JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I'm Judy Woodruff. On the "NewsHour" tonight: selling his vision.
President Biden addresses Congress and the nation at a critical moment, laying out his
plans to strengthen American families and reimagine the American economy, from roads
and bridges to childcare. Then: out of bounds. The Supreme Court hears
arguments in a case centered on a hopeful high school cheerleader venting her disappointment
on social media. Plus: use of force. Another police killing
of a Black man sparks protests, demands for the release of body camera video, and calls
for structural change. All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour." (BREAK) JUDY WOODRUFF: It promises to be a big night,
and, for President Biden, there is a lot on the line.
He gives his first joint address to Congress,
a televised moment to sell his vision to the American people. It comes on the eve of his
100th day in office and at a critical time for the pandemic. He will outline his plan
to reimagine the U.S. economy, with a focus on more help for American families and on
jobs that grow out of rebuilding infrastructure. Yamiche Alcindor and Lisa Desjardins are both
at the Capitol tonight. And they join me now. Hello to both of you. Yamiche, I'm going to start with you. What are you learning about what the president
is going to be saying? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, this is a huge moment
for President Biden and our nation. This is his first address to Congress.
And he's making this address just 112 days
after an armed mob stormed into the Capitol, the very place where he will be standing tonight,
to try to stop him from becoming president. And, of course, he was legitimately elected. So, the president is going to be speaking
a lot to restoring faith in democracy, I'm told by White House sources. He's also going
to be unveiling the American Families Plan. It's going to be this plan focused on education
and childcare. But — so the president's going to be talking
a lot about that.
I should tell you that White House officials are stressing that he will
not be taking a victory lap. They say he's going to be talking about his accomplishments,
including getting 200 million shots in the arms of Americans in the COVID-19 vaccine,
as well as 160 million checks in people's mailboxes in terms of getting stimulus checks
to people. He's also going to be talking about immigration,
pushing for a path to citizenship to — for immigrants who don't have legal status.
going to be talking about policing, talking about the George Floyd Policing Act, saying
that it needs to be passed by Congress. I want to also read to you an excerpt of the
president's address tonight that the White House put out. He's going to be talking about
how he inherited a nation in crisis. And he's going to say: "Now, just after 100 days, I
can report to the nation America is on the move again, turning peril into possibility,
crisis into opportunity, setback into strength." And he will go on to say: "We have to prove
democracy still works, that our government still works and can deliver for the people." So, this is going to be a big speech. And
it's going to be a speech that really gets to the heart of what he says is his governing
accomplishments, but also the way forward. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Lisa, the president is
going to be speaking in the House chamber tonight.
You have had a look at it. It's going to be different from the usual
situation when the president speaks there. Tell us about that. LISA DESJARDINS: That's right, Judy. We have never seen an address like this in
U.S. history. And it's possible, we may not ever see one like this again. Because of COVID
restrictions, let me run through a little bit about what's going to happen in the House
chamber tonight. First of all, just 200 people total, about
that many, will be in the chamber for that speech. That's different than the 1,400 that
are usually crammed in side by side, even up in the galleries. Now, tonight, everyone in the chamber will
have needed to either be tested negative for COVID or prove that they are fully vaccinated,
meaning two weeks after that final vaccination shot.
And to space out the lawmakers that will be
in there, they will be using the balconies. So, it's hard for me to say what people will
be seeing, but likely you will be seeing lawmakers dotted throughout the chamber. I was able
to get in there and look, and you will see that some rows only have one person in them.
Republicans are seated on one side of the chamber, Democrats on the other. They had been mixing that up in years past,
but, this year, it looks like they will keep them in partisan aisles. Now, as much as I think that that will be
the dominant image, this strange image of lawmakers dotting the House chamber, we will
also have something else unprecedented happening tonight. That will be the two people standing
behind President Biden will be two women for the first time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
and Vice President Kamala Harris, because she is the president of the Senate. So, that is something also to look forward
to. And, in addition, we will have the first address from an African American Republican
senator be in the response for the Republicans, Tim Scott.
He told me he's been practicing
for days. And we know a little bit about what he's going
to say. To counter President Biden's message of his agenda, we expect Senator Scott to
talk about the Republican agenda, the idea that Republicans are the party of opportunity.
And he will say that the economy was at its best before the pandemic, when Republicans
were in charge. And he will make an argument that Republicans
should be back in charge again. JUDY WOODRUFF: And then, Yamiche, back to
you. You mentioned what else the president is going
to be talking about, unveiling something they're calling the American Families Plan. It's the
second half of this ambitious set of programs they are rolling out. Tell us more about that. YAMICHE ALCINDOR: That's right. Well, President Biden has been working for
weeks on this address.
And part of that is unveiling those new details. Altogether, he's
really proposing $6 trillion in spending, when you take the American Rescue Act, the
American Jobs Plan, as well as the American Families Plan together. Tonight, I want to walk people through what
this $1.8 trillion American Families Plan has in it. It has $200 billion for universal
pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-old children in this country. It has $109 billion for two
years of free community college for all Americans. That includes dreamers, Judy. It's also $225 billion for paid family and
medical leave. That's for workers who need time to take care of a new child or a seriously
ill family member, as well as take care of themselves if they have a serious injury. The president is going to be proposing paying
for all of this with tax hikes over 10 years, $1.5 trillion worth of tax hikes.
also going to be traveling, talking about the American Families Plan. He is going to
be going to Georgia and Pennsylvania, as well as Virginia. So there's really going to be a real push
to try to get Congress to say: We need to pass this. But it's going to be really tough to get Republicans
on board because of those tax hikes that are going to the wealthiest of Americans. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, speaking of that, Lisa,
what are you hearing already in the way of reaction from members to all this? LISA DESJARDINS: That's right. Republicans have a real problem with this.
They see this as tearing down what they believe is one of their seminal achievements, the
2017 tax cuts.
Of course, Democrats, as you heard, disagree. I talked to one senator, Deb Fischer, who
will be in the chamber tonight. And she said: I know that the president is talking about
bipartisanship, but I want more than words. I want actions. And she says this plan, to her, looks partisan. On the other hand, Democrats are saying they
like the plan. Some of them want more, like Bernie Sanders, who I talked to today.
will have a prominent — a pretty far — a pretty — a seat pretty close to the front
tonight. He says he does want to add more to this plan, especially when it comes to
prescription drugs and expanding Medicare. JUDY WOODRUFF: All right, Lisa Desjardins
and Yamiche Alcindor, thank you both. And we will see you in a few hours. And speaking of what you have just been hearing,
Heather Boushey is a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. I spoke with her a short time ago about the
president's American Families Plan. Heather Boushey, thank you very much for joining
us. Let me start by saying, the White House is
describing both of these plans as once-in-a-generation investments in America's future.
speaking, what does that mean? HEATHER BOUSHEY, White House Council of Economic
Advisers: Well, these are significant investments in building, deepening, growing America's
middle class, through making sure that, in the first package, that we're investing in
all that physical infrastructure and innovation and the things that are going to drive industry
forward, to the plan that the president will talk about tonight. That it's about making sure that families
have the economic security that they need, that we're investing in the kinds of educational
opportunities that families need, and that we're making sure we have a tax system that
is fair, that it rewards work and not wealth, and supports families at the bottom and makes
sure that those at the top pay their fair share.
So, there will be real changes for families
as a result of these plans. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, let me ask you about one
particularly interesting aspect of this, and that is adding four more years of free schooling
for American children and young people, two more years preschool, two years of community
college. What — explain what the rationale there is. HEATHER BOUSHEY: We know, in this economy,
that education and skills are so important. You know, over a century ago, the United States
is the leader in investing in primary and secondary school for everyone. And now we
need to catch up and regain that leadership role in making sure that we are investing
in education along all of the years that children need, so starting with preschool.
We know there is so much empirical research
that shows that those years from zero to 5 are so important. Pre-K is a really important
piece of our educational system. Every child needs it. And then, of course, we know that
high school isn't enough. People need access to college, and providing that free two years
of community college is going to put a lot of kids on the right path. JUDY WOODRUFF: You mentioned taxes.
president is proposing tax increases on the wealthy. And I want to ask you about that, because
the price tag, when you put these two plans together, the jobs and infrastructure plans
with the Families Plan, something like $3.8 trillion, almost $4 trillion. Lay out what the president's thinking is on
why — on who should pay for it and why. HEATHER BOUSHEY: Well, the president has been
very clear throughout the campaign and into governing that the taxes should be raised
on those making more than $400,000. People making less should not pay more. And in both this plan and the one he announced
last month, one of the focuses is on making sure that the tax system delivers. So, one
of the things he is going to talk about tonight is tax compliance. You know, we have systemically reduced the
amount of resources available to the IRS to simply enforce the laws on the book. So he
is going to make sure that we are giving the IRS the resources they need to enforce the
tax code, and focus on those at the very, very top, who too often don't report their
And that means that the federal government loses billions and billions, hundreds of billions
of dollars. We estimate we can get about $700 billion
simply by enforcing the laws on the books. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, you won't be surprised
to know that criticism is already coming in from both the right and the left. But, from Republicans, let may just read you
one comment. This is from Kevin Brady. He's the ranking Republican on the House — very
critically important House Ways and Means Committee. He said earlier this week, when he was starting
to get the outlines of this, he said: "You don't rebuild a healthy economy by punishing
those who invest in that economy." So, what do you say to that particular criticism? HEATHER BOUSHEY: Well, what I say is that
we need to make sure we're taking the steps to shore up America's middle class. And we need to do so by making sure those
at the top are paying their fair share.
We have seen over the past decade that wealth
has risen, especially and particularly for those at the very, very top. We have seen
a lot of companies be incredibly profitable. And yet too many firms at the very top of
the American economy don't pay any taxes. So, we need to make sure that those that have
benefited the most pay their fair share, so that we can make those investments that benefit
You know, about a third of rural families
don't have access to broadband. Over the past year, could you imagine not having access
to the Internet during this time of COVID? Or think about the fact that so many families
live with water that comes into their home that has lead in it. We know that there's
no safe amount of lead for children. These are the kinds of investment in infrastructure
we need to make. And we need to make these investments in our children, in education
and in childcare. So we need to make sure that folks at the top pay their fair share
and that we focus on doing what's right for the American people and the American economy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, as I mentioned, you also
have comments coming in from Democrats, a number of them saying there's just not enough
in here, for example, for preschool, for other programs they wanted. Senator Bernie Sanders is saying he — there
should have been money in here to expand Medicare. The age of eligibility should have been lowered
to 60. And he says, if he has anything to do with it, that will be in the bill. HEATHER BOUSHEY: Well, here's the thing. The president has laid out this vision and
these plans, and now they are over on Capitol Hill. And he has said time and time again
that his door is open. He wants to hear from folks on both sides of the aisle who have
good ideas. And it's up to Congress to actually sort of package and pass these plans. So, if Bernie Sanders wants to add something,
that's something he can do.
But here's the thing. As the president has made clear, and
I, as an economist, just see each and every day, inaction is not an option. We need to
address these pressing needs across our economy, so that we can see innovation, growth, good
jobs across all parts of our economy, so we can deal with racial inequities, so we can
make sure that moms can get back to work because they have childcare. We need to do those things. And so the urgency
is on Congress to figure out how to do it and to come together and find something that
will pass and can get to the president's desk. JUDY WOODRUFF: Heather Boushey, who is a member
of President Biden's Council of Economic Advisers, thank you very much. HEATHER BOUSHEY: Thank you, Judy. JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day's other news: The
COVID crisis in India piled up huge new numbers again, passing 200,000 deaths overall. Ali Rogin has our report. ALI ROGIN: On Tuesday alone, India's official
death toll spiked at almost 3,300, its deadliest day. MANOJ GARG, India (through translator): The
situation is horrific, absolutely terrible. Everyone is afraid, every single person.
ALI ROGIN: Outside crematoriums, ambulances
now wait hours to off-load bodies. Workers hastily build new platforms to keep up with
the volume. Amit Kaushik waited to cremate a relative. AMIT KAUSHIK, Relative of COVID-19 Victim:
For cremation area, we searched two or three, but there are no spaces. And, finally, we
came here. And we are waiting for the last two or three hours. ALI ROGIN: Those who can't find hospital beds
suffer in the streets. Even inside ICUs, oxygen and other supplies remain scarce. DR. AASHISH CHAUDHRY, Aakash Healthcare Super
Speciality Hospital: I'm buying oxygen at the rate of gold. You know, it has — the
situation has come to that level. ALI ROGIN: And while India hosts the world's
largest vaccine manufacturer, it's running out of shots.
At this vaccine center in Mumbai,
hopeful recipients were turned away. PUSHPA GOSWAMI, India (through translator):
They are telling us that injections are not available, as vaccines have not arrived. I
registered to come here three days ago. ALI ROGIN: As the situation worsened, the
international community responded. On Tuesday, the first shipment of British aid arrived
in New Delhi, including ventilators and oxygen tanks. The U.S. is now sending medical equipment
and raw materials to make vaccines now. President Biden said Tuesday that doses of the AstraZeneca
vaccine will also be shipped. But Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has
come under fire for permitting super-spreader events like religious festivals and his own
political rallies. Even as the current crisis grew, he urged against lockdowns. NARENDRA MODI, Indian Prime Minister (through
translator): Friends, in the current situation we have to save the country from another lockdown.
I would also like to request states to only use lockdown as a last resort. ALI ROGIN: But in the capital city, New Delhi,
the last resort has already arrived. Officials there just extended an existing lockdown until
May. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Ali Rogin. JUDY WOODRUFF: As the crisis deepens in India,
COVID-19 infections in the U.S.
Have fallen nearly 25 percent in the past two weeks. A body camera video in the fatal shooting
of Andrew Brown Jr. by sheriff's deputies in North Carolina will not be made public
for now. A judge in Elizabeth City blocked the release today. But, in Chicago, an independent board released
video of the Anthony Alvarez killing. He had his back turned
and appeared to drop a gun just before police shot him.
We will have details later in the
program. The U.S. Justice Department says three white
men in Georgia will face federal hate crimes charges in the Ahmaud Arbery killing. Arbery
was jogging in Brunswick, Georgia, last year, when the men allegedly chased and fatally
shot him. They already face state murder charges. The U.S. Senate today voted to restore regulations
aimed at limiting methane emissions from oil and gas fields. Trump era rules had rolled
back the rules governing the greenhouse gas. The debate and the vote divided largely down
party lines. SEN. MARTIN HEINRICH (D-NM): As we transition
toward a 100 percent clean energy future, a future without pollution, we must do all
that we can to mitigate the harmful pollution caused by our current use of fossil fuels.
And that's exactly what these rules are designed to do.
SEN. SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO (R-WV): We shouldn't
demonize an industry that is part of the lifeblood of our economy. We should celebrate the emissions reduction
accomplishments and look for ways to further incentivize those. Let's focus on solutions
that address our climate challenges without destroying the economic engines of growth. JUDY WOODRUFF: The bill now goes to the House
of Representatives, which is expected to approve it. Federal investigators today searched the Manhattan
apartment in office of Rudy Giuliani, former President Trump's personal lawyer. It's widely
reported they seized computers and cell phones in a probe of Giuliani's business dealings
in Ukraine. In a statement, he denied any improper lobbying. Iran isn't talking about a face-off with an
American warship in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. Navy says the USS Firebolt fired warning
shots Monday night when three Revolutionary Guard vessels came within 70 yards. It's the
second incident this month involving U.S. and Iranian vessels. Hong Kong's legislature has approved a law
that could bar people from entering or leaving, and, thereby, give mainland China even more
It's the latest such move since the mass protests in 2019. Hong Kong's government
denied today that it means to limit anyone's rights. Back in this country, the Federal Reserve
is once again keeping its benchmark interest rate close to zero. The Central Bank today
noted significant progress in the economic recovery. But Chairman Jerome Powell said
that the Fed needs more evidence before changing its current policies.
JEROME POWELL, Federal Reserve Chairman: So,
we're hopeful that we will see along this path a way to that goal. And we believe we
will. It just is a question of when. We have had one great jobs report. Its not enough.
We're going to act on actual data, not on our forecast. And we're just going to need
far more data. It's no more complicated than that. JUDY WOODRUFF: Powell acknowledged that inflation
has risen, but he said policy-makers believe that's only temporary. The Fed's news did little to encourage Wall
Street. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 164 points to close at 33820. The Nasdaq fell
39 points, and the S&P 500 slipped three. Still to come on the "NewsHour": the Supreme
Court hears a critical case concerning free speech for students; another police killing
of a Black man sparks protests and calls for structural change; plus much more. As we have been hearing, one of the major
themes from the president tonight will be plans to substantially expand programs affecting
children, families and reducing poverty. Amna Nawaz dives into that part of Mr.
proposals and the questions around it. AMNA NAWAZ: Judy, if these programs are eventually
approved by Congress, the scope could be dramatic. They include new subsidies to cover childcare
for lower- and middle-income parents for children five and younger, universal pre-K education,
regardless of income, and a permanent expansion of larger child tax credits. Melissa Kearney focuses on these issues closely.
She's an economist at the University of Maryland and the director of the Aspen Economic Strategy
Group. Melissa Kearney, welcome to the "NewsHour." And let me start by asking you about those
child tax credits, talking about a monthly check, up to $300 per child, for all but the
richest families in America. The argument often made against these is, it's a short-term
fix; it disincentivizes paid employment, so it has a long-term negative impact. What does the evidence show on this? MELISSA KEARNEY, University of Maryland: Yes,
the evidence on this is quite unequivocal, that increasing the income for low-income
families has wonderful benefits, long-term benefits for children.
So, I think the arguments against this on
the grounds that it would be counterproductive in the long run really don't find support
in the research. We know that expanding income support for
low-income families means those kids do better in school, they have better health outcomes
and they have higher earnings as adults. Furthermore, we really have seen in these kinds of programs
very limited reduction in work effort from parents. I will also say the design of this particular
credit is such that it doesn't penalize earnings. So, where some programs in the past did that
and explicitly disincentivized work among parents, the design of this won't do that. So, this one seems like a real no-brainer
in terms of good policy that would advance economic security for families, both in the
short term and in the long term. AMNA NAWAZ: Let me ask you about the early
childhood development proposals here, specifically universal pre-K for all 3- and 3-year-olds.
That's through a national partnership with states.
Critics again point to long-term concerns
here, right? They point to some studies that say, yes,
universal pre-K gives individuals an advantage early on going into kindergarten, but, long-term,
those advantages diminish over time. Is there consensus on the benefits here? MELISSA KEARNEY: So, I do think there is consensus
in this literature that some of the great early improvements that we have see in kids'
outcome from early childhood education stayed over time.
But I think that is more an indictment of
school systems that don't capitalize on these early gains and help students progress at
good rates. The early childhood programs do seem to have really beneficial impacts, again,
in particular, in particular for low-income children, who don't otherwise have access
to high-quality early childhood programs and environments. So, this is another place where the evidence,
to my mind, is quite clear that making this type of investment in early childhood education
would have long-term benefits, if our schools capitalize on these early gains.
And it would
also go some distance in closing class gaps. Right now, kids from high-income homes get
to school at age 5 with much greater levels of school readiness. And making this a universal
program free for all kids would help address those class gaps. AMNA NAWAZ: When you look at the slate of
proposals here, especially those specific to children and the impact there, what are
your concerns, I mean, especially when we are talking about the sheer amount of money
here? MELISSA KEARNEY: Yes, so I will say, I am
giddy about this proposal, honestly, because so many policy experts, we have been arguing
for years that our country does far too little to invest in children.
And so this is a real recognition that we
need to do more to invest in children, to make sure all children get to school with
the ability to succeed. The price tag on these proposals, to my mind, are just not that great,
when held up against the benefits that evidence suggests we will see from them. If I have a concern, it's that this is a lot
of money, as you pointed out. And so a lot of measures are going to need to be put in
place to make sure that the money is well-spent. So, universal preschool is not going to deliver
universal benefits if it is low-quality, right? Access to childcare is not going to be good
for kids and families if it is not high-quality. When we look from lessons from other well-targeted
programs that have yielded benefits or for other countries, they spend a lot of money
on these programs. And so they are going to be a trade-off in
terms of targeting it on the kids who would really benefit, targeting these programs on
families who wouldn't otherwise afford them to make sure that the programs are well-funded
and well-designed and really high-quality.
Otherwise, we're just going to be wasting
a lot of money. AMNA NAWAZ: Melissa Kearney, I have less than
a minute left. But I do want to ask you about any historical
example here. Can you look to some point in history when there has been a similar effort
in scope and in scale to potentially change the lives of American children to compare
this to? MELISSA KEARNEY: Sure. The last major effort of this size that I
can think of is the 1996 welfare reform, which was really broad in scope. And it was aimed
at increasing family self-sufficiency. In the short run, it reduced welfare caseloads.
We saw increased work among single mothers.
In the long run, we have not seen an increase
in the material security or the stability of families, and we have seen a gutting of
the safety net. So, 25 years after welfare reform, this seems like an ideal time to do
something equally bold, take a new approach, and make a large investment in our families
and children in this country. AMNA NAWAZ: Melissa Kearney of the University
of Maryland and the Aspen Economic Strategy Group, thanks so much for joining us. MELISSA KEARNEY: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Snapchat, curse words and cheerleading
made their way to the Supreme Court today in a battle over student free speech. John Yang has the report. JOHN YANG: Brandi Levy was having a bad week.
Then a 14-year-old high school freshman, she failed to both make the varsity cheerleading
squad and to get the softball team position she wanted.
BRANDI LEVY, College Student: I was really
mad. JOHN YANG: Brandi, now 18 and a college freshman,
spoke to us with her father, Larry. BRANDI LEVY: It all happened in the same week,
so I was just — at the end of the week, I was just really upset and frustrated. JOHN YANG: On Saturday, that frustration found
an outlet in a Snapchat post that made liberal use of the F-word. Visible for just 24 hours,
it showed Brandi and a friend making and age-old obscene gesture. As a result, Mahanoy Area school officials
kicked her off the junior varsity cheerleading team on which she had won a spot. Did you think it was fair? BRANDI LEVY: I didn't think it was fair, because
I didn't say it during, like, a school activity or during school hours.
JOHN YANG: Her father didn't like it either. LARRY LEVY, Father of Brandi Levy: The school
stepped outside of their gates and took action against something that happened when it would
have been my — as a parent, an issue to deal with. JOHN YANG: When school officials wouldn't
back down, Larry Levy literally made a federal case out of it, suing the school district.
A judge ordered Brandi back on the J.V. squad.
Today, it reached the highest court in the land. While the Supreme Court ruled in 1969
that public schools could punish disruptive student speech in school, Brandi's case asks
whether that extends to off-campus speech. School administrators and the Biden administration
say it should in order to deal with bullying. FRANCISCO NEGRON, National School Boards Association:
The physical schoolhouse gate that existed in 1969 has now become, to say the least,
blurred. JOHN YANG: Francisco Negron is chief legal
officer for the National School Boards Association. FRANCISCO NEGRON: The way that students communicate
today, through social media and off-campus online messages, can have a tremendous impact
on on-site learning.
It can threaten student safety and cause emotional harm to students. JOHN YANG: Larry Levy says that doesn't apply
to his daughter. LARRY LEVY: This is a complete opposite. This
is just a teenage girl expression and emotion on a Saturday. There was no specific target
involved for — to be harassing or bullying. JOHN YANG: In today's oral argument, Justice
Clarence Thomas pressed both sides. CLARENCE THOMAS, U.S. Supreme Court Associate
Justice: Aren't we at a point where, if it's on social media, where you post it on social
media doesn't really matter? JOHN YANG: Lawyer Lisa Blatt argued for the
school district. LISA BLATT, Attorney: When it comes to the
Internet, things like time and geography are meaningless. And it makes absolutely no sense
whatsoever to say that the same speech is somehow within the school's regulation if
it's one foot on campus or one foot off campus or at the Starbucks or at the CVS or in your
car or on the school bus.
JOHN YANG: ACLU national legal director David
Cole, representing Brandi, said where and when does matter. DAVID COLE, Attorney: And if the speaker's
under the supervision of a school, you can stop him from swearing. But if the speaker
is at home on the weekend, you can't stop her from swearing. Her parents could. And
it's her parents' job to regulate, not the school's job at that — at that location. MARCIA COYLE, "The National Law Journal":
The attorney for Mahanoy had tried to reassure the justices that the school district would
not be targeting religious and political speech. JOHN YANG: Marcia Coyle is chief Washington
correspondent for "The National Law Journal." MARCIA COYLE: Justice Clarence Thomas said,
well, what about controversial comments about Black Lives Matter, Proud Boys or Antifa? The school district's attorney said that the
school district is not teaching students what to think, that that — those kinds of comments
have to be used as a weapon to terrorize another student or someone at the school.
JOHN YANG: Justice Brett Kavanaugh said school
officials overreacted to Brandi's post. BRETT KAVANAUGH, U.S. Supreme Court Associate
Justice: She blew off steam, like millions of other kids have when they're disappointed
about being cut from the high school team or not being in the starting lineup or not
making all-league. It didn't seem like the punishment was tailored to the offense. JOHN YANG: Brandi, who eventually became a
varsity high school cheerleader, says she has no second thoughts. BRANDI LEVY: I stand by what I said, because
I was 14 years old. I was just becoming a teenager. I was frustrated, angry, upset. MARCIA COYLE: My sense at the end of the arguments
was that the justices are looking for a narrow way to rule here. They may be inclined to
rule for the student, but are not inclined to issue a decision making a broad statement
about student free speech rights or the school district's authority to regulate student speech.
JOHN YANG: The nine justices will have their
say by this summer. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang. JUDY WOODRUFF: Critical questions about police
response and the use of force are front and center around the country, it seems, every
day. Many voices in the communities that are most
affected are challenging the rationale and explanations of law enforcement. Moreover,
new and disturbing videos showing deadly confrontations have changed the landscape permanently. As Stephanie Sy reports, this past week has
dramatically underscored all of this again and is leading to questions about why more
changes haven't taken effect. And a warning: This report includes some disturbing
images from those videos.
STEPHANIE SY: Just over a week after Derek
Chauvin's multiple-count conviction for the murder of George Floyd, a rash of other deadly
police encounters have come to light. Last week, 42 year old Andrew Brown Jr. was
shot and killed in his car by sheriff's deputies in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. They were
carrying out a search warrant. PROTESTER: Say his name! PROTESTERS: Andrew Brown! PROTESTER: Say his name! PROTESTERS: Andrew Brown! STEPHANIE SY: The shooting has led to growing
protests, even as new details emerged today. District attorney Andrew Womble said Brown
hit officers with his car before police fired. ANDREW WOMBLE, Elizabeth City, District Attorney:
The next movement of the car is forward, it is in the direction of law enforcement, and
makes contact with law enforcement. It is then and only then that you hear shots. STEPHANIE SY: Also today, a judge denied a
request for releasing police body camera videos from the incident to the public. Earlier this
week, the Brown family and attorneys were allowed to view a 20-second clip and were
granted access to more footage today. CHANTEL CHERRY-LASSITER, Attorney For Family
of Andrew Brown Jr.: They run up to his vehicle shooting.
He still stood there, sat there
in his vehicle with his hands on the steering wheel while being shot at. He finally decides to try to get away. And
he backs out, not going towards the officers at all. There was at no time in the 20 seconds
that we saw where he was threatening the officers in any kind of way. STEPHANIE SY: The Brown family also commissioned
an autopsy that confirmed their view that the killing was unjustified. Brown's son spoke on Tuesday. KHALIL FEREBEE, Son of Andrew Brown Jr.: Yesterday,
I said he was executed. This autopsy report showed me that was correct. MAN: Just coming to check on you, make sure
you're OK. STEPHANIE SY: Across the country, in Alameda,
California, police released body camera video on Tuesday of an arrest from April 19.
had received a 911 call for a man who appeared drunk or disoriented. MAN: Come over here. We don't want you to
fall down. OK? MAN: I got it. STEPHANIE SY: When 26-year-old Mario Gonzalez
didn't show I.D., officers attempted to arrest him. As Gonzalez struggled, they pinned him
to the ground, with their knees and elbows on Gonzalez's back for more than five minutes. MAN: Please don't do… MAN: Please don't do what? STEPHANIE SY: Gonzalez stopped breathing and
soon died in an incident that conjures up images of George Floyd's death. In Chicago today, the Civilian Office of Police
Accountability released footage of a fatal police shooting of a 22-year-old man from
The video shows police in a foot chase with Anthony Alvarez and an officer
yelling at him to drop the gun seconds before firing. MAN: Hey, drop the gun! Drop the gun! (GUNFIRE) STEPHANIE SY: A handgun was found at the scene. And in Loveland, Colorado, surveillance footage
was made public Monday that showed police officer Austin Hopp joking about dislocating
a 73-year-old woman's shoulder as he arrested her. MAN: Did you hear the pop? When I had her
up against the car when you first got there, I was like, OK, you're going to play. I was
pushing, pushing, pushing, and I hear pop. WOMAN: I hate this. MAN: This is great. WOMAN: I hate it. I hate it. MAN: I love it. (LAUGHTER) WOMAN: I hate it. STEPHANIE SY: Last June, Karen Garner, a woman
with dementia, left a Walmart with about $14 worth of items without paying.
She was stopped
by police while walking and forcefully arrested. MAN: Stay on the ground. STEPHANIE SY: Her attorney says she sustained
multiple injuries during the incident, including a broken arm. We take a deeper look at America's policing
practices and the obstacles to meaningful reform with Christy Lopez. She oversaw so-called
pattern-or-practice investigations of police departments at the Department of Justice from
2010 to 2017. She now teaches law at — excuse me — she's teaches criminal justice at Georgetown
Law, where she co-directs their Innovative Policing Program. Professor Lopez, thank you so much for joining
the "NewsHour." It was bodycam videos worn by police that
brought many of these incidents we just reported on to light. What is your take on the usefulness
of these cameras and whether they are doing what they are supposed to do as far as police
accountability? CHRISTY LOPEZ, Former Department of Justice
Attorney: Yes, thank you for having me.
As difficult it as it is to watch that bodycam
footage, I do think it is a very important tool for transparency and accountability.
It is not a panacea. It absolutely has to be supported by the right policies, the right
training, the right leadership, so that we do more than just see those videos. We have to see those videos, and learn from
them, and change the way policing happens. STEPHANIE SY: They don't seem to be acting
as a deterrent in some cases. A lot of these incidents actually happened
around former Officer Chauvin's trial and his conviction. Why has it been so difficult? After all of
these years and discussions about police training, implicit bias, changing police culture, why
has it been so difficult to change police response, especially when it comes to the
use of lethal force? CHRISTY LOPEZ: Well, there is some education
that body cameras do change behavior.
But we need to do so much more than just change
some behavior. One of the reasons it's so hard to change policing is that there are
18,000 police agencies, and there's no centralized, really, regulation of them. So, you can do be doing things completely
right in one place and completely wrong in thousands of other places. The other reason
that it's really difficult to change policing is that much of what is wrong with policing
comes from outside policing. To some extent, police do what we asked them
to do. And we have made a lot of incredibly harmful policing perfectly legal. We ask them
to respond to situations all the time that really they're not the best tool for the task. When you have that, and you have that happening
millions of times every year, you're going to have some really negative outcomes that
could have been avoided.
STEPHANIE SY: Well, I want to talk a little
bit more about what you're referring to there. You wrote recently in an opinion piece for
The Washington Post that: "We have turned policing into an impossible endeavor, one
that underprotects communities, even as it needlessly provokes conflict." You talk about how police are responding to
everything from traffic stops to active shooters. How can that lead to more police violence?
And what can be done about that? CHRISTY LOPEZ: Yes, the problem is that we
have come to over-rely on policing for our public safety needs. And, sometimes, we rely
on them for all sorts of things we shouldn't be relying on them for, for example, raising
revenue. And so just to take the example of traffic
enforcement, a lot of police stops happen every year, 20 million of them. And many of
those stops, millions of those stops have nothing to do with traffic safety.
They might have to do with an agency being
used to raise revenue for its city. It might have to be — it might be happening because
officers are urged to use stops as a pretext to search for drugs or guns. When that happens,
the individuals being stopped know they're not being stopped for any genuine public safety
reason. They're annoyed. Sometimes, like Lieutenant Nazario, who we
saw in a video a few weeks ago, they're terrified. And police, they're very used to these stops.
They aren't sensitive to the harm that people feel. And they're used to having their way. And so they — that's just a recipe for conflict. STEPHANIE SY: And we saw in one of those videos
that, in some cases, they're referring to people — they're being called on cases where
people clearly have dementia or some other sort of mental illness that they're also having
to cope with. I want to talk about federal oversight, because
you actually led a federal investigation after the killing of Michael Brown in 2014 into
the Ferguson Police Department. We now do have federal agencies looking into several
of the incident and a few of the police departments involved in recent incidents of police violence.
What can these probes and consent decrees
do and what can they not do to reform police? CHRISTY LOPEZ: Yes, it's a really good question. And you're absolutely right. We don't need
police responding to individuals who have dementia who took $14 worth of goods from
Walmart. And that's exactly what decrees like this are meant to address. I thought it was really encouraging that both
of the investigations announced by the Department of Justice of Louisville and of Minneapolis
specifically talk about the fact that they're going to look at the police response to individuals
who are in behavioral — who have behavioral health disabilities.
That includes people in mental health crises.
That includes people with dementia. That includes people with autism. And those are the kinds
of interactions that probably — we know, most of time, do not need a police response. And when you get a police response, they don't
have the training. They can often traumatize people just because they have guns and handcuffs.
And that's not the kind of response we need. So it's really encouraging that the Department
of Justice seems to be hearing what communities have been saying, that we need a different
response besides police for individuals who are in behavioral health crisis. And, hopefully, they will be working with
Minneapolis and with Louisville to come up with better responses to situations like that,
rather than sending police.
STEPHANIE SY: As you have said, there is no
one panacea that's been identified yet. Christy Lopez with Georgetown Law, thank you
for joining us with your insights. CHRISTY LOPEZ: Thank you for having me. JUDY WOODRUFF: For the first time in our nation's
history, two women will sit behind the president of the United States tonight as he addresses
the joint session of Congress. It is a first for Vice President Kamala Harris,
but, for Nancy Pelosi, this is now the fourth president she has worked with as speaker of
Her personal life and long career is the focus of a new book, "Madam Speaker,"
by Susan Page. Susan Page, welcome back to the "NewsHour." Fascinating here. I think we all thought we
knew a lot about Nancy Pelosi, but you managed to find out a lot more. It's interesting to me. This is someone who
not only has great respect from Democrats, but from Republicans. I interviewed former
House Speaker John Boehner last week about his book, and he says that she's not only
the greatest speaker in his lifetime; she may be the greatest House speaker ever. SUSAN PAGE, Author, "Madam Speaker": You know,
she's in the history books because, of course, she's the first woman to ever achieve such
a powerful position in American politics.
But the fact is, she'd be in the history books
if she were a male speaker because of the things that she has gotten through the House,
from dealing with the financial meltdown in 2008, to the Affordable Care Act, to standing
up to President Trump. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Susan, I mean, you start
at the very beginning with her family. A lot of people associate her, of course,
with San Francisco, but she comes from this kind of remarkable Italian American family
in Baltimore, her father very powerful in Maryland politics, her mother a formidable
figure at a time when women really stayed in the background.
SUSAN PAGE: You know, the D'Alesandro family
in Baltimore were as prominent as the Kennedy family was in Boston. Her father was a five-term congressman, a
three-term mayor. And her mother, who was known as Big Nancy, because her daughter was,
of course, little Nancy, was a remarkable woman, ambitious, restless, smart, liked to
play the ponies — she was a regular at Pimlico — and someone who trained her daughter in
the ways and means of power. JUDY WOODRUFF: And that is threaded through
this entire book, Susan Page. I was struck that, even when Nancy Pelosi
was a stay-at-home mother, which she was for a number of years before she got actively
involved in politics, those skills were already starting to come out.
I mean, there was — there's
a great scene where you write about how organized she is. She does the laundry and she lets
her five children come and get their own clothes from the dryer. SUSAN PAGE: You know, you would think that
she learned about how to be speaker of the House from her dad, who was an elected official.
She says the best training she got to be speaker
of the House was when she was the mother in the house. She was governing amid chaos. She
was dealing with grievances, some of them real and some of them not. She was dealing
with shifting alliances among those five kids. She says that was where she really learn the
skills that have served her so well during this remarkable career as speaker of the House. JUDY WOODRUFF: And then, of course, Susan,
she moves on, and she does get involved in politics. She moves up very quickly. John Boehner used the term killer instinct
to describe Nancy Pelosi. But what were some of the methods she used, some of the tactics
she used in order to keep moving up and, frankly, prevailing over pretty much every man who
stood in the way? SUSAN PAGE: You know, there's a lesson she
learned from her father, and it's this. No one is going to give you power.
You have to
seize it. That's advice that she took herself. It's
advice she's given other up-and-coming pols over the years. You know, she has a — what
one congressional correspondent for Politico once called an iron fist in a Gucci glove. And that does show two ways in which she wielded
power. She has a Gucci glove. She can be very persuasive. She can understand what motivates
other members of Congress, how to get them where they want to go.
But when she needs
to have that iron fist, she gets it out. And, for instance, pushing through the Affordable
Care Act, which she considers her greatest legislative achievement, was a masterful job
that most people, including some in the Obama White House, thought could never happen. JUDY WOODRUFF: And not afraid to stand up
against some other powerful people, even in her own party. SUSAN PAGE: You know, she is fearless. And as much as she stood up to Donald Trump,
of course, through his four years, there were also times when she stood up to George W.
Bush on the Iraq War. She stood up to Barack Obama when the question was how big to go
on health care. She stood up to Bill Clinton on the issue of human rights in China.
She was really comfortable enough with power
that she was not afraid to stand up to other powerful people. JUDY WOODRUFF: Talk for just a moment, Susan,
about her relationship with President Trump. You have some pretty graphic examples in the
book of how she dealt with him, how she spoke about him. SUSAN PAGE: You know, I think that President
Trump felt that he was — that she was someone he could make a deal with, especially until
the time of impeachment.
But I think she always viewed him as someone
who was dangerous to democracy. She told me that, on election night 2016, when she appeared
on this show — it's the opening of the book — once she learned that — realized that
Donald Trump was going to be elected president, it was like she was being kicked by a mule. And that famous picture for standing up in
a room and around a table that is almost entirely male pointing her finger at Donald Trump,
before leading a Democratic walkout of that meeting, that was, by the way, the last time
the two of them had a conversation. The White House put out that picture thinking
it made Nancy Pelosi look unhinged. She seized on the picture, distributed it, thinking it
made her look like she was in charge.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And what about President Biden?
I mean, she clearly was very happy that he won and that President Trump lost. But how do you see her fitting into what he's
trying to do? SUSAN PAGE: I think she is closer to President
Biden than to any other president with whom she has served. She says that he's got — he
is so sophisticated, so experienced in matters on Capitol Hill, they can speak in shorthand.
She called him a transformative president.
I think that this is — she sees this as a
great capstone to her remarkable political career. JUDY WOODRUFF: And they certainly share a
long tenure in the Congress. Last thing, Susan, how would you describe
what drives Nancy Pelosi? What does she want her legacy to be, do you think? SUSAN PAGE: If you ask her what drives her,
she will say it's concern about children. She has a very consistent message about that. She's a New Deal Democrat, just like her dad.
Her dad was close to FDR, so close that he named his second son Franklin Delano Roosevelt
D'Alesandro. And the values of the New Deal are values that Nancy Pelosi continues to
carry forward in terms of trying to — trying to help people who are in need, seeing a role
for a big government, not a small one. JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it's a fascinating read,
"Madam Speaker: Nancy Pelosi and the Lessons of Power." Susan Page, thank you.
Thank you very much. SUSAN PAGE: Judy, thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Apollo 11 astronaut Michael
Collins died today after battling cancer. In 1969, he stayed in lunar orbit alone for
more than 20 hours, while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the first landing on the
moon. Collins said he had no regrets. He said he was focused instead on making sure that
his crewmates could return home. During the 50th anniversary of that, Collins
told Miles O'Brien that he was mesmerized by our planet. MILES O'BRIEN: On their ride back home, they
marveled at our perch in the universe. The moon was their destination, but, for Collins,
the real discovery was Earth itself. MICHAEL COLLINS, Former NASA Astronaut: All
right, I have got the world in my window for a change. The moon was nothing compared to my view of
home planet. It was it. It was the main chance. I would
look out the window, and there would be a tiny little thing. You could obscure it with
your thumb. But every time you put it away somewhere, it would pop out. It wanted you
to look at it.
It wanted to be seen. It was gorgeous. It was tiny, shiny, the blue
of the oceans, the white of the clouds, little streak of rust color that we call continents.
It just glowed. Having gone out 240,000 miles and seeing it
gives me a much greater sense of fragility, a much greater urge to do something to protect
that fragility as we go along. JUDY WOODRUFF: Such a great memory. Michael Collins was 90 years old.
And that's the "NewsHour" for now. I'm Judy
Woodruff. Please join us for special live coverage of
President Biden's address to a joint session of Congress. Tune in at 9:00 p.m. Eastern
tonight to your local PBS station, or watch it on our social channels. For all of us at the "PBS NewsHour," thank
you, please stay safe, and we'll see you soon..