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Obama to Meet with Congressional Leaders; How Shutdown Effects Economy; Pascrell, Garrett Talk Shutdown; Vets Outraged at Memorial Closing.

Aired October 2, 2013 - 11:30   ET


ASHLEIGH BANFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Police have a suspect in connection with that incident and the threat in Jacksonville.

Coming up next, more than 800,000 federal employees on furlough today.


UNIDENTIFIED FEDERAL EMPLOYEE: I don't get paid. I go home. On the good side I get to spend time with my daughter. On the flip side, I may not get paid.


BANFIELD: Did you hear him? He's going home. Probably not going out to eat. Probably not buying a big-ticket item any time soon. What is the economic effect of the shutdown on you? That's coming up next.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BANFIELD: A bit of breaking news. This is good. This is how we started the program. We asked Brianna Keilar if there was activity to start the shutdown. She said no. But something broke. A tweet was sent out by the White House, the deputy White House press secretary sending this out: "POTUS, president of the United States, invites Senator Reid, Boehner, Pelosi and press to the White House to discuss the need to re-open the government, raise the debt limit." Two key Republicans, two key Democrats, leaders of the House and Senate, on the way to the White House. That's scheduled for 5:30 today. Speaker Boehner has responded already. Let me read it for you. He's accepted the offer. From his spokesman, Brendan Buck, he says, "We are pleased the president finally recognizes his refusal to negotiate is indefensible. It is unclear why we would be having the meeting if it is not meant to be a start of serious talks between the parties. It's an acceptance with obviously the politics attached." Let's hope they leave the politics at the door and have meaningful conversations. There you go, 5:30 at least. A conversation scheduled. I wonder how long that will take.

The problem here is it's not just about the government workers. Love or hate government workers, a million of them -- about a million of them, all off the job on one day affects you. If you're in Bakersfield, way down in Nevada, it affects you. Our CNN business anchor and host of "Your Money," Christine Romans, is here to talk about it.

This is day two. We are in the short term now. If it's short time, give me a reality check. If it's long-term, give me a reality check.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: If it's short-term, it's counter productive and term but we can absorb it. It's counterproductive but it's dumb. Longer term, it's more difficult. A two-week shutdown, 0.3 percent off growth. A four-week shutdown, economic growth will be cut in half. Jobs would be lost. You wouldn't have as many growing. Bad for businesses, orders, confidence. Half of economic growth slowed. That's not good.

BANFIELD: When you passed by my desk and I stopped you and said, put this on a scale of crisis for me, you said something that piqued my interest. You said, "This is like hurricane shutdown."

ROMANS: Right. It's usually a natural disaster when you're looking at big numbers like this. Say it's four, five, six weeks and $50 million in damages. That's more damaging than a natural disaster. This is manmade. I want to show you. Colorado flooding, $2.5 billion in damage. Think how devastating it was. Super Storm Sandy, $40 billion damage. The B.P. oil spill, the company set aside $42 billion to pay for damage and cleanup and all of that. You could have $55 billion in damage from something that Congress is doing.


BANFIELD: We could have avoided it.

ROMANS: Totally preventable. Totally preventable.


BANFIELD: That puts it in perspective. Now I would like you now to take it up ten notches. This is small potatoes compared to what's looming in three weeks, the debt ceiling. If they screw up on the debt ceiling, these numbers are nothing.

ROMANS: Right. This is short-term stupidity. The debt ceiling and not raising it is long-term self-destruction. When you look at the debt ceiling, if you don't raise it, the United States defaults on debt. You could have interest rates skyrocket, making the debt and deficit bigger because interest rates rise. It could hurt the stock market, job creation. We are at a time when all anybody cares about is creating good paying jobs. Instead of a government shutdown, and we are arguing in Washington with the debt ceiling, arguing about paying our bills that we have already spent. The U.S. has never gone back on its word to pay its bills. And that's the argument we're having right now.

BANFIELD: We still haven't recovered the AAA rating either. Still working on that.

Christine Romans, thank you for that. Great perspective. Hurricane shutdown.

ROMANS: Hurricane shutdown.

BANFIELD: Congress should use that instead of Democratic or Republican shutdown.


ROMANS: It's a category one now. Let's stop it before it I gets worse. Very well put.

BANFIELD: In fact, in Congress, it's hard to get past the wind and stand beside each other, these congressional members. On our program, we set you up for a live shot. We stand you side by side. That's coming up in a moment. We have a Republican and a Democratic Congressman, the very people who are behind the votes and plans. Maybe they will talk to each other through us and you will witness it in a moment.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BANFIELD: So the breaking news is this. Let's hope it's good. There is a meeting scheduled for 5:30 this afternoon at the White House with Congressional leaders -- both Republican and Democrat. That went out from the White House. It was tweeted out, the invitation to Senator Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Speaker Boehner. So far, the invitation has been accepted. Speaker Boehner sent out through a spokesperson, "We are pleased the president recognizes his refusal to negotiate is indefensible. It is unclear why we would have the meeting if it is not a start to serious talks between the parties." Let's hope they leave some of that rhetoric at the door and speak in real, constructive terms instead of the blame game terms which seems to be every interview we do with anybody who works on the hill or in the White House.

So speaking of that, all of this, if you don't already know, is about a six-week spending bill. This is about how to keep the government running for six weeks. Not for a year. We haven't had a budget in years. This is just the spending bill. Many people say a clean spending bill. However, the Republicans attach to the bill scrapping Obamacare. Then the ping-pong match began and ended how we are now. No one's budging.

Congressman Bill Pascrell, Democrat from New Jersey, joins us now. And beside him Scott Garrett, a Republican from New Jersey. They serve on the House Budget Committee.

I'm glad we have you side by side. It's difficult to get your parties together on anything these days -- anything.

I want to ask you, Congressman Pascrell, do you think this meeting at 5:30 will be productive?

REP. BILL PASCRELL, (D), NEW JERSEY: I think it is a good sign. I think it was in the works really. Who blinks first? The president has been willing to negotiate not only this year but in the first four years of his administration. We should have had a budget by now. The other side chose not to go to conference when both the Senate and the House passed a budget. We are where we are now. So it may only be for six weeks but it is a critical part of the process of making sure we fund America.

BANFIELD: So Congressman Garrett, part of the issue has been, of course, the clean resolution, the spending bill with no strings attached. The Republicans wanted strings to derail Obamacare. Whatever anybody thinks about the philosophy behind that, it's the mechanism behind it so many people are outraged about. Would your fellow Republicans start getting on board with a clean bill, just a spending bill with no strings attached? If you listen to Charlie Dent, a colleague, he thinks you are starting to blink, that you will start to capitulate.

SCOTT GARRET, (R), NEW JERSEY: I think both of us, as you said, can agree on one thing. Both sides of the aisle, myself and I'm sure Bill want the government open and operating again.

Now Bill did say that the president has been willing to negotiate in the past. I wish that was true. The president's own words were when it comes to the C.R., he will not negotiate. He's said it repeatedly over and over again. The Republicans have said we will negotiate. We came out with one bill, sent it to the Senate, OK. We sent a second. You don't like that? A third. Yesterday, we sent three other bills. We have had a bunch of different ideas we are willing to throw to the Senate or White House. We are willing to negotiate. We want the government open. Until this moment, the president has said repeatedly, no negotiations. It's only the one way they want to do it. Unless you have somebody willing to meet you halfway, that's when it's hard to come to agreement.

BANFIELD: When I asked about Charlie Dent, who said it looks like more Republicans are looking to blink, get a clean bill passed, you're not answering that.

GARRETT: Let me talk you about Charlie Dent. He and others indicated they, too, like us, want the government to be open and get people back to work here in Washington around the country as well. You saw the votes last night. It was a uniform vote. You saw the votes this week where Republicans have said we are willing to negotiate. But we want to see you extend a hand as well. So far the Republicans have stood firm as far as being together. We are firm on trying to reach middle ground on this.

Meetings at the White House are great. I'm trying, for the first time ever, to invite them in on this is great. It's too bad they didn't do it yesterday when we set up the opportunity for a conference where the Senate could have done the exact same thing instead of --


BANFIELD: I have 30 seconds left. I have 30 seconds left.

Congressman Pascrell, have you two been meeting, considering you are on the same committee?

PASCRELL: What I heard was bizarre. We have had the two bodies -- the Senate and the Congress, the House of Representatives, pass budgets five months ago. The usual protocol is to have those folks represent both the Senate and the House and sit down, have a conference and work out the differences. For five months, we did not do this. And that's a fact of life. Here we are today. This is the main story. Not the story of what's happening. And you're trying to take apart the budget and pass it piece by piece, picking winners and losers. That makes no sense whatsoever. That's why we are where we are. You have tied the hands of the United States working men and women, you tied the hands of people who work for the government who have done nothing wrong but we are punishing them to prove, to prove if we can't take down Obamacare one way, we eel try to take it down another way. We have to get over that. We have to get over that.


GARRETT: To your point, Bill, you're right. It could have been and should have been. But Harry Reid in the Senate never appointed conferees to the budget, as you are aware.


GARRETT: No, no. No conferees have been appointed.


PASCRELL: Nancy Pelosi names some in the House.

GARRETT: But it takes two chambers to do so. And as you're aware, Harry Reid never did --


PASCRELL: Who are your appointees?

GARRETT: We didn't do it in the --


GARRETT: Both sides, I'm clarifying the record that neither Harry Reid nor the House fully appointed conferees. That's a problem. Where are we today? We need the president to actually come to the table and agree to negotiate. Not just do a photo op or a press release.

BANFIELD: Can I ask you both a question? I have been watching you as you talk. This is going to sound crazy, but, my god, the two of you won't even look at each other when you are arguing with one another.


BANFIELD: When you're in the House budget, you're not looking at the camera either. I have been watching this for the last three minutes. When you're in the House Budget Committee together -- PASCRELL: Do you want us to dance? Whatever you want, we'll do.


BANFIELD: Honestly, guys. Listen to the question. When there is no media fly on the wall to listen, do you take this kind of tone or have constructive conversations in committee?

GARRETT: What sort of tone do we have in committee?

PASCRELL: In committee? We have an interesting tone in the Budget Committee.



PASCRELL: We have many independent people who say their minds, speak their mind.

GARRETT: That's a good way to describe it.

PASCRELL: Usually jump off script. And want the best for the United States. But I believe both Republicans and Democrats want the best for the United States.

GARRETT: Even more important than committee, I think, is what we do privately on the floor, what have you.


GARRETT: When we're doing that when the cameras aren't on, we have a very civil conversation.


GARRETT: My neighbor is a Democrat from New York. We have similar conversations on the sidewalk saying, hey, how do you think we get --


BANFIELD: This is why I wanted to ask you, even about your body language. Look, I don't think there's anyone watching right now that doesn't laud you to your commitment for philosophy. You came to Capitol Hill to make a difference and work for constituents. That's not how laws are made. Laws are made by getting together like human beings and people who can agree and work together properly. That's not what the public is seeing now and certainly not what we see on TV interviews.

PASCRELL: Personally, I'm not a true believer. You know, if we're absolute about our positions, that means anybody else must be wrong. That's not me. Scott can speak for himself. So we need to come together as a nation. This is important. The debt ceiling is going to come up. If we don't come together instead of fighting peripheral political issues that aren't going to get us anywhere, we just had an election. I mean we're not going to -- we're not going into a presidential election. We just had a presidential election.

GARRETT: So our only difference on that -- I agree with Bill -- some of us would say these other issues are not peripheral. When we're receiving phone calls from constituents saying they've been laid off because of the Affordable Health Care Act when, in our own state, you had one of the largest insurers saying 50,000 people are not going to get insurance because of the health care act. Home Depot laying off 20,000. UPS in my district, as well, 15,000 people.


PASCRELL: -- trying to part time America 10 years ago, that's the company.

GARRETT: This is a company telling spouses --


BANFIELD: You know what. I'm going to -- Since Congressman Pascrell, you brought up the debt ceiling. I'm going to hold you to a firm booking 17 days from now, probably 16 days from now, to talk to me about your tone when you're dealing with the debt ceiling. Christine Romans was telling us if we thought hurricane shutdown was bad --


BANFIELD: -- catastrophic debt ceiling will be worse.


GARRETT: Do I get that invitation or only Bill?

BANFIELD: I said to both of you.

Both of us.


BANFIELD: You are both firmly booked and you have to wear the same ties and need to talk to me about taking the philosophy.


PASCRELL: We'd be more than honored.

BANFIELD: And please do not hold me and my fellow Americans the hostage in the debt ceiling debate. I appreciate both of your prospective. Please keep working hard.

Thank you, gentlemen.

GARRETT: Thank you.

PASCRELL: Take care.

BANFIELD: Nice to have you both. Nice to see them talking to one another eye to eye, too.

After you've heard about the government shutdown, I'm sure you probably have your own message to Washington. Make a video for us. Send it to Keep it clean, folks. I know how hard that is when the ire is raised over the frustration as the shutdown continues. We just may be sharing your views right here on CNN.


BANFIELD: You know, if you weren't angry before about the government shutdown, you're about to be very angry because a group of vets that came to the World War II Memorial yesterday had to break down a barricade in order to actually visit the memorial to them. This is the scene. And it was very frustrating. They had come here to pay respects and to be part of an honoring event, and yet, they were shutout. And, of course, who showed up, as well? Congressmen -- to put their arms around them, even kiss them. We saw one congressman kissing one of the vets.

Jake Tapper joins me from the Florida monument at the World War II Memorial.

I nearly died when I saw all of those Congressmen showing up as though they had nothing to do with it, Jake. What's the story today?

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, THE LEAD: Well, the group that flies these veterans here, called Honor Fights, they've been around since 2006. They fly World War II and Korea veterans and any terminally ill veterans here to Washington to visit the memorials for their fallen brothers and sisters.

When I got here this morning, Ashleigh, it was odd. The ratio was about one veteran to 10 members of Congress to 50 reporters. But thankfully, that changed soon afterwards and more than 118, actually, veterans of world war ii and a few from Korea came. They were flying in in from Missouri.

I had a chance to talk to a bunch of them about their hopes for visiting the memorial, the fact they almost didn't get in because it was barricaded. Specifically, I talked to a guy named Buddy Schmidt, who served with the Army in Europe during World War II. Here's what he had to say.


BUDDY SCHMIDT, VETERAN: We've got -- we were determined to go through one way or the other.

TAPPER: Did you deserve -- is there anything about the shutdown that bothers you or does it matter if you're here?

SCHMIDT: Yeah, I tell all my friends back home, we came to D.C. to get the government straightened out.

(END VIDEO CLIP) TAPPER: But honestly, Ashleigh, for most of these individuals, this is not about the Obama or John Boehner or the House or the Senate or the White House. It's about coming here to honor those men that they lost. And one soldier, one veteran in particular got very emotional -- Ashleigh?

BANFIELD: Jake Tapper doing a live report for us today.

Tune in to Jake Tapper on "The Lead" right here on CNN starting at 4:00 p.m.

Jake, thank you for that.

And that's all the time I have for you today, as well. Thanks so much for being with us. I'm Ashleigh Banfield. More coverage on the government shutdown coming up live right after the break.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN NEWSROOM: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company today.

Breaking news right now. President Obama has invited congressional leaders to the White House on this the second day of the government shutdown.

MALVEAUX: So could this actually be a huge step towards breaking the impasse? We got word a couple minutes ago via a tweet from the White House press secretary saying, "POTUS invites Senator Reid, Nancy Pelosi, McConnellPress and --