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Deal Reached on Debt Limit; Remarks by President Obama Announcing Deal

Aired July 31, 2011 - 20:30   ET


DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Don Lemon at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Wolf Blitzer here in Washington.

We're tracking breaking news this hour on the debt ceiling talks here in the nation's capital. We've just learned that the president of the United States will be in the White House briefing room within the next 10 minutes or so to make a major statement on where these talks stand.

You're looking at live pictures from the West Wing of the White House right now. Reporters are gearing up to hear the president. The camera crews are getting ready. This was not expected. The president will be making a statement on where the situation stands as far as this debt ceiling crisis is concerned.

We are also expecting a statement on the Senate floor at some point from the Senate majority leader Harry Reid. No word on what the Republicans are up to at this point but we've got a lot of news that we're following right now.

Don, this is a night that a lot of people will be watching not only here but in the -- around the world. This is Harry Reid. I don't know -- is this a live picture of Harry Reid?

LEMON: This is live. Harry Reid. Let's --

BLITZER: Let's go to Harry Reid on the Senate floor right now.


SEN. HARRY REID (D), MAJORITY LEADER: -- on the full faith credit of the United States. Sometimes it seems our two sides disagree on almost everything, but in the end, reasonable people were able to agree on this.

The United States could not take the chance of defaulting on our debt risking the United States' financial collapse and worldwide depression. America and the world have been watching our democracy expectantly. And my message to the world tonight is that this nation and this Congress are moving forward and we're moving forward together.

Reaching a long-term accord that would give our economy the certainty it needs was not easy. But our work is not done. Leaders from both parties and both chambers will present this agreement to our caucuses tomorrow. Senate Democrats will meet at 11:00 a.m.

To pass this settlement, we'll need the support of Democrats and Republicans in both the House and the Senate. There is no way either party and either chamber, can do this alone.

As President Lyndon Johnson said, and I quote, "There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves."

Democrats and Republicans have rarely needed to come together more than today. I know this agreement won't make every Republican happy. It certainly won't make every Democrat happy either. But both parties gave more ground than they wanted to and neither side got as much as it had hoped, but that is the essence of compromise, of consensus building, and the American people demanded compromise this week and they got it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Republican leader.

MCCONNELL: This is an important moment for our country. I appreciate the majority leader's comments and I want to say a few words to our colleagues who have been so patient over the past several days and whose ideas and encouragement have been so helpful in getting us to this point.

First of all, let me reiterate that before any agreement is reached, Republicans will meet to discuss the framework that the White House and congressional leaders in both parties think would meet our stated efforts to cut spending more than the president's requested debt ceiling increase, prevent a national default, and protect the economy from tax increases.

And to that end I'd like to say to my Republican colleagues that we'll be holding a conference meeting in the morning to discuss the framework and to give everyone a chance to weigh in. But at this point I think I can say with a high degree of confidence that there is now a framework to review that will ensure significant cuts in Washington spending.

And we can assure the American people tonight that the United States of America will not, for the first time in our history, default on its obligations.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Clerk will call the roll.


BLITZER: All right. So there you have it. The two leaders of the United States Senate trying to reassure the world, especially those jittery markets out in Asia that are just beginning to open right now. The United States government will not default for the first time ever.

This is an important moment, Don Lemon, as we get ready to hear the president of the United States. I suspect his reasoning for going out and speaking within the next few moments from the West Wing of the White House, from the White House briefing room, also to try to reassure the markets in Asia and, in effect, the markets here in the United States that will open Monday morning that the United States is moving in the right direction and will not default.

It's one of those moments that is critical in this process right now. Harry Reid once again speaking.

REID: -- expired and the time for the two leaders be reserved for use later in the day. Following the remarks, the Senate resumed consideration and a motion to concur and the House message will come at 627, the legislative vehicle for the debt limit increase.

And then Senate recessed from 11:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Further at 12:30 the Senate resumed consideration and motion to concur with the House message to 627 with the time until 2:00 equally divided and controlled between two leaders of the designees with senators permitted to speak for up to 10 minutes each.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Without objection.

REID: There will be a Democratic caucus at 11:00 a.m. tomorrow. There's no further business come before the Senate. I ask that we adjourn under the previous order.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Senate stands adjourned until 10:30 a.m. tomorrow morning.

LEMON: And Wolf, you heard there's going to be a Democratic caucus tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. And we need to say as we wait for the president to speak -- and he's scheduled to speak in just a few minutes here -- there is a conference call, if it's all going on on time, with John Boehner now. Conference call with fellow Republicans that will get under way, or should be under way now.

And he's expected to talk to them and say that there isn't a deal yet but they are working on it.

And Wolf, there were some sticking points. We are told that the House speaker was concerned about defense spending cuts.

BLITZER: Defense spending is a critical issue for so many Republicans, a lot of Democrats as well. Because if in fact part two of this tentative agreement, the framework, as Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell just described, if it doesn't go through and around Thanksgiving they're supposed to have recommendations from a super congressional committee on additional spending cuts and ways to deal with this long-term U.S. national debt crisis.

If they don't have that, that would trigger automatic cuts across the board, including in defense spending, and right now we're told, as you point out, that a lot of Republicans, especially in the House of Representatives, some Democrats, they're very nervous about that. They don't like it.

You're looking on the left part of your screen, there's Jessica Yellin. She's getting ready for our coverage as well, our chief White House correspondent.

The president of the United States will be walking in to the briefing room to make his statement, presumably explaining to all of us why he's encouraged by what has happened, and while, I suspect the problem will not be in the United States Senate. I believe, based on what we heard from Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell just now.

I think the Senate will fall in line behind the president and this agreement.

LEMON: And Wolf --

BLITZER: The real problem will be, Don, in the House.

LEMON: I have some -- I have some news just here real quickly that we have just gotten in a senior administration official confirms the White House and Republicans have struck a deal. They have struck a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

And as Wolf and I have been reporting, you're looking at a live picture of the White House. The briefing room, just shortly, the president will come out and make a speech to the American public and you saw the leaders there, the Democratic leader, and also the Republican leader on the House floor, saying that there has to be some sort of consensus on this.

And really, Wolf, he is -- both men have been saying now compromise, compromise. And a good deal, a good deal by most accounts is a deal where not everybody is happy and both leaders said -- especially Harry Reid. He said not everybody's going to be happy with this but we have to do this for the good of the country and the American people.

BLITZER: Yes. And -- so let's just set the scene once again, Don. The president getting ready to go into the White House briefing room, make his statement. We'll see if he sticks around and answers some questions from reporters.

The speaker of the House, the Republican leader in the House, John Boehner is on a conference call with his Republican caucus right now presumably explaining the details of the framework agreement.

Let's go to CNN's Jessica Yellin, our chief White House correspondent.

We're only a minute or two away from the president, Jessica. But this was not expected that we would hear tonight from the president.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No. The White House has been noticeably silent all weekend as they've waited for the elements of this deal to come together and then just moments ago noticed that the president would be coming out, we are told, to announce the framework or to acknowledge the framework that this deal has been struck with Congress to raise the debt ceiling.

Of course we'll be listening to him closely for details. There was this last sticking point with Speaker Boehner, sources told us, over the nature of defense cuts and whether there would be -- what defense cuts would come in that first round of these negotiations. But so much more at stake beyond that and many questions for him to answer. We will hear from him in less than two minutes.

LEMON: And Jessica, any idea on the deal that has been struck here? We're just going to hear it from the president, but do you have any idea of what they have come to?

YELLIN: Well, you know, it's been a fast moving story and I wouldn't want to prejudge what they're going to say. What we've been reporting so far is that it's a $2.4 trillion deal to raise the debt ceiling by that amount. The big question is how much will the spending cuts equal, will it exceed that?

We have heard reports that it could exceed that, which of course some Democrats have been concerned about. We'll listen closely to hear what he says on that front. The other big question is in what nature, what ways, will revenue come up at all? Will there be any assurances that Democrats can even attack that at all? And then the other big matter is the spending issue I addressed up front.

But overall, Don, it's a lot of numbers. The big sticking point was this question of triggers, what they call triggers on the matter -- and there's the president.

Let's take a listen.

LEMON: Let's listen to the president.


There are still some very important votes to be taken by members of Congress but I want to announce that the leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default.

A default that would have had a devastating effect on our economy. The first part of this agreement will cut about $1 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, cuts that both parties had agreed to early on in this process.

The result would be the lowest level of annual domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was president. But at a level that still allows us to make job creating investments and things like education and research. We also made sure that these cuts wouldn't happen so abruptly that they'd be a drag on a fragile economy.

Now I've said from the beginning that the ultimate solution to our deficit problem must be balance, despite what some Republicans have argued, I believe that we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share by giving up tax breaks and special deductions.

But despite what some in my own party have argued, I believe that we need to make some modest adjustments to programs like Medicare to ensure that they're still around for future generations. That's why the second part of this agreement is so important. It establishes a bipartisan committee of Congress to report back by November with a proposal to further reduce the deficit which will then be put before the entire Congress for an up or down vote.

In this stage, everything will be on the table to hold us all accountable for making these reforms, tough cuts that both parties would find objectionable would automatically go into effect if we don't act. And over the next few months I'll continue to make a detailed case to these lawmakers about why I believe a balanced approach is necessary to finish the job.

Now is this the deal I would have preferred? No. I believe that we could have made the tough choices required on entitlement reform and tax reform right now rather than through a special congressional committee process. But this compromise does make a serious down payment on the deficit reduction we need and gives each party a strong incentive to get a balanced plan done before the end of the year.

Most importantly, it will allow us to avoid default an end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America. It ensures also that we will not face this same kind of crisis again in six months or eight months or 12 months. And it will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy.

Now this process has been messy, it's taken far too long. I've been concerned about the impact that it has had on business confidence and consumer confidence and the economy as a whole over the last month.

Nevertheless, ultimately the leaders of both parties have found their way toward compromise, and I want to thank them for that. Most of all I want to thank the American people. It's been your voices, your letters, your e-mails, your tweets, your phone calls, that have compelled Washington to act in the final days and the American people's voice is a very, very powerful thing.

We're not done yet. I want to urge members of both parties to do the right thing and support this deal with your votes over the next few days. It will allow us to avoid default, it will allow us to pay our bills, it will allow us to start reducing our deficit in a responsible way, and it will allow us to turn to the very important business of doing everything we can to create jobs, boost wages and grow this economy faster than it's currently growing.

That's what the American people sent us here to do, and that's what we should be devoting all of our time to accomplishing in the months ahead.

Thank you very much, everybody.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: What's your message to Democrats who are worried about this plan?

BLITZER: The president of the United States in the White House briefing room, the Vice President Joe Biden was there as well.

The president announcing that he has reached an agreement with the Democratic and Republican leadership in Congress that would avoid a U.S. default.

It's a two-part agreement, as the president explained, and we'll go into a lot of details as we're watching what's going on.

We've got all of our correspondents, Don, standing by. Our analysts is here -- are here as well.

I want to bring in Gloria Borger, our chief political analyst. Richard Quest is here from London watching as well.

The timing, Richard, fascinating right now. Just as the Asian markets are opening in Hong Kong and Tokyo and Australia. All of a sudden the president of the United States announces a deal has been struck. And I want to pick up that thought with you in a moment.

But Gloria, there's no deal until it's approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives. I suspect it won't be much of a problem in the Senate. I think they'll get those 60 votes now that Reid and McConnell, the two leaders, are on board.

The question remains the House of Representatives.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. And I think that the president has probably gotten some assurances from Nancy Pelosi that she can deliver the Democrats for this proposal even if the House speaker loses 80 to 100 of his Republicans, which I believe he could actually lose, because there's lots in this for them not to like.

They didn't get everything they wanted, and they didn't even like John Boehner's plan. And a lot of this seems to be very much based on John Boehner's plan. So I would assume that he's gotten some kind of assurances from his Democrats that they're going to deliver the votes.

As he said, it's not over yet, but he clearly came out to reassure the markets and I don't think he would have done that unless he felt reassured himself.

BLITZER: Because we've already heard some leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus, of the progressive caucus, they don't like this and I assume some of the Tea Party activists on the other side, they won't like this.

And the question will be -- and we'll be checking this thoroughly -- if John Boehner the speaker, and Eric Cantor, the majority leader, if they can get their Republicans on board and vote yea, vote in favor of this.

Richard Quest is here as well.

I assume when the markets in Asia hear the president of the United States say deal struck, this is going to reassure them. We're not going to see any major collapse of the markets out there. RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: No, I don't think the timing is accidental. It is quarter to 9:00 in the morning, Monday morning, in Asia. We'd already seen a small rise in the Nikkei on the Hong Kong Hang Seng and the Australian market. So the markets have been rising by about 1 percent.

We heard on the floor of the Senate, you heard both leaders talk about the need to calm the world market, doing this for the global economy. President re-affirms this now. This has been timed to try and give confidence and to pour the oil necessarily on the markets.

BLITZER: Yes, it's fascinating, the timing of this.

Don Lemon is co-anchoring with me tonight. He's watching what's going on.

Don, you were -- we were about to say that this timing -- and you heard Richard Quest say -- not a coincidence that they came out just now to announce to the world they that have not only a framework but in the words of the president we have reached an agreement.

LEMON: Absolutely, Wolf. And we're going to get to our chief business correspondent Ali Velshi. He's going to weigh in on this in just a moment.

First, you and Gloria bring up a good point. You talked about the House. How does the House feel about this.

Let's go now to our congressional correspondent Kate Bolduan. She's standing by live for us on Capitol Hill.

Kate, talk to us about the House of Representatives. Where do they stand on this particular issue?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It is so interesting because just as we were reporting actually a couple hours ago that just as the president was actually coming out to speak, Speaker Boehner was actually on a conference call with members before of course we started getting this breaking news that the president was going to come out to announce this.

And we heard the Senate -- Senate top -- top Senate Democrat and top -- top Senate Republican come out and say that they had reached this deal. House Speaker John Boehner has been on a conference call and my colleague Deirdre Walsh, she said that he's actually going through a PowerPoint presentation kind of walking through the contours of this deal with members right now.

So I'm actually working right now to see what House Speaker John Boehner has to say, but I assure you that they're not going to be coming forward with this deal, while there might be a couple details to be worked out.

This big announcement was not going to come without sign-off from all of the parties involved here. Everyone has a stake in this. Everyone need to sign off on this and everyone needs to least be able to find some -- find a majority in the House and in the Senate to move this forward. So this is a very momentous occasion in this long drawn-out stalemate that we have been following for weeks now -- Don.

LEMON: All right, Kate Bolduan, stand by.

I want to bring in our chief business correspondent now Ali Velshi.

Ali, you heard what the president said. He said $1 trillion in spending over the next few years. This deal coming in this late on a Sunday night so close to the deadline and the number in that spending. Does that help at this point with our credit rating and with not making the market so jittery?

ALI VELSHI, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, it helps on the second part of it, the not making -- not making markets so jittery. The Nikkei had already opened higher. There was really anticipation in Asian trading that there was going to be a deal and you know these late afternoon shenanigans sort of unsettled it a little bit.

But when the deal was announced the Nikkei popped up again. We're now looking -- my latest information has the Nikkei up about 1.5 percent right now. I think --


LEMON: Hey, Ali.

VELSHI: -- they're still waiting to find out what this deal is about.

LEMON: Will you stand by and help me out with this? Because I want to bring in Kyung Lah. She's standing by and she can talk to us about the Asian markets.

VELSHI: Yes. Absolutely.

LEMON: And then Ali Velshi, you can analyze it for us.

So talk to us about that.

KYUNG LAH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, I can tell you that as the president was speaking I was refreshing my screen just to see what was happening with the Nikkei and the Nikkei was up sharply.

What happened this morning is when the Nikkei did open just under an hour ago, the stocks were high. It was expected to be high because of the rumor of this debt deal. But certainly what we're seeing here already in 45 minutes, 50 minutes of trading is that Asian markets are welcoming this news.

The cloud of uncertainty that President Obama was speaking about is not just in the U.S. financial markets, it's also in the worldwide global markets.

There's something else I do want to point out as well. The dollar is also up. The dollar is strengthening. That's good news for Japanese businesses and in turn that is good news for investment in America. These companies that then invest in America like Toyota and Panasonic.

LEMON: All right, Kyung --

LAH: All of the news here, at least from this side of the globe, is they are welcoming --

LEMON: Hey -- stand by. I want to bring Ali back.

And, Ali, the markets in Tokyo, as of 8:00 p.m. Eastern tonight.


LEMON: In just about 10 minutes, Sydney's going to open, Singapore is going to open, in about 30 or 40 minutes. Shanghai is going to open, Hong Kong. And then at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, Mumbai.


LEMON: Seoul opened at 8:00, and then Taiwan at 9:00 p.m. just in in a couple of minutes as well.

We'll be watching all of these to see what happens.

VELSHI: Yes. And I think you're going to see a very similar pattern in the rest of them. The other question was what does this do to interest rates and what does this do to our downgrade.

Remember the world stock markets are about -- worth about $40 trillion. The world's bond markets are double that. It's a much bigger deal credit markets and bond markets. And we've got differing opinions on that.

Mark Zandi from Moody's today on our air said he thinks we avert a downgrade because of a deal. Bill Gross, the head of PIMCO, who does a lot of trading in bonds, says, we don't. We're probably going to get a downgrade and U.S. debt is going to get more expensive. So unclear what the financial implications of this are going to be.

And remember, Don, we've lost a lot money in the stock market in the last week because of this debate. We just need to get back to zero before we see whether markets are actually cheering this or we just make up the losses that we've had.

And we will be watching this. We've got our team around the world watching markets very closely so that our viewers know what they do with their own investments and how to read this.

LEMON: Hey, Ali, you're a smart guy. And sometimes this may go over some people's heads but just let's bring it home for the people who are watching.

VELSHI: Yes. Sure.

LEMON: What does this all mean now for the American public, the people who are watching us right now? VELSHI: Well, there's the -- there's the immediate effect. What this means to your 401(k), what this means to your interest rates here in the United States. There's all of that. More importantly this is not a monumental leap ahead. This is less than the cuts that Moody's and S&P said that we needed to make over the course of 10 years.

There are no substantial tax increases. In fact, no tax increases at all in this deal. This is -- you know, it seems to be -- have been much a do about nothing. If this is what they were going to do, they could have done this a long time ago. So it's a little puzzling as to why we got here.

This has been largely a victory for Republicans and very much a capitulation economically for Democrats.

There's a real research, Don, that shows that the type of money that we think of as stimulus government money going to social assistance and entitlement programs has -- does more for the economy than the kind of money that goes in to tax cuts or things like that.

They're both money, right? Whether you cut -- you increase taxes or you cut spending, it's both money, but this doesn't seem to be the most stimulative of approaches. And the other thing that this leaves still later is the decision as to how to -- how to apply those cuts.

That's problematic because if they don't come to an agreement, it triggers automatic cuts. That's something a lot of deficit hawks, conservatives, say is very dangerous and could be -- could be haphazard.

LEMON: Ali Velshi, our chief business correspondent, please stand by.

Wolf Blitzer, you heard Ali say this is a deal that they were going to come all along. It could have happened much sooner. The politics behind this had really been astounding.

BLITZER: Yes, it's amazing how that pressure -- that pressure of a deadline has an enormous impact on these negotiators. The White House negotiators beginning with the president, and the vice president of the United States, the Democratic and Republican leadership in the Senate, the Democratic and Republican leadership in the House.

The deadline is Tuesday and now on this Sunday night here in Washington, D.C., the president saying they have reached an agreement.

And, Richard Quest, you know, we were talking about this, Ali was just mentioning it as well. None of us believes it was just, you know, coincidence that the president comes out into the briefing room at 8:40 p.m. on a Sunday night here in Washington.

QUEST: No, absolutely not. Harry Reid said it in words of one syllable -- the world is watching, the global economy is threatened, and we have to do what is necessary. And that is what tonight is really all about.

I have to say I think when the markets look at the complexity of this deal and the uncertainties, I mean particularly this special congressional committee and the cuts that are still to come, they'll be relieved the debt ceiling is going to be raised immediately. They will be less pleased at the tightrope that's being put in place.

BLITZER: But assuming that the Senate and the House of Representatives, Richard, approve --


BLITZER: -- this deal that the president announced tonight, can we simply assume, at least for the next several months until Thanksgiving, November, here in the United States when the super committee's supposed to come out with their recommendations that the ratings agency will not downgrade --


BLITZER: -- America's AAA rating?

QUEST: No. No, you can't assume that and for the simple reason that the credit worthiness has been called into question by the process that's taken place. Many people -- and I don't think they will actually downgrade in the short term. However, the issue is now on the table. The negative warning has been put out there.

BORGER: Right. But you know Mark Zandi this morning, who works for Moody's Analytics, said essentially that essentially this is a larger deal in whole than they were anticipating. Right? Because it's a $3 trillion deal.

BLITZER: Almost $3 trillion.

BORGER: If you look -- if you look in the long term.

BLITZER: Assuming part two gets off the ground.

BORGER: If you look in the long term and he said that is good and he thought that might possibly avert a downgrade. But again, it's a long ways from here to there because we do have to see what this congressional panel comes up with. We have to see what Congress does with it. And we have to see what kind of cuts they get.

QUEST: That's the point. And remember, this debt downgrade wasn't predicated purely on the potential of a default on Tuesday or next week or whenever it was going to be. It was on the long-term deficit position of the United States.

Now $3 trillion sounds a lot of money, but you put it in terms of the total budget and it's over 10 years and it's $1 trillion now. And it's -- I mean we've been here before. Everyone is forgetting, you know, we've had deficit cutting measures before. Grand Rudman in 1985. The Budget Enforcement Act, 1990. Pay-go, '92.

Again and again Congress has done this before. They've tried to shackle themselves on spending only for it to fall apart.

BLITZER: All right. Let me go to Kate Bolduan, our congressional correspondent up on Capitol Hill.

Kate, we know the speaker, John Boehner, was on a conference call with his Republican caucus. What are we learning about that?

BOLDUAN: My colleague Deirdre Walsh just passed along some excerpts of Boehner's remarks to his colleagues on this call issue that they were able to receive from Boehner.

And really enlightening and very interesting. On the call he said that he understands that this deal is not -- that this deal is not ideal. And he also says that he apologizes for that, but he said -- he also says in his remarks that he realized that this is pretty much the framework that we have been operating with.

I'm going to read you one remark that he made because you can tell that he's really trying to make the case to his members, why it's not a deal they really need to get on board with this. At least he's trying to make that case to them.

He says, in part, "There is a framework in place that would cut spending by a larger amount than would raise the debt limit and cap future spending to limit the growth of government."

The two key points that he's always been pushing for.

He goes on to say, "It would do so without any job-killing tax hikes and would also guarantee the American people the vote they have been denied in both chambers on a balanced budget amendment while I create -- while creating, I think, some new incentives for past opponents of balanced budget amendments to support it."

So you can see, while he's saying this deal is not the perfect one, Wolf, kind of going along with what we've heard -- how he had tried to sell his own previous plan to his members saying, don't let the perfect be the enemy of good or at least the doable is how they sold it.

And you can see he kind of has that same tone in these remarks here saying we're getting a lot in this deal, it's not perfect, it doesn't probably go far enough for many of you, but this is something that we can all come around and can agree to and should agree to. And he says that he hopes to file it, obviously the procedure they need to get it to the House floor. And he says he can get it to the House floor as soon as possible -- Wolf.

BLITZER: So basically from what I can tell, Kate, you're up there on Capitol Hill, the Senate's going into recess, the House is in recess. They're going to all reconvene at some point tomorrow and beginning the process of taking up this legislation. They're going to have to draft what this agreement is all about.

BOLDUAN: Right. They do need to go through this process. I think we heard Harry Reid on the Senate floor just before they closed for the evening say that he was going to have a caucus meeting at 11:00 a.m. with his members and they would be coming out -- back in shortly thereafter to kind of begin legislative business. So this is where they say they have a framework and they also have some real procedural obstacles to overcome, they have to draft it, get it on the floor in both chambers and move it on through -- Wolf.

BLITZER: All right, Kate. Stand by for a moment.