tv Inside Story Al Jazeera September 10, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT
>> you are watching al jazeera, i'm tony harris. new developments in syria ahead of president obama's address to the nation tonight. syria is willing to hand over his chemical weapons to the international community. russia called for a meeting this afternoon, but it was postponed. the goal would be to come to an agreement to avoid a military strike. russia says it won't stand for any language that lace blame for the august 21st chemical attack by assads government.
president obama will still address the nation tonight on the issue as planned. al jazeera will carry the president's address live beginning at 9:00 pm eastern time. it is official, apple has released two new iphones. the iphone does indeed come with a finger print scanner to unlock the phone. the other new release the iphone 5c is $100 cheaper than the 5s. those are the headlines, the news continues on al jazeera after "inside story." ♪ congress is back at work, syria tops the agenda for now, but with the clock ticking, what can we expect as lawmakers tackle the nation's business. from washington this is "inside
story" on al jazeera america. ♪ >> hello, i'm libby case sis. new democratic efforts are in play taking the heat off of congress to vote on military strikes for the moment. today on "inside story" we'll take a closer look at the congressional agenda. and we'll go live to new york city as voters cast mayoral votes. congress returns this week with an agenda as long as the halls of capitol hill.
>> i think congress needs to compromise. >> they need to be trying to figure out how to help the people in the united states. >> a public opinion firm found that only 7% of likely voters think congress is doing a good job. 62% rated the performance as poor, and it's not great for the president either. only 45% of likely voters are approving of his job performance. and more than half disapprove. >> yesterday we had a big meeting among house democrats about working in a bipartisan way to have comprehensive immigration reform. >> immigration reform was supposed to be the defining issue for this term with an estimated 11 million undocumented workers in the u.s., house republicans are
working on their own plan focused on securing the border. >> our goal is not to shut down the government. our goal is to cut spending. >> but congress needs to find a way to pay itself bills, democrats and republicans continue their battle over a budget. republicans want spending cuts while democrats are fighting to increase the debt limit before the government runs out of money in mid-october. the agenda is full of other items, the farm bill and food stamps, and voting rights, and the affordable care act. >> we're going to continue to do everything we can to protect americans from this harmful health care law. ♪ >> joining us in the studio to discuss the work of the 113th congress are lanay, director of
the social and politic program. john, a republican strategist, and president of quinn gillespie journalists. so congressional ratings are very low. but that is new nothing. does it matter? >> i think it tends to disengage people from the process, they decide these guys are all jerks. they are never going to be helpful, so people feel they don't have confidence that they can engage in the political process and see change in a meaningful way. and they may be right at this point. but it really doesn't help them feel like they are active citizens. >> there was a poll on american's thoughts on syria, and two to one people today that congress should have the say on whether the u.s. engages in military strikes. >> we have been joking that two
out of three people said congress should be sent to syria, but it is true, they are concerned particularly about getting into a war, and having congress involved gives sort of more oversight to what the president right be doing. even on the people don't want us to go to syria. >> buzz it give the president more gravitas at this point? >> i think it makes it much moore meaningful than voting for the 47th time to defund the affordable health care act. it makes those small petty programs your pet projects all very -- you know, kind of lawfulable in the light of what is really a national and international crisis at this point, i think it helps folks
work together a little bit. >> john does it change the dynamic as congress comes back to work right now? are we seeing a very different fall than we anticipated? >> we are. we're not talking about defunding obamacare, although there is a rally on the mall today talking about that, but most of the attention of the media is focused on the syria thing. and with your earlier question, congress tends to get elevated when they are talking about war and peace. in the early '90s, approval ratings went up when we talked about the first war in the persian gulf. and approval was up after 9/11 because congress came together. you go to war, and then you go back into your partisan camps and your approval rating goes back down again.
we'll see if they start moving to other directions and if there's a peace agreement or some sort of solution with chemical weapons, then you'll see congress pivot to their usual partisan camps. >> immigration, paul singer where is that at right now? how much has the time line changed? it is changing based on what is happening in the debate over syria? >> i'm not convinced it is directly linked to the debate over syria. the fact of the matter is the energy and the attention to that issue has fallen off of the table completely. last i heard there was conversation about well, we'll do immigration sometime in the spring, maybe. 1014 is an election year, a pal of mine says maybe 2015. i don't think that immigration is going to be able to take center stage between now and christmas with everything else they have to do and with syria
dominating all of the conversation it's hard to see an end to it. >> john how is that s an important factor in this? the primary battles are not too far from now, so how does that change their position on immigration and influence what is going on? >> we were talking about this earlier, the fact of the matter is the house of representatives probably was not going to vote on immigration until after the primaries anyway. the reelections that most members of congress face are the primary elections, and they get rapped up by sometime in mid-june of next year. what syria does is give house leaders a nice excuse to talk about the delay in the vote on immigration, because there are only a certain number of days left before the government shuts down, and the debt limit being
reached, so all of that has an impact on the immigration debate, but the biggest is the primary elections. >> if they support some sort of compromise in immany grags, they can get taken out in the primary. >> most of these districts are so gerrymandered that their biggest threat is from the right. so voting on this after that primary is concluded makes it a lot easier for a lot of is republicans. >> i agree that the time line was always going to be a little bit further into the fall for immigration. but i totally disagree that the air has been let out of the balloon around immigration. we saw august as a big political win for immigration supporters in that we didn't see the townhalls we had around obamacare, and people getting up
in arms, from people who really owned comprehensive reform, so i think that was a very good -- good piece of news for immigration proponents, and the us in that we saw were some moderate republicans feeling a lot of pressure, saying they really need to get on board for that. so it is a little bit longer of a time line, but i think things are moving forward, and there is still a lot of pressure there on house republicans. >> what are you going to be watching as key moments of movement or lack thereof, and when is the drop dead time line? >> i agree with john that there are a lot of dynamics around the primaries that are counter intuitive. we might think going closer to an election might be harder to get something threw, but here we're really worried more about
primary challengers, and a lot of the house republicans know we have to get something done, want to move forward, but are worried about the tea party challenger. the closer we get to those people knowing they don't have to worry about that challenge on the right, they are better freed up to do what they know they should do. when we come back we'll talk about money. will the white house and congress strike a deal on funding the government or will we see another standoff? stay with us.
we still have our panel with us. okay. paul singer, talk about the money for us, the government funding. we're watching the deadline for that, and also the debt ceiling, once again we're about to bump up against the debt ceiling. >> the government runs out of money september 30th. there has been no legislation passed to spend money after that. they have to settle that in the next three weeks, and there is this looming deadline of mid-october when the government hits its debt ceiling and needs authority from congress to allow us to borrow more money to pay off old debts. those two things have to be done or the government doesn't operate and the economy collapses. >> and congress is only in session for a handful of days over the next month or so.
>> right. and the expectation is they are going to introduce legislation to extend this year's funding for the federal government probably until mid-december. then they can focus the real argument on the debt ceiling, and that's when the republicans can make the case that we need to spendless, borrow less and then get back to the agreement. >> is this a replay of what we have seen happen over the last couple of years? >> pretty much. the only new wrinkle is republicans have been hammering on the implementation of obamacare, and there has been a move by conservatives to not fund obamacare in the continuing resolution. the problem with that is obviously the president is not going to sign that, and some -- the majority he is not going to pass it. but that doesn't mean that ted cruz and mike lee and others are
not pounding to keep the legislation open unless it defunds obamacare. there are constituents who do not like this law, but it is never going to fly with the president. the bigger fiscal stuff, we have been fighting this battle for a long time, how much money to spend, and if he spend too much, how do we extend our debt limit. >> as we watch these past budget battles unfold, who goes into this with a little bit of edge? democrats, republicans, or the white house or are they all lumped together. >> there was a poll this week that showed that people didn't see the senate as anyone different than the house in terms of not getting things done. but the republicans approval rating plummeted last time. so i think they are concerned that that could happen again,
and that that could be very bad for them in 2014 if they are seen as just the party of no at all times, and not putting forward anything in an affirmative way. >> i think congressional leaders see it as a risk , many see it as an opportunity to get rid of the law they hate. and like john boehner, the last thing he wants is a government shutdown because republicans will get blamed. the new guys are seeing this as an opportunity, and they want to make a name for themselves, and they don't see the risks involved. >> paul singer what else is less? we have only talked about couple of issues that congress could be dealing with in the next couple of months, and there is so much that isn't being talked about. >> federal farm subsidies expire at the end of september as well. we don't have a farm bill. and if we don't have a farm bill
at all, some farmers are not going to get paid. but again, you are going to rap into this conversation of how much do we want to cut? do we want to cut billions in food stamps off of the farm bill? some people want to see the programs move ahead, some people say this is where you stick the stick in the ground and say we're finally going do it. >> are we going to see the can kicked down the road on a lot of these issues? >> i'll go out on a limb and say yes. the debt ceiling, what it sounds like they are going to do, by having a three-month extension, they can kick that can down the road and focus on the debt ceiling. that's where republicans think they have better traction.
>> what are some of the issues being put to the wayside. >> well, one of the issues that is stuck is any employment non-discrimination act that says that you can't be fired for being gay. we have 80 to 90% support for in most places in the country, and 70% everywhere. but that's a matter of fitting that in amongst a lot of other issues, and there has been a lot of clamoring on something to be done on guns, so we're hopeful some progress can be made there. >> is gun legislation over? >> yeah, it's over. i would say the other issue, though, that is kind of part of this fiscal debate, and that's the sequester. federal domestic spending is ratcheted down even more, but in
connection with syria, defense discretionary spending is being ratcheted down, and these spending cuts which are going below 2009 levels are really hurting a lot of programs out there, and democrats will be pushing on the discretionary side, but republicans will be pushing for defense spending, and that is part of this debate that is not getting as much coverage as it deserves. >> this plan that was hatched here in washington really a mechanism to try to get some unity on working on budgets. the sequester was the last resort we ended up with. paul is that something we're stuck with? it is coming up in the debate over syria. republicans are talking about tying republicans to defense spending. >> it is. they say the defense has been exhausted by war and then gutted by sequester spending.
my suspicion is the sequester funding levels are in place and they are going to stay in place. it will be very hard to justify spending more than this level of spending, a lot will argue for spending less, and the issue is how do you spread that pain around? >> thank you. lanea, john, and paul, stick around. when we come back we'll talk more politics. it's primary day in new york and the race to succeed mayor michael bloomberg.
♪ welcome back to "inside story." it's a primary day in new york city, and the big headline is the race for mayor. >> we need serious change in new york city, the status quo is unacceptable, and if you want progressive change, i'm your consolidate. >> focus is on the democratic side. and the surprise front runner is bill deblauz you. bill thompson was second, and
christine quinn is also battling to force a runoff. joining us from new york to discuss this issue is sarah, and still with us in washington, paul singer of usa today. sarah, bill de blasio pulled ahead, how much of a surprise is this? >> we knew from the beginning there was going to be christine quinn, and antichri antichrist -- anti-christine quinn. after anthony weiner became sort of a joke, that has fallen on bill dee -- belaws you. >> how is he appealing to the
progressives in new york city? >> the public advocate is a weird office in new york, they call it the city ombudsman, so we had a big fight, you probably heard something about this, about the police department's stop and frisk policy, that really came to a head recently with a big vote in the city council to overturn bloomberg's veto on a couple of bills that they are calling the community safety act that will be changing the way the police can't brits. debladio has come out hard for those bills. he has been talk about inquestion tallty, public housing, poverty, he was asked if there was one city department he would never cut, and he said homeless services. >> how are people reacting to this message? is he gaining wider appeal since
he is leading in the polls? >> so the big surprise was there was a poll that came out that showed him over the 40% threshold, which would as you said circumvent a runoff. i wouldn't bet on that at this point. i would bet there is a runoff, and it will be bill thompson or christine quinn running against him. but i would say the progressive base was with him fairly early on. he was enforced by a couple of progressive city unions, but since he started to take off a little bit, he started to take off a lot, right? it has really snowballed and he has gotten an out sized amount of attention around the country and in the national media too. >> paul singer what can the country learn from the new york city mayor's place. >> there are going to be huge
outcomes after the election is over, negotiate deals with the city employees unions to come up with a schools contract, make sure the garbage gets picked up, and everything that happens there becomes big national news. if you try to a ban large sodas that has the rallying cry throughout the country. >> sarah, what are you hearing from the streets so far on election day? >> so the thing that's disappointing me is that we're hearing a lot of the reports of the same kind of voting problems that we had in 2012. the city has a lot of money, there's no reason we should have problems running a primary election. >> when you say problems what do you mean? >> polling places not opening on time. machines not working. the poll site locater sending
people to manhattan who live in brooklyn. >> and they are back to lever machines. >> does that tell us something for the coming elections nationally? >> everyone distrusts the voting where they are, and this just gives another reason to believe maybe we should go back to the old way. >> thank you so much to both of you. that's it for now from the team in washington, d.c. and for me, libby casey. you can keep the debate going on our facebook page. and send us your thoughts on twitter. thanks for watching. ♪