(CNN Student News) -- February 11, 2009
Senate Stimulus Vote - Learn about the next steps for President Obama's economic stimulus bill.
Generational Theft? - Explore some concerns about the stimulus bill's possible repercussions.
Black History Month - Celebrate the famous firsts of renowned African-Americans in the arts.
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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: A stimulus vote in the Senate, a drop in the Dow, and achievement in the arts. I'm Carl Azuz and this is CNN Student News!
AZUZ: First up, President Obama's economic stimulus plan moves one step closer to becoming law. Many Republican lawmakers are opposed to this bill, but three GOP senators voted with Democrats yesterday, and that was enough for the legislation to pass in the Senate. You know the House already passed its version of the bill, but this thing isn't a done deal. Jessica Doyle explains the next steps and reports on the president's reaction to yesterday's vote.
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SENATE NAT SOUND: The ayes are 61, the nays are 37.
JESSICA DOYLE, CNN REPORTER: After a week-long, contentious process, the Senate passed an $838 billion economic stimulus bill, clearing the way for compromise negotiations with the House.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: Tens of thousands of Americans are losing their jobs every day. 600,000 of them lost their jobs in the month of January. We cannot lose any time.
DOYLE: Republican leaders are still unhappy with the plan.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) MINORITY LEADER: We think, as we have repeatedly said, that it's entirely too large, entirely too untargeted.
DOYLE: President Barack Obama was promoting the plan in another hard-hit area Tuesday, this time visiting Fort Myers, Florida, where he learned of the bill's passage.
OBAMA: I just want to announce that the Senate just passed our recovery and reinvestment plan.
DOYLE: Fort Myers is struggling with a 10% unemployment rate and the highest mortgage foreclosure rate in the country. Residents also want state infrastructure problems fixed.
AUDIENCE QUESTION: How will we get our state going again in transportation?
OBAMA: Not only do we need to rebuild our roads and our bridges, our ports, our levees, our dams, but we also have to plan for the future. This is the same example of turning crisis into opportunity.
DOYLE: Now the House and the Senate will work to reconcile their different versions of the bill. The president wants to sign it by Monday, which is President's Day. In Washington, I'm Jessica Doyle, CNN Student News.
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AZUZ: The price tags on the House and Senate bills aren't too far apart. They're both pretty huge: more than $800 billion! What Congress has to work out is how to spend that money. But some lawmakers have another word for all this spending: theft! They say that the stimulus plan is stealing from you, your generation! Jim Acosta explores the issue.
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JIM ACOSTA, CNN REPORTER: Do nothing, the president warns, and the country will pay the price.
OBAMA: We can't wait and see and hope for the best.
ACOSTA: But some Democrats and Republicans are asking a different question: Can the nation afford to keep spending its way out of the current crisis?
SEN. BYRON DORGAN, (D) NORTH DAKOTA: This is more money than ever has been contemplated in the history of our country.
ACOSTA: Republican John McCain calls it generational theft, a transfer of wealth from future generations to today's leaders.
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: We are robbing future generations of Americans of their hard-earned dollars, because we are laying on them a debt of incredible proportions.
ACOSTA: The numbers are staggering. President Obama's stimulus plan, if passed: $800 billion dollars. President's Bush's bailout plan: $700 billion. Add to that trillions promised by the government in loans and potential spending on the financial crisis, and a mind-boggling sum is on the line. That doesn't even include all the interest on all that money.
ACOSTA: Do we know how that money is being managed?
DORGAN: Nobody knows. That's the scandal here. There ought to be complete accountability, complete transparency.
ACOSTA: Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan is proposing requirements that would force the government to show how every penny is spent.
ACOSTA: Is it, in a way, a generational theft?
DORGAN: But it is not this moment.
ACOSTA: Dorgan says there's plenty of blame to go around on both sides of the aisle.
DORGAN: Fighting a war without paying for it. Allowing the banks be run like casinos on their own account. The fact is none of us have been here before. And nobody in this country really understands exactly what is the right medicine to try to fix what is wrong with this economy.
ACOSTA: Some economists say there's also risk in doing too little.
JOSH BIVINS, ECONOMIC POLICY INSTITUTE: The single worst thing that can happen when the economy starts to get mired down is to sit on the sideline, pull back, start acting like a scared household, because that's a recipe for a recession that lasts a decade rather than three years.
ACOSTA: The Obama administration is promising accountability and oversight, not just in the stimulus, but in the bailout as well. And there is a growing chorus of Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill ready to hold the new White House to its word. Jim Acosta, CNN, Washington.
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ERIC NIVISON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! How many companies make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) 10, B) 30, C) 100 or D) 500? You've got three seconds -- GO! The Dow Jones is an average of 30 leading companies' stocks. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
AZUZ: The Dow Jones uses an average of those 30 companies' stocks to indicate how the overall stock market is doing. The answer yesterday: not good. The Dow lost 382 points on Tuesday, ending the day at its lowest level in three months. Experts blamed the drop, at least in part, on negative reaction from investors to a government plan to help out struggling banks.
Turning our attention to Israel and elections for a new prime minister. The country is a parliamentary democracy, and the prime minister is determined by the party that wins the most seats in parliament. As yesterday's results unfolded, the leading candidates were Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When we taped this program, the outcome was too close to call.
And finally, authorities in Australia are investigating the cause of those deadly bushfires we told you about earlier this week. According to police, the blazes had claimed more than 180 lives as of Tuesday, and officials were bracing for that toll to rise. Aid for the victims is pouring in from across Australia and from countries around the world.
Shoutout Extra Credit
NIVISON: Time for the Shoutout Extra Credit! Who is considered the "Father of Black History"? If you think you know it, shout it out! Is it: A) Abraham Lincoln, B) Martin Luther King Jr., C) Carter G. Woodson or D) Frederick Douglass? You've got three seconds -- GO! Back in 1926, Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded the event that would eventually become Black History Month. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout Extra Credit!
AZUZ: Doctor Woodson picked February for the event because it marked the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two men who had a big influence on black Americans. As we continue our special Black History Month coverage, we're focusing on the arts this week. Today, we explore the achievements of some famous African-Americans in movies and music.
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MARIA BOYNTON, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Sidney Poitier is recognized as the man who broke the color barrier in Hollywood. Many of his early movies addressed issues of racial equality. But he made history in 1964, when he became the first African-American to win the Academy Award for Best Actor.
In one of her early roles, Halle Berry portrayed Dorothy Dandridge, the first African-American to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. Dandridge didn't win, but a few years after playing that role, Berry won the award herself, the first African-American woman to do so.
Aretha Franklin was considered a singing prodigy as a young child. Her powerful voice and phenomenal success as an adult helped crown her as the "Queen of Soul." In 1987, Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Raised in a musical family, Wynton Marsalis achieved solo fame as a musician and composer. In 1983, he became the first artist to win classical and jazz Grammies in the same year, and in 1997, his music earned a Pulitzer Prize. Honoring achievement in the arts this Black History Month.
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AZUZ: The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 30s was a musical and artistic explosion that shaped African-American culture and the U.S. as a whole. One of our Black History Month Learning Activities challenges students to explore the movement. You can find it and all of our Activities at CNNStudentNews.com. Plus, check out our newest Activity. It asks students to analyze the speeches of Abraham Lincoln, just in time for the former president's 200th birthday!
Before We Go
AZUZ: Before we go, a charity event that really brings in the dough. These rambunctious runners are helping raise thousands of dollars for the North Carolina Children's Hospital. But there's a catch to this four-mile jog: the pit stop. This thing is called the Krispy Kreme Challenge? And that runners have to down a dozen doughnuts halfway thru the race? Hopefully keep them down. Cameron Dorn is the name of the person who won the annual event in just under 30 minutes!
AZUZ: You know that was one sweet victory. We're gonna let you go for today. We'll see you tomorrow. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.