CNN Democratic debate night 2

By Veronica Rocha, Meg Wagner, Amanda Wills and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 11:59 PM ET, Wed July 31, 2019
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10:29 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Biden and Gillibrand just had a tense exchange about working women

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand grilled Joe Biden on an op-ed that about women working outside of the home, which he wrote when he was a senator.

"I want to address Vice President Biden directly. When the Senate was debating middle class affordability for child care he wrote an op-ed. He voted against it," she began. "He wrote an op-ed: He believed that women working outside the home would, quote, 'create the deterioration of family.' He also said that women who were working outside the home were quote, 'avoiding responsibility.'"

She asked him what those quotes meant — and Biden explained why he voted against the bill.

"That was a long time ago," he said. "It would have given people making today $100,000 a year tax break for child care. I didn't want that. I wanted the child care to go to people making less than $100,000."

Gillibrand was not satisfied.

"Mr. Vice President you didn't answer my question," she said. "What did you mean when you said when a woman works outside the home, it's resulting in, quote, 'the deterioration of family'?"

Biden said both his late and current wives worked outside the home, and he said that he wrote the Violence Against Women Act. He pointed out that he and Gillibrand have worked together on women's issues.

"I don't know what's happened except you're now running for president," Biden said to Gillibrand.

Here's how Gillibrand responded:

"Mr. Vice President, I respect you deeply. I respect you deeply. But those words are very specific. You said women working outside the home lead to the deterioration of family."

"I never believed it" Biden said.

Watch this moment:

10:13 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard explains the 3 issues she has with the Trans-Pacific Partnership

From CNN's Katie Lobosco

Tulsi Gabbard, who has opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership, said she'd ensure that the US remains competitive against China by "pushing for fair trade."

"Not trade deals that give away the sovereignty of the American people. And our country. That give away American jobs. And that threaten our environment. These are the three main issues with that massive trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership," she said.

What you need to know about the deal: The Trans-Pacific Partnership, known as TPP, was negotiated under the Obama administration. It would have eliminated trade barriers between the United States and 11 other countries, including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, as well as some South American countries like Peru and Chile – with the goal of creating an alliance to counter Chinese economic influence.

Some Democrats, like Gabbard, are opposed: It drew criticism from some Democrats, including Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who argued it was written behind closed doors with input from corporations and could end up forcing American workers to compete with low-wage labor around the world. 

President Trump isn't a fan either: He repeatedly said during his election campaign that it would send American jobs overseas and -- as one of his first acts as President, he withdrew the United States from the agreement. The 11 other countries went ahead with the deal, now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It went into effect in January 2019. 

Instead, Trump has decided to take on China alone. He’s imposed tariffs on more than $250 billion of Chinese goods while his administration negotiates with Beijing, attempting to reach a comprehensive trade agreement that would address what it says are unfair trade practices by the Chinese.

10:11 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Fact check: Obama did not sign DACA into law

From CNN's Z. Byron Wolf

Former Vice President Joe Biden was the target of multiple attacks, from protesters and from others onstage, about the deportation record of President Barack Obama. Biden defended his former boss against New York Mayor Bill de Blasio by saying Obama "came up with the idea for the first time ever of dealing with the DREAMers. He put that into law." 

Fact's First: That's false. Obama didn’t put it into law -- and that’s a hugely important point. 

The "DREAMers" are undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children and there has long been bipartisan support to give a pathway to legal status. The DREAM Act was a bill written by Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois. It never became law despite multiple efforts -- but the name stuck. 

But there was not enough support to put it into law. And when a comprehensive immigration plan failed in congress, Obama instead used executive authority to give DREAMers temporary protection with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. 

If they met certain requirements, signed up for the program and stayed out of trouble, he promised they could stay in the country. But it was a temporary fix and not ever put into law. 

So when Donald Trump came into office, he moved to end DACA. Trump says he supports a legal status for DREAMers, but has said Congress must pass a law giving it to them. His effort to end the DACA program is currently stalled in the courts. 

So no, Obama did not put anything for the DREAMers into law. And that's part of the point of his record on immigration that frustrates immigration advocates. 

10:13 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard calls climate change debate "personal"

From CNN's Paul LeBlanc

Gabriella Demczuk for CNN
Gabriella Demczuk for CNN

Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is not a co-sponsor of the sweeping Green New Deal proposal, called the climate change debate “personal,” drawing on her experience growing up in Hawaii.

“First of all, this is personal. You can imagine I grew up in Hawaii, which is the most remote island chain in the world, so for us growing up there, protecting our environment was not a political issue, it’s a way of life," she said. "It’s part of our culture. It’s part of who we are.”

She went on to plug her work on climate change in Congress:

“This is why, as a member of Congress long before there was ever a Green New Deal, I introduced the most ambitious climate change legislation ever in Congress called the Off Fossil Fuels Act that actually laid out an actionable plan to take us from where we are today to transition off of fossil fuels and invest in green renewable energy, invest in workforce training, invest in the kind of infrastructure that we need to deal with the problems and the challenges that climate change is posing to us today.”

Watch now:

10:07 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Fact check: Kamala Harris on pharma and insurance industry profits

From CNN's Daniel Dale

While criticizing former Vice President Joe Biden’s health care plan, California Sen. Kamala Harris said, “Let's talk about the fact that the pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies last year alone profited $72 billion, and that is on the backs of American families.” 

Facts First: Harris was in fact understating the profits of these industries. Ten of the largest US-based drug companies alone made $69 billion in profits last year. Health insurance companies made $23 billion.  

The profits of the top US drug companies were as follows: Johnson & Johnson ($15.3 billion), Pfizer ($11.2 billion), Amgen ($8.4 billion), Merck ($6.2 billion), AbbVie ($5.7 billion), Gilead ($5.5 billion), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($5 billion), Biogen ($4.4 billion), Celgene ($4 billion), Eli Lilly ($3.2 billion). 

Not all of these profits came from the companies’ operations in the United States. 

A report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners said the health insurance industry generated net earnings of $23.4 billion in 2018. 

10:08 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Climate change debate heats up. "Our house is on fire," Inslee says

From CNN's Gregory Krieg

Mark Peterson/Redux for CNN
Mark Peterson/Redux for CNN

Asked if he would commit to ending the use of fossil fuels and fracking during his presidency, Joe Biden hesitated before saying he would “work it out” of the American economy.

"We would make sure it's eliminated and no more subsidies for either one of those," the former vice president said of coal. "Any fossil fuel."

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who began his run as a one-issue candidate focused on climate change, challenged Biden, saying he didn’t seem to understand the urgency.

“We cannot work this out. The time is up,” Inslee said. “Our house is on fire. We have to stop using coal in ten years and we need a president to do it or it won't get done. Get off coal. Save this country and the planet."

Inslee, who has released a comprehensive plan backed by leading climate activists, told Biden that his “argument isn’t with me, it’s with science” and claimed the former vice president’s plan took a “middle ground” approach.

Biden denied it, then talked about his plan to rejoin the Paris climate pact and push for the alliance to adapt more aggressive goals.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made a similar promise, but with some extra mustard.

"The first thing that I'm going to do when I'm president is I'm going to Clorox the Oval Office,” she said. “The second thing I'm going to do is I will reengage on global climate change and I will not only sign the Paris Global Climate Accords, but I will lead a worldwide conversation about the urgency of this crisis.”

“The greatest threat to humanity,” Gillibrand said, “is global climate change."

Still, such promises were criticized.

“Nobody should get applause for rejoining the Paris climate accord,” Sen. Cory Booker said. “That is kindergarten.”

Businessman Andrew Yang offered an even more dire portrait of what’s to come – without or without immediate, urgent action.

“We are too late. We are ten years too late,” Yang said. The entire world needs to take action to reverse the damage, he added, but “we also need to start moving people to higher ground.”

Watch the moment:

10:02 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Here's who talked the most so far tonight

It's 10 p.m. ET and the debate is nearing its end.

After talking for two hours, it looks like former Vice President Joe Biden has had the most to say. He lead the way with 15:38 minutes, followed by California Sen. Kamala Harris with 13.25 minutes.

Here's where things stand:

9:53 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

Fact check: Democrats on US law allowing for family separations 

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Several candidates criticized the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border, citing a long-standing US law that can result in such action.  

Facts First: This is true -- and the law has been a flashpoint in the immigration debate. 

Last year, the Trump administration implemented its controversial "zero tolerance" policy, using a section of US law to criminally prosecute all adults who illegally crossed the southern border. The policy led to the separation of thousands of families, given that children can't be held in federal jail with adults. The policy—and the section of the code at the center of it—have become a flashpoint in the immigration debate. 

Democratic candidates remain divided over the law, referred to as Section 1325, with some wanting to instead make crossing the border illegally a civil offense, instead of a criminal offense. 

Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro shot the issue into the national dialogue at the last round of debates and hammered in on his position Wednesday night. 

“The only way that we're going to guarantee that we don't have family separations in this country again is to repeal section 1325 of the immigration nationality act,” Castro said Wednesday. “That is the law that this President, this administration is using to incarcerate migrant parents and then physically separate them from their children.” 

Former Vice President Joe Biden added: "The fact of the matter is, when people cross the border illegally, it is illegal to do it unless they're seeking asylum. People should have to get in line. That's the problem. And the only reason this particular part of the law is being abused is because of Donald Trump. We should defeat Donald Trump and end this practice."

9:52 p.m. ET, July 31, 2019

What you need to know about the Paris climate accord

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

In explaining the urgency of the climate crisis, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said one of the first things she'd do as president would be to sign the Paris climate accord.

What’s in the deal? The Paris climate accord is a 2015 agreement among more than 200 nations to combat climate change.

Participants committed to keep global warming well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and, if possible, below 1.5 degrees.

The US signed — then withdrew — from it: The United States ratified the agreement, but President Donald Trump announced in June 2017 that the US would withdraw from it — although it cannot formally leave until November 2020.

Each country is responsible for developing their own plans for achieving those goals.

The Obama administration pledged to slash carbon emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. But Trump harshly criticized the agreement and pledged to withdraw from the Paris climate accord in 2017. He has also rolled back some of the Obama administration's federal rules changes curbing emissions.

Read more about Trump’s climate claims here.