You Love to See it: Brianna Keilar takes KJP to Task Over Inflation Reduction Act

In an unexpected but not unwelcome act of journalism on Friday morning, CNN anchor and New Day co-host Brianna Keilar pushed back on White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s misleading answers about the Inflation Reduction Act.

Keilar began with the simple question of whether or not the White House is confident all Democrats in the House will vote for the bill. Jean-Pierre said “we are confident” about Pelosi’s ability to whip her caucus to vote for the bill, but not before misspeaking and calling the Inflation Reduction Act a “really critical, important anti-inflammation bill out of the Senate.”

 

 

Jean-Pierre then gushed about the contents of the bill, particularly the climate and healthcare provisions: 

If you look at what it’s going to do for climate change, there’s been special interest groups — again, for 30 years, those climate deniers — who have stopped, who have tried to stop us for putting in significant investments like clean and — for a clean energy future, for our clean — for clean energy jobs. This is going to do that. And also, continue those ACA premiums so we keep — keep lowering costs — uh, for healthcare for Americans. So this is a win.

But Keilar didn’t uncritically accept Jean-Pierre’s boilerplate rhetoric at face value, retorting, “How does it bring it down right now, though?”

A little unsteadied by this challenge, Jean-Pierre replied, “So for — uh, ACA, those premiums, those 800 — about average about $800 dollars a month savings — uh, for Americans, that’s going to continue.”

A clearly skeptical Keilar asked, “They’re going to feel that right away?” and pressed her for a more specific timetable when Jean-Pierre repeated her first question in the affirmative.

Clearly shaken at this point, Jean-Pierre made the generalized assertion that, “Uh, well, let’s get this bill passed and then we’ll see how the mechanics and all of that’s going to work through,” but did specify that the price of prescription drugs would be lowered, “earlier in the year next year.”

Showing she had done her homework, Keilar pointed out, “But the actual phase-in will be many years later,” and, “I don’t think people should be expecting on — on their drug prices that that’s going to kick in here.”

Nevertheless, Jean-Pierre doubled down, claiming, “Well, they’re gonna put the first ten pieces, the — the first — uh, ten — um, medication out there, right, to start the process so they can start negotiating the lowering costs.”

Over Jean-Pierre’s objections, Keilar pointed out some key missing details:

KEILAR: That’s 2026? 

JEAN-PIERRE: No, no. Wait.

KEILAR: Isn’t it? For the first ten — 

JEAN-PIERRE: Well — 

KEILAR: — and then the additional ones phasing into —  

JEAN-PIERRE: Well —

KEILAR: — 2029?

Perhaps feeling pity for the Press Secretary, Keilar ordered the fact barrage to cease, generously conceding, “I think we have different — maybe some different — uh, timeline reference points on that,” and the final few minutes of the interview were non-confrontational.

It isn’t often that CNN hosts push back hard against Democratic talking points, so NewsBusters likes to highlight it when they do. Kudos to Keilar for a tough but not obnoxiously aggressive interview.

This unexpected act of journalism was made possible by Volkswagen and Sleep Number. Their contact information is linked.

Click “Expand” to see the relevant transcript.

CNN’s New Day
08/12/22
6:42:32 AM ET

BRIANNA KEILAR: The House is voting on the Inflation Reduction Act today. Uh, do you think that you have all Democrats? 

KARINE JEAN-PIERRE: Well look, first, let me just — uh, just — we’re grateful and congratulate Senator Schumer and — uh, Senator Manchin for getting — uh, this really critical, important anti-inflammation bill out of the Senate. Now it’s in the Speaker’s hands. We know that — uh, she is very ept to get this through with her leadership. So we are confident. And we have been involved in helping in any way that we can to make sure that it gets through. 

The thing that I want to say about this piece of legislation, it is a win. It is a huge win for the American people. If you think about, Brianna, the last 30 years, and how special interest groups, wealthy special interest group has — has tried to stop negotiating Medicare so that we can bring prices down. This bill is going to bring prices down for the American people as you look at — uh — uh, drugs and pharmaceutical drugs, especially for your seniors. 

If you look at what it’s going to do for climate change, there’s been special interest groups — again, for 30 years, those climate deniers — who have stopped, who have tried to stop us for putting in significant investments like clean and — for a clean energy future, for our clean — for clean energy jobs. This is going to do that. And also, continue those ACA premiums so we keep — keep lowering costs — uh, for healthcare for Americans. So this is a win.

KEILAR: How does it bring it down right now, though? In for —

JEAN-PIERRE: So — 

KEILAR: — Americans need it right now. 

JEAN-PIERRE: So for — uh, ACA, those premiums, those 800 — about average about $800 dollars a month savings — uh, for Americans, that’s going to continue. Uh, that is something that we were fighting for for the past year. And so you’ll have that. 

When you think about the energy costs and utility bills because of the investments that we’re making, that’s going to — they’re going to feel that — 

KEILAR: But that’s not —

JEAN-PIERRE: — right away. 

KEILAR: They’re going to feel that right away?

JEAN-PIERRE: They’re going to feel that right away. 

KEILAR: How soon?

JEAN-PIERRE: Uh, well, let’s get this bill passed and then we’ll see how the mechanics and all of that’s going to work through. But those are things specifically that the Americans are gonna feel right away — 

KEILAR: You — 

JEAN-PIERRE: — when it comes to lowering prescription drugs, that’ll be — uh, earlier in the year next year. 

KEILAR: When it comes to lowering prescription drugs? 

JEAN-PIERRE: Right. Because that’s something that Medicare has to negotiate. So that’s gonna be a process and that’s gonna come at — 

KEILAR: But the actual phase-in will be many years later. Just to be clear on the — 

JEAN-PIERRE: Well it’s gonna be — 

KEILAR: — negotiation on the highest-priced drugs. 

JEAN-PIERRE: Right. That’s exactly right. But the process starts early next year. But look, this is a big — 

KEILAR: I just — I just want to be clear, I don’t think people should be expecting on — on their drug prices that that’s going to kick in here. 

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, they’re gonna put the first ten pieces, the — the first — uh, ten — um, medication out there, right, to start the process so they can start negotiating the lowering costs. But the point that I’m making is that this is an investment — 

KEILAR: That’s 2026? 

JEAN-PIERRE: No, no. Wait.

KEILAR: Isn’t it? For the first ten — 

JEAN-PIERRE: Well — 

KEILAR: — and then the additional ones phasing into —  

JEAN-PIERRE: Well —

KEILAR: — 2029?

JEAN-PIERRE: Well, here’s — the point that I’m making here is they’re going to see energy costs, utility bills, that’s gonna come down. 

KEILAR: Okay — 

JEAN-PIERRE: They’re going — 

KEILAR: I guess —

JEAN-PIERRE: No, no, no, wait, wait — 

KEILAR: — I was trying to speak about the immediate impacts. But I do want to ask you — 

JEAN-PIERRE: But those are the immediate impacts. When you think about utility bills — 

KEILAR: I was — I — I’m talking about here in the coming months, just to be — 

JEAN-PIERRE: I — 

KEILAR: — I think we have different — maybe some different — uh, timeline reference points on that. 

JEAN-PIERRE: No.

KEILAR: But I — I —

JEAN-PIERRE: But you’re asking me about immediate — immediate impact. I’m talking about the energy costs. That’s gonna be immediate. I’m talking about the ACA, the Affordable Care Act. Those premiums, that’s going to continue. That’s going to lower costs for 13 million Americans. 13 million Americans. That matters. 

KEILAR: Continuing to keep — 

JEAN-PIERRE: Right.

KEILAR: — to keep those. 

JEAN-PIERRE: Right. But remember that was not going to happen without —

KEILAR: That’s right. It would have — 

JEAN-PIERRE: Exactly.

KEILAR: — it would have increased just to be clear. 

JEAN-PIERRE: Yeah. That’s a continuation. That’s important to 13 million — 

KEILAR: Yes.

JEAN-PIERRE: — Americans. 

KEILAR: No, certainly. They don’t want rising cost — 

JEAN-PIERRE: Exactly.

KEILAR: — in the middle of all this. 

JEAN-PIERRE: So that — so that totally matters. And let’s not forget, there’s been gas prices that we have seen come down every day this summer —

KEILAR: Yeah.

JEAN-PIERRE: — and that has been the work of the American people as well.

(…)

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