(CNN Student News) -- October 30, 2009
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MANDY CARRANZA, CNN STUDENT NEWS: It's the best day of the week, and we're glad you're spending part of it with CNN Student News. Carl Azuz is off this week. I'm Mandy Carranza.
CARRANZA: You've heard this week about what might be part of the Senate's proposed health care bill. Now, it's the House of Representatives' turn. House leaders released their version of a health care bill yesterday. Just like in the Senate, this is a combination of bills that were passed by different house committees.
There are still several steps to go before any of this becomes law. The House and Senate would each have to pass their versions. Then those would have to be combined into a final bill, which would need to be passed by all of Congress and President Obama. For now, Samantha Hayes looks at the House of Representatives' proposed legislation and the reaction to it.
SAMANTHA HAYES, CNN CORRESPONDENT, WASHINGTON, D.C.: In a confident show of progress outside the U.S. Capitol, House Democratic leaders unveiled legislation they say accomplishes the party's goals for health care reform.
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: It reduces the deficit, meets President Obama's call to keep the cost under $900 billion over 10 years, and it insures 36 million more Americans.
HAYES: Democrats say the House bill would cost $894 billion over ten years, subsidize insurance for poorer Americans, cap annual out-of-pocket expenses, and prevent denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions. The plan would be financed by cutting Medicare and taxing wealthy Americans The House bill's version of a public option allows health care providers to negotiate reimbursement rates with the federal government, similar to how private insurance works. It also differs from the Senate plan in that it does not include an opt-out provision for individual states. President Obama, in a Washington speech, tried to assure small business owners that health care reform will benefit them.
U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We'll crack down on excessive overhead charges by setting strong standards on how much of your premium can go towards administrative costs, and requiring insurers to give you a refund if they violate those standards.
HAYES: Republican leaders in the House pushed back against the new health care bill.
JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: This bill is pretty clear. It's going to raise the cost of Americans' health insurance. It's going to kill jobs with tax hikes and new mandates in it. We've got better ideas, and we'll be talking about them over the next week.
CARRANZA: Turning from health care to the health of the economy. Some experts are pointing to signs that it's getting better. A big one is the country's gross domestic product. That's the term for the full value of all the goods and services that a country produces in a single year. Over the past three months, the gross domestic product, or GDP, went up three-and-a-half percent. Some economists think it could mean that the U.S. economy is pulling out of recession. But they're also urging caution. They point out that several, short-term government programs helped lead to this increase in the GDP. And they believe there's still a long way to go before the economy is fully recovered.
Word to the Wise
TOMEKA JONES, CNN STUDENT NEWS: A Word to the Wise...
displace (verb) to remove or shift from a usual place, especially to force people to leave their home
CARRANZA: In the South Waziristan region of Pakistan, fighting between the nation's army and the Taliban has displaced more than 160,000 people. That's more than half of the region's population. And a Pakistani official says that most of those citizens won't be able to go back to their homes until some time next year. Ivan Watson explores their struggles.
IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT, PAKISTAN: An army chopper flight to a cricket stadium on the edge of the conflict zone. Once a playing field, now the place people come to for help after fleeing the battle in nearby South Waziristan. The only way outsiders can get a glimpse of what's happening here is by military escort. And security is tight. Hundreds of displaced Pakistanis have to wait in line outside a perimeter hundreds of yards from the stadium walls. The Pakistani military is running this strictly-controlled relief operation.The same military whose offensive against the Taliban forced these people to flee their homes.
AMANULLAH, TEACHER, DISPLACED PAKISTANI: Bombing, very large. Very large bombing.
WATSON: Amanullah is a school teacher who escaped South Waziristan with his wife and seven children.
How did you leave? In a car, in a bus?
AMANULLAH: On foot.
WATSON: On foot?
AMANULLAH: On foot. Four days we travel on foot.
WATSON: The men here say there's no real system of government in South Waziristan, just civilians caught between two armed enemies.
MOHAMED ISSAQ, DISPLACED PAKISTANI: Taliban, army.
WATSON: That's it? Police, no police?
ISSAQ: No police. Out. Police out. Out. Two men: Taliban and Pak army.
WATSON: Many people are too terrified to talk about the Taliban.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPLACED PAKISTANI: Taliban, no talk of.
WATSON: You can't talk about the Taliban?
UNIDENTIFIED DISPLACED PAKISTANI: Taliban, not talk.
WATSON: Why, it's dangerous?
The military estimates more then half the population of South Waziristan, more than 160,000 people, are now displaced, homeless and traumatized. They line up, waiting for food and tents and cash hand-outs from the government. Nadeem Ahmed is the general in charge here.
These people are fleeing war, and they're surrounded by men in uniforms with guns?
GEN. NADEEM AHMED, PAKISTANI MILITARY: But, you must remember that the Pakistan military has a history of undertaking relief operations right since inception. And if you look at this boy, the way this army guy is pushing. So, they are seeing the good face of the military as well.
WATSON: For many of these people, this is the third time in five years they've fled battles between Pakistani soldiers and the militants. The burden of being homeless does not get easier with time. Ivan Watson, CNN, Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan.
RICK VINCENT, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Jack Kemp, Steve Largent and Heath Shuler have all served in the U.S. House of Representatives. What other profession do they have in common? Were they: A) Lawyers, B) Football Players, C) Doctors or D) Actors? You've got three seconds -- GO! Before serving in Congress, all three played professional football. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!
CARRANZA: They traded in their huddles and helmets for laws and legislation. But this week, Representative Shuler, along with a group of congressmen, left the Hill and went back to the field to take part in the annual "Longest Yard" charity football game. It pits members of Congress against Capitol Hill cops. Check out some of the highlights from this year's game.
KEN HARVEY, FORMER WASHINGTON REDSKIN: It's the Longest Yard game; it's for charitable reasons. It's for the Capitol Hill Police Foundation and for the Washington Literacy Council. And so putting this together is an opportunity for some of the Congress members to be together. Republicans, Democrats play together on the same side. We're playing against the Capitol Hill police, and you've got some former players thrown in there and try to have some fun and hopefully nobody gets hurt out here.
BOEHNER: Its a great event. It's really good for the families of our police officers who were slain in the line of duty. That's why I'm here.
REP. HEATH SHULER, (D) NORTH CAROLINA: Putting some camaraderie back in the U.S. House of Congress and make sure that we can start working together. I know that if we can work together on the football field, we can certainly work together when it comes to our policies.
REP. JEFF FLAKE, (R) ARIZONA: That's the best part of it, really. It really is. You know, down in the House gym, you don't know who's a Democrat or Republican, so it works out great.
CROWD: Let's go Congress! Let's go Congress!
REP. MICHAEL ARCURIM, (D) NEW YORK: You know, to be able to be in a place like this and have NFL players here, it's really a great time. I'm having a good time, in case you can't tell.
REP. BILL SHUSTER, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: The only problem we're having tonight is some people want more playing time than other people. That's my job, to dole out the playing time. I'm trying to keep it as even as possible. We also want to make sure we have the best team on the field
PELOSI: It's one of those things where we want the members to win, but we want the guards to be very strong.
BOEHNER: That's right, very strong.
PELOSI: Their day job is very important to us.
HARVEY: In my own little way -- I speak for myself -- like sometimes, you can plant a seed that sometimes the greater goal is to figure out how to work together and to go for that goal as opposed to always fighting. At the end of the day, if anything, you see some of these grown men, some of the most powerful people in the world, they are like little kids with their uniforms on, just having a good time. So, I think its a cool, cool, cool thing to do
Before We Go
CARRANZA: Final result: congressmen over cops in overtime. Before we go, it's feasting time for trick or treaters, and for these guys, too. Sure, stomping works to crack these pumpkins open. Or you can just swallow them whole. Lions got in on the fun, too. The trick with them is to fill the fruit with raw meat. Although from the looks of this face, it might just be rotten. Not every cat got a pumpkin. In fact, some lions stole them away from the others.
CARRANZA: That's just a raw deal. But hey, when you're dealing with a group of lions, it's all about pride. That's gonna wrap things up for today. Have a happy Halloween and remember to set your clocks back this weekend. For CNN Student News, I'm Mandy Carranza.