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House to Vote on Fix; Obama Fix Faces Legal Hurdle; China Shocks World with Changes; Rubble Being Cleared in Philippines

Aired November 15, 2013 - 12:00   ET


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: The fix, the apology, and the blame, of course, President Obama trying to dig out of the Obamacare hole and what is this actually going to mean for him and his legacy?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, one child per family. A law that's been around for years in China. But, today, the government making some changes to that rule and others.

Also --


MAYOR ROB FORD, TORONTO: If I would have had a mayor acting the way I've conducted myself, I would have done the exact same thing. I am -- I'm not mad at anybody. I take full responsibility.


MALVEAUX: Well, Toronto's crack-smoking mayor says he is not leaving his job and now the city council has just voted to strip him of some of his power.

Well, you're watching "AROUND THE WORLD". I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company this day.

Now, House Republicans say they have the fix for Obamacare. A vote happens this hour, actually, or it's meant to, on the GOP bill called the Keep Your Health Plan Act.

MALVEAUX: That, of course, referring to the promise that the president is struggling to make good on here. President Obama as you know, meeting later today with CEOs of insurance companies. We saw him yesterday offering a temporary fix and a lot of apologies to the millions of Americans who are now losing their current health care coverage.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We fumbled the rollout on this health care law. And that's on me. And the American people, those who got cancellation notices, do deserve and have received an apology from me.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: Well, that apology simply not enough for many in Congress. Right now we're about 30 minutes away from that House vote. We're going to have live coverage, of course. Critics say the bill could gut a major part of the health care law.

MALVEAUX: Want to bring in our Dana Bash on The Hill.

And, so, Dana, we realize this, we want to recognize this, just put it out there honestly that the House bill is purely political because the president has promised that he's going to veto it if it passes. What makes this anything more than like kabuki theater, really?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, in many ways all of this is kabuki theater because we should also put it out there that the main reason, maybe the only reason the president said what he said yesterday, at least the timing of it, was because of this vote. And Democrats knowing from here on Capitol Hill to the White House that it could have - it could potentially be an embarrassing vote for the White House.

I was talking to a Republican aide just a few minutes ago who said that before the president came out. They thought that they might even have had a veto-proof majority on this Republican bill, which, of course, does say, if you like your insurance, you can keep it. Democrats argue that it goes way too far, that it is too sweeping and it would effectively undermine the Obamacare law.

So the drama right now, as we're heading into the vote, is, how many Democrats do end up defecting? How many did the president's speech yesterday, his promise yesterday or new plan, how much is that going to sort of cool things down with regard to this very important at least political vote?

HOLMES: And on that very point, I mean what's the feeling there about how much time that mea culpa we watched yesterday by him?

BASH: So much of the answer to that, Michael, depends on whether or not insurance companies are going to comply because, remember, what the president said is that he is hoping insurance companies call up people, send letters to people who got cancellation notices saying, never mind, you can have it back.

And the hope is that if they do that, it's up to them, but if they do that, that that calms the panic out there. Understandable panic that people are going to lose their insurance. They can't get on the website to get new insurance. So how much time he has depends on whether or not what he announced yesterday actually works.

HOLMES: All right, Dana, thanks so much. Dana Bash on Capitol Hill. Thanks.

MALVEAUX: And, of course, we're going to be watching that vote. It's going to take place in the hour. So, pushing ahead, that House vote expected on the floor momentarily.

The president now saying it is OK for people to keep their individual health plans for at least another year, but even if they are substandard they can keep these plans. But he doesn't actually have the power to renew those policies.

HOLMES: Not himself. Joining us now to talk about that is law professor Jonathan Turley at George Washington University.

So based on what the president wants to do, it would, in effect, bypass mandates and penalties associated with Obamacare if he doesn't do it in the legislative sense. What authority does he have to really change or get around the existing federal law passed by Congress, signed by him? Is it legal?

JONATHAN TURLEY, LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: Well, Michael, the argument of the White House is likely to be that he has the inherent authority to enforce or administer the law even if it means granting an effective extension that doesn't exist in the law. And he's relying on this deference to federal agencies that the Supreme Court has recognized in cases like - famous cases like Chevron.

But this raises some serious questions, constitutional questions. I have to tell you, I don't think this is the most compelling argument. The fact is, you have a law here, and this does seem to contradict it. And the president's claiming the right, and this is the second time he's done it with the ACA, claiming the right to effectively take parts off-line, to grant something that's not there.

In constitutional term, it's called the dispensing power. It actually was once called the royal prerogative. And that was rejected in our system that you -- when you have legislation, the president does have the right to have discretion in the enforcement. But he can't rewrite the law. He can't effectively change it. So Congress probably has a stronger argument on this issue.

MALVEAUX: And what about the states in the situation? We've got examples here, Washington state, for instance, their insurance commissioner said the state's not going to go along with the president's request here to extend these canceled policies for another year. So if the states don't cooperate with him, I mean, is this worth anything, his promise?

TURLEY: Yes, Suzanne, I -- I have the same thought because I'm not too sure what this creature is that the president has released. I don't know if it's a presidential order. It's certainly not legislation. But I don't see how it's binding.

If he's suggesting that this somehow binds these insurance companies, they would have standing to challenge. And I would bet on them to win. And so he's essentially saying, I'm going to tell them, this is what I want to be done. But a lot of these insurance carriers and these commissioners are saying, we can't do it. We're not even sure we could practically do it, but it would undermine much of what we have done already.

MALVEAUX: And, Jonathan, finally, who would actually represent - I mean who would represent the president, the administration here when they go up against the states, when they go up against insurance companies? How could this actually play out in the legal field?

TURLEY: It would be a mess. And this is not something new, by the way. President Obama has been accused of, in the immigration field and other fields, of unilaterally saying that certain parts of laws should not be enforced and it has produced a huge amount of litigation. In this case, the most likely litigant would be these insurance carriers that have standing. And then you would have this weird position for the Department of Justice. They're supposed to be enforcing the federal laws, but they're also part of an administration of a president saying, I don't want it enforced.

HOLMES: Oh, boy. Yes, it sounds more and more complicated the more we discuss it. Jonathan Turley, George Washington University, thanks so much.

TURLEY: Thank you.

MALVEAUX: Yes, it really is -- it's a hot mess when you think about it because if the president promises this -


MALVEAUX: And he can't deliver on this promise -


MALVEAUX: Already integrity, you know, trustworthiness, people are already doubting him already. Can you imagine if this fails?

HOLMES: Political fallout indeed.


HOLMES: Now, we've got a lot more this hour on "AROUND THE WORLD", including this, some stories of incredible survival that continue to come out of the Philippines as people try to deal with the devastation from Typhoon Haiyan.

MALVEAUX: Including one woman who is manually pumping the air into her husband's lungs to keep him alive.

And carrying a rifle dressed in all black, terrified shoppers run for their lives. We have new surveillance video from inside that mall shooting.

HOLMES: Also, a shocking announcement to many in China. Couples may now be allowed to have more than one child. That's just one of the changes they announced there. We've got the details coming up.


MALVEAUX: At least six people are dead today after a protest march turning violent. This is in Libya. This is Tripoli that you're seeing here. The media there says that members of a militia opened fire on a crowd of people calling to clear out the capital city. Now, witnesses say the militia used a huge weapon on the protesters, an anti-aircraft cannon, mounted on the back of their truck. Six people were killed, at least 45 others were injured. Militia groups fighting each other in the past week have caused the worst violence in Libya since the fall of Muammar Gadhafi.

HOLMES: In New Jersey, we're getting a new look at some pretty chilling surveillance video taken earlier this month. We're going to show it to you now. You can see in this video terrified shoppers and employees at the Garden State Plaza Mall as a man with a gun walks around. You'll remember this story. Hundreds of people were trapped there for hours. This was on November the 4th.

MALVEAUX: The armed man wearing all black walked slowly and lurked near the elevators. You see it there. Police say he fired several shots, but thankfully no one was injured. Now, the shooter was later found dead. Police say that he killed himself.

HOLMES: Edward Snowden may have leaked as many as 200,000 classified documents to the media. That's according to the head of the NSA who said that in a speech two weeks ago. The NSA just released a transcript of that speech. That's why we're hearing about it.

MALVEAUX: General Keith Alexander acknowledged that he does not know how much more classified information Snowden intends to release, but he says Snowden is doing, quote, "maximum damage to the NSA and our nation."

HOLMES: The Chinese government making an announcement that surprised many today after dropping hints about it for several months. Major changes coming to several official policies that have actually defined China since the days of Mao and, in many cases, sometimes earlier. The Chinese labor camp system, for example, is going away. Critics of the labor camps said for years that they violate basic human rights. Basically you can be locked up for four years without even going to trial.

MALVEAUX: Also, China's one-child policy is getting an overhaul. Now, here's the quick version of it. Parents in urban areas will now be able to have an additional child if one of the parents is also an only child. We're going to have more about that in a moment.

Want to talk about the labor camp system, goes back to the 1950s. It was based on the Soviet gulags to punish people who were considered enemies of the state. Well, now, labor camps in China are gone.

HOLMES: Yes. One other thing, too. China does still have the death penalty and executed plenty of people, but starting today the list of crimes that are subject to execution is shorter. Let's get David McKenzie in here, our man in Beijing.

You know, when you talk about the one-child policy, pretty uniquely Chinese in recent years, but it's done a lot of damage to the social fabric in China and the economy. Fill us in.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, some people say it's that damage that never can be healed, Michael, the one-child policy extremely controversial policy here for decades in China. Some have accused it of pushing for forced abortion and forced sterilization, also saying it's torn at the social fabric, as you say, of families. Now this has been relaxed in some cases. A very significant move, as you say, surprising to many. When we hit the streets of Beijing, the response from people was almost immediate.

MALVEAUX: And David, talk about abolishing the labor camps here, because there are many different reasons for this. I imagine economics is driving that, and also just modernization, how society has changed.

How much of this is being pushed by Chinese's new president, and what is ultimately behind that?


MCKENZIE: ... the new leader --


-- the criticisms coming for people for years about the labor camps --


-- it is a brutal system


-- hundreds of families --


-- people were put away for years --


MALVEAUX: All right.

HOLMES: Yeah, we've got a lot of trouble with that signal there. But those labor camps, a lot of criticism on a human rights level for those camps over the years -

MALVEAUX: Absolutely.

HOLMES: -- locked up for four years without trials. It was used for criminals, but also used to silence critics of the government. Nobody is saying that the Chinese are now going to let people speak freely when it comes to criticizing the government, but it is a good move.

There was another move, too. They're going to let private banks go in, too, which is --

MALVEAUX: Yeah, there is some progress that's being made -


MALVEAUX: -- obviously.

All right, thank you, and we'll try to get back to David when we can.

Also following this, it has been a week now since the typhoon destroyed parts of the Philippines. Still, people there, they are struggling simply to survive.

Coming up, how one woman is keeping her husband alive by manually pumped his lungs.


MALVEAUX: It is now one week into the epic tragedy in the Philippines. Officials have raised the death toll from the killer typhoon to 3,621, and that figure is expected to keep going up.

HOLMES: Yeah, you've got more than 1,000 people still listed as missing. More bodies are turning up every day, of course, as the debris gets moved around.

Here's the latest for you now, crews intensifying the process of collecting those bodies off the streets and from underneath the rubble across some of the hardest hit areas, and they are being buried in mass graves.

MALVEAUX: Survivors have kept watch over the decomposing remains of their relatives, and the rubble now being cleared. More help is being deployed, thank goodness, but the recovery remains devastatingly slow. You've got sickness, hunger, thirst, really just ravaging.

HOLMES: Yeah, terrible, a week into it, but the U.S. Navy obviously helping out a lot with that distribution.

Now one woman is helping her injured husband stay alive by manually pushing air into his lungs. Now his leg amputation led to an infection at a hospital that, of course, doesn't have electricity, like most of that area, seven days after the storm.

MALVEAUX: The Philippine government is defending its efforts to get relief to the victims, despite many complaints, as we have mentioned before, from people who have had no help at all or very little help.

And, Anderson Cooper, he has been covering this catastrophe from the very beginning, live from the Philippines, all week. And there were reports from others, and from Anderson, from international reporters, that have been criticized by Philippine broadcasters.

HOLMES: Yeah, the Philippine president has actually asked the media to focus on stories that show, quote, "how strong the Filipino people," unquote, and the media certainly has been doing that, as well.

And Anderson responded to this last night on "AC 360."


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, "ANDERSON COOPER 360": I would actually say that, all week long, in every report we have done we have shown how strong the Filipino people are. The Filipino people, the people of Tacloban and Samar and Cebu and all these places where so many have died, they are strong not just to have a survived this storm, but the aftermath of this storm. They have survived for a week now, often with very little food, with very little water, with very little medical attention.

Can you imagine the strength it takes to be living in a shack, to be living, sleeping on the streets next to the body of your dead children? Can you imagine that strength? I can't. And I've seen that strength day in and day out here in the Philippines. And we honor them with every broadcast that we do.


MALVEAUX: We certainly do.

CNN is committed to bringing you all of the dimensions of the story, and, you know, you can't but help but get emotional when you are there on the ground and you see the kind of things, the kind of pain and the resolve, though, that people have there, the strength that they have.

Anderson Cooper, he's going to be broadcasting live out of the Philippines again tonight. You're not going to want to miss this. It is coming your way, 8:00 Eastern, more on that very important story.

And people forget. You know, if you don't show this, people forget that people are suffering and what they are -- what they have to overcome.

HOLMES: And there are some very valid criticisms of the Philippine government response to this. It was very slow. There are still people who aren't getting help.

And I was talking to the commander of the U.S. naval task force that's there now. The work they're doing is actually enormous. They're using their helicopters and boats to get that aid to places that still haven't received until now. So yeah, it wasn't a good response from the central government.

Now, if you want to help people impacted by the storm, you can. Just go to our Web site to see how you can lend a hand. That's

MALVEAUX: And this, incredible, a man falling from a plane from almost 2,000 feet here. This happened above the Atlantic Ocean. This is just off Florida in a small plane with just one passenger.

I want you to listen to this exchange between the pilot and air traffic control.


PILOT: Mayday, mayday, mayday. I have a door ajar.

CONTROLLER: You said you had a passenger that fell out of your plane?

PILOT: That's correct, sir. He opened the back door and he just fall down the plane.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We have no indication at this time of how he fell out of the plane.

HOLMES: Extraordinary stuff, isn't it?

The passenger's name not yet released. Ocean rescue teams have been searching off the Florida coast for his body. Extraordinary mystery as to how that happened.

MALVEAUX: And near Tampa, Florida, today, a family is thanking their lucky stars. This is the backyard. An enormous sinkhole just opened up 50 feet deep early -- this happened early yesterday. Nobody was hurt, but tore away a couple of rooms. You can just imagine if you're in that house, forced evacuations, several other homes in the area. They just had to leave immediately.

Emergency officials say this hole is getting bigger, but they're going to try to start filling it in over the weekend.

HOLMES: Yeah, as we've reported here before, sinkholes are actually pretty common in that part of Florida because of the geology there. A man actually died earlier this year when a sinkhole opened up beneath his bedroom while he slept.

MALVEAUX: Well, first, the fix, then the apology.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We fumbled the rollout on this health care law, and that's on me. And the American people, those who got cancellation notices, do deserve and have received an apology from me.


MALVEAUX: President Obama's solution could turn out to be the ultimate fix. Could it or the start of a big mess? Is it actually going to hurt his legacy, as well?



We're waiting for two live events, both focusing, of course, on the Obamacare law. The White House briefing, expecting to start just a couple minutes from now, and we expect the administration to elaborate on the new Obamacare fix.

Meanwhile, the House, you see it there, about to vote on a bill sponsored by Republican Fred Upton of Michigan which would allow Americans to keep their current health insurance plans.

Now, although it features things that are similar to the White House fix, Democrats say that it actually takes steps toward dismantling the health care law. The president says if it passes, he's actually going to veto it.

HOLMES: Well, while the politicians wrangle on Capitol Hill over fixes, patients, of course, still caught in the middle, the people who actually need coverage.