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America Under Attack: Senate Passes Emergency Appropriations Bill 96-0

Aired September 14, 2001 - 10:41   ET


PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: The other thing the mayor is cautioning all against is being very careful with the details of reporting if you stayed with us throughout the morning you know the information very fluid. It changes all the time. And it is very difficult to get accurate information out of ground zero. But the mayor and we all are trying to heed this advice, do not want to raise the hopes of anyone out there, and unfortunately, everybody's being -- giving conflicting information. This is very hard on the families that have to endure this process, and joining me right now is William McCarthy, who is one of the many men in this country deeply affected by this tragedy.


WILLIAM MCCARTHY: Thank you, Paula.

ZAHN: Your brother Michael is missing.

MCCARTHY: Yes, my brother Michael, he worked for a country called Car Futures on the 91st floor of tower one, and when the first plane hit actually, there was a live feed with his office in London as well, and so initially, we kind of thought that perhaps the office wouldn't have survived because it was first him on the 80th floor, but it turns out, and you know, just learning from different people, that the office survived the crash, but the people in England have told us that there's a loudspeaker that came on saying, please, stay where are, remain calm, and some people actually went to top of the building, hoping that there would be an evacuation there. And right now, unfortunately, there's been no good news whatsoever.

The company, though, Car Futures have been wonderful. Yesterday and today, actually for those people out there actually that are related to someone with the company actually at the Waldorf-Astoria, in the Conrad Suite, they are having a -- from 8:00 this morning until 10:00 tonight, they are having a session where people can come in, talk. They have a stress counselor there, as well as the CEO, just trying to let everyone know that whatever information they get, they are going to relate to families as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, though, that, reality of the situation is the 71 people in the office, when the attack hits, no one has been heard from.

ZAHN: So do you have any hope that your brother is alive? MCCARTHY: Honestly and truly, at this point actually,my initial hope was perhaps it was fast and it was painless, and the more I hear about this, I really actually just hope there can be some sort of resolution to the situation. Yesterday, like thousands of people throughout New York, I went to my brother's dentist to gather medical records and to bring it down to Armory. What most impressed me, for the first time in my life, New Yorkers giving away things for free.

ZAHN: That's a rare concept here. Yes, there's water, food, people just walking by, you know, saying, are you OK?

MCCARTHY: And It was kind of like the old-fashioned American values that we really supported and we have advocated for so many years, almost like midwestern Ohio, people nice and the edge was off.

ZAHN: William, unfortunately, I've got to interrupt you for a second. We'll come back in a second. The senior senator from New York is now holding an informal news conference. Let's listen in.

SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: The trauma is enormous. Even for those of us not affected or affected because of friends or whatever are having trouble sleeping. But the very fact that the Senate -- Democrats, Republicans -- stepped up to the plate and gave us the initial amount of money that we need is great.

I want to thank the president. When I asked him to help us, he didn't bat an eye. He said, "I will help you." I said we need $20 billion in addition to the supplemental. He said, "I'm for it." And that was a tremendous, tremendous boost for us.

And Governor Pataki was on the phones late last night making sure this got done. Mayor Giuliani was just great. This was a bipartisan effort that stretched from one end of the country to the other, and it's going to help New York recover a lot more quickly, both financially and psychologically.



SCHUMER: We were able to pass them out because people understood the emergency. And even though people might have had differences with language here and there, everyone pulled together. Both resolutions indicated that. Senator Byrd did an incredible job. Senator Daschle did an incredible job. And Speaker Hastert as well.


SCHUMER: Any other questions?

QUESTION: Did the president actually request this authority? And if not (inaudible)?

SCHUMER: On the use of force, I would defer to -- I think that it shows that we're united, it makes it clear legally that he can do it. Again, there was compromise in all sorts of different ways than one never thought, and it shows America's united.

If we stay resolute and united, we will win the war on terrorism. If we don't, we fail. And today's message on both resolutions is unity.

QUESTION: Senator, how long can this unity and bipartisanship last when Congress eventually turns to other issues?

SCHUMER: Let's hope it lasts for an extremely long time.

QUESTION: Senator, how confident are you in the markets actually beginning to trade Monday without interruption?

SCHUMER: I've been speaking to people in the markets. I think they will trade Monday. I think the Federal Reserve and all of the banking authorities are prepared to go to bat. The companies are looking at their stocks and have reserves on hand. So I think that the markets will open and will open well.

QUESTION: Senator, with both these resolutions, were you at all concerned they gave the president too broad power (inaudible)?

SCHUMER: I thought the initial resolution was too broad. I thought the way it was honed down by Senators Biden and Levin and Kerry made me feel much more comfortable, because it does involve the War Powers Act.

QUESTION: Are you talking specifically about the decision to take out the language on preemptive strikes?

SCHUMER: I think the language on future engagements bothered us very much.

I'm now being joined by my colleague, Senator Clinton. We worked as a team on this. We worked day in, day out. We've hardly slept. I was filibustering so you could get here.

And it's just a great victory for New York, as I mentioned. And let me turn it over to my partner and New York's -- and half of the team for New York, Senator Clinton.

SEN. HILLARY CLINTON (D), NEW YORK: And it's a tired but very happy team right now. We are very grateful, first, to the people of New York, and particularly to the governor and the mayor, for giving us the first-hand view and briefing about what the dimensions of this devastation were and the human cost and financial cost that rescue and recovery and rebuilding will entail.

I also want particularly to thank our leadership, in both Houses, on both sides of the aisle, who really came through in recognizing the urgent necessity of beginning to put the dollars out there that will make clear we are going to fund whatever it takes to recover.

CLINTON: And I particularly want to thank the president and the staff of the White House, the OMB, who understood our request. When Chuck and I were in the Oval Office yesterday and asked the president for an additional $20 billion, he immediately agreed. It meant a great deal to us and to the people of New York. So we're very grateful today.

SCHUMER: Thank you.

SEN. THOMAS DASCHLE (D-SD), MAJORITY LEADER: This has been an historic day, and what has been quite an historic week. Once again, the Senate has pulled together, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Americans, responding to a crisis in a way that Americans expect.

I am very appreciative of the magnitude of our responsibility and very gratified with the response the Senate has again shown this morning. The Senate has passed an extraordinary response to the disaster, providing the president with ability now to move forward in healing this nation; providing him with the resources to do so and with the moral support that is evidence in a unanimous vote.

The president has also made it clear worldwide it is our intention to seek out and to punish those responsible for their acts. We have now passed a resolution that will accommodate his desire to do so and keep ever so cognizant our responsibilities under the Constitution as equal partners as we pursue these goals. I applaud the president's actions, and on behalf of the Democratic caucus, support his efforts to do all that he can to achieve that important goal.

So the Senate has spoken, and again as has been the case all week long, we have said that we stand shoulder to shoulder, literally and figuratively, in our effort to do the right thing. My partner in this effort, standing as we have, shoulder to shoulder, is on my right. And I must say, we could not have accomplished all that we have without his remarkable leadership. And I thank him publicly once again for his efforts this week.

SEN. TRENT LOTT (D), MINORITY LEADER: Thank you, Senator Daschle, for your comments and for your leadership.

I believe this is another historic day in the Senate.

LOTT: The Senate has acted in an aggressive and an appropriate way to pass this legislation quickly that would support the president to give him the funding authority that he needs and the funds that he needs for humanitarian efforts, for clean-up, for disaster assistance -- so much that's going to have to be done in the aftermath of what we have seen this past week in New York City and in Virginia and in Pennsylvania.

We also are taking specific action to provide the president the authority he needs, as Senator Daschle said, to punish those that are responsible for these acts.

We could quibble for days or for weeks. We could argue the legalisms. We could parse over every word. But the Senate, united like I have never seen it before, choose not to do that. The American people expect us to act. They expect us to be team as an American country to deal with this problem, and we're doing that. The president is providing the right leadership. We are doing our part in that partnership. And I believe we're going to see results from these actions.

So I'm pleased to be here with Senator Daschle to announce these results. I thank Senator Daschle, the Democratic Conference and the Republican Conference for the way they have acted today. It's very impressive.

QUESTION: Can you tell us how the investigation is going, and whether the United States is getting any closer to pinpointing what they need to do and how they need to do it?

DASCHLE: I'm certainly not in a position to give you an authoritative review of the investigation. I am confident, given the briefings we've been provided throughout the week, that the investigation has been at least partially successful in the very short time under which it's been under way. I do believe that just over the last 24 hours, with the incident in New York, we've seen how responsive and how quick to act our authorities can be and will be, but I can't give you any definitive appreciation of where the investigation is.

LOTT: Let me just say that, obviously, a lot of work is under way in our transportation system -- with FBI, with the Central Intelligence Agency, all appropriate government agencies. It's under way. I think we need to understand that this is a situation that may not allow us to take action in a matter of hours.

Hopefully, we can get some early determinations of who was involved and how this came about, and be able to take actions. But this is an action -- a war, if you will -- that will probably take time. We cannot just take out a single plane. We must sink the carrier of the enemy -- this time a terrorist enemy that is worldwide and more difficult to identify and to take action against than anything else we've done before. So while we're determined, we want as quick an action as possible, we must be aware that this is going to be a tough fight.


QUESTION: Do you have any idea of the portion of the ultimate cost of this disaster that the $40 billion represents? Do you view it as simply a, quote, "down payment" or something...

DASCHLE: I think it's too early to tell what the magnitude is. Nobody has an assessment. We know that it exceeds any devastation we've experienced to date throughout history. I believe that most of us...

ZAHN: At a time when majority leader Daschle and minority leader Lott are engaging in rare show of unity, you are beginning to see many of the folks who are beginning to line up outside a wet national cathedral in Washington, where a prayer vigil will be held starting in an hour from now. We will be covering that live. The president will be in attendance. In addition to the president, his father, the former president, will also be there, as well as President Carter, and President Ford, and many, many members of Congress. The two Senators Daschle and Lott praising their colleagues for passing a $40 billion appropriations bill. Senator Clinton and Senator Schumer saying they give President Bush a great deal of credit for agreeing to an additional $20 billion, which makes up that $40 billion amount. And I have just been told the Senate has just passed a force of resolution now on the floor of the Senate. So there is a lot going on. That vote by 98-0 margin.

Lots to tell you about on the New York front. The mayor of New York saying that in spite of the nasty weather, the cleanup and recover efforts continue, some 10,400 tons of debris having been removed. Other sources confirming that at least 20 percent of lower Manhattan office space damaged or destroyed. Everyone in the city being very honest about what the rescue workers are up against here. This rain has not helped. It's made incredibly dangerous situations for the rescue workers in there. It's made it harder for them to get into the area. We heard one story, which I think we can confirm now, that some of the rescues had to dig through 20 feet of rubble just to find the top of a fire engine today. There is still hope that they might be able to fine people alive.

The mayor confirming yesterday that one of the firefighters rescued was originally believed to have been buried in the rubble the first day. That's not the case. He was in fact injured yesterday in the middle of his rescue efforts. The mayor saying all schools open today with the exception of the schools south of 14th Street. The Senator Schumer confirming he fully expects the markets to be open. The major markets on Monday. I got a lot of political officials talking to us today. The mayor telling us earlier today day plan to open up southern artery for those of you who don't know New York geography to get down to Wall Street, and he's encouraging business to send people over the weekend to try to cleanup some of the adjoining buildings so people can actually go back to work on Monday. It's very difficult to get to that part of the city, because the main artery going south is just clogged as a staging area for these rescue efforts.

To put a human face on all of this. I'm going to rejoin William McCarthy whose brother Michael missing. He was on the 91st floor of the first tower hit?

MCCARTHY: Correct. The first plane hit.

ZAHN: And you have gone to company. For those who didn't hear the first part of this interview. You are not too hopeful at this moment that he survived.

MCCARTHY: Well, at this point, actually, I'm with my mother and father, and the wonderful people in my neighborhood actually that have been calling and been stopping by and offering just words of encouragement or just feeling of sympathy. And I think actually that, I mean, last night we're kind of sitting around the table all talking about Mike, and just sharing, like, you know, our feelings about him, and he was truly a renaissance man. He extremely intelligent, 6"3', 220 pounds. He played Division I football. He was gregarious in his love of life, and he worked hard, he played hard, and there are thousands of stories to share.

But one of the things that I loved about Mike most is that his name was Michael Desmond McCarthy, and had kind of almost joked around and said he was two different people, the type A alpha male that was extremely motivated and successful and career-oriented, but then there was also the large, teddy bear side called Desmond, that was your friend, that was generous, that was kind-hearted. He was the one that was more pathos oriented, whereas Michael was the intellectual side. And we're really going to miss him.

But one of the reasons I came here today, Paula, is I talked with mother and father this morning, Margaret and Bill, and my aunt and uncle, and we all decided actually, what can people do, besides volunteer, because it seems like I tried to donate blood the first day this thing happened, I was unable to.

ZAHN: Yes, too many people are lined up, which is positive thing to say about New Yorkers. They get a pretty bad rap.

MCCARTHY: Everyone's getting frustrated, saying I want to help, I want to help. And what is best to do is two things, number one everyone sits around, and they kind of know someone, but you are afraid to call. You are afraid to just pick up the phone and deal with the reality of another's person's lost. But I'm asking you to please go out and do that, because as much as it's annoying to hear the phone ring all day, it's much worse to deal with the painful silence of the realities of the death of a loved one, and you know, my father said last night, God another phone call, but he was smiling also, because it was just a respite, and anything is good.

And number two actually, please go out and visit someone you know, that has lost someone. I know that is probably even more dangerous, because people are afraid, I'm not trained in this, I don't know what to say, well just stop by under the ruse of saying, listen, I brought some food, I have a gift certificate to a delicatessen or a restaurant, and you may not want to do it now, but it just gives you the opportunity to go somewhere else and say I care, I'm trying to empathize with you, and anything that we can do is OK with us, and please hear us, and just that 30 seconds at the door makes the afternoon.

ZAHN: You are showing tremendous strength here this morning, and I have one final question for you, and yet we know that there are thousands of families that are basically wandering from hospital to hospital, to try to get some piece of information about their loved ones. They are saying that folks are them as much as they can, but simply the demand on the resources of these hospitals is great. Any advice for those folks.

MCCARTHY: Yesterday, I was there. And people were calm, people were generous. There -- I think actually the thing I might suggest actually is to spend time with your loved ones, and you are going to get frustrated, trying to get information that's not there. And I think sometimes the best thing to do is trust the professionals, and like EMS, and the hospitals and the government officials I think are working as hard as they can in this situation. But sometimes, you know, the hardest thing to do actually, Tennessee Williams said it best in "The Glass Menagerie," you tend to find emotion for what's lost in the present. So you think if you go out and do something, it's going to change the reality and it doesn't, and just spend time, call your friends, call your family, and just stop by and hug someone that's lost someone, because a lot of people have been affected by this, including myself.

ZAHN: There's a lot of power what you are saying here this morning, William. It was good of you to join us at such a tough time for your family.

MCCARTHY: Thank you.



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