This is a rush transcript from “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” July 21, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Thank you, Martha, very, very much.
Well, forget about voting on infrastructure. They’re not even voting for starting the debate on the bill behind it in the first place.
Welcome, everybody. I’m Neil Cavuto. And this is “Your World.”
Senate Republicans today blocking the overall formal debate on a bipartisan infrastructure, at least the package, the framework to go forward. So this punts on an issue that both Republicans and Democrats that used to have a bipartisan backing with this have now called into question whether any of this can get done.
This, again, is more procedural than anything else. But the procedure is not looking good right now for Democrats, who had hoped to get past this hurdle and at least get the process going. It ain’t going right now.
To Chad Pergram on Capitol Hill with what this means.
CHAD PERGRAM, FOX NEWS CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon, Neil.
Well, today’s vote doesn’t mean that infrastructure is dead. It just means that the Senate can’t start debate on the bipartisan infrastructure bill just yet. The vote just a few minutes ago concluded 49 yeas, 51 nays. They needed 60 votes.
Now, the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, he switched his vote at the very end to recall this vote on the future. He actually voted nay. You have to be on the prevailing side in order to recall the vote, which is what’s going to happen sometime down the future here. So that’s why he switched his vote and was a nay.
In other words, the nays were the prevailing side today. Now, Schumer says he is ready to incorporate the bipartisan bill into the larger $3.5 trillion Democratic infrastructure package once it’s ready.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): This vote is not a deadline to have every final detail worked out. It is not an attempt to jam anyone.
If senators agree to adopt the motion to proceed, the bipartisan group of senators will have many opportunities to make their agreement the base of the bill, even if they need a few more days to finalize the language.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERGRAM: This vote was about Democrats engineering a roll call vote, which they can boomerang against the GOP. Democrats want to document this vote and portray the GOP as not being bipartisan.
The GOP is also teeing up the big bill as a way to cast Democrats as big spenders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): This is a nightmare for American business. It’s going to be a nightmare for American consumers if this reconciliation bill passes.
It will take an inflation problem that we have today and pour jet fuel on it. And if you don’t understand that, you don’t really understand spending and the economy. And here’s what worries me the most.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PERGRAM: GOP members who helped write the bipartisan bills, they will vote to launch debate on that bill when it’s ready Monday. Democrats are likely weeks away from finishing their own infrastructure bill — Neil.
CAVUTO: Chad Pergram, thank you.
To Senator John Thune right now, the Senate minority whip.
Senator, where does this put this infrastructure debate right now?
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R-SD): Well, good afternoon, Neil.
This was an arbitrary deadline that Schumer got ahead of himself on. This was very premature. It wasn’t necessary to force this vote today. The negotiations continue. The people who are in the room negotiating, I think, are getting closer to a product that they can send out that people can actually review.
And then, when there’s an opportunity next week, if that bill is done, the text is written and there are scores from the Congressional Budget Office, we can have another vote on this.
But this was totally unnecessary. And they know it. It was an arbitrary deadline put in place by Senator Schumer, and, frankly, had nothing to do with where the status of the negotiations are.
CAVUTO: So, your colleagues, close to 10 of them who had been part of this bipartisan framework to say yes to this plan for infrastructure spending, they had argued — and I know the argument now for not a single Republican vote today on getting to this debate — that nothing was written, that there’s nothing to score or look at.
Then how was it that they agreed prior to at least the blueprint of this? Or am I getting that right? I mean, what changed between then and now?
THUNE: Well, they — there’s a framework, but it’s not done.
And let me reiterate, there is no final text. There was no bill to vote on. And so all Republicans were perfectly right, in my view, all 50 of us, to vote against the motion to proceed to the bill today, which we haven’t seen, because it hasn’t been written. When we have something written — something written to review, then I think this process can begin to move forward.
But, in the meantime, the negotiators are working through some of the final issues. And we will see what they come up with. I can’t predict at this point whether it’s something that will enjoy a lot of support from Republicans. I think a lot of it’ll have to do with how Senator Schumer handles the debate.
Does he link this and the $3.5 trillion massive tax-and-spend spree that they’re talking about? And — or will he allow these to move independently? If they can move independently, and there is a bipartisan infrastructure bill that is paid for, it could enjoy some Republican support.
I think people generally believe that infrastructure is a good thing. And there are lots of needs that we have out there across the country, but we want to make sure that, when we do it, that it’s paid for.
And then the next step will be that huge Bernie Sanders sort of boondoggle bill…
THUNE: … that they’re talking about doing next.
CAVUTO: And that’s the one you don’t want to see linked.
But what is your definition of linked? Because, to hear Nancy Pelosi tell it, she wouldn’t even take up something like this in the House unless that follow-up measure is part of it, not necessarily joined at the hip, but one at a time, I guess. That’s what I’m surmising.
CAVUTO: So, is your concern and your fellow Republicans’ concern that not only are they separate issues, but that they not be linked in any way, in other words, you don’t vote on one without the other?
THUNE: And that’s what’s problematic is both what she’s saying and what Chuck Schumer is saying.
Now, the president, President Biden, has said there’s no linkage here, I’m not going to — I’m not — you’re not going to force me to or force us, I should say, to be able to have — sign one into law without having the other one signed into law at the same time. He said he’s treating this as separate exercises.
That’s what’s going to have to happen, because, if nothing else, we know right now that Chuck Schumer is shaking down some of his Democrats, trying to convince them that if they get the vote on the bipartisan bill that they need to support the big reckless bill that they’re talking about.
And it’s $3.5 trillion, at least what’s being reported. We actually think, by the — with the budgetary gambits, it’s more like $5 trillion. It’s the biggest spending bill we have ever seen, the biggest tax increases we have ever seen. And he’s trying to force his Democrats into line.
What I’m hearing from some of the members on his side of the aisle is that they have got heartburn with how big it is, and all the taxes that would be included in it. And I think, if they would go public with some of those views and make it clear that that second bill isn’t going to pass, certainly not at that level, it makes it easier to pass the first bill.
The more they do to link these bills, the harder it’s going to be to get Republicans to vote for it.
CAVUTO: Senator, while I have you, and I know you’re in the Senate here, but we have already seen that Republican Leader McCarthy has rejected Nancy Pelosi’s rejecting of two key Republicans to sit on that January 6 insurrection committee to look at what happened that day and why it happened.
And there’s a lot of back-and-forth here as to whether this will be a fair investigation. Is it your sense now that, by Nancy Pelosi rejecting a couple of key figures, including Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, that it can’t be and it won’t be and this will be a waste of time?
THUNE: I think it’s proven what a lot of us have been saying all along, in that, in the mind of Nancy Pelosi, this is a purely partisan exercise.
If she was truly interested in an independent commission, she would allow Republicans to appoint the people to that commission that they want to appoint. Nancy Pelosi shouldn’t be picking the Republican members of a commission, if that commission is truly independent.
I think what it suggests is that this is a very partisan political matter for her, with perhaps foreordained conclusions, and not something that truly represents an independent fact-finding mission.
So, I just — I think this is more evidence that that’s the case. And that’s unfortunate.
CAVUTO: So, do you think we will ever get to the bottom of that, or that, at this point, it’s almost too late?
THUNE: Well, I think that there has been good work done. There’s bipartisan efforts in the Senate, a lot of recommendations that were made based on their investigation, some of which were very good and got at the fundamental issues surrounding what happened on January 6.
There are clearly lots of prosecutions that the Justice Department continues to undertake. And I’m very supportive of their efforts. I think there will be plenty of opportunities and have been already to get to the bottom of what happened.
I don’t think that this particular effort being undertaken by the speaker of the House is anything but a partisan political exercise, designed, I think, to come to a conclusion that she wants people to reach.
If that weren’t the case, she would have allowed the Republicans at least to have a voice and to appoint the people to that commission that they wanted to put there.
CAVUTO: No matter that view, Senator, you have been targeted by the president for being critical of him and his behavior on January 6.
It earned you his wrath, the promises of primary challenges. Do you still feel as you did, that, regardless of whether there’s a commission to look into this or not, that you are a target for those who say that you criticized the president, and now have to pay for it?
THUNE: Well, look, Neil, I — to me, it’s always about the truth.
And we want to get to the truth. And I think the first job of a leader is to define reality. And that’s what I attempted to do in the aftermath of the election last year. And before that, of course…
CAVUTO: Any regrets, Senator? Any regrets about that?
CAVUTO: Looking back on it?
THUNE: No. No, absolutely not.
I mean, I stand by what I have said. I have said what I have said. I think it’s a matter of public record. And I think it’s important that we level with the American people, always tell them the truth, even if — sometimes if it’s not what they necessarily want to hear.
But it’s time to move forward. We have got a lot of work ahead of us. This administration and the leadership they have in the Congress right now is the most reckless and radical that we have seen in history, as evidenced by the massive tax-and-spend proposal that they have in front of us, not to mention the — soft on the borders and the defund the police.
There are so many issues that we have draw to contrasts with the Democrats on and give the American people a clear choice as we move forward. In my view, that’s what we ought to be doing, not talking about what’s happened in the past. It’s all about the future. That’s where the American people are going to live.
And I think that’s what they want to hear us talk about.
CAVUTO: Senator John Thune, thank you very much for taking the time.
Always good seeing you.
THUNE: Thanks, Neil. You bet.
CAVUTO: All right, you might be noticing, as the senator and I were wrapping up here, a strong day at the corner of Wall and Broad right now, most of it based on optimism on earnings, that maybe we’re overreacting to this pandemic stuff.
Then again, maybe not. I don’t know if you heard, but Apple is delaying returning its personnel, key people back to offices in California because of the spikes going on back there. Other companies that could consider the same thing — after this.
CAVUTO: All right, very shortly, we are waiting to hear from Missouri Governor Mike Parson. He’s outlining today some new incentives in his state for folks to get themselves vaccinated.
There have been a spike in cases there, even as the vaccination rate just crossed the 40 percent mark. But it’s obviously got to get higher. He is urging in the strongest way possible, even providing a $10,000 incentive, sort of like a lottery, if you will, to compel people there to get vaccinated.
We will be talking to him shortly about all of this.
But it occurs with a backdrop of, well, spiking cases in a whole lot of places. All 50 states to varying degrees are seeing an uptick in cases, now, nothing like we experienced in the height of the pandemic. I want to caution that, and certainly nothing as severe as some of the hospitalizations, even, tragically, the deaths we saw at that height, but those spikes are getting governors and mayors and those in various counties across the state, L.A. County, for example, in California, some pause and new restrictions, to boot.
Even some companies now looking at this, including Apple, delaying work forces returning to physical offices for at least a month until they could sort this out.
Let’s go to Susan Li, who has been following all of this — Susan.
SUSAN LI, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes.
So, Neil, originally scheduled for September, it looks like Apple is now delaying the return to the office to October. And we just looked at an e- mail that was sent out to employees. So this is due to concerns of rising COVID cases, Delta variant COVID cases, Apple telling employees this week that October 1 is a more likely date, instead of September, and the date could shift even later, depending on the spread of the virus.
Now, Apple would give employees at least a month’s notice before they were expected back. And when staff do return, it will be a hybrid work model. So, Tim Cook had said that he wants to see workers back in the office Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, but even that offer wasn’t good enough for some.
You had a petition being signed by thousands of Apple staff started circulating saying that they felt “not just unheard, but at times actively ignored. And we have come to look forward to working as we are now without the daily need to return to the office.” And it feels like there is a disconnect, they say, between how the executive team thinks about remote location flexible work and the lived experiences of many of Apple’s employees.
Now, other Silicon Valley tech giants, Neil, have also penciled in a return to the office in the fall. You have Google and Facebook targeting a limited reopening September, Twitter allowing 50 percent capacity this month. Airbnb had pushed out a full-time return to next year.
And we did reach out to Apple for comment. They had no comment to FOX News. But I want to note that Apple Stores are already 100 percent reopen with customers not required to wear masks indoors, except, though, in Los Angeles, where staff and customers now have to wear masks inside stores, according to local laws there, Neil.
But you can imagine that, if the world’s largest company is delaying their return, what does that mean for the rest of the business environment?
CAVUTO: Yes, very good question.
I’m going to pose that to our mutual friend Charlie Gasparino.
Thank you, Susan.
So, Charlie, you heard that. Is Apple the start of something here?
CHARLIE GASPARINO, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Maybe.
I mean, listen, I cover Wall Street. I cover the big banks. They’re located here in New York City and New York state in the tristate area. Here’s what they’re telling me, that they are eying these mask mandates in particular, but they are eying the surge, the mask mandates.
And they could alter their return-to-office plans, depending on the surge, and particularly if they — if New York state-, for example, if New Jersey, but mainly New York state, if it reinstituted a mask mandate.
I have been speaking with the senior execs at these firms. And then we’re talking about the firms that have hard-and-fast return-to-work mandates. Goldman Sachs is one of those. J.P. Morgan is one of those. Morgan Stanley is one of those. There’s a few others.
What people there are saying is, listen, if we — if this surges, and we get guidance from New York state that everybody’s got to wear a mask indoor — indoors, is that the environment that we want to foster?
Because what they want, in bringing people back, is a regular work environment, so you can have teamwork and people come back, and you can…
GASPARINO: And productivity goes up.
So, watch those things. Watch the surge in cases. That’s important. The bigger thing is the mask mandates. Now, I will say this, Neil. And the CEOs at the big banks follow the numbers just like I do. New York state hospitalizations are still pretty damn low, OK? I’m not saying that that’s not going to change, but they’re pretty low.
We should also point out that this — the — that I would say like 80 to 90 percent of the Wall Street workers in this area are vaccinated. I know that from talking to people like J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley. They are a highly vaccinated work force.
And, as you know, Neil, the vaccinations are — people that get the vaccinations, they’re either asymptomatic or they don’t get it. And that’s been borne out by the numbers.
CAVUTO: In other words, they don’t see the urgency to do what Apple did. What happens in L.A. County is very different than what’s going on in New York and areas like that.
GASPARINO: Not now.
CAVUTO: So, what would change it, real quickly? If there were a spike beyond this, or if the city and/or state changed its policy?
GASPARINO: The latter, I believe.
If they get — if they get a mask mandate handed down, I think you will see Morgan Stanley say, hey, we don’t — you don’t have to come back at Labor Day. J.P. Morgan, Jamie Dimon will say, let’s rethink our reopening plans.
That’s what I’m hearing from them.
GASPARINO: Because it’s not a great work environment if your whole work force, if 10,000 people are wearing masks.
GASPARINO: It defeats the purpose almost.
So that’s what they’re looking at, not that they want to go that way. But that’s what they’re looking at — back to you.
CAVUTO: Yes, day by day, as they say, my friend.
Charlie Gasparino, thank you very, very much.
All right, well, this whole idea that things could get pushed back a little bit even affects the airlines right now and whether you’re going to have to wear masks beyond September. That’s looking increasingly likely.
So, you can understand why things are a little unruly in the skies. They have just gotten a lot more so. Wait until you hear the latest data on this. We are freaking out up there. Everyone’s got to take a chill pill.
CAVUTO: All right, we don’t know. Maybe it’s the masks. Maybe it’s the tight confines and the fact that people are packed like sardines in planes, but incidents up there are off the charts, up more than 500 percent.
They could get even worse. Be prepared.
CAVUTO: All right, what is French for, are you kidding me? That’s all I could do, give it a French accent.
It went into effect today. You need a health pass to show that you have tested negative for the virus or proof that you have been vaccinated before you can go to any cinema, museums, sporting matches any other cultural event in France.
And the folks over there are not happy about it. They think it’s a case of Big Brother spying on them and going overboard on this, protests everywhere throughout France. So it’s not going down well. We’re keeping track of that.
And the same is in effect if you think you’re flying anywhere, because incidents have soared with people fighting, throwing things at each other, sometimes getting thrown off jets, hopefully not midair.
But it’s gotten so bad that these disturbances now are giving pause to both flight attendants and pilots to keep an eye back there, because the incidents have increased better than 500 percent.
Mike Tobin crunching the numbers and the grief in Chicago.
Mike, startling here.
MIKE TOBIN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, air — it is startling.
But air travel is sort of back to normal. You still got to wear the mask when you go to the airport. And, overall, people are nastier. As you mentioned, incidents with unruly passengers are sky-high.
Usually, they involve a flight attendant because the flight attendants have the most contact with the passengers. But on June the 4th, a Delta flight out of Los Angeles was diverted because a passenger tried to get inside the cockpit. The incidents range from people just being jerks to a woman on an American flight who tried to open the door.
Back in May, a Southwest flight attendant lost two teeth when she was punched right in the face.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL HARTSHORN, PROFESSIONAL FLIGHT ATTENDANTS ASSOCIATION: Now flight attendants that are getting physically assaulted, as I said, like we have never seen, pushed to the ground, hitting their heads on armrests, being thrown against the galley, thrown into the lavatories.
It’s just out of control. We’re telling them to protect themselves as much as we can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TOBIN: So far this year, the FAA reports more than 3, 500 unruly passengers. Most of the surliness is because people don’t want to wear the mask, 2, 600-plus incidents there.
In 581 cases, investigators have been brought in. But the real measure is, how many times did the incident reach the point that criminal charges were brought? The results so far this year, 87 criminal cases. Compare that to a normal year, say, since the millennium. Usually, the airlines will see 50 cases for the entire year.
In a third of the cases, booze is a contributor. That’s why you can’t get a drink on a plane. And what the airlines are finding is that people are smuggling on board their own mini-bottles. Here’s the catch. You can make it through TSA with anything less than 3.4 ounces.
However, the FAA says you can’t do that. Maximum $11,000 fine for smuggling your own booze on board — Neil.
CAVUTO: People is still going to roll the dice on that one, I have a feeling, Mike.
CAVUTO: Thank you very, very much, Mike Tobin at Chicago’s O’Hare.
In the meantime, is this a bit of a double standard? We’re for and sending a message we’re OK with Germany and Russia and that joint pipeline deal, but didn’t we put the kibosh on almost the same exact thing back in January when it came to Keystone?
No wonder why oil prices are climbing — after this.
CAVUTO: So, the Keystone oil pipeline here bad, but the one that’s being considered between Russia and Germany, that’s OK. Some mixed messages coming out of the White House, and a lot of people wonder why.
Phil Flynn following all of this, Rebeccah Heinrichs following all of this.
Phil, to you first.
Apparently, the president has reached a deal that will effectively mean Germany and Russia can go through with their pipeline, while he disallowed the very same thing with Keystone shortly after taking office. That’s a different vibe I’m getting.
PHIL FLYNN, FOX BUSINESS CONTRIBUTOR: Total hypocrisy, and it’s one of the biggest blunders I have seen in a long time, not only from an energy standpoint, but from a geopolitical standpoint.
This is just a real mess, Neil. When you get down to the bottom of what’s going on here, we’re really giving more control to Russia, not only over the region, but the world, when it comes to energy.
We just heard a report that came out of TASS that basically said that the chairman of Lukoil expects that Russia, along with OPEC, is going to control 70 to 80 percent of the global energy supply. In other words, they’re using energy dominance as a way to push their political will.
And if you look at the part of the world that we’re looking at, the Ukraine, this is a country that had troops on the border of the Ukraine. The Ukraine is really at risk here because, for years, back in the old days Russia produces the gas, they have the pipelines.
But if they can avoid those pipelines and go directly to Germany, it makes it a lot easier if they plan an invasion in the future. So I really worry about this on a multitude of issues, not only economic, but geopolitically as well.
CAVUTO: You know, I do have to remember, Rebeccah, it would make more sense if it were inconsistent. If the president had said and indicated the Keystone thing, that can go through right now. We don’t want to be beholden to anyone for energy, which was essentially the argument that had been advanced prior about Germany having access to this through Russia, that they’re going to be dependent on Russia.
It just doesn’t jibe. But where do you see this going?
REBECCAH HEINRICHS, THE HUDSON INSTITUTE: No, it’s rank hypocrisy.
Not only is it a geopolitical blunder. It’s bad for energy policy. It really is very — it’s mashing the working class, the middle class of the country, who — gas prices are soaring. The gas prices are supposed to soar clear through August.
And, remember, Joe Biden as a candidate had that faux pas. I thought it was a faux pas. And then he doubled down and said that he meant it when he said he was going to transition from the oil industry during that debate with President Trump. And you should believe people when they say what they’re going to do.
He immediately comes in, he cancels Keystone, and he ends those federal leasings for oil resources on federal lands. So this really is terrible for the middle class. I mean, I grew up in the rural Midwest, where families make decisions on how they’re even going to spend their time and drive their car based on gas prices.
So this is really terrible for hardworking families coming out of this pandemic, too, Neil.
CAVUTO: Phil, you and I have discussed this about the economic impact.
I’m all in on all forms of energy. If you want wind, solar, have at it. But we have a lot of oil here. We became the world leader in oil production and we’re clamping down on it. And I just wonder why cooler, calmer, maybe more capitalist-minded heads looking at that would say, leverage everything we have got.
FLYNN: I absolutely agree with you, Neil.
And the funny thing is, is that before the Biden administration rushes back into the Paris climate accord and started to risk — bet everything on green energy and anti-fossil fuels, the United States was the leader in getting off of fossil fuels. We reduced our greenhouse gas emissions. Even though we produce more oil, we did it a lot more efficiently. We did it a lot smarter and a lot cleaner.
And as time went on, economically, innovation was happening that would get us to where we want to be, maybe not as fast as the green energy people want.
FLYNN: But what they want is probably unachievable, and if it is achievable, it’s going to come at a huge economic cost for the average American and people around the world.
We can’t really afford to do it the way they want to do it.
CAVUTO: All right, got it.
Guys, I want to thank you both very much. Sorry for the short nature of this.
Oil prices were moving up today better than three bucks a barrel, not exclusively on this, but the idea that we’re still in an improving global economy and we need that stuff. We need that oil, no matter where we get it. That’s the problem.
All right, in the meantime, did you see this latest video that’s coming in out of Granada Hills, California, T.J. Maxx, where some guys were just sort of wandering out of the store with hundreds of dollars worth of items? They stole this stuff. They don’t seem to be in any panic or rush.
And judging by some of the reaction we’re getting to a new California measure to crack down on this, no one seems to be too panicked. Why?
CAVUTO: California’s governor announcing a crackdown on crime in the state right now, particularly some of the more brazen outdoor daylight attacks that have a lot of people wondering, is anyone in charge?
Alicia Acuna has more on all of this — Alicia.
ALICIA ACUNA, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Neil.
Yes, California plans to treat some retail theft as organized crime. And, today, Newsom signed a bill that adds muscle to a task force made up of the California Highway Patrol, Justice Department and local authorities to track criminals like the group that hit a San Francisco Neiman Marcus, running out with designer handbags.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We have been organized in a very deliberative manner to address the issue of organized retail crime for a number of years.
That said, we are doubling down on those efforts today with this bill.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACUNA: California retailers have been hit so hard recently. It’s prompted some retailers to reduce hours in some of their locations — Neil.
CAVUTO: All right, Alicia, thank you very much.
A little too late maybe for my next guest, but welcoming it just the same.
Rachel Michelin is the California Retailers Association president and CEO.
Do you think this will do the trick or at least calm things down a bit?
RACHEL MICHELIN, PRESIDENT, CALIFORNIA RETAILERS ASSOCIATION: You know, this is a great first start.
The California Retailers Association, we sponsored the legislation. And we also were the advocates to the governor to include $5.7 million in his budget for the Organized Retail Crime Task Force.
So I was thrilled to join the governor today as he signed the legislation. But there’s a lot of work to be done on this. The organized retail crime aspect in California — not just in California, but nationally, it’s getting worse.
And while the task force is amazing in some of the work that it’s being — that it’s doing, we also need to focus on, how do we get some of the petty thieves off the street into rehab facilities, into diversion programs?
California retailers are about being great corporate citizens. We want to make sure that we are great neighbors and that our employees and our customers are safe when they come in our stores.
CAVUTO: Now, what defines petty thievery, though?
It’s up to $900 or something like that, that would draw the line between things you shouldn’t do and things that will get you in big trouble and heave your heinie in jail for a while. And I’m not sure that has been sorted out.
MICHELIN: It’s tough.
So what we’re starting to see more and more in California is aspects where you will see these organized crime rings. And they’re organized crime. They’re preying on these vulnerable communities. They’re going to a homeless person or someone with an addiction, and paying them 100 bucks to go in and to commit these brazen crimes.
We want to make sure that we take care of those vulnerable communities, get them some of the help that they need. But we really need to address what’s going on. And these organized crime rings are fencing these materials, they’re fencing these products.
They’re using them for human trafficking. There’s a lot of bad things coming out of these retail thefts that we really need to figure out how to address. The governor took a lot of leadership today in what he did. We welcome the opportunity to continue to work with him and his administration and the state legislature, as well as the law enforcement, to find some solid solutions on how we can curb this in California and serve as a model to other states.
CAVUTO: This is a dumb question, but you have endured them in the past from me, Rachel.
I’m just curious, where are the police, or, at the very least, the stored security guards when this sort of stuff happens? I mean, these guys, if they’re in a rush or trying to flee them, they kind of move at my speed, which is slow. But I don’t have a bunch of stolen items in my hands. So what the heck is going on?
MICHELIN: So, private security guards — and a lot of retailers employ them — they’re there to observe and report. That’s their job.
MICHELIN: That’s what they are tasked to do under state code.
So, we need to get…
CAVUTO: And they’re not armed. We should stress they’re not armed, right?
MICHELIN: Correct. Most of them are not armed.
MICHELIN: And, quite frankly, we don’t want to have people walk through armed security guards to go shopping. I mean, that’s not the imperative of what retailers do.
So we work. We’re working with police departments up and down the state. We’re trying to find innovative ways to solve the problem. But it’s hard. Once you think you get a grasp on one thing, something else pops up.
And so this is something that we have to pull everyone together. Everyone needs to have a seat at the table. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. This is an issue of safety.
CAVUTO: Got it.
MICHELIN: And we really have to figure out some solutions.
CAVUTO: Well, maybe this is the start, to your point.
Rachel Michelin, thank you very much, California Retailers Association president and CEO.
Let’s go to Congressman Ro Khanna, the California congressman, on what he makes of all this.
Lots to talk to you about as well on infrastructure.
But, if I can begin here, Congressman, on what you make of this measure. I mean, crime is rampant. It’s everywhere. That, I get. But some of it is kind of in your face in California, and almost the bad guys, the thieves, taunting anyone to catch them or even call the police on them.
Will this change that?
REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Neil, I think it’s an important first step.
When I was back home, I was talking to some of the law enforcement, and one of the challenges holding people accountable, they were telling me that people who were accused of carjacking, they would arrest them, and then there was no prosecution. There was no follow-through.
Now, I’m all for mercy and compassion, but you have to have accountability, especially when you have serious or repeat crimes.
CAVUTO: Do you worry that your party in general is sort of behind on the whole crime thing, that the movement, whether it’s defund the police or some of these other things, went too far?
As Jim Clyburn told me, House majority whip, not too long ago, that — that that was a problem, a huge problem and a huge mistake for Democrats. Do you agree?
KHANNA: I support law enforcement. And I am opposed to the defunding the police.
I mean, the police keep me safe at the Capitol. The police keep our communities safe in Fremont, where I live back home. So, I think what we need is measures that make them aware of racial profiling, measures that make them aware that there has been incidents of unjustified use of force.
But you don’t get there by just saying we’re going to defund the police. In some cases, actually, they need to send more cops to make sure things don’t escalate into a situation.
CAVUTO: If I may switch gears on the infrastructure situation, where it stands.
We’re told that, whatever happens in the Senate, whether they get their act together, agree on a measure mutually on infrastructure only, and then, separately, there will come a much more large package, a $3.5 trillion package that Republicans want nothing to do with, but we are told that Nancy Pelosi, while not wanting them joined at the hip, will not consider action one or the other until they’re both done in the Senate.
Do you think that’s a mistake?
KHANNA: I don’t, Neil.
First, let’s look at why this bipartisan deal is falling apart. It’s because of the revenue. You know that’s always the issue.
Now, if the Republicans aren’t willing to say that rich people should be paying the taxes they owe — that’s all one of the bill’s provisions was, enforcement — and they’re not willing to audit folks to make sure that you have tax compliance, how are you going to raise the revenue?
And that’s, I think, the biggest challenge.
CAVUTO: So, that $100 billion for the IRS that you guys wanted, that is, Democrats, to beef up enforcement, that’s out of there now.
Do you know how that could be made up, now that that’s out?
KHANNA: I don’t know.
I mean, what the Republicans have said, as I understand it, is, we don’t want to repeal any of the Trump tax cuts, and we don’t want any enforcement. So how are you going to get to $1.2 trillion?
I mean, look, you ask me, how am I going to pay for $3.5 trillion, I’ll tell you how we’re going to pay for it. Enforce the tax codes on the rich. Make sure Amazon is paying taxes. Increase taxes on the ultra-rich. And I’m very straightforward on what we need to do. And don’t get into all these foreign wars.
CAVUTO: But, sir, isn’t the bigger problem for Republicans — and this is something I discussed the Senator John Thune in leadership in the Senate — that this attaching of this other measure, the far more expensive and controversial one, at least for Republicans, is a no-go?
And that suddenly keeps coming up again. Even though the president himself had said one isn’t linked to the other, it clearly is, not so much in time issue here, but in priority. I’m just wondering if that is a mistake, if you can live with infrastructure only, get that settled, the revenue, the stuff that you alluded to, then down the road address this larger measure?
KHANNA: Well, I think the speaker is right to have them both come at the same time, because she’s concerned, if we just have the bipartisan deal, that we would never get the other deal.
But I vote all the time, and I would…
CAVUTO: But a bipartisan deal is better than no deal at all, right?
KHANNA: Sure, but I’m not convinced that you would get the bipartisan deal. And I don’t think that’s what’s killing it.
I mean, look, we all vote on legislation. You vote on the legislation in front of you. I’m not going to say yes or no on the bipartisan deal, if that’s the direction the speaker goes in, based on whether it’s linked or not.
CAVUTO: But wouldn’t you wait, one at a time, though? Why not just wait and see how this goes? You have a free opportunity now then to pursue the larger piece and see how that goes.
She seems to be joining them at the hip.
KHANNA: Well, because I think there are a lot of concerns that people have about the bipartisan deal as written.
They — it doesn’t have provisions on the climate. It doesn’t have issues of raising tax revenue from the very wealthy. And what we want to do is have the both — both considered. I think that’s appropriate.
Members should vote their conscience. I mean, they should vote how they feel on both.
CAVUTO: All right, we will see and see how it all sorts out.
Representative Ro Khanna, thank you very much. Congressman, good seeing you again.
KHANNA: Always great being on.
CAVUTO: All right, in the meantime here, we’re talking about the effort on the part of a lot of governors across a lot of states dealing with a spike in cases to incentivize people to get the darn vaccine, including the Republican governor of Missouri, who has some novel ideas.
CAVUTO: Republican Missouri Governor Mike Parson is dealing with a spike in cases in his state. Now, he is not ordering people there to get vaccinated, but he’s doing everything in his human power to strongly make sure they do.
The governor kind enough to join us right now out of Jefferson City.
So, Governor, you’re working all, all sides of this, incentives and everything. What’s the response?
GOV. MIKE PARSON (R-MO): Right. Well, thank you, Neil.
We are. We’re trying to do everything we can to move the needle here in this state. I think one of the things, we just come out of a couple of new incentive programs today to really be able to go after everybody that’s had the vaccine and everybody that has yet to get the vaccine.
One of the things we struggled with is, we just really didn’t want to reward people for taking a vaccine, and when all the other people did the right thing and took the vaccine. So, what we really opened it up was a pool that you can enter here in the state of Missouri. There’ll be 900 winners in that, $10,000 apiece for those winners, over a 60-day period.
Not only on top of that, we’re also going to do out local grants that we have got approval through the CDC to put in our health departments, our local facilities. If somebody comes in to get a vaccine, there’ll be awarded $25 in cash, no matter who it is, when they come in and get that vaccine.
So, it’s just another way trying to get ahead of this Delta variant. I have always been a little hesitant in this program, because I have seen some states where it seems to work, some states that it didn’t.
But the one thing we do, I think we have got to try everything we can that we have in the toolbox to just try to move forward and change the needle in this process, especially here in the state of Missouri right now. And it’s exactly what we’re doing. It’s all hands on deck.
CAVUTO: No, no, I commend you.
Now, there is a rap against Republicans — I don’t know if it’s fair, Governor — that you’re the anti-vaccine party, when, in fact, everyone all the way up to former President Trump have been advocating people get vaccinated.
But he — but he hasn’t gone the full-throttle method yet, maybe doing a PSA or something like that, to say, it’s not a bad idea to do this. It’s not a stigma to get vaccinated. But, for many, it does seem to be that and it’s become politicized.
What do you think of that?
PARSON: Yes, I think that’s just the political hype that we put on the spin.
It’s kind of the doom and gloom theory, and when what we really need to do is be educating people about the vaccine and letting them have that information they get from trusted people that they trust, and to do what’s best for them and their families.
CAVUTO: But why are so many more Republicans than Democrats leery of it, Governor? And how — you’re trying to address that, but how do you do that?
PARSON: Well, I think, number one, you just take mandates off the table. We’re not going to mandate anybody in this state to take a vaccine.
CAVUTO: Got it.
PARSON: We’re not.
But what we’re going to encourage people is to talk to doctors, not necessarily just listen to everything they see on social media and all the hype that’s out there. Talk to trusted sources, whether that’s a nurse, whether that’s somebody in the health care profession, whether it’s the clergy even that’s more knowledgeable of that.
And then let then people make the decision. If you give them the information, and you quit trying to divide it, people will make the right decision. I firmly believe that in this country. But this political divide we have about the Democrat side of the version and the Republican side of the version, you’re talking about people’s lives here.
We’re talking about everyday people out there…
CAVUTO: You’re right.
PARSON: … that we need to make sure they get the correct information and let them make the decision. They will make the right decision. I believe that.
CAVUTO: All right. I think you’re right. I think you’re right. It’s a very nice push.
Governor Mike Parson, we will see what happens, the governor of Missouri on all of that.
I think it just safe to say, get vaccinated, folks. It’s a safe thing to do. I know, sometimes, some people are worrying about chips in the vaccine and all this other craziness.
Get the vaccine. Be safe. Do it for each other, your family, yourself. Be safe. Get vaccinated.
Here’s “The Five.”
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