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Congress Passes $40 Billion Relief Bill

Aired September 14, 2001 - 15:05   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We are waiting now, any moment for the Treasury Department to hold a briefing to talk about efforts to cut off the money trail to suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden.

In the Congress, we've already been reporting about the $40 billion payment that Congress has voted to give the president, give the administration to provide relief, cleanup efforts.

Kate Snow, our congressional correspondent joins us now with some developments, Kate, in terms of how some of that money is going to be spent -- Kate.

KATE SNOW, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Right Judy, the $40 billion, by the way, now passing the House unanimously in addition to the Senate, where it passed earlier today.

We're learning some news, Judy. We're learning that House Republicans and Democratic leaders have gotten together this afternoon. They talked about the airline industry. It may surprise you to know that the airline industry is not doing well financially. They weren't doing well even before Tuesday's crisis, and now they're certainly not doing well. The House leaders have said that they are prepared and they are working on an emergency bailout measure to the tune of $2.5 billion.

This would be money, Judy, that's included in the $40 billion that we just mentioned, according to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay. This would be money taken out of that $40 billion, $2.5 billion given in direct cash payments to the airlines. That, again, according to Tom DeLay, the House Majority Whip, the Republican Majority Whip who just came out of that meeting.

The idea is to try to keep the airlines afloat through all of this. As I said, they were already, according to industry watchers, were in the hole by about $6 billion before -- for the year -- before Tuesday's attacks. Now, in light of Tuesday's attacks, because the airports have all shut down, because of increased security and because people may be afraid to fly, the fear is that they're about to lose another estimated four billion. Or the total figure they may be looking at losing is $10 billion. And again, the Congress looking to help out, giving them at least a small piece of that in direct cash payments.

Judy, back to you. WOODRUFF: Well, Kate, that's an update on what they're doing on the fiscal front, if you will, what about on the military front, diplomatic front? They're talking about a use of force resolution.

SNOW: The Senate has already passed that, Judy. Earlier this morning, the Senate unanimously, everyone in the Senate, voted in favor of a resolution. It authorizes the use of U.S. armed forces for those responsible for Tuesday's attacks, and it very clearly says that the use of force can be used also to prevent future acts of international terrorism by those groups responsible for Tuesday's attacks.

The language is very important here, Judy. And they worked hard on the language. The Congress wanted to pass something to help the president, to give him some backing but they wanted to be clear about what the president was authorized to do from their point-of-view. And again, he is now authorized by the Congress to use force against those responsible for Tuesday's attacks and against those who were responsible for those attacks should they be planning any future act of terrorism.

They do not give a carte blanche, if you will, to the White House. They do not say the president can do whatever he wants. And that was something that was a fine point that had to be negotiated. Judy, as you know, there's always a little negotiation on Capitol Hill. But that's the way the language stands now, that has been passed by the Senate. We do expect it'll come up -- expect it'll come up later today in the House -- Judy.

WOODRUFF: All right, Kate Snow bringing us the latest from Capitol Hill, what the Congress has been up to.

We've been -- as we said, we're watching for the Treasury Department to brief. We're looking at the trails of the investigation of this story and of course in New York, where President Bush is touring right now the ruins of the World Trade Center.

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