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tv   CNN Newsroom  CNN  March 1, 2013 8:00am-9:00am PST

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computer filing to move forward. so again, nothing really changes right now, but as this moves forward, changes may come. on a related note, there is a question about people long term unemployed. todd shot me a note where he said i got my letter saying unemployment may go down. how can this happen even before the cut. part of it is this. your initial claims are filled by the state, but long term unemployment that we've talked about is paid by the federal government. about 2 million people are among the long term unemployed and they will see their checks reduced by about 11%. the national employment law project says that will probably hit in around april. that's how long it will take to get through the computers to make this happen. by september, there could be close to 4 million people in that category with an average total loss between now and then of about $400 to even 00 of them between now and the fall. and the labor department also says it may stop producing shall reports tracking mass layoffs, green job and how the u.s. job market compares with other
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countries. we're waiting on confirmation. next question from facebook from nick, he says these are spending cut, but are they really spending cuts. they aren't actually cutting anything, right? this is only curbing a fraction of spending growth, nothing more. this is a very strong point out there particularly among some republicans and more conservative viewers. they feel very strongly about making sure this is clear. and it is correct. in washington, when an agency expects an increase next year of 10% and they only get 8% or 6%, it is typically called a cut. although many people in common language would not call that a cut, they would say it your budget is $100 and you get $90 next year, that's a cut. now, that said, we're trying to go through agency by agency to figure out who is actually getting cut and who is just having their increase cut. that's a long process. but nonetheless, as mentioned, if you have anymore questions,
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send it my way. tweet ask tom or go to ask tom and we will do the best we can. >> you'll do a terrific job. thank you so much. i'm carol costello. thank you so much for joining me today. i do appreciate it. cnn newsroom continues right now with ashleigh banfield. thanks very much. hello, everyone. nice to have you where me today. let's begin here. shall disasters we can prevent. others give us some kind of warning that they're on the way. and then there is the kind of nightmare that we're following this hour in brandon, florida. just east of tampa. and i do mean a nightmare. a sinkhole opened up beneath a man's bedroom while the man was in bed last night.pan panicked the last anybody will heard from help and he's presumed dead. the sinkhole is literally under the house and probably far bigger and far wider and even deeper than the opening through which jeffrey bush fell.
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jeffrey's brother even tried to jump in and save him, but then himself had to be rescued by the police. this morning he spoke with wfts. >> i have a second job, i went to work, came home at 10:00. and -- >> what did you hear? >> well, we left and came back. and i knocked on his door, told him that we wasn't working today. so he said okay and everything. and i went in my room. heard a loud crash like a car coming through the house. and i heard my brother screaming. so i ran back there. and tried going inside his room. but my old lady turned the late on and and you would i seen was will big hole, real big hole, and all i seen was his mattress. and that was it. that's all i seen. >> you tried jumping in after him? >> yes, i jumped in the hole. was trying to dig him out. i couldn't find him. i thought i could hear him
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hollering for me to help him. >> and that's the last you saw of him. did you see any last part of him before -- >> i didn't see any part of him when i went in there. all i seen was his bed. i told my brother-in-law to grab a shovel and i started digging and digging and digging. and the cops showed up and pulled me out of the hole, told me the floor is still falling in. >> so you were still at risk, as well. and now your entire family is out here in support. why are you out here in support? >> just to keep closure, i guess, make sure he's not dead, see if he's alive. i know in my heart he's dead, but i just want to be here for him because i love him. it's my brother, man. >> i want to take you straight out live to the house where you can see workers have been assembling not only tape to keep
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people away, but without question have been trying to figure out some manner in which they can continue to search for this victim. john zarrella is as close to that sinkhole as anyone else is being allowed to get and he joins me now by telephone. what is the circumstance right now and what about neighbors? and i'll warn our viewers, again, this is a live picture. >> reporter: it's a pale blue house with darker blue trim and american tl american flag out front. hard to imagine that there is not much of anything inside. but what we're seeing now are members of an engineering team from bracken engineering and they are rolling literally with ground penetrating radar, trying to figure out how far the
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sinkhole extends, if it extends to the neighbor's houses. i can see ground penetrating radar device coming literally right up to the corner of the street by the mail box. there are dozens of people standing around on the side of the house here. we were told that the owner of house had just come here. he apparently does that live in that house, jerry bush and jeff bush were living in that house. but he's been talking to the media, as well. the engineering firm is trying to figure out if this hole which is still growing. >> and i think that's really the biggest question here, john, as we continue to look at this live picture. i don't know what the structural circumstances with this home or god forbid those homes next door, they look like they're all very close. what are the neighbors being told and at the same time, is anyone even able to get into the
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house to look for mr. bush? >> reporter: no, not since they were pulled out last night. i can't say for sure whether any fire officials or engineering teams have spent much time inside the house around the back since we got here. we've not seen anyone of course walking in. there are members of the hillsborough special ops team now that i can see moving into -- i don't know if they're moving in to position or what they're doing, but they're coming over where some equipment themselves. and if it's deemed safe by the engineering team, safe enough that they can get in, or stable enough, then perhaps they'll go in. i think there is some sound that we have with one of the members of bracken engineering talking about what they're trying to do. >> the hole has taken up most of the inside of the house.hole inside is 20 to 30 feet this
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diameter. it's completely contained within the footprint of the house. and the depth is at last we saw 20 feet, although we know it's been increasing. it started in the bedroom and has been expanding outward snan is taking the house with it as it opens up. >> reporter: that's the situation. when you look at it it's incredible because it started in the house, it's still contained within the house and you don't see at least looking at the house from the front side any evidence that there is this massive gaping chasm on the inside. >> it doesn't look like that is possible what that engineer washington outlining in terms of the footprint of the house. could be the entire sinkhole. are they expecting that this house will collapse in to it? >> reporter: they said certainly, which is one of the great concerns about having anyone inside there, that as this hole if in fact continues to expand, that the house very
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easily could all of a sudden just completely collapse and go down into the hole. i see someone with a sledgehammer drilling spikes in to the ground. they have a flat piece of board that they have laying on the ground outside the front of the house, as well. hard to say exactly what their plan is with that. but perhaps they're trying to make some sort of a stable walkway that they can with that plywood that they can walk in or walk across. hate to speculate on what they're doing, but i'm trying to describe for the viewers what i can see. and they're also marking with stakes. you know how people mark a property line when your house is sold or -- >> yeah, we're seeing it just off to the right of house. the worker we're seeing way off to the right. >> reporter: they're leaving the markers there, yeah. >> i just wanted to ask you, i know you're in florida and you know a fair bit about florida. we seem to hear a lot about this happening in florida, but we've
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also heard about different sinkholes for instance in texas, there's been signature sinkhole activity as well as washington state, we've seen incidents before. you can see some of the video on our screen of other news stories that we've covered before that have been simply remarkable. and the one on the far right is in china. is there something to the terrain where you are and where this house is that left anyone to believe this was a possibility? >> reporter: yeah, no question about it, if you look at florida as a whole, much of florida is on limestone bedrock. and what i understand is when you have limestone as foundation underneath, you can have -- when you have a lot of water running through that, it rejoeerodes th
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limestone away and whatever it above it can collapse. and because literally what florida is built on, it's one of the prime states where there are a lot of sinkholes. texas you mentioned, louisiana there are sipping hoare sendin . and it has to do where what is under the ground holding everything up. the kind materials the saer built on. >> just remarkable pictures that we've been seeing. and obviously this story is evolving. so john, stay on it for us if you will, and certainly our hearts go out to the bush family that has had to endure this bizarre and tragic loss. last best chance to head off $85 billion worth of in-gs criminal nat federal spending cuts is taking place right there
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as we speak. president obama meeting with leaders of congress with just less than 13 hours to spare. between now and 11:59 p.m. tonight, the president will be forced to order almost every federal program to trim its budget by 9% to 13% unless, and it's a big unless, he and congress agree on a better way. have i mentioned that most lawmakers are nowhere near the white house, nor the capitol. they have already left town for the weekend. we'll get a live report from the white house in just a few minutes. a new launch from private space company spacex. there is the dragon capsule blasting off a short time ago. heading to the international space station. they ever gets old. never gets old. no people are on board, but it is carrying some snacks, fresh apples, and things like stem cells for experiments. the supplies are to arrive at the space station saturday
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morning. jodi arias crying on the witness stand, but getting absolutely no sympathy from the man who may have caused it, the prosecutor.tearful and tasteless twisted testimony coming up next. ss trips add up to family time. this is my family. this is joe. hi joe! hi there! earn a ton of extra points with the double your hhonors promotion and feel the hamptonality. we don't let frequent heartburn come between us and what we love. so if you're one of them people who gets heartburn and then treats day after day... block the acid with prilosec otc and don't get heartburn in the first place! [ male announcer ] one pill each morning. 24 hours. zero heartburn. a regular guy with an irregular heartbeat. the usual, bob? not today. [ male announcer ] bob has afib: atrial fibrillation not caused by a heart valve problem, a condition that puts him at greater risk for a stroke. [ gps ] turn left. i don't think so. [ male announcer ] for years, bob took warfarin,
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i have an union date on on the story i just told you. we showed you the launch of the drag s dragon capsule. we're getting tweets from the ceo saying there's a problem and that actually the thruster pods are having an issue. they haven't been able to -- i'll just have to tell you in their language, the system inhibiting -- is inhibiting three of four from initializing which might mean there is only one thruster pod initialized. they have three more than they need to and they actually want to command the inhibit override. but apparently they have to wait until two thruster pods are active. so we'll keep an eye on that for you. in the meantime another live camera as well at the white house. let's listen.
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>> this discussion about revenue in my view is over. it's about taking on the spending problem here in washington. i did layout that the house is going to move a continuing resolution next week to fund the government past march 27th. and i'm hopeful that we won't have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown while we're dealing with the sequester at the same time. the house will act next week and i hope the senate will follow suit. thanks. >> well, that was quick. perhaps not as quick as the meeting may have been. we're told the official meeting with congressional leaders got under way at 10:18 this morning. a lot of people have said this was all about optics, though, because come on, what are you going to do on friday when congress is gone and congress is the only magic bullet to stop the spending cuts from going into place.
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here's how it works. congress set this crazy target, a real punishment to force themselves to actually come up with a deal. and lo and behold, they got the punishment. officially it's an executive order that the president has to sign and he has until 116789 chlt 59:59 tonight to do so. we're not assuming for a moment that this will be something public that he does, sign the executive order that cuts a massive percentage of agencies across the country and their budgets. between 9% and 13%. correct me if i'm wrong. but obviously something that even four critical leaders of congress and the president can't stop from happening if congress isn't there to vote. there were two bills yesterday, both of them not expected to pass. both of them did not pass. again, mostly intended for optics. but many say that the president may be trying to look as though this is a last minute attempt to achieve peace. however, like i said, no matter
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how happy and friendly that meeting could have been, and who thinks it is, there was nothing they do have done to stop the cuts. however they can still be stopped as where he move forward. these cuts you won't feel today. you won't see them today. but you will start seeing them very soon. there is a specific time line for when furloughs will ghin, when tsa operators may not be as numerous at the airports. many have said this will be intense for the economy to try to weather. we'll take a quick break. when we come back, find out if there is anything more that the house speaker said that would have led to any kind of deal breaking. ♪ [ watch ticking ] [ engine revs ] come in. ♪ got the coffee. that was fast. we're outta here. ♪ [ engine revs ]
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so we were able to just get to the house speaker john boehner as he was commenting live outside of the white house about his meeting. it was fairly quick meeting. presumably over by now. i can tell you this. he said that the discussion about revenue that would be increasing tax revenue in order to come to some kind of a detente he said in my view is over. it's about taking on the spending problem. clearly the issue here, the republicans like spending cuts
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but not sledgehammer cuts. and also house speaker said that the house is going to be moving a continuing resolution next week to fund the government past march 27th. because we have a whole lot of deadlines coming up. in terms of this conversation, though, i believe that's over. democrats suggesting that int d spending cuts shouldn't be the only thing, republicans saying revenue is out of the question. jessica yellin joining us. i missed most of what the house speak he are said. you can do a better job at summarizing it for me? >> i was running out to him as soon as we saw him show up, but essentially let me put this headline on it. the meeting didn't go so well. he basically said that this is not the way we should have to be negotiating on these issues. facing these spending cuts are not the right set of spending cuts to be addressing, but
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they're not going to move on their position that cuts -- that spending cuts is what we need to be addressing. and essentially revenue is not really what they're looking at right now. he's hopeful that something can be negotiated next month as we continue to take on these next battles over the continuing resolution and the debt ceiling. do i have a little bit of news to bring you which is that the president is going to be coming to the briefing room and making a statementi do have a little b to bring you which is that the president is going to be coming to the briefing room and making a statement some 10, 15 minutes from now, and no doubt he will be pressing his case that, you know, he just wants balance and compromise and in his view, it's the republicans who are being intransigent. of course republicans see it the other way. >> this is the $85 billion question for today anyway. why did anybody bother with a white house meeting today when we watched as our colleague, dana bash, valiantly tried to
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get interviews with fleeing congressmen. she's the bomb. she's running literally down the steps of the capitol with lawmakers who are rushing for airplanes. let me show you a clip from this yesterday and i want to ask you about it on the other side. >> this is your last vote of the day. is it true you're all leaving the town while the cuts kick in? >> speaker and the leadership will be here. and i'm a quick flight away. i go home every weekend to see my family. >> you're on your way out. are you on your way home? >> yes, ma'am. >> so you won't be here in town when these cuts kick in? >> if they call me back, i'll be back. >> what do you think about the idea that you all won't be here when the cuts kick in in. >> we have to go to the airport. >> followed very kindly by dana bash. so that's why i ask. what was the point of today's meeting? even if they had come to any
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kind of agreement, which no one believed was possible, nothing could be done about it anyway. >> pr. how can they not make the effort to sit down and look like they're trying to do something before these cuts go into effect? this is just half of a report that the executive branch, obama administration, sent to congress last year before the spending cuts were about to kick in for the first time. they'll have to send something like this up there again today and the bottom line is the order for the cuts comes from the white house. even though it was passed by law by congress, the actual cuts have to be mandated by the obama administration. so they need to make the effort to show that they at least visually tried before all of this goes in to effect. >> makes me wonder why the house speaker would show up. he took to the microphone, what we like to call the stakeout position, but did nancy pelosi
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or harry reid do so? >> no, they did not. i saw reid leave personally. i've not seen pelosi speak. and so they're waiting i guess on the president to make the remarks and deliver the message on behalf of the democrats it would seem. and pelosi i'm told has left, as well. just to be clear, though, there is a design by the leaders to try to cut some sort of a -- to at least make the effort to get their point of view across. so they do meet because they want their point of view represented. even though they know they're so far apart about don't get done. so that's the value of this meeting. >> hard to say no to a fancy invitation from the white house. jess characterization can you stand by for a moment sniff the live picture up beside you of the briefing room and we're expecting the president momentarily. so i want to fit in a quick break and then catch you on the other side and hopefully get to the president just before he starts. like our grilled lobster and lobster tacos.
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welcome back. we're watching the live picture of the podium at the front of the briefing room. this was unexpected, but maybe not entirely unexpected. the president expected to be briefing us more than likely on the meeting he's just emerged from with the house leadership. as jessica yellen reported, it didn't go so well.
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the president is forced to sign his hand to an executive order to put into place some real brutal spending cuts, the likes of which pretty much everyone across the country will feel. the house speaker emerged from that meeting and went right to the spot where we like to catch live interviews. and it's called stakeout for a reason. here is how he addressed the present press. >> to fund the government past march 27th. and i'm hopeful that we won't have to deal with the threat of a government shutdown while we're dealing with the sequester at the same time. the house will act next week and i hope the senate will follow suit. thanks. >> and that's how it goes. no q&a. a statement and that's it. and again, i think we all know what were they going to achieve anyway. today is the day congress can't even vote because no one's there. they all left yesterday for a long weekend. and the criticism about the meeting today was that this was
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optics given the fact that these two positions are so how shall where he say intransigent for lack of a better word, there is likely -- not likely to be any meeting of the minds today are or even next week. but the house speaker said he will be pushing for a continuing resolution next week. gloria borger joins me live from washington, d.c.. i said this is an unexpected news conference. that's not entirely unexpected because the white house has to say something about this dire day. >> right. i think what we're seeing right now is the blame game playing out. obviously both sides realize in their heart of hearts that there is a real possibility here that the public could blame all of them for this, right? because the public wants them to get their work done and wants to see -- they want to see government cut, but they don't like this kind of meat ax approach to cutting government. they believe there is a better way to do it. the president's more popular than the republicans in congress right now.
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they have kind of a 29% favor ability rating. i think the president is somewhere at 49%. but what the president will come out and say is that he proposed a balanced way of doing business with loophole closings as well as revenues and the republicans decided they didn't want to do it. but if you step back for a minute, i think what we have to recognize here is that something that was unthinkable, unthinkable, in 2011 suddenly seems pretty palatable to both sides. liberals look at this and they say these pentagon cuts are something we could never have gotten. and conservative republicans are saying, well, we don't want to cut spending this way, but at least it's a down payment on cutting spending. >> is there anything -- let me bring in our colleague, as well, wolf blitblitzer. but is there anything to the demeanor of john boehner? i only say this because he was
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cursing on camera. he has walked away from microphones after stating his piece and not taking questions. everybody seems pretty down right angry about all of this. and as gloria said, blaming the other guy or gal. wolf, remind me, how far apart are the positions muof these tw bodies? >> pretty far apart. one side wants additional tax revenue by heliminating loophol, exemptions. the other side said we're not doing that now as part of this deal. maybe as part of comprehensive tax reform coupled with entitlement reform, social security and medicare reform, a grand bargain, if you will, but we're not doing that now. they raised taxes to avoid going over the fiscal cliff in december, january 1st, all of a of our viewers remember. boehner as recently as the last few minutes said flatly the
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discussion about revenue, when they use the word revenue, they mean increased taxes, is in my view is over. so the white house is saying it has to be what they call a balanced approach. and i'm sure that see what we'll hear from the president. it has to be a balanced approach. spending cuts coupled with eliminating some of thehi milli stuff that both sides basically could agree on to a certain agree, but the republicans say it has to be part of comprehensive tax reform and it has to be coupled with reducing tax rates. tax rates on those making more than $400,000 a year just went up as of january 1st. so it's obviously the key issue right now between these two sides. let me ask jessica yellin, in a nutshell, that's it, the battle over tax revenue?
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>> can you stay again? >> i said in a nutshell, the whole dispute between john boehner and the republicans on one side and the president and democrats on the other side is whether increased tax revenue should be part of any deal right now and republicans say no, democrats say yes. >> that's right. and the two sides battling as we have heard so many times recently over whether tax revenues should be part of an overall deal or not. what i expect the president will say when he comes out here is that he would like to see that as part of what he call as balanced deal and he will no doubt make criticism of the republicans alleging that they have been unwilling toen unreasonable and cooperate on that front and that we are creating an unnecessary wound, unnecessary deadline and self-inflicted wound because of republican intransigence. but i would also expect him to try to paint a picture of what is going to happen over the
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coming weeks once these cuts go into effect. initiallies of sort of painted by the white house as this dramatic crisis that will hit instantly and now that it looks like it really is going to hit, they're clarifying that this is more a slowdown rather than a shutdown. many people will not actually feel or see the cuts in their own lives unless they have personal engagement with the government on a daily basis. so it might take some time for people to really experience the impacts themselves. i imagine he will explain a little bit about how this works and why it matters for the broader economy because business they argue could start pulling back in response to this government to change. >> we're waiting for the so-called two minute warning when the white house will let us know that the president is only two minutes away from walking into the briefing room there. as soon as we get that, obviously we'll want to hear what the president has to say. we'll be anxious to see in he
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just makes a statement and lees or answers reporters' questions. because i know a lot of the reporters have a lot of yesof questions. when boehner made a brief statement, he didn't answer any questions either, but he did say the house would take up legislation next week to pass what's called a continuing resolution to keep the government going beyond the march 27th deadline. he thinks the house will pass it and he hopes the senate will pass it, as well. that seems signature potent sig potentially because it removes a possible government shutdown from the agenda. >> yeah, i feel the same way about that. in the recesses of my mind, there is some possibility that this issue we're dealing with now could get resolved in the context of that question of the funding of the government. look, you know, congress acts in crisis situations. when you look at this situation
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we're in right now, what's the default position? the default position is that you cut some government spending, okay? when you looked at the debt ceiling crisis, the default position was, oh, my god, the full faith and credit of the united states is on the line so they did something about it. fiscal crisis, january 1, they did something about the fiscal cliff because everybody's taxes were going to go up. the crisis on that continuing resolution at the end of march is that the government would shut down, republicans have had bad experiences with that in the past politically when the government shut down, when newt gingrich was speaker of the house, they don't want to go through that again. nobody wants the government to shut down. this particular crisis we're in right now, republicans and some democrats are making a bet that it's not the end of the world urks they wi, they'll find a way to deal with this in the short term and long term try to fix the next fiscal
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crisis coming up and i have a sense that there's something that can be done on that looming crisis at the end of the month so they can put it all together and come up with some kind of a deal. but maybe i'm just being kind of optimistic here. >> optimism is good. let's hope you're not being overly optimistic. if they could get at least the so-called temporary continuing resolution passed, keep the government open, they don't have to worry about a government shutdown. they will have to worry about raising the nation's debt ceiling once again. another crisis that presumably will come up. resist taps unleance unless the spending going foughrward. we're within a minute of the president. if they get cr off the table, that's good. >> that's a really big deal. markets are not reacting to this sequester all that much. that's the thing people are worried about. that's also the thing that's politically very dangerous because unlike saturday morning
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when nothing would really change for most people, march 28th, things will really change for people if there is anything resembling a government shutdown. so that would be a big win for everybody. remember, though, there hasn't been a real budget process if in this country since 2009. >> hold on a second. the president is walking in right now. >> as you know, i just met with leaders of both parties to discuss a way forward in light of the severe budget cuts that start to take effect today. i told them these cuts will hurt our economy, they'll cost us jobs, and onset a right both sides need to be willing to compromise. the good news is the american people are strong and resilient. they've fought hard to recover from the worst economic crisis since the great depression and we will get through this, as well. even with these cuts in place, folks all across the country will work hard to make sure that we keep the recovery going.
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but washington sure isn't making it easy. at a time when our businesses have finally begun to get some traction, hiring new workers, bringing jobs back to america, we shouldn't be making a series of dumb arbitrary cuts to things that businesses depend on. and workers depend on. like education and research and infrastructure and's unnecessar inexcusable. now, what's important to understand is that not everyone will feel the pain of these cuts right away. the pain, though, will be real. beginning this week, many middle class families will have their lives disrupted in significant ways. businesses that work with the military like the virginia ship builder that i visited on tuesday may have to lay folks off. communities near military bases will take a serious blow. hundreds of thousands of
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americans who serve their country, border patrol agents, fbi agents, civilians who work at the pentagon, all will suffer significant pay cuts and furloughs. all of this will cause a ripple effect throughout our economy. layoffs and pay cuts means that people have less money in their pockets. and that means that they have less money to spend at local businesses. that means lower profits. that means fewer hires. the longer these cuts remain in place, the greater the damage to our economy. a slow grind that will intensify with each passing day. so economists are estimating that as a consequence of the sequester, that we could see growth cut by over one-half of 1%. it will cost about 750,000 jobs at a time when we should be growing jobs more quickly. so every time that we get a piece of economic news over the
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next month, next two months, next six months, as long as the sequester is in place, well know that that economic news could have been better if congress had not failed to act. and let's be clear. none of this is necessary. it's happening because a choice that republicans in congress have made. they have allowed these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit. as recently as yesterday, they decided to protect special interests tax breaks for the well off and well connected and they think that that's apparently more important than protecting our military or middle class families from the pain of these cuts. i do believe that we can and must replace the cuts with a who are balanced approach that asks something from everybody. smart spending cut, entitlement reform, tax reform that makes
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the tax code more fair for families and businesses without raising tax rates. also we can spongebcan responsi the deficit. i don't think that's too much to ask. i don't think that is partisan. it's the kind of approach that i've proposed for two years. it's what i ran on last year. the majority of the american people agree with me in this approach, including a majority of republicans. we just need republicans in congress to catch up with their own party and their country on this. and if they did so, we could make a lot of progress. i do know that there are republicans in congress who privately at least say that they would rather close tax loopholes than let these cuts go through. i know that there are democrats who would rather do smart entitlement reform than let the cuts go through. there is a cau
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sense up on capitol hill, it's a silent group right now and we want to make sure that their voices start getting heard. in the coming days and coming weeks, i'll keep on reaching out to them both individually and as groups of senators or members of the house and say to them let's fix this. not just for a month or two, but for years to come. because the greatest nation on earth does not conduct its business in month to month increments or by careening from crisis to crisis. and america has a lot more work to do. in the meantime, we can't let political gridlock around the budget stand in the way of other areas where we can make progress. i was pleased to see that the house passed the violence against women act yesterday. that is a big win for not just women, but for families and for the american people. it's a law that will save lives
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and help more americans live free from fear. it's something that we've been pushing on for a long time. i was glad to see that done. and it's an example of how we can still get some important bipartisan legislation through this congress even though there are still these fiscal arguments taking place. and i think there other areas where we can make progress even with the sequester unresolved. i will continue to push for these initiatives. i'll keep pushing for high quality preschool for every family that wants it. i'll keep pushing on to make sure that we raise the minimum wage so that it's one that families can live on. i'll keep on pushing for immigration reform and reform our voting system. and improvements on our transportation sector. and i'll keep pushing for sensible gun reforms because i still think they deserve a vote. this is the agenda that the american people voted for. these are america's priorities. they are too important to go unaddressed. and i'll keep push to go make
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sure that push to go make sure they go through. i'll take questions. let's start with julie. gr how much responsibility do you feel you bear for the cuts taking effect and is the only way to offset them at this point for republicans to bend on revenue or do you see any alternatives? >> well, look, we've already cut $2.5 trillion in our deficit. everybody says we need to cut $4 trillion. which means we have to come up where another trillion and a half. the vast majority of the economists agree that the problem when it comes to deficits is not discretionary spending, it's not that we're spending too much money on education, it's not that we're spending too much money on job training or that we're spending too much money rebuilding our roads and our bridges. we're not. the problem that we have is a long term problem in terms of our health care costs. and programs like medicare.
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and what i've said very specifically, very detailed, is that i'm prepared to take on the problem where it exists on entitlements and do some things that my own party really doesn't like if it's part of a broader package of sensible deficit reduction. so the deal that i've put forward over the last two years, the deal that i put forward as recently as december, is still on the table. i am prepared to do hard things and to push my democratic friends to do hard things, but what i can't do is ask middle class families, ask seniors, ask students, to bhear the entire burden of deficit reduction when we know there are a lot of tax loopholes that are benefiting
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the well connected and wealthy. the american people don't think it's fair and don't think it's right. so i recognize that speaker boehner has challenges if his caucus. i recognize that it's very hard for republican leaders to benf caucus. i recognize that it's very hard for republican leaders to be hi caucus. i recognize that it's very hard for republican leaders to be perceived as making concessions to me. you know, sometimes i reflect is there something else i could to to make these guys hf-i'm not talking about the leaders now, but maybe some of the house republican caucus members, notd to make these guys hf-i'm not talking about the leaders now, but maybe some of the house republican caucus members, not paint horns on my head. and i genuinely believe that there is an opportunity for us to cooperate. but what doesn't make sense and the only they think that we've seen from republicans so far in terms of proposals is to relays
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th replace this set of arbitrary cuts with even worse arbitrary cuts. that won't help the economy, it won't help growth and it won't create jobs. and as a number of economists has noted, ironically, it doesn't even reduce our deficit in the smartest way possible or the fastest way possible. so in terms of going forward, my hope is that after some reflection, as members of congress start hearing from constituents who are being negatively impacted, as we start seeing the impact that the sequester is having, that they step back and say, all right, is there a way for us to move forward on a package of
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entitlement reforms, tax reform, not raising tax rates, identifying programs that don't work, coming up with a plan that's comprehensive and that makes sense. and it may take a couple of week. it may take a couple of months. but i'll keep on pushing on it and my view is that ultimatelywk s. it may take a couple of months. but i'll keep on pushing on it and my view is that ultimatelyw. it may take a couple of months. but i'll keep on pushing on it and my view is that ultimately common sense prevails. but republicans have made a choice that maintaining an iron qul clad rule that we will not accept an extra time's worth of revenue makes it difficult for us to get any larger comprehensive deal. and that's the choice they're making. they're saying it is more important to preserve the tax loopholes than it is to prevent
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these arbitrary cuts. and what's interesting is speaker boehner just a couple months ago identified these tax loopholes and tax breaks and said we should close them and raise revenue. so it's not as if it's not possible to do. they themselves have suggested that it's possible to do. and if they believe that in fact these tax loopholes and these tax breaks for the well off and well connected aren't contributing to growth, aren't good for our economy, aren't particularly fair and can raise revenue, why don't we get started. why don't we do that. it may be that because of the politics within the republican party they can't do it right now. i understand that. my hope is that they can do it later. and i just want to repeat, julie, because i think it's very important to understand, it's not as if democrats aren't being
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asked for do anything either to compromise. there are members of my party who violencely disagr lolently notion that we should do anything on medicare. and i'm willing to say to them i disagree with you because i want to preserve medicare for the long haul. and we'll have some tough politics within my party to get this done. this is not a situation where i'm only asking for concessions from republicans and asking nothing from democrats. i'm saying everybody will have to do something. and the one key to this whole thing is trying to make sure we keep in mind who we're here for. we are not here for ourselves. we're not here for our parties. we're not here to advance our electoral prospects. we're here for american families
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who have been gotten battered pretty good over the last four years, are just starting to see the economy improve, businesses are just starting for sto see some confidence coming back being and, you know, this is not a win for everybody. this is a loss for the american people. and about we step back and remind ourselves what it is we're supposed to be doing here, hopefully common sense will allow in the end. >> it sounds like you're saying this is a republican problem and not one that you bear any responsibility for. >> give mian ee mian example of might do. i'm trying to clairify the question. i put forward a plan that calls for speakers spending cut, serious entitlement reforms, goes right at the problem that is at the haeart of our long tem deficit problem. i've offered negotiations around
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that kind of balanced approach. and so par we've gotten rebuffed because what speaker boehner and the republicans have said is we cannot do any revenue. we can't do a dime's worth of revenue. so what more do you think i should do? okay. just wanted to clarify. because if people have a suggestion, i'm happy to -- this is a room full of smart folks. all right. zach. >> mr. president, the next focal point seems to be the continuing resolution that is funding the government at the end of the month, that expires at the end of the month. would you sign a cr that continues the sequester but continues to fund the government, and on a related point, have you truly reached the limits of your persuasive power, is there any leverage that you have to convince folks that this isn't the way to go? >> well, i'd like to think i still have some persuasive power left.
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let me check. no, look, the issue is not my persuasive power. the american people agree with my approach. they agree that we should have a balanced approach to deficit reduction. the question is can the american people help persuade their members of congress to do the right thing. and i have a lot of confidence that over time if the american people express their displeasure about how something is working that eventually congress responds. sometimes there is a little gap between what the american people think and what congress thinks. but eventually congress catches up. with respect to the budget and keeping government open, for our viewing audience to make sure that we're not talking in washington gobblelygook, to make
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sure basic government functions continue, i think that it's the right thing to do to make sure that we don't have a government shutdown. and that's preventable. we have a budget control act, right, we agreed to a certain amount of money that was going to be spent each year. and certain funding levels for our military, our education system and so forth. if we stick to that deal, then i will be supportive of us sticking to that deal. it's a deal that i made. the sequester are additional cuts on top of that and by law until congress takes the sequester away, we'd have to abide by those additional cuts. but there is no reason that we should have another crisis by shutting the government down in addition to these arbitrary spending cuts.
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>> even at the lower levels of the sequester even in you don't prefer to do it? >> i never want to make myself 100% clear with you guys. but i think it's fair to say that i made a deal for a certain budget, certain numbers, there is no reason why that deal needs to be reopened. it was a deal that speaker boehner made as well and all the leadership made. and if the bill that arrives on my desk is reflective of the commitments that we previously made, then obviously i would sign it because i want to make sure that we keep on doing what we need to do for the american people. jessica. >> to your question what could you do, first of all, cooperate you just have them down here and refuse to let them leave the room until you have a deal? >>