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U.S. Government Grinds to a Halt; Interview with Congressman Darrell Issa of California; Five Killed In Massive Rockslide; Who's In And Who's Out?

Aired October 1, 2013 - 08:00   ET


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After signing a bill into law agreed upon by Congress in order to keep paying the military.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll keep working to get Congress to reopen our government and get you back to work as soon as possible.

KEILAR: As lawmakers worked into the night in a heat floor debate.

REP. JOHN LARSON (D), CONNECTICUT: Stand with your country! Stand for your country! Or do you want to take it down?!

KEILAR: But failed to reach an agreement to keep the government funded.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The House has made its position known very clearly.

KEILAR: This morning, national parks and museums are closed for business and hundreds of thousands of nonessential government employees are furloughed indefinitely. House Republicans did not blink in their demand to push forward a new plan to tie government spending to a weakening of Obamacare, which begins open enrollment this morning.

President Obama blamed House Republicans on Monday night and reiterated this was, quote, "entirely preventable."

OBAMA: One faction of one party, in one house of Congress, in one branch of government, doesn't get to shutdown the entire government just to refight the results of an election.

KEILAR: House Speaker John Boehner fired back.

BOEHNER: I talked to the president earlier tonight! I'm not going to negotiate. I'm not going to negotiate. We're not going to do this.

Well, I would say to the president -- this is not about me. And it's not about Republicans here in Congress. It's about fairness for the American people.

KEILAR: After days of talking past each other, competing plans ping- ponged from one chamber to another and now a government shutdown for the first time since 1996, when Bill Clinton was in the White House, Republican Speaker Newt Gingrich ruled the House of Representatives and their standoff lasted for weeks.


KEILAR: Now, back then, it was Republicans who ultimately were blamed by the public for the shutdown. Polls indicate and people who have been through this before, Kate, really think that that's what's going to happen again. But really, in a situation like this, everyone kind of loses, the White House included, as well as congressional Democrats along with congressional Republicans and certainly the American people as well.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: I know you know this well. The American people are the first to lose when they start fighting and can't come to any compromise.

Brianna, thank you very much. I'll talk to you a little bit later. So, right now, the shutdown means that about 800,000 federal employees, just marinate on that number, 800,000 federal employees, are off the job. They will be today.

All 400 plus national parks are closed, national archive museums closed as well as many zoos and most presidential libraries. That's some of the small stuff. It's really about the federal employees that take the biggest hit.

Some good news for you -- the post office will still operate, passport offices will still function. And for those on Social Security, you at least don't have to worry about that. Checks are still going to go out. The shutdown is impacting millions, though.

And Christine Romans is here to dig deeper on how Americans are going to be impacted not just today, but tomorrow, or as long as the shutdown continues from coast to coast.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: You're right. It's as if Congress took a big "sorry, we're closed for business" sign and hanged it up on major, major attractions and on big federal programs in this country. It shows your Congress is dysfunctional. It also shows that you will feel this on Main Street.


ROMANS (voice-over): This morning, hundreds of thousands of federal civil service employees are waking up to their new furlough status.

DIANE SCHWENKE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, GRAND JUNCTION, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: Our economy is going to be affected by it and that is scary. It's too much for normal middle class, lower class people to deal with right now.

ROMANS: All across the country, national monuments, zoos and parks closed for business.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Along with the government shutdown comes with the closure of all the nation's national parks and that includes Lady Liberty. So for folks coming to New York to see the iconic Statue of Liberty, this may be their last chance and who knows how long.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Welcome aboard, Statue Cruises Lady Liberty.

ROMANS: Tourists like the DuBois are dealing with not only writing off a paycheck --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He works for the government.

ROMANS: -- but writing off their vacation plans as well.

JIM DUBOIS, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE & NYC TOURIST: There's not much I can do about it. If I'm furloughed, I'm furloughed. We'll just deal with that.

ROMANS: The shutdown is sure to take a toll on the employees of these iconic sites as well like those who work at Liberty Island.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It has a big impact on our check.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My only source of income.

ROMANS: And not only are employees at national monuments staying at home today --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we have liftoff.

ROMANS: The 97 percent of NASA employees are closing the office doors on the agency's 55th birthday.

D.C., the Washington Monument, Smithsonian and even the National Zoo, closed for business.

ERIN MCPIKE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The national zoo is a ghost town. It's been closed since 8:00 p.m. last night. Now, the National Park Service says that anything that's a safety function will continue to be funded. And any employee that comes here to feed and take care of the animals will continue to do that.

But if you want to see the pandas online, too bad. Even the animal cams are going dark.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we're shut down it really takes away from things that families can do.

ROMANS: Locally-owned businesses around the Hill worry that lack of tourists will dry up their income as well.

TRIPP BURDETT, BARTENDER AT WASHINGTON, D.C. BAR: D.C. might be the next Detroit, because when half the city is unemployed or doesn't have a paying job, this could become Detroit in close to two months.

ROMANS: Across to the mountain, national parks taking a hit, too. MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In the Angeles National Forest, this morning the crown jewels of the park system, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore, Yosemite, all closed. Anyone now in any national park allowing camping has 48 hours to vacate.

MIKE HERY, YOSEMITE VISITOR: We've been coming to this park for 35 years. And this is not fun if we have to get booted out.

CARL SOLLARS, SAGUIMO NATIONAL PARK TOURIST: It's very frustrated. We invested quite a bit to come out here and see this. And, you know, it's going to be a huge disappointment, huge disappointment.


ROMANS: All right. The worst case scenario, this thing drags on for, say, a month? You're looking at maybe a $55 billion hit to the economy for lost wages, contracts, unfilled orders, uncollected fees.

Mandatory spending, Chris, continues. Social Security checks go out, and implementation of Obamacare continues. That's considered mandatory at this point. The shutdown doesn't affect it -- Chris.

CUOMO: All right. Hopefully, it doesn't go on for long. The question is, that did it need to happen at all? Christine, thank you for the reporting on that. And, boy, what a difference a day makes. Take a listen to this.


REPORTER: When this fails, will you vote for a one-week clean C.R.?

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: How dare you presume a failure? How dare you? How dare you? How dare you presume a failure?

The fact is -- the fact is this country is based on people saying they won't do things and at the end of the day coming together for compromise.


CUOMO: That's Darrell Issa, California Republican and chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chiding a reporting for thinking a government shutdown would happen. Well, of course, it has, and Darrell Issa is one of the reasons why it happened. He joins now.

Congressman, thank you for joining us on the show.

But allow me to ask you -- what happened to that guy, the guy who was disgusted at even the idea of a shutdown who said it's all about compromise? What happened to him?

ISSA: He's still here. He's sitting here. But the president refused to compromise. Senator Reid hasn't even -- he already said he is not going to go to conference. He's not going to go to the constitutional event where we're supposed to come together and compromise. Understand, the president has, on his own, you know, virtually once a month for eight months found reasons to delay all kinds of the mandates. All we're trying to do is keep the American people from being forced in to buying into exchanges before they are even up and running or we know how much they cost.

So, is it small? Yes, it's small. Is it worth a shutdown? Of course not.

But the president has, the Senate has compromised. We've gone back and forth.

Remember, the last two times we've sent something to the Senate instead of coming back with a counter offer, they simply tabled it. We have an opportunity to come with compromise. We're asking for it. If the Senate at 9:30 this morning opens up and rejects the offer to have a conference, which is an offer to go to compromise, then they're rejecting the constitutional process.

It's certainly not us. Speaker Boehner wants to get to a resolution. He has said so. Maybe 17 years ago it was different, but House Republicans want to have something that protects American private sector jobs and we're trying to get it again and again.

CUOMO: The constitutional mandate is not to exceed to your wishes on legislation that's already passed. You know that. And you did shut down the government.


CUOMO: But I have a question, if Speaker Boehner --

ISSA: No, Chris, I'm not going to let you have a pass on that.

CUOMO: Well, you're not going to let me have a pass? You just said a shutdown isn't worth it, but you shut down the government.

ISSA: We originate -- we originate funding. This is a constitutional responsibility. It takes thousands in the Senate to pass legislation.

You know, the president has said that unions are getting a pass on implementation as of today. All we're saying is that the American worker should get a two, three, five-month whatever delay.

Give the American worker opportunity to see what's in the exchanges before they're forced into it. That's all we're asking.

CUOMO: It is a strong point. It needs debate. Arguably, it needs fixing, but it is also separate from what's going on.

You want to use the phrase constitutional mandate. I applaud you for using it. However, the mandate is for you to fund the government. Not for you to not fund the government.

That's a decision you made here and you made it for the political reasons that you lay out. And what I want to ask you is, if Speaker Boehner --

ISSA: Chris, bless your heart, but not funding the government --


CUOMO: Let me speak. One second. Listen --

ISSA: You have the right to fund the government. You have the right to fund the government to a lesser amount. Remember --

CUOMO: No, but you're not funding it. You shut it down. And it's been done by Democrats, too.

ISSA: Tip O'Neill shut down the government seven times because President Reagan wouldn't agree to his excess spending. You can shut down because you don't get enough money spent. You can also have a discussion about spending too much. You could have a discussion not just about what we spend, but we could have a discussion about what it costs the American people.

CUOMO: And that's a fair point.

ISSA: Understand, the Senate won't go to compromise. We're asking for an opportunity to have compromise between the House and the Senate, and Harry Reid is listening to the president and not doing what senators do.

Senators generally are more willing to compromise than House members. In this case, the Republican-led House is more willing to compromise than the Senate or the president.

CUOMO: I understand the point Representative and I appreciate you being here and I'm trying to be respectful. We're on a two-way. So, communication gets little -- I'm trying -- sorry to step on you so much.

But I've got a couple of questions.

ISSA: Sure, of course.

CUOMO: One, you are driving this bus. You can blame all you want, and the Democrats certainly share responsibility, the president's leadership certainly an issue. But you are driving the bus on what happens with the shutdown. The mandate is to fund the government.

And I have a question. If Speaker Boehner had put up a clean resolution to fund the government without any attachments last night, the word is that it would have passed. But he didn't do it. Do you believe it would have passed if it had been put up by the speaker?

ISSA: I certainly believe that the House is prepared to go into negotiations. If they would agree to go to conference but take our bill we sent over last night, change it and agree to go to conference and send us back a 10-day turn back on the government, I strongly believe that House leadership would go for it. We certainly would love to have 10 days, 15 days, 20 days if that's what it takes to conference some of these differences on protecting American jobs.

But we didn't get a counter-offer that says stay open for 10 days, go to conference. What we got from Harry Reid is I won't even consider going to conference. And oh, by the way, I'll let the government shut down because I've gone to bed.

That's what we got last night. I personally would vote for 10 days, even 30 days if that was necessary so we could resolve these differences. But these are important differences. You understand, Obamacare is the law of the land, but it doesn't mean that it's perfect or it's ready for prime time, or it won't hurt American jobs.

And I think that's something that House leadership is concerned about. We said we don't want to shut down the government but we do want to protect American workers from being forced into something that's not yet ready.

CUOMO: But you do need to acknowledge, Representative, for all of the analysis that you've provided, which all can be 100 percent sound, you did shut down the government. It is hurting families, many of whom live on the margins and you know that. I want to ask you if you think that that was wrong.

ISSA: Well, you can't accuse me of beating my wife and then turn around and tell me, isn't that true?

We did not shut down the government. We offered to the Senate again and again things to keep the government fully funded. We have said we want to go to conference. We want to have a discussion about the delay of portions of Obamacare for a short period of time in order to get it right.

We know -- we know that the vast majority of senators agree with us. They're simply being told don't cross your president, any change to Obamacare unless President Obama makes the change, which he has done more than half a dozen times, is unacceptable.

The American people want compromise. We're saying we want compromise. This morning at 9:30 when the Senate opens, they have an opportunity to have a discussion with us openly about the things we need to do to get this government open again.

I would vote for a short-term C.R. in order to have that conference passed. I know the speaker and the leadership would, too.

But we're not dealing with that. We're dealing with my way or the highway. No changes to Obamacare, even if they're hurting the American worker or they're forcing people into a program that's not yet defined.

So, I understand everyone wants to say that the reason that federal workers at the parks aren't there is because of Republicans, but it's not. We've given every single time and opportunity for compromise. And we're not even getting counter offers.

CUOMO: I got you. There's plenty of blame to go around. I can't wait for word that the vote has been done so people start getting paid again.

Representative Issa, thank you very much for coming on NEW DAY. I appreciate you taking the opportunity.

ISSA: Thank you, Chris.

CUOMO: Kate, over to you.

BOLDUAN: All right, Chris, thank you.

Talking with us throughout this morning are people who have been directly hit from this shutdown. Everybody is going to be hit by this shutdown, but that includes small business owners, people from military families, all worried about what's next for you guys, what's next for all of us in the country.

John, we've talked to you a few times this morning. You own a small business. You'll be directly impacted by this. How quickly?

JOHN FARR, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER: Today, we had an event scheduled at one of the museums in D.C. today, and it is already canceled. Because of the nature of the event we don't know if it's coming back, it will be rescheduled or if it's just going away for good.

BOLDUAN: With that mine, when you know that you're directly impacted today -- this isn't something in theory that could happen down the road. A lot of the conversation on Capitol Hill, and we heard it more this morning, is the difference between compromise or standing firm on something on principle. When you're faced with a direct hit to your income and your employees, which one matters to you?

FARR: Probably the direct hit on income. I mean, it's going to --

BOLDUAN: Do you think, though, that lawmakers should focus more on compromise or that lawmakers should today be focusing on standing firm on --

FARR: I think they should definitely focus more on compromise. The congressman and senators have taken an oath to uphold the constitution, and they're not doing it. They're not meeting across the aisle, as they say. They're not working together. It's a lot of he said, she said. They definitely need a compromise.

BOLDUAN: We talked a little bit this morning about how federal workers, you're going to be taking a hit in your paycheck, federal workers are furloughed, they're going to be taking a hit in their paycheck. Does it matter to you whether or not lawmakers continue to be paid. They continue to accept their income, their salary while the government is shut down?

FARR: Yes. To me, it does. I think that the lawmakers should take significant cuts. Unfortunately, a lot of them are already financially well off that it won't matter to them. But take away their perks, take away their security details, take away their cars, their company parking spots, anything to make them realize that what they're doing is having an impact on them as well as the public. BOLDUAN: Janet, real quick, I want to ask you another question. You're part of a military family. Right now, your family is stationed in Georgia. That's what I call where -- that's a real part of the country. That's not Capitol Hill. That's not Congress. That's a real part of the country. As a military family, do you have confidence in government still?

Your family has taken -- has promised to serve the country, to serve the government, to protect the country. Do you have confidence in your government when something like this happens?

JANET MCINTOSH, MILITARY WIFE: No. I think it does make my faith in my government -- it takes a hit definitely.

BOLDUAN: What do you want -- What do you want them -- lawmakers say they're listening to their constituents. They're listening to you. What do you want them to hear then this morning?

MCINTOSH: I want them to start caring and I want them to start showing us that they care. Like he was saying, take a hit in your pay. See what it feels like to be us, rather than just being up on Capitol Hill, you know, claiming that you're sticking to your values and standing your ground rather than looking for a compromise that helps us, the American people, who put them there.

BOLDUAN: Maybe today, compromise will stop being a dirty word on Capitol Hill. I think we can all agree that might be a good thing.

MCINTOSH: Let's hope.

BOLDUAN: All right. Thank you both. Thank you all. It's great to see you this morning. Thanks for stick with us.

We want to know also what you think. Tweet us. Tell us what you think about the government shutdown and where do you think things should go from here. Remember to use #NEWDAY.

And there's a lot of news developing at this hour, so let's get right back to Michaela for the latest -- Michaela.

PEREIRA: All right. Kate, let's bring up to date on the situation in Colorado.


PEREIRA (voice-over): Crews there trying to recover five bodies that buried under a pile of boulders. The hikers were killed in a massive rock slide on a popular trail. A 13-year-old girl survived. She was injured and then flown to a local hospital.

Authorities think all of the rain that Colorado got last month might have made the area unstable.

Scary moments at UC Berkeley. The campus evacuated after an explosion in an electrical vault. This happened about two hours after the campus lost power. One person was injured. Twenty others were trapped in elevators on campus. School spokesman says the blast appears to be related to copper wire thieves who dug up the lines last week.

We may now know who was in that business jet that crashed into a hangar at a Santa Monica Airport in California. The vice president of Morley Builders of Santa Monica issued a statement saying CEO, Mark Benjamin, and his son, senior product engineer, Luke Benjamin, may have been aboard. The plane ran off the runway Sunday, rammed into a hangar, and burst into flames.

Two top Marine Corps generals fired for failing to protect U.S. troops from a Taliban attack in Afghanistan. Last September, Taliban fighters dressed in American army uniforms, broke in to Camp Bastion in Southern Afghanistan, killing two marines. Six aircraft were also destroyed. The Marine Corps commandant says the major generals did not take adequate security measures to protect that base.

The new rule for Emmy winner, Alec Baldwin. Prenatal yoga DVD assistant. Bit of a catch. He was actually helping his wife, Hilaria. So far, the reviews not so hot. Seems that Baldwin seems a bit out of his comfort zone. His wife, however, is a former yoga teacher.


PEREIRA (on-camera): Chris, what's the craziest thing you've ever had to do for your wife?


PEREIRA: YES, dear, I will -- fill in the blank.



CUOMO: You do whatever they say. That's probably why Alec Baldwin is sitting where he is. He knows he's not supposed to be there. He knows nobody wants to look at him doing yoga or nothing there --


CUOMO: I'll tell you what, though, Alec, you can come on the show right now, you do some yoga. We'll catch you up with our own little situation. It would be great to have him here today.

PEREIRA: It would be of all day.

CUOMO: He'd be doing shutdown yoga. He'd tied the knots.

BOLDUAN: Shutdown yoga, there you go.

PEREIRA: Maybe we should more mindful of the things we ask our better halves to do after we saw that.

BOLDUAN: My husband will never have to do yoga with me. (LAUGHTER)

CUOMO: I've done yoga with my wife. Namaste.



CUOMO: When i heard that word the first time, I thought it was you must stay.

PEREIRA: You must stay.


BOLDUAN: You must stay.


BOLDUAN: Coming up next on NEW DAY, the president's new health care law in effect right now this morning. Will it help you and your family? Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on the road looking for some of those answers. He's going to be joining us now.

CUOMO: And we're looking for answers as well about the shutdown. Sen. Rand Paul and White House press secretary, Jay Carney, both joining us live this hour. We'll ask what they will do to fix the problem. Enough whose fault it is. Fix it!


CUOMO: Welcome back. While the federal government is closing, Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act, their exchanges are opening. Millions of uninsured Americans are now able to select a policy that is supposed to best fit their needs online, or, are they? Americans are far from convinced Obamacare is going to help them.

A new CNN/ORC poll out this morning shows that only 17 percent of Americans believe their family will benefit. Better than 70 percent say it will help other families or nobody. So, let's try to get some clarity here.

CNNs chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, is in Greenville, South Carolina where one-fifth of the state's population lacks health insurance. Part of the CNN express, the bus tour, to help explain these things. Doc, great to have you.

First question, few Americans think Obamacare is going to help them, but another report source from Kaiser found 77 percent of consumers simply don't know the basics about the insurance marketplace that opens today. So, can you walk us through who can sign up and how can they do it?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, anybody can go to the site now, Chris. It just opened up at 8:00 a.m. eastern. We've already been on the site. And by the judge of things, it seems like traffic is actually pretty high. We looked at the state of Georgia, for example. They're already saying that there's so many visitors that the site is not opened for everybody right now, because they're getting a lot of traffic.

So, it gives a little bit of a sign of the interest in this, but you're absolutely right. There's still a lot of confusion. I would start off by saying this, Chris. For a lot of people out there who have insurance through their jobs, through their employers now, they haven't been focused on this. And, in part, probably for a good reason. Their lives may not change a lot. But for the 48 million or so people who are uninsured, this is really a very important day, historic day for them, potentially.

So, they get a chance to go on is the website. I can tell you it's a three-page application on there, Chris. And one of the things you won't see as part of that application are questions about your health, because that is not relevant to determining the price. You can't discriminate based on pre-existing conditions.

So, you know, people go to the site, I think they're going to find what it is exactly. It may not be that complicated for them.

CUOMO: All right. So, let's say once you get to the site, there are, what, four different levels of coverage to choose from, you know, that go different types of metals? How are they different, what do they mean?

GUPTA: Yes. You know, just like when we pick our own insurance plans through CNN. I mean, it's a similar sort of thing. You have a platinum to a bronze. You're paying more money on your premiums, you get lower co-pays and lower deductibles. You pay less money for a premium, you have higher co-pays and higher deductibles.

So, if you're someone who doesn't think you have any illnesses, you don't think you're going to get sick, you may want to pay lower premiums, but then you will pay the higher co-pay if you end up in the hospital. That's sort of the way the system is now. That's going to be the similar system on this marketplace, Chris.

CUOMO: All right. And one of big sources of confusion, doctors. If someone signs up for insurance via the marketplace, will they still be able to choose their own doctor, keep their own doctor? You know the concern.

GUPTA: Yes. You know, and I looked into this quite a bit. And I think the best way to answer that is to say it is possible that you keep your own doctor, but if your doctor is now out of network because you picked an insurance plan where that doctor does not accept, then you may pay more to see that doctor, out-of-network expenses.

Again, very similar to what people have now if they have insurance. This is going to sound familiar to them. But for people who don't have insurance, they don't have doctors, this has not been a concern, because they don't have a doctor that they're trying to keep. So, again, the vast majority of people who are joining this marketplace for the first time, this is sort of a new experience for them, Chris, and in terms of actually having doctors that they will call their own.

CUOMO: But anybody that that happens to where they don't get to keep their doctor, they're going to be sore. Word is going to spread. It's going to be one of the doubts about the plan. One last question for you, a lot of this debate comes down to money. For people who don't currently have insurance, they likely don't have it because they can't afford it. So, what do you think they can pull a park (ph) in terms of what people can expect to pay on average?

GUPTA: Well, if you fall into this group of people who are uninsured and now you're going to go to the marketplace to get insurance, the expectation is -- we're going to keep track of these numbers very closely, Chris, but the expectation is that about six in ten people, 60 percent, will pay less than $100 a month for those premiums.

So, that's a pretty good deal. But, you know, there are people who may pay more, depending on where they -- if they qualify for subsidies or other sorts of benefits. So, about $100 a month, roughly.

CUOMO: All right. Sanjay, thank you so much. If there had been any question, all doubt has been removed as to whether or not you are a rock star, because you have your own tour bus. Look at that bad boy right there. Sanjay Gupta, M.D. and look at the picture. Handsome and informative.

GUPTA: I am blushing, Chris.


GUPTA: You made me blush. Thanks.

CUOMO: He's going on his tour, he's rolling out. He's going to be in Lexington, Kentucky, next. So, if you're there, come out and see Sanjay. Looks good. You better have shades on.

BOLDUAN: I hear envy coming from this table.

CUOMO: I can't even get a seat on the bus.


CUOMO: My best chance is Sanjay throwing me under the bus.


CUOMO: Our thanks to Sanjay Gupta. Great information.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Sanjay.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, who's to blame for the government shutdown? We're going to get both sides of the debate when we're joined live this hour by Kentucky senator, Rand Paul, as well as White House spokesman, Jay Carney.