Transcript for The Breakdown: Senate votes on amendments to pandemic relief bill
Hi everyone welcome to the breakdown I'm Diane insane. And I'm Devin Dwyer for Terry Moran the US senate is in a marathon debate over that one point nine trillion dollar Coleman relief bill with the aid for families. Some businesses and local governments hanging in the balance at this hour senators. The began voting on amendments and changes in the bill many of them proposed by Republicans need to obstruct the process Democrats have already voted down one amendment from Vermont senator Bernie Sanders to raise the minimum wage we'll tell you win the final vote. He's expected. Meanwhile president Biden is sending delegates to the southern border to assess the response to a surge of unaccompanied children crossing into the US. Former Texas congressman that O'Rourke joins us live. To break it all down. And the nation's first African American secretary of defense is speaking out for the first time. We have a preview of Lloyd Austin's first TV interview with our Martha Raddatz. Coming up. We begin with the senate forging ahead on Kobe remains the White House says president Biden supports changes to the bill that would extend unemployment benefits through September at a lower amount. White House correspondent Karen Travers joins us now. With more on that chairman what amendments to this bill do we expect to pass and how long can this whole process take. Now this process -- could take as long as Republicans wanted to take it they just keep offering more and more amendments had the expectation though is that at some point they're going to run out of steam and that tends to happen around -- 121516. Hour mark so the expectation is they could get to a vote this weekend but senate Democrats say they're planning to work into the weekend as long as it takes to get to final passage there will be some amendments that passed but most of them as DeVon twin out of the top of the show are really just to try and slow down the process to gum up the works a bed and try and derail this bill but of course the Republicans don't control the senate right now Democrats do that very slim majority and a lot of this will just be cast aside but they are having a cubs right now things are taking a little bit longer than they were expecting they're kind of stuck great now on one amendment questions about how they can move past that and what that means for the rest of this process now over the next gators out. Inter president trump wanted big stimulus checks like the ones we see in this bill many Republicans. As you know often talk about the need for more money for small business is why the unanimously opposed to this. And can actually block the bill or just delay it. Dennehy as Democrats say Republicans are opposed to this because aids a Democrat in the White House and it's Democrats in the senate you're putting this forward and they're just trying to block this from going ahead of kids will say though this is a liberal wish list that it's too big a price tag one point nine trillion dollars and that it's not offer -- released now that's not exactly true but they say that there are there's just two months in an air that is not dealing with the immediate issue of course now there are very concerned about what this means for the deficit. And then -- only Devin you know what they don't like what's in it they're also saying they don't like that it's not gonna go out fast enough so fine if you have to pass this they say let's get it moving but again they are not in charge right now the Democrats do you feel they have the votes to get this through very slim majority 5050 senate of course vice president Harris is that tiebreaking votes. And Karen senator Sanders really wanted his fifteen dollar minimum wage back in there but some Democrats even voted against his amendment does that tell you about the chances for a federal minimum wage hike in the future resists all. More because of the guidance from the senate parliamentarians remove it from this. It's a little bit of both you've got a little bit there is saying well in this is not going to end up in the final -- so let's not putting in now is an amendment convinced just gonna complicate things and drag things out but there were so Democrats Joseph mansion the West Virginia accused in cinema an Arizona school we knew we're gonna vote against this they were in never going to be in favor of that wage hike to fifteen dollars per hour but to hand -- couple other Democrats who are very surprising six others who joined those you to vote down that amendment from Bernie Sanders that is driving here are checked in with our very plugged in producer Trish turner to ask why he and what were we expecting those Democrats to join and right now we don't have an answer yet from senators -- senators carper of Delaware as to why they were opposed to it so stay tuned on that. Of course Karen all of this is happening when we got some good economic news today the jobs report out shows employers added 379000. Jobs in January that's much better than analysts had expected how does that affect teen. This debate today. The White House is using that jobs report DeVon to say yes it is good news but it is not good enough that if we continue adding jobs at this pays is going to take until April 20/20 three to get back to the pre pandemic levels and that's let me say you need this infusion of federal money right you need to pass this legislation. To help small businesses to help people who are still struggling with unemployment. At the White House is not looking at this as a great airports ports better than what was expected but it's not good enough and it's been a big message from Democrats this week as to why this is urgent legislation. Republicans say just how the big bill 900 billion dollars back in December Democrats say it just wasn't enough and the prices will not end unless we address it with very big money. All right Karen Travers and Washington Forrest thanks Karen. And while Texas governor Greg Abbott is lifting the state mask mandate and reopening the state 100%. One icu nurse and Austin is sharing her thoughts on the moves. Cold. O'Shea. And keep you are hurting our state. I am. Earlier you. We objective now. Now number almost eighty. Water and more water spire were almost eight. Or ten when letting the back. Shop. Has an intensive care nurse in Austin, Texas talking about the State's reopening. So let's little more about the Texas reopening and the crisis at the border joining me now to do that former Texas congressman 20/20 democratic presidential candidate NATO Rourke store thanks so much. For being here what is your reaction to the governor's decision to lift this mass mandate answer reopened 100%. The governor she listening to the nurses or doctors to adult workers to those on the front lines. And the families all the more than 49000. Who lost their wire coat it's so far. Has the nurse who's just laid there and I'm people who were almost they're. Barton announced. This week every adults in Beattie. Country we'll have a vaccine by the end of may. It is so close where we are now for the governor as. Surrender. And lead free and their own when we know it is disproportionately hurting. Or communities communities of color and in net short scene at this moment we know mask and he. More people will unnecessarily dire news this is unconscionable and so we really do our best now. On are owned or another are wearing asked regardless what governor Sarah. Keep your distance and trying to cull most bold won't get vaccinated and aren't or they get sick were hospitalized we're dot. I'll ask you about immigration and issued you know very well and are passionate about the Border Patrol says they've seen a 113%. Increase this year. In those unaccompanied minors trying to cross the border illegally in your state how much of that is due to the perception. Do you think that the Biden administration is more lenient. On immigration. I don't know he could have a lot to do rip the last forty years. A veteran administration. Through the orwellian changed. Margaret protection all we're tens of thousands. Asylum seekers. Regardless and was president or what year we wouldn't you got to address issues on the ground causing people Lee more than 2000 miles. And doesn't need these issues were caused by the United States and whether it's illegal drug consumption or war on drugs or contribution to climate change is made many 80 degrees in Central America on the global. Or our contributions to their civil wars in 191980. All of this is a woman who wants right now. It's our responsibility to do the right thing. Isn't she. And while they try to do that though do you think the administration's been forceful enough in telling people not to enter illegally right now. I think the administration is doing the best they possibly can remember secretary might orcas was sworn in noted she you've been almost. And she and his team trying to do your best to meet this challenge. To protect security and safety state while still honoring Sean Hannity asylum seekers who traveled so or. Leading some of the most brutal countries on the basis of the land so I think they're doing their best mud. In addition to this dude needs a long term solutions in place sooner or leadership from the president as well as his Al arms. And congressman when millions of Texans lost Aaron that winter storm. You should you have been warning of a potential power grid failure for awhile so what needs to be done to prevent something like this from happening again. You really how the power generators electricity companies running the show in in taxes if you follow the money aren't solid he's electricity utilities. Given the governor literally hundreds of thousands unrestricted donations energy companies in the millions or the governor might explained the radical deregulation. Has led so we need to tighten up the regulation and your site new and reservation the we need to reconnect her caught our electricity grid would the rest of the that we can draw down our emergencies. Like this one. And we need to have people in power who believed to climate change. And help us or against it also changed policies that we don't contribute any more to those are steps we need to say there are pretty clear our scientists. Are are telling us that's the way forward we just need GO positions us listens and am and follow the. If I would congressman you were instrumental in expanding voter engagement in your state Texas though is now one of 43. States considering some of these new Republican backed. Voting laws to make it harder to vote how much of a challenger and those efforts for Democrats do you think and are any of the proposals you seem like requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote is India that reasonable. The only answer role or bode its. Security in this country thanks too courageous. Civil rights leaders 1950s and 1960s. Engine 65. Senate bill one senate. Or the people are is passing institutions signed into law. By Joseph Biden it will order as you know. A rewriting the rules so we'll bus so sorry. Simple one bow merge or. If you do that we'll know democracy tens of millions or will our. It's been denied and we saw these more than 200 did it in over 43 states rolled our meter protections we already. You're counting on senate Democrats. Do the right thing critically important moment our democracy. Former Texas congressman Darrell worked thanks so much for joining us as courtesy of you so much. And coming up next the first African American secretary of defense in US history is giving his first TV interview since being sworn in we've got to. Sneak peek at this ABC news exclusive with our Martha Raddatz. Right after the break stay with us yeah. Welcome back to secretary defense of the US is still sensing who's behind an attack on US forces in Iraq this week. At least ten rockets hit a base housing US soldiers Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke to Martha Raddatz about that attack in his first on camera interview since taking on general. This week we size second significant attack with those ten rockets. Do you know who did it and what kind of responses might we expect. We want to make sure that. But again we understand who's responsible for this the message to those. That would carry out such such Metallica's. You know expect us to to do what's necessary to defend ourselves low strike. If we didn't give us what we think we need to do at a time and place of our own choosing. Martha Raddatz joins me live now with more on this one on one interview with Defense Secretary awesome aren't dash thanks for being here. Talking to and I know you spoken to him before but after speaking to him in this interview what's your take. I'm how to Biden administration is going to respond to dress. Well I I I think date they really can't let this pass I mean they can try to ignore one but I I don't see in this case how they let this pass because it it's clear that. US military personnel and contractors. Could have been injured in this attack and of course there is one before that. They don't want to escalate the situation night there I I'd king just as secretary Austin said that given a lot of thought they'll decide. I know that. A day have given the president advised that look. The clock is yours you can wait there is no hurry to do this kind of retaliatory strike. I also asked him where do you get in that it you know it tit for tat and it just goes round and round and round. Because of course there was retaliatory strike last month and the Iran in backed militias or at least that's too. It is probably believed to be the Iranian backed militias there in Iraq after that they struck again. So you don't want to get in this back and forth and back and forth and back and forth an escalation and escalation. And particularly in the middle of of a time when the US really would like to start renegotiating. That nuclear jail with Iran and you think we'll see more diplomacy going forward. I think that is the number that is a number one thing that Lloyd Austin talked about let this this man is a lifelong soldier 41 years in the army but he stressed. Very much that to how important diplomacy has how you have to do it it essentially expire diplomacy before you do anything else I think there's always this myth. About people in uniform and he's no longer in uniform obviously there's this myth about people living in uniformed that they that they want to go to war that's really the last thing. They want so I think you'll see a lot of diplomatic out reached. By Lloyd Austin in this new role with with those in the same positions elsewhere defense ministers. I get I think he will be burying gauging. With Sam and try to work everything else out at the table. Not on a battlefield and I know you also asked secretary Austin about the January's six insurrection at the capitol and extremism within the military what do you have to say about that. It's he's very disturbed by it he has ordered Lisa what's called a standout on the military one day stand down. Chew out the military every single. Base every single member of the US military cast you basically think about extremism asked questions. I talk about it figure out we're it is in the military and it certainly has no place in the military. Check Sherrie Austin also said because I asked him what is a punishable offense and he said if you act on that. Extremism. But he you know he is experienced this himself as as a black soldier. In the US army for 41 years he knows. What it is and he doesn't want it in his military funny it was a black soldier in the US army for 41 years now he's the first African American secretary of defense Martha how does he feel. About breaking that barrier in the historic nature and being in this role. You know I I have known him for a long time and was with him and covered him in Iraq. Several times. Lloyd Austin is one of those but those soldiers you call a soldier's soldier I think probably the last thing he likes to do is interviews he'd probably rather be within her bright they're flying around in a helicopter in Iraq didn't been sitting down for an interview but she is clearly very proud of his accomplishment it was not easy and I think one of the egg things he said that I love the most is he said my goal is not to be the last blue. Black secretary of defense. I'm mark kiran it's always great to have you Martha thank you thanks and be sure to watch Smart fiscal interview with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that's coming up this Sunday on ABC's. This week it's going to be a great interview and thanks for that will Pope Francis is kicking off the historic first visit. To a rock today he touchdown with a red carpet ceremony addressing Iraqi and church leaders of the message of peace. And tolerance Iraq of course is seen by many as the cradle of christianity though. Decades of violence there have decimated the Christian population. ABC's senior foreign correspondent Ian panel has a closer look. In the empty storefronts that the faceless shopping Mal in Northern Iraq. The fooled into the gulf and they just in now is drawings bushel willed away from their home town of about ten left. Full styles one fateful day in the Lucas 2014. Win crisis came to their dual. Well look as it gets. Sample of Lewis who disagree. And and Sunday's. It came dollar Hollis hunt all of us to leave. We took them what they say the don't ask why just do you laser gun that prices are new to. Fifty million they would kill you know you've been just we're getting there and they say Checketts and even even without without. Chose. This is a story of an entire religion there's been in Iraq since the second century. Tom beats its persecuted. Uprooted. The Christians of Iraq sell homers. Why because we ought to Christian Arab. The American invasion of Iraq turned sectarian tensions into open war fat. Minorities who lost their protection and were increasingly targeted by a new breed of Islamist extremism. First there was al-Qaeda then came oasis which swept across the name of the brains of the new rules. The heartland of the Iraqi christianity did Iraq. Is the birthplace of Abraham or Abraham the patriarch of Judaism christianity. And Islam who moved I belong some claimed even the gunmen have beaten the country has more biblical sites than anywhere else outside the home day Israel. The three religions so closely linked flourished here the hundreds of years until the twentieth century. First it was the Jewish population of rooted decades. Today Nancy M and. Today it's christianity in Iraq the faces extinction. Only about a quarter of the million Christians who remain in the country down from at least won the half million just twenty years ago. We were in the region in 27 T. As Iraqi forces formed to take back Christie and towns and the city of Mosul from the blacks. Devices. This was a battle of the ages and large parts of the old city will flattened by the fighting. Where shell shocked residents struggle to escape. A dozen to a dozen people have just gone by men and women some of them were clearly very badly injured Israel hospital is no cash. Just look at this to the right here this old man just being held buys grandson. Today crisis is gone but the skills run deep. Few places more also than the city's Christian community. And Unocal joins us now live in Iraq in its great to see in this visit comes of course is the country's struggling. Through another rate of the corona virus also some real security concerns on the ground there what are the coach think this visit now and how is he received today. Yeah Erisa mean there are huge concerns in part I think many people regain superb coming here goods. This is something that he has felt for a long time is a pilgrimage that he wants to make her mean Iraq is importance of anyone. Whether you're Christian Jewish all -- or indeed Islamic I mean this is a country that are as a similar poll that was the birthplace of the patriarchs Abraham mole in bring him. Released biblical signs. That this is also about trying to heal some of these deep deep wounds in the country it's. Eighteen years since EUS invaded to Iraq. And the sectarian divisions it unleashed led to widespread bloodshed and it gave birth to our Qaeda in Iraq and also to Ollie says. And I and that whose heels are still very very rule those those wounds are a very very rules and so that the mission of the Pope really is just trying to heal some of those divisions are to try and Dave bring a message of peace and tolerance it's a dip of cool so a message to try and bring to Iraq spreading his woman many people want to hear. And I'm striking about the fact that the Pope on not just be staying within a heavily fortified secure zone he'll be visiting should holy sites in different parts of the country that have been since that were destroyed since been -- bill you've of course senator our reporting in Iraq for years in. What is the significance of this visit beyond just the symbolism. I think it is significant person because it's something that the vast colonel suddenly previous groups who tried to do prolonged period of time. That some of the people some of the places of these visits saying a hugely symbolic and it will send the want to message. Across Iraq and to cross the region for example he's gonna meet grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani he's arguably the most influential share religious leader in the country if someone that a lot of these militias look to and listened to so the whole idea that you -- the head of the Catholic Church meeting one of the most revered. Members of the Xia. Denomination. I think it's usually significant and both of them want to try and close out this message. Of trying to heal some of those divisions trying to work together and there are a lot of political and military forces that clay in Iraq this is not a country that is at ease with itself the -- problems down the line of -- union influenced the question of the American presence here and divisions within Iraqis themselves in within the -- community so there's a lot of work to be done but I think the message that it sends to people is one that you can try and build something positive and -- have to look on line the number of people have followed PDA is now for example on -- out who cover -- -- just bad news after bad news its bombings its divisions it's people being forced to flee their homes spending the last 24 houses -- incredible seeing so much pulls its imitate emanating from social media a panel to rack. When is the last time you heard any good news about this country well I think wiggle struggle to remember that. Yeah we sure can and so it is so great to see that there in panel thank you so much life force in Iraq we know you be covering the pope's visit all weekend Mon. And that does for us here on the breakdown I'm Diane Macedo and I'm Devin Dwyer in for tearing around we'll be back here Monday at 3 PM eastern time here on the breakdown have a great weekend. And.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.