's net worth dropped by $600 million in the last year. they still estimate his net worth is over $3 billion but i don't trust "forbes." i would love to see the president's taxes. we'll do the math here. your brain is an amazing thing. but as you get older, it naturally begins to change, causing a lack of sharpness, or even trouble with recall. thankfully, the breakthrough in prevagen helps your brain and actually improves memory. the secret is an ingredient originally discovered... in jellyfish. in clinical trials, prevagen has been shown to improve short-term memory.
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imagine what we can do for you. welcome back. it's stephanie ruhle. it is time now for your morning primer, everything you need to know to get your day started. we begin with president trump's travel ban, dealt yet another devastating blow. federal judges in hawaii and now in maryland have temporarily blocked the administration's latest version of the ban, which was supposed to take full effect today. the justice department says it plans to appeal. harvey weinstein has officially resigned from the board of the company he co-founded as he faces allegations of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. weinstein says he does not think he violated his contract, but agreed to step down at a board meeting on tuesday. weinstein has denied all allegations of nonconsensual sex. fire crews in california are now battling another wildfire that broke out in the santa cruz mountains near san francisco. the fire has burned through more
than 200 acres and is now threatening hundreds more homes. after a three-hour long meeting with the nfl owners and players the tuesday, the nfl will not penalize players for taking a knee during the national anthem. president trump, no surprise, reacted on twitter this morning calling the decision total disrespect for our great country. all right, now time to talk about my favorite subjects, the markets, now opening just a few seconds ago. the dow reached an all-time high yesterday, 23,000 for the first time ever. i want to talk money, power, politics. president trump started off his speech to the heritage foundation tuesday night by touting the news of his booming stock market. >> i don't think too many people in this room will be upset, but the stock market hit today 23,000. that's an all-time record high. so congratulations to everybody,
in our country. >> of course those people wouldn't be upset, they all own stocks. but half the country doesn't and they won't care. in an interview this morning, trump's treasury secretary says we can expect to see that number fall if congress doesn't pass tax reform. politico's chief economic correspondent ben white is the man who spoke with secretary steven mnuchin in his podcast, which debuts today. all right, ben, i want to start by playing specifically what secretary mnuchin said about this soaring stock market rally. >> excellent. >> i think to the extent we get the tax deal done, the stock market will go up higher. but there's no question in my mind if we don't get it done, you're going to see a reversal of a significant amount to these gains. >> okay. how can we possibly attribute the entire stock market rally to the trump administration? the rally began eight years ago. >> yes. >> and yes, we have seen it -- we have seen a trump bump. the talk of deregulation, the
talk of tax reform. but at the end of the day, the main driver of the stock market rally is janet yellen, interest rates. with interest rates where they are, companies can borrow. even though unemployment is so low, there has been no wage pressure. companies are buying stock back, they're sitting on cash. it's a beautiful moment. how can you sit there as steve mnuchin and donald trump can say you're welcome, america. >> you're right. there are lots of reasons the stock market is up. earnings are good, the u.s. economy is good, unemployment is low. if it were just a matter of corporate tax cuts and expectation for those, then you wouldn't see global markets doing what they're doing. europe up, asia up, assets around the globe are rising and that's because of monetary policy. >> just like janet yellen. >> exactly. but to mnuchin's points, it's not untrue that the market rocked higher after trump won and has continued and part of that is the assumption they'll get a tax deal done that will lower the corporate rate from 35 to 20. there's something in there that's not wrong.
if we don't get it, i think he's right, that you could see a little correction in stock prices. it's pretty unusual to me that a treasury secretary would basically threaten congress and say you sign this bill, you get tax reform done, or you're going to tank wall street. it's not wrong, it's somewhat unusual to hold a gun to their heads and say you're going to tank everyone's 401(k) and the markets if you don't say what we say you should do. >> that's a great point. we also have to point out that whether or not we get tax reform done this year and it seems that the president is talking us back from it being something this year, it's also the fact that companies know they're not going to get more taxes. during the last administration that regulatory overhang, that fear that they were going to get taxed more held them back from investing. and so that is a positive. >> that is a positive both on the tax side and as you mentioned on the regulatory side. particularly true for banks. the whole direction of the financial industry is the exact opposite of the way it was during the obama administration.
they're trying to lessen regulations on banks, particularly smaller, regional banks. all that stuff is in the works. that's positive for health care companies, but trump has taken those on recently in the health care debate. but generally every sector you look at, they are going higher because regulations are coming down. there's an assumption they'll get some kind of tax relief. as you mentioned, certainly not higher taxes. so all of that is in market prices right now, part of the reason they're going higher. >> did secretary mnuchin talk about other action this administration could do that will hurt business? for example, immigration, trade. the more we talk about this nationalist vibe, that's not going to be good for corporate america. and while president trump has talked about those things, it's not affecting the markets because the market at this point just views it as noise. >> yeah, discounts it. we didn't get too deeply into trade stuff. we had 30 minutes so i had to hit as many topics as i could in those 30 minutes. but you're absolutely right. corporate america does not want to see immigration reduced.
they want legal immigration to stay the same or get bigger because there's a lot of jobs to fill. right now there's a lot of competition for workers to fill those jobs. more immigration will get economic growth going faster. a lot of the areas where trump administration is talking about on trade, nafta, they're terrified they'll tear that up and not get that done. global corporations that are based in the u.s. get parts from mexico, parts from canada, you blow that up and blow up their supply chain, it's a disaster. they hope cooler heads prevail. >> you've got farm counties that want to get their milk and eggs to canada. >> that's why they like tpp. they wanted to get their milk, their eggs, their cows into asian markets. they like tpp and that also had nafta upgrades in it. we could have passed that, upgraded nafta and increased trade. it's a huge mistake that we didn't do that. >> amen sister. did he talk at all about now officially he's going to have no
treasury undersecretary. he's got a skeletal staff over there. people i like to say mnuchin likes it that way. i can't imagine that. >> yes. his argument is that they have got good people in there. david malpass is in there. they have other guys in senior positions. a guy came over from senate finance, chris campbell, to work on tax reform and he doesn't need another deputy, a number two. i think that's probably a miscalculation. generally speaking that person helps you, you know, spread the u.s. message around the world, work with congress, help take the burden off you. it's good to have a deputy treasury secretary. not having one, not a great idea. >> listen, we know what the full mnuchin is and steve mnuchin does not like to speak out against the president. last week with sean hannity when trump was touting the stock market gains and said the stock market gains have wiped out the national debt, i mean you and i both know that is an absolute lie. >> that's not the way it works. >> did mnuchin try to touch
those topics? >> no. he is a staunch defender of the president. i pressed him on the puerto rico tweets and he tried to defend those. and some other issues. we didn't get into that topic specifically, but obviously the president has a complete misunderstanding of what stock market increases do to the national debt and deficit, which is nothing. although eventually if you have capital gains taxes, maybe you have some impact on the debt and the deficit. but just because you've run up in the stock market doesn't mean you've done anything with the national debt. >> only 52% of americans actually own any stocks and 20% of the richest households own 90% of those. so a large portion of this country, they ain't getting nothing off of this run. ben, thank you so much. congratulations on your new podcast. listen to it today, it dropped this morning. at the top of the hour, attorney general jeff sessions will testify in front of the senate judiciary committee. we're going to go there live for what we can expect.
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remember, he hasn't been in front of the judiciary committee, the committee that actually oversees the department of justice since his confirmation hearing of the one of the headlines that came out of that was sessions saying that he didn't have contacts with russians during the campaign. that turned out to be not exactly true, and democrats have been furious about it ever since. that's going to be at the top of the list of things they want him to talk about. i think we put a graphic together of some of the topics, but we'd have to put in little tiny print all the things that democrats want to go after him on. they want to talk about daca, they want to talk about the mueller investigation, they want to talk about things the doj has done around voting rights and first amendment issues. this could be sort of a high fireworks hearing. and in fact democrats have sent in the form of a press release sort of a warning shot to the attorney general saying when he appeared before the senate intelligence committee, he said there were some things that were inappropriate for him to talk about but he didn't go so far as to claim executive privilege, talking about conversations he might have had with the president. democrats have said that's not going to fly this time around.
if you want to claim executive privilege, that's one thing, but we expect full answers today from the attorney general. and so i think jeff sessions will be pressed heavily by democrats. and i wonder as well, some of these tweets, for example, this morning from the president talking about hillary clinton and james comey, if that doesn't plant the seed for some republican senators to start asking him about that topic as sort of a separate line of conversations altogether. but democrats very much looking forward to getting jeff sessions in the chair. >> we'll go back to you live as soon as jeff sessions enters the room. up next, with less than 30 days in session left for congress this year, there are taxes, budget, health care, what are the odds any of it gets done before the end of the year?
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labels, and signs reminding everyone to think balance before choosing their beverages. we know you care about reducing the sugar in your family's diet, and we're working to support your efforts. more beverage choices. smaller portions. less sugar. balanceus.org. welcome back. i'm stephanie ruhle. the republicans' full-court press to advance tax reform is gaining new traction after senator john mccain announced his support for the 2018 budget resolution. that is a key step for the gop to get tax reform passed. at the same time, president trump is unleashing new attacks
against democrats, guess where, on twitter. quote, the democrats will only vote for tax increases. hopefully, all senate republicans will vote for the largest tax cuts in u.s. history. in just a few hours, the president will meet with members of the senate finance committee to push this tax reform forward. i want to bring my panel back. kate kelly and former senator robert torricelli. kate, i want to start with you. you think they're going to get the votes? they have got to get votes on the budget in order to even think about tax reform. >> and they took an important step forward beginning debate on the budget and they even got a holdout like rand paul so that's an enurcouraging sign. it seems like the budget is in a relatively good position to move forward. in terms of tax reform, it's tough to say. going into the fall i think we were expecting to see much more detail right after labor day than we did. essentially the group of folks working on this, the big six, kicked it over to the tax writing committees and now it's been another month or six weeks
and we still haven't seen a lot of detail. i think there's a good deal of skepticism whether this gets done this year. i think a recent goldman sachs report, their political economist put it at a third chance that we would see implementation in 2018. i'm not sure when that suggested the passage would be. so i think it's a total jump ball. i would say there may be republican factional alignment behind this, because they really need a political win, not necessarily to help the president, but to help their own party. on the other hand, i think the democratic opposition is going to be fiercesome. of course they're on the knife's edge, the republicans that is, of having the votes they need if there are no democrats on board. >> how does this play in the midterms for democrats? you have democrats on the senate finance committee. you've got bob casey and debbie st stabenow. >> if they don't get it done quickly, they're not going to get it done. this is the largest transfer of wealth from the middle class and working people to a privileged
few in history. over time when that's revealed, this cannot stand of its own weight. second i think it's important to look at it that it's not just democrats and republicans. the republican party has to decide whether it still is the party of fiscal responsibility or are prepared to take the united states permanently above 100% debt to gdp. more importantly having been through a couple in congress, rather than dnr, you have to look at this regionally. this is an enormous wealth transfer from the northeast to upper midwest in california to the midwestern and southern states. >> if we lose the local and state tax deductions in the coastal state. >> what does that really mean? if you are a republican in new york or california or new jersey or upper midwest and you're going to vote for this and go to washington, i would pack permanently. because people are going to lose their sense of humor about this. it is not just the wealth transfers, if that isn't bad enough, it is undermining public education. what happens when you take away
the deduction for state and local taxes? the pressure comes on those states that have decided to educate their children to a higher standard. connecticut, new jersey, new york and california. >> my public school education. >> at exactly the time when the country should be raising educationally standards for world competition and increase our standard of living. we are going to put incentives to go to a lower -- >> for economic advancement, if you want to take kids out of the inner city, give them better schools. >> but you are raising a key point here. i think the chances of the state and local deductions being lost, which of course is a key pave to make this work, not that it works entirely, but it is an important step in the right direction, i think there's a very good chance that the deductions remain or that there is some compromise measure. >> all right, so if you're going to keep the deductions. >> right. >> and you're going to keep this, eliminate the state taxes for .20% for the country.
you're going to 110, this is going to spin out of control. >> right. >> don't talk to me about economic benefits in the stock market because we're headed for a cliff. >> sure. and much has been said about how the deficit hawks ofie yester yr are muted. >> nobody talks about the yester year deficit. voters don't look at the deficit, that's not at the top of their list. >> i think that's correct. but the issue here is, it sounds like there's an impasse putting flesh on the bone here. like, the question is, those that are working on this package would say, tell me what dials to turn. i need to know if the deductions are going away, then i can make it up in another place. if the focus is, you know, the child tax credit, give me some more information about what else you want to see and i'll give you more numbers. >> we'll talk about the child
tax credit. i get that ivanka trump wants to hang her hat on this. it is a mild thing in the scope of it all. >> it depends on what the numbers are. we don't have enough information on what it is going to be. it's a crucial piece of optics, i would agree, but depending on what the numbers are, it could affect the overall picture. >> okay, isn't lack of optics the real issue here? we are dealing with the fact that the president goes out and clearly tells a mistruth and alternative fact or a lie to say, this will not benefit me when you absolutely know whether you are talking about pass-throughs, which he has hundreds of, or the estate tax. it absolutely helps the president and his family to the point that steve mnuchin said, i'll concede. in other words, you got me. if those working on this plan were transparent about it -- >> those are self-evident. the abuse of the inheritance tax, the loan to corporate, here's the bigger one and why this is not going to stand scrutiny over time. there isn't a self-employed or small business person in america that is an llc that is not going
to declare themselves a corporation and take their taxes. not to 27% but to 20%. revenue is going to pour out of the federal government. >> i don't know, much remains to be seen, obviously, the package hasn't been passed or implemented, but the administration is on to that. mnuchin has spoken about the concern about the loophole. he said certain companies will likely be walled off from taking advantage of this. >> but the debate is all wrong. we are debating the inheritance tax and corporate rates. how about instead going to a day care credit. our largest employment problem in america, everybody talks about the 4% unemployment rate, it is worker participation. it is women who are out of the workforce because they can't get day care. >> and they can't afford to get back in. >> that's a credit you need. >> childcare is more expensive than your average -- the average day care is more expensive than average housing in every single state. >> when i was on the finance committee, i put an amendment in to start the affordability of college education. it has not moved since 2000.
it is still at $4,000. how about increasing the amount to deduct from your taxes as a credit to go to college? isn't that a better use of the resources? >> you should run for office. >> isn't that a better resource? by the way, we saw the inheritance tax resource problem. when i was on the finance committee, there was a legitimate problem. if you had a family farm or business, you had to sell the business or divide the farm to pay the federal tax. it was a legitmate problem for middle americans. we put the threshhold high enough so 99% of the farms, 99% of the businesses were immune from the tax. the problem was met and it was solved. now you use the rest of the resources going to 4,000 families in the nation of 350 million people. 4,000 families are going to benefit by this provision. use the resources to something the economy really needs. day care, college education. >> my god, he just lit it up. we have to leave it there. i want to point out one other
thing, that's what tax lawyers do. all the rich people out there, they have shell corporations, they have offshore accounts, they have worked it out. it is people on the bottom of the scale who really need help. thank you, both. what a conversation. any minute now, attorney general jeff sessions will testify on the hill. in what we are expecting to be a very contentious hearing. we'll bring it to you live as soon as it begins. and this just in, moments ago in a press conference, puerto rico's governor announced he's going to d.c. tomorrow to meet with white house officials. we know the governor certainly is going to have a lot to talk about. a huge portion of the island still without power. they don't even think they are going to be getting it until christmas time. get ready, florida. puerto rico is moving into your state.
so that's the idea. what do you think? hate to play devil's advocate but... i kind of feel like it's a game changer. i wouldn't go that far. are you there? he's probably on mute. yeah... gary won't like it. why? because he's gary. (phone ringing) what? keep going! yeah... (laughs) (voice on phone) it's not millennial enough. there are a lot of ways to say no. thank you so much. thank you! so we're doing it. yes! "we got a yes!" start saying yes to your company's best ideas. let us help with money and know-how, so you can get business done. american express open. when this guy got a flat tire in the middle of the night, so he got home safe. yeah, my dad says our insurance doesn't have that. what?! you can leave worry behind when liberty stands with you™. liberty mutual insurance.
that wraps us up this hour. i'm stephanie ruhle. now my friend is here, hallie jackson. you are looking live at the room, attorney general jeff sessions will be front and center. and democrats hope this time will be a little different than last time sessions was there. because they want to talk russia and hear the attorney general talk about it. looking for promises. the ag won't interfere with the special counsel investigation. we have live coverage. also this morning, you've seen this headline, the president accusing a florida lawmaker of lying about a phone call he made to a grieving widow with questio