'Your World' on infrastructure plan


This is a rush transcript from “Your World,” July 21, 2021. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEFF BEZOS, FOUNDER, AMAZON: Oh, my God!

My expectations were high, and they were dramatically exceeded.

Every astronaut, everybody who’s been up into space, they say this, that it changes them, and they look at it, and they’re kind of amazed and awestruck by the Earth and its beauty, but also by its fragility. And I can vouch for that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Jeff Bezos can now add astronaut to his list of achievements.

Welcome, everybody. I’m Neil Cavuto and this is “Your World.”

And for about three minutes, Bezos said his three crew members were quite literally out of this world, briefly in space, more than 65 miles up in the air, before returning to Earth. It all went smoothly. And it has gotten rave reviews around the world, including from fellow astronaut now Richard Branson, who tweeted: “Well done, Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos, Mary, Wally and Oliver. Impressive. Very best to all the crew from me and all the team at Virgin Galactic.”

We had heard earlier from Elon Musk yesterday wishing him luck, but not today. The bottom line is that this is yet another billionaire who has placed a big bet on space, this time, like Branson, trying to make himself a part of it.

Some mixed reviews on a message he had coming out and talking to the press, thanking, well, Amazon customers and workers. But that is what built his fortune.

We will be talking to a couple of very important people on this very subject, including Charles Duke, who walked on the moon on Apollo 16, what he makes of this, and maybe Bezos’ his plan to eventually expand to the moon, and Gerry Griffin, the former NASA flight director, as well.

First to Jeff Paul in Van Horn, Texas. That’s right, Van Horn, Texas, where it all went down, or, I guess, Jeff, up.

JEFF PAUL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Neil, 21 years in the making.

And Jeff Bezos blasted off for a historic and near picture-perfect journey to space. You really couldn’t have asked for a better day and for things to go any smoother. They lifted off just behind us here about a couple miles back from where we are standing, the launch pad here in Van Horn, Texas.

And I can tell you, Neil, there was sort of a collective sigh of relief and then a big roar of applause once we all realized out here who were watching that the New Shepard had lifted off safely and that it was heading towards space.

It reached speeds up to Mach 3, which is three times the speed of sound. Eventually, they got up to about 66 miles above the West Texas desert. And once they reached that altitude, the four passengers got the view and weightlessness that they had only dreamed of.

Bezos at one point even playing around and catching some Skittles while floating around the capsule. Now, after a sonic boom, the booster then landed vertically, where it will be used again. And a few minutes later, the capsule carrying those four passengers then parachuted to a safe and very uneventful landing.

Bezos was later asked if his flight to space has changed his view of Earth. Here’s how he responded.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEZOS: As we move about the planet we’re damaging it. And so that is — that’s very profound. It’s one thing to recognize that intellectually.

It’s another thing to actually see with your own eyes how fragile it really is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: Now, this flight not only historic, being that you have Jeff Bezos, the richest man in the world, just launched himself to space, but you also have the youngest, an 18-year-old from the Netherlands, and the oldest, 82- year-old Wally Funk.

She was one of the original women who trained to go to space, wasn’t allowed to because of basically her gender, even though she outperformed most of the people she trained with. She finally got to go to space after waiting for six decades. She’s obviously thrilled.

And, Neil, likely, more people are going to be going to space, as Blue Origin announced today they’re going to have at least two more missions by the end of the year — back to you.

CAVUTO: All right, and then they expand out looking at bigger rockets down the road. So he’s just warming up, isn’t he?

PAUL: It sure sounds like it.

And judging by his intensity after this flight, it seems like he’s kind of addicted to space travel. So we will see what he does.

And one other point, Neil, that I thought was interesting that the great brilliant photographer we have out here, Scott King (ph), mentioned, was that he did all of this in his own backyard. He launched the rocket.

CAVUTO: Yes.

PAUL: The rocket then landed, then he landed all on his own property, essentially.

So pretty incredible that he could keep it to that sort of three-mile radius on his own grounds here for Blue Origin.

CAVUTO: Just amazing.

Jeff Paul, thank you my, friend. Great coverage today on all of that.

This ended up not being the 11 minutes it was supposed to be, but closer to 10 minute minutes, which really actually boils down to about $2.8 million a minute. I almost got the impression, looking at a young Oliver Daemen walking off that it was almost like a disappointment of a Disney World ride, that you were waiting on a long line and it’s 10 minutes, like, hey, I want to go back again.

But it’s on, right, and another billionaire setting his sights on the stars and a considerable amount of money.

Gerry Griffin probably welcomes all of this right now as this expands. I think you remember Gerry quite well, the former NASA flight director, his voice ubiquitous with so many historic launches.

Gerry, it’s so good to have you.

I was thinking of the difference now with billionaires and private enterprise and doing what NASA alone was doing for a long time. And NASA, we should keep in mind, was a partnership with corporations. So we shouldn’t lose sight of that. But it’s a whole new ball game now.

What do you think?

GERRY GRIFFIN, FORMER NASA FLIGHT DIRECTOR: Yes, you’re right. It is a new ball game.

And I think we have got a lot of celebrations for the day. What Blue Origin did in Van Horn was monumental, rocket launch from the ground, up high. Everybody came out just fine, hard, hard work.

And, Neil, every time I see them land that first stage booster, it just blows my mind. Three or four years ago, I would have said that’s impossible, nobody can do that. Now, boy, am I eating crow.

And — but we also have three companies now that have stepped up and put their own blood in the game and skin in the game. And they’re making it happen. And I think that’s wonderful. I think — I think we’re going to see even greater advances now by these companies, or at least two of them are going on to launch into orbit not too far away from the cape.

And I think it’s exciting. And we also have the 52nd anniversary of Apollo 11 to celebrate today.

CAVUTO: That’s right.

GRIFFIN: So, I think it’s time to say well done to all of them, and I look forward to what they’re going to do next.

CAVUTO: Always a class act, Gerry.

I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but Elon Musk loves to sort of zing Jeff Bezos. He illustrated that, you know, kidding around.

But I raised that with Bezos yesterday when I talked to he and the crew about the latest kind of ribbing from Elon Musk, I want you to react to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: You know, Elon Musk had retweeted a meme about your spaceflight, Jeff, making fun of you for only touching the edge of space. He also reminds folks that his rockets can orbit the Earth at 17,000 miles per hour. Yours can’t, not quite, whatever it is, 2, 300 miles per hour.

Is it just a little competitive jousting back and forth? What did you make of that?

BEZOS: Well, it’s correct.

What we’re doing and what Blue Origin is doing with the new Shepard vehicle is what Alan Shepard did, the first American in space. It’s called a suborbital spaceflight. You go up into space, but you don’t go into orbit around the Earth. That’s a different — we’re also building a vehicle to do that. It’s called New Glenn, after the first American, John Glenn, to orbit the Earth.

CAVUTO: Right.

BEZOS: But this is a tourism mission. And it’s very important, because it lets us practice and it will let more people get up into space.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: So, a little competitive jousting, I guess, between billionaires. Bezos didn’t take the bait and try to respond tit for tat.

But what do you make of that? I’m sure you have dealt with astronauts and others with big egos, and when they get — one gets bumped for a flight vs. another who thought he should have had the flight. So, you’re — I guess you’re used to that. What do you think of this new wave coming?

GRIFFIN: Well, I think it’s normal. And we will forget about it in the not-too-distant future.

There’s one thing to remind, I think, everybody, is — this is very important. Inherently, there is risk involved with spaceflight. So we can celebrate the day. We can celebrate Virginia Galactic and we can celebrate what has been done by SpaceX.

But it’s a tough business. And while we ought to celebrate today, tomorrow, they need — all of them need to turn to and realize that this thing can bite you pretty quick. We learned that in a number of different ways.

And so I think there’s a time to celebrate.

CAVUTO: You’re right. No, you’re right about that, Gerry.

I was reading that where there was a 1 percent fatality rate in those who ventured to space among American astronauts. Now, that seems very low, but it’s about one-10,000th percent for those, for example, who fly on jets and what have you.

So we forget that, that this is still a risk. And I just wonder, in the rush and attention — and you touched on it — to everyone getting psyched to do this, that it’s still a dangerous operation, isn’t it?

GRIFFIN: Is it.

Dangerous is not, I think — it’s a — my whole time in NASA was a risk vs. gain management problem. Manage the risk as low as you possibly can, but you got to realize you can’t manage it to zero. And that’s what you have got to keep in mind, keep crew safety in mind, make every check you can, be diligent.

You can celebrate today, though.

CAVUTO: You’re absolutely right.

Gerry, I want to thank you. It was guys like you who kept the nation calm, kept astronauts and those working to back them up calm. I don’t know how you did it. But you did it. And I want to thank you for that. I think many Americans do as well.

GRIFFIN: Well, thank you, Neil.

CAVUTO: Thank you.

All right, Gerry Griffin, the former NASA flight director. You talk about a high-pressure job, my friends, that was and remains it.

All right, before we take off here, talking about launching, not necessarily into orbit, but just launching high, stocks, they reversed all of the big losses we saw, or mostly, with the Dow Jones industrials almost making up all the ground lost yesterday.

By the way, Amazon stock, which was getting clobbered yesterday in the big tech rout, it came back. By the way, in case you’re counting, net-net, on the week, Jeff Bezos is still up $3 billion in worth. Oh, yes, I might have left out he’s worth $206 billion.

No wonder why he thanked customers, Prime members and workers.

We will have more after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right, some official at the White House has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Here’s the skinny, though. We don’t know who it is. What we do know is that individual was fully vaccinated.

Mark Meredith now the latest from the White House.

Hey, Mark, what do we know here?

MARK MEREDITH, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Neil, good afternoon.

Well, like you said, what we don’t know is who this person is, the White House not identifying the staffer, but officials here at the White House say this is not the first time that someone who was fully vaccinated ended up testing positive.

Now, this all appears to be related to an event that the Texas state Democratic lawmakers held here in D.C. They’re here to protest that election reform bill in the Lone Star State. And it’s believed to be some of these staffers were at that event.

In a statement, the White House says its medical unit has conducted contact tracing, interviews and determined no close contacts among White House principals and staff. The individual has mild symptoms.

Now, the White House did not announce this positive test until after a reporter from Axios broke the story. The Biden administration, though, insists it is being transparent about the so-called breakthrough infections.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There’s hundreds thousands of people who work on the federal government, as you well know, and we had committed during the transition that, if it was a commissioned officer, was — who are the highest level ranking people in the White House and in the admin — in this building here, that we would make that information publicly available.

We stand by that commitment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MEREDITH: This latest COVID case comes as the White House faces questions about the effectiveness of its vaccination campaign.

Right now, 161 million people in this country are fully vaccinated. That’s close to half of the total population. But we have seen a double-digit and significant increase in new COVID cases in the last seven days.

And now more cities and counties are considering whether or not to reimpose some of these COVID prevention protocols. The White House says it continues to follow the guidance and that it believes the CDC has the right information about this and will continue to follow their guidelines — Neil.

CAVUTO: Mark Meredith, thank you.

Let’s go Dr. Bob Lahita, a regular friend on this show and the entire network, because he just calms everyone down. And the good doctor always has patience with my idiotic questions, always a smile.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: I felt, Doctor, if I were to see you, you would kindly say, yes, Neil, you could afford to lose a few pounds, rather than say what you’re thinking.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: A few pounds won’t come close to covering it, Cavuto.

So, Doctor, great to see you again. How are you?

DR. BOB LAHITA, ST. JOSEPH UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Good to see you, Neil.

Great.

CAVUTO: Help me with this one.

These reports of fully vaccinated individuals, let alone the official at the White House whose name we don’t know, I’m hearing more of that kind of thing, Doctor. Should I be worried?

LAHITA: No, you shouldn’t be worried, because, if you’re vaccinated, we expect breakthrough infections.

Of course, there’s always the exception of somebody who has been vaccinated who gets very ill. But, for the most part, most of the people who wind up in the intensive care unit and wind up dying or being placed on ventilators, those are the ones who are not vaccinated.

So, vaccination, you may get infected while you’re vaccinated, and you may be able to transmit it to somebody else, but you’re not going to get very sick. Cold-like symptoms, light flu-like symptoms, that’s probably the norm for those of us who are vaccinated.

CAVUTO: I guess it’s the risk of transmitting it to other people even if you are that feeds this push on the part of some cities, counties — Los Angeles County comes to mind — that everybody wear a mask indoors, whether they have been vaccinated or not.

And then we get this report of those Democratic representatives who left Austin to Washington, and now we’re up to half-a-dozen of them all vaccinated who have contracted the virus.

LAHITA: Yes.

CAVUTO: So what does that say to you now in this fight and where we are?

LAHITA: It says that this Delta variant, which is highly transmissible, something like 250 times more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which was the original variant, is now throughout the country.

And it’s wreaking havoc. It’s a pandemic for the unvaccinated. And that really concerns me, because we’re seeing this variant in Florida, Alabama, Massachusetts, New York state, Maine. So it’s an every corner of the country.

And we know that California has just locked down a bit with masks, et cetera. And everyone is understandably concerned. I’m understandably concerned about this whole thing with the Delta variant.

And there are more variants to come. This virus is very resilient. And it mutates at the drop of a hat.

CAVUTO: All right, it’s mutating enough in some areas where they there are rethinking restrictions.

I know, in Britain, for the time being doctor, even though they have seen the spike in cases, they don’t want to necessarily reimpose mandates and closures, masks, all of that stuff. But it was enough for the CDC and other entities within the U.S. government to put the United Kingdom on a very, very high alert level. In other words, their advice, just don’t go there.

Do you think that’s justified?

LAHITA: I think that’s probably prudent.

And I think we’re going to be seeing this throughout the remainder of the year. My concern, as well as everyone else’s, is in the fall and in the winter, when we group together in our warm homes, because things get cold. And in England, that’s the case as well, as you know, very rainy, damp. That’s when this virus is really going to take hold among the unvaccinated.

So I’m not so concerned about the vaccinated people, but I am concerned about all the people who have been very, very hesitant to get the vaccine.

CAVUTO: You know, I’m not going to replay the bites from earlier today, because I just think it turned into a circus.

But this pile-on on Dr. Fauci, what he knew, when he knew it, whether he was — had sinister plans and was putting the hoodwink on us, I thought he was thinking in real time, didn’t have a handle on stuff, was following it, as you were at the time, others.

Do you think this pile-on is fair?

LAHITA: No, I don’t, Neil. I don’t think the pile-on is fair, because I know Dr. Fauci is a very professional man.

He’s been the director of the NIAID for years and years and years. I used to work at the NIH reviewing grants. And I remember Dr. Fauci’s guidance. So he’s been around since Moses parted the Red Sea.

(LAUGHTER)

LAHITA: And he’s a very ethical, prudent individual.

So I trust him.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Yes, I think he was providing — I think he was providing medical advice for Moses.

(LAUGHTER)

LAHITA: Probably was.

CAVUTO: But I kid there to make a bigger point, that he has been vilified to the point that you would think he was Lex Luthor.

And I don’t know how productive that is. Now, to go what might have been missed and the source of all of this, I get that, but to make him the target of attacks, I think that a lot of this has to go back to his departure from the former president, Donald Trump at the time.

But whatever is behind it, I don’t see it being constructive. What about you?

LAHITA: I agree with you.

I remember Tony Fauci back when George H.W. Bush was president. I believe that was Bush 41. He was a point of light in the country. Remember Bush’s 1,000 points of light. Tony was very, very prominent at that time and was very, very — a very, very good leader in the biomedical research community. He’s an excellent individual, an excellent doctor.

I have known him as a physician for, gee, I guess it was — it’s been about 40 years or more. And so I think it’s unfortunate that we have to attack an individual who has such an important role in our society.

CAVUTO: All right, it’s just odd to me. But I — at his core, he is a good man, a good doctor, and we all got to just step back, take the chill down.

Thank you, Doctor. It’s always good seeing you.

In the meantime, we are going to give you an update right now on this Trump inaugural chairman who was arrested on some foreign lobbying charges. We don’t know all the details. We know enough that this could accelerate.

We will update you — after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: What is the rush? Mitt Romney among Republicans now saying, look, we want an infrastructure measure done, but what’s the urgency about doing it all tomorrow?

Senator Jerry Moran, part of that bipartisan caucus that agreed on the infrastructure package, what he makes of it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: His name is Tom Barrack. And he’s a former ally of President Trump. He was chair of his inaugural committee.

Well, he’s been arrested on federal charges today, charged, among other things, with illegal foreign lobbying, obstruction of justice, making false statements, in a word, mess.

Let’s get the latest right now from David Spunt at the Justice Department with more — David.

DAVID SPUNT, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Neil.

This came down actually from the National Security Division here at the U.S. Department of Justice a little over an hour ago; 74-year-old Tom Barrack was arrested at his home in Southern California this morning. That’s what we’re told by DOJ officials.

He is accused of illegally lobbying his longtime friend Donald Trump on behalf of the government of the United Arab Emirates. Authorities unsealed the indictment today. There are several allegations in the indictment. They allege that Barrack wanted to influence Trump’s foreign policy positions towards the UAE.

The indictment includes seven counts. He’s charged with acting as a foreign agent. Authorities say he failed to notify the attorney general of his actions, thus leading to these charges. Barrack and two others were arrested, Matthew Grimes of Aspen, Colorado — he’s 27 years old — and Rashid Al Malik. He’s 43 years old. He’s a UAE national.

Attorney General Mark Lesko, acting Assistant Attorney General Mark Lesko with the Department of Justice put in a statement: “The defendants repeatedly capitalized on Barrack’s friendships and access to a candidate who was eventually elected president,” meaning Donald Trump,”high-ranking campaign and government officials and the American media to advance the policy goals of a foreign government without disclosing their true allegiances.”

Barrack also served, Neil, as you know, as the chair of the Trump Inaugural Committee in January 2017, though these charges do not appear to be related in any way to that. Nothing at this hour, Neil, from Barrack’s close friend the former President of the United States Donald Trump.

Barrack is also accused of lying to federal authorities from an interview that he did with those federal agents in 2019. And while he was arrested in California, authorities in the Eastern District of New York, where you are right now, in New York City, they want to have Barrack extradited because that is the nexus of that case — Neil.

CAVUTO: Got it, David Spunt, on all of that.

Let’s go to Katie Cherkasky, the former federal prosecutor.

Katie, all this revolves around the United Arab Emirates and the lobbying work, I guess, that Mr. Barrack had done on the country’s behalf. But what more do we know? Where do you see this going?

KATIE CHERKASKY, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, the indictment is pretty clear that Mr. Barrack allegedly had contacts with government officials in the UAE and also, of course, allegedly made false statements to the FBI about his contacts.

Now, obviously, this is just an indictment. The case has to be proven. But when the U.S. attorney’s office is going to take a case forward, typically, they have their ducks in a row. This investigation has been going on a really long time. As we know, the feds take quite a while sometimes to wrap up these investigations. But they’re working behind the scenes.

So, here, in order for them to prove the case, they have to show that Mr. Barrack was actually acting as an agent of the foreign government. In the indictment, you can see they do have quite a lot of e-mail traffic and things of that sort.

But the government, the prosecution has to still prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he, in fact, violated all these statutes. So that remains to be seen here.

CAVUTO: So, where is the line between arguing on behalf and helping a foreign country or lobbying for that country and then going into outright illegal action?

CHERKASKY: Sure.

So it is a kind of subjective determination as to somebody acting as an agent of a foreign government. And you really have to show certain connections, certain favors that are being done on behalf of that actual foreign government in the United States during a political activity.

So here, in the indictment, you can see there’s certain e-mails that Mr. Barrack allegedly sent to officials of the government that seemed to suggest he was working on their behalf towards the Trump campaign and trying to further their positions.

But, again, it’s a subjective determination. You really have to, as a prosecutor, go in there and show that he wasn’t just a businessman trying to make connections on his own, but that he was actually working on behalf of this government in an activity that would require registration, such as a political activity.

So, again, an indictment is the first step towards that. But it has to all be proven that he really was doing this on behalf of the UAE, not just for his own personal interest, but really to advance their interests.

CAVUTO: You know, you always wonder whether timing of certain things or coincidence, Katie.

But we recently saw the UAE open to increasing oil production, to work in contact with OPEC. And then there are other, I wouldn’t call them increasing normalization efforts. We have already had normalized ties with the United Arab Emirates. But I’m just wondering if this is just odd timing.

CHERKASKY: Well, it may very well be.

And you have to wonder about the political motivations behind some of these prosecutions. Do you have, for example, Hunter Biden, and certain connections that may or may not have occurred with foreign leaders there that didn’t necessarily result in an indictment?

So, yes, of course, there certainly could be a lot of motivations behind these decisions. But, at the same time, the elements of the crime are something that the prosecutors looked at, they have gathered their evidence, they have moved on with the indictment. And now, assuming it moves forward to trial, they will have to prove that.

But there’s always different motivations behind the prosecutorial decisions, because it’s not so open and shut as one might think.

CAVUTO: Got it.

Katie Cherkasky, thank you very much, the former federal prosecutor.

In the meantime, you remember when it was looking like this bipartisan effort on infrastructure only, I wouldn’t say it was like a slam dunk, but it was looking more like a dunk than it had been? We might have to reverse that right now.

A key player in that, Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas, on why it might not be quite a slam dunk, or even a dunk, or even possible — after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: All right, Democrats are in a big hurry to get these infrastructure measures through.

I’m talking not only the little more than a trillion-dollar core infrastructure-only measure that has bipartisan support. And I say that’s about a trillion, but, actually, half of that is repurposed COVID funds. So it’s not nearly as expensive.

The big walamazoo is that $3.5 trillion so-called human infrastructure plan that Republicans are dead set against. Having said that, Chuck Schumer wants to speedily get going on this beginning tomorrow. No less than Mitt Romney said, could we at least look at markup and that kind of stuff until, I don’t know, next Monday?

Senator Jerry Moran joins us now, the Kansas Republican, sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator, the way this is going, I’m wondering if this has — that is, the infrastructure-only plan that you were supporting, or at least the broad aspects of it — whether even that is doable now. What do you think?

SEN. JERRY MORAN (R-KS): Well, Neil, it remains to be seen.

Here’s another week, you and I visiting, and it’s one more what might happen, as compared to what has happened. And I don’t know that we’re — we’re certainly — I think a deal is doable. But I don’t know what motivates Chuck Schumer to set this arbitrary deadline of tomorrow for us to have a vote on a motion to proceed.

We are close to a deal, but how it’s paid for is hugely important. That’s always the difficulty in getting support for infrastructure. That’s a difficult question to answer. We were successful. We led an effort to get the tax collections, the additional IRS agents out of this bill.

And last weekend, we were able to announce that was accomplished. That’s a good thing that will perhaps bring more Republicans to the table, something that I wanted to see happen for me to continue to be supportive of this plan.

I guess the reality is, there’s not quite a plan yet for how it’s going to be paid for. And that’s the debate that’s going on now. But Schumer, the majority leader, has indicated that tomorrow is the day.

I would predict — and, certainly, me, I’m not going to vote to proceed onto a bill that we don’t have legislative text for. Until we have legislative text, there can’t be a CBO score. And we need to see words on paper. We need an agreement. We’re not — we’re not there yet.

And I would guess that the group of 11 Republicans, 11 Democrats will continue to negotiate even after tomorrow, but I don’t know what Chuck Schumer’s response to that’s going to be. He may say, well, you had your chance, and it didn’t happen.

I predict, tomorrow, that 50 Republicans vote no on a motion to proceed, not because we’re uninterested in an infrastructure plan, but it’s not being done the way it needs to be done, no certainty.

CAVUTO: Got it.

And I’m glad you clarified it, Senator. This isn’t a yea or nay vote on the measure itself, but just to proceed with the debate. And that’s where lies — therein lies the rub.

Another wrinkle that came up is the role Nancy Pelosi might play in the House. She has consistently said the Senate can propose, but whatever is being debated should be in conjunction with this $3.5 trillion spending measure. And that seems like, I would assume, a nonstarter.

So, are both then nonstarters?

MORAN: President Biden received a lot of pushback, particularly from Republicans who negotiated, they thought, a deal with the White House on this issue, when he said they’re going to be tied together.

And while that is certainly a problem, and the president tried to walk that back, long before that, or at least weeks before that, Speaker Pelosi said something very similar. She’s not going to allow the bipartisan bill to pass the House unless the Senate passes the tax-and-spend bill.

And that has me — had me troubled from the beginning, because one of the reasons I’m involved in this effort is to reduce the likelihood that we spend all that money in that second bill, that tax-and-spend Democrat bill, by getting this done. Maybe it relieves some of the pressure on Manchin, Sinema and other senators that are Democrat senators to vote for something that only requires 51 votes and spends trillions of dollars.

And so the fact that they tie them together is also very problematic to a senator, a conservative senator like me. I also think that CBO score — I’d highlight this — that CBO score is important. I want to make sure that it’s actually paid for, it’s not just a gimmick, because, in today’s inflationary — federal spending is skyrocketing.

In today’s spending and inflation world, we do not need to be priming the economy with an infrastructure bill. We need infrastructure, but it’s not about stimulating the economy. The demand is there and the prices are going up.

I’d say that, too, while there’s a couple of proposals for the — for a pay-for, one of the things that we shouldn’t take off the table is, this bill doesn’t — well, you talked about it in your intro. This bill is paid for in part by utilizing money unspent in COVID relief previous packages.

CAVUTO: Right.

MORAN: What it doesn’t include is the American Recovery Act that was passed in January, the large $1.9 trillion. The unspent money in that bill has been off-limits to this point.

And, if we’re looking for a pay-for, I can’t think of a better one.

CAVUTO: Yes, and about a third of that, though, is yet to be spent.

Wild.

Senator, thank you for updating us. Please continue doing so, sir, Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas.

I don’t know if you heard. A big fear that’s going abroad right now is the Russians and news that they have these hypersonic missiles. And now the Russians are upset that we’re upset about it. We are. And they wonder why.

Because they’re hypersonic and they could carry nuclear weapons, maybe? Just — just throwing it out there — after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CAVUTO: Well, if it’s true, and the Russians have this technology, we should be worried. And we are.

Warnings that the hypersonic missiles that the Russians have developed capable of holding nuclear material could be a real concern in Europe, but the Russians firing back that our concern is misplaced and it’s no big deal, in fact, warning us for warning then.

Lucas Tomlinson with more at the Pentagon — Lucas.

LUCAS TOMLINSON, FOX NEWS PENTAGON PRODUCER: That’s right, Neil.

The Russian say they’re building a hypersonic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. The Pentagon says the U.S. version will not carry a nuclear warhead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KIRBY, PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: Russia’s new hypersonic missiles are potentially destabilizing and pose significant risks, because they are nuclear-capable systems.

By contrast, the United States is developing solely, solely non-nuclear hypersonic strike capabilities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TOMLINSON: The Russians responding to Kirby — quote — “Potential deployment of a hypersonic missile in Europe would be extremely destabilizing. Their short flight time would leave Russia little to no decision time and raise the likelihood of inadvertent conflict.”

The Russian Defense Ministry showing off its new hypersonic missile fired from this warship. The Russians claim the air pressure in the front of the missile forms a plasma cloud as it moves, absorbing radio waves, making invisible to U.S. missile defense systems.

The Russian missile has a 620-mile range, shades of the 1980s, Neil, when President Ronald Reagan deployed intermediate-range nuclear missiles to Europe with a two-minute flight time to Moscow.

Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin rolled out a new fifth-generation fighter jet at an air show in Russia to rival the American F-35.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Russian aviation has a big potential for development, and our aircraft-making industries continue to create new competitive aircraft designs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TOMLINSON: In Vienna, long considered a den of spies, officials blamed Russia for attacks against dozens of American diplomats and spies in recent months with a non-lethal pulse causing the Havana Syndrome.

Over 200 Americans have been attacked worldwide. And some U.S. intelligence officials here in the United States and their families have been targeted, causing them to relocate and move, Neil.

CAVUTO: Lucas Tomlinson, thank you for that.

In the meantime, you probably know what happened earlier today. Yet another billionaire conquered space, at least for all of three minutes. It’s a trend, and it’s increasing.

I wonder what one of the few surviving men that walked on the moon thinks when he hears Jeff Bezos say next stop will be the moon — after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEZOS: Blue Control, Bezos. Best day ever.

When we came down, it was sort of time to let those emotions out a little bit.

OLIVER DAEMEN, BLUE ORIGIN PASSENGER: Let’s hope that many, many more people can do this.

WALLY FUNK, 82-YEAR-OLD AEROSPACE PIONEER: I want to go again fast.

(LAUGHTER)

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: What a day for those on this flight that might have been 10 minutes or so, three minutes in space, but, at the end of the line, we had four pierce the barrier of space ever so briefly.

But it included the youngest person to ever go into space, the oldest person to ever go into space, and the richest person to ever go into space.

With us now, Charlie Duke, the Apollo 16 lunar module pilot, 10th man, by the way, to walk on the moon, by the way, the youngest human being to walk on the moon.

So, Charlie, very good to see you.

I was thinking of you, my friend, because this Oliver Daemen, this kid from the Netherlands, 18 years old, if he ever gets up to the moon, he could be a threat to that record.

Are you worried?

CHARLES DUKE, FORMER NASA ASTRONAUT: Well, I’m 85 right now, and I’m still the youngest man to walk on the moon.

(LAUGHTER)

DUKE: And I’d be happy to relieve it with somebody.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Just amazing. Great memories there, Charlie.

DUKE: Yes.

CAVUTO: What did you think of this mission?

It was brief. They technically get to be called astronauts. I don’t know what the formal pattern is. But they’re seen as astronauts. And they want a lot more like them. Jeff Bezos made it clear he wants this to be the future, Richard Branson as well. What do you think?

DUKE: I’m all for it. I think it’s really wonderful, Neil, to have — I think it’s going to revolutionize space interest and people going into space.

And they are doing a great job, these product guys, like Bezos and also Branson and Elon Musk.

CAVUTO: Right.

DUKE: I think those guys have got some great opportunities for people to go into space. And I’m full supporter of it.

CAVUTO: And a lot of people think I’m being like a crepe hanger, Charlie. I’m not. I love the space program, admired watching you as a kid walk on the moon and so much else.

I do worry that we’re emotionally maybe getting ahead of ourselves. This isn’t a walk in the park, what guys like you did and women across the generations over the past 60 years. It’s dangerous. At its core, it isn’t a walk in the park.

I don’t know if that reality is out there, and we don’t appreciate that. What do you think?

DUKE: I don’t — I agree with you.

I think that there’s some possibilities of accidents that will be, in a way, devastating. And I think that — but what I see right now with these companies, they are moving fast, but they seem to have really good success.

So I think that we will just wait and see, I would say. There’s a lot of danger going into space. And a lot of things happen. So we will see. I think that…

CAVUTO: It’s a lot more crowded too, right? Right, Charlie? It’s a lot more crowded now.

We got the Russians involved, the Chinese involved, the Iranians involved.

DUKE: Yes.

CAVUTO: India involved.

Now, there is nothing wrong with more to the party and more the merrier and all. But let’s say not everybody has peaceful intentions. I’m just wondering whether that worries you.

DUKE: That’s hard to say, I think. The intentions right now, Bezos and — is advertising seats. He wants to make a business out of it. And…

CAVUTO: Yes, well, I’m not talking about the private guys.

I’m sorry I wasn’t very clear on that, just the fact that this is not the same environment, you know?

DUKE: No, that’s true.

NASA is working on Artemis. Russians have got their programs.

CAVUTO: Right.

DUKE: We’re still working with the Russians on the International Space Station. So those are good indications.

I’m all for Artemis. I’m helping out as a consultant on one of those projects. And so I see NASA focusing now on deep space. And this private stuff is going to help out the near space stuff, back to the space station and stuff like that.

So I think we got a good program going, if we can keep the finding and the head-start that we have got on back to the moon.

CAVUTO: Do you think people will lose interest now?

I was thinking of you and Apollo 16. There would only be one more lunar flight after you. And the same could happen here. Now, funds ran out, or that was the argument to cutting back. These are private guys doing this. But do you worry?

DUKE: Well, like, I don’t find people forgetting Apollo.

I see on YouTube some great programs. We just got back from Spacefest out in Tucson. Hundreds of people came, wanting pictures, autographs, things like that. So — and I’m getting worldwide response from my Web site.

And so I see a lot of interest in space, and especially deep space and Mars, moon and beyond. So, hopefully, we will…

CAVUTO: Charlie, we’re looking at some images of you walking on the moon on Apollo 16, of course, on this, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing.

That’s why Jeff Bezos chose it, 52 years ago today.

DUKE: Yes.

CAVUTO: But this is from Charlie on Apollo 16, the next-to-last moon mission.

If we’re to accept Jeff Bezos at face value, just a matter of time before he does it with New Glenn, after New Shepard, of course, New Shepard named after Alan Shepard and his suborbital flight, New Glenn after John Glenn and his orbital flight.

But they’re not done, not by a long shot.

That will do it here.

Here comes “The Five.”

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