'Your World' on Biden's tour of Hurricane Ida damage, fallout from Afghanistan exit

This is a rush transcript from “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” September 7, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: All right, you’re looking live.

The president of the United States is in Queens, New York. Remember, he is on this tour throughout the Northeast, in New Jersey earlier today, and now in Queens, New York, 52 deaths of the Northeast. Queens has that sort of ignominious position of being where most of the deaths occurred. Most of the people who did end up dying drowned in their basements or in their cars.

The president is getting an assessment of that and the needs of the community. He has also talked increasingly in this emergency statement for both New York and New Jersey that federal help and maybe tens of billions of dollars worth of that help is on the way.

Welcome, everybody. I’m Neil Cavuto, and this is YOUR WORLD.

And what we’re chronicling here is a president who is trying to tell those affected by a storm that went way beyond the Gulf Coast that, I’m here and so is the federal government. He will be speaking very shortly about the kind of aid he is talking about.

Let’s get the read from Alex Hogan, who was with him earlier today in Manville, New Jersey — Alex.

ALEX HOGAN, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Neil.

It is such a painful day for people in this community who are starting to pick up the pieces after losing pretty much everything that they own. Now, as you mentioned, the president was here today in Manville, New Jersey. He met with state and local officials touring this area and meeting many of these residents.

He talked with people, stopping by to give them hugs at some point. And he also spoke with one woman who talked about what it was like for her when she came home.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably around 2:30, 3:00 Thursday, the house was on fire.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Thank God you didn’t come back.

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Thank God we were not near the house. Nobody in the area was able to come back yet, because it was still — the waters were so high.

So, we’re extremely grateful that we were able to — all of us in the community, we were all able to not be here when this happened.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOGAN: Governor Phil Murphy says that he wants federal aid for six more counties on top of the six that are already approved. And the White house says that President Biden is open to applying a disaster declaration to more counties.

And President Biden is now in Queens, New York, where he’s witnessing the damage there and meeting many of the residents. He will meet with Governor Hochul, Chuck Schumer and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; 13 people died in New York City, 11 of them in lower-level basements; 27 people died here in New Jersey, most of them swept away in their cars, drowning in those vehicles, because of the floodwaters.

Here in Manville, the water levels reached the second story of many of these homes, and residents had to go to that top floor to be rescued by police, who save them by boat. Many of these streets look very similar. There are cars, one after another, that are totaled, and every sidewalk looks just like this.

Every inch of the ground is covered with personal belongings. These are desks, these are beds, appliances, like washers and dryers and fridges, as people continue to load things out of their home, a very difficult, devastating day for them, again, losing everything that they have.

And now on top of this, the National Weather Service is saying that most of New Jersey could see one to two inches of rain on Wednesday. And that could cause potential flooding to an already overly saturated ground — Neil.

CAVUTO: Alex, thank you very much for that, Alex Hogan following all of that in New Jersey.

By the way, we are learning a little bit more about the emergency funds that the president is requesting. This urgent spending request, as it’s called, goes for $14 billion in aid to respond to natural disasters that actually occurred before, before Hurricane Ida, as well as $6.4 billion to pay for the ongoing relocation of tens of thousands of Afghans that partnered with the United States during the war in Afghanistan.

But you can bet, with reports of up to $10 billion dollars in extra funding requests to help those post-Hurricane Ida, these are going to be some pretty eye-popping sums.

Karl Rove with us, FOX News contributor, former White House deputy chief of staff, bestselling author.

Very few, Karl, will stop or turn down a president who’s asking for emergency funds after a disaster. But more than half of this money is prior to that disaster. What do you make of it?

KARL ROVE, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, either bad planning or an attempt to take advantage of a crisis by getting a bunch of money for other things.

And I think we need to look carefully at the details of the requests for monies that are not connected with this emergency. If they were legitimate expenditures for previous emergencies, then the question arises, why didn’t the president and why didn’t his director at FEMA alert the public and indicate that the cupboard was bare and ask Congress for the money then?

CAVUTO: The Afghanistan situation is still part of that mix.

So we’re out of there, but we’re not out there, the funding and all this other stuff that he’s calling for, $6 billion. It’s a moving target, I grant you, and all of this at a time with the controversy — and you’re quite familiar, Karl — about whether the State Department is blocking Americans getting out, sticking to forms, paperwork and all of that, or has nothing to do with it.

But it’s a bumpy process. And I imagine it’s going to get bumpier. What do you think?

ROVE: I think so.

The administration doesn’t think so. They have sort of basically gone to the press in what is, I think, an incredibly cynical way, and said to the press, we’re not going to talk about Afghanistan anymore. That’s going to be over at the State Department. And we think voters are going to forget this by the 2022 election. And, instead, we’re going to be focused on the infrastructure package, the American jobs package, human infrastructure, free community college, free this, free that, free that, because we think voters will reward us at the polls in 2022 midterms.

Incredibly cynical. They cannot avoid talking about Afghanistan. Afghanistan is going to take continue to be part of our national dialogue. I was looking at a list of the members of the new government. The acting prime minister is the head of the Taliban leadership council. This is the group that sanctioned Al Qaeda being in — Afghanistan being a safe haven for Al Qaeda and attacking the United States.

The deputy prime minister is Abdul Baradar, who is the Taliban co-founder and was a — the Pakistanis considered a terrorist. The prime minister has been designated a terrorist by the United Nations, and the interior minister is one of the Haqqani family, which the FBI is trying to get and there’s a bounty on his head. And the defense minister is the founder of — is the son of the founder of the Taliban, who’s now deceased.

But the son is intimately tied up in this. Do we think these people are now going to say, OK, we’re going to open for American tourism, and what can we do to establish a consul and in the United States in order to have good diplomatic relations, and, oh, incidentally, yes, we have got economic opportunities here, we want Western companies to come in and partner with us?

No, they’re going to be — they’re going to be focused on revenge killings. And we’re going to have more stories like we had in the last couple of days of a policewoman being shot in front of her family in a provincial capital by the Taliban. They’re not going to be able to stop talking about it.

And they ought to talk — end the talk about this being this political and we’re looking at it only through a political prism.

CAVUTO: You know, we’re also looking at it through a financial, as you know, Karl.

ROVE: Yes.

CAVUTO: And keep talking about leverage and the billions that we can control and freeze through our Federal Reserve and Treasury, and that the impetus to unfreeze it is that you, Taliban, have to continue helping on all of this.

There’s very little indication in the past that money has been an incentive for them to do much of anything, but what do you think?

ROVE: Look, I don’t think so either. In fact, it is a demonstration of weakness.

We ought to be saying to them, that was the money that belonged to the legitimate government of Afghanistan. You overthrew it by force. That money’s gone. And that would be our greatest leverage on them, because, look, they have their own source of money. They have the illegal drug traffic.

And now we have made them into the largest weapons supplier to terrorist groups in the world by leaving behind billions of dollars of equipment, small arms, artillery pieces, vehicles, hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition.

So they’re going to have their own sources of money. We shouldn’t be basically saying to them, hey, we got a bunch of money, and you can hold us hostage for whatever you want, because, as we have demonstrated already under the previous administration, we can be taken to the cleaners in negotiations, and the new administration is even more likely to be taken to the cleaners.

So we got a bunch of money. Figure out ways in order to get us to give you money by providing roadblocks to becoming a normal nation and acting with respect to the lives and values of your people.

I mean, this is — this is like telling them, bend — I’m bending over, kick me, is the way the administration appears to be dealing with the Afghan government on the question of money.

CAVUTO: Timing is everything too, Karl, right? I mean, here we are on the 20th anniversary. You were there. You were with President Bush at the time.

Could you ever have fathomed — and we were still days away from targeting Afghanistan and the Taliban there — that they would be back in power, and with a vengeance, two decades later?

ROVE: No, because we gave it to them.

For 20 years — think about this, two-thirds of the people of Afghanistan are now under the age of 25. So all they know is what they have seen in the last 20 years, which is a government trying to become responsive to its people, a growing economy, incredible opportunities for women that didn’t exist before to get an education and to pursue a career, respect for human rights, a measure of personal liberty that they’d never seen before.

And we did so for the last several years. We ended our combat role six years ago. Our last death was 18 months ago. And we had 2, 500 people in the country. And we were able to keep the Taliban at bay by providing contractors to keep the Afghan air force in the air and by, if need be, attacking the Taliban by raining hell down from above.

And we unilaterally gave that up and gave the Taliban a victory. And they’re celebrating in the streets of Afghanistan. The Taliban is, not ordinary people, but the Taliban is, and talking about how they have humiliated the United States of America.

That will embolden our enemies, and more — make it more likely that they will be making attacks from the safety of Afghanistan against us and our allies. Al Qaeda struck us on September 11. The only reason they could was that the Taliban allowed them to use Afghanistan as a refuge.

In the negotiations of the previous administration, they never got the Taliban to agree to condemn Al Qaeda. Three times, the Department of Defense under the last administration and this administration have confirmed that the Taliban and the Al Qaeda are working hand in hand.

And if we think that anything is going to happen in Afghanistan, except to becomes a sanctuary for terrorist attacks on us and our allies, we’re kidding ourselves.

CAVUTO: Do you think that was a mistake, negotiating with the Taliban, even now and in the prior administration?

ROVE: Yes, absolutely.

I mean, we — think about it. The deputy prime minister, who really is the leader, Baradar, was in a Pakistani prison, because even the Pakistanis identified him as a radical Islamic terrorist. And we were the guys, under the negotiations of the previous administration, who got the Pakistanis to let him out of prison, so he could lead the Taliban negotiations.

And one of his first demands is, 5,000 Taliban warriors needed to be let out of the Afghan jails, and, in return, the Afghan — the Taliban would give up 1,000 Afghani hostages. And guess who a lot of those 5,000 battle- hardened Taliban warriors who were in Afghan prisons? Guess where they ended up?

They ended up in the attack on provincial capitals, and ultimately Kabul that brought down the Afghan government. So it was a mistake, in my opinion, to negotiate. And the only good thing in that agreement between the United States government and the Taliban was that the American withdrawal was supposed to be conditions-based.

And one of those conditions was that they should not attack provincial capitals. But when we got rid of Bagram Air Force Base and cut our numbers down to 2, 500 people, it became impossible to continue to make that a conditions-based agreement with the Taliban, because they violated the conditions.

CAVUTO: All right.

ROVE: And there was no real response by our government.

CAVUTO: Karl Rove, thank you, my friend. Very good catching up with you and also remembering 9/11.

Speaking of which, we are going to be concentrating not only on the new Afghanistan — in fact, we will be doing that right when we come back — but something we’re doing this week, and we’re going to be doing this on all my shows on FOX News and FOX Business leading up to our Saturday special coverage on the 20th anniversary of the attacks, is remembering what happened then, and down to what we were doing 20 years ago each day this week leading up to the attacks.

For example, do you know what the biggest story was 20 years ago today? The Federal Trade Commission had approved Chevron buying Texaco. It was a huge oil merger. That was bigger than big. At the same time, we learned that the U.S. government was giving up its quest to ultimately break up Microsoft.

And a new fellow had just taken over the FBI just a couple of days prior. His name? Robert Mueller. This week, that’s the kind of stuff we look at each day, every day, going back 20 years to the day, what was happening leading up to that day.

We will also go back in our own records, our own coverage to let you know, what were the worries, what were the concerns, especially after that attack? Were we ready for it? Hear it in the voices and the people at the time? Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: A lot of people came very close and saw up quite a bit yesterday. And I’m wondering, among the survivors, the friends of the survivors, how that affects going back to business?

DIANE SWONK, GRANT THORNTON: Well, it has to, even if you’re just watching these horrible images on TV. How can you just go back to business as usual?

CAVUTO: What do people tell you, Diane?

SWONK: Well, one of the things that it reminds me of is, I have been thinking about I never delineate between the economy and my life.

And this can’t be more wrapped up in both. I have been asked the economic impacts of this. And, ironically, we have talked about the rebuilding. And rebuilding is a stimulus. And it’s something you don’t want to talk about in sad times.

But I think what you have to think about is, we have been through crises. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis, when John F. Kennedy was killed. The economy continued. Life goes on. The sun comes up the next day.

And I think that’s the way it’s going to be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Our secretary of state is on the ground in Qatar now working to see what we can do to get flights up and operational, not just from Kabul, but from other regional airports in the country, because we know that, while that’s also a part of getting individuals out who want to leave, including the remaining American citizens, it’s also the way that a range of assistance will get into the country.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

CAVUTO: All right, but the bugaboo in this whole situation is how you go about that process. What role, if any, can the State Department really play, besides processing paperwork and that sort of thing, that would expedite this process?

If anything, such a task complicates it.

Let’s get the read from Jennifer Griffin at the Pentagon on where all this stands now, getting our people out.

Where are we?

JENNIFER GRIFFIN, FOX NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Neil.

Statements by the State Department and Jen Psaki that those with American travel documents are being allowed to leave by the Taliban don’t match the reality on the ground. Now that the U.S. is no longer in Afghanistan, they are relying on the Taliban to be the TSA, and they don’t want to give permission for charter flights to land at U.S. military bases in Qatar, for obvious security reasons.

We were given access to those evacuated on the last U.S. flights now being processed at three U.S. military bases in Europe, Ramstein, Sigonella, Italy and Rota, Spain, where the FBI, Customs and Border Patrol and NCIS had agents overseeing the screening of about 17,000 Afghan evacuees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEN. MARK MILLEY, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: They’re getting their names registered. They’re doing the biometrics. They check their irises. They do their fingerprints. They take a full facial photo.

They run that against the 20 years of databases that we have in the interagency.

I’m very comfortable that these folks are being properly cleared through the FBI.

GRIFFIN: And they’re being checked about three times before — with their biometrics before they even get to the U.S.?

MILLEY: That’s right, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: We saw the biometric screening process firsthand.

We learned that anyone flagged for drug or terror ties, anyone on a U.S. watch list, is sent to Camp Bondsteel, the U.S. military base in Kosovo. We learned that the thousands of Afghans who have been sent to the U.S. have been screened three times before arrival.

Most of the people we interviewed had some connection to the U.S. in Afghanistan, like this young boy, Yousef Abdullah, whose father worked for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. His father is already in the U.S.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILLEY: Tell me how you got out.

YOUSEF ABDULLAH, FATHER WORKED FOR DEA: My father’s was language inside the airport.

GRIFFIN: He’s inside the airport?

ABDULLAH: Yes, he was inside the airport. And he — that’s why we can’t get into today airport and we are now here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: Many of those we met had been guards at the U.S. Embassy. They showed us their documents.

Some were among the 600 Afghan Special Forces who helped guard the Kabul Airport in those final days, including this interpreter named Sher Mohammed, who we interviewed in Sigonella.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHER MOHAMMED, AFGHAN INTERPRETER: I feel very, very happy because we’re safe right now. And when I was in Kabul in Afghanistan, I was very afraid of — afraid of being captured by Taliban.

Right now, I’m very happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: This brother and sister were students. One has a full ride to the University of Kentucky, Louisville. We interviewed many students like this 21-year-old from American University of Kabul who left her entire family to escape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEHRIA GHAFOORI, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF AFGHANISTAN STUDENT: It was so difficult to leave my family behind and come. But I had — I had no choice. My family wasn’t there for — they wanted to come with me, all of my family, but they couldn’t make it, because Taliban would — just started gunfire, and suddenly everything was so messed up.

So, my family just told me, like, you just go. Save your life. It’s all right. We will stay here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRIFFIN: We have also learned the CIA alone helped the State Department and DOD to evacuate more than 30,000 Afghans who had helped the U.S. over the years or were known Afghans flagged by trusted sources.

Now, with no U.S. officials on the ground, it’s much more difficult, Neil.

CAVUTO: To put it mildly, as you said.

All right, Jennifer Griffin, thank you for that.

To Lieutenant General Richard Newton, a former U.S. Air Force assistant vice chief of staff.

General, always good to have you.

Do you think we’re going to get all these people out?

LT. GEN. RICHARD NEWTON (RET.), U.S. AIR FORCE: Well, good afternoon, Neil.

As Jennifer reported a lot of heart-wrenching, also some heroic stories there. Again, right now — and I’m generally an optimistic person. But, again, the Taliban hold all the cards, Neil. They own the territory, . They own the messaging.

They’re doing, by the way, a magnificent information operations campaign. And they hold in enemy hands our American citizens. But let’s also focus on the tens of thousands of Taliban — or Afghan citizens who’ve been by our side for the last 20 years or so.

I was just reading — one of my sources sent me a note that said that if — the Taliban will turn you away if you don’t have your proper documentation, or they will take the documentation away from you.

They own all the cards here. We have picked up and left. And so, again, we have no leverage.

CAVUTO: So what do we do? I mean, it seems like just to get these few people who did get out, and it was like an administrative nightmare — some were pointing fingers that the State Department. The State Department said it had nothing to do with this.

If you have that kind of difficulty with just a few individuals. And, presumably, you have 100 or so, maybe more Americans who want out, tens of thousands of Afghans who want out, that doesn’t look like it’s happening, General.

NEWTON: Well, and, if it’s happening, it’s very slowly.

By the way, I think it’s good that we have got our secretary of state and secretary defense in the region. I think that’s good.

(CROSSTALK)

NEWTON: But this administration needs to remain laser-focused on the challenges we have here.

And the State Department needs to take a little bit of the strings off of it in terms of allowing some of the private organizations, some of the veteran organizations we have been reading about that have been assisting with, again, some of the evacuation efforts.

This is not just something that’s going to go away in a few days or a couple of weeks. This is going to be painstakingly, I think, through days, weeks and now months, Neil. But we can’t leave any of our Americans behind at all.

And I think we take advantage of all leverages that we may have. It could be other nations, friends, allies, or maybe pseudo partners. We take advantage of all non-governmental organizations that may remain back in Afghanistan. We start working, obviously, the capitals there in the region that I hope that the secretary of state’s doing.

But, again, I would tell the American people that this is one where we have got to buckle up. This is going to take a long time.

CAVUTO: Understood.

General, thank you very much, and more for your service to this country, sir. Thank you.

You think about it, where were you 20 years ago this week? I bet most people couldn’t find Afghanistan on a map. It’s tough, right? It’s now so with us. But back then, who knew? That was before the attacks, right? And then came the attacks, and then came searching for the victims of those attacks, including a young son who couldn’t believe that his father had gotten out of those towers and was safe and sound.

But he wanted to go back and make sure everyone he worked with was too. He didn’t make it. His son on each and every anniversary joined us to remember.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: What goes through your mind, at the risk of sounding trite, on a day like this five years after the fact?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It’s not what goes through my mind, Neil. It’s what goes to my heart. There’s such an absolute connection between the people down at Ground Zero.

And the absolute feeling I get is that some of that horror is being replaced with resilience.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: Well, a quick message from Kathy Hochul, the Democratic New York governor, who is asking the president just behind her.

New York needs help, a lot more help, and the president saying, as he did in New Jersey, help is on the way, billions of dollars worth of help — after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right, the president making clear right now as he gets ready to speak to New Yorkers, after speaking to New Jerseyans, after seeing the Ida damage there, that more help is on the way.

He has already asked Congress for an emergency funding for disaster aid that actually includes help for Afghan refugees to the tune of more than $16 billion. We will get into that in a second and hearing from the president of the United States shortly.

But that money, at present, does not include any jobless benefits. They have formally expired today.

Jeff Flock following the fallout for a lot of businesses who want a lot of those folks losing those benefits. And the sooner, the better, I guess, right, Jeff?

JEFF FLOCK, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK CORRESPONDENT: That’s what they think, Neil. And we hope they’re right about.

John Alianello of MiniMoves, which is as a company outside Chicago, a moving business, you hope these benefits going away mean more people coming back to work. These guys here, you were able to hire, but a lot of people you needed to hire, you couldn’t.

JOHN ALIANELLO, MINIMOVES: Yes, that’s true.

With the pandemic and the unemployment and getting the benefits made it difficult this summer to hire new people, train them and get them inserted into our operation.

FLOCK: But here’s a question. Wall Street Journal did some analysis of the states that ended the unemployment benefits early. They found that there was no additional boost to hiring.

You worried about that?

ALIANELLO: A bit worried about it. We’re pretty confident, though, in the Chicago area, we bring them in here and train them and get them suited and get them ready for our — for our fall and winter business.

FLOCK: Yes.

ALIANELLO: But we are concerned about it.

FLOCK: Yes, it’s job creation frustration, Neil.

As you know, the numbers in the jobs report last week, we thought we were going to get 700,000 jobs. We got 200,000-plus.

You had to do what to get people to stay here and work for you?

ALIANELLO: Bonuses, incentives, higher incentives, recruiting bonuses, lunches, a lot of outside activity just to retain the people and keep them engaged.

FLOCK: Cut it into your profit, or did you pass it on?

ALIANELLO: Cut into our profit. But that’s OK. We want to make sure the business is there, and we can service it.

FLOCK: Gotcha.

This is a tremendously labor-intensive business, Neil, as perhaps you can tell. Obviously, any time you have been through a move, these boxes don’t pack themselves. These couches don’t wrap themselves up in cellophane. They need workers. Millions of them are needed around the country. And perhaps – – no offense to those folks that really needed the unemployment benefits, the extra benefits — maybe this will be a spur to hiring some of those folks — sir.

CAVUTO: Well, you mention a very good point, Jeff. We had the exact same jobless benefits situation in the prior month, when jobs soared, as in this latest month, when they did not. So there’s got to be another culprit that we’re missing here.

Thank you very much, Jeff, Jeff in Broadview, Illinois, on that.

I want to explore that a little bit more with Steve Moore.

Let’s say the benefits situation isn’t entirely the story, Steve. Let’s say its reluctance about the COVID spikes, people who are anxious about returning to work, things like that. What do you think?

STEPHEN MOORE, FORMER DONALD TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADVISER: No, there’s no question that some of the reluctance of workers to go back to work is because of the Delta variant, no doubt about it.

And that’s one of the reasons we had a disappointing jobs report. But the evidence has been pretty crystal clear that these states — I just disagree with The Wall Street Journal analysis. I think it’s pretty clear in talking to employers around the country that the additional benefits has really made it very difficult to get these workers back, just as you heard that business owner you had on.

There was a survey just taken last week. Half of small businesses in the country say they cannot get the workers back. We have 10 million job openings in the United States. And we have got eight million unemployed people. How do we get those eight million unemployed people back into those jobs?

The good news is that, starting basically today, those extra unemployment benefits are going to go away. I do think that will be an impetus to get people on the job.

CAVUTO: But, like I said, we had the same, almost exact benefits situation the prior month, when things are soaring. So you’re quite right.

I guess it’s a jump-ball at what is really doing this, but what if it’s people just leery, period? And like I said, it could be they’re reticent about people unvaccinated, or their employees, future employers, if they’re looking for work, who are demanding all of this stuff, and they’re just sitting tight, holding tight.

How much of an effect or lag could this have?

MOORE: Well, here’s the thing.

It’s not just unemployment benefits that have increased. Just a week or two ago, Neil, the president expanded food stamps. We’re providing people with $300 per-child per-week cash benefits. We’re providing people with rental assistance. So the whole panoply of all these benefits have really incentivized people not to go back to work.

And, by the way, you know who this is most unfair to? It’s the people who have been working for the last year, the nurses, the transportation people, the people in that factory we just saw who are working. And in some cases, Neil, they actually are getting less money than the people staying home on their couch.

I don’t see how that’s fair. I don’t see how it’s good for the economy. And, by the way, the longer people stay unemployed, because many people are unemployed now for 18 months, the worse it is for their families, for themselves, for the small businesses.

I just think we got to get back to, as much as possible, business as usual, and reward people for working, not reward people for not working.

CAVUTO: You know, Steve, we’re waiting momentarily to hear from the president. He’s in New York today, as I told you. Last week, he was along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, assessing the damage there, now in New Jersey earlier today, the damage there, in New York, and promising a lot more aid, in fact, emergency requests, where it looks like to me — and I took off my socks to include counting on my fingers and toes — $16 billion in more funding.

What do you make of that?

MOORE: Well, look, in cases where you have a national emergency or a natural disaster like this, we do come in and provide aid. But what we ought to be doing is saying, OK, if we have to spend, say — I forget, what was the number, did you say $16 billion — then we should cut other government programs and make room for that.

That’s the thing that the government never does. We just keep borrowing and borrowing and borrowing. And while we’re talking about this $18 billion, of course, the president is pitching a $4.5 trillion spending bill, which will massively increase our national debt.

I have big problems with that. I think, for the future of this country, and the future of our finances, it’s a very problematic proposition.

CAVUTO: You know, one of the things that president has been pushing is this notion that, I’m here, I’m with you, I’m going to stand by you. And, by the way, we have this $3.5 trillion human infrastructure package that will address a lot of this.

If he stopped at just the bipartisan package, he might have a good argument to make. But some of this other stuff, I don’t know.

MOORE: Well, don’t forget the big story from I guess it was Friday was Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia saying, I believe in the pages of The Wall Street Journal, I can’t go for $3.5 trillion.

CAVUTO: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Too much, right.

MOORE: We got to put a pause on it.

CAVUTO: Right.

I wonder what that could mean, though.

MOORE: Yes, right.

CAVUTO: I mean, Joe Manchin could be setting a different bar here, but it might be only $2.99 trillion. I don’t know what’s going on here.

I do know, in the end, he invariably and almost always votes with the Democrats or is setting up the smaller number.

MOORE: He does.

Well, you’re going to have him on your show to answer that question.

(LAUGHTER)

MOORE: I don’t know what’s going through his mind. But I’m hoping that he will stick to this principle.

I mean, I think all Americans, Democrats and Republicans, agree $4.5 trillion of new spending is going to be financially ruinous. And, by the way for that amount of money, we could just eliminate income taxes and payroll tax for a full year.

I mean, imagine, Neil, how much the economy would grow if we told every business in America you don’t have to pay taxes for a year. It would be cheaper than all of this new spending. It comes out, by the way, if my math is right, $4.5 trillion, we have got a little over 110 million households in this country, that’s like $40,000 per household.

CAVUTO: I’m just wondering, too, it’s going to be tough to get over the end zone, to your point.

But that could also mean the tax hikes that are ostensibly meant to pay for this, they could be delayed as well. What do you think of that?

MOORE: Well, the Democrats have a big problem, Neil, because their numbers aren’t adding up.

And so they have to go to something called the Joint Tax Committee and the Congressional Budget Office to get the final numbers.

CAVUTO: Right.

MOORE: And guess what? They are saying that your numbers don’t add up. You’re way short on your revenues.

Now Democrats are looking at a whole panoply of new tax increases, including one, did you see this one, Neil, you might be taxed on the number of miles you drive in your car.

CAVUTO: Yes, that would be a tough one to get through everybody.

As we wait for the president, this is a chance for him also to pivot from Afghanistan. Easier said the done. How do you think that’s going?

MOORE: Well, of course, if I were president, I’d want to pivot away from the catastrophe of Afghanistan too.

But, here on the home front, things aren’t going so well either. I mean, we have got a border crisis that you have been reporting on pretty regularly at FOX News. You have got a problem of rising prices and inflation. You have got the small business problem of not having workers available.

CAVUTO: All right.

MOORE: And then you have this new outbreak of COVID.

Show me something that’s going right.

CAVUTO: There’s a lot on the plate, a lot on the plate.

The president will talk about that and his plans to financially help, well, everyone in the storm’s path out after this. Take a look.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

BIDEN: … by saying, I wish every American could walk down this alley with me to see and talk to the people who have been devastated, just talk to them.

None of them were shouting or complaining. Every one of them were thanking me as if it was something special — I mean it sincerely — that I was here and hoped that we’d be able to do something.

This is America, where I am standing right now. These are the people…

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: … whether it was in Scranton or Claymont or anywhere around the world, the country, who built this country.

And it’s about time we step up. They’re always the first ones that are hurt and the last ones that are helped. But that’s not going to happen this time. The group I have standing with me led by Chuck Schumer and your — Congresswoman, is this your district?

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Grace Meng.

BIDEN: Oh, it’s Grace’s district.

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: I want to thank her personally for her gumption, the way she’s fought and hollered and fought so hard for all the people in this alley. I really mean it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. But that goes for everybody here.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: And, look, folks, I want to thank governor for — and Leader Schumer and Kirsten — I shouldn’t — I should say Senator Gillibrand, and Congresswomen Meng and Maloney and Meeks and Mayor de Blasio for being here.

You know, it’s not — how can I say this? Sometimes, some very bad things happen that have a tendency to bring out the best in a people and a country.

And I think what people are seeing across this country, from the wildfires in California in the far West, which I’m heading to in a couple days, all the way to down in Louisiana in the Gulf, where I was a couple days ago, to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, a lesser extent, Delaware to a lesser extent, and New York, people are beginning to realize this is much, much bigger than anyone was willing to believe, and the whole segment of our population denying this thing called climate change.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

SCHUMER: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

BIDEN: But I really mean it.

Sometimes — my mother used to say, out of everything bad, something good will come of it if you look hard enough for it. Well, I think we have all seen, even the climate skeptics are seeing that this really does matter.

And it’s not just whether or not people who are just trying to get by in these homes in these alleys here, working their butts off, do well. It’s people in high towers along the shore who find that, as this rain and all this change takes place in the groundwater, the buildings are actually beginning to tilt, 100-story buildings. This goes so far beyond what anybody is willing to speak to up to now.

We just finished surveying some of the damage in the neighborhood here in Queens. And earlier today, we were in the Raritan Valley in New Jersey, which also got badly, badly hit.

Walking these neighborhoods, meeting the families and the first responders, seeing how folks are doing after this destruction and pain and another devastating storm, is an eye-opener.

The people who stand on the other side of the fences who don’t live there who are yelling that we are talking about interfering with free enterprise by doing something about climate change, they don’t live there. They don’t live — they don’t understand.

And, last week, right here, in so many other communities, these waves crashed through the streets here, testing the aging infrastructure, and taking lives.

More lives were taken here than down in Louisiana. Let me say that again. They had over 20 inches of rain. They had 178-mile-an-hour winds, gusts, and more lives were taken here than down in Louisiana.

And you all saw the harrowing images of stories and families trapped in flooding basements, and struggling to survive.

Well, you didn’t have to — just go along this valley. Talk to the people. I’m sure the press has done that. My message to everyone grappling with this devastation is, we’re here. We’re not going home until this gets done. I really mean that.

We’re not leaving. We’re going to continue to shout as long as it takes to get real progress here. Folks, we have to take some bold action now to tackle that the accelerating effects of climate.

If we don’t act now — I’m going to be heading — as Chuck knows, as the senator knows, I’m going to be heading from here to Glasgow in Scotland for the COP meeting, which is all the nations of the world getting together to decide what we’re going to do about climate change.

And John Kerry, the former secretary of state, is leading our effort putting it together. We are determined.

We are determined that we are going to deal with climate change and have zero emissions, net emissions by 2050, by 2020, make sure all our electricity is zero emissions. We’re going to be able to do these things, but we got to move. We’ve got to move, and we’ve got to move the rest of the world.

It’s not just the United States of America. And so, folks, this summer alone, communities with over 100 million Americans, 100 million Americans call home, have been struck by extreme weather. One in every three Americans has been victimized by severe weather, the hurricanes along the Gulf, the East Coast up through this community.

And I saw the human and physical costs firsthand, as I said, in Louisiana.

But, Governor, you called, Phil Murphy, so many of the leading — Governor Murph, so many leading with urgency and action, are — said, enough, enough.

And there’s not a single request I’m aware of — there may be something — that we haven’t signed off on, that we haven’t signed off yet. And here’s the deal. The New York Fire Department, the New York Police Department, the Sanitation Department, and other first responders, they’re leading with incredible, incredible courage.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: Two line men have been killed trying to make sure we — and, folks, the evidence is clear. Climate change poses an existential threat to our lives, to our economy.

And the threat is here. It’s not going to get any better. The question, can it get worse? We can stop it from getting worse. And when I talk about building back better — and Chuck is fighting for my program, our program on the Hill — when I talk about building back better, I mean you can’t build it to what it was before this last storm.

You got to build better, so if this storm occurred again, there would be no damage. There would be. But that’s not going to stop us, though, because, if we just do that, it’s just going to get worse and worse and worse, because the storms are going to get worse and worse and worse.

And so, folks, we’ve got to listen to the scientists and the economists and the national security experts. They all tell us this is code red. The nation and the world are in peril. And that’s not hyperbole. That is a fact.

They’ve been warning us the extreme weather would get more extreme over the decade. And we’re living in real time now, where we can look around the records and the ruins and the heartbreak from so many communities to feel it. Just don’t understand. You can feel it. You can taste it. You can see it, precious lives lost in Louisiana, New Jersey, New York, families living in shelters, subway stations flooded, decaying infrastructure pushed beyond the limits, lives and livelihoods interrupted once again.

We’re working closely with the governors and mayors and members of Congress and community leaders. On Sunday, I immediately approved the disaster declaration of Governor Hochul to rush federal assistance to where it was needed here.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, President. Thank you, Mr. President.

BIDEN: FEMA’s working intensively with State and local officials assessing the damage and mobilizing resources.

One of the things I want to thank Chuck for, as leader of the Senate, he has helped mobilize state, local and federal. When they’re all working together, that’s when things happen positively.

The health and human services secretary is working with the state to ensure folks on Medicare and Medicaid get the emergency care they need. They’re going to make sure it’s equitable, so that the hardest hit, including lower-income folks, communities of color and the elderly and the most vulnerable, get help and get it first.

They are the ones in the greatest need. And there’s much to be done, and we’re working around the clock in all these critical needs and areas.

Look, I say to anyone who can hear this, or this is broadcast, if you need help, please go to disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA, 1-800- 621-3362. We can get you help now. We can get you help now.

And I know these disasters aren’t going to stop. They’re only going to come with more frequency and ferocity. And, as I said, I’m working in Congress to pass two important pieces of legislation that this man here is honchoing through the Congress for me.

SCHUMER: Oh, yes.

BIDEN: The bipartisan plan to modernize our physical infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our power transmission, our distribution lines.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: How many bridges I just went through in New Jersey that had been overflown by the river? The river has gone higher than the bridges, having done damage to them.

My Build Back Better plan with key investments in — to fight climate change, cutting emissions and make things more resilient, each dollar we invest, every dollar we raise, a city block by two feet flood-proof power stations, sanitations, reduction in the buildup of kindling in our forest, installing electrical lines underground, rather than overhead, saves us $6 for every single dollar we spend to do those things.

Because, the next time disaster strikes, the flood is contained, the fire doesn’t spread, as widely, and power stays on, not to mention those investments save lives, homes and create good-paying union jobs.

SCHUMER: Yay. We like union jobs.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: I hosted — I hosted 56 heads of state in Washington.

And I pointed out — we were talking about climate change. And I said, I think of one word when I think of climate change, jobs, good-paying jobs. Each of these things requires a good-paying job, not $7 or $12 or 15, but $45, $50 an hour, plus health care.

That’s what is needed. And so, folks, it will also — and Wall Street, not too far from here, acknowledges, if we spend the money and these things, we’re going to grow the economy, increase employment.

The fire in Oregon sent smoke all the way to the Atlantic. The storm in the Gulf, as you’ve now figured out, can reverberate 10 states away. Supply chains and crop production get interrupted, driving up costs, devastating industries all over America.

This is everybody’s crisis, everybody’s crisis.

SCHUMER: Yes.

BIDEN: And let me just say again, the fact is that the damage done on the West Coast, which I will be heading to, they’ve already burned five million acres to the ground.

That’s bigger than the state of New Jersey, if I’m not mistaken, five million acres. And you see it by the smoke that ends up coming over the East Coast.

Folks, we’re all in this. It’s about time we stopped the regional fights and understand helping somebody make sure there’s no fewer fires in the West warrants helping people in this alley make sure they’re not flooded.

And, by the way, it’s not just the flooding. I will end with this. Not just the flooding. Flooding ends up overrunning sanitation systems. And it causes disease, and people get sick. And it’s serious, serious business. So we got a lot of work to do.

Again, it’s good-paying jobs. We can put the economy back on a path to real growth. But, in the meantime, we’re going to save a whole hell of a lot of people’s lives and we’re going to save a whole hell of a lot of money.

God bless you all. Let’s get this done.

SCHUMER: Mr. President, look at that nice kid with the American flag.

Say hello.

BIDEN: How are you, pal?

SCHUMER: What’s your name? He can’t hear us.

BIDEN: How old are you?

QUESTION: Seven.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seven.

BIDEN: Oh, you’re getting old.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That’s cute.

SCHUMER: Is that nice?

BIDEN: And, by the way, the neat thing about America, every time we end up with a problem going into a serious circumstance, we come out better than we went in.

That’s because we’re so diverse. That’s America. Be proud of it. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amen.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God bless America.

BIDEN: And don’t jump.

(LAUGHTER)

BIDEN: All right.

SCHUMER: Great job.

BIDEN: Thanks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you so much. God bless you.

BIDEN: Thanks.

I didn’t get to mention all of the names.

CAVUTO: All right, still monitoring that and see if he says anything.

My producers will continue to monitor the president of the United States. But he uses this opportunity after the storm in the aftermath of Ida, which has killed 52 people in the Northeast, that this is now, more than ever, a chance to address climate change, and that it will pay for itself.

Well, the numbers simply don’t add up at this point. He’s talking about raising taxes on the well-to-do and corporations. But that covers roughly a little bit more than half the cost of the $3.5 trillion package that others have put at closer to $5 trillion.

Be that as it may, that’s a debate in Washington perhaps for another day. The president wants to make it a more immediate day.

For my next guest, it’s just the issue of protecting and helping people right now.

Kristin Palmer is a New Orleans council member who has been following these developments, and also what’s been a devil of a time helping the elderly and those who had to evacuate senior living facilities.

Council member, very good to have you.

How are things looking right now?

KRISTIN PALMER (D), NEW ORLEANS COUNCILMEMBER: Well, we’re looking — we’re looking great, if you look at the way our infrastructure held ground when Ida hit us. And I think we did very well.

I think it showed that those investments paid off. But where we actually saw a loss of life was in the aftermath, quite frankly, and not being able to handle the amount and the time it took once the power went out. It really showed our vulnerabilities in a lot of these living facilities.

CAVUTO: And you also have to deal with COVID, which was a big problem. And so it’s obviously less of a problem now.

PALMER: Yes.

CAVUTO: But that’s a lot to juggle, isn’t it?

PALMER: It is.

And we have done this before.

CAVUTO: Yes.

PALMER: I mean, last year, we had seven named storms that came through during COVID. And we have shown our resilience time and time again,

I think what we’re seeing now is the quickness of the storms have prevented us from being able to evacuate, because with contraflow, when you try to evacuate an entire city, it has to be done in stages, especially when you have low-lying parishes. So, with that into consideration, then we have to really start looking at, how do you make a plan for the aftermath and loss of power for long periods of time?

Because what we saw in New Orleans is that you have these things called independent living facilities.

CAVUTO: Right.

PALMER: And, of course, you can be independent if you’re in a wheelchair on the third floor and you have power and you have an elevator.

What you — you’re not independent once the power goes out. And so we lost someone in my district, the very first reported death, and he was on the second floor, but did not have access to oxygen, did not have access to an elevator. And, quite frankly, there was no management on site. And nobody knew what was going on in this independent living facility.

And so it’s something that’s tragic that shouldn’t have happened. And we really need to start evaluating what we consider independent living, and ensuring that, when these things happen, when we have loss of electricity, how do we protect our most vulnerable?

CAVUTO: Yes, you think about it, and you know the weather forecast better than I do in your neck of the woods, but I think I heard rain, and I think I heard threats of more flooding.

How do you prepare for something like that?

PALMER: Well, the biggest thing, quite frankly, is the heat index too, right?

CAVUTO: Right.

PALMER: As you’re seeing that climb up, this past — this past week, we have had a heat index over 106.

And that can, again, really affect our vulnerable populations. And so you do need to be able to make sure that we have the ability either to evacuate them post-storm or to ensure that we have things such as generators that can be functional up until 96 hours post-storm to ensure that our people can actually survive it, because that’s what we’re really talking about, right, is what happens post-storm at this point.

CAVUTO: So, power, has it returned?

PALMER: We are now over 75 percent together with our storm…

CAVUTO: OK.

PALMER: … in terms of our electricity, so that’s doing well.

But you can — again, it’s something that comes in phases. You can’t just flip a switch and the entire city comes back on.

CAVUTO: I understand.

PALMER: So, you will see in different parts of town, we will have the electricity on faster than others.

Again, when we talk about hardening the system long term, I think it’s really important to talk about burying the power lines and how do we make our infrastructure more resilient, and, at the same time, though, paying attention to how do we make sure that people can live and stay independent within their homes at — in the aftermath of a storm such as this.

CAVUTO: Good point.

Council member, thank you very, very much. You’re doing the yeoman’s work here. Keep at it. And thank you.

That’ll do it.

Here comes “THE FIVE.”

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