tv PBS News Hour PBS January 1, 2013 7:00pm-8:00pm EST
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: resistance from house republicans delayed action on a fiscal cliff compromise passed overwhelmingly by the senate in the wee hours of this new year's day. good evening. i'm judy woodruff. >> suarez: and i'm ray suarez. on the newshour tonight, we get the latest on the stalemate plus we hear from republican tom cole of oklahoma and democrat chris van hollen of maryland. >> woodruff: jeffrey brown has an update on some of the areas hit hardest by superstorm sandy, where recovery continues at a slow pace.
>> suarez: badly damaged by sandy in new jersey, of the community's 520 homes 60 were washed away and 139 remain uninhabitable. still without electricity, gas, sewers or water. >> suarez: we continue our conversations with new members of the 113th congress. tonight the senator-elect from nebraska, republican deb fiscr. >> woodruff: that's all ahead on tonight's newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: moving our economy for 160 years. bnsf, the engine that connects us.
>> and by the bill and melinda gates foundation. dedicated to the idea that all people deserve the chance to live a healthy, productive life. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... but that was after the measure ran into initial republican resistance with demands for more spending cuts. congress began the new year having missed its deadline to keep tax cuts from rising back to 1990's levels for most
americans. and to prevent across-the-board spending cuts. instead, house republicans and democrats spent much of the day mulling a bill that cleared the senate shortly before 2:00 a.m. >> the yeas are 89. the nays are 8. 60-vote threshold having been achieved, the bill as amended is passed. >> woodruff: the senate bill makes permanent the bush-era tax fits for 99% of families, those with incomes under $450,000 a year. anything over that amount would be taxed at a rate of 39.6%, up from the current 35. the agreement would raise the estate tax on large estates to 40%. but the payroll tax cut of the last two years would expire. the bill also extends unemployment benefits for a year and it stops a cut in medicare payments for physicians. the senate vote was a rare show of unity welcomed by leaders of both parties. >> as i said, this shouldn't be the model for how we do things
around here. but i think we can say we've done some good for the country. >> in passing this agreement does not mean negotiations halt. far from it. we can all agree there's more work to be done. >> woodruff: president obama sounded a similar note in a statement saying, while neither democrats nor republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country and the house should pass it without delay. the president and house speaker john boehner had once talked of a grand bargain with $4 trillion in deficit reduction. instead, the congressional budget office calculated today that extending the bush-era tax cuts for 99% of americans would add $4 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. the senate measure delays mandatory pentagon and domestic spending cuts by two months. as the house convened at midday, a number of republican congressmen complained the bill is still too heavy on tax hikes
and too light on spending cuts. ohio's steve la tourette dismissed it as a "package put together by a bunch of sleep- deprived octogenarians on new year's eve." and the alabama representative said the house needs more time. >> the house must postpone this vote until congress and the american people have time to study and evaluate this extraordinarily complex legislation and its impact on taxes, revenue, the economy, our debt and a myriad of other issues. >> woodruff: but tennessee democrat steve cohen warned about the consequences of not taking the senate deal. >> my district can't afford to wait a few days and have the stock market go down 300 points tomorrow if we don't get together and do something. >> woodruff: later house democratic leaders emerged from a nearly three-hour meeting with vice president biden, who helped broker the senate deal. minority leader nancy pelosi called for action. >> we look forward now as we go
forward in this day to see what the timing will be for a straight up-or-down vote on what passed 89-8 last night in the united states senate. >> woodruff: house republicans also met and gave no sign they were ready to call a vote on the senate bill. instead majority leader eric cantor said he won't support the measure. and others left open the possibility of changing the bill. and sending it back to the senate. >> woodruff: the story at this hour still unfolding at the house but all signs are pointing to a vote on the senate compromise later tonight. we get an update now froms in regular todd zwillich. he's washington correspondent for the take-away, public radio international. he was there for the senate vote until nearly dawn today. so, todd, it looks like another long night for you and the other members of the press, members of the house, of the congress. where does everything stand right now?
>> well, judy, house republicans met about an hour, hour-and-a-half ago. they just had been on the house floor. now that vote was not notable except it was a whip session. here's what house republican leaders have told their rank-and-file. we have two choices for you. choice one is to amend this bill. they've got a package ready to go of spending cuts. it's about $330 billion over ten years. the house has already passed it. it's a sequester replacement bill. it cuts food stamps, federal pensions. it cuts some other domestic spending. it gets rid defense cuts. we can pass that and attach it to the senate deal and send it back to the senate. they've also been warned, you can do that if you want to. if you do that, it probably kills this deal. harry reid, his aide senate democrats have been adamant. they're not going to touch an amended version of this deal that was brokered between republican leader and the vice
president. option 2 is to pass that senate passed bill on the house floor. if it comes to that. if house leaders can't muster 217 votes for that amendment which is what they were just whipping on the floor, sampling their members to see where the support is, if they can't get the 217 they've said, fine, it's a senate passed bill. the problem for house leaders is there will probably be only about 50 republican votes for it. that means that john boehner and eric cantor turn around and rely on house democratic leader nancy pelosi for the remaining 150, 160 votes. they'd be counting on the demate karates to push that bill home. >> woodruff: todd, why after a majority of republicans in the senate voted for this last night or early this morning, why are house republicans having such a hard time with it? >> well, we we just have to keep remembering that the house and the senate are very, very very different bodies. that's always true. but in this environment even the republican conferences of both
bodies are just radically different. this isn't the first time we've seen the dynamic. there were lots of republicans and lots of democrats in the senate who were saying yesterd yesterday, boy, 9 votes, a resounding bipartisan vote for this deal. this should be plenty of cover for house republicans to go ahead and pass this thing. well, anyone who thought that was really forgetting, for instance, the payroll tax holiday debate of february when the senate got 89 bipartisan votes for that deal only to have it unravel before the conservative house republican conference. the highway bill over the summer got 74 or 75 bipartisan votes only to have it unravel before the house republican conference. this has happened time and time again where speaker boehner either through proxies or himself tries to get the deals with thed administration or with democrats and has a hard time getting his house conservative republicans to go for it. >> woodruff: todd, you've been watching this house, and you
were watching the senate last night. at this point, should people be focusing on this small group of the most conservative members of the house? where is the leverage? where is the power among house republicans right now? >> well, there is a great deal of leverage with the... with that small group of conservatives that you describe. there's a lot of criticism around washington that a group that is relatively small in number has outsized influence. they point to grover in order quist. he's one guy. why does the at a party caucus who are vocal but still relatively small amongst 535 members why do they have so much influence? that's maybe a question for another day. keep that in the back of your mind. for tonight, it's really going to be the whip count on this spending cut amendment. do republicans, house leaders, with that 217 are the votes there? keep in mind they're not necessarily trying to get there. there's no indication that house republican leaders really want
to throw a last-minute monkey wrench in or challenge the senate to make good on their threat that they won't touch that. watch that whip count. does it get to 217? if it does, we're in for a very, very long night. we're in for a long day tomorrow. i don't know where we would be at noon on january 3 when the 112th congress is gaveled out and the 113th is convened. if they don't get to 217 on that, judy, and it looks like the senate bill, then it's a bit of political difficulty perhaps for speaker john boehner. but it does probably mean in all likelihood that this fiscal cliff situation is solved for now not permanently. we're going to be back at this in a couple of months i'm afraid. >> woodruff: democrats are worried about what the reaction will be in the stock market, the economy overall if the deal is not reached. what's the feeling about that among republicans? >> you hear a couple people talking about that. you know, it's curious because we've seen that movie before too. people will remember tarp. the troubled assets relief program. everybody remembers how much money that was.
$750 billion, i think, it was. a great deal of money. some people in the public might forget that bill failed the first time republicans tried to put it on the floor. the stock market tanked nearly 800 points. and that's what got people back on the floor to finally pass that deal. it was a whole lot of fear. they got spooked. there is some talk of that here. people are cognizant of the fact that if there's a challenge to the senate bill that was brokered again between mcconnell and vice president biden, that it could spark another spook in the markets. nobody thinks this is quite tarp level. the markets have shown quite a bit of resilience to the fiscal cliff debate. they're not that spooked about it. the debt limit is a much bigger deal to the bond markets frankly but there is cognition around here that this is a factor. >> woodruff: it looks like it will be a long night for you and everybody else up there. thanks very much. >> pleasure, judy. suarez: how does each party view the deal on the table? we got two takes. i spoke earlier tonight with republican congressman tom cole
of oklahoma and congressman chris val hollen of maryland. he's the ranking member on the budget committee and part of the democratic leadership team. >> we're doing what you ought to do. >> suarez: and is a vote imminent? >> last night, we're looking and dieding the appropriate way to proceed. i think we'll reach that decision tonight. we're looking for a consensus among our membership as to whatted to do. not necessarily how to vote. then we'll go from there. but i would expect that we'll see action obviously if not tonight, tomorrow. >> suarez: it is significant, isn't it, sir, that your leader, representative cantor, has said he doesn't want to vote for the bill in its current form. >> i don't think any republican wants to vote for it. i'm sure a lot of democrats don't want to vote for it. the real question is, will you vote for it if that's the only alternative that make sure that taxes won't go up for 98% of the american people? we literally have 3.6 trillion dollars worth of tax relief that
can be cemented for a long time. it can be done in a bipartisan fashion. we're going to have plenty of differences with our friends on the other side of the rotunda and the other side of the aisle when it comes to spending january, february, and march. to me the wise thing to do is to, you know, pocket, you know, what you can out of this arrangement, protect the american people, move on to the other areas of disagreement. maybe we can even find some compromise. >> suarez: representative van hollen, let me turn to you. in this sort of situation, the clock is running. the congress is coming to its final hours. what does a minority party do in a situation like this? can you keep all your members poised and ready to go until such time as the majority is ready to call the motion? >> well, yes, we can. ray, what we have here is a very alarming situation. you had a bipartisan compromise vote in the united states senate. 89 out of 100 senators, republicans and democrats together for the good of the country and to avoid the fiscal cliff, passing this agreement. now you have the situation in
the house right now where we the democrats have asked for an up- or-down vote on that bipartisan compromise bill, and so far the word we're getting is we're not going to have that opportunity. that is a clear signal that republicans in the house are taking us right over the fiscal cliff. i wished the entire republican caucus was as reasonable as the colleague of mine and friend who is standing right next to me who is a very conservative republican, but a very practical common sense republican. if his colleagues would listen to him, we would be in decent shape here. right now the problem in the republican caucus and the house is compromise has become a dirty word. as you indicated, there are things in this bill that i don't like. there are things in this bill that i don't like. but i recognize that none of us get to have things 100% of our way. and the difference between divided government and dysfunctional government is a willingness to compromise. and compromise is in very short supply today in the house
republican caucus. >> suarez: representative van hollen, you heard your colleague tom cole talk about deep misgivings inside the republican caucus. aren't there members of your party who are not overjoyed with what came out of the senate last night? where are the dividing lines among democrats in the house today? >> yes, there are. our members have very serious questions about this particular agreement. the vice president appeared before the democratic caucus in the house for about three hours. he took a lot of questions. he addressed a lot of people's concerns. but people still have very serious concerns. but democrats in the house also recognize that we are now past midnight on january 1. we're headed over the fiscal cliff. and for the good of the country we have to compromise. that doesn't mean every democrat is going to support this measure. but i think you're finding a much greater sense of willingness to compromise for the good of the country among democrats than obviously you're seeing among house republicans at this moment. it is very alarming that we're
at this particular juncture. >> suarez: representative cole, let's pitch forward a bit. just a short time ago the associated press quoted aides to senior leadership in the senate saying that there's no time left for a vote. if the house amends this bill and sends it back to them, it simply is not going to be taken up during the 112th congress. have you run out the clock? no matter what your members do? >> no, i don't think we have run out the clock. look, we're having the same type of discussions and debates within our ranks that my friend chris and his colleagues are having earlier today as well. i would not prejudge where the republican conference is going to be. i remain, as i have been all through this, optimistic that at the end of the day we're going to arrive at an acceptable deal that takes care of the fiscal cliff and certainly sells the tax issue.
i do think we're moving to some really big spending fights early next year. i'm pretty comfortable with where we are tonight in terms of getting a deal. it is a compromise deal that, again, will have members on both sides that don't support but we'll have members on both sides that do. >> suarez: so the senate has adjourned. if the bill is amended and sent back to them (talking over each other) with the 113th. >> i'm hoping what we're hearing here from my friend tom is maybe a little hint that it will not be amended after all, which would be a very good sign because if this bill is amended, it will violate an agreement that had strong bipartisan support in the senate. it would mean that we're going over the fiscal cliff. if the latest is that maybe they won't be amending it, that would be a very positive sign. >> suarez: let me ask you both, if there's interest on both sides of the aisle to not start
this argument all over again with the 113th congress. with new members in both chambers, with different interests at play. is there an interest on both your parties' parts to make sure that doesn't happen? mr. cole? >> i don't intend to speak for my party but i think your point is a valid one. i think it's incumbent upon this congress to solve this problem: i think it would be extraordinarily unfair to new members to show up and have this tax issue dumped in their laps. we're very, very close to a bipartisan solution. again, nobody is happy with everything in the bill on either side. but i think pushing it forward would not be... we're going to have pretty good fights next year. we don't need to create another one. we ought to settle this one between now and the end of the 112th congress. >> suarez: representative van hollen, if there's a split in the republican party, do you think there's another solid whipping on your side of the aisle that you'll help your republican colleagues get this over the finish line before the clock runs out on this congress now?
>> ray, i don't have a particular vote count on the democratic side. what i do know is that democrats in the house recognize that compromise is important for the good of the country. we don't have an extremist caucus that believes that you always get to have everything 100% your way as some members of the house republican caucus seem to believe. based on that, i believe that you'll have a strong bipartisan contribution from democrats. again, that depends on us having an up-or-down vote on this bill that passed the senate with 89 out of 100 votes. i am worried, to your question, ray, that even once we get beyond this-- and i hope we will -- and avoid going over the fiscal cliff, that we're going to be in the same kind of situation with respect to the debt ceiling and making sure that the united states government makes good on the full faith and credit. we can't be a country that does not pay its bills, that we don't
meet the obligations that we've already incurred. you already hear many republicans threatening the united states would default on its debt, which would frankly make the fiscal cliff situation look like a picnic in comparison with respect to what would happen to the economy. >> suarez: representative cole, before i let you both go, your caucus meeting is just breaking up now. was there discussion of an up- and-down vote as part of that meeting? >> certainly was. there was discussion of all ranges of options in front of us. i think i sense a consensus developing. i'm pretty optimistic about what the next 48 hours will bring. but again let's wait and see. >> suarez: representative tom cole of oklahoma. representative chris van hollen of maryland. very tense time in the country's life. gentlemen, thanks for joining us. >> thank you. >> woodruff: still to come on the newshour, recovery efforts
post-hurricane sandy; and senator-elect deb fischer of nebraska. but first, the other news of the day. here's kwame holman. >> holman: this first day of 2013 brought the traditional sights and scenes of the new year, around the country today. in pasadena, california, the 124th rose parade kicked off this morning. 42 floats made the five-mile journey along with 23 marching bands. an estimated 700,000 people lined the streets to watch. and in new york city, it was an early morning start for sanitation workers. crews worked to collect tons of garbage, including the remnants of some 17 million pieces of confetti that fell on times square at midnight. new year's celebrations turned deadly overnight in ivory coast, when a crowd stampeded. more than 60 people died in the crush to leave a stadium after a fireworks show in abidjan, the country's major commercial city. most of the victims were children and teenagers. some 200 others were injured. today the president of the west african nation called for efforts to improve public
safety. >> it's a national tragedy, of course. and i really hope that we will push ourselves to investigate, to see what could have prevented this tragedy so that it will not happen again. >> the government also pledged to cover the cost of hospital treatment for the injured. a new wave of violence rocked pakistan today leaving nine dead and dozens wounded. in the northwest, gunmen ambushed a van in the town of swabi, killing five female teachers and two aid workers. it followed a series of militant attacks targeting anti-polio workers. to the south, a bomb exploded near a large political rally in karachi. at least four people died there, and dozens were hurt. the number of civilian deaths in iraq rose in 2012 for the first time in three years. the human rights group iraq body count reported today there were 4,471 civilians killed, up more than 400 from the year before.
the group said it shows iraq remains in a state of "low-level war" with insurgents. the state of pennsylvania will sue the n.c.a.a. over sanctions against penn state university in the child sexual abuse scandal that rocked the school. the penalties include a $60 million fine to finance child abuse prevention grants nationwide. governor tom corbett said today the state wants a federal court to guarantee that all of the money is spent in pennsylvania. the university agreed to the sanctions last july. those are some of the day's major stories. now, back to judy. >> woodruff: now we return to one of the biggest stories of last year, hurricane sandy, and its devastating impact on new york and new jersey. jeffrey brown has our update on where things stand today. >> brown: as winter storms bore down on parts of the midwest and northeast last week, flood waters again rose in a small coastal town of sea bright new jersey.
>> we went through the previous storm. it was bad. i didn't expect another one that quickly. >> we went through a very strong last night. plus we're more vulnerable because we don't have any sand on the beach. >> brown: those sands were washed away two months ago when hurricane sandy battered new jersey, new york, and connecticut, killing at least 125 people in the u.s. and causing a minimum of $62 billion in damage. left behind are daily reminders of the storm's impact. just an hour from sea bright, another small town was badly damaged by sandy. of the community's 520 homes, 60 were washed away and 139 remain uninhabitable. still without electricity, gas, sewers or water. >> we're the smallest town with the most amount of damage. we have to take it one step at a time. we can't expect anything to happen overnight. it's baby steps. >> brown: on new york's staten island some of those who lost their homes spent christmas in shelters. >> this is actually the first
time ever since 1916 there won't be a member of my family in my home on christmas morning. >> brown: meanwhile others have left new york for temporary homes in places like new milford, connecticut. >> right now i'm just taking it all in, just to even have my own little personal space is such a luxury. you change your goals. you change your priorities, your basic... everything changes. >> brown: yet some areas are showing signs of life again. in recent weeks businesses in seaside heights, new jersey, have been reopening to very grateful customers. >> this is very good. i was hoping this one and the pizza place down the street, hoping it would be there, too, but not yet. >> refreshing, happy to be here. we're trying to serve the people of our community. just resort to business as usual in a very uncomfortable circumstance. ♪ it's my life. >> brown: to help victims across
the region, there have been ongoing relief efforts like this concert in madison square garden on december 12. and mayor michael bloomberg has pledged to rebuild new york's devastated coastal areas. >> let me be clear. we are not going to abandon the waterfront. we're not going to leave the rockaways or coney island or staten island south shore. but we can't just rebuild what was there and hope for the best. we have to build smarter and stronger and more sustainably. >> to do so, the governors of new york, new jersey and connecticut have asked for $82 billion in federal disaster relief aid. >> we get a further update from two reporters covering the post- sandy situation. a reporter from the "new york times" and mike schneider, managing editor and anchor of new jersey today on public television. sarah, start with the areas you've been looking at. what major problems persist weeks after the storm? >> well, it depends where you look. in new jersey, some towns are still on lockdown. so they're really at a standstill.
people have been able to maybe cart out dry wall, clean up the mold, but they can't progress. they can't figure out if they want to raise up their houses, or just build it the way it was. they're really prevented from moving forward at all. when you go to places like the rockaways, while there's been tremendous clean-up, again these same issues. people don't know, are they going to get insurance money to fix the way they need to? are they going to get extra subsidies in order to do these mitigating factors? so the problems that persist are how to rebuild and when. >> brown: mike snyder, how would you characterize it? is it really different in different areas? >> very much so. it depends on what part of the coast you're on, it depends on whether you're on the coast or inland right now. there's a growing sense in the state of new jersey that people are starting to get to the point where the storm is passed, the recovery has been promised. now where is my check? when can i go back home?
there are thousands of people in this state who still can't go home. many of them now are starting to raise questions about how come the fema process, which was promised to be so smooth, hasn't turned out that way. they've addressed these issues directly to governor and some municipalities are asking about why things hadn't worked out as well as they had hoped. if you cover disasters, this is not unusual. but what is unusual right now is that here we are this far out and still no promise of that congressional aid which has been supposedly in the works for a while coming to help make things better, a little more quickly, and to raise people's hopes as well. >> brown: mike, tell us a little bit more about that aid process, whether it's government, whether it's fema, whether it's insurance coverage and claims. you're saying that it's not running as smoothly as people had hoped? >> well, if you talk to a lot of the insurance companies here, they will tell you that they've handled a record number of claims for a record amounts of money in record time.
the statistics tend to bear that out. but that can't take care of all people in all places at all time. if your neighbor is back home that's fine and dandy for your neighbor. if you're not back home that still doesn't make things quite so nice for you. the fema process, we've talked to people from fema on the set here. they have been very, very aggressive about wanting to get out there in the field and take care of things. but governor christie held a town meeting just a few days ago in which, for the first time, and the governor has had a remarkable relationship with the people of his state ever since this storm hit. he was out on the field. the pictures have become part of the legend of chris christie in this state about his empathy and sympathy for those around him. what we're start to go see now in town meetings that some people are standing up and saying we expected this to work out this way. we had these numbers we were supposed to call. but suddenly, you know what? we're getting the runaround, because fema says we can't do it way. we have to talk to somebody else.
our insurance companies say no you have to talk to fema. there are some people out there who are just a little and with some justification we might add if you're out of your home as long as they have been, they're getting a little bit frustrated. >> brown: pick up on that. did you hear similar such things? is there even a neighborhood or even a building that kind of crystallizes the situation for you? >> i've actually been covering pretty extensively one housing complex called ocean village in the rockaways. when we think of the storm, we think of it hitting people in the floodwaters' path, people on the ground. actually people were stuck on the 19th floor of this housing complex in the dark, no running water, no working toilets. no way to get up and down especially if they were elderly. i've been watching this place rebuild. they're still on generator power. their transformer deluged with sea water won't be up any time soon. it's really emblematic of a lot of places out there. there are people sitting right now with no heat. there are scores of people or
thousands of scores of people without electricity still. as we were just saying, if one place is illuminated and cozy and warm the building next to it can be ice cold and completely powerless. that still persists. >> brown: mike, going back to what both of you talked about, many people still trying to make this decision about whether to rebuild, how to do it. i mean we're even seeing recent, you know, the vulnerability is there even we see in recent storms. that must complicate these decisions even more. >> absolutely. it does. it raises that whole sense of vulnerability once again. people in this part of the country for a long time heard about bad storms, watched bad storms, sympathized with the people who were being victimized. now they are the victims. it's an entirely different sort of situation. right now you have this growing nagging question about what do we do to rebuild? governor christie has said the shore is coming back. it won't be the same as it was in our mind's eye, but it's coming back. but i've spoken to former governor whitman and others as well. they're starting to say you know
what? we need to rebuild but we need to rebuild smart. do we want to go back and try to replicate what was there in our mind's eye? is that something we're capable of doing? even if we were, is that something that's advisable to do? we've heard all the climatology reports about what is coming our way. can we afford to go back and put that kind of money to rebuild that kind of infrastructure in an area that many say is likely to suffer the same fate time and time again in the not-too- distant future? >> you know, sarah, that's something that we've heard from mayor bloomberg as well. we're going to rebuild but we're going to try to rebuild smart. i'm just wondering at ground level when you're covering this, do you hear much about that kind of long-term discussion or is it too early for that? >> well, look, being able to rebuild smart is a luxury. you have to have the money to do that. and there are people who are knitted into these communities who probably inherited a house from a grandma or great grandma. they do not have the luxury to rebuild smart. they can barely rebuild at all. i met a woman whose house is
what's called red-tagged. it's coming down. she has no flood insurance or homeowners' insurance. the mortgage has been paid off for forever. she's in breezy point, which was a very hard-hit community. 110 or more houses burnt down during the storm. but others are knocked off their foundation. she can't rebuild smart. even with the money that she's going to get from fema for mitigation to prop it up a little or put in a breakaway wall so when the water comes through again as it inevitably will, she doesn't have that luxury. she's going to rebuild again and cross her fingers that this was the storm of the century. >> brown: in our closing minutes here, let me ask you both about, i'll start with you, mike, about what we heard when all this happened that, you know, it showed some of the divisions, some of the class divisions in the area but it also brought people together in some unusual ways. these couple months later, where do you think things... where do things stand? >> new jersey right now is still
a rather tightly knit state on this issue. you know, one of the things that came up during some of these benefit concerts-- springsteen has talked about it, the governor has talked about it as well-- is that the shore has all these unique places there are places on the jersey shore where rich people have lived and will continue to live. there are places down the jersey shore where the truck driver, where the garbage collector, where the schoolteacher, where all sorts of people of all sorts of different socioeconomic levels have lived for decades now. and that's the big question. that's the kernel of doubt that is starting to creep into this to the extent that it does exist is whether or not we know the rich areas probably will be able to sustain themselves because they have the money to do so. but for these other folks who are waiting for insurance checks, who are hoping to be able to put together the dollars and cents that they have in their savings accounts or investments, to be ale to put this back on the face of the earth the way it was or at least the way they would like it to be, can they afford to do it? that's a big question.
and the commitment of this state to see that through will probably tell us a lot about who we are as a state. >> brown: sarah, last word from you. >> right after the storm, there was this incredible onslaught of people from all over new york city and elsewhere into these what are essentially very impoverished areas that happen to coincide with where the storm hit hardest. there was a group of people hipsters who were helping, they called them "helpsters" because they had transformed into this squad of skinny jeans helpful people. haven't seen them very much. in the numbers that i saw in the very beginning. it sort of lost its trendiness. it's not on the forefront of people's minds. another way that divisions are going to reinsert themselves again is that with people getting out of their houses, the real estate market is incredibly depressed in many water side areas where people don't know what the future is going to be of these places so people are selling their houses to the first taker. and you have what can be sort of predatory purchases. that's going to change the
demographics of these areas, because you have working class areas that can't afford to rebuild and the people with money are going to be able to come in and purchase these homes and really change the socioeconomic landscape of what were working class storefront homes. >> brown: thank you both very much.aa >> thank you. >> leaders in business and politics are increasing looking to community colleges to help train students and in some cases even connect them directly with potential employers. special correspondent john palenko of learning matters has a story about the unusual path one college in washington state is taking. >> reporter: the 2012 seattle wine awards. showcasing the best in washington state wines. >> we have over 700 wineries.
we make some of the best cabernet, syrah, riseling, and merlot. we're one of the top places in the world for making fine wines. >> reporter: one champion receiving three double gold medals was an entry few had ever heard of. college cellars. >> it's very full-bodied and very chocolaty. i like it. >> reporter: made by students learning wine making at their local community college. >> we entered six wines. we went six for six. >> reporter: wine instructor tim donahue. >> that was a goal from day one. i wanted to teach them how to make day one. we got the medals. it was like wow we did it. it happened. >> reporter: the wine was made here 270 miles southeast of seattle in walla walla, washington. best known for its fertile farmlands, sweet onions and apples, it was here 12 years ago that the community college launched its wine school, the first of its kind in the nation. >> you always want a bottle ready to go.
if you don't, you can drip a little bit. >> reporter: the two-year degree program covers everything from grape growing and pressing to barreling, blending and tasting, taught hands-on at the college's vineyard. >> it's hard, hard work. a lot of people think it's sitting in the vine sipping wine. it's not. you're cold. you're wet. you're in a cellar. you're lifting heavy things. there's definitely a solid blue collar job. >> i was impressed with how much they're able to cram into two years. >> reporter: the program attracts students from across the country. many of whom like tyler tennyson comes to wine making from other careers. >> i was a commercial appraiser. i got laid off. so i called my wife and i said i have good news and i have bad news. the bad news is, i got laid off. the good news is, we can move to walla walla. six weerks later, i was starting the program and doing a harvest. >> reporter: after graduating, tyler was hired as a cellar master, overseeing all aspects
of production at seven hills vintners, a premiere wine maker in walla walla. >> i felt totally competent to step into a winery and play an active role in wine making. >> reporter: a recent survey of graduates found 80% are working in the wine industry. as vineyard managers, wine makers, cellar workers and wine sellers. most earn between $25,000 and $55,000 a year. as much as this is a story about wine making it's also a story about walla walla, a small town like many others that was hit hard. and what happened when the community college decided to play a part in helping to turn things around. before making wine, walla walla was famous for wheat and other crops that brought prosperity to the valley for more than 100 years. but in the 1990s, free trade
agreements flooded the market with cheap imported produce. >> we started losing our food processing industry which provided hundreds of jobs for people. >> reporter: steven van ausdale is the college president. >> quality of life finished. we saw more store fronts that were vacant. companies basically went out of business and closed. >> reporter: bad as things were, they were about to get better. sensing potential in the soil and climate here, a small group of pioneering wine makers had started growing grapes. >> here at the college in our planning, we thought, gee, is there something we can do maybe to help what could be an emerging industry and opportunity. >> reporter: their answer: the wine school. to supply the trained force the industry needed to grow. >> the industry was the one that dictated the curriculum. it helped us design the building. >> this is the cabernet franc.
>> reporter: miles anderson, who founded one of the region's first vineyards while teaching psychology at the college, was tapped to run the program. >> they said we want a practical, concrete, hands-on so that's what we've done. >> reporter: over the next 12 years, wineries in the valley took off, growing from the total of 19 to 174. a town that had been in decline saw its fortunes reversed. >> we have 29 tasting rooms downtown. we have great restaurants again. we have great places for people to visit. so it's flourishing. >> reporter: a wine tourist spends about two-and-a-half times as much at their destination as the average tourist. so attracting tourists and keeping them here became an objective. >> reporter: along with wine making the course offerings include programs in culinary art and golf course management.
is that the proper role of a community college, to foster a hospitality business? >> for students, their primary interest in life is preparing for work, having a secure job. so it's all about jobs. and quality of life and standard of living and wages today, i think. >> reporter: but some are hungry for more. jody middleton already had a job at a juice processing plant. so did jeremy petty. born and raised in walla walla, they had been friends for years. >> we met in middle school, played football together side by side on the offensive line. we protected our quarterback and we're working together again. >> reporter: dreaming of a vineyard of their own, they enrolled in wine school and took hands-on learning to other levels. >> what have we got here? >> reporter: first they drew a vineyard. then? >> all this, you guys built. from the ground up. >> reporter: they planted their
vineyard in an empty field beside jeremy's house. while it was taking root, they gave themselves another challenge. >> we said let's just make some wine. how are you going to understand better than actually doing it? >> they said, well, you know, what if you want to make wine at home? >> there's a secret in the wine industry. i might get in trouble for letting this out. every year there's always fruit hanging around somewhere. it's not good. it's stuff that got rejected because it's moldy or wrong. but if it's your first time making wine you're going to screw it up anyway. so do what you can. >> we drove out to the vineyard in the semi. i had my kids and his kids and all the family and we all pick everything. >> the next thing you know, they found used barrels and they found little things here and there. they just went for it. >> their investment if you're in the wine industry, is unheard of, how small it is. they made pretty good wine. >> a little bit of cab franc, malbec. we're going to have about 300
cases from our first vintage. we'll be bottle here shortly. >> reporter: the harvest from their backyard vineyard will yield another 85 cases. then they'll start selling. does the wine have a name? >> we're going with j and j vintners. jeremy and jody. >> the dream is to have a successful winery, build a business that will sustain our families. that would be great. to be our own bosses. to be able to have something, a legacy to pass down to our children. >> reporter: if j and j vintners succeed, they'll add to a growing list of wineries that colleges launched. >> we have 25 that have graduated with degrees and have their own wineries here in walla walla. >> reporter: the college believes tomorrow's opportunities lie close to walla walla's roots, training water resource managers to protect streams that feed the vineyards and above them technicians for some 5,000 wind turbines that power the area. >> they're still installing them. every 8 to 10 turbines requires a technician.
first. . . when you're ready the mission is for economic, environmental and cultural sustainability here. >> what we've done here is we've done creative risk taking. at times we were going places that no one knew where we were going. and so i call that leadership. leadership is going places that you've never gone before. and taking people with you. >> reporter: for j and j vintners, the journey starts this fall. they launch with plans to sell their first 400 cases.ir >> woodruff: finally tonight, we continue our conversations with newly elected members of the senate. so far, we've talked with arizona republican jeff flake, democrats heidi heitkamp from north dakota and virginia's tim kaine, and independent angus king of maine. deb fischer will be one of just a andful of cattle ranchers in congress when she is sworn in
rotoromw.or the 61-year-old republican was a state senator from sparsely populated northern nebraska. she won her party nomination in a surptoseic vry over other, erbettic-known candidates last summer. de november, shshe defeated forr mocratic senator bob kerrey by a wide margin, and replaces retiring democrat ben nelson. deb fischer, welcome and congratulations. >> thank you, judy. great to be here. >> woodruff: given the spectacle we're watching in the congress right now and the last few years and the low regard we know the american hold of congress, are you sure you want this job? >> oh, yes. there is so much that we need to do. we just need to roll up our sleeves and get to work. in nebraska we're very fortunate. we have a nonpartisan unicamral. we have experience with working with republicans and democrats. we've been able to get a lot done in nebraska. i hope i can bring that here to washington as well. >> woodruff: you obviously have not been a part of the senate that has been voting the last
few days, but if you were sitting in the senate right now, would you have voted for the version of the fiscal cliff deal that the senate voted on last night? >> i haven't been part of those discussions. like most americans, i find it very, very frustrating to watch it. it's not what we expected. i can tell you that. the spending is a problem. when i campaigned last year-and- a-half all across the state of nebraska, what i heard from people was their concern about spending. that's not addressed in this bill. i thank the leader. i thank the vice president for coming together and putting forth part of the solution. in helping with tax relief for many americans. but that didn't go far enough. we have to address spending if we're really going to talk about the problem. >> woodruff: spending was a part of the discussion but the republicans were not able to agree with the spending cuts that were offered by the white house. where did everything go wrong in our opinion?
>> i think you can also say the white house didn't agree with the spending cuts that were offered by the republicans. again we need to work together. we have to quit saying it's the republicans' fault or it's the white house's fault. let's get past the politics on this and really look at what the solutions can be. we have to address entitlements. everybody knows that. americans aren't being hoodwinked by any of this discussion. like i said it's frustrating. it's disappointing. it doesn't help to keep putting it off. >> woodruff: do you think tax increases in any form have a role in balancing the budget, in eventually balancing the budget and in addressing the deficit? >> i don't support tax increases. i campaigned saying i don't support tax increases. i don't want to see added burdens on people who create jobs. i think that's the wrong way to go about this. as you said in my introduction, i did defeat bob kerrey by a very wide margin.
i did that because nebraskaians elected me knowing i don't support tax increases. >> woodruff: i asked you because in this deal that's coming out of-- or came out of the senate that is house is now cover considering 99% of americans will keep their tax cuts. less than 1%, people earning over $450,000 a year, you're saying that is still unacceptable? >> of course we have to provide those tax cuts to the 99%. but we're playing politics by doing it. we're saying, okay, we're going to provide tax cuts for these people but the rest they have to pay more. we don't need to create more division in this country. i mean just look at washington. i'm on the outside right now until thursday. look at washington. it is so polarized. and talk like that just makes it worse. >> woodruff: the argument that there should be a balanced approach, that there should be spending cuts but there also needs to be tax increases, your answer is? >> my answer is we need to look
at spending cults. we need to look at entitlements. we need to look at regulations. we need to look at a tax code that's broken. that both sides agree is broken but that hasn't been part of this discussion either. >> woodruff: again spending only is what you're saying? >> i'm saying that we need to cut the spending and every american knows that. >> woodruff: i want to ask you about the availability of guns in this country after the terrible shooting in newtown, connecticut, killing of 20 first-graders. there's a lot of discussion about whether americans should have access that they have today. do you think there should be limits on americans' access to guns? >> first of all it's horrible, horrible what happened to those children and the adults in that school. and every american, we know that and our heart goes out to those people. but i am a strong supporter of our second amendment rights. so i believe that we don't need to act swift swiftly now in
reaction and having an emotional reaction to a horrible situation and put on limits on our constitutional rights. >> woodruff: what about the national rifle association recommendation, the president spoke the other day and said the solution is having an armed guard in every school in the country. do you think that's a good idea? >> i believe that was offered by former president bill clinton as the solution to violence also. those decisions though need to be made at the local level. i was a school board member for over 20 years too. that's something that local districts need to look at and look at their needs and how they're to take care of all the needs of those students whether it's safety or education. >> woodruff: the last thing, deb fischer, the folks who endorse you-- people like sarah palin, very conservative groups who believe that the federal government should play a very limited role, as limited a role as possible, in this country-- what does that mean to you? what should there be less of?
(+* ++ +*) it's the 2013 hyundi >> well, i appreciated the support of governor palin who came in towards the end of the primary. i didn't have the support of clubs of growth. >> woodruff: my mistake. i thought you did. >> and i didn't have at a party support either. i do believe in limited government. i believe government has certain priorities, and elected officials need to decide what those priorities are. you have to determine what the core responsibility of government is. i was a state senator for eight years, as you mentioned. as a state senator, i always based my decisions on the priorities that i believe were a responsibility of state government. those were public education, public safety, public infrastructure and taking care of those who truly can't care for themselves. we have to do that on a federal level as well. because government can't be everything to everyone. you have to make those tough choices or we're going to continue to see our debt grow by more than $16 trillion, where we are now.
that's not sustainable. that can't continue. and every american knows that. >> woodruff: deb fischer, about to become a united states senator from the state of nebraska. you're coming at a very interesting time. welcome. >> >> thank you so much. >> woodruff: thank you.an house republicans moved closer to a vote on a fiscal cliff compromise passed overwhelmingly last night by the senate. g.o.p. members wanted more spending cuts but their leaders reportedly were pushing for a vote to avoid the consequences of going over the cliff. and new year's celebrations turned deadly overnight in ivory coast, when a crowd stampeded out of a fireworks show. more than 60 people were killed.
the new year could bring a lot of new challenges to the affordable care act. kwame holman explains. >> holman: will the health care debate reach the supreme court again this year? challenges to the new law are percolating through the lower courts. we examine some of them on our health page. the amazon rain forest may be drying out. in the last few years, a patch of the forest in peru has been hit by two major droughts. we have a report from "scientific american" on our homepage. and how do you find the most success with internet job boards? our "ask the headhunter" series haswehe ansr. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. ray? >> suarez: and that's the newshour for tonight. i'm ray suarez. >> woodruff: and i'm judy woodruff. we'll see you online, and again here tomorrow evening. thank you, and we wish you a happy new year. >> major nding for the pbs g uras been provided by: >> bnsf railway.
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