The Tennessee Department of Health has seized all adolescent vaccine outreach, not just for coronavirus, but all diseases amid pressure from Republican state lawmakers. President Biden met with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill today as they announced a deal on a $3.5 trillion spending plan. Florida Governor`s anti-protest law doesn`t appear to apply to protests he supports. Tomorrow, in the U.S., tens of millions of households with children are going to start getting direct deposits from the government to help defray the costs of raising children.
JOY REID, MSNBC HOST: In short, the MAGA right wants to take us backwards to Homer Plessy`s America where discrimination and disparate treatment are just an inconvenience, and those demanding equality are the ones who got the problem.
And that tonight`s REIDOUT. "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" starts now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST (voice over): Tonight on ALL IN.
MICHELLE FISCUS, FORMER MEDICAL DIRECTOR FOR VACCINE PREVENTABLE DISEASES AND IMMUNIZATION PROGRAMS, TENNESSEE HEALTH DEPARTMENT: That then sparked some backlash from our -- some members of our legislature who went so far as to call for the dissolution of the State Department of Health.
HAYES: The madness of the Republican anti-vax push as new COVID cases start to skyrocket among the unvaccinated. Then, after Biden`s impassioned plea to defend democracy, how Republicans are exploiting the big lie to get Trump`s endorsement in Pennsylvania. Plus --
REP. HAKEEM JEFFRIES (D-NY): These tax payments are going to lift more than half of the children in America who are currently in poverty out of poverty.
HAYES: The life-changing tax credit being directly deposited into bank accounts of American parents starting tomorrow. And big progress for the Biden agenda.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We`re going to get this done.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): We are getting this done.
HAYES: A whopping $3.5 trillion infrastructure deal.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT): So, this is, I would say the most consequential piece of legislation being proposed since the Great Depression.
HAYES: One of the architects of that deal, Senator Bernie Sanders, joins me live when ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES (on camera): Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. If there is one thing we know about COVID, a year and a half of covering it, a year and a half of living with it, it`s that cases are either going up or going down. They hardly ever stay the same. They don`t plateau, unless you`re in a country that has suppressed the virus. And even then, it takes eternal vigilance.
Now, we had a window to try to do that, to drive cases absolutely into the ground to achieve some kind of suppression through mass vaccination. And the Biden administration came into office aiming to do that. But starting around mid-April, the country hit its peak of vaccinations. We`ve been vaccinating fewer and fewer people each week, leaving a huge pool of people susceptible to the pandemic. And now, guess what, as places are opening back up, people are socializing and going to concerts and nightclubs and all this stuff we used to do, cases are going back up.
Now, a lot of that is being fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant. You`ve heard a lot about it. Study suggests it`s up to 60 percent more transmissible. In the last couple of weeks, U.S. COVID cases have basically doubled. We`ve seen this before also, a seven-day average of more than 25,000 cases as of yesterday.
The numbers are increasingly bad in the American South. The rate of COVID cases in Missouri is shot up 80 percent over the last two weeks. A similar increase is taking place in Mississippi over the same period of time. Right now, Florida has the second-highest coat rate of COVID in the country, up more than 250 percent over the last two weeks. That`s not good.
And the highest rate in the country belongs to Tennessee, a state we talked about last night and we`ll talk about again tonight whose average daily case rate has increased more than 420 percent over the past two weeks. All these places are relatively behind the vaccination curve, so their rise in cases was not unforeseeable.
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PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Here in the south, particularly in Louisiana, Mississippi, we`re seeing really low vaccination rates. And less than 10 percent of adolescents are vaccinated in many of these southern states so we have a real vulnerability here.
Remember, this time last year we were looking pretty good. And then we had that enormous acceleration after the July 4 holiday. July, August, September was terrible in this part of the country. And we have to assume that Mother Nature is telling us that that same thing is going to happen again. So, I`m really holding my breath and about the South in what happens over the summer.
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HAYES: That`s a month ago. A month ago, Dr. Peter Hotez has something very similar in my program here. Of course, that kind of prudent scientific foresight from Dr. Peter Hotez upset the pundits of Fox News and their guests who run states.
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LAURA INGRAHAM, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: They just can`t let the pandemic go. At some point, it`s -- they`re going to have to break the addiction.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): And it`s like you have some of these people get put out there all the time when they have been dead wrong over the last year.
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HAYES: But Peter Hotez hasn`t been dead wrong, not dead wrong now. You don`t have to be a doctor to see this, right? I mean, the disease hasn`t changed. It`s just the fact that the Delta variant is more transmissible, mass vaccination helps slow it spread. But if people are congregating as if the disease was gone, and if they`re not vaccinated, they`re just going to catch it and transmitted it. That`s what`s happening.
I mean, even in places like the U.K. where they have a greater vaccine nation rate of people who have at least -- received at least one dose than we do. Today the country reported more than 42,000 new cases. That`s a lot. But thankfully, less than 50 deaths, and that`s the one good news in the U.K. very important and a lesson here.
Even as cases have spiked, the depth numbers are nowhere near what they would be without the vaccine. And that`s because people older than 65 are the most vaccinated group in the U.K. and the age group most susceptible to dying from COVID. That`s the hope here. I mean, I don`t think we should see anything like we have seen in previous waves of this pandemic, because thankfully, by and large, the most vulnerable Americans are vaccinated.
Now, that`s not totally comprehensive, right? There are still people who are immunocompromised, why there can`t get the vaccine or the vaccine doesn`t work for them. Those folks are still vulnerable. But numerically, we should not see the scale of hospitalization and death we once saw. And thank God for that.
All of that said, what`s so maddening is that we have this preventable tragedy now and we`re still rolling the dice. I mean, here`s what I mean. In a statistical sense. If you`re 24 years old, and healthy, and you choose not to get vaccinated, the odds are, you`ll be fine. You might get COVID and the odds are, you`ll be fine. But there is no guarantee.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cheryl Nuclo never could have imagined what COVID-19 would do to her 24-year-old son. Blake Bargatze is still working every day to stand and walk again after three months in the hospital, and a double lung transplant.
CHERYL NUCLO, BLAKE`S MOTHER: He had called me that Friday when he got the results. And he said, Mom, you`re going to be mad. And he`s like, I got -- I got COVID.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Blake was the only one in his family who didn`t want to get vaccinated.
PAUL NUCLO, BLAKE`S STEPFATHER: He wanted to wait a few years to see, you know, if there`s any side effects or anything from it. And as soon as he got in the hospital, though, he said he wished he had gotten the vaccine.
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HAYES: All the mitigation strategies, all the ways we went about trying to manage this disease before the vaccine, they were so fraught, complicated, there were trade-offs. I mean, this year, we just heard from the CDC that that overdoses were up a tremendous amount last year. All kinds of costs to the path we pursued was difficult. With the vaccine, we essentially have a trade-off freeway out.
And while people around the world don`t have access to vaccine, I mean, frontline workers, nurses and doctors in Bangladesh or Nigeria don`t have access to the vaccine, even though the administration is working on a plan to allocate millions of those doses, the U.S. is still sitting on a stockpile then, sitting on stockpile vaccine that lots of Americans don`t want to take. And on top of that, a political party that is essentially on the side of the disease.
There`s no example -- more stark example we brought you here last night on this program but what`s happening in Tennessee, again, a state with that 450 percent jump in cases. The Tennessee Department of Health has seized all adolescent vaccine outreach, not just for Coronavirus, but all diseases amid pressure from Republican state lawmakers because they didn`t like how the state vaccination official was advising medical providers on what Tennessee State law said about teenagers getting the vaccine.
Not only have they stopped vaccine outreach by the state health office, they also fired their top vaccine official, Dr. Michelle Fiscus, for her work to get teens vaccinated. Last night on the show, I asked her about the sequence of events that led to her firing. And it began with guidance she distributed for teens seeking vaccines without their parents present.
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FISCUS: I was given language around to seize mature minor doctrine, which is case law from 1987 as Tennessee Supreme Court ruling that children ages 14 and older can receive medical care under their own consent without the consent of their parent.
And I took that language that I was told in an e-mail, was blessed by the governor`s office, and that I could share with anyone that I so choose, put it into an e-mail to our COVID-19 providers and send it out. And over time, over a very short period of time, there was some backlash from some of our providers who felt that that was an inappropriate e-mail or memo to put out, that the information shouldn`t have been shared, and that it was somehow targeting our youth, even though this was a memo sent to our medical providers like every other memo we send to our medical providers.
That then sparked some backlash from our -- some members of our legislature who went so far as to call for the dissolution of the State Department of Health because of this information that I had shared. And that has now devolved into the Department of Health not only pulling back on messaging to teenagers about getting COVID-19 vaccine, but creating barriers for their ability to access the vaccine. And now it has devolved into a moratorium on messaging for any kind of vaccine to children, whether that`s infants or children for back to school vaccines, or HPV vaccines, and even canceling school-based flu immunization clinics scheduled for the fall as a result of the saber-rattling amongst some of our legislators.
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HAYES: Now, this is likely going to get people sick, almost certainly well, and maybe some people killed. The question is how many, what to do about it? Well, today the Biden ministration invited popstar Olivia Rodrigo to the White House in a concerted effort that they`re undertaking to try and push back against vaccine disinformation particularly among young.
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OLIVIA RODRIGO, SINGER, ACTOR: I am beyond honored and humbled to be here today to help spread the message about the importance of youth vaccination. I`m in awe of the work President Biden and Dr. Fauci have done and was happy to help lend my support to this important initiative. It`s important to have conversations with friends and family members, encouraging all communities to get vaccinated, and actually get to a vaccination site, which you can do more easily than ever before, given how many sites we have and how easy it is to find them at vaccines.gov.
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HAYES: Well, good for you, Olivia Rodrigo. What`s crazy to me is that we`re working against both the virus and the political movement that has become an adjunct to the virus. We have been all along and that`s what we have right now.
Dr. Peter Hotez is a professor of pediatrics and molecular biology at the Baylor College of Medicine. He`s also co-director of the Texas Children`s Center for Vaccine Development. London Lamar is a Democratic State Representative from Tennessee. And they both join me now.
And Representative Lamar, let me start with you about just how has this happened in your state? Where is this pressure coming from, this backlash towards the public health officials and particularly Dr. Fiscus?
LONDON LAMAR, DEMOCRATIC STATE REPRESENTATIVE, TENNESSEE: (INAUDIBLE) I`m back on this show because once again Tennessee Republicans are making us the subject embarrassing national helpline by playing political football with the lives of Tennesseans. Last month and the government operations committee which I was sitting in, the Republicans were asking questions of the Department of Health about the information they`re giving out to minors about vaccine distribution.
They had concerns and they did not appreciate the department of what they said was marketing to teenagers based on this mature-minor doctrine. Well, at the time, we only had eight teenagers reported that have given -- that have taken a vaccine without their parents. Three of those children were the Commissioner of the Department of Health`s children.
So, what we are doing is because the republicans don`t believe that COVID- 19 is real, and we`re making political statements with this disease, we are now making Dr. Michelle Fiscus the latest victims of what they are trying to do by limiting all Tennesseans access to the vaccine.
Right now, this is unconscionable. Right now, we are still in the midst of pandemic where Tennessee is number one in the country for the highest rates of vaccines. And it`s immoral and irresponsible, that we`re denying basic humans the ability to get educated and receive health care access if they so choose.
Again, our Republicans claim to be the party of pro-life. Well, if you are the party of pro-life, be for children, and don`t deny them information access to life-saving health care opportunities that can in fact save their lives. We see right now in the state of Mississippi, there are seven kids in ICU right now, two on ventilators, because of this new Delta variant of COVID. Thus, are going to be the same stories that come out of Tennessee as we continue to restrict them from having basic access about how to access to vaccines.
Dr. Fiscus wasn`t pushing to recommend anybody do anything. It`s your personal choice to get that vaccine. But what she was reminded of her co- workers about a law that was already in the books about the mature-minor doctrine. And that turned into a political war in Tennessee, and it`s going to affect the lives of all people, in fact, potentially kill some people.
HAYES: That is -- that is really interesting and useful information that there are only eight kids in the state that were actually doing this. This was guidance for essentially an edge case that some of your colleagues saw an opportunity to wage culture war on, which has now resulted in this.
Dr. Hotez, let`s talk about the sort of public health dynamics at this moment, particularly in the American South in places that are -- have lower vaccination rates as you -- as you predicted. And to me, the sort of silver lining, the thing I`m holding on to is that example from the U.K. and this data that we got from Kaiser Family Foundation, right?
Adult 65 and older accounted for 16 percent of the U.S. population, 80 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. We have luckily high rates of vaccination among the most vulnerable population. Do you anticipate we are not going to see the kinds of mass hospital overruns and huge death toll like we`ve seen from other waves?
HOTEZ: Yes, that`s right, Chris. The character of the epidemic will be different and the deaths won`t be as high. But as I like to point out, just looking at that alone is a blunt instrument because we now learn so much more about COVID-19 in terms of the more subtle yet very severe morbidities and what many people call long haul COVID with chronic and long term neurologic deficits, heart palpitations, shortness of breath.
The neurologic deficits really concerned me. A new paper coming out of the Oxford University group has shown that long haul COVID can actually lead to commonly gray matter brain degeneration that almost resembles Alzheimer`s disease, in some aspects associated with cognitive decline, memory loss.
And that was looked at more in adults. But now we`ve got data from JAMA, the Journal American Medical Association, showing that about 26 percent of young adults are getting long haul COVID. We don`t have good data on the adolescence. Some people say five to 10 percent, 15 to 20 percent. But you know, who wants to risk that?
This is a time in their lives when they`re applying for universities or taking their SATs or getting jobs after college. This is not a time in your life when you want to be suffering long term neurologic deficits, which are entirely preventable through vaccination. And, you know, only 20 percent of the adolescents are vaccinated in the state of Tennessee compared to three or four times higher rates in the northeast.
So, we`re going to subject all of these adolescents and kids and young adults to the effects of long-haul COVID and in terms of thousands and thousands, and it just doesn`t have to be this way.
HAYES: The final question for you, Representative Lamar, how -- is there something that could be done in your state to boost vaccination that`s not being done particularly by the state`s Republican governor or officials?
LAMAR: I think, unfortunately, because we can`t, dependent on state legislature and our governor and State Health Department, to give adequate information about how to access vaccines if you so choose, we, unfortunately, have to take personal responsibility for our healthcare. So, I`m calling on all citizens, parents, teachers, health care, officials, doctors, to remind everyone that you have the right to go get this vaccine and you should to protect yourself against the COVID-19 virus and this new deadly Delta strain.
What we can do is save lives. And what we can do is get on social media, we can talk to one another. We need to talk about it in our churches, in our community centers, everywhere so that we can protect ourselves because what you`ve seen this week is we cannot depend on our government to protect us. They are putting our lives at risk. They are making political statements with our ability to access vaccines in the midst of a deadly pandemic. So, we must do this ourselves.
It is my job as the legislature to continue to inform my citizens on how they can access the vaccine. But I`m so disappointed in the leadership of the state of Tennessee and what we are joined by refusing to give our babies, our babies the ability to protect ourselves. Well, we still got 30,000 kids who still need the measles vaccination and can`t get it because of the pandemic (AUDIO GAP) HPV.
So, we have a lot to do. And this is the moral war that we have to keep pressing in order to get it done for our kids.
HAYES: We reached out, of course, the Tennessee health department. They said, to be clear, we have no way halted the immunizations for children program. Tennessee Department of Health understands the importance of childhood immunizations, the impacts to overall health for Tennesseans. We continue to support those outreach efforts. They have suspended the information on teenagers. They sort of characterize it as a kind of tactical retreat in the face of the backlash.
Dr. Peter Hotez and Tennessee State Representative London Lamar, thanks for making time tonight.
HOTEZ: Thank you.
HAYES: Well, Democrats have a deal. The progressive wins in the sweeping infrastructure proposal announced last night. And my interview with Senator Bernie Sanders, one of the key if not the key architect of the plan coming up right after this break.
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BIDEN: (INAUDIBLE) It`s great to be home. Great to be back with all my colleagues and I think we`re going to get a lot done.
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HAYES: President Biden met with Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill today as they announced a deal on a $3.5 trillion spending plan according to a source familiar with negotiations. The human infrastructure bill would dramatically expand Medicare, provide funding for clean energy, universal pre-K, affordable childcare, paid family medical leave. It would prohibit tax increases on people making under 400,000 a year.
Now, the bill means all Senate Democrats and Independents agreed on it in order to pass into law using that budget reconciliation process which evades a Republican filibuster, could pass in party line vote. Now, it is in addition to the nearly $580 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill for roads, highways, bridges, and major public works projects. Senate Democratic leaders hope to advance both the bills and a dual track system before Congress leaves for August recess.
Joining me now is one of the architects of the $3.5 trillion spending plan, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent of Vermont. First, Senator Sanders, I guess let`s start off with what is in this bill? It`s been a little hard to keep track of everything both in the negotiations, there`s been a bunch of holes in the White House, there`s a bunch of proposals from the Budget Committee. So, just sort of top line what are we talking about here?
SANDERS: OK, what we`re talking about is the understanding that for decades, working families have been struggling, the very rich have been getting richer, and you got billionaires and large corporations that pay in a given year, nothing in taxes. Point number one, this bill will substantially raise taxes on the richest people in this country and the largest corporations. That`s number one.
Number two, for decades, we have ignored the needs of working families. Everybody knows that we have a childcare system which is dysfunctional. In my state, $15,000 a year, that`s about average nationally, pre K, the same. We have a higher education system where kids can`t afford to go or leaving school deeply in debt.
Under the proposal we are bringing forth no family in America would pay more than seven percent of their income for child care, universal pre K, free tuition at public colleges and universities. This legislation ends the international disgrace, Chris. We`re the only country on earth that doesn`t provide paid family and medical leave. We`re going to end that.
We are going to deal in the most aggressive way imaginable with the housing crisis where you got to 18 million families paying 50 percent of their limited incomes on housing. We`re dealing in the other bipartisan bill with the physical infrastructure. And of course, we are making the largest investment in this country`s history and transforming our energy system away from fossil fuel to combat the existential threat of climate change, among many other provisions.
In other words, what the President has done, and what we have done is said, you know what, let`s look at the crises facing working families and the planet. Let`s address those crises.
HAYES: There`s one specific part of the climate legislation that I`ve been very focused on, which is the clean energy standard. And it`s really important. You know, many states have this. It requires states to have a target for how much of the electricity is produced by non-carbon sources. We don`t have a national one. A lot of climate folks think this is one of the key mechanisms. That`s in the bill right now, right?
SANDERS: That is in the bill, and that`s going to stay in the bill.
HAYES: OK, now, here`s the thing. And I know -- I know, you hate to talk parliamentary stuff. I know you do. I don`t like it either.
SANDERS: As a matter of fact, I do. You`re right.
HAYES: OK, OK, so -- but the clean energy standard is a great example, right? Key policy, a really good policy, I personally am very happy to see in the bill, I`ve been really focused on this, it cannot go through reconciliation?
SANDERS: Well, the way -- it can go. And look, we are dealing with -- I won`t bore everybody with Senate rules, reconciliation, and the bird rules, but we are going to achieve the goals that the President has brought forth in terms of the reduction of carbon. So, we`re going to do it in the best way that we can do it, and among many other provisions.
I mean, we`re going to be talking about moving aggressively in transportation, you know, moving toward an electric transportation system, dealing with agriculture, dealing with weatherization, making sure that our power plants are not reliant on carbon, but sustainable energy.
Also, I should tell you, we`re investing tens of billions of dollars in something that I personally am very excited about, and that is a civilian climate corps. We`re going to give hundreds and hundreds of thousands of young people who believe passionately in the need to reverse climate change the opportunity to earn good pay, and get an educational benefit as well, to help us combat climate change.
So, add it all together, you know what, in my view, this is probably the most consequential piece of legislation since the 1930s.
HAYES: Yes, I mean -- so, I want to play what Joe Manchin said. This can be passed without Republicans though reconciliation. It has to be -- it has to pencil out, right. It can`t it can`t be deficit spending. Again, my understanding about the rules here. So I want to play what Manchin said which was, he sounds like -- it sounds like people are open. Everything I`ve heard from Democrats today is basically more or less on the same page. This is what he had to say. Take a listen.
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SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I`ve been very clear that I want to see the pay for. I want to make sure that whatever we do is going to be globally competitive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is $3.5 trillion too high?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But you said -- but you`ve been --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is $3.5 trillion too high?
MANCHIN: It depends on what we pay for.
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HAYES: So there -- the point is this is already penciled out? Like everyone who worked on this has done the math, right? Am I correct in that?
SANDERS: Yes. Yes.
HAYES: So, the -- yes. So, there`s going to be -- there will be I`m sure fights and wrangling about specifics in this.
SANDERS: There will be.
HAYES: But the last thing I want to say to you is this. There is something fascinating here happening when he talks about the New Deal where I feel like I`m watching a kind of a new model of legislating, which is basically this. It`s like, here`s what the Democrats ran on. Here`s the Democratic agenda. It`s almost like parliamentary where Biden and the rest of the party got behind these big infrastructure investments and climate and the care economy. And what you`re coming forward today is basically like saying, here it is all together. One thing, we`re not going to pass it piecemeal, we`re not going to, you know, do it out of these committees. This is -- this is the agenda right here. Is that a fair way to sort of characterize what we`re seeing?
SANDERS: Well, Chris, we cannot pass a piecemeal because to do it through regular order, you need 60 votes. We`re not going to get one Republican vote.
HAYES: That`s right.
SANDERS: And the other point that I would make was, and I believe this passionately, is that at a time when so many Americans believe that government has forgotten them, turning their backs on their needs, what I hope this legislation will do is restore the faith of the American people that the government can represent ordinary Americans, not just the wealthy and the powerful and their lobbyists. So this, in many respects, is a transformative piece of legislation.
HAYES: All right, Senator Bernie Sanders from the Budget Committee, it`s a fascinating day and a lot -- a lot of interesting things to play out ahead of us. But thanks so much. Come back soon.
HAYES: Next, the race to the bottom in Pennsylvania as Republicans jockey to win Trump`s favor by playing up the big lie. And you know it`s a bad sign when Bill Barr calls you out. That story next.
HAYES: Amongst the millions of images and videos from the moment the mob gathered at the Capitol during the January 6 insurrection is this one, and it`s a good one to know. Because the man on the left wearing a baseball hat with his own name on it is Doug Mastriano. He`s a Republican state Senator from Pennsylvania. He was right there the Capitol that day. Rick Saccone who posted that is also a Republican politician.
In fact, a progressive accountability group even published images they say show Mastriano "feet from the United States Capitol minutes before it was breached." Since then, State Senator Mastriano who still represents this district has continued to throw himself wholeheartedly behind the big lie the 2020 election was stolen, leading the push in the state legislature for so-called forensic audit into Pennsylvania`s ballots like the preposterous and toxic enterprise we`ve seen unfold in Arizona.
Mastriano has also said in May that Donald Trump asked him to run for governor. "He said Doug run and I`ll campaign for you." But Doug Mastriano isn`t the only Republican vying to win Trump`s endorsement as the next governor of Pennsylvania. Former Republican Congressman Lou Barletta, one of Trumps earliest supporters in the state also declared his candidacy, and former U.S. Attorney Bill McSwain who is also considering a run tried to fundraise off President Biden`s visit to Philadelphia yesterday where he gave that speech about the threat to democracy.
McSwain texting his supporters "Joe Biden is coming to Pennsylvania to protest secure elections. You think you`d be thrilled to prove he won fairly? Puzzled emoji. Fight back here."
Now as the former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, McSwain knows full well there was no widespread voter fraud in 2020. That didn`t stop him from writing a letter to Trump last month claiming that Trump`s own Attorney General Bill Barr prevented him from investigating allegations of voter fraud and election irregularities.
Now, if we`ve learned one thing the last two years is that well, you need to take everything Bill Barr says with an enormous grain of salt. But Barr`s response in this case rings pretty true. Barr telling the Washington Post "any suggestion McSwain was told to stand down from the investigating allegations of election fraud is false. It`s just false." Barr said he actually called McSwain to confront him about the letter when it became public this week and that McSwain told him that he was in a tough spot because he wanted to run and he needed Trump`s at least neutrality, if not support.
Look, Pennsylvania is a swing state, a very winnable state for Republicans. It`s going to be a midterm. They`re going to have a good shot at the state. Trump won it in 2016 by less than one percent, Biden only won by a little over one percent in 2020. So, just imagine what would have happened in the last election if someone like Mastriano or Barletta, or McSwain had been governor of Pennsylvania. Imagine what will happen in the next presidential election if one of them becomes governor next year. That is the precipice we are currently dangling over.
I want to turn out to Michelle Goldberg, op-ed columnist for the New York Times and Will Bunch, national columnist with the Philadelphia Inquirer. Will, let me start with you as someone has been covering Pennsylvania politics for a long time. I mean, the McSwain attempts to get himself in there seems, you know, rather pathetic and gross. But, you know, he understands the way -- that a Trump endorsement will carry in that primary, and Mastriano is the one who`s because he`s pursuing the big lie, probably the favorite to get it.
WILL BUNCH, NATIONAL COLUMNIST, THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER: Yes, you know, you`re absolutely right, Chris. And I think you`re absolutely right to call this a race to the bottom. And the thing is Mastriano has a big lead in that regard, right? I mean, he got on -- got on board with the big lie all the way back in November. He had Rudy Giuliani for a hearing. You know, he showed -- he showed the pictures of him on January 6. He rented buses to take people down there.
So, he is really being the guy who`s done the most to curry Trump`s favor about, you know, the suppose an election irregularities. And McSwain on the other hand is a guy who, before 2020, he had a great profile to run for governor, right? He`s a tough-on-crime prosecutor. He, you know, tangled with Larry Krasner, a progressive DA here in Philadelphia. And he really thought he was set with those qualifications.
And now 2021 is here and he realizes he can`t get anywhere unless he can convince Trump that he`s just as aggressively going after, or aggressively supporting the big lie as Mastriano is. And so, you see this kind of groveling sort of pathetic letter that he sent to Trump and then followed by this embarrassing smackdown by Bill Barr.
So, you know, clearly he`s desperately scrambling to catch up and it just shows the state of play here that basically whoever can be shown as being closest to Trump`s side of things is going to have an edge in this race. And we`ve flipped the governor`s office every time. Every Democratic has been succeeded by a Republican. Governor Wolf is term limited. It`s an open seat. And the Republican nominee is going to have a very good chance of being governor, and as you said, being governor in 2024 when the next presidential election is being litigated.
HAYES: Yes, I mean, we should -- on the scale here, we should just reiterate this about Mastriano. This is a guy like you said, he hosted that -- he convened that ridiculous hearing that Giuliani was going to that was happening in a bunch of states. He also campaign finance records show that he spent thousands of dollars on charter buses ahead of Washington, D.C. rally that ended with the supporters of President Donald Trump violently stormed in the halls of Congress.
I mean, this is someone who was like, you know, essentially there on the day of the insurrection pursuing -- you know, pursuing if not entering the building, at least the aims of the insurrectionists. And Michelle, this goes hand in hand with what we saw in Michigan today where the GOP official who`s the head of the party had to quit because he just wouldn`t -- again, it`s like Cheney, he just wouldn`t say that the election was stolen, that Trump blew it. And now he`s resigned. This is the litmus test.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, OP-ED COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Yes, I was actually -- I was going to bring that up in contrast to what`s happening in Pennsylvania. And what`s so important, I think, is to remember that the reason that there ultimately wasn`t a successful coup the last time around was because in many cases, you have Republican officials at various levels acting responsibly from, you know, sort of the county level all the way up to governors like Brian Kemp in Georgia, and Doug Ducey in Arizona. You know, however egregious their behavior has been in other ways, they behaved responsibly with regard to discharging their duty to democracy.
And everyone who behaved in that way is now being threatened with replacement. And the kind of sole criteria for a new generation of Republicans is total fealty to the big lie and kind of a professed willingness to do in 2024 what Republicans weren`t able to do in 2020.
HAYES: Yes, that`s -- and Will, that I think is where the danger hangs. I mean, when you think about Mastriano as governor, you know, in a contested election or what he would -- what he would do. I guess the question is, is there some degree -- I guess, here`s the question, right? If someone like Mastriano won that primary, re they vulnerable at the general or the dynamics of midterm elections in Pennsylvania such that, you know, whoever it is that wins that primary is going to have a coin flip shot?
BUNCH: Yes. I think whoever wins that primary will have a coin flip shot. I mean, one thing is the Democrats, I think, are fortunate in the Attorney General Josh Shapiro who most viewers on this network are pretty familiar with, is almost certainly going to be the Democratic nominee. And he`s a very strong candidate. He`s very popular. I think he actually ran better than Biden statewide in 2020.
So, he`ll be a strong candidate. And, you know, I mean, the factors that cause Biden to win Pennsylvania by 80,000 votes in 2020 are going to affect voters when they look at somebody like Mastriano. You know, I mean, people who are eager to get rid of Donald Trump, I mean, the idea of somebody like Mastriano becoming their governor is kind of their worst nightmare.
So, that can really motivate voters at the polls if he comes out. But given our history, you know, absolutely, the Republicans have an excellent, excellent shot at that seat. And there`s also an open Senate seat, so it`s going to be a huge, huge year in Pennsylvania.
HAYES: All right, Michelle Goldberg and Will Bunch, thank you both so much. I really appreciate it.
GOLDBERG: Thank you.
BUNCH: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Tomorrow is a very big day. It is the first day of a massive social policy experiment the U.S. that can mean seeing more money in your bank account. What you need to know just ahead.
HAYES: As long as people have been protesting in the United States and indeed around the world, they have been marching in the streets. Literally, that`s where the phrase comes from, you know, taking to the streets. It`s not taken to the sidewalks. And that means sometimes blocking traffic.
I mean, that was true of a lot of Black Lives Matter protests after the murder of George Floyd last summer. People took to the streets, sometimes even closing down highways. We saw this very disturbing trend of people driving cars through protests in those streets. Protesters getting injured as a result.
And then to literally add insult to injury, Republicans in certain states started protecting the drivers who use their cars as weapons. One of those states was Florida where Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill granting civil immunity those drivers and making it a felony for protesters to block a highway.
Well, guess what? We`ve got one of the first trials of this law yesterday. Ron DeSantis and his crew, you know they`re going to get tough because they have no tolerance for this kind of thing. Look at this. Protesters yesterday having the audacity to close down a Florida highway, marching right down the middle of the street.
Florida law enforcement came in and threw the book on them, right? Well, no, of course not. Those protesters were protesting the communist regime in Cuba in solidarity with street protests happening there which by the way, I`m sure also blocking traffic, and which Republicans like Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton, Ron DeSantis all love because they hate the Cuban regime.
Those protests in Cuba erupted as pharmaceutical prices have spiked, drug access has been difficult during the COVID pandemic. And because those are the kinds of protests the Florida Republicans like Ron DeSantis like, of course, they are not going to try to enforce this new law against those Floridians who took to the streets and blocked traffic to protest the Cuban regime.
As far as we can figure out, only a few people were arrested at those protests even though they are all clearly in violation precisely the thing DeSantis just made a big show about criminalizing. Because none of this was actually about some kind of principle, it has to do with who is doing the protesting. That`s the law that DeSantis passed in the wake of the beyond protest has always been a route.
It`s not about some general generally applicable principles, it`s about the ultimate Trump fantasy, using the system to put the screws to your political enemies.
HAYES: Tomorrow, in the United States, something really remarkable is going to happen. Tens of millions of households with children are going to start getting direct deposits from the government to help defray the costs of raising children. It`s part of the enhanced childhood tax credits is what they called. Refundable child tax credit was passed as part of the American Rescue Plan. And the aim to dramatically reduce U.S. child poverty which remains way, way higher than just about any pure country.
If you have a child in your house right now, if you`re watching this, 3000 per child six to 17 years old, 3600 per child under 6 years old. All working families will get the full credit if they make up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,000 for families single parent. That`s about as best estimates we have. 90 percent of all the households with kids in the country, not just an anti-poverty program, essentially a kind of small universal basic income for child-related expenses in this country. It`s been a long time coming.
A lot of folks also got our letter from President Joe Biden. It says this. I want to stress, if you filed your taxes in 2020, or 2019, you will get your child tax relief credit automatically. It means, you don`t have to do anything. It`s going to show up. You do not need to take any new actions. When I took office, I promised the American people that help was on the way. This child tax relief payment is one more way the American rescue plan makes good on that promise. Our economy is on the mend. And I believe brighter days are ahead.
Jason Deparle is one of the best poverty policy reporters in the entire country. He`s covered the child tax credit extensively for the New York Times written about it, and he joins me now. Jason, I saw your byline on this piece and I thought I -- you know, I`ve been reading your work on this policy area for years, decades, I think, actually. And I just thought from your perspective, as someone who`s covered this, what the meaning of this in terms of policy intervention, child poverty intervention is in the United States, which really is an anomalous country in many ways compared to poor countries.
JASON DEPARLE, REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Chris, you started out by using the word remarkable. I don`t think I can top that. It really is. If you`ve been covering poverty in America for as long as I have, the idea that we would have essentially the equivalent of a European child allowance seemed unfathomable as recently as a couple of years ago. And suddenly it came to fruition.
You know, if there`s one thing I`d like your audience to know about the child tax credit, it`s that`s not really a child tax credit. It doesn`t really have anything to do with taxes. It`s, as you put it, a form of a guaranteed income for families with children. Every nine out of 10 kids in the country, their families are going to get a check.
HAYES: It also does this really interesting thing that I think it is a different way of thinking about policy and redistribution, which is that it`s a uniform amount of money for everyone. So, you`re not doing all this kind of like, all these complicated equations where it`s, well, if you make this, you get this. Everyone is basically getting the same thing. But it is highly progressive insofar as that $3,000 is massively more meaningful in the income of someone making $16,000 or $20,000 a year than someone is making 120.
DEPARLE: Right, there was -- there has been a child tax credit on the books for 20 years. The problem with it is that it left out the lowest third, the poorest third of American kids, because there was an earnings threshold. It was a it was a tax credit. You had to have enough earnings to owe taxes in order to get it.
What`s happened in the past year is we`ve gone from that program which was mostly aimed at the middle class, went up to families with annual incomes of $400,000 a year to both expand the tax credit, but more importantly, focus it on the those poorer thirds of kids who weren`t getting the full amount. And by doing that, we`re going to erase half the child poverty in the country in overnight.
HAYES: The political dynamics here are fascinating to me, too. And again, as someone who`s covered this both from the policy standpoint and the politics, you can imagine a universe in which tomorrow was a day in which Republicans were all railing against this. This was the top topic in conservative outlets. The Republican Party was very angry about it. We saw that with, you know, the welfare fights of the 1990s.
We`ve seen politics like that across countries and not just in the U.S., right? People are getting something for nothing, it will disincentivize work. Does it strike you that -- the absence of that right now? Because it maybe I`m not paying attention, but it does seem different than this might have been played 20 years ago or more.
DEPARLE: The opposition has been much more muted than I would have expected. I think it`s in part because as again, you said, it`s not solely a benefit for poor people. I mean, most of the people who will be getting this credit are not poor. Two-thirds of middle or more will go to -- actually more of it will go to families that are not poor.
So, I think you were you eliminate some of that resentment that you get around programs that are purely targeted for the poor where everybody is standing in the -- you hear the stories all the time, you`re standing in the -- somebody is standing in the grocery store, and they see what they take to be somebody`s spending food stamps on an item that they think is too expensive.
You know, you`re not going to be -- I think you`ll be getting less of that because it`s a benefit that everybody`s going to get. You`re not -- you`re not going to be complaining why did my neighbor get this and why did I not. That`s part of it. And part of it is I think some conservatives actually are for the benefit because they`re concerned about middle-class and lower- middle-class family`s ability to raise kids.
HAYES: Right. Really a fascinating social experiment we`re about to embark on. Jason Deparle, one of the great reporters on this topic for decades, great -- as always, thank you so much.
DEPARLE: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: That is ALL IN on this Wednesday night. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.