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Sen. Mark Kirk Walks Capitol Steps After Stroke; Boehner Reelected Speaker of House; Transocean Settles in Gulf Spill; Number of Women, Minorities Spike in Congress; Pelosi Introduces Reelected Speaker in House.

Aired January 3, 2013 - 13:30   ET


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a lot of walking. It was a lot of going up stairs. It was very intense. It went on longer than many other rehab programs do.

We were talking to a prominent stroke doctor today, Suzanne, and he wishes every stroke patient had this kind of rehab and that it didn't just end. It goes on for years and years even after someone appears to be getting better.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: Members of Congress have a great insurance package.


MALVEAUX: And great medical coverage. Is that the thing that normal stroke patients would have access to when you look at what he was able to do?

COHEN: This doctor said a lot of health insurance programs give you a set time, a matter of a couple of months for rehab and say, OK, you're done. When you have great insurance or when you can pay for it yourself, you can do it longer. He's very frustrated with insurance companies that they don't allow for a longer period of time for rehab.

MALVEAUX: Is it possible that he could see a full recovery? He's gone so far from where he was before. Could he actually completely recover?

COHEN: Sure. It is possible to completely recover. We were talking to doctors about the type of stroke he had. They said, yes, that does happen. He said he had a patient with that kind of stroke who went on to run marathons. He ran them before, so he was able to run them after. Not everyone does. It's based on the person and type of stroke, a lot of different factors.

MALVEAUX: I want to turn the corner here. We saw the students coming back to Sandy Hook Elementary School, after that shooting, that massacre that occurred. Doctors are being drawn into the gun debate. I want to read here. This is the editor of a major medical journal. "In the wake of the horrific deaths of 20 children, physicians should resolve as we begin 2013 to raise our voices on the matter of guns."

We have heard doctors speak out when it comes to smoking and car seats and things like that. Is it appropriate, do you think, now that they are moving forward, to talk about the gun debate?

COHEN: Doctors have been instrumental in better seat belt laws, laws about child safety seats, all of that. Now they're saying, hey, why aren't we doctors being louder on this issue? It's a matter of public safety. If you look at the public health, define it in more of a broad way, it's about keeping Americans safe.

Take a look at these statistics and you see what I mean. This is just children and teens, not even talking about adults here. When you look at these numbers, 5,740 children and teens were killed by guns in 2008 and 2009. That's more than 5,000 deaths in two years alone. 34,387 injuries among children and teens. And it's the third leading cause of death for children. Doctors are says we're doctors, and we want to keep people safe. They're the leading cause of death for children, why shouldn't we get involved?

MALVEAUX: They're starting to speak out.

COHEN: They are starting to speak out. But I'll tell you that these editors, when we've tried to get our colleagues it to write editorials and do things, they hold back. We ask why they hold back. They say, according to this editorial writer, that the doctors are scared. They're scared they're going to lose federal funding for their other projects if they're vocal on gun control.


COHEN: That's interesting.

MALVEAUX: Thank you, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Thanks.

MALVEAUX: Appreciate it.

There's been a settlement, we are learning here, between the Justice Department and one of the companies involved in the oil disaster in the gulf. We're going to bring that to you after a quick break.


MALVEAUX: We're looking at Capitol Hill. This is the House floor. And the final tally is in on the speaker of the House. They have voted.

I want to bring in Dana Bash who has followed it all morning.

Dana, what do we know?

DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That John Boehner has been re-elected to be the speaker of the House. You see the picture there of what's going on on the floor. They're still officially tallying it and doing it the old-fashioned way with pencils and paper. We understand from sources in the Republican Party who are out there that he has enough votes to be speaker of the House. So as we've been talking about all morning and afternoon, there were some protest votes and symbolic abstentions and symbolic votes for other people. Eric Cantor, for example, two of those. But John Boehner has been re-elected as speaker of the House.

MALVEAUX: What happens next, Dana? I think he's going to be introduced by Nancy Pelosi and then speaks before the full group. Is that correct?

BASH: That's right. We expect to hear remarks from the speaker in a short while, as soon as they finish formally tallying the votes to formally make him the speaker.

It will be very interesting to hear the tone that he strikes given the kind of rough week, maybe rough month he's had.

MALVEAUX: When do they start working, Dana? When do they get to work, today?

BASH: They do tomorrow. Speaking of the rough week he had, one thing they'll do tomorrow is to vote on at least nine -- about $9 billion in federal aid for Sandy victims. Remember, he decided not to take that vote in the lame-duck session, which ended yesterday. Actually, formally ended today, but they were supposed to take the vote yesterday. And then because of the very loud, very vocal, and very personal complaints about that decision, he sort of reversed course yesterday and said he would do $9 billion of the $60 billion tomorrow. And then the rest will be on the first formal legislative day of the session, which is going to be January 15th -- Suzanne?

MALVEAUX: All right. Dana Bash, thank you very much. We look forward to seeing them getting back to work and getting work done there on Capitol Hill.

We'll take a quick break and follow up with some other news.


MALVEAUX: We have a major development in the investigation into the 2010 gulf oil spill. Transocean, which owned the drilling rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, has agreed to pay $1.4 billion in civil and criminal fines violating the Federal Clean Water Act. The penalties are broken down like this, a billion in civil fines plus $400 million in criminal fines. This is a key here. Three-quarters of the money will go to conservation in the Gulf of Mexico and for studying how to prevent and respond to these future oil spills.

We'll bring in our own David Mattingly who has been following this.

Tell us about some of the details of this deal.

DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is a big deal. Remember in the months after the disaster happened, you had all parties involved pointing the finger at the other saying the other was responsible for this. This is one of the major parties involved in this, negotiating a settlement with the Justice Department, saying, yes, we were involved. Yes, we had some negligence involved in this. They've also agreed to pay not just criminal but civil settlement as well. So in addition to just the amount they're paying, the fact there's an admission here, that is significant here.

MALVEAUX: What are we talking about in terms of the scope of this?

MATTINGLY: Let's look at the statements by the Justice Department and Transocean. First, the Justice Department. They clearly said today, "The Transocean Deepwater Incorporated has admitted members of its crew on board of Deepwater Horizon were negligent in failing fully to investigate clear indications that the Macondo Well was not secure and that oil and gas were flowing into the well." That there really crystallizes what the Justice Department is after here.

Transocean, for its part, is looking forward. They put out a statement saying, "This is a positive step forward, but it is also a time to reflect on the 11 men that lost their lives aboard the Deepwater Horizon. The families are in the thoughts and prayers of al of us as Transocean."

This is also a very big day for the states along the gulf coast. All of them affected by this. A lot of that money going to coastal restoration and preservation of those areas hardest hit by this.

MALVEAUX: How does it compare to the penalties against BP?

MATTINGLY: BP, back in November, agreed to $4.5 billion, largely a criminal settlement with the government. Right now, we're waiting. They're going to court in February to work out what sort of civil penalties there might be there. That, in addition to the $7.8 billion they paid out to individual claims in this case.

So this case is not done by a long shot but the government is done with Transocean.

MALVEAUX: David, thank you. Appreciate the update.

A lot of fresh faces on the Hill today as the 113th Congress sworn in. We'll look at the spike in then number of both female and minority lawmakers. Also the new House speaker, who was the old House speaker, John Boehner.


MALVEAUX: The 113th Congress is looking different than the last one. There's 97 freshmen, 84 the in the House and 13 in the Senate. While Republicans still control the House, Democrats gained seats in both chambers, two more in the Senate and eight more in the House. 20 women were elected to the Senate in November. That's a record high. 28 Latinos are in the House. That's another record set. The Senate also has its first openly gay member, Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin.

Dana Bash has followed this all on Capitol Hill.

Dana, we have a couple of things to talk about. First of all, the new group here, a new Congress, very diverse, very different than the previous one. Any sense that they are actually going to get more done and behavior different than the last go around?

BASH: That's right. When you talk about diversity, we have a new member here. Not quite yet, because he hasn't been sworn in. I promised him we would not keep him here long enough that he's not sworn in.


So keep us honest here.

This is Joe Garcia, from Florida.

Thank you for joining us.


BASH: You are going to be in a few moments a freshman Republican.

GARCIA: Democrat.

BASH: Excuse me, Democrat. It's been a long day.



BASH: How do you feel about your caucus for the first time being not majority white men?

GARCIA: Look, you look across the chamber and look at the Democratic side, they look like America. It's a wonderful thing. We have women, Hispanics, African-Americans. It's diverse. It looks like our country. And hopefully beyond that, we'll all be able to get together and deal with the problems of the country. I think everybody is committed to doing that.

BASH: What does it mean in real terms, in terms of how you legislate that it's a more diverse Congress?

GARCIA: It's just understanding. It's not overlooking sectors of your community. My district is the majority minority, 62 percent Hispanic. But that doesn't mean I don't enjoy every single aspect of that district. It's 10 percent African-American, 20 percent Anglos, but it's a place where all those folks are doing the same thing. In the south, we have, you know, Key West, which is a wonderful place, fishing, resort area. To the north in my district some of the largest suburbs in the country and the fastest-growing. And in the center we have Homestead, which is an agricultural community, which I'm proud to be part of. It's a beautiful district and it looks like our country. They're facing the same problems the rest of the country is facing. We need to get together and start resolving problems.

When you have to fix your car -- I don't know if your mechanic, whether it is a Democrat or Republican or do you care -- you want it work. Most send us up to Washington, at least my district gives me that great honor, to try to fix problems, and that's what we'll do. BASH: You're from the southern-most district in the United States, south Florida. That's usually represented -- tended to be, when you talk about your Cuban community, by more Republicans than Democrats. What do you think happened? And does that say anything about the nature of the community that you're from and where they're going politically?

GARCIA: I think people are looking at this, and they want things to work. When one doesn't work, you try something else. That's the practicality of the American spirit. We're not an ideological people.


MALVEAUX: We're going to have to interrupt just for a moment, Dana, if you will.

BASH: Excuse me one second. I'm going to toss back --


Speaker John Boehner is walking into the chamber. Let's watch.


MALVEAUX: Speaker Boehner there being greeted and applauded by his colleagues there in the House chamber. What will happen next in about 10 minutes or so, you would see Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, make a brief introduction. Following that, Speaker Boehner will again address the House and address his colleagues.

I want to bring in Dana Bash to talk a little bit about what this particular week has been like for the speaker.

It's been a rather rough one here. Earlier, you had a had a revolt from the Tea Party folks, who wouldn't go along with the Plan B, averting the fiscal cliff on a more modest scale. People who are not happy. Then you had New Jersey and New York folks who wanted Sandy aid.

Here he is going to the podium and he'll sit, and Nancy Pelosi will introduce him. Let's listen in.



REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA), HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: Colleagues. Colleagues. To my fellow members of the House of Representatives, it is a high honor to welcome you to the 113th Congress.


PELOSI: To our newest members of Congress, it is a special privilege and honor to welcome you and your families, and extend congratulations to the newest members of Congress. Welcome.


PELOSI: To reach this day, each of us has been strengthened by our faith and our families. With the full and grateful heart, I want to thank my family, my husband of 49 years, Paul Pelosi.


PELOSI: Our children, Nancy, Corinne, Jacquelyn, Paul, and Alexandra. Our grandchildren, who are represented here today by our daughter, Madeline. And I have to include their Delsandro (ph) family of Baltimore in that gratitude as well.

And I must thank my constituents in San Francisco for giving me the privilege of representing that beautiful and diverse city in the Congress of the United States.

Each of us here today is truly a representative, a representative in the truest sense of the word to represent the highest hopes and aspirations of the American people.

On New Year's Eve, some of you, a large number of members of Congress joined hundreds of people at the National Archives Building where we observed at midnight the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.


PELOSI: At midnight, there was an enactment of Harriet Tubman ringing the bell. As she rang the bell, she said, "Now we are free." It was great and incredible moment. It was one that ushered in what President Lincoln would call a new birth of freedom for his era and for generations to come. That transformative moment in our history is a reminder of the best traditions we have as a people, the ability and obligation of each generation of Americans to renew the promise of our founders, to carry forward the torch of progress, to reignite the American dream.

This is who we are as Americans. This is the character of our country. This is the strength of our democracy. The strength of our democracy rests on a strong and thriving middle class. The backbone of our democracy, that middle class is. So we have a moral imperative to invest in good paying jobs here at home and in the prosperity of our people. As we build our infrastructure and reduce the deficit, we must ensure that innovation rests at the heart of our success. We remain first in science, technology, engineering and energy. We educate and prepare our young people for the opportunities of tomorrow. And when we make it in America, all of America's families can make it in America.


PELOSI: The strength of our democracy also demands that we restore the confidence of the American people in our political process. We must empower the voters. We must remove obstacles of participation in our democracy for all Americans.


PELOSI: We must increase the level of civility and reduce the role of money in our elections --


PELOSI: When we do, we will elect more women and minorities and young people to public office, and that's a good thing.


PELOSI: The American people are what make our country great. By and large, the United States is a nation of immigrants. Built, enriched and strengthened by men, women, and children who share our patriotism and seek the American dream. The strength of our democracy will be advanced by bold action for comprehensive immigration reform.



PELOSI: Today, we take an oath to protect and defend our Constitution, our people, and our freedom, to protect and defend. That is our first responsibility. And our democracy requires that we each uphold the duty of keeping Americans safe in their homes and their schools and in their neighborhoods.

As we mourn the families of Newtown, we know that ensuring the safety of all Americans would be a truly meaningful tribute to the children and teachers of Sandy Hook Elementary School. For the strength of our democracy and the sake of our children, let us work together to protect and defend all of our people.


PELOSI: In the same year that President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, the statue of freedom was unveiled at the Capitol Dome. That continues -- that dome continues to be a beacon of freedom to the world and a source of inspiration for all who had the honor to serve in Congress.

As we take our oath of office today, let us renew the promise of freedom. Let us work in friendship and partnership to live up to the legacy of our founders and aspirations of our constituents. Let us renew the strength of our democracy by reigniting the American dream.

As we celebrate this moment, let us honor and thank those American who protect our democracy and secure our freedom. Our veterans and our men and women in uniform --


PELOSI: -- where their families and wherever they serve.


PELOSI: God bless them, god bless America, thank you all.


PELOSI: Now the House will continue to be led by a proud son of Ohio, a man of conviction and a public servant of resolve. Speaker Boehner is a leader who has earned the confidence of his conference and the respect of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.


PELOSI: He is a man of faith, faith in God and faith in our country and faith in his family.

As while we congratulate him, we also congratulate and thank his wife, Debbie, and their two daughters, Lindsay and Trisha, and the entire Boehner family.


PELOSI: Speaker Boehner, I know all too well that we will not always agree, but I hope, with all my heart, that we will find common ground that is a higher, better place for our country. Surely, we can be touched by the better angels of our nation -- nature, so beautifully expressed by President Lincoln.