'Biden is on the verge of his 1st major legislative victory': Jon Karl

George Stephanopoulos speaks to co-anchors Jon Karl and Martha Raddatz on "This Week."
6:06 | 02/28/21

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Transcript for 'Biden is on the verge of his 1st major legislative victory': Jon Karl
As we head into March, president Biden is making strides and facing setbacks on both foreign and domestic policy. His covid relief package is heading to the senate after a democrats-only win in the house, but his $15 minimum wage has been stripped from the senate bill, and one democratic defection could bring the whole package down. Overseas Biden ordered his first military action this week against iranian-backed militias active in Iraq. The president is facing criticism from fellow Democrats demanding a tougher response. And just weeks after the capitol siege and a second impeachment, the man he defeated is heading back to the arena with a high-profile speech promising a return to politics. We'll cover it all this morning. We start with Martha Raddatz and Jon Karl. Jon, let me begin with you right now. That vote in house on the covid relief package, no votes to spare in the senate, the Democrats are now wrestling on how to handle that stripping of the $15 minimum wage from the bill. Biden is on the verge of his first major legislative victory. This would be a really big one. But there's absolutely no room for error. The covid relief bill passed in the house with no single Republican vote, that means he can't afford to lose a single Democrat in the senate, thanks to the ruling by the senate parliamentarian, the provision raising the minimum wage to $15 is not in the bill. With two opposed to it, it doesn't have 50 votes regardless. Some Progressives are pushing for an all-out war to save the minimum wage increase, even if that means calling for the parliamentarian to be fired. Here's the bottom line from the Biden white house, even without the minimum wage, this $1.9 trillion bill has almost everything that Biden wants. They will take it, they'll consider it a huge victory, even if that means the hike in the minimum wage is gone for now. It's a battle to fight another time. Meantime, Donald Trump is coming back, his presidency was far from normal, his post-presidency seems headed in the same direction, he's giving this speech just weeks after leaving office, and it's clear from what we've seen in speeches at CPAC already, he's still got an iron grip on the GOP. No doubt about that, George. Back in 2016, trump actually skipped CPAC because there was talk that conservative activists could walk out on his speech. They didn't can consider him a Republican. Now they're calling it t-pac, the trump political act group. Any Republicans who have been seen to defy trump have been bandished, no Liz Cheney at CPAC, no Mitch Mcconnell, no Nikki Haley, not even Mike pence. Mitch Mcconnell who said that trump was responsible for the riot on January 6th, who said trump could be prosecuted, he said this week that he would support Donald Trump if he's the Republican nominee in 2024. I've spoken over the past couple of days with several people who have been talking to trump, he's plotting his re-emergence, he's still falsely claiming the election was stolen from him, often going on and on and on in these conversations about the states, and he's talking about getting revenge on Republicans who have defied him. He's also facing possible prosecution in New York and Georgia. Let me bring in Martha Raddatz. Our chief global affairs correspondent. Let's start with president Biden and Saudi Arabia, he declassified that intelligence. Spoke with the king, not with the crown prince. He's facing more blowback for not punishing the crown prince for his approval of that killing. It's hard to see, George, what any sort of punishment the crown prince got other than that public rebuke, no Visa revoked. No sanctions. Listen to what candidate Biden said. Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered and I believe on the order of the crown prince. I'd make it clear, we're not going to sell more weapons to them. We were going to make them pay the price and make them the pariah that they are. As far as weapons even go, there's a pause in weapons, they may not sell them offensive weapons, only defensive weapons, but it's very unclear what that would be. Adam Schiff is saying, look, the crown prince has blood on his hands, you punished the people who carried out the order but have not punished the person who ordered the killing, George, so there's a lot of blowback to this and you have to wonder if there's another Saudi dissident who does not live in America, who doesn't want to work for an American newspaper what the world will think and what the crown prince will think. We'll be watching to see tomorrow. Meantime, we also saw his first military action this week. Striking at iranian-back militias. That's exactly what's happening, George. As you know well, it's a little easier to campaign than govern, they did carry out this air strike in Syria to a compound of iranian-backed militias, but it was the least lethal option. Joe Biden had to act. There was a rocket attack on a coalition base in Iraq and there were contractors wounded. There was one contractor who was working for the Americans who was killed. We had to fire back in some way, but he wants to get back to the negotiating table, the nuclear policy is a much bigger issue to Joe Biden and the administration. Martha Raddatz, Jon Karl, thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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