tv The Situation Room CNN October 15, 2013 2:00pm-3:31pm PDT
eastern, 8:00 p.m. pacific for a live cnn special shutdown showdown. i turn you over to wolf blitzer, who is in "the situation room." happening now -- >> this bill that they're sending over here is doomed to failure. >> there have been no decisions about what exactly we will do. >> as the clock ticks steadily toward an unprecedented default, a senate deal to end the paralyzing gridlock is on hold as house republicans struggle to come up with a last ditch alternate plan. in a new interview just in to "the situation room" president obama says the speaker, john boehner, can't control his own caucus and is weakened by extremists within it. and is the house really going to take the country over a fiscal cliff? i'll speak with two powerful congressmen, democrat steve israel and republican darrell issa. they are here to debate. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room."
we begin with breaking news right now. the credit rating agency fitch, fitch has placed the united states aaa long-term foreign and local currency default ratings right now in what they call rating watch negative. the ratings of all outstanding u.s. sovereign debt securities have also been placed on that status along with u.s. short-term foreign currency rating procedures. this is a serious development right now. in 31 hours from now, this country could actually start defaulting on its debt, sending shock waves around the world. a senate deal to reopen the government temporarily and raise the debt ceiling is on hold. the house speaker john boehner is warning against a default but he may not have the votes to pass a tougher counter proposal so are both sides digging in right now? the stakes clearly enormous. republican conservatives met in a mexican restaurant here in washington last night to plot strategy. house democrats have just met
with the president over at the white house. let's begin our coverage this hour with our chief congressional correspondent, dana bash. dana, the house republicans, they came up with their own bill, the white house quickly rejected that one. i want you to give us the latest, knowing right now that fitch has just effectively put the u.s. aaa rating on a negative watch list. this is a serious development that presumably will put enormous new pressure on members of congress. >> reporter: it certainly could, wolf. there's no question about it. now, what house republicans are planning to do is hold a vote tonight, maybe as soon as the next few hours, on a new proposal, something that they spent all day revising after their initial proposal clearly didn't get enough support within their own republican caucus that they presented this morning. let me tell you what it is that they're going to be voting on. number one, reopening the government immediately and funding it until december 15th. so that would be a month earlier than what the senate had
planned. also, lifting the debt ceiling and extending that until february 7th, and then with regard to obama care, there are so many discussions about provisions, little things that they could tweak around the edges. what conservatives convinced the house speaker to do is to eliminate all of that and just focus on one thing, and that is to make clear that no federal subsidies will go to members of congress and their staff and also the president and cabinet members in order to pay for their health care. so that is really where this bill is limited, and again, we could see a vote very shortly tonight. >> do they have the votes to pass it? >> reporter: unclear. if you look behind me, you can probably see a group of people milling around. those are reporters standing out of john boehner's office. he has been receiving members of his caucus, even some conservatives, steve king just walked in there, which is a sign that he is still trying to shore up that magic 217 votes. now, one of john boehner's --
member of his kitchen cabinet, congressman nunes, i spoke to him live earlier this afternoon and asked him that question. here's what his answer was. this means that you feel confident or you know that john boehner feels confident that he now has 270 votes from your republican conference to pass this bill tonight. >> i don't know that w know that we have the votes or not. but i think it would be -- it would really show those who are republicans and those across the country, those that came here to actually govern and make law and actually do something with their voting card versus just people who just want to vote no. >> reporter: sounded like i said 270. it's 217. that's the magic number to pass. but i want to play something else for you that congressman nunes said to me. it really is indicative of the split within the republican party that has grown deeper and wider since the shutdown has begun. listen to what he said about fellow conservatives. >> i know that you've been very critical of your fellow
republicans, but to say that they're not conservative? >> well, it's not fighting, but conservatives know how to count. you have to be here to actually conserve something. when you go out and tell your constituents that we are going to just shut the government down until we get rid of obama care, it's lunacy. plain and simple. >> reporter: pretty strong words. but even still, at this hour, the key thing to remember is that john boehner is still trying to get enough conservatives to vote for this new plan in order for it to pass on the house floor. he might need some democratic support, unclear if he's going to get it. >> what's the status of the legislation in the senate? what's going on on that side? >> reporter: it's on hold. it's completely on hold. sources in both parties tell us that and the reason is because they need the house to pass something in order to get over to the senate for this whole process to be expedited. i will spare you the details of the legislative reasons why, but it will be much easier and faster for the senate to take up
what the house passes and change it their way, and the expectation is that once harry reid, the democratic leader, and mitch mcconnell, the republican leader, finalize the framework of the plan that we reported on yesterday, then they will try to replace whatever the house passes and put their stamp on it and then again, as we have been saying, it will be probably once again up to house speaker john boehner to decide whether he's going to take it or leave it. the house thinks that they're saying to the senate take it or leave it but they have different ideas there. so the next 24, 48 hours are going to be even more critical than what we have seen. obviously, because of the deadline on thursday, but also because of the to'ing and fro'ing that is going with warp speed on capitol hill. >> the next couple hours could be critical in this process. stand by. with republicans in the house in disarray, still trying to extract some concessions, house democrats have had a unity session with the president over at the white house. let's bring in our white house correspondent, brianna keilar. what are you hearing from the president's meeting with house
democrats? >> reporter: the white house is mum, but this was obviously a unity session as you said. there has been a lot of unity among democrats throughout this whole process and they trying to continue that with this vote that we're expecting tonight in the house. harsh words, i'll tell you, from democrats for republicans. they said this plan that speaker boehner has put forward is a plan for default. and minority leader nancy pelosi said even though these negotiations have stalled in the senate, as you heard dana talking about there, that a compromise, if not the bill itself as you also heard dana say, will need to originate in the senate. here's more of what she said. >> we're still optimistic that there is a path to lift the debt ceiling in time. we are disappointed that the house republicans decided to sabotage or at least delay what was happening there. but are hopeful that everybody knows time is of the essence and that if the republicans in the house want to put up a bill, they should do it soon.
>> reporter: since it's unclear whether speaker boehner has the votes in his republican conference to pass this proposal, wolf, minority leader nancy pelosi made it clear she is not going to make it easy on him. she said he will have to rely 100% on republican votes. i asked her if there would be unanimous democratic support against this bill. she didn't go as far as saying unanimous but she did say there would be very, very strong democratic support against this republican proposal. >> brianna, what's the president's message to the speaker right now? >> you know, wolf, his message really is i think in a way, it's sort of you will not get concessions from me. he sat down, the president did, late this morning with a number of local anchors and that was really just it, that even though we see sort of i think because the white house is in a way in concert with senate democrats, where we had seen some negotiations going on and obviously there was some give on some obama care concessions, the
president doesn't want to be negotiating, doesn't want to give any of those concessions to house republicans and the other thing that sort of struck me was that he really expressed a lot of frustration with speaker boehner and essentially kind of saying that it's pointless for him to negotiate. he said so many times he feels he's brokered deals with the speaker only for the speaker to turn around, go back and talk to his conference and to find out that the speaker isn't really speaking for his conference. >> we're getting that videotape from our affiliates, the local interviews with the president. we'll have that here in "the situation room" soon. thanks very much. let's get some perspective now from someone who has been there and done that. we're talking about the former house speaker, newt gingrich, one of the co-hosts of cnn's new "crossfire." first of all, newt, you saw this fitch report, the breaking news just coming in, fitch ratings, highly respected, they placed the united states of america's aaa long-term foreign and local currency issue or default ratings on ratings watch
negative. that doesn't mean they have actually degraded this aaa rating but they put the u.s. on a watch, a negative watch list, in effect. it's a pretty serious moment and it puts a lot of pressure on these members of congress, do the right thing, extend the debt ceiling, move on, reopen the government right now, because so much is at stake. >> wolf, why is it it doesn't put a lot of pressure on the president of the united states? doesn't seem to put any pressure on barack obama. he spent all morning attacking republicans again. no negotiating, no sense of getting together, no trying to solve this. >> he's basically accepted the compromise that senate democrats and republicans have put together. isn't that a bit of a compromise on the part of the president? >> a tiny bit. he hasn't even seen what the house is going to pass, and they have already said they won't accept it. >> if they tie the hands of the secretary of the treasury and say you can no longer use extraordinary measures to deal with these kinds of financial crises, that's a pretty
significant demand that the house republicans, if it stays in that legislation. >> if it stays in. >> would any president accept that? >> historically, the way you negotiate is you start with two sides and you try to come together. you don't start with one side -- >> but they have come together in the senate. what's wrong with that? >> i think the senate bill frankly is pretty weak. >> but if it's good enough for mitch mcconnell and all these republicans in the senate, why isn't it -- in order to avoid default? >> first of all, you don't know beyond mitch mcconnell how many republicans it's good enough for because they haven't had a vote. they haven't come out and talked about it. >> i have talked to a lot of republican senators. johnny isakson of georgia, he's a conservative, right? >> right. >> he wants this to go forward. he thinks it was a blunder to start linking obama care to this whole government shutdown issue. >> so look, there's no question you have a number of senators who wish this had never happened, would like to get it over. you also have a number of house members who feel very strongly that cutting john boehner out of this process was a huge mistake
and that it's not going to happen that way. i think they're going to stay with boehner. i think the odds are he's going to get 217 votes, and frankly, at that point, the president of the united states has a decision to make. is he really seriously going to say that he has too much pride or too much whatever his strategy is to negotiate with the speaker of the house, if the speaker can in fact pass something. >> what would happen if the speaker allows this to come up, you're a former speaker, on the house floor, no democrats for it, maybe one or two, say, and it fails. doesn't get the 217 votes. >> then i think he has to accept the senate compromise. >> then whatever the senate does, he lets that come up for a vote and presumably, if all the democrats vote for it, you are going to get 20 or 30 or 40 at least republicans, that the president signs that and we move on. the crisis will re-emerge in january or february or whatever. >> we're kicking, once again, kicking the can down the road. >> at least we don't have the issue of a credit rating which could cost americans a lot of money in terms of their 401(k)s.
it's going to have a serious consequence if in fact they actually go ahead and downgrade america's credit rating. >> let me come back to what i started with. so why doesn't president obama care about this? >> he does care. >> we have no evidence he's willing to negotiate. we have no evidence he's willing to sit down and talk. he gives speeches attacking house republicans. he gives speeches undermining john boehner. imagine you were boehner, just take any list of 12 things that obama said about boehner. would you -- >> what's your prediction, deal or no deal in the next 24 hours? >> possibility of a deal. we will know better late tonight. >> maybe we will know at 6:30 p.m. eastern. you are co-hosting "crossfire" tonight, right? see you after "the situation room," newt gingrich, thanks very much. up next, polling shows 74% of americans disapprove of the way house republicans are acting. so why haven't they changed their approach? and while a critical obama care website continues to have major problems, some states are having a much easier time. what are they doing right? [ mom ] with my little girl, every food is finger food.
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in "the situation room." only moments ago, fitch placed the united states' aaa credit rating on a negative watch list. this is a significant development. they have not yet downgraded the u.s.' aaa credit rating as s&p did in 2011 during this last government shutdown crisis, but fitch is now saying that because of what's going on, the u.s. now has a rating watch negative. that's a technical term. hasn't yet downgraded from aaa but this will no doubt put enormous political pressure on members of congress to go ahead and make a deal, extend the nation's debt ceiling, get the government fully operational. let's discuss what's going on with our chief political analyst, gloria borger and our cnn political commentator, ryan lizza, the washington correspondent for "the new yorker" magazine. gloria, this is a big deal. moody's hasn't done it yet. there are three major financial ratings services, s&p, fitch and moody's. moody's hasn't done anything
yet. s&p did downgrade the u.s. last time. now fitch is warning that unless the congress and the president get their act together quickly, there could be a downgrading of the u.s. aaa rating which would have enormous financial ramifications for almost everyone watching this broadcast right now. >> exactly. one can only hope that this puts some pressure on people in congress to come up with some kind of a deal that they can all swallow, and they better do it pretty quickly. time is of the essence. house republicans are in a situation where they can't figure out whether they've got the votes. the senate is on hold, waiting for the house republicans to act. in the meantime, the global financial community is watching all of this and saying not that the united states can't pay its debt, but that it actually might be refusing to pay its debt. so we have this news from fitch and i'm sure it's reverberating up on the capitol -- >> i'm sure it is. what people have to appreciate, ryan, i know you do, is that if they downgrade the u.s.' aaa
credit rating, that means higher interest rates. that means people out there will pay higher interest rates for their cars, if they take out a loan for their car or mortgage or so much else. businesses will have higher interest rates. that will trickle down to higher costs for people. it could have a real negative effect on the u.s. economy economic growth, job creation. >> it's like anyone's credit rating, when we apply for a loan or mortgage, you have a credit rating. that tells the bank is this person trustworthy to pay their bills. these rating agencies are saying we're not confident anymore that the united states is as trustworthy as it used to be to pay its bills. think about the implications of that. that is insane. if you remember in 2011 when s&p did this, they said one, we're not so sure they've got the long term structural deficit under control but more importantly, they said the political system in the united states just can't handle these problems anymore, and we're not confident that the u.s. political system can ensure that they won't go into default.
look, they were right. because we're on the precipice of it right now. >> it's a good thing they did this, and they always do this after the markets close at 4:00 p.m. eastern. the markets were already down today under gloomy news coming out of washington, but if they would have done this even earlier, there would have been a significant collapse. a lot of investors are hoping that between now and the reopening of the markets, there's good news coming out of washington. >> as we sit here, john boehner is -- house speaker john boehner is discovering that he has less control over his caucus than he ever thought he had. he's got a decision to make right now about what he's willing to do in terms of this debt ceiling. this is a huge issue. he's got to decide whether his speakership is actually worth this. >> frankly, the plan in the house right now, it's a plan to take away health benefits from congressional staffers and members. we're on the precipice of a default and they're debating
whether their staff should have health benefits. it's insane. >> the whole thing is crazy. >> guys, a lot has been insane that's been going on in washington the last few weeks. we will continue to watch it. thanks very much. it's been exactly two weeks since the government's obama care website has been open for business. healthcare.gov continues to be plagued with serious problems. not every state is using that particular website. our senior medical correspondent elizabeth cohen has been looking at how some of those states are doing. what are you finding out? >> reporter: you know what, wolf, some of those states are really doing quite well. we're getting reports that more than 120,000 people in these 16 states that have their own web sites, more than 120,000 people have actually gotten new insurance policies. some states are even giving out some pretty detailed information. so for example, if you look at the state of maryland, they found that more than 25,000 people have actually created accounts and verified their identity and are now able to go and shop for insurance.
this last line here is really interesting, wolf. the most common age of people who have gone on this site and done this are between the ages of 25 and 29. so a lot of people said oh, those young people, they think they're invincible and won't get insurance. turns out that may not be true, at least in the state of maryland. >> is it still the case that the federal government, the department of health and human services, is not providing any data about how many people are trying to enroll, have enrolled, gone to the website, healthcare.gov? >> right. they are not giving us that data. now, yesterday a federal official told me hey, we're going to give out some numbers, some data, tomorrow, meaning today, and they're not doing it and they haven't given us a timeline for when they will. but many people are looking for some number, any number that would give us a feeling for how healthcare.gov, the federal site, is performing. >> elizabeth cohen watching all of this for us as she does every single day, thank you. when we come back, is the house really going to take the country over some sort of fiscal cliff? two key lawmakers are standing by.
one of whom just left the white house, where he met with the president. tweet us your suggested questions, by the way, using #sitroom. plus, iran sits down today for nuclear talks with six world powers, including the united states. is it another sign tensions may be beginning to thaw? stand by. you're in "the situation room." people don't have to think about
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let's get to more on the breaking news we're following right now. the credit rating agency fitch, fitch has just put the united states on a rating watch negative. that's a warning, not a downgrade from the aaa rating yet, but it's a serious warning and it could be a major foreshadowing of much more serious action if, if that default clock gets down to zero. cnn's richard quest is joining us from new york right now. in 2011, s&p actually downgraded the u.s. credit rating from that aaa status, now fitch is warning it could do so. moody's has not yet acted. these are serious warning signs that could have enormous ramifications on the u.s. economy, richard. >> reporter: absolutely. one level, just because this is a crack in the dam, if you like,
when you go on a negative ratings watch, this is how fitch themselves describe it. a rating watch indicates there's a heightened probability of a ratings change, and fitch says that the u.s. will be on this negative watch until probably the end of the first quarter of 2014. that takes us to the end of march of next year. wolf, it is the reasons why fitch has put the u.s. on this watch that are so telling. the sort of things you and i have been talking about every day. warning the u.s. could be forced into default, could be forced into delaying payments, calling into question the full faith and credit of the united states lending ability, borrowing ability, calling into question the u.s. dollar, and finally, they're the high risks. finally, on the medium risks, they talk about, and this goes
right to the heart of what's going on in washington, and i'm not going to paraphrase because i don't want to be accused of taking political positions here. this is fitch. the repeated brinkmanship over raising the debt ceiling dents confidence in the effectiveness of the u.s. government and political institutions. >> it's a serious, serious warning right there, richard. stand by. i'm going to get back to you. one way or another, we're probably in the end game right now over this standoff involving the government shutdown, the debt ceiling. will it end with a deal or will it end with a default? as the clock keeps ticking and ticking, all eyes right now on the house of representatives. let's bring in two powerful members of that house. steve israel of new york, he chairs the democratic congressional campaign committee. republican darrell issa of california chairs the oversight and government reform committee. gentlemen, thanks very much for coming in. this warning from fitch, congressman israel, you just came from a meeting with the
president of the united states. earlier, harry reid on the senate floor, he warned there could actually be a downgrading of the u.s. aaa credit rating by tonight and now fitch has taken action. did it come up in your meeting with the president that he's worried about this? >> every american should be worried about this because it hits them in the pocketbook. what's really tragic is completely avoidable. this was avoidable a week ago when every single democrat said that they would vote for a clean reopening of the government and a clean debt ceiling extension, and it was especially avoidable last night when mitch mcconnell, the republican leader of the senate, and harry reid, the democratic leader, got 95% of the way towards a deal and this morning, the house republican caucus threw a grenade on that deal, which is now blowing up on our economy, middle class families, pensionsretirees. >> you understand what this means. it's a warning, not a downgrading. s&p did downgrade the u.s. in 2011 because of a similar crisis. but it has enormous
ramifications on your constituents in california, the whole country. >> look, this brinksmanship has to stop. we not only have to do a c.r. and a debt increase, but then we have to go to work on the long term -- >> are you ready to support what they call a clean c.r. right now to keep the government operational through december or january or february, extend the debt ceiling at least until say february, and avoid -- throw out all the other extraneous stuff that was attached? >> there's always been a two-part here, wolf. republicans have been -- in the house have been for a clean c.r. increase if it meant we began the serious negotiations of the kinds of reforms that need to happen, entitlements is a sho shortcut for it. that's what the deal is about now. that's what the house wants to get is at least an understanding that we have to start the very day after this vote which will hopefully be tonight, start tomorrow. steve and i could do it just ourselves. we are classmates. but we have to start looking at the long term about the next generation. fitch is right, though.
the brinksmanship has to stop. if they don't see the day after we increase the debt ceiling and fund the government short term, if they don't see us start working toward that next one and they figure we are going to wait until the eve, then we deserve -- >> but tied to house/senate conferees getting together to discuss long term problems for the u.s., whether entitlement spending, tax reform, those kind of issues, that's acceptable to you? >> this is what i find a little frustrating. we are agreeing and yet every time we're prepared to seal the deal, the republicans find another excuse not to. so let me reiterate to my friend darrell. we are open to a conversation on anything and everything. we will negotiate whatever they want to negotiate for. but let's reopen the government and let's extend the debt ceiling, let's pay the bills that all members of congress racked up and then we can negotiate whatever you want, when you want, where you want. don't punish the economy.
>> the last clues -- >> the president said he wouldn't negotiate. >> the house bill, as far as you understand it right now, the republican house bill, fund the government through december 15th, extend the debt ceiling through february 7th, but as far as obama care, strip the benefits that staffers on the hill would get as far as obama care subsidies or whatever, make them pay more for their health insurance, it's all going to depend on that? is that what's going on right now? >> wolf, i have never been for the federal government being a deadbeat employer. that's really what happens, and my friend was one that voted, when they voted to say that the government wouldn't provide health care to members of congress and their staff in the original obama care bill, it was kind of stupid to say that, but now it's become a principle that we should all be in obama care, it's a failed program but we should all be in it including the president and the cabinet. so do i support the idea that we are either all in it or none of it, of course. i've got to tell you -- >> so this deal could collapse on that singular issue?
>> no, look, i will vote for the deal. but let's understand -- >> vote for a clean c.r. but let's understand the president wants and is happy, signed a bill that said members of congress and their staff would quote, be in obama care. he didn't put himself into it. it's time for him to be in that program along with the vice president, all the thousands of political appointees. having said that, the question of subsidy, look, i'm a wealthy member of congress. let me say something. the american people don't understand that the so-called subsidy is with 2.1 million federal workers and their families, over eight million people get, no better, no worse. do i think that the government should strip out the support for these folks and thus be a deadbeat employer, no. but if that's what it takes to get the president's attention, great. it's going to have to happen. >> congressman? >> i think the fitch rating got all of america's attention, and quite honestly, if this is coming down to whether congressional staffers should get a subsidy or not, look, let's vote on that cleanly. again, we will have a
conversation with you, darrell, about those issues and other issues, but to attach that to the default of the united states government -- >> what's being attached is the president and the cabinet having the same deal you and i have. whatever that deal is. >> fair enough. but we are going to come down to that as an issue. the other concern i have is this. in the bill that was just posted, another poison pill is that the president's authority to take extraordinary measures to fulfill the 14th amendment in the constitution to pay the bills that congress racked up is being taken away from him. >> is that still in the legislation? >> it's still in the legislation because there's been an abuse of that date, and it is congress' decision -- >> no president is going to accept that infringement on the executive branch. >> it's not infringement on the executive branch. >> if you take away extraordinary measures of the secretary of the treasury to make sure the u.s. doesn't default? >> if they want to tell us all the extraordinary measures and put an actual date on it, fine. but that's been a gaming system. it's been a system where they tell the markets they're going
to do something in may and then the months go by afterwards, if it's convenient. the fact is, the amount of debt the country can have should be a hard number and not build up reserves and then take them away. it's about gaming the system. >> look, you voted seven times to extend the debt ceiling under president bush. now suddenly you have seen religion, you've seen the light and -- >> you did as well. >> actually, i voted -- listen -- >> we're all in favor of making sure that when we write a check and it gets to the bank, it gets cashed properly. >> that's not what your caucus is saying. your caucus is saying you guys can put stuff on the government credit card. for example, you support the troops. i support the troops. when you pass appropriations bills to pay for the troops, you got to pay for them. >> you're exactly right. steve is right on this. the appropriation runs out on december 15th. the president will be able to continue to spend in an
extraordinary way -- >> have you voted to raise the debt ceiling? >> i have. >> you never voted against it. >> i never have. >> have you voted to raise the debt ceiling? >> i voted against it several times. >> during the bush administration. >> yes. >> why would you vote against it then and say the republicans now can't vote against it? >> because i was concerned that we continue to pass supplemental appropriations for the war in iraq without sufficient oversight. so in that case, i felt the president -- i was concerned that we were writing blank checks to fund iraq. >> do you regret those votes? >> we are now in a situation -- i regret my vote to authorize the use of force in iraq. >> do you regret the vote to not extend the debt ceiling? because the president voted against raising the debt ceiling when he was a senator in 2006. he says he regrets that vote. >> we are now at a point today where you have the ratings agencies who are putting us on a negative alert. we were downgraded last year. so we are at a time where we've got to stop, you know, darrell said we've got to stop the brinksmanship but my suggestion would be to stop the
brinksmanship. we have an opportunity. look, we are at that point. we have an opportunity to pass a clean debt ceiling. >> next couple hours will be critical. let's hope you guys can get that act together, because as i have been saying, the stakes are enormous. guys, thanks very much. just ahead here in our special report, at the top of the hour, could it be women to the rescue? we're taking a closer look at the huge role that some of the female lawmakers are playing in this crisis. i'm tony siragusa and i'm training guys who leak a little, to guard their manhood with new depend shields and guards. the discreet protection that's just for guys. now, it's your turn. get my training tips at guardyourmanhood.com
♪ [ male announcer ] eeny, meeny, miny, go. ♪ ♪ more adventures await in the new seven-passenger lexus gx. lease the 2014 gx 460 for $499 a month for 27 months. see your lexus dealer. back to the breaking news in a moment. serious warning about the u.s. credit rating coming in from fitch. a warning, negative warning, not a downgrading of the aaa rating yet, but a serious warning, putting enormous pressure on lawmakers right now.
much more on this coming up. let's take another look right now at some of the other stories we're on monitoring here in "the situation room." for the second time in two days, dry ice placed in a plastic bottle has exploded at the los angeles international airport. according to a cnn affiliate kcal, last night's blast occurred inside an employee restroom, inaccessible to nonemployees. no injuries were reported. a similar incident occurred sunday. an alleged al qaeda operative accused in the 1998 u.s. embassy bombings in kenya and tanzania pleaded not guilty in a new york city court today to terror charges brought against him. u.s. army delta force troops seized abu anas al libi in his native libya a little more than a week ago. his arrival in this country is reopening the debate over whether international terrorist suspects should be tried in u.s. courts. former san diego mayor bob filner has pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery charges for
his behavior against three women. under a plea deal with prosecutors, he would serve three years probation and undergo treatment. he resigned this summer after 19 women came forward accusing him of offensive behavior. just ahead, iran sits down for nuclear talks with six world powers, including the united states. is it a sign tensions are thawing? we have details on all the other breaking news after this. could't to see her again. but i didn't want her to see my psoriasis. no matter how many ways i try to cover up, my psoriasis keeps showing up. all her focus is on me. but with these dry, cracked, red, flaky patches, i'm not sure if i want it to be. this is more than uncomfortable, it's unacceptable. visit psoriasis.com where you can get refusing to hide, a free guide filled with simple strategies for living well with psoriasis. learn more at psoriasis.com and talk to your dermatologist.
just ahead in our special report right at the top of the hour, a senate bill now on hold. a house bill expected tonight, time quickly running out to fix this crisis. we're going back to capitol hill and the white house. stand by. ♪ tracks! they connect the factories built along the lines. and that means jobs, lots of people, making lots and lots of things. let's get your business rolling now, everybody sing.
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powers for talks aimed at cushing its nuclear ambitions. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto is in geneva. how did it go today? >> reporter: well, wolf, a butty day. two sessions in the morning and afternoon and evening bilaterals. and the early reads we're getting are positive. u.s. and european diplomats calling the proposal presented by the iranians useful and serious. saying for the first time they've had detailed technical discussions. and that's key because it gets right up to u.s. and european demands. and that's that iran move beyond the symbolism that we saw in new york to concrete proposals. no details about what's in that proposal yet, but we do have some early ideas about how they presented it. it was in english. it was a power point presentation. and the title was closing
unnecessary crises, opening new horizons. and the iranian foreign minister has given an idea of what iran's goals are here he believes there asking a final agreement within the next year. and he believes that his goal here is to convince all sides that no one is here simply to kill time. that gets right to one of america's chief concerns, israel's chief concerns that iran is just trying to buy time to continue toward weaponizing a nuclear weapon. u.s. officials have told us from the beginning, they've entered these talks clear-eyed. so they need to see concrete proposals on a couple of things. one of those being reducing uranium enrichment and a plan for closing some of these nuclear sites. those are the things they need
to hear discussions about. we'll be here and give you all the details. coming up in our special report right at the top of the hour. even if lawmakers do reach a deal in time, isn't another crisis just around the corner? we'll have the very latest. plus one of the fastest rising stars in the democratic party may be here soon. with the mayor cory booker. that's next. i am today by luck. i put in the hours and built a strong reputation in the industry. i set goals and worked hard to meet them. i've made my success happen. so when it comes to my investments, i'm supposed to just hand it over to a broker and back away? that's not gonna happen. avo: when you work with a schwab financial consultant, you'll get the guidance you need with the control you want. talk to us today.
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we had a chance to sit down with cory booker just before tomorrow's special senate election. >> reporter: newark's mayor is a political star, a guest of late night talk shows. almost 1.5 million twitter followers. he's been called an urban super hero. he's saved someone from a burning house, rescued a dog and dug out from a snowstorm. >> i come from a community where i witness heroism every single day. >> reporter: the national spotlight has shown greatly on booker. critics question if all of it is deserved. >> most new jerseyens don't know much about him. they know the image. the numbers are not where they should be. >> first of all, nobody should be satisfied with the urban
violence the way it is. >> reporter: homicides dropped after booker's first year in office. since then, they've increased every year. booker also cut the police department due to the ailing economy. >> we were forced to make difficult decisions. we were able to supplement that with philanthropy, but there's always more you could have done. >> reporter: supporters give him high marks for luring businesses to town such as panasonic and whole foods. booker received word his father had lost his battle with parkinson's disease. >> i muscled through the one press conference and then just shut down. the next day i wasn't going to be any good. >> reporter: it's not the first time his personal life have made news. in august, questions about his sexuality when i told people he didn't care if people thought he was gay.
last week a -- >> at the end of the day, i just brief that we should be electing people on the content of their character, the quality of their ideas. their dedication to their cause, not on who they're dating. >> reporter: some newark residents say his personal life shouldn't matter. his record should. >> he's done numerous things that i can vouch for in the city that's helped my business grow. >> i feel like the key points that need to be focused on aren't focused on in our city. >> reporter: booker stands by his record. what do you see? >> i see someone who has a shot along with a lot of other great people in washington to heal our politics. >> reporter: did you ever dream of being president? >> no. a absolutely not. when people get distracted
they're not playing 100%. so my goal is what's right before me. >> reporter: question if the new senator would be a zoo called workhorse or show horse. he says when he gets to the senate, he will get to work. >> thank you. happening now, ha situation room special report. government shutdown, day 15. >> do what's right. open the government and make sure we're paying our bills. >> as the hours wind down toward an unprecedented debt default, the president calls on congress to somehow pull a deal out of hat. and a credit rating agency within the past hour issues a grim warning to the united states. women to the rescue. female lawmakers are playing a key role in efforts to break the stalema stalemate. can they keep america from
drowning in red ink? and even if a last minute deal is reached we'll need another one several weeks late e and then another one? why is congress staggering from crisis to crisis? i'm wolf blitzer. we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. you're in the situation room. 30 hours from now, the united states faces the grim possibility of going into default on its debt and the credit rating agency, fitch, fitch has already issued a warning for a possible downgrade. one way or another, the standoff is in its end game. house republicans have tried to put together a tougher counter offer, but it looks like they may not necessarily have the votes the speaker wants. let's go to our chief congressional correspondent, dana bash. what is the very latest? >> reporter: this is not a nail-biter that anybody wants
politically or as you just said because of the financial markets, but that's exactly where we are right now. house republicans have delayed a rules committee meeting. and what that means is they've delayed the process in order to get this bill on the house floor tonight. and the reason, according to a republican aide that we're talking to is that they're still scrambling to make sure they have the votes to pass it. we were told by a house republican aide that it's possible that this vote might not even happen tonight. it is really, really up in the air. so that's what we're being told. and we also have something that's kind of proved how much danger house republican leaders think they're in of losing this vote. this is something that cnn obtained from a republican source that went out to republican offices. and it is what is called a whip notice. and it says if your boss has any concerns and plans to vote no, it is imperative that you contact the whip office immediately by phone. and we have actually seen not
just, obviously we wouldn't know if there's a phone call, but we've seen some of the most conservative members of the republican caucus walking down this corridor down to the suite where john boehner has his office, where the house majority leader eric cantor has his office as well. some of those members are saying -- they're not telling us how they're going to vote. that gives you an indication. one other thing i want to show you, the font is so big you might be able to read it from here. this is a notice that went out to a very conservative group called heritage action fund saying vote no on the house spending and debt deal. that was not what house republican leaders needed when they're counting every single vote in their caucus trying to get this passed. >> why doesn't the senate just come up with a vote and send it to the house and led the speaker make a decision about whether or not to let that come up for a vote. >> reporter: it's a great question. if the house speaker can't
corral enough of his own rank and file, that might be what happens. the problem is the clock. the problem is the calendar. and that, you know, certainly, we saw a framework that we were reporting on yesterday in the senate for a deal to open the government and to increase the debt ceiling, but that's not a done deal. and now we're sold by sources in the senate it's not totally firm. that's number one problem. and number two, maybe a more important one is the process takes a lot longer if this starts in the senate. the senate rules just allow for senators to drag it out. and it could take a lot longer, and this deadline is two days away. >> the clock is clearly ticking. all right, dana, stand by. house democrats met with the president earlier this afternoon, and they're keeping the pressure on. let's go to our senior white house correspondent right now. still no deal, but the president has spoken out about the speaker john boehner. what is he saying? >> reporter: president obama gave interviews to three local
stations. so three local anchors. and he talked about his frustration with the speaker simply saying negotiating with him is pointless. >> speaker boehner, for example. him negotiating with him isn't necessarily good for the extreme faction in his caucus. it weakens him. there have been repeated situations where we have agreements where he goes back and he can't control his caucus. >> reporter: now he also sent a message of he's not giving any concessions to house republicans even though senate democrats in concert with the white house have capitulated with some obama care concessions and now stalled negotiations. he made it pretty clear he doesn't want to negotiate with republicans who the white house and president obama feel are being controlled very much by tea party republicans. >> the white house reacting to what fitch has now done to go
ahead and do a negative warning a watch for the u.s. triple a credit rating? >> reporter: we do not have reaction to that. of course it's not the same as a downgrade. but they're watching this very carefully. you'll recall, after the downgrade that followed the 2011 negotiations or pardon me, the 2011 downgrade, the monday following that downgrade, americans lost $1 trillion in the stock market. so these are the kind of notices that certainly are something that could lead up to that. there's a lot of concern from the white house and from their point of view it really reenforces that something needs to get done quickly. >> stand by. just a little bit ago that credit rating agency fitch, did put the u.s. on a credit watch. certainly a grim warning of what could happen if that default clock gets down to zero. listen to harry reid.
>> mr. president, the debt is here. the deadline is looming. rating agencies are talking about downgrading us as early as tonight, again. >> he spoke on the senate floor just before fitch actually did put the u.s. on a negative rating watch. this is a very ominous and serious development. give us some perspective. >> this is no way to run a country, and that's what fitch is saying, saying that the u.s. does not raise its debt ceiling early enough for the treasury department to alleviate concerns about which bills to pay. and that's the problem here. and the treasury department, an official there saying yeah. this shows we need to have some action here in the very near term. it's not a downgrade. but it is fitch saying, when you look at how we're running our business in washington, they're
not doing a good enough job to garner that triple a, that sterling credit rating forever, putting investors on notice that the u.s. is not acting properly to continue that status. >> s&p did downgrade the rating. >> this is what investors are worried about. it's still pretty sanguine on capitol hill. $20 billion is the cost to the economy so far of the shutdown. mark sandy says about a million jobs have been lost since 2009 when we started this whole budget wrangling in the first place. it's really hurting kitchen table economics and could it hurt investors? that's what they're worried about. >> thanks very much. still ahead, the women of the united states senate said to be quote sick and tired of people throwing insults at each other on tv. we're taking a closer look at
their critical role right now crafting the latest proposals. plus it's a movie we've seen before, congress trying to come to a 11th hour deal just to keck the can further down the road. when did governing by crisis becomehe norm here in washington? ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] eeny, meeny, miny, go. more adventures await in the lexus lx, rx, and new seven-passenger gx. dare to be spontaneous. and new seven-passenger gx. the was a truly amazing day. without angie's list, i don't know if we could have found all the services we needed for our riley. for over 18 years we've helped people take care of the things that matter most. join today at angieslist.com
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we're now 15 days into the partial government shutdown. inside 30 hours until the united states hits its borrowing limit. right now both proposals in the house and senate would only fund the government into early 2014. our brian todd has been looking at how governing by crisis by crisis has become the norm. >> it has been that way for at least two years of the even if there is an agreement reached within that 30 hour period that wolf just mentioned, the
political atmosphere in washington is so toxic that a long term deal seems unattainable. >>. >> reporter: even if there is a deal this time that gnawing in your gut could return in a few weeks. they believe there will be more shutdowns or kicks down the road in the future. on one side, far right conservatives in the house will never agree to raise taxes, even a little. that would go back on their no taxes pledges. and tea party and other conservative leaders would work against them in their reelection bids. >> the nature of primaries. the fact that people live in echo chambers all of that makes it harder to overcome now a set of realities where our political process is driven by a small group of americans who are more ideologically driven, and not by the vast majority of americans
who still say, come on, compromise a little bit and move us forward. >> reporter: how did it get this way? he says it goes back to the financial collapse of 2008 when george w. bush was president. far right conservatives hated the bailout. >> the resentment against political leaders working with wall street to bail them out while the rest of the country paid for it just deeply amplified the kind of resentment toward government per se. then the continuing sluggish economy created the tea party movement. >> reporter: but analysts say it's not just the tea party who has dug in and created this mess. >> there's blame all around. >> reporter: democrats may feel they have the upper hand. it's created a more personal, deep seeded reason. >> it's replaced by hatred. there is a lot of deep
alienation and just plain don't like each other. don't want to sit down at the same table with each other. >> reporter: or as norman says it's become treebal in nature. leaders saying if you're for it, i'm against it, even if i was for it yesterday. it's that bad in washington. so a long term deal, we probably can't even look toward that. >> what a sorry state affairs. thank you. one group has made strides, we're talking about the women. >> reporter: will the women of the senate save the day? well, they've certainly been trying to. a plan by republican senator susan collins formed the basis of a key proposal to reopen the government and avoid a first ever default on the government debt. while that plan's prospects may be uncertain, senate women are still front and center. collins worked with a bipartisan group of senators to put her
plan together. but women were at the forefront. and she says that's no coincidence. >> although the women of the senate span the id logical spectr spectrum, we certainly don't think alike. we do share in the interest in problem solving. and we tend to be more collaborative in our approach than many of our male colleagues. >> reporter: fellow republicans lisa murkowski and kelly ayot were among the first to sign on. ayotte says expect to see more women taking the lead in the future. >> we're not shy. we're stepping up. we're going to lead. >> reporter: democrats also got on board. >> we trust even other. and i think that's very important, when you get to this kind of a delicate negotiation. >> reporter: and collins spent all weekend to kraft budget language.
women have a history of coming together on the softball field as well. >> jill brand. >> reporter: facing off in a fund-raiser, and debbie wasserman schultz, says they bring something else to the table. they have forged close relationships through monthly bipartisan dinners, bonds that can be key. >> there is a sister hood here that transcends party lines, and i think in this case has helped us to produce some results. >> reporter: and wolf, i don't know about you, but i think it would be pretty awesome to be able to attend one of these dinners that senator collins is talking about with senate women. unfortunately, no reporters are allowed. >> maybe that will change one of these days. thanks for that report. just asaid, he said no deal is better than a bad deal.
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he's been in the house for 29 years. thanks for coming in. >> my pleasure. >> is there going to be a vote in the house of representatives tonight? >> rules committee has postponed consideration. that usually means that leadership doesn't have the votes. so my guess would be there will not be a vote. >> so what does that mean? >> it meeks the speaker and the majority leader in the house go back to the republican conference and touch base with senator reid and senator mcconnell in the senate and maybe nancy pelosi and see what can be worked out. >> would you have voted for some kind of continuing resolution? >> i turned myself in as a no vote. >> why? >> because there's no structural reform. no cost savings. it's kick the can down the road another six weeks or two months. >> aren't you afraid of a credit downgrade? look at fitch.
they put us on a watch. do you know what kind of impact that would have on your constituents? how many jobs would be lost, how much money would be lost, how much investment income would be lost for millions and millions of people out there if interest rates went up? >> i agree that's a concern. but $17 trillion in debt already, and a president wants wants a blank check with no accountability. i don't know how much money the federal government can borrow, but we're beginning to get to where it's a real concern. >> it's really just paying for what the congress has already appropriated, if you go ahead and avoid that kind of debt ceiling default. you've already spent that money. you've paid for it. now the u.s. has to make sure it doesn't default. >> well, that's why we need to bring the entitlement programs into the picture. >> but you can't do that within a day or two. >> we can at least start the process. >> this deal that the speaker was ready to do would start the
process between now and mid december. there would be house senate conferees that would get together and try to deal with these long-term problems, entitlement, tax reform issues that you really want to deal with. they have a parallel arrangement as part of this deal if they were passed. >> if we're going to give the president $100 billion or $150 billion, we ought to get some cost savings or commitment. the president has said he wants to reform social security. i think that would be a good place to start. >> he wants a deal with a cost of living index and all that, but right now there's an immediate crisis. you can see it unfold. and people are very, very nervous. not only here in the united states, but around the world. you've got to solve this immediately, otherwise who knows what's going to happen. >> well, kicking the can down the road for six weeks or two months is not solving the problem. >> but doesn't it immediately solve the crisis?
at least you' got time to deal with those issues. you want to start talking about those long-term -- >> why not pick one and deal with it right now? let's take social security off budget. >> you've got 24 hours. you're not going to resolve it in 24 -- you might not resolve it in the next two weeks, but you're not going to deal with long-term reform. >> let's make obama care voluntary. i have a bill to do that. >> but that's the law of the land, obama care. you've already lost that vote. the supreme court has ratified it. >> if it's that great, then the people will join up. >> but it's the law of the land right now. you're not going to change t and aren't you worried the social security recipients are not going to get their check november 1st? >> that's why i want to make the social security trust fund a real trust fund. >> you're not going to do ha in the next 24 hours. that takes a long time. >> once you put it up for a vote
it takes ten seconds. >> so you're willing to risk what potentially could happen over the next few days in order to try to achieve social security reform or tax reform within the next couple days? >> it's not going to get any easier six weeks from now or two months from now. we've had all year to talk about it. now's the time to at least start doing something about it. i'm not saying finish the process. >> they're ready to start. >> he says end the government shutdown, make sure there's the government ceiling extended. he's willing to start these talks. >> he can sign a bill and save some money, and then we can talk some more. >> well, the danger is immediately there, congressman. thanks for coming in. i know you're worried about it. but we'll see what happens. thanks very much. >> thank you. >> the th that's it for me.
cross fear stafire starts right. shutdown in the house. >> i have made clear for months and months that the idea of default is wrong. we shouldn't get anywhere close to that. >> so why are we getting closer? >> it is by design. that is their intention. make no mistake about that. >> on the left, stephanie cutter. on the right, newt gingrich, in the crossfire. donna edwards, democratic representative from maryland. and steve king, republican representative from iowa. will washington beat the default deadline? tonight on crossfire. welcome to crossfire. i'm stephanie cutter on the left. >> i'm newt gingrich on the right. house speaker john boehner has a pretty straightforward challenge tonight. can he find something to get 217 republican votes? he won't get any democratic votes. but boehner needs to pass
something to deal with the debt limit, otherwise, he gets rolled by the president and senator harry reid. the toughest decision will be faced by hard line republicans. help boehner get less than they want or cripple boehner and achieve total defeat. i think it's going to be a very, very important evening. and i wouldn't be surprised to see it run over into tomorrow. >> it's a critical evening. look at what we saw today, another credit agency, fitch, said we're on the verge of another credit downgrade of the united states, all because congress can't fix the problem of raising the debt limit. they can't get their act together. if you remember, two weeks ago speaker boehner promised to shut down the government over obama care. i think the american people can't believe this. now look at where we are today. the deal that's on the table is about extending theeb