tv CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley CBS August 1, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
>> see you at 6:00. >> caption colorado, llc email@example.com >> p historic evening here at the capitol. with the government on the edge of default, the debt deal comes to a vote. we talk to the speaker of the house. and the vice president. you know, a lot of folks at home have watched this over the last few weeks and they're angry. >> i don't blame them. >> pelley: you understand why? >> oh, you kidding me? how do you explain this? >> the president was never really willing to go as far as he should. >> pelley: anthony mason reports that averting default may not be enough to avert america's stellar credit rating. and a massacre in syria, a report that the assad dictatorship has swept in to crush the freedom movement. captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley reporting tonight from washington. >> pelley: good evening.
we begin tonight with breaking news from the capitol. it now looks like the united states will not default on its debts for the first time in history. the house of representatives tonight passed a compromised bill that raises the government borrowing limit so that it can pay its bills. it will also cut $2.3 trillion from the federal deficit over the next decade. the vote was 269 to 161. approval by the senate was expected tomorrow. nancy cordes is at the capitol. >> reporter: scott, good evening. that vote passed by a very easy margin and as it was drawing to a close, we noticed members on the floor were applauding. well, it turns out congresswoman gabrielle giffords who was shot in the head in tucson, arizona six months ago had made a surprise return to washington for the first time to cast her ballot in favor of this deal. what an amazing sight, she was embraced by members from the right and the left, such a change of events from the rancor that we've seen here in
washington the past few weeks. vice president biden came to capitol hill today to tamp down a democratic revolt in the house. >> i understand that this train is leaving the station. but it's going in the wrong direction. >> reporter: liberals are angry that the deal worked out by republicans and the white house cuts the deficit by about $2.3 trillion with no guarantee that any of it will come from new tax revenue. >> it's all about cutting, cutting, cutting. tax cuts and reductions in spending are not going create jobs it in this country. we need some investment. >> reporter: the deal calls for a trillion in cuts now and the rest to be identified by a powerful new committee of 12 lawmakers, six democrats, six republicans. if congress doesn't approve the committee's proposal by the end of the year, harsh across-the- board cuts to entitlements, defense and other programs would be imposed instead. >> it's time for america to deal with its spending problem. >> reporter: house speaker john boehner had a far easier time selling the deal to republicans.
>> this is a great day. >> reporter: many of whom predicted the bill would get overwhelming support from their side. >> i think that this represents a good bill. and it represents something really close to the best we could have gotten with-- under the circumstances. >> reporter: in exchange republicans met the president's demand that the debt ceiling be safely raised through the end of 2012, in a few stages that are mostly formalities. >> this has the best sense to it. >> reporter: house minority leader nancy pelosi who called the bill adequate said congress should learn one lesson. >> we cannot do this again. we're the greatest country that ever existed in the history of the world. our-- honoring our obligations is-- should be a given. >> reporter: the senate will be holding its vote tomorrow. the bill is expected to pass and then it goes to the president's desk. scott? >> pelley: thanks, nancy. late this afternoon, we sat down with speaker of the house john boehner in his office at the capitol.
>> we've got divided government here in washington. we've got big issues confronting us. and we have a very open process and open society. and as a result we have healthy debates about how to move forward. this is certainly been a long, healthy debate. >> pelley: give us a little bit of insight, mr. speaker, how did the grand bargain fail, what was the breaking point and how did you tell the president that you were walking away? >> it really boils down to two issues. the president was insisting on more taxes, and the president never really got serious about the kind of spending cuts that were necessary in order to put america back on a sound fiscal footing. >> pelley: you don't think the president was negotiating in good faith? >> no, no, i-- no, i do believe the president was negotiating in good faith. we had a lot of productive conversations, a lot of tense conversations. but it became pretty clear to me that i wasn't going to be for higher taxes. and the president wasn't going
to cut spending as he should. >> pelley: what did you say to each other? >> i just told the president, mr. president, i'm not going there. i can't do that. >> pelley: if this super committee that you talk about recommends increasing revenues, can you support that? >> we'll see what the committee does. but i'm confident that their focus will be on reducing the expenditures coming out of washington. >> pelley: can you imagine republicans backing increased taxes if that's what the committee recommends? >> i would think that that would be a stretch. doesn't seem likely to me that would even be recommended much less supported. but i've been surprised before. >> pelley: you were unable to get your own caucus behind your bill a few days ago. do you intend to remain speaker of the house? >> i do. and when you look at this final agreement that we came to in the white house, you know, i got 98% of what i wanted.
i'm pretty happy. >> pelley: folks at home have been watching over the last few weeks, all this acrimony, name- calling, finger-pointing, right here in this building. and i wonder whether the congress has lost something, an ability to talk to each other and to settle down and make agreements. >> well, there's the public noise and then there's the private discussions. some of the most liberal members of the congress are great friends of mine. i get along with them just fine. but the american people don't see the kind of cooperation that does exist off camera, that really are the glue that holds this place together. >> pelley: are you saying it's not as bad as it looks? >> it's not as bad as it looks. >> pelley: well, how does it look on the other end of pennsylvania avenue. norah o'donnell is at the white house. >> reporter: good evening, scott, president obama did manage to avoid a catastrophic default and another one of these debt ceiling fights in six months from now.
but you know, he admitted last night he did not get everything he demanded. >> is this the deal i would have preferred? no. >> reporter: the president made clear the debt deal is far from perfect-- perfect from his own standards. in fact for weeks mr. obama said there must be shared sacrifice, in cuts in spending and additional revenues by closing tax loopholes that benefit wealthy americans. >> if you don't have revenues the entire thing ends up being tilted on the backs of the poor and middle-class families. >> reporter: but now the president is willing to accept a proposal that does not include immediate revenues. today press secretary jay carney says the administration is hopeful that the supercommittee in congress will tackle tax reform. >> he fully expects that the joint committee will include tax revenue as part of its consideration and its product. >> reporter: white house budget director jack lew joined vice president joe biden on capitol hill today to help sell the plan to skeptical democrats. >> there's clearly a mixture of
views but i would say that we were being asked the kinds of questions that people ask when people are trying to make up their minds. >> reporter: president obama was nowhere to be seen today and we're not likely to hear from him tonight. but his advisors insist that he is very much engaged. and he's left most of the heavy lifting to his vice president joe biden. scott? >> pelley: thanks, norah. as she mentioned the vice president has been up here on capitol hill today pressing reluctant democrats to accept the compromise. a short while ago we talked to joe biden about whether the government is dysfunctional. >> there's not many people out there who think we can deal with our long-term economic stability without more revenues as well as structural changes in entitlement programs. those two things have to occur. sometimes it takes the kind of brinksmanship that was employed here which i think was extremely dangerous. >> pelley: well, what is this, divided government or dysfunctional government?
>> up until this compromise, it was dysfunctional. >> pelley: a lot of folks at home have watched this over the last few weeks and they're angry. >> i don't blame them. >> pelley: you understand why? >> are you kidding me? how you can explain this. how can you explain the fact that grown men and women are unwilling to budge up until now and still some of them are still unwilling to budge by taking an absolute position. my way or no way. that's not governing. that's no way to govern. you can't govern that way. >> pelley: you have been up on capitol hill most of the day today twisting the arms of reluctant democrats. >> no, no. what i went up there to do was to listen. look, people are angry. they're angry up there by the kind of-- some of the tactics that have been used. and they wanted to vent. and that's part of being vice president or president, you go up there and listen. and i explained methodically, exactly what was contained in this. and i predict to you that the end result will be those democrats will vote for this, in the house and the senate.
>> pelley: you've been here 36 years. have you ever seen a bipartisan deficit reduction panel have its recommendations passed into law? >> yeah. and even when those things haven't worked perfectly, what we've-- they've had is they have had a significant impact on the direction and the movement on the way this place, the ebb and flow of this place. and so i think what you're going to see is that this-- whether they come out with a specific recommendation, two things have changed, three things. the american people and the people here understand you need to make the tax system fair so everybody pays their fair share. you need to do something about long-term structural entitlements so you can preserve them at the same time make them feasible over the next 30 years. and you need to cut discretionary spending without eating your seed corn so you can't grow the economy through innovation and infrastructure. >> pelley: having watched all of this over the last few weeks, has washington lost its ability
to make deals and talk to each other? there has been so much name- calling, so much finger- pointing. >> this is a cycle. this is a cycle. i predict to you that a lot of those new members who came here with my way or the highway, they'll either be on the highway or they will learn that they have to have compromise. >> pelley: the likelihood of a debt deal sent stock prices soaring in early trading today but then came a report that showed that the economy is still in a lot of trouble. u.s. manufacturing in july fell to the lowest level in two years. and with that news, the dow gave up its gains and closed with a minor loss of more than 10 points. avoiding default does not mean that the u.s. government will be able to keep its top credit rating. we asked senior business correspondent anthony mason to find out why the credit rating agencies may still downgrade america.
>> reporter: it may not be enough. the debt ceiling deal calls for more than $2 trillion in spending cuts but the agencies that grade america's debt want more. standard & poor's called for $4 trillion in cuts in its july report. otherwise the rating agency's president told congress last week, our $14 trillion debt will continue to rise. >> and the growth rate of the debt burdens is something that does need to be addressed for us to continue to assess the credit worthiness of the commercial debt at aaa levels. >> reporter: the united states credit rating has never fallen below aaa and it would be an embarrassment says economist michael darda. >> but it is hard to see how the rating agencies are going to tell bond investors anything they don't already know. >> reporter: investors have not been scared away yet. they're still buying up u.s. treasury bills. but a downgrade could drive up interest rates and the cost of borrowing, effecting everything from auto loans to mortgage rates.
>> you definitely would have a dampening effect on the economy. would it be armageddon, no. >> reporter: economist ellen zentner. >> i don't believe a downgrade to our credit worthiness would really make the average investor think that the u.s. cannot pay its bills. >> reporter: we're still essentially going to be the gold standard. >> we are, but only because the comparisons have been lowered so much. >> reporter: the competition is pretty weak. >> the competition is weak. >> reporter: but there could still be collateral damage to the economy. the aaa credit rating of 7,000 state and local governments, universities and non-profits like the smithsonian institution have also been placed on review because of their dependence on federal funding. downgrades could mean higher local taxes and more job cuts, scott? >> pelley: thanks, anthony. many health insurance companies will soon have to provide women with free contraceptives. syria's dictator is stepping up a deadly crackdown on protestors. and the giant asteroid vesta
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>> reporter: this is how the holy month of ramadan began for the citizens of hama, syria's fourth largest city. amateur video captures what is said to be a syrian tank firing on syrian people. with outside journalists barred it's hard to get an independent picture of what's happening. but it appears the government of bashar al-assad has significantly escalated its crackdown on protestors. speaking from a cell phone this evening local activist omarr al- habbal described the latest shelling. >> reporter: protestors' only strength lies in their numbers as judged by the crowds which turned out for funerals of those killed on sunday. the evening prayers of ramadan provide a natural gathering for even larger crowds. just before this evening's prayers, the shelling began again in earnest and lasted
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they didn't support the compromise bill. two were freshman republicans with the tea party andy harris of maryland and tom graves of georgia. >> i see this as nothing but a washington bailout over, we see the past couple of years of pore spending, more spending, more spending. >> it doesn't produce permanent accountability to the american people. that's what they expect. they expect washington to stop the way we do our business. >> pelley: and on the opposite side of the political spectrum democrat jan schakowsky of illinois said she didn't want to support the bill either. >> i think that the wrong people are being asked to pay for our debt. no hair on the head of a millionaire or billionaire, that is going to be affected. and i think that's not right. >> pelley: only jim cooper democrat of tennessee said he would vote in favor. >> this is painful, this is about as painful as passing a kidney stone but it's necessary. >> pelley: we're sitting in the rayburn building named for sam rayburn who was speaker of the house. and back when mr. sam told the
caucus how to vote, that's how they voted. that is the way the leadership was. it is not that way any more. >> but you know, we're here to clean up the mess that plane of these career politicians have been piling up on the american people. >> this is not the real world. washington is not the real world. the real world is where you don't spend more than you take in. we do need to get to the real world. >> the majority -- >> let me describe the real world that i see. the real world are the seniors that are calling my office sobbing because they cannot live without a social security check. that yes, might not go out if we don't do this. >> what we are seeing in this interview is the reason why so many people hate congress. because all these folks want this to pass. but they don't want to vote for it. it's time to show responsibility. >> i think there's a failure to recognize how we got into this situation. and a deliberate attempt to ignore the fact that it was tax cuts, mostly to the wealthy in the bush administration.
it was two wars that went on the credit card. i think that's wrong. >> well, to be fair and balanced, the president just the other day -- >> as we are. >> just the other day said we need more people in washington to say yes. i would say that's been the problem, too many in washington have been saying yes. they said yes to stimulus. yes to bailout, yes to more government. now they're saying yes to more debt. >> pelley: but the argument is that if you say no, and you don't compromise, then the country's driven off the road. >> compromise is what has lead us into this mess it will not lead us out. >> but late this evening the bill did pass. that's the cbs evening news with thanks to the jones day law firm for this view of the capitol. for all of us at cbs news, all around the world, good night. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
the dramatic confrontation, right before the kidnapping. a firefight underway right now in the north bay. crews on the scene of a fast- moving brush fire, that's moving closer to dozens of homes. "...rally rally" will he or won't he? it s the biggest waiting game in san francisco. what our exclusive cbs 5 poll reveals about mayor ed lee's chances in november. a twist in the bryan stow beating investigation. will it jeopardize the case? and what newly released court documents reveal, about the brutal attack. good evening, i'm allen martin. i'm dana king. we begin with breaking news out of antioch. the c-h-p has issued an amber alert for a 16- year-old boy, abducted off the street. police say haasan ford was forced into a car by a