tv Inside Story Al Jazeera December 12, 2014 5:00pm-5:31pm EST
to open it next week. that's our time for this new hours. i'm tony harris from new york city. if you would like the latest on any of the stories from this news hour go to our website at www.aljazeera.com. "inside story" with ray suarez is next. . >> hey, they passed that big spending bill. thanksgiving allows the government to stay open, yay, right? but if it's such good news why do so many people in the house and senate seem so unhappy. it's inside story. >> hello, i'm ray suarez. these most recent traditions of
the u.s. government is such a contentious bunch. deadlines have been blown. sequestration gun. the government shutdown. time after time congress set deadlines for itself with consequences thought to be so lousy it would force them to come to an agreement, and they still didn't manage to get it done. but not this time. more than 1 trillion-dollar of government spending is spelled out in a massive new ominous bill. and you could not hear the muffled cheers over the recriminations. less than three hours before midnight. >> live, if we don't get finished today we're going to be here until christmas. >> this is a bill that we should vote for. this bill needs to pass. >> the representatives dodged another shutdown, passing a
1 trillion-dollar spending measure nicknamed the romney bus. it includes a continuing resolution, a c.r. >> what they're looking for is practical governance and willingness to compromise. that's what this bill will do. >> others criticize the concessions made to get the bill passed in time for the deadline. >> this is not about partisanship. this is about fairness. this is about accountability and responsibility. this is about preventing another financial collapse that could again wipe out millions of jobs
and take down our whole economy. >> senator elizabeth warren of massachusetts is particularly upset over the loosening of bank regulations born out of the 2008 financial crisis in the form of the dodd-frank laws. but other so-called policy pork can include relaxing rules on campaign financing, exponentially increasing the amounts individuals can give to financial parties. $5.4billion for u.s. embassy security worldwide, including new money to implement recommendations from the bengahzi accountability review board. the department of homeland security will only get funding until february. an amendment that could be seen to challenge president barack obama's executive action on immigration last month. >> here we are in the house being black mailed--being black mailed to vote for an
appropriations bill. >> also unhappy are some republicans who feel that cromnibus didn't go fo far enough. instead of reining in the big spending ways it left the wallet wide open. >> it's a giant compromise. >> now the bill is in the hands of the senate and is expected to go to vote this weekend. >> the senators are unhappy with this legislation. they'll have a chance to make their objections heard. >> it's all part of the dance in recent years. in this case, senate democrats wanted to firm up what they can before ceding power to the republicans while republicans could not take a chance on another shut down and face the anger that that could bring. >> what some call the cromnibus, an unlovely marriage of a cr,
continuing resolution, keeps some running temporarily. and the joy of getting the job done seems muted compared to the complaints about what the massive bill accomplishes. joining us for that conversation, host of the agenda on sirius xm radio, and former adviser to harry reid. and political correspondent for the washington examiner, and representative at the arc street institute. he worked on the religioustiv legislation staff. what are the deadline weeks like? what is everybody up to. >> it's a pretty exciting time. we have legislative staff. we have lobbyists, reporterrers running around the halls of congress hoping to make a land-minute deal to get out of town for christmas. >> it's still soft, people are
still rushing around with paper versions of things. >> absolutely. a little bit of con pollution. and just excitement about what's actually going to happen. >> is there a field general who could see the whole landscape who knows what all the different committees are up to, and what all the moving pieces are? or even pretty high up the food change people are finding out what is in these bills pretty late in the game. >> the interruption in congress around appropriation bills has been a weird process. when i was staffer, the cardinals, the sub committee chairs had so much power. their power, for a number of reasons, the power of leadership has been degraded to the point where you don't actually have anybody who can take credit for
any provision, which was a marked difference from a house staffer. >> i think the breakdown in the appropriations process is actually one of the things that has created chaos in washington, d.c. because members--the appropriations process used to be something every member had a say in, had a role in prim primarily through--i don't want to say a dirty word now, earmarks. but members don't have actual roles in these bills. they tend to get centered into leadership. these omnibus bills are so huge that you never quite know who knows what is going in, although leadership should have basic parameters. >> richard, you worked with a fairly young, fairly junior member.
is this a powering or disempowering thing. >> one of the major concerns that many have had is that they've been unable to read the bill. one of the things that speaker painer ran on, they have 72 hours to read the bill. there is a lot in there that they had less than 48 hours or 24 hours to read and know what was in there. going online and seeing people reading and seeing what's in there, it can be difficult to figure out what can be done. >> rebecca, were there things that were at the top of mind, and things that you wanted to show that you were thinking about your base? >> well, for both sides it was
very important to actually get this approved this week in time to keep the government open. but you look at the democratic side. they wanted to avoid republicans from messing with homeland security. and they were largely successful in that democrats were also looking to get full funding for the epa. they did not quite accomplish that goal. but they were able to still fund it considerably. republicans, they were looking to potentially push back against the president on immigration. they weren't able to do that, but they were able to get the measure on campaign finances that actually raised the limits for donating to the rnc and dnc, tripled some of the limits for certain provisions and democrats
were very upset about that. >> was that a fairly late in the game addition? this was not something that you heard about or read about. in past weeks. it just blossomed like are a mushroom, and then suddenly everyone was racing the deadline. >> it did happen late in the game. the rationale behind it, is that eric cantor during his time last year took funding away from conventions that actually had been funded by the federal government. the federal government appropriated money for the national convention. he took that money and put it towards pediatric disease research. both parties wanted that money recouped, but they had different ideas of how to go about it. republicans said they would rather have that money come from private donors, hence the change we saw. >> were there items that were
part of the debate just because you wanted to show your side that you remembered the things that really animate them, things that you thought weren't really going to happen, weren't going to pass the version that you wanted, but you wanted your side to know that you were thinking? >> i don't think the measures being debated that was in the bill was about your side. if you look at what people who were fighting against things in the bill. for example, elizabeth warren saying this pr provision that effects dodd-frank in the bill, i'm going to fight that part of the bill. there was not much in the bill for the bases of either party. >> but on both scores it looked like they failed both those things that you named. >> yes. >> ask they know? >> that they were going to fail? yes, a lot of it is theater. on the elizabeth warren side i
think what you're seeing, and you'll see it with the confirmation process in the new year's as well is a proxy fight in the democratic party between progressives and wall street. between those two rings led by elizabeth warren who interestingly the last version of this fight, which was the janet yellen portion, she has sat back on. now she has taken the lead on both of these saying we're going to have this discussion about which side we are on, wall street or main street. >> quickly before the break, that whole ted cruz pushing back on homeland security, did they think they were going--they funded homeland security on a continuing resolution. it's not part of the overall appropriation. >> i think for many conservatives the major effort was let's get into the new year. we have the majority in the house and the senate. so let's take our agenda to the people there whether it's on
immigration, and hopefully more on economic opportunity and job creation and addressing criminal justice reform and other issues that they've talked to the president. immigration is a touchy issue next year, and my hope is that the republicans would introduce legislation and address many of these issues that we're talking about. >> we'll talk more about immigration in the program. we'll be back with more inside story after this short break. when we come back what this shows about the splits on capitol hill not between parties but inside them. stay with us.
the house of representatives. rebecca, there were a lot of things in the overall spending plan that republicans castigated, made fun of in the weeks running up to these votes, funding for ebola, funding for various projects that were branded democratic, and yet they're in there, and they are funded. leaving some of them complaining about not cutting government spending, which is what they came to do. >> exactly. we can probably anticipate a republican budget during the new republican congress that will cut spending significantly. they're being pushed by a number of outside groups to do that, pushed by their own members to do that. they have said that that will be a priority when the new congress can meet. for the time being because democrats are still in power and in the senate they needed to craft a piece of legislation. that's why the house supported it. that's why republican leaders and democratic leaders supported
it. it's not what everyone wanted, certainly. it made a lot of people angry on both sides, but that's the compromise. >> is there a split inside the g.o.p. ranks where there are many members, and now after november even more members who want to go further down that road that rebab rebecca just described. >> absolutely. there are a range of issues, including what to do with surveillance reform, and you have more libertarian streak which wants to rein in certain government over abuse, and they want to uphold the ballot they took in office. they're going to tut the spending, and you have country club establish base with an je agenda they want to push through. they'rthey arethere are other
groups trying to push through their agenda. >> the public is interested in that, not necessarily the nitty-gritty, but the broad thing they can understand, the companies are delivering information about their communication drives to the federal government, yet that did not come close to getting passed. >> no, usa freedom act did not pass last month, but there is an amendment to the defense appropriations last year that passed with 300 votes in the house representatives. that would have ended the back door surveillance under section 702 of the fisa act. that was taken out at the end a week ago. therit is a major concern, a year and a half after the stone revelations were nowhere near of ending the surveillance abuse we have seen as becoming the norm in this country. >> what are the big camps inside
the democrat world, and who are some of the leaders of these factions? >> i mean, look, what is interesting to me, well first, it's the two camps that i brought up, the more wall street led by third way camp of the democratic party versus progressive camp on the outside led by a number of online considerations, grassroots groups and inside congress in senate just look at who was named to leadership. they represent those two camps. in terms of the budget debate, what i think is interesting is, you know, six years ago, season years ago the democratic ranking members of the committees tended to be much more conservative. i was looking over the sheets of the ranking numbers were in the new year. berni saunders is the ranking member of the budget committee, probably the most progressive, the only socialist member of the congress. the most progressive by farther
in the senate will be ranking member of the budget party which will change the perimeters of this debate. >> it will change the debate, but will it also heighten dysfunction. i can't see them seeing eye to eye with any member of the senate much less the person who is his chair. >> you'll be surprised how they can work together on a number of issues, criminal justice reform. you could create a bill today that would get the vote of fringes of both parties and finding people who are super happy. you can get that bill in the senate today. >> is it going to be as nice as he's talking about? is that what you're sharpening your pencils for in january? >> look at this omnibus bill. you have not only senator warren opposing it, but ted cruz.
how many things do elizabeth warren and ted cruz agree on. this is a preview of coming attractions. you will see cooperation between the quote/unquote wing nut caucus of the congress. >> there is a second element that i didn't bring up. how this got done, i think a lot of younger members of congress, and in particular don't understand how to legislate, how to governor because they have not been around a functions governing body. mitch mcconnell and harry reid are two guys who know how to cut a deal and make a provision to do so. this budget deal, this cromnibus, for all its problems, was the product of people who kind of knew how to governor, who knew how, when they need to get something done, actually get something done in this case. notice, there was never any real concern that the government was going to shut down. i don't think anybody was placing any money that this was
going to lead to government shutdown. that tension didn't exist because they knew how to get together, and they were assembling a bill that many didn't like. but they knew how to assemble a bill that would pass. >> muttering all the way, i don't like what's in it, but i'm telling my members to vote for it. >> yes. >> was there any members of leadership that were not happy? >> pelosi was not happy, she went against the white house and went to war against the white house. >> over one provision? >> no, over all. she was very unset about the finance campaign changes, and pelosi was upset that she was left out of these negotiations. this was a deal crafted by senate democratic negotiators and republicans on the house side, and then the bill was simply presented to the members, and pelosi did not like what she
charges and demands immediate release. >> thousands calling for their freedom. >> it's a clear violation of their human rights. >> we have strongly urged the government to release those journalists. >> journalism is not a crime. >> welcome back to inside story on al jazeera america. i'm ray suarez. the cromnibus rolled out of the house this week, but not everyone is jumping on board. now it's heading over to the u.s. senate. in a news briefing the president talked of his hopes that the bill would fare well there. still waiting the appropriations over the home stand security and that department's role of enforcing immigration law. still with us, ari robinoff, former adviser to harry reid. rebecca berg with the washington
examiner, and ari, i don't know if they really have the wherewithal to stop the president's new policy in its tracks, but they intend to make it uncomfortable, don't they? >> look, i think they'll come back, homeland security issue will come up. they'll probably go right to the deadline. look, i think they'll have to deal with a number of republican members who want something, and they're going to have to figure out something to satiate that. i don't know what that is, but the president is not going to back down on his executive order. he'll itch for the fight. he'll want republicans out there on this, and i think republican leadership won't want the fight as much. i'll tell you who else won't want the fight. this is where it gets interesting. people talk about ted cruzs. people don't talk about rob portman, the seven republican senators who have to run in states in 2016 who will likely
be carried by a democratic candidate. philadelphia, maine, new ha new hampshire, this will put up how they will deal with those seven senators and ted cruz and his caucus. >> when you look at the map, the west and the mountain west i am sure there are a lot of house members who don't want to run in two years as standard members of the party who say you have to run after all. >> and the republicans understand that they need to tread lightly on the immigration issue because there is no way they can win. on the national level all the way to the house races there is no way they can win being an anti-immigration reform party. it's impossible. republicans understand that, but you're right, there are going to
be major disagreements among the different kinds of republicans on how to get this done. how much reform to get done. so we'll see. >> even though it's just an executive action, ma nathan, the president shaped the perimeters of the debate, like it or not. >> absolutely. it was his ace in the hole. he was able to set the agenda for how the immigration debate will push forward in the next few months in america. at the same time it's a great opportunity for the new house and new senate to work together, and not just with immigration, but layout a much larger agenda that's conservative and looks at the entitlement and increasing national debt and a lot of other issues that republicans have run on. i think they could create a conservative approach and address many of the issues that we face as a country. >> could we have another brinkmanship moment over the dhs
initiative. that's a sensitive department and i would think there are risks of playing with matches on that one. >> there could be risks playing with matches, but the republicans have a little bit of time before their next election. 2016 is further away. and there someone ant tune to create the judiciary to bring about the hearings, i would hope to see they would come up with. >> the clock is ticking. this is the debate of january and february. >> the agenda got set. this is going to be a conversation coming back in january of how this gets fixed. i'm sure there will be count down clocks all over the tv of people counting down to it. what you just said is the bet that leadership is making. >> that brings us to the end of this edition of inside story. thanks for being with us. join us again. in washington i'm ray suarez.
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