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House GOP Working On New Bill; Military Veterans Rally Against Shutdown; Source: Bush Had 95 Percent Heart Blockage; Al Qaeda Suspect Expected In Federal Court

Aired October 15, 2013 - 10:00   ET


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: We just don't know at the moment. We are expecting House leadership to talk directly to you in just a few minutes. You see the flag set up there and the microphones. Until then, let's talk with Athena Jones with the House Republicans proposed deal. What's in it, Athena?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Carol. Well, this deal would do a couple of things that the Senate bill also does. It would re-open the government through mid-January, January 15th. It would also require that a new budget deal be struck sometime in December. It would raise the debt ceiling through the beginning of February, February 7th. But it would also say that the Treasury Department cannot use extraordinary measures to keep paying the nation's bills once they reach the debt ceiling.

This is something that gives the treasury some flexibility. Republicans want to see that February 7th date to be a hard, fast deadline. This would also do a couple of other things that the Senate bill do. It would include a two-year suspension of a medical device tax that helps fund Obamacare. That tax suspension or repeal or delay of that tax has seen some bipartisan support in the past.

But it would require income verification for those getting subsidiaries to buy health insurance under Obamacare. That's something that the Senate bill also does. But one very controversial provision that would be included in this House plan would mean that Congress members, cabinet members would not get subsidies under Obamacare.

So that's something that probably going to get a lot of pushback on the Republican side. So that's what we know of this developing plan right now. We also know that the plan if it's well received is to have a vote as early as tonight -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Interesting. So Athena, standby. We want to go to the White House and Jim Acosta. Because would the president buy into this, Jim Acosta?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: My sense is no. He is not going to buy into this and part of the reason why, Carol, is this was outlined sort of to me by a White House official yesterday that basically at this point, they see the Senate as the way out in all of this. They really feel like that any kind compromise that's going to be reached at this point is going to be brokered by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

That the House of Representative has really had a chance to get this done and I would be very surprised at this point if the House bill that they are talking about right now passed out of the House would go through the Senate to begin with. Harry Reid, I would say, would have serious doubts about this.

And then it would get to the president and he would sign it. I don't see all of those things falling into place at this point especially when you look at some of the elements that have been outlined by Dana Bash and by Athena Jones. There are just some things there that are just going to come across as being very political to this White House.

At this point, obviously the Republicans are accusing the White House of doing political things as well. But I don't think it's going to pass the smell test for this White House at this point.

COSTELLO: OK, so Athena, I don't think anyone is surprised by what Jim Acosta just said, but Athena, in two days we're going to default, right? So the House will vote on its plan that the president probably won't like, tonight. And then it will go back to the Senate. Is it possible to get this all done to come to some sort of an agreement?

JONES: It certainly seems like they're running quickly out of time, Carol. I mean, two days is not a long time when it comes to trying to get these two bills to reconcile, to make sure that it's something that can pass both the House and the Senate. On the Senate side, we know that Senate Republicans are meeting at 11:00. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be trying to sell that plan to his caucus on the Senate side.

And the hope was that the bill on the Senate side could get enough broad bipartisan support in the Senate, maybe 65 votes or more to send it back over to the House and maybe give it more of a chance on the House side. But with this new approach we're already seeing from the House, it looks like it's going to be a lot more complicated coming together on a plan that's going to be able to pass both parties in both chambers in time for this Thursday deadline. So a lot going on and very unclear at this point whether it's all going to be resolved fast enough -- Carol.

COSTELLO: So if it's not resolved fast enough and they don't raise the debt ceiling when they should, Christine Romans will join us now from New York to tell us what that might look like. What will two days from now look like, Christine?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, if there's a deal at the last minute or a deal right now, you might get, I would say, no reaction in the stock market because the stock market has already been up 500-something points the Dow has over the past four days on the assumption that they're going to get a deal done.

Even now you're not seeing much reaction to the stock market to this gaggle of cameras because they'll believe it when they see it. So your first scenario, I think, is you have a six-month debt deal. You got a debt deal going out into the beginning of the year and you get really no stock market reaction. Here's another scenario for you.

No deal. If there's no deal, what happens? Well, one group said you get the Dow down 10 percent right away. David Bianco, Deutsche Bank says you get the S&P 500 down 45 percent right away. That would get their attention in Washington and then you might get a deal after the third deadline.

The third scenario, you get a deal sometime after early next week maybe you would have a market selloff that would suddenly provide all of these people covered to go in and make some hard choices and then you might have a little bit of stock market recovery. At this point, Carol, that's the betting on Wall Street.

Just how deep the stock market selloff would be if there is no deal, no one knows. Also what reaction there will be in the bond market really no one knows as well. You're seeing stress in the t-bill market. You're seeing some stress there, but otherwise, the stock market is waiting for sanity and not making any big moves here today.

COSTELLO: All right, Christine, standby. Let's go back to Jim Acosta. So if the Senate and House can't reach a deal, and I know the president has said he would not do this in the past, could the president raise the debt ceiling himself?

ACOSTA: No. White House officials have said repeatedly. I think the president has also said he said that in his latest news conference here in the briefing room that, no, that the constitution does not permit him. I know people talk about the 14th Amendment. But White House officials say they've checked this out. They've gone through their legal counsel. They have investigated this and they believe that the president does not have the constitutional ability to unilaterally raise the debt ceiling on his own.

It is important to know that the last time we got very close to a default and the nation's credit rating was affected, the coming gave the president the ability to raise it. But that was done through a bill that was pass the by the Congress and signed by the president. But they don't believe that he has the constitutional right to do this.

The other thing that is important in all of this, is that you heard some house Republicans and some senate Republicans saying, well, if we hit the debt ceiling and go through the debt ceiling, they can do something like prioritization. You can pay these bills, but not these bills. And this was expressed by Jay Carney just recently, in their mind, prioritization equals default.

Meaning if you're paying some bills and not others, you're in default. At that point, we're in default. So I would say at this point, we're kind of experimenting a little bit in terms of how financial markets would react if we get into that sort of prioritization area. That's something that the country hasn't done before on any kind of wide scale.

COSTELLO: It will certainly be history making if it happens. Jim Acosta, standby. We're going to have to take a quick break. When we come back, we'll take you out to the World War II Memorial where Army veterans, Navy veterans, military veterans are angrily pleading with the government. Get something done. Get a deal on the table. Work something out. We'll be right back.


COSTELLO: All right, we are still waiting the House leadership to emerge from that closed-door meeting, but we do understand that House Republicans have come up with our own plan to end the government shutdown. Details of that plan are still emerging and we hope that House Speaker John Boehner will soon appear behind those microphones to outline it, to outline that plan for all of you.

But included in that plan, they're going to put things off. They're going to end the shutdown and talk about the budget and debt ceiling in 2014. So again, it seems that they're lurching from crisis to crisis. That's how pendants and former lawmakers and probably some of you characterize Congress, a governing style that many find frustrating and tiring and sadly, business as usual for Washington. Here is how Jimmy Kimmel summed it up.


JIMMY KIMMEL: Just when you thought Congress couldn't possibly do any less, somehow they managed to do even worse than nothing. It's almost inspiring. At this point our government is like the house on Halloween that turns all the lights off and leaves a bowl of candy on the front porch.


COSTELLO: Joining me now, Democratic Congressman Louise Slaughter of New York. Good morning, Congresswoman.


COSTELLO: OK, so House Republicans say they come up with a deal. Have you heard any details?

SLAUGHTER: Not a thing. But one detail I know is we'll have no committee input and it will go directly to the rules committee as all of this is done. We will find out about it after they finally file a bill. The things that we are concerned about are that it will make such a major difference in what the Senate is going to pass. And once again having to vote a -- and it will cause a further shutdown. And we could take the Senate bill off the floor at any time in the last two weeks.

I called for votes on it three times in the House and the Republicans were desperate to vote in the shutdown, not a one of them voted for it. So there aren't Democratic fingerprints on the shutdown in the House. And I'm pretty much concerned that what they're going to do instead of passing the C.R. to go directly the president and open the government, is they're going to lard it up with things totally unacceptable -- for some reason they seem to like the shutdown. COSTELLO: Congresswoman, John Boehner is in a tough spot. He has to appease those conservatives in the House of Representatives --

SLAUGHTER: No, he doesn't.

COSTELLO: Why, they're going to block it.

SLAUGHTER: All he has to do is put it on the floor. The Democrats will pass it with the Republicans who really want to vote for it. We had to do that with the violence against women bill and we're perfectly ready to do that. And the minority leader said they would get it up to the votes to get this done, all the votes that we've got. Most of them signed the letter. We'd be happy to do it.

What he's got to decide is that opening up the government and being a responsible speaker of House of Representatives is more important to him than appeasing other people who really did not understand when they voted to shut down, that that meant that the government shutdown including monuments.

COSTELLO: It is all about compromise. The Senate deal has some minor modifications to Obamacare.

SLAUGHTER: Just a moment. The C.R. does not. The C.R. was agreed on. The number was agreed on between Boehner and Reid. Reid passed his part. Boehner couldn't do it. He could have done it. As you know, they changed the rules so that nobody else could bring it up on the floor and I personally put on the floor three times a chance to vote to the C.R. It could have gone to the president that afternoon. It would have been the same bill that the Senate had passed. It's been a game -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Well, I think everybody would agree with that on both sides of the aisle, that it has been a game.

SLAUGHTER: It hurts. It makes us look terrible before the world and our citizens are totally misunderstanding of what we're trying to do. And yet, the speaker persists in continuing to play this game. Why they want this shutdown? We've never been able to really find out.

COSTELLO: Well, they say they don't want the shutdown. Right now, not far from where you're standing, a group of veterans is protesting at the World War II Memorial, saying, Congress get it together. Open the government. Joe Johns is covering that part of the story.

SLAUGHTER: It didn't need to be shut down in the first place. They could have kept the agreement that Reid and Boehner had and we would have avoided this shutdown in the first place. They didn't want to do it. They maybe appeasing some people, but for heaven's sake, do something for your country. This is totally unnecessary. If I can't make any other point in the world, I want you to know that at least three times with what I was doing and once with what another was doing, the Republican had a chance to bring it to a halt and failed to do so.

COSTELLO: Well, the saddest part of all of this is people like veterans have become pawns in this political gamesmanship. Joe Johns is near the World War II covering that part of the story. What are these veterans saying, Joe?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (via telephone): This is the veterans for foreign wars, 33 groups being represented here. It's the military coalition that advocated for veterans and their dependents. They say they speak for the 5.2million Americans. And the point of the news conference is to call to an end to the shutdown. The veteran's administration has warned that it won't be able to ensure delivery of checks without an end to the shutdown.

We're talking about $6.2 billion in payment for compensation but also for pensions, dependent care, as well as insurance. Not to mention things like tuition payments. I had talk with some vet here and they feel like they're in a political battle, active duty military and their families could start feel it November 1st.

COSTELLO: Also, from their press release, Joe, I've ascertained that they're really tired of being used as political pawns through this and they wish somebody would do something to ease the pain.

JOHNS: I think that's right. And if you talk to a lot of different veterans, they don't feel a lot of times as though they're treated the best by the government anyway. And then on top of all this, they might not even be able to get their checks starting on November 1st. It's sort of adding insult to injury.

COSTELLO: The other interesting things that's happening and I know you've liked traveled them all lately, people are going to the Lincoln Memorial, they're ignoring the barricades and going through. The problem is garbage is starting to pile up on our National Mall. That's appalling.

JOHNS: The garbage is starting to pile up although I actually have seen people who sort of voluntarily on their own going out there and picking up the trash. We're getting self-help from American citizens at a time when the government can't do its job because of the shutdown -- Carol.

COSTELLO: OK, so that's a disgusting sight. This represents our country to visitors around the world.

JOHNS: Yes. And it's interesting, too, there's just so much shutdown. You know, there are plenty of places where the government provides bathrooms for people on the mall, but I've seen people searching for port-a-potties.

COSTELLO: It's a travesty actually. Joe Johns, many thanks. We're going to take a break. We will be back with much more in the NEWSROOM.


COSTELLO: Checking on other top stories at 22 minutes past the hour. Authorities are investigating another dry ice explosion at the Los Angeles International Airport, the second to go off at LAX and in as many nights. Other dry ice bombs were found that did not explode.

When George W. Bush went to the hospital with heart problems this summer, it was much more serious than first announced. CNN has learned the former president's artery was 95 percent block in one of his arteries to his heart and the former president had a stent put in one day after the blockage was detected.


DR. WARREN LEVY, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, VIRGINIA HEART: Certainly he was at significant risk having 95 percent blockage in one of his coronary arteries. That doesn't mean he was going to have a heart attack, but certainly at significant risk of a heart attack and something needed to be done.


COSTELLO: Bush has no family history of heart disease. Doctors have let him get back into mountain biking.

One of the most wanted men in the world is now on American soil. Abu Anas Al Libi was captured by U.S. Special Forces in a raid 10 days ago in Libya. The alleged al Qaeda operative is accused of playing a role in the deadly U.S. embassy bombings in Africa in 1998. He's now in a New York courtroom. He said to appear in that federal courtroom very soon.

CNN's Deborah Feyerick, is outside the courthouse this morning. Tell us more, Deb.

DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Carol, what we can tell you is he will be inside in federal courthouse about 12:45. He's going to appear in front of the judge and then the judge has heard a number of terror cases in the past specifically related to the U.S. Embassy bombing and this is an arraignment.

-- aide to Osama Bin Laden. He's also accused of taking surveillance photos of one of the U.S. embassies, the one in Nairobi, Kenya.

And Navy vessel right after he was picked up, he was questioned by the members of the elite high value detainee interrogation team. But apparently his health was compromised so they had to bring him to shore more quickly than they anticipated -- Carol.

COSTELLO: Well, we're hearing he suffered from a severe case of Hepatitis C and he may be near death. What's the truth?

FEYERICK: The truth is that, yes, he did have medical conditions. CNN was told by his family that he does suffer from hepatitis c. One of the reasons there was secrecy surrounding his transport over the weekend, they need to figure out exactly where to bring him and the kind of medical care that he needed. But doctors on board the Navy vessel did not believe they could offer the care that was required.

That's why he was brought onto U.S. soil perhaps sooner than anticipated. We're told that he's stabilized and he'll be in court. We should learn more about the illness at that time because usually during the arraignments the judge will say what sort of medical needs do you have? So at that point, we'll probably learn a little bit more -- Carol.

COSTELO: Deborah Feyerick reporting live from New York City this morning. Thank you.

All right, we're going to take a break. But before I go, I just want to tell you what we'll have when I come back from that break. Hopefully the House leadership will be out there discussing the plan that House Republicans have come up with to end the government shutdown. Dana Bash has details of those plans. She'll join us next.


COSTELLO: All right, we're still waiting for House leadership to stand behind the podium and talk about this deal that House Republicans have come up with to end the government shutdown. We know that the Senate came up with a potential deal. Well, now the House has come up with a potential deal and it includes some interesting things.

Dana Bash broke the story for us. What's in this House plan, Dana?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: First of all, big picture. This is appears to be the House republican end game. You know, I say that with caution, because when we think, just when we think they're kind of realizing that they don't have the votes to do what they want the do and the Senate and the backing of the president that they will back down, it doesn't happen.

So I just want to put that out there. But what House Republicans have decided to do is to take the contours of what the Senate Democratic and Republican leader have agreed to, big picture, re-open the government and fund the government through January 15th and to lift the debt ceiling and keep that up extended to February 7th.

But here is the big but, they want one more chance at putting their stamp on it. And their stamp in this particular bill would be to deal with the whole question of members of Congress and what Republicans say is a question of fairness, members of Congress and members of the cabinet. And this bill would take away employer help.