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President Biden is ordering federal agencies to review supply chains for critical goods. Meanwhile his administration is looking to salvage their first stalled nomination. CBS News chief White House correspondent Nancy Cordes, CBS News congressional correspondent Kris Van Cleave, and Washington Post political reporter Eugene Scott joined "Red and Blue" host Elaine Quijano with the latest developments.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Hi, everyone. I'm Elaine Quijano. It is good to be with you. Thanks for joining us. President Biden is issuing an executive order to shore up American supply chains as his administration works to save his first stalled nomination. Mr. Biden is directing federal agencies to review supply chains for critical goods like pharmaceuticals and large capacity batteries. It comes as a global computer chip shortage is crippling US auto production. Here's how the president described the situation.
JOE BIDEN: The bottom line is simple. The American people should never face shortages in the goods and services they rely on, whether that's their car or the prescription medicines or the food at the local grocery store. And remember, the shortages in PPE during the pandemic, that meant we didn't have masks. We didn't have gowns or gloves to protect our frontline health care workers. That should have never happened, and this will never happen again in the United States, period. We shouldn't have to rely on a foreign country, especially one that doesn't share our interest or our values, in order to protect and provide our people during a national emergency.
ELAINE QUIJANO: The signing came after a meeting with bipartisan lawmakers on the topic. Conveniently, some of the attendees are those very senators that the Biden Administration is looking to win over on COVID relief. Now the House is expected to pass the president's $1.9 trillion proposal later this week.
The White House is also hoping to find some Republican support for Office of Management and Budget director nominee Neera Tanden. Two votes scheduled for Wednesday were canceled as opposition grows to confirming the former head of the progressive think tank, Center for American Progress. Let's bring in Nancy Cordes, Kris Van Cleave, and Eugene Scott.
Nancy is CBS News chief White House correspondent. Kris is a CBS News congressional correspondent, and Eugene is a political reporter for the Washington Post and host of the podcast, "The Next Four Years." Welcome. It is good to see you all. Nancy, let me start with you. Despite the opposition, the White House seems to be standing firm behind Tanden's nomination. So where is this heading?
NANCY CORDES: Well, the White House Press Secretary said today, Elaine, that they are standing by her and that it's a simple numbers game, that they just need to find one Republican senator who will vote for Tanden to make up for the one Democrat so far. Joe Manchin of West Virginia who has said he will not. But finding even one Republican has proven to be very difficult. And that may have been part of the reason that you saw those two committee votes get put on hold today.
Obviously, the White House is still holding out hope that Lisa Murkowski of Alaska might come around and agree to vote for Tanden, but there is no guarantee of that yet. Senator John Thune, one of her colleagues, told reporters today that Murkowski is still assessing Tanden's record before she makes a decision.
That hasn't stopped a guessing game of sorts from beginning about who might get tapped to fill the role if Tanden were to withdraw her nomination. There's a whole list of people that has been floating around. In fact, Senator Shelby of Alabama even put out a statement today-- notable because he is a Republican-- saying that he would support the woman who has been tapped to be number two at OMB, Shalanda Young, for OMB director. He said that she would be good in that role and that he would support her. He knows her because he chaired the Senate Appropriations Committee, and she was the staff director for the House Appropriations Democrats.
So you can see that even as the White House continues to stand by Neera Tanden out in public-- Jen Psaki said today there's just one nominee at a time. She wouldn't entertain any questions about possible backups like Young or anyone else. But clearly, there is a discussion going on behind the scenes of who might be chosen to replace her in that pivotal role if she has to step away.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Meantime, Chris, there was another hearing on the January 6 attack on the Capitol after the former Capitol Police chief blamed a lack of intelligence for the failure to stop the assault. What did we learn this afternoon?
KRIS VAN CLEAVE: Well, we heard from the architect of the Capitol, who oversees the physical grounds here, the buildings. He's one of three people on this Capitol Police board that could approve the emergency declaration needed to seek National Guard support. He says he was never contacted, not before when there were apparently conversations about having the National Guard present and not on the 6th. And that that tracks with what the former police chief said, is that he didn't tend to call the architect of the Capitol unless it was about the facilities. That is one of the takeaways the architect of the Capitol says is an issue with the flow of information through the Capitol Police with the command structure.
We also learned that he has set aside $30 million for repairs as well as to cover the costs of supporting the National Guard and the temporary fencing that surrounds the Capitol complex. He's asking for another $10 million to make upgrades that may come out of various investigations and security assessments. And that really could be just the beginning as to how the security footprint here changes. But really, the takeaway from this hearing and the one yesterday issues with intelligence, as far as getting key pieces of information to where it needed to go, and also communication issues inside the security apparatus here at the Capitol.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Yeah. As Katherine Harris said the other day, this issue of stovepiping and information not getting to where it needed to go, something that we first heard about after 9/11. We'll continue to watch that. Eugene, I want to ask you about immigration. The Miami Herald is reporting that the Biden Administration plans to reopen a second detention facility for unaccompanied teens in Florida after the Post broke the news of the first reopening in Texas this week. Where is this decision coming from, and what has the reaction been?
EUGEN SCOTT: Well, the need to open a second facility is due in part because COVID restrictions have made it very difficult for existing facilities to house all of the children that continue to come to the US. January was actually the month that had the highest number of unaccompanied minors entering the US. And so the Biden Administration wants to house these young people in a way that is safe and protects them, despite-- or should I say, in the midst of a growing pandemic.
Part of the feedback, or pushback should I say, has come actually from other Democrats who are concerned about some of the companies that previously operated these facilities. And they want to make sure that they are not still in place. There have been allegations in the past about mistreatment in terms of abuse, maybe even some sexual assault.
And therefore, you've seen people on the left argue that maybe non-profit organizations, maybe like Catholic charities that perhaps have a better track record of caring for young people, should be involved in making sure that these young people are in a safe environment until they can be reunited with their families or partnered with supporters, or sponsors should I say, here in the States.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Another issue we're, of course, following closely is the COVID relief bill. And Kris, we mentioned that the House is set to pass President Biden's COVID relief bill, including a provision to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next four years. Is that likely to make it through the Senate?
KRIS VAN CLEAVE: We don't know yet. The Senate parliamentarian is yet to rule if it can be included in the reconciliation package. Only certain things can go into that in order for it to qualify to go on just a simple majority vote. So we don't know if it will fit in that apparatus. And if it does, well, there's not any guarantee that there are enough Democrats to vote for it.
Joe Manchin has said he doesn't support a $15 raise. And Kyrsten Sinema from Arizona has also said she doesn't support it inside this bill. Now Manchin has suggested raising the minimum wage to $11. Senator Romney and Senator Cotton have suggested raising it to $10. And Senator Hawley is floating a proposal that would offer a tax credit for anyone making below $16.25 an hour.
So there's a lot of talk about doing something with the minimum wage, but will it stay inside the COVID relief bill remains anyone's guess. At this moment right now, it doesn't look like the votes are there, but it hasn't even passed the House yet, so there's plenty of time for maneuvering in the Senate.
ELAINE QUIJANO: All right. Eugene, I want to ask about some new reporting that you have done on the potential impact that new Georgia legislation to restrict voting access would have on a popular get out the vote initiative. What can you tell us about that?
EUGEN SCOTT: Well we saw Georgia Senator John Ossoff actually mention this, I believe, yesterday during the hearing for attorney general nominee Merrick Garland. The Georgia legislature wants to get rid of weekend voting. And there are Black Americans in the state of Georgia who believe that that is targeting their community, and specifically Black Christians who are very fundamental, or instrumental should we say, in helping elect Biden as well as Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.
These programs, such as Souls to the Polls, allow voters to go vote after they attend church service on a Sunday. And the voters that are participating in this initiative are disproportionately Black and disproportionately voting Democratic. And so you're seeing Republican lawmakers want to put new procedures and restrictions in place.
To their point, they would argue that it protects the electoral process from fraud and other concerns. But we have reported repeatedly that fraud is negligible, and there are not any-- there's no significant evidence for the fraud that many of these Republican lawmakers believe they are protecting. And therefore, there are a lot of Black voters in the state of Georgia who believe that they are being specifically targeted, and that their right to vote is being tampered with.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Well, Nancy, state Republican lawmakers look to reshape voting after losses in November. The National GOP is being asked about the future of former President Trump. I want to play a clip from House leadership this morning. Let's listen to that.
- Do you believe President Trump should be-- former President Trump should be speaking at CPAC this weekend?
KEVIN MCCARTHY: Yes, he should.
- Congresswoman Cheney?
LIZ CHENEY: That's up to CPAC. I've been clear in my views about President Trump and the extent to which fell in January 6, I don't believe that he should be playing a role in the future of the party or the country.
KEVIN MCCARTHY: On that high note, thank you all very much.
ELAINE QUIJANO: OK. Kevin McCarthy there exiting stage left after that comment. So how is the former president, Nancy, shaping the Republican Party's future so far?
NANCY CORDES: Well I think that that 30-second clip is kind of a microcosm of what Republican leadership is struggling with right now. And if you couldn't hear all of that exchange, a reporter asked the Republican Leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, if President Trump should speak at CPAC this weekend, a big conservative conference. President Trump is scheduled to speak at that conference. And McCarthy immediately said yes.
And then the question was put to Liz Cheney, who, as we know, voted to impeach the president, has been very critical of him as of late. And she said that she is concerned that he shouldn't be a big part of this party going forward, that the party should try to move past him. And then you saw Steve Scalise standing there sort of shake his head, another member of leadership.
So it really sort of brings that tension among various Republican leaders to the surface. How best do you deal with someone who certainly brings a lot of voters to the party-- we've seen that based on recent polling-- but also can make things very complicated for Republican leaders? And Mitch McConnell is going one way, and Liz Cheney is kind of going that way too, and then Kevin McCarthy is going another way. And it creates such a difficult situation for a party that likes to be in lock step when it can.
And I don't think that's the last we've seen of that kind of tension among leaders. In fact, just this morning, Rob Portman, a Senator from Ohio, was on CBS this morning and he said, look, yeah, he's still incredibly popular within the party. And he is going to be a force in the party whether we like it or not. And so Portman was arguing, yes, you have to get past this party being about one person in particular. But how exactly you do that when he is still so popular among Republican voters, everyone's kind of casting about for that answer right now.
ELAINE QUIJANO: Yeah. So many open questions on that front. All right. Nancy Cordes, Kris Van Cleave, and Eugene Scott, great to see you all. Thank you very much.