development... >> we have an exclusive story tonight, and we go live... a shake-up on capitol hill. kevin mccarthy drops out of the race to be house speaker. what he knew and when he knew it, the head of volkswagen america testifies on capitol hill. lead in the water. flint, michigan struggles to find a solution.
this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm tony harris. we're following breaking news from capitol hill. the current house majority leader, kevin mccarthy, took his name out of the running for house speaker. let's head straight to al jazeera's political course dents michael shure on capitol hill. why is this happening, and can i suggest to you that the answer to the question is nothing more complicated than kevin mccarthy couldn't win? >> reporter: well, you know, you just did my job for me, tony. yes. a lot of it came down to that. a lot of it came down to the numbers. a lot of it came down to benghazi. the fact that he made a remark that really stirred a lot of passion on the republican side, especially in the conservative republican side, sort of undermining his colleagues with what he said, saying benghazi was politically moetivated. you hit it right on the head. it is the numbers. he talked about that. it all went back to the math. >> the one thing i found in
talking to everybody, if we are going to unite and be strong, we need a new face to help do that. i don't want making voting for speaker a tough one. i don't want to go to the floor and win with 220 votes. i think the best thing for our party right now is to have 247 votes on the floor. if we're going to be strong, we have to be 100% united. >> reporter: it's very difficult to imagine this party that has not been 100% united, the caucus of house republicans has not been 100% united in recent memory, hard to imagine they get 100% united. they need consensus and thought they didn't have that with kevin mccarthy. jason chaffetz wrangled some support. he's a representative from utah. he said it was the numbers, 218 to elect a new speaker. >> so, look, so i'm wondering now. you mentioned chaffetz.
i heard mr. webster's name as well here. so where is the consensus candidate? who is it? who can get to 217? >> reporter: you know, the people we have spoken to so far today have not said that jason chaffetz or daniel webster, the representative from florida and former speaker of the house from florida is that candidate. they have said they're going to look at other candidates, looking to find a candidate, maybe even a paul ryan who has said insistently he doesn't want to be speaker. they may go to him and say they need him to be speaker. right now they don't have that, and chaffetz knows that as well. >> is there a clock running on this? >> reporter: the time line is john boehner's rez anythings -- re nation. if they can't get to 218, he has to stay and work some overtime. he doesn't want that to happen either. he'll have a big hand trying to
bring this party he's struggled with over time try to bring them together to come with awe candidate to move forward on the 29th. there's no specific time line. they're out for a break for columbus day on monday and come back and re-energize and find somebody. >> you've got good interviews. we'll cut that up and get that back in this half hour here. michael shure on capitol hill for us. let's bring in david shuster. take us 35,000 feet on this. >> here's the thing. if the almighty himself or herself went down to the house today, he or she could not get 247 votes in the republican caucus. >> who can get to 217? 247 is ridiculous. this idea of being unieueniteun. come on. >> the most conservative in this republican house, the 30 or 40, they say what john boehner has done over the past couple of years is surrender, wave the white flag to the obama administration. democrats would say, that's
crazy. immigration passed in bipartisan fashion in the senate. boehner won't bring it up for a vote in the house. what boiner did try to bring up was a part of it, and the 40 conservatives blocked it because they said border security was not tough enough. they want to fight the democrats on everything. they don't care about government shutdowns, and they've now had another victory because they were able to force john boehner to call it quits a few weeks ago, and now they made kevin mccarthy realize that the establishment alone was not going to be enough to get mccarthy the 218 that he would need. >> let me ask a question we always ask, and you know this when we talk about international events. let me ask it in this context. why does this matter? why does this process to select the next speaker matter? >> because in our government where you have to have the legislative branch working with the executive branch in order to get things done, as dysfunctional as the senate may be, the house is now even more
dysfunctional. a lot of people suggested you can't get anything done in the house. now you have every indication that it is only going to get worse, that the house is going to become even angrier, louder and less productive and there's nothing that happened in the last couple weeks that signal there's any kind of unity that the house has an appetite for. never mind within the republicans. the idea of the democrats and republicans working together on anything? forget about it. >> we've been spending a lot of time on this. so they'll get this figured out. they'll find a candidate. my question is, is it going to be a consensus candidate or one of these fight to the death candidates. >> it won't be chaffetz or webster. they appeal to the hard-line conservatives. the republican establishment that has most of the votes in the caucus, they will select somebody like congressman ryan, somebody who represents them as a caucus and then the challenge that ryan is going to have is the same one john boehner had.
bh these 30 or 40 members shut down the government. we don't care. defund planned parenthood or forget about it all, ryan has to explain to these people already described by the establishment as crazies, he has to explain to them, you know what? this might hurt the republican brand if we get blamed for shutting down the government again. these members of congress, the freedom caucus, they don't care. >> david shuster, you're wrapping this up later. thank you. one of the heroes that stopped a gunman on a train in europe is recovering from stab wounds here in the united states. the air force confirms airman first class spencer stone was stabbed in the chest four times early this morning on a street in sacramento. police say stone was out with friends when a fight broke out. he's in stable condition and is expected to survive. nato says it's ready to step up its response in light of russia's latest military activities in sear dwra speaking at the emergency meeting in brussels.
nato's second general renewed a pledge to defend allies at all costs. >> nato is ready to defend and protect all allies against any threat. that, of course, also goes for -- was valid for turkey. >> russia says its recent violation of turkish air space was a mistake, but it has increased air strikes on syria which told were followed by a major ground offensive by syrian forces. we have more now from the nato meeting in brussels. >> reporter: ever since the air bombardments of specific targets in syria started, it has posed, of course, security concerns for nato couldnntries including tur. of course, all of this has come to a head of the back of two apparent incursions by russian jets into turkish air space a few days ago. the russians say that that was an accident, that the first incursion happened during bad
weather. regarding the second incursion, nato isn't to sure of that. they have suspicions. they are deep concerns that russia is targeted more than simply isil and al qaeda-linked groups and, in fact, the organizations and frups against assad backed by the united states have also found themselves on a list of legitimate targets for the russians to hit as well. so it's very important now for nato to show common resolve against the head of nato. they said it's important to consider security implications for nato's own security. undoubtedly as the meetings continue this afternoon, we will hear moret rick like that, but when it comes to actual action on the ground, nato's hands are bound. it's very much about condemning russia from a distance. >> ined barker in brussels for
us. testimony ahead about volkswagen america's allegations on the hill. al jazeera's lisa stark joins us from washington. it was that string of questions. what did you know, mr. horne, and when did you know it? >> reporter: that is a key question. one distinction he made is he learned about emissions problems more than a year ago, but it was only last month that that was, in fact, because of a deliberate deception on the part of the company. as you can imagine, tony, michael horne apologized to lawmakers. take a listen. >> i would like to offer a sincere apology for volkswagen's use of a software program that served to defeat the regular emissions testing regime. let me be very clear. we at volkswagen take full responsibility for actions and working with all the relevant authorities in a cooperative way. >> reporter: now, mr. horne also today the lawmakers he believes this deception, this decision to
put in software to cheat on emissions standards was made not at the highest corporate levels but at some engineering level. tony, lawmakers just did not buy that. investigations do continue to try to find out precisely who did know what and when. >> yeah. i heard a bit of that testimony. you're right. congressman is pretty hot on that point. what is the fallout from this admission, and i guess the real question is, what can congress do about it? >> reporter: what congress is doing is really holding volkswagen's feet to the fire. they want the company to do right by its customers. they want the company to do right by its dealers, by its employees. they make some cars here in the u.s., and i will say we had some rare bipartisan agreement today. there was anger on both sides of the aisle. >> reporter: vw has betrayed a nation, a nation of regulators, loyalists, suppliers, and innocent customers. it's time to clean it up or get off the road.
>> the auto industry has deliberately chosen to perpetuate lies and mislead consumers, but the american public are not crash-test dummies and cannot be treated as such. >> reporter: now, volkswagen told lawmakers that some of the cars will be fixed starting the first of the year, but the bulk of the cars they still aren't sure how to fix the problem and it will take more than a year to get the cars in and get this remedied. >> there's the other issue of how you make folks whole, right? i'm thinking about the general public and the impact, right? the people who bought these vehicles thinking about the dealerships that pay in advance to get these vehicles. what is the impact on the general public? >> reporter: there is a huge economic fallout. volkswagen said today it's withdrawing its attempt to get certificates from the epa to sell the newest model, the 2016s. they're just sitting on the dealers' lots basically, and volkswagen is giving money to dealers to try and make them
whole. the question is, what will it do for consumers? some lawmakers want this company to buy these cars back. >> lisa stark in washington. south carolina still facing major threats from downstream flooding. residents on the coast are being told to expect flooding in the next 12 hours. the governor says it could last 12 days because the water is not expected to recede quickly. thousands of homes are threatened as you can imagine. the death toll from last week's historic storm is up to 17. we have more now from columbia. >> reporter: good afternoon. i'm standing beneath what used to be a two-lane bridge, and you can see here as the floodwaters recede what is left behind is evidence of the staggering power of moving floodwater. again, this was a two-lane bridge completely washed out, and it's months before these roads, before this kind of damage is rear paired. we heard a lot from dwufor haley in the pass couple of days. she went on another kel kopt tour of the state.
the biggest concern right now is the floodwaters moved out of this part of the state known as the midlands and heading east towards to the on or about wran and the low country. the issue is the low country is where the water will settle and stand perhaps for weeks to come. people in that part of the state are warned to be ready to evacuate in the next 12 hours and to be out of their homes for a very long time. let's hear what governor haley had to say earlier this morning. >> it's tragic. it's tragic to see all of the damage. while the water has receded, it's harder to see because you see the damage underneath, whether it was damage to roads, damage to railroad tracks, damage to farms. it's devastated to see the damage to the farmers. houses still underwater. things are turned upside-down. roads taken completely out. it really is harder to see what's underneath the water than the water itself. >> reporter: in the wake of all this flooding, most people have had their water and power
restored. there are fewer and fewer people day after day in shelters. people are able to return to their homes. there are still 38 areas across the state advised to boil water after 14 dams have failed. that's damaged some of the water systems contaminated. some of the municipal water. there have been hundreds of rescues and at this point the death toll stands at 17. we hope that number doesn't something higher. the biggest concern is downstate towards the low country where the waters are headed. people are warned to be ready to evacuate in the next 12 hours. back to you. lead in the water supply. how one michigan town is dealing with the problem as more and more people are getting sick.
flint, michigan is changing its water source as it deals with high levels of lead in the drinking water. children in the city have tested positive for lead. we're live from flint. how did the city's water supply get to such a sad state? >> reporter: well, i can tell you, tony, that the governor today says that he passed full support behind the city of flint going back to the detroit water system. the city initially pulled away from detroit's water system because it said that the costs were getting too expensive, and that's when the city started going into the flint river for resources. since then there have been a lot of problems. now, the governor said that he
came to his conclusion after meeting with a team of scientists. for months the city of flint, people have complained as i've mentioned, but the city said nothing was wrong with the water. the water was absolutely safe to drink. clearly officials are changing their course. protestors over the past couple of months have been very persistent and vocal holds protests. it wasn't until we learned more about two studies that revealed that there were high levels of lead in the water and it was actually impacting the children here in flint. today the mayor says that, you know, switching back to the detroit water system is a start, but there's still a lot of work that needs to be done. take a listen. >> additional infrastructure improvements in the distribution system need to be accelerated. our service lines need to be replaced. we also need to recognize that there are important lessons from
flint's experience. we need to take a look at federal and state policy reforms that include expanding water safety samples to include our most vulnerable families. we need to look at factors of affordability and public health and infrastructure all being assessed together. >> reporter: switching back to detroit's water system does not come cheap. the governor today said that it will cost $12 million to make the switch. he's going to ask state legislators for 6 million. 4 million will come from a local foundation, and the city of flint will pitch in $2 million to make the change, which is expected to be complete within the next couple of weeks. tony. >> bc for us in flint, michigan. thank you. controversy today in washington, d.c. a suburb there after a gun shop opened behind an elementary school. nova firearms in mcclain, virginia. a group of parents want the business shut down. they have more than 2,000
signatures on a petition asking the owner to move. gun enthusiasts say the owner has the right to keep his store open. san francisco's last remaining gun store is closing. highbridge arms was the final holdout in a city with gun control laws growing more strict. asth melissa khan reportses, th story owners have enough. >> reporter: these are the last days of the last gun shop in san francisco. people have shopped here since 1952, but inventory is clearing quickly as they countdown to the permanent closure at end of the month. for the manager, the city's latest gun control proposal was the last straw. >> this year it's this one, and next year it's probably something else. you know, we understand why they're doing it. we understand that, you know, there is a homicide problem in san francisco. we just disagree that that's going to help curb it. i don't think it will. >> reporter: the bill would require a video record of every
gun sale in the city. it would also require the store to submit a weekly report of ammunition sales to police. because this is the only gun shop until the city, the bill pretty much targets highbridge arms. >> looking at 2015, san francisco lost not only the last begun range and the last gun shop. from my perspective it's the result of many, many years of anti-gun pressure from city elected officials. >> reporter: city supervisor mark farrell says he just wants to do what he can to keep people safe. >> from my perspective, congress has failed us in terms of protecting us in our cities and our urban cores, so it's left to the cities to their own devices to do what we can locally in order to protect our residents. >> he says there's nothing revolutionary about what he propos proposed. san francisco is actually following other places like chicago, which already videotapes gun purchases. >> the ammunition sales data transmission to the police department is already in multiple other jurisdictions in california.
>> reporter: this is, after all, liberal san francisco, and many people here don't like guns. workers at highbridge arms say in many ways all these regulations are very much against the spirit of this usually tolerant city. >> the attitude as a san franciscoian is if you don't impose it on me and don't bring it to my doorstep, i don't care. if i don't like it, i simply ignore it. >> reporter: the bill still needs to be discussed in committee before the board of supervisors votes. if the mayor signs it into law, the new rules are likely to be in place before the end of the year, weeks after highbridge arms closes. melissa khan, al jazeera, san francisco inches coming up on al jazeera america, more on the breaking news out of washington with kevin mccarthy dropping out of the race for house speaker.
recapping our stop story. the current house majority leader ken mccarthy took his name out of the running for house speaker. that news broke last hour and came as a big surprise for house republicans as they gather to vote on the next speaker. the current house speaker, john boehner, postponed the election. earlier al jazeera's political correspondent michael shure
spoke with morgan griffith about mccarthy's announcement. >> kevin felt he couldn't at this point unite the conference and he felt best to withdraw at this time. so he did. then speaker boehner said, okay, in light of this surprise, i think we should move the elections for the nomination, and he did. then he made a motion to adjourn. everybody got up and left. >> reporter: do you think among the 247 of you that there is a consensus pick? >>le with well, hiem sure there is. who that person is will take time to figure out, and kevin may very well get back into it if it feels like the circumstances have changed a little bit and he can unify the conference. i wouldn't rule out kevin coming back into the race at some point, but as for today there needs fob more discussion in his mind from what i can tell, and he withdrew. >> are you disappointed by this and what it shows the state of the party or your caucus? >> i'm not.
look, this was never meant to be an easy process. it is not supposed to be smooth and choreographed. you know, this is not made for tv. this is made for real life tough political decisions, tough governance decisions, and our conference has to decide and our group as republicans have to decide how to best effectuate the policies our people sent us here today and we have to find a leader to lead. that may be kevin at some point. but we have to come to some agreement related to the rules and process and where we're going before we can pick a leader and kevin recognized that today. >> you don't think it has anything to do with a surge of support for representative chaffetz or webster, do you? >> certainly that they held a significant block of votes had something to do with it. it indicated to kevin that, you know, it was going to be hard to lead a fractured conference. that doesn't mean it can't comb together and kevin may not be the leader ♪ end.
the speaker in the end. as of today he felt like there needed to be some time and take a step back. obviously, you have to ask kevin for more detail. that's my assessment. >> do you see speaker boehner having to postpone his retirement? >> i don't know the answer to that. i would think we'd go forward and do something by the end of the month or first of november. we'll see. >> no date is set for the postponed vote. john boehner plans to step down at the end of this month. an investigative journalist won the nobel prize in literature. they called her work a monument to suffering and courage. the journalist from belarus chronicled tragedies from the soviet union and its collapse including eyewitness accounts from world war ii, the soviet war in afghanistan and the chernobyl disaster. i'm tony harris in new york. the news continues next live from london.