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Bill Passes to Reopen Government and Raise Debt Ceiling; Interview with Sen. Angus King; Interview with Rep. Mick Mulvaney
Aired October 17, 2013 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: There's much more on that ahead. The deal, as Chris mentioned, is lonely a temporary fix, though. So we could be right back where we were in another few months unfortunately. We are covering every angle of the story for you this morning, starting with senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta. Good morning, Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. We can hear the faint roar of the leaf blowers here on the grounds of the White House. That's a sign that federal employees are back on the job. President Obama is expected to make another statement on the budget later this morning after a bruising battle with Republicans that he won at nearly the last minute. The president is expected to urge both parties to move on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The motion is adopted.
ACOSTA: Just as the nation was on the brink, the House of Representatives blinked and passed the bipartisan Senate compromise to raise the nation's debt ceiling. And after a 16-day shutdown, the federal government will come back to life from thousands of employees returning to work, to critical research programs, to national parks, even the panda cam and the national zoo.
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We'll begin re- opening the government immediately.
ACOSTA: President Obama, who signed the bill into law just after midnight, came out early in the evening to say he's ready to roll up his sleeves to work with both parties.
OBAMA: I'm willing to work with anybody. I am eager to work with anybody, Democrat or Republican, House or Senate members, on any idea that will grow our economy, create new jobs, strengthen the middle class, and get our fiscal House in order.
ACOSTA: House speaker John Boehner gave the green light for the deal when he dropped GOP demands for big changes to Obama care in exchange for an end to the standoff.
REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: We've been locked in a fight over here, trying to bring government down to size, trying to do our best to stop Obamacare. We fought the good fight. We just didn't win. ACOSTA: Even some Tea Party backed Republicans agreed, the strategy failed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The folks that said we were going to lose turned out to be correct. I can't argue with that.
ACOSTA: But in a sign of potentially more battles to come, one of the architects of the Obama care robust plan, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, vowed to keep fighting.
SEN. TED CRUZ, (R) TEXAS: The way we are going to stop the sufferings, the harms that are being visited on millions of Americans is the path we have seen these past couple of months, is the American people rising up.
ACOSTA: Cruz may get his wish. The deal only reopens the government until mid-January and pushes back another potential default to February. The president told CNN not to worry.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, isn't this going to happen all over again in a few months?
ACOSTA: Now, there is a safety catch built into this legislation. Republicans and Democrats are supposed to come to an agreement on a larger budget for the years to come. That is designed to avert another shutdown come January. Also tucked into the legislation, $2 billion for a dam and lock project, a river project in Kentucky, the home state of Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. Some conservatives are calling that the Kentucky kickback, but aides to the senator are say he had nothing to do with it. Kate?
BOLDUAN: All right, Jim, thanks for starting us off this hour.
National parks and memorials will be again open to visitors starting today now that the shutdown is finally over. CNN's Rene Marsh is at the World War II memorial with much more on this. Good morning, Rene.
RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Kate. The good news, this morning, D.C. is getting back to work. All those federal agencies, they're re-opening. You mentioned the national parks, the museums like the Smithsonian here in Washington, D.C. and of course the memorial. We're at the World War II memorial. This has been the symbol of the government shutdown. It's also been the point of high drama. If you remember, those barricades were erected around this open air memorial, not allowing people in. Even veterans weren't allowed in because of those barricades. Of course they broke through the barricades. But they couldn't even get to the spot where I'm standing at now.
I want to show you live, take a look. There are no barriers this morning. We've been walking and watching and seeing that people are making their way through the memorial in a distance there. If you look towards your right you see a worker here who we saw earlier this morning kind of cleaning out the pond here. So things are looking back to normal.
And also what's getting back to normal, the federal workers. They're going to be going back to work this morning. We know that, of course, it's going to be a tricky situation in getting the word out. Of course that deal happened late last night. And during this furlough, these federal workers, by federal law, they're not supposed to be using the BlackBerrys or laptops to check the e-mail. Getting the message to them, that hey, it's time to get back to work could be tricky, but we expect most of the workers will be back on the job at least by Monday, if not today.
BOLDUAN: Real quick, Rene, so the workers are heading back to work, but what about the furlough days? What did Congress decide regarding the lost pay during the shutdown?
MARSH: Right. So that's the big question. Will they be repaid for those days that they missed? The good news for those federal workers is yes, they will. Congress has agreed to pay them that back pay for the money that was withheld during this government shutdown. Kate?
BOLDUAN: All right, Rene, thanks so much. When I was coming into the capitol this morning, about 4:45 in the morning, I overheard one worker say it's great to be back. So he's probably summing it up for many other federal employees this morning.
Let's talk much more about this and the path forward. Joining me right here on Capitol Hill is one of the lawmakers who voted for the deal, Senator Angus King. He is an independent senator from Maine. Senator, it's great to see you.
SEN. ANGUS KING, (I) MAINE: Kate, how are you?
BOLDUAN: I'm doing very well. Late night for you and a busy 24 hours. So you voted for this budget deal. Did you like it? What do you tell your constituents when you head home?
KING: I didn't like that we had to do it, and I also didn't like that it was so short. It's really three or four months, as you've already reported. And I just don't like this business of trying to govern from crisis to crisis. I thought this morning, it reminds me of the kid -- everybody's feeling good this morning, but it's like the kid who beat his head against the tree, and somebody said why are you doing that? And he said because it feels so good when I stop. This has been a brutal couple of weeks, and pretty much unnecessary, I think.
BOLDUAN: When you head back to Maine, what do you tell voters what they got?
KING: What they got was we're returning a little bit to normalcy. And I think the hidden benefit in this is the instructions to the two budget committees to come together to try to solve some of the fiscal issues.
BOLDUAN: You're on the conference committee?
KING: I'm one of the conferees from the Senate as a member of the Senate budget committee. And it's not going to be easy. It's not like there are minor differences. The Ryan budget in the House and the budget passed by the Senate last march are very different.
But there are elements in there that I think can really make a difference. I want to show you something that I think will become very famous. This is a USB drive prepared by a group called Fix the Debt. And in it is all of the options for getting this done. And you can click on them and it's an excel spreadsheet and it does all the calculations so you can see what the consequences are. We're going to be making some decisions here, some very important decisions, and for once we're going to have the data. I think that's a pretty cool way to be able to proceed.
BOLDUAN: Senator, when you say it's not going to be easy, that is -- if you watch the budget process over the years, that is such an understatement. You have two months now to try to come together on a long-term budget deal, something that Congress has not been able to figure out for years, honestly.
BOLDUAN: How are you going to do it, when this is at a time when I don't think I've seen Congress so divided?
KING: One of the reasons it's so hard is sort of the core values of the two parties are at play. The Republicans want no new revenues whatsoever. The Democrats are very reluctant about entitlement changes. Something, some mix of that, most people that have looked at this, say is going to be necessary.
BOLDUAN: I don't want to be cynical. Is there any chance it's going to get done?
KING: Yes, I think there is. I think everyone was chastened by this experience. A lot of the talk this morning is about who won and who lost. The American people lost. I'm tired of winning and losing around here. It's a sport, and it's too serious for that.
I think people feel -- I say the people are going to be involved in this conference -- understand the stakes. And to tell you the truth, there's been so much discussion about these budget issues -- the pieces are all there. We could do it in a day if people were willing to put their ideological blinders aside when they walk into the room.
BOLDUAN: That's the hardest thing. What do you think folks at home should be prepared for? What could possibly bring two sides --
KING: What could possibly go wrong? We know how that goes.
BOLDUAN: But what could possibly bring the two sides together? Completely overhauling the tax code, serious changes to Medicare, what do folks need to be prepared for when you're heading into these budget negotiations? KING: I think what they need to be prepared for are some things everybody is not going to like.
BOLDUAN: Like what?
KING: I think they are likely in order to ameliorate the sequester there are likely to be some entitlement changes, not cuts in benefits, but things like, for example, right now on Medicare, the tax stops at about $100,000 a year. In other words, you pay zero after that as incomes go up. That has -- the disparity on that has crept up over the years. I think that will have to be fixed. There may be some means testing for wealthier Medicare recipients.
BOLDUAN: That's going to be a tough pill to swallow for many Americans. You know that.
KING: Absolutely. But we're in the swamp here and we have to start getting the alligators aside. If it were easy it would have been done a long time ago.
BOLDUAN: You're absolutely right. How this fight played out, how does that inform or how does that impact how you approach the next fight that you're going to see? Because you have the budget battle and you have three, four months you'll be facing another government shutdown and debt ceiling fight.
KING: As I say, I think everybody is chastened by this experience. Nobody wants to go through it again. It's ridiculous. I mean, we did it with two hours to spare. I mean, none of us did our book reports before Sunday night but this is crazy. And there's no excuse for it. It didn't even have to happen in the first place. It could have been resolved some time ago.
I think everybody going into this conference understands the stakes, because the centerpiece of the deal, really, is the conference. Basically they hit pause, we're going to go back to work. We're not going to break the debt ceiling. But those dates are looming out there in January, and I think people understand we shouldn't be putting the country through this.
And, as I say, everybody that's worked on this budget stuff, they know what the elements are. We can do it if it's not, you know, I'm the -- I got all the answers. There are no --
BOLDUAN: My way or the highway, all the other things we see all the time.
KING: This country was built on compromise. If somebody tells you I'm not going to compromise, what they're telling you is I've got all the answers. I'm 100 percent right. I never knew anybody that was 100 percent right. So compromise has got to be part of getting this done.
BOLDUAN: You have a big job on a daily basis. You found out late yesterday you'll be taking part in this conference committee. Your job just got a whole lot harder. KING: I was sitting on the floor of the U.S. Senate when Patty Murray said who the conferees were going to be. My first thought, wow, that's pretty cool. My second thought was, holy smokes, we have to get this done.
BOLDUAN: I don't know if I should say congratulations or I'm sorry. But we'll find out very soon. Senator, it's great to see you, thank you very much.
KING: Thank you, Kate.
Much more coming to you from Washington, but Michaela, let's get back to you for some the headlines.
MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Kate, thank you so much. Making news, Newark, New Jersey mayor Cory Booker has won his state special U.S. Senate election. Booker was the frontrunner in the polls leading up to the vote. The Democrat beat his opponent Republican businessman Steve Lonegan by about 10 percent. Booker will finish the term of the late Frank Lautenberger.
Startling news, new information this morning. "The Washington Post" says the NSA has been collaborating with the CIA in the use of drone strikes to kill terrorists abroad. That information reported to be from documents leaked by former NSA analyst Edward Snowden.
Meanwhile NSA director General Keith Alexander and his civilian deputy are said to be leaving the spy agency in the upcoming months.
The Missouri prosecutor now under fire in that controversial teen rape case is now calling for an independent review. The girl was 14 at the time of the alleged assault. Daisy Coleman and her mother have since gone public. They say the prosecutor was pressured into dropping charges against a prominent high school football star. Robert L. Rice says he stands by his decision but welcomes the rev review.
You'll recall the nine-year-old boy who snuck on a Delta flight to Las Vegas. He's been ordered to live away from his parents and undergo therapy. During a court hearing Wednesday the judge ruled that the little boy will stay at a county facility for now. His parents must also attend therapy but will be allowed visitation privileges and phone contact with their young son.
And a bit of a surprising find, you're probably wondering what that is. It's an alligator in a hot tub, of course. Police near Vero Beach were serving a drug warrant when they found the animal outside. The owner says I have no idea where it came from. It was there when I moved in. But he fed it, he fed it chicken, in fact. That owner has not been arrested. It's not clear yet what will happen to the gator.
We were saying in the make-up room, that's a great name for a rock band, alligator in a hot tub. Right?
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. That's the take away.
PEREIRA: Welcome to the stage! Alligator in a hot tub. CUOMO: It was strong, very good.
PEREIRA: There you go.
CUOMO: Time for the weather. Indra Petersons is a member of alligator in the hot tub, tambourine player.
INDRA PETERSONS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: That is my specialty.
All right, temperatures definitely mild. We're talking about 60s out there in the morning, this is a good thing. We'll be talking about 70s if you're in Philly, D.C., New York, you're going to love the weather for at least another day. We do have some changes, not major, but either way there are a couple cold fronts expected to make their way through as we go towards the weekend.
For now, though, we're still dealing with warm air coming out of the south. Once you get behind the cold front, we'll get the cold air from Canada. Not a huge rainmaker, pretty. But we could see sprinkles, overnight in through tomorrow. If you're in the northeast you already will start to see some of the light showers, only about an inch at best. Again, very dry, kind of scattered showers really just across the country today with both of those systems. That was the first one.
The second one, coming down from the northern plains, going in through Denver with the higher elevations. We could see some flurries maybe into Wyoming, six to eight inches. In Denver itself, your first flurry is only about an inch. It's nothing big, but it's enough. You'll notice that change.
Again, the other story will be those temperatures. Yesterday Cleveland with 70. Today you're going down to the 50s. There's two of the cold fronts. Once it cools off, it will stay cool. Not that bad.
PEREIRA: Not that bad. We'll take it. All right. Thanks so much, Indra.
CUOMO: On that we take a little break. When we come back on NEW DAY, a CNN worldwide exclusive. Disturbing surveillance video from inside that Kenyan mall that was under attack. You'll see what was going on as it happened. It is difficult to believe what terrorists were able to do there and what they stopped to do while murdering the innocent. Kate?
BOLDUAN: Back here in Washington, the government is back at work. But could we be back here once again in just a few months? We speak with Republican Congressman Mick Mulvaney from South Carolina. He voted against the debt deal. We're going to talk to him about the path forward. Coming up next.
BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY, everyone. The government is back in business this morning, now that Congress has approved and the president signed a compromise deal to end the shutdown and increase the debt ceiling.
Joining me now to talk more about it is Republican Congressman Mick Mulvaney from South Carolina. Congressman, it's great to see you. Thank you so much.
REP. MICK MULVANEY, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Thanks for having me. Good morning.
BOLDUAN: Of course.
You voted no on this debt ceiling and government shutdown bill last night. John Boehner said yesterday that we fought the good fight but we just didn't win. Was the fight worth it?
MULVANEY: It was. Any time you fight for something you believe in and something you think is important, then the fight will be worth it. We fought, although the message didn't get out as effectively as we wanted it to, we fought for fairness. We fought to have our families to be treated the same way as large corporations under Obamacare. That was the last offer we sent to the Senate.
We think that's the right thing to fight about, so in hindsight, yes, if you stand up for what you believe in, I think you'll always end up on the right side of things.
BOLDUAN: Congressman, I heard you say yesterday and you're right, good policy should be good politics. That's absolutely right. People want their Congressmen and women to stand up for what they believe and stand up for what their voters want them to do in Washington. But people have been asking me since yesterday, is it worth the fight to have a policy debate and hold the government hostage in the meantime? People in the country, they are hurting but why did a country have to hurt over a policy debate?
MULVANEY: Ordinarily you don't have to. Ordinarily you'd sit down and have these debates on an ongoing basis. You meet every day, every week, every month. Folks in the other party, folks in the White House, that hasn't happened for the last three years.
If you think back since I got to Congress three years ago. The only time the president has engaged with Republicans in the House at least was during the debt ceiling crisis back in July and August of 2011 and now.
Sometimes this is the only way. In fact, what the founding fathers gave to the Legislative Branch is the powers of the purse so that we could have this discussion if we needed to. Remember, this happened 17 times between 1976 and 1995. It hasn't happened since then, but it happened almost every year for 20 years. This used to be a lot more ordinary course of business. It want a cataclysmic thing. It's because this is how the system is set up. If you're not talking in the ordinary course of business sometimes you have to take extraordinary measures. That's what happened the past couple weeks.
BOLDUAN: Moving forward there's a huge opportunity and also a big challenge to be faced. We were just talking about Senator King. He's one of the conferees that's going to be trying to hash out a budget deal. What are the chances that you think that a long-term budget blueprint will be agreed to in just two months?
MULVANEY: Not very much. I don't think the prospects for a grand bargain are that likely. I think it's worth taking the time to try. If the president had a relationship with Congress - one thinking (ph) about the Syria discussion is a friend of mine, Adam Kinsinger (ph), who was supporting the president on Syria and went on television, it may have been on your network. He didn't even know who his White House liaison is. That's unforgivable not to have that relationship between the branches of government. I don't think we'll be able to build those relationships in the next two months, but I have a lot of --
BOLDUAN: What's going to happen?
MULVANEY: I have a lot of faith in Paul Ryan. A very, very sharp guy. He recognizes the scope of the problem. If you want to look on the bright side of things, I think more and more people are starting to recognize the threat to the overall economy, to the country that the debt presents. I think people at least are using the same language about how dangerous the debt can be.
BOLDUAN: Are we going to be right back here in three or four months? Are we going to be sitting here with a shutdown threat and debt ceiling threat again?
MULVANEY: I think that's up to the president, I really do. That sounds is like a Republican talking point but it's not. That could change the dynamic. If you go back and you look, Ronald Reagan was able to engage with Democrats when they controlled the legislature when he was president. Bill Clinton was able to engage with Republicans when they ran the legislature when he was president. If this Democrat president can engage with Republicans in the House, I think there's a chance to make progress.
BOLDUAN: There is an opportunity today. We'll hear from the president later this morning, setting the tone really for this very difficult challenge ahead of trying to hash out a budget deal, if it's even possible. What do you want to hear from him?
MULVANEY: Ways to fix the debt, ways to fix the deficit that don't focus on new revenues, which is code for new taxes. What has, again, gotten lost in the discussion is that taxes went up on January 1st. We had one of the largest tax increases in history. He has about $600 billion of new taxes during what we call the tax -- budget window. He has revenues. The government will take in more money this year than it ever has before in its history. This is -- we've never had as much money as we had this year. We still run a $700 billion deficit.
BOLDUAN: Are conservatives ready to deal, though, to bargain? The question is always, taxes, taxes in spending, revenue, new taxes, no taxes, Medicare changes. We know the pieces.
BOLDUAN: Is the political will to finally make a deal?
MULVANEY: Let me put it to you this way. I don't want to dodge your question, but let me answer it to you this way: the Ryan budget proposed that wealthy receive fewer benefits under Social Security. You could raise their taxes if you want to and give them the same amount of money, or if you leave the taxes where they are and give them less money, it's two sides of the same coin.
My point is this: Republicans have already put some very, very difficult things on the table. We talked about raising the Social Security age. Very difficult to have that conversation. We've talked about means testing which is what I described, where if you're still making $1 million in retirement, should you get the same Medicare benefit as somebody that's at the poverty line? These are very difficult things for Republicans to talk about. We've put those things on the table. I think that's evidence of our willingness to talk.
BOLDUAN: Willingness to talk is one thing. I think you would agree, to get it done, what is needed is leadership, and what people are going to be looking to all of you.
MULVANEY: Always comes from the president first.
BOLDUAN: Congressman, it's great to see you. Thank you so much.
MULVANEY: Thank you.
BOLDUAN; Lots of work to be done. One chapter done, the next chapter just beginning for Congressman Mick Mulvaney. Great to see you.
Coming up next on NEW DAY, a CNN worldwide exclusive, truly shocking new video that we have showing the terror attack inside that Kenya mall. What can we learn from depravity on display there? We're going to have much more of that discussion ahead.
And we're delving into a story that is a tragedy that has happened again. You're looking at her, 12-year-old Florida girl. She took her own life. Her family says it was because she was so badly bullied. We're going to talk to the parents of one of the young girls accused of bullying her. You'll want to hear their side, when we come back.
PEREIRA: Welcome back to NEW DAY. Want to take a look at your headlines? We start with a deadly plane crash in southeast Asia. Forty-nine people were killed when a plane plunged into a river in southern Laos. The plane reportedly hit severe weather just before it landed at a popular tourist destination. The state-run airline says foreigners from some ten countries died in that tragedy. One American was believed to be on board.
Opening statements today in the trial of a prominent Utah doctor who is accused of murdering his wife. Prosecutors say Martin McNeill forced his wife to have a face lift, then he arranged for her to receive a deadly mix of prescription painkillers. His motive, to continue an extra-marital affair. Fifty-year-old Michele McNeill, a mother of eight, died in 2007.
Two Colorado farmers linked to one of the deadliest listeria outbreaks in the U.S. will plead guilty. Brothers Eric and Ryan Jensen (ph) have cut a deal with federal prosecutors. Details of that agreement not released. They were facing six counts each of introducing adulterated food into interstate commerce tied to shipping tainted melons in 2011; 33 people in 28 states died.
Facebook is easing up on its rules. Now allowing 13 to 17-year-olds to share photos, updates and comments with anyone. Before, posts would only be seen by their friends.