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CNN Student News Transcript: March 23, 2010

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CNN Student News - 3/23/2010

(CNN Student News) -- March 23, 2010

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CARL AZUZ, CNN STUDENT NEWS ANCHOR: Happy birthday, Roger Bannister -- first man to run the mile in less than four minutes. In more than twice that time, you'll be up to speed on today's headlines. I'm Carl Azuz.

First Up: Health Care

AZUZ: First up, it's the biggest expansion of the United States health care system in more than forty years. And by a vote of 219-212, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a health care reform bill late Sunday night. This is the same bill that the Senate passed last December. This means that when President Obama signs it, it's law. The House also passed a set of changes to the Senate bill. We're gonna get back to that in just a second. But first, you know this health care issue has been controversial. We want you to check out some of the reaction to last night's vote.

REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) HOUSE SPEAKER: Thirty-two million more Americans having access to health care. $1.3 trillion saved for the taxpayer and accountability for the insurance companies so they cannot come between patients and their doctors.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Shame on us. Shame on this body. Shame on each and every one of you who substitutes your will and your desires above those of your fellow countrymen.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This legislation will not fix everything that ails our health care system, but it moves us decisively in the right direction. This is what change looks like.

AZUZ: Okay, so the House passed the bill. Now what? Well, President Obama is expected to sign it today. Again, as soon as he does that, the Senate bill becomes law. But how about those changes passed by the House? Those still need to get through the Senate. That process can't start until the president signs the original bill. Some analysts are saying that the package of changes could inspire a pretty heated battle in the Senate. We're going to have more on that as the debate gets going. Another thing that's going to happen when the president signs the health care bill: lawsuits. At least ten states are planning to file suits arguing that parts of the health care bill are unconstitutional. President Obama's administration says it expects to win any lawsuits filed against the bill.


AZUZ: Well, this debate, dominating headlines for months. You see our home page here, Now that a health care bill has been passed, some people are calling it a milestone; others are calling it a mistake. That is what our blog, which you see right here, is asking: milestone or mistake? You can vote in our Quick Poll, comment on the subject. You know where to find it; it's at In fact, I have a couple comments for you right now. Brian says "it is a good idea because it'll keep insurance companies from raising prices." Daniel, on the other hand, he's saying "it's not the answer to the problems our current system has." We want you to share your thoughts -- and firstnames only -- at our blog.

Word to the Wise


subsidize (verb) to help or assist by providing money


Student Loan Reform

AZUZ: Sunday night, the House of Representatives also approved a plan for the government to be the main supplier of student loans. Right now, you can get loans from the government or from private companies. But the government actually subsidizes some of those private loans; it gives the companies money to guarantee them. This new proposal would cut those subsidies out. Ali Velshi gives us a little background on how loans work right now and how this would change the process.

ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR AND CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Right now, the government provides about $31 billion in student loans. The private enterprise banks -- private banks, basically -- provide about $67 billion. In many cases, they're guaranteed by the government. But really, you can see the private enterprise gives about twice as many loans as the government does.

Now the plan, according to the bill, is basically for the government to rub out the middleman, to stop sort of subsidizing or guaranteeing these loans and be the lender directly to people with loans.

AZUZ: This proposal still needs to go through the Senate. It's not a done deal. Supporters argue that it would save the federal budget more than $60 billion over the next 10 years. One congressman said it would make college more affordable and keep jobs in America. But critics of the plan say it'll actually put jobs at stake, including thousands of employees at those private lending companies, those banks. Critics also argue that the change will cause delays in the loan process, because they say the government doesn't have enough people to handle all the loans.


MATT CHERRY, CNN STUDENT NEWS: Time for the Shoutout! Who were the 42nd and 43rd presidents of the United States? Were they: A) Ronald Reagan & George H.W. Bush, B) George H.W. Bush & Bill Clinton, C) Bill Clinton & George W. Bush or D) Jimmy Carter & Ronald Reagan? We'll give you five seconds on this one -- GO! Bill Clinton was number 42 and George W. Bush was 43. That's your answer and that's your Shoutout!

Haiti Relief

AZUZ: Those two former presidents are working together to try and help victims of January's devastating earthquake in Haiti. The natural disaster killed more than 200,000 people -- was completely catastrophic -- left more than a million others homeless. Presidents Clinton and Bush were in the Caribbean nation yesterday, meeting with government officials and others who are involved in the relief efforts. They were there on behalf of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, which they started to raise money for this recovery process. According to its Web site, the organization has raised more than $37 million so far. In addition to the meetings, Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton spent part of yesterday's visit touring some of the camps for Haiti's homeless.

U.S.-Israel Relations

AZUZ: There's been some tension between the U.S. and Israel lately. You've heard about this on our show. It's especially focused over Israel's plans to build new settlements in East Jerusalem. This is an area that's disputed between Israelis and Palestinians. The U.S., which is trying to help create a Middle East peace plan, wants Israel to stop construction there. In a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the U.S. has a responsibility "to give credit when it is due and to tell the truth when it is needed." But she said the relationship between the U.S. and Israel is still strong.

U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: For President Obama and for me, and for this entire administration, our commitment to Israel's security and Israel's future is rock-solid, unwavering, enduring and forever.

AZUZ: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke at the conference. He's scheduled to sit down with President Obama for a meeting at the White House sometime today.


AZUZ: A showdown could be looming between China and Google. Yesterday, the Internet company announced it has stopped censoring, or restricting, its search results in China. A company official said, "We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services." Back in 2006, when Google launched, its search engine in China, it agreed to a Chinese demand for the company to censor some of its search results. At the time, Google argued that offering Chinese users some information was better than nothing. But after alleged cyber-attacks against Google last December, the company stopped the self-censorship, although that only lasted for about a day. Now, it seems China will have to decide how it plans to react to this latest announcement.

Blog Report

AZUZ: A list was posted temporarily at a Wisconsin middle school. It showed the names of students who had failing grades, and about 500 of you had something to say about it! Sabrina doesn't think "it's fair to post someone's grade where anyone can see it." She says "it's embarrassing and humiliating." A lot of you agreed with that. As you can see, our quick poll showed that about two-thirds of you oppose an F-list. Rachel says she doesn't "see this working at her school. The students would tell the parents; the parents would get angry and contact the principal." But Diana supports the idea, saying "the parents should help their students get off the list and not complain to the school." And Spencer writes, "The principal did the right thing. He motivated half the kids to get off the list. It hopefully gets the people who don't usually care to care about their grades." If you have no idea what we're talking about, watch this story in our archive. Go to Click archive. Select the show from March 17th!

Before We Go

AZUZ: And finally, if you have a fondness for fromage, you're gonna love today's Before We Go segment. Take a big whiff. You know what that smells like? Victory! That's because this is the world's best cheese! The Swiss gruyere took top prize at the 2010 World Championship Cheese Contest in Wisconsin. The judges praised the big cheese for its creamy texture and lightly fruity taste. After beating out 2,300 other entries...


AZUZ: ...We guess this cheese stands alone. A muenster pun like that is as gouda way as any to end today's show. For CNN Student News, I'm Carl Azuz.