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Full transcript of "Face the Nation" on October 31, 2021

Face The Nation with Margaret Brennan: Phillips, Curtis, Boogaard
Face The Nation with Margaret Brennan: Phillips, Curtis, Boogaard 22:39

On this "Face the Nation" broadcast moderated by Margaret Brennan:

  • Antony Blinken, Secretary of State
  • Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce
  • Rep. Ro Khanna, D- California
  • Rep. John Curtis, R- Utah
  • Claire Boogaard, Medical Director of the COVID-19 Vaccine Program, Children's National Hospital 

Click here to browse full transcripts of "Face the Nation."

MARGARET BRENNAN, HOST: I'm Margaret Brennan in Washington.

This morning on Face the Nation, we begin a week President Biden said will determine the course of his presidency and whether Democrats maintain control of Congress.

At the G20 summit in Rome, President Biden found it easier to broker agreements with other countries than his own party in Congress. He ended a costly tit-for-tat with Europe over steel tariffs and brokered a plan to block corporations from shopping around the world for low tax rates.

(Begin VT)

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to continue together and prove to the world that democracies, democracies are taking on hard problems, delivering sound solutions.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: But significant national security challenges from adversaries like Iran still loom.

(Begin VT)

QUESTION: When would you like talks with Iran to resume?

JOE BIDEN: They're scheduled to resume.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Dire projections for a warming planet make the work at his next stop, a U.N. climate summit, even more challenging, as experts warn, the very survival of our planet is at stake.

We will hear from Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo.

Back at home, Democrats in Congress are still tangled in tough negotiations over President Biden's massive spending proposals, which the president gave a final push to before leaving for Europe.

(Begin VT)

QUESTION: Do you have the support of all the Democrats?

JOE BIDEN: I think we're going to be in good shape.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: We will hear from California Congressman Ro Khanna, a leading progressive pushing colleagues on the left to stand together.

We will also talk with Congressman John Curtis about bipartisan support for rebuilding America's roads and bridges and his effort to get fellow Republicans to help limit the damage from climate change.

Then: On the COVID front, vaccinations for younger children could be available in a matter of days. We will talk with pediatrician Claire Boogaard, who oversees the COVID vaccine program at Washington, D.C., Children's National Hospital.

Plus, current and former presidents weigh in on the gubernatorial race in Virginia. What's at stake for Democrats and Republicans? We will have a preview.

It's all just ahead on Face the Nation.

Good morning, and welcome to Face the Nation.

We begin a consequential week in Washington, with lawmakers eying votes on two key bills that make up President Biden's domestic agenda, while he also pushes to revive American leadership abroad.

Overseas, this morning, the challenge of how to survive on a hotter planet faces world leaders at the G20 summit. The president also discussed other national security threats with often troublesome ally Turkey's President Erdogan.

With much of the rest of the globe still fighting COVID and seeking access to a vaccine, recovering from this pandemic is a challenge for the economy and a slow global supply chain. The increasingly tense relationship with China is at the heart of all of it.

And Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who's traveling with the president, met today with Chinese officials for the first time since his tense confrontation with them in March.

We spoke with the secretary earlier and began by asking him when the U.S. will resume negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

(Begin VT)

ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, the Iranians have now said that they're coming back to talks toward the end of November.

We'll see if they actually do. That's going to be important. We still believe diplomacy is the best path forward for putting the nuclear program back in the box that had been in under the agreement, the so-called JCPOA.

But we were also looking at, as necessary, other options if Iran is not prepared to engage quickly in good faith, to pick up where we left off in June, when these talks were interrupted by the change in government in Iran.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Other options, does that include military?

ANTONY BLINKEN: Well, as we always say, every option is on the table.

But here's what's important. Iran, unfortunately, is moving forward aggressively with its program. The time it would take for it to produce enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon is getting shorter and shorter.

The other thing that's getting shorter is the runway we have, where, if we do get back into compliance with the agreement, and Iran gets back into compliance, we actually recapture all of the benefits of the agreement.

Iran is learning enough, doing enough, so that that's starting to be a problem.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Iran carried out a drone attack on U.S. forces in Syria just last week.

Friday, the U.S. announced sanctions related to this program. Do you think sanctions are going to stop Iran from trying to kill Americans?

ANTONY BLINKEN: The president is very much prepared to take whatever action is appropriate at a time and place of our choosing, by whatever means are appropriate, to prevent and stop Iran from engaging in these activities, or its proxies engaging in these activities.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Let's talk about climate and the international efforts underway.

The U.N. says that not a single major economy in the world, U.S. among them, is living up to the targets set back in 2015 in that Paris accord. America is one of the biggest polluters. The president's own domestic agenda faces some uncertain prospects here.

How do you lead when America doesn't have its own house in order?

ANTONY BLINKEN: Well, we are leading on this.

The president significantly increased our own ambitions and announced a new so-called nationally determined commitment in terms of what we will do to make sure that we get to net zero.

And John Kerry has been leading our efforts around the world to bring other countries along to raise their ambition, so when we get to Glasgow in just about a day's time, the world comes out together with much stronger commitments that actually get us on the path to keeping to warming that does not exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius.

We are not there yet. We have a lot of work to do, a lot of work to do.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But these international -- right. And these international commitments don't have teeth.

ANTONY BLINKEN: Well, these are voluntary -- these are voluntary commitments, but there is, increasingly, I think an understanding that we're seeing every single day storms, droughts, all sorts of natural occurrences that have been exacerbated by climate change, conflict driven by climate change, refugees driven by climate change, fights over resources driven by climate change.

This is not tomorrow's problem. This is today's problem, and I think there's a much greater consciousness of that.

MARGARET BRENNAN: When you look around the world, the use of fossil fuels is only going up.

Europe is facing a potential winter fuel crisis. China has an electricity shortage right now. Here in the United States, the president has called for OPEC to produce more oil. The projection is global energy consumption will jump 50 percent by 2050.

These facts seem very much at odds with the things you're describing as ambition. The rhetoric sounds out of step.

ANTONY BLINKEN: We're pushing very importantly in the other direction.

For example, here at the G20, again, with American leadership, we are pressing to get an agreement to make sure that countries don't finance coal projects internationally. This is one of the biggest drivers of emissions around the world.

But you're right. We have to actually do -- do what we say and make sure that others that have not made the necessary commitments, including China, now the world's largest emitter, actually step up and do the right thing.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What incentive does China have to act right now? They seem to be increasingly an adversary of the United States.

ANTONY BLINKEN: Well, I think the number one interest is in not being a world outlier.

Their own people would benefit dramatically from China taking the necessary steps on climate change. So would the international community. To the extent that China cares about it's -- how it's seen in the world, it also needs to think about stepping up.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about Afghanistan.

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who resigned this month as your envoy, was on this program last Sunday and told us that more could have been done to prevent the collapse of the government in Kabul, including pressing President Ghani harder.

Should you personally have done that? Should you have been tougher?

ANTONY BLINKEN: I was on the phone with President Ghani on a Saturday night, pressing him to make sure he was ready to agree with the plan we were trying to put into effect to do a transfer of power to a new government that would have been led by the Taliban, but been inclusive and included all aspects of Afghan society.

And he told me on the phone he was prepared to do that, but, if the Taliban wouldn't go along, he was ready to fight to the death. And the very next day, he fled Afghanistan.

So, I was engaged with President Ghani over many weeks and many months.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you think you did everything you could? Is that what I hear you saying?

ANTONY BLINKEN: Listen, one of the things we're doing at the State Department is reviewing everything that we did over -- going back to 2020, when the agreement was initially reached with the Taliban under the under the previous administration, including the actions we took during our administration, because we have to learn every possible lesson from the last couple of years, but also, by the way, from the last 20 years.

This was America's longest war. President Biden ended the longest war. He made sure that another generation of Americans would not have to go to fight and die in Afghanistan. And I think, when all of this settles, that's profoundly what the American people want, and is in our interests.

Meanwhile, we are doing everything we can to make good on our ongoing commitments, including to Afghans at risk that we want to help. And we'll also learn every lesson we can from the decisions we made.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mr. Secretary, thank you for your time today.

ANTONY BLINKEN: Great to be with you, Margaret. Thank you.

(End VT)

MARGARET BRENNAN: Face the Nation will be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're joined now by the secretary of commerce, Gina Raimondo. She's the president's liaison to the business community.

Madam Secretary, welcome to Face the Nation.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Good to have you here.

Supply chains around the world have been massively disrupted over the past few months. We have all of these bottlenecks. Why haven't the ports, why haven't the truckers, why hasn't this become unstuck?

GINA RAIMONDO: Yes, good morning.

So, this is, as you say, a top issue for Americans. It's a complicated -- complicated issue. I mean, last year during COVID, we shut our economy down. You know, I was the governor at the time. We shut down Rhode Island's economy. We have never seen that before.

So that meant factories closed. People went home. You can't just turn the economy back on overnight. So, it takes a little bit of time. I will say we are making progress. You know, due to the president's leadership, we now have the ports open 24/7 and the two largest and busiest ports.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But there are reports that those -- while the president announced the 24/7 opening, that that's not actually happening out in California, that there are still backups. The business community has been complaining about that.

GINA RAIMONDO: There are backups. And, as I said, this isn't something that can be fixed overnight.

But the important thing is, fundamentally, supply chains and logistics are run by the private sector. People say to me, will Christmas gifts be delivered, to which I say, call FedEx? That isn't what the government does.

What we are doing, and the president is committed to this, we're using every tool in our toolbox to be supportive, to help, to unstick the ports. An area that I am very focused on is the semiconductor shortage. We are leaning forward into that, increasing transparency in the semiconductor supply chain to make sure that we do everything possible.

But this is a direct result of COVID. It is temporary. And we are working every day to unstick these supply chains.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Let me ask you about what you just brought up regarding a shortage you say the government does need to do something about here, that tech companies are really worried about these long-term supply chain issues.

Apple said $6 billion in lost sales because they can't get goods in time here. So, in what the president just put forward in Build Back Better, this framework, it has money set aside, a manufacturing credit for chip production.

What does this actually do? How quickly does this fix things? And do we need a mandate for domestic production?

GINA RAIMONDO: Absolutely.

So, America invented the semiconductor industry. We started that industry right here. At one point in time, we made in America all the chips that we needed to consume.

But over time, over the past several decades, that has left our shores in search of cheap labor in Asia. Now we find ourselves extremely vulnerable. And so what the president is saying is, we ought to get back into the business of making chips in America, which will, of course, create jobs and...


GINA RAIMONDO: Well, Congress needs to act.

This is a fund that will come to the Department of Commerce. It's a $52 billion set of incentives to rebuild the domestic supply here. The day after Congress passes this, it can come to us, and we can get to work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Are you -- just to button that up, are you mandating domestic production? Are you close to that?

GINA RAIMONDO: We're not -- no, we're not mandating. No, we're not mandating domestic production.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because a prominent Republican senator I'm sure you read, an op-ed, had something to that point this week, Josh Hawley.

GINA RAIMONDO: What we're doing is, we are working in partnership with industry to incentivize domestic production, right?

We want to make chips in America, so we are incentivizing companies to do that, creating jobs every step of the way.

MARGARET BRENNAN: One of the things that you do hear complaints from -- from retailers, from other people in the business sector is that the vaccine mandate, not a problem with the mandate, per se, but claims that putting it in place at this time around the Christmas season will back everything up, that they might have labor shortages as it comes to rolling this out.

The White House, Jeff Zients, the vaccine czar, so to speak, said there's some flexibility around these deadlines, that they're not a cliff, and the rules are being finalized soon.

How soon? Do you need to push this off until after Christmas?

GINA RAIMONDO: No, I think that would be a big mistake.

People want to work in a workplace where they feel safe. You see United Airlines that was among the first to do the mandate, there, number of folks applying for jobs is through the roof. The best thing we can do to get people back to work is to make sure everybody is vaccinated.



MARGARET BRENNAN: But can you push that until after Christmas? You announced the rules...

GINA RAIMONDO: It would be a mistake. It would be a mistake.

You see, in the third quarter -- you know, this year we're on path to have the strongest GDP growth in decades. We had a blip in the third quarter. Why? Delta, Delta variant. The quicker everyone gets vaccinated, the better our economy will be back on track, the quicker everybody gets back to work.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about the president's framework agenda here.

The U.S. has -- as you know, because you're passionate about this, paid family leave, we don't have it in this country. The president promised it was coming. It's not in this framework. That was a concession he made.

You have said this is so essential to getting the economy going. How disappointed are you that that was just given up?

GINA RAIMONDO: I am unbelievably excited that we are on the precipice of passing the most significant piece of domestic legislation in 50 years, public pre-K, broadband for every American, massive investments in childcare.

As a woman, as a working mother, I know how essential this is. You know...

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you said paid leave was essential to get women back into the workplace, and that's not in this.

GINA RAIMONDO: Paid leave is essential too.

And we will continue to fight for that. No -- I don't think anyone ever expected the president would pass his entire domestic agenda in the first 10 months.

MARGARET BRENNAN: It looks like he's trying to pass most of his domestic agenda in the first 10 months, and this is not in it.


GINA RAIMONDO: This is not in it. And...

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, the argument, though, throughout this from Democrats, has been, if not now, when? This is a unique, historic opportunity. It has to go on now in this big bill. And this is something you were so passionate about.

GINA RAIMONDO: And I am still passionate about it, but...

MARGARET BRENNAN: But this is not going to happen if Democrats lose the majority, is it?

GINA RAIMONDO: I don't believe that's going to happen.

Again, the president's package, which we believe will be passed very soon, probably hopefully this week, provides tangible improvements to people's lives, better roads, better bridges, better airports, broadband for everybody, child care, public pre-K.

It is historic. Then we get to work continuing to fight for paid leave. You know, we're not backing away from it. It is necessary, but nor should we take away from the monumental nature of what is in this package.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we will talk about the prospects for a vote with a key progressive up next.

Madam Secretary, thank you for joining us.

We'll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: We're joined now by Congressman Ro Khanna. He's a Democrat from California and a leading member of the House Progressive Caucus.

Congressman, good morning to you.

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): Good morning.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You just heard Secretary Raimondo said that this legislation, the Build Back Better program, is going to pass this week. That's really in the hands of progressives like you.

Are you a yes-vote on both this and the infrastructure bill?

RO KHANNA: I am. The president has shown patient and extraordinary leadership. It's time for this party to get together and deliver.

Let me just say. I mean, politicians throw out historic transformation. If I could just say two facts of what this will do, every American kid is going to get to go to preschool. Nobel laureate James Heckman says that is one of the biggest things we can do to create equal opportunity in America.

Second, this is the largest investment ever in solar, in wind, in electric vehicles. It's huge on climate.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We're going to get into the details in a moment, but this vote, you do expect to happen by Tuesday, as some have projected?

Because on another network this morning, Senator Bernie Sanders was saying he wanted to try to add in some things to the bill still. Pharmaceutical and prescription drug pricing is what he talked about. I mean, that's pricey. How many changes should we expect?

RO KHANNA: Well, we are working to add things in. I mean, the negotiation is taking place. I'm going to be a yes. I think we can have the vote by Tuesday.

Senator Sanders is doing a great job to actually have Medicare negotiation. I mean, that would save money and help people with prescription costs. But the question is...

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's $350 billion over 10 years, according to Senator Sanders. Is that something that you think you can still keep the Senate on board with?

RO KHANNA: Well, there are two different issues. One is the actual reduction of costs, the prescription drug negotiation. That actually saves money. It saves money, brings the cost down.

The other is the Medicare expansion, so people get dental, vision, hearing, by the way, a hugely popular polling place.

So, my point is this. I'm a yes. Progressives will be a yes. We're working to get all of this in.

But here's what people are saying. It's been months. Let's get this done.

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you're yes, even if those things aren't added in?

RO KHANNA: I'm a yes on the framework.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK. Anything else that you know of that might be added into this before it goes to a vote?

RO KHANNA: We're still working on getting the climate provisions secured.

One of the main things we've done is have a methane fee. There was the American Petroleum Institute and others having massive ads against that. We fought. That will be in part of the framework. The Climate Civilian Corps is part of the framework. So the climate parts are still being negotiated.

MARGARET BRENNAN: OK, because one of -- climate, you're passionate about, I know.


MARGARET BRENNAN: But one of the biggest portions of the original proposal, the Clean Energy Performance Program, it's a $150 billion program that didn't make the framework.

So how much of a defeat was it to lose that?

RO KHANNA: It was a setback.

But then the parts that were added, I think, are very strong, because there was another $150 billion added to have electric vehicles, solar wind, in collaboration with the private sector, funding new energy sources.

So is it a better that we had the clean electricity program? Of course. But I still believe we can hit the 50 percent goals by 2030 with this plan in -- coupled with regulatory action. It is the strongest climate investment that the country has ever made.

And, Margaret, we're doing this with a majority that is less than President Clinton had, less than President Obama had. I mean, they had 57, 60 senators. Here, you've got 50-50.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And you're doing it all on a party-line vote.

RO KHANNA: And that's the question.

Why isn't there a single Republican who's for paid family leave? I mean, I heard you say paid family leave is out. Why is there no one asking the Republicans? They claim to be the working-class party. They're not with us on paid family leave.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So, do you actually think things like paid family leave are not possible to pass after 2022, if you don't hold onto the majority?

I mean, some people are saying, oh we'll get to it later. When you were meeting with the president behind closed doors, did he say to you, I can get paid family leave passed...

RO KHANNA: He did.

MARGARET BRENNAN: ... in the next year?

RO KHANNA: He said he will do everything he can on paid family and on community college.


RO KHANNA: He will do what he can.

But here's the question.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, we know what he can.

You are putting so much in this one bill and passing along party lines because this is your shot, this is what Democrats say, to get what you want done.

RO KHANNA: Well, I guess I'm the ever...

MARGARET BRENNAN: That suggests you don't have a shot at the other.

RO KHANNA: I'm an optimist to think maybe one Republican who gives speech after speech saying they're for the working class, they're for the forgotten American -- let's do a single bill on paid family leave.

They don't want to vote for the bigger thing, vote with us on paid family leave. Vote with us on child care. Vote with us to help the working class.

We are doing this because we don't have a single Republican vote to help the working class in this country.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Back on climate. Democratic leaders seem to be saying that you need the business community in order to hit any of these targets. The climate envoy, John Kerry, has said that. President Obama has said that.

You held a hearing this week with oil executives, and you went hard at them. Don't you need them to be partners and not adversaries here? What's your endgame?

RO KHANNA: Yes, we do.

And the European companies actually are being partners, European BP and Shell, not perfect, but they're at least announcing a reduction in some of the oil production, consistent with the U.N. goals.

American companies are -- are increasing...

MARGARET BRENNAN: But you are subpoenaing some of the -- some of the top oil executives in this country. What is the end goal for that?

RO KHANNA: The end goal is to have transparency. They're saying they're for the Paris accord. Great. They're saying they're for climate action. Great.

Well, what are they doing to actually hit those targets? Why don't they be honest in saying, OK, here's where we're going to invest in clean energy, here's where we're going to transition, here's where we're going to cut some of the production on oil, like our European counterparts?

They shouldn't say one thing and do another saying. I want them actually to be partners. I want them to own up to some of the past outrageous statements.

I mean, the Exxon CEO in 2002 is saying that fossil fuel burning does not cause climate change. And the current Exxon CEO, Darren Woods, wasn't willing to say that's an outrageous statement.

It'd be like if the president of the United States today was defending Andrew Johnson. Just condemn the outrageous statements in the past.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Thank you very much, Congressman, for coming on.

RO KHANNA: Thank you.

MARGARET BRENNAN: We'll be right back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: And we will be right back with Republican Congressman from Utah John Curtis, a pediatrician and head of the vaccine program at Washington's Children's National Hospital. And we will give you a preview of the U.N. summit under way right now to tackle a planet that's getting hotter.

Stay with us.



The global summit is underway right now in Glasgow, Scotland. It is the world's latest effort to tackle the fact that the planet is getting hotter. But expectations for substantive agreements to do something about it are pretty low. The U.N. secretary general says there's serious risks that world leaders will not deliver, urging more ambition and further action.

CBS News' senior foreign correspondent Mark Phillips is there.


MARK PHILLIPS (voice over): There is a cloud of gloom hanging over this conference in Glasgow, and it's not just the weather. To understand the pessimism, it helps to go back to those heavy optimistic days in France six years ago when the Paris Climate Accords were signed.

The warming of the planet would be kept below 2 degrees Celsius, it was agreed. Preferably, it wouldn't exceed 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

The problem with Paris, though, was that it was a conference about aspirations, not practicalities. How each country would reduce its own greenhouse gases was left to later. Well, later is now and not nearly enough has been done.

CHRISTIANA FIGUERES: Infrastructure causes --

MARK PHILLIPS (on camera): It's all happening faster than you ever feared?

CHRISTIANA FIGUERES: it's all happening faster than we ever thought. In fact, it's happening faster than scientists thought.

MARK PHILLIPS (voice over): Christiana Figueres was the U.N. official who knocked heads together and made the Paris Accords happen.

MARK PHILLIPS (on camera): Well, anything above 1.5 is bigger trouble than we thought.

CHRISTIANA FIGUERES: It's -- well, absolutely. It's much bigger trouble. It causes two to three times as much biodiversity (ph) loss, two to three times as much infrastructure loss, and two or three times as much human misery.

MARK PHILLIPS (voice over): The misery has been all around us lately. Floods in Europe, sweltering heat domes in North America.

The world has changed since Paris, particularly in the relationship between its two biggest polluters, the United States and China.

CHRISTIANA FIGUERES: Contrasting to where we were in the relationship between the United States and China in 2015, the two of them walked in literally hand-in-hand because over the previous years they had realized that they were better off collaborating on climate change than confronting each other. That has not been the case this year for all the reasons that we know.

MARK PHILLIPS: Not only will Chinese President Xi Jinping not be coming, neither will Russia's Vladimir Putin. If there's any cause for hope in Glasgow, is that companies, if not governments, have begun to see the value in going green.

Mark Carney, who headed the central banks of two G-7 countries, has been twisting arms.

MARK CARNEY: You know, at present, there are leaders and laggers in the financial sectors. Leaders and laggers amongst companies. People will be able to tell who's leading and who's -- who's behind, who's on the right and the wrong side of climate history.


MARK PHILLIPS: They've set up this conference to show how the future of the planet is at stake, but what are its chances of success? British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has likened it to a game where humanity is losing to climate change 5-1 at half time.

And. Margaret, there seems little chance of a second half comeback.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Mark Phillips, thank you.

We go now to Congressman John Curtis of Utah, a Republican, who is scheduled to travel this week to Glasgow to attend that climate summit.

Congressman, thank you for joining us ahead of your trip.

REP. JOHN CURTIS (R-UT): Good morning, Margaret.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to tackle some business here at home first.

The House is expected to vote, as you heard, this coming week on that $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan. This is roads and bridges. It's popular. Why are you opposing it?

JOHN CURTIS: Well, this thing has been botched from the beginning. You know, this was negotiated in good faith in the Senate. And I have no doubt had it come straight to the House it would have passed with strong Republican support. But the reality of it is, we were told from the very beginning that this was coupled with the reconciliation spending, which is a no-go for Republicans.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right. But -- so what I hear you saying, though, it that it's about like optics, that it's about politics. You would have $3.6 billion for your state come in here as a result of this bill. Aren't you just making a political point? I mean isn't that what people hate about Washington?

JOHN CURTIS: So, listen, my state is more worried about debt than handouts from the federal government. Sure, there's some good things in that bipartisan structure bill, but the reality of it is, is that's not the vote. They've been very clear. If the bipartisan infrastructure package passes, so does the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.

Now, it may not be $3.5 trillion anymore, but I'll tell you, on foremost in Utah's mind is debt.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So you expect Republicans to try to stand in the way of this it sounds like?

JOHN CURTIS: It's not a stand in the way. Listen, Republicans have no control.


JOHN CURTIS: You can't imagine how frustrating it is to be a Republican in the House right now. This is all in the Democrats' hand. And I don't even know if we're going to have a vote on it. Like, we were told last week we would vote.


JOHN CURTIS: We were told two weeks before we would vote. So who knows where this is going to land.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Let's ask you now about climate, which as we introduced to you, you are going to that Glasgow summit. You're also the -- one of the founders of this Conservative Climate Caucus. That is something that will surprise people. They often hear climate change and hear very partisan points of view here. You, as a Republican, are trying to make a statement.

Specifically, what is your message on what needs to be a viable energy source for the United States?

JOHN CURTIS: Yes, the message is very clear. First of all the message is, is that Republicans do care. We've been subject to a branding problem and we need to overcome that. But loud and clear, Republicans care and we care deeply.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You think it's just a branding problem?

JOHN CURTIS: Oh, absolutely. Listen, I'm -- I'm here from the state of Utah and I guarantee you there are more Republicans here than most places. And I know deep down everybody cares about this planet. We want to do what's best for it. We want to leave it off better for our children.

Now we're turn -- it's fair to say we're turned off by the -- by the extremist rhetoric and we don't always agree on the way to get there, but I can promise you, Republicans do care deeply.

And let me just show you, this caucus is a great example.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about something specifically you spent a lot of time on, which you, in interviews I've read, talk about nuclear energy as an alternative to fossil fuels.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Do your constituents really want nuclear plants in their backyard?

JOHN CURTIS: Listen, a lot of times when we think about nuclear, we think about our -- our grandparents' nuclear. And -- and we need to change our paradigm on that.

Listen, U.S. innovation and technology can lead us past the concerns that we have with nuclear, whether it be safety or whatever those concerns are. We don't have to except old generation nuclear.


JOHN CURTIS: And, by the way --


JOHN CURTIS: Utah does want it in our backyard. We're one of the few u-amps (ph) here, a municipality - - a conglomerate of municipalities, is one of the few that have actually made it part way through the permitting process for a small nuclear reactor.


JOHN CURTIS: And Pacific Core (ph), our major utility here, is working with Warren Buffett to bring nuclear.

MARGARET BRENNAN: And there's the $6 billion in this bipartisan infrastructure bill that would go to some of those small, nuclear reactors. There's $9.5 billion to research clean hydrogen and create offices to manage it. You've got to like those provisions, even though you're voting down the bill.

JOHN CURTIS: Well, the fact that you could -- a blind squirrel could find a nut in a forest, right, that's -- that's what it's like looking through this bill trying to find something that you like in it.

$6 billion out of trillions and trillions of dollars isn't really a serious effort to -- to explore things that really are fundamental if we're going to get to a green future.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So what is the Republican path to a green future? Specifically, what are the proposals you want to hear?

JOHN CURTIS: Well, let me say, first of all, if -- if we follow the Republican path, we don't need to kill U.S. jobs. We don't need to export our jobs overseas and subject ourselves to our enemies.

We have ideas that -- that improve the U.S. economy, that rely on U.S. technology and U.S. innovations, such as new nuclear, as we mentioned, hydrogen. And -- and, listen, fossil fuels have got to be part of the conversation. We've reduced more greenhouse gas emissions here in the United States with fossil fuels than the entire green deal could have -- Green New Deal could have ever dreamed of doing. And it's a mistake to demonize fossil fuels. They're actually part of our answer.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, part of what I hear frequently is, OK, make these adaptations, don't eliminate. But the challenge is, how do you meet the moment in terms of urgency when you are trying to put in investments that take a decade or more to get there? So, how do you do both things at once?

JOHN CURTIS: Well, you have to do both things at once. And let's be honest, when we set unrealistic goals --

MARGARET BRENNAN: But how do you make the market more efficient if -- if not for creating tax credits and doing things that have government subsidies? How do you move it faster?

JOHN CURTIS: Listen, our -- our free marketplace is remarkable. If -- it's -- it's U.S. innovation and technology that's led to the vast reductions in carbon that we already have. And I have full confidence in this marketplace. Now that's not to say that as a government we don't have a role, that we -- that we should be looking for those areas to incentivize and help and poke and prod along the way. But -- but we need all hands on deck, and we need to talk about this in a bipartisan way, and not just the extreme ideas, which, by the way, have led us in a terrible direction. We're looking at an energy crisis this winter. Rates are skyrocketing. I mean impacting those who can least afford to pay for it. If we're not careful, we're on the path of Germany. That -- that doesn't look good.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, Congressman, have a safe trip. We'll leave it there.

And FACE THE NATION will be back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Vice President Kamala Harris got a third dose of the COVID-19 shot over the weekend and urged Americans to get their booster shot when they become eligible. Harris reminded Americans the shots are free, safe and will save lives.

In just a few days, a children's version of the Pfizer COVID vaccine is expected to be made available to 28 million children between the ages of five to 11 years old.

CBS news senior national correspondent Mark Strassmann is in Cocoa Beach, Florida, with a look at how parents across the country are reacting.


WOMAN: There you go.

You're welcome.

MARK STRASSMANN (voice over): Halloween 2021's real scare, the next dog fight in COVID America's divide. As soon as Tuesday, the CDC could join the FDA approving the Pfizer vaccine for young children ages five to 11.

WOMAN: We have been waiting for this. Parents have been waiting for this. Schools have been waiting for this. And this is really a breakthrough.

MARK STRASSMANN: Smaller arms, smaller doses. Pfizer's pediatric vaccine has two shots, each one- third its regular dose. Clinical trials showed efficacy rates above 90 percent. There are enough doses to vaccinate 28 million eligible children.

In the latest weekly COVID update, one in four new cases were children. Vaccinating young kids could help keep them in classes, protecting them, their families, and their friends.

JEFF ZIENTS, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSES COORDINATOR: We will be ready immediately following FDA and CDC decisions so that parents can get their kids vaccinated quickly, easily, and conveniently.

CROWD: No more masks. No more masks.

MARK STRASSMANN: But, amicably? Fat chance. Millions of parents already burn with a resentment fever. In one survey, less than one in three parents say they'll get the COVID vaccine for young kids right away. Another third said they'll wait and see.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Lives are quite literally at risk.

MARK STRASSMANN: So far, California's the only state to mandate the vaccine for eligible students grade seven through 12, but not until next year.

GAVIN NEWSOM: Ten vaccines have been required to send your kids to public schools for decades and decades. This is nothing new.

MARK STRASSMANN (on camera): But it is new in a couple ways. There are no angry crowds protesting mandatory kid vaccines for measles, mumps, or whopping cough. And there are people willing to risk their jobs rather than get the COVID vaccine.

MARK STRASSMANN (voice over): Starting tomorrow in New York City, thousands of city employees will be forced into unpaid leave. But the city says another 10,000 workers got vaccinated, pressured by Friday's mandate deadline, get the shot or lose the paycheck.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: We have a right as an employer to do it. Every court has shown that.

MARK STRASSMANN: But missing cops, firefighters, and EMTs could create dangerous public safety blind spots.

MAN: My body, my choice.

MARK STRASSMANN: Twenty percent of the city's fire stations could go dark. That is how dug in they are.

But compared to telling many parents they have to vaccinate their kids, child's play.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That's Mark Strassmann in Florida.

We're joined now by Dr. Claire Boogaard, a pediatrician who also oversees the COVID vaccine program at Children's National Hospital here in Washington, D.C.

Good morning to you, Doctor.


MARGARET BRENNAN: So your hospital participated in this trial of the Pfizer vaccine for children. You saw what happened. Did you have any concerns?

CLAIRE BOOGAARD: No, I think this is all really good news. What the independent advisory panel and the FDA looked at last week was really good science. They didn't skip any steps in this process. And the best news, both professionally, as someone who wants to take care of my patients, but also as a mom of a six-year-old, this that this is awesome. There are no serious side effects given this lower dose of the vaccine to this lower group of kids and it still protects kids from getting the infection.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So this type of technology, the mRNA vaccine, you don't have any misgivings about giving it to someone who's young and developing?

CLAIRE BOOGAARD: No, not at all. Vaccines, all they do is they give your body a chance to build a response to something that's non-harmful so it can protect you against something that is harmful. And everything is risk-benefit. If there was no coronavirus in the county, well, we wouldn't be talking about a vaccine, right? But, instead, there's this life-threatening disease floating around our communities. And in order to protect us, this is the safest and most effective way to do so.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So the panel that you mentioned that voted on this said the benefits outweigh the risks of myocarditis. That's a heart condition. Did you hospital see any of that? How concerned should parents by about impacts on the heart of their child?

CLAIRE BOOGAARD: Yes, the hospital's research is still part of the research that Pfizer reviewed last week. And, again, there was no serious medical conditions, or serious adverse reactions from this vaccine in that group, including myocarditis. The FDA knew this was a concern. And at the end of the summer, they asked Pfizer to increase the amount of patients in this study. And they've done so. And, honestly, it's really good news. It's very safe.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So one of the questions raised was whether every child needs it, versus if they had COVID in the past or if there are conditions? If you're a parent at home, how should you weigh these things?

CLAIRE BOOGAARD: It's a good question. I talk about this all the time with my husband, with my family and with our patients, right? Everything is risk/benefit. So you need to think about your own individual family situation. You also need to think about the community around you.

For us, as parents, we don't want anything bad to happen to our kids, right? COVID has bad complications with children. Doesn't have it with all children, but it has many, and it also has the complications in this young group of having long-term issues, whether it's having symptoms that last longer than two months, which is the long COVID that people talk about, or developing a very serious life-threatening condition called multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children --

MARGARET BRENNAN: That's the rash.

CLAIRE BOOGAARD: Yes. It's -- actually, it's where your -- your body is enflamed in a very serious way and it can be life-threatening. It requires critical care in some kids. That, to me, as a parent, is enough for me to say, you know what, I don't want my kid to get a booger (ph). I don't want my kid to get that (ph). And if I have a choice, I'd rather use this super safe vaccine to get them back into school and back to their normal life.

MARGARET BRENNAN: So kids who are younger than five years old, my children, toddlers, infants, they're still going to have to wait. Pfizer said well into 2022 before they get vaccinated.

So what's your best advice to the parents of the very young?

CLAIRE BOOGAARD: Just stay vigilant. I'm with you too. I have a four-year- old. So, I hear you loud and clear.

But be optimistic. They are also lower the dose for that group, too. Keep in mind, this Pfizer vaccine has now been given to millions of people. We're just now offering it at a lower dose to a younger population who has a strong immune system. So I'm optimistic that the research will still look really positive in young kids. And I also know that scientists take this very seriously. They do not want to offer something that's going to harm people.

Myself, as a doctor, I don't want to -- I don't want to go out advocating for something that I don't think is safe. So I promise, hope is coming. We're almost at the end of this. But for those who are unvaccinated, you are still at risk for getting the virus itself. So, keep with the social distancing, masking and follow the public health guidelines in your area.

MARGARET BRENNAN: The CDC director continues to say she's so concerned that only a third of pregnant women are vaccinated. If you were vaccinated while pregnant, what do you tell your patients about their children that they bring into you? Are those children protected?

CLAIRE BOOGAARD: Good question. We -- we anticipate that if someone was infected during pregnancy or given the vaccine, that there is a chance that they have some protection with the antibodies that mom made that are shared to the child. There's also a protection if you're breastfeeding.

What we don't know is how protected that child is. So what we don't want you to do is assume since you had it, as a pregnant lady or a breastfeeding woman that your child is protected because we can't guarantee that. But it's all something we recommend.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Doctor, thank you for your advice.


MARGARET BRENNAN: Thanks for joining us in studio.

We'll be back in a moment.


MARGARET BRENNAN: This Tuesday is election day in Virginia and New Jersey, where voters will select their governors. Usually the party out of the White House has an advantage in these off-year raises. But the one in Virginia is drawing some national attention right now as a test of just how Democrats are governing.

CBS News senior White House and political correspondent Ed O'Keefe is here to help us break it down.

So, Ed, we don't normally cover governor's races, but this one has taken on outside importance in the political world. Why is this mid-sized southern state so important?

ED O'KEEFE: In essence it sets the table for next year. This is a state that's been hewing Democratic for the last 10 years or so. But for whatever reason they're having a competitive statewide contest this year. They shouldn't be doing that if electoral history from recent years holds.

But it seems to be for a few different reasons. One, you have a popular, apparently well-liked Republican contender who has managed to make this about something other than Donald Trump, a local issue of concern, education and specifically parental control of education, all stemming from a debate answer that his Democratic opponent, the former, trying to be future governor, Terry McAuliffe made in a debate recently where he said, I don't think parents should have control over what goes on in the classroom. In essence trying to explain away a bill he had vetoed years ago.

But the Youngkin campaign seized on this and said, what do you mean you don't want parents to be in charge after years of mask mandates and virtual schooling and all these debates about social policy and about what's being taught in school. So it could signal that that local issue, of finding one, plus the growing unpopularity of the president, could be enough for certain Republicans in states where maybe they haven't done as well recently, to pull it off. And it will signal to the rest of the party, this is how you can win in the post-Trump era.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Those emotional issue always good to galvanize people.

ED O'KEEFE: Absolutely.

MARGARET BRENNAN: One of the things, though, that I think is interesting, is to see current and former presidents out there campaigning in Virginia. And President Biden went out and helped Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, even though McAuliffe said basically that Biden's creating problems for him, headwinds, and that he's unpopular.

ED O'KEEFE: Right. I mean -- and Biden won the state 10 -- by 10 points last year, but his numbers sit now in the 40s. But to bring him over to Virginia to say that his opponent is a Trump acolyte and could return the state to Trump-style politics, or what's going on down in Texas regarding its abortion policy. In essence what Democrats are trying to do is continue what worked for them over the last four years, nationalize the race and warn them about what Trump-style Republicanism could mean for their state.

Meanwhile, Youngkin is trying to go local, focusing on that issue of education. Trying -- insisting that he will not, has not campaigned with the former president, even though he's doing a telephone town hall for him Monday night, Youngkin says he won't be there. Trying to divert attention and say, I'm focused on these things here in the state. We'll do this on my own.

MARGARET BRENNAN: What's interesting there, for Democrat though is that they're not making an affirmative argument --

ED O'KEEFE: They aren't.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Of here is what you get when we governor. They're saying, that's what you might get if we're not governing.

ED O'KEEFE: Well, that's what frustrates McAuliffe so much. I mean he told me as much. He said the lack of action in Washington doesn't help me make the case that government can do things for people. So if they would only just pass this legislation they've been spending months on, it would help me make the point.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Do you buy that argument?

ED O'KEEFE: In Virginia, I do, because of the unique nature of Virginia and the fact that it relies so much on the federal government for employment and for its economic growth. It works there. It wouldn't necessarily work in other states.

And the other thing that I've -- I've noticed is recent weeks especially is McAuliffe has made the abortion argument, that it they did what they did in Texas and if the Supreme Court rules a certain way, it could happen here. They insist that abortion rights is a big issue of concern for voters in Virginia, and we'll see whether it works on Tuesday.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Ed O'Keefe, thank you for the preview.

And all of you can watch Ed and our political team on Tuesday evening on our digital network, CBSN. They will be broadcasting the elections results.

We'll be right back.


MARGARET BRENNAN: That's it for us today. Thank you for watching. Have a happy and safe Halloween.

For FACE THE NATION, I'm Margaret Brennan.

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