tv Eyewitness News at 6 CBS January 1, 2013 6:00pm-7:00pm 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: we talk with journalist and author claudia kolker about her research into the "immigrant advantage." it's still without electricity, gas, sewers or water. and we continue our conversations with new members of the 113th congress. tonight the senator-elect from nebraska, republican deb fischer. >> 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... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> woodruff: this turned out to be a long day of waiting for final action on the "fiscal cliff" bill that cleared the senate early today. in the house, the measure ran into republican demands for more spending cuts, and its prospects for passage there dimmed. 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 yeah's 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 cuts 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, quote, package put together by a bunch of sleep-deprived october octogenenarians 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: 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 ghettoing 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. so how will the twists and turns play out? we turn to newshour regular todd zwillich. he's washington correspondent for "the takeaway" on public radio international, and was there for the senate vote until nearly dawn today. todd, you've probably slept at the capital last night. most of the republicans in the senate voted for this bill. what is the problem that the house republicans have with it? >> well, the house is a fundamentally different place than the senate, judy. remember, this is not the first time we've seen this dynamic.
back in february there was the debate over that very payroll tax holiday that is expiring... that has expired frankly at midnight. you got 89 or 90 votes in the senate for that. that deal fell apart in the house. the highway bill got 74 bipartisan votes in the senate. that fell apart. they're two different places. there had been tacit assurances or at least pronouncements from the house republican leadership after speaker boehner's plan-b fell apart last week that the senate had to act and that that was the only way forward. there's some frustration as you can imagine, on the house side now that the senate did act and acted with 89 affirmative votes for the tough deal that leader mcconnell and vice president biden struck. only to have a rebellion in the house republican conference. now that conference is in discussions right now, as we speak. they went into a meeting about 45 minutes ago. they haven't emerged yet to try to find a way forward. as for amending the bill which so many house conservatives say they are demanding right now,
the senate has made clear, senate democratic aides have made clear they're done. if the house amends that bill they will not touch it. they'll relitigate this somehow in the new congress. >> woodruff: is it the case that most republicans in the house are against this? are you able to get a read on how widespread the opposition is? >> it is the case that most house republicans are against it. that doesn't mean that all would vote against it. the dynamic you have here now is fairly broad support from democrats in the house. leader nancy pelosi and other democratic leaders calling for an up-or-down vote on the senate-passed bill. that tells you something. that tells you that if speaker boehner and leader cannottor put it on the floor and can muster enough votes, 40 or 50 which doesn't look great for them, that democrats will provide the rest of the power to get it to 217. >> woodruff: but it sounds like from the speaker has been saying he doesn't want to do that. he doesn't want to see the bill pass with a minority of
republican votes. is that correct? >> he has said that in the past. and one thing that we will see during the remainder of this night and probably into tomorrow is whether that calculus sticks or whether he ultimately decides to put the bill on the floor and pass it with nancy pelosi's votes. that may be his only way out of at this point. he does have another option. which is to do nothing or vote the bill down and let the 113th congress fight this out. democrats are already walking around the hill judy, making it clear that the entire deal is off. of course, constitutionally the bill has to be rewritten after thursday. afternoon on thursday. but the deal is off. the tax rates will be different. everything will be different at that point. >> woodruff: todd, why aren't republicans more concerned about what we heard just now from a democratic member of congress from tennessee? and that is what the stock market reaction is going to be. how the economy is going to react if this agreement is not reached tonight? >> well, they may be concerned about it. i don't think it's fair to say that they're not concerned about it at all.
many people have memories of the tarp debate from a couple of years ago. keep in mind house republicans voted down that emergency deal too. only to see the market tank, as i recall, 777 points and then come back and pass the deal. a lot of people remember that. the republican whip kevin mccarthy, however walking into this meeting when he was asked by reporters what about the thursday noon deadline which is constitutionally the end of this congress, he said it's not thursday at noon yet. >> woodruff: we also know todd, just quickly that the speaker is up for election as speaker again shortly. how much of a role is that playing now that we see the republican leader in the house, eric cantor openly apparently saying he's against this bill? >> and clearly this is a big part of the trouble here. it is always a challenge, it's always a risk for any speaker to pass any bill but a high-profile bill with the country watching, the large part of the economy at stake without a majority of his own members
and conservatives are perennialally up in arms about spending and deficits. that's a big part of this. i will note that going into this republican conference meeting that just started 45 minutes ago judy eric cantor and john boehner literally walked in shoulder to shoulder. i mean their shoulders touching in an optical show of unity. >> woodruff: just quickly todd, finally, i'm going to ask you the same thing i ended with last night. what are you watching for in the next few hours? >> you're really watching for house republicans at this point. democrats have made clear that they will help pass the senate compromise with mitch mcconnell and joe biden. you're looking for a critical mass of republicans who can push it through. you're looking to see whether republicans will drop this demand that they will only support an amended bill. senate democrats says that means the death of this deal. you're watching to see if they back down and how much support john boehner is willing to use to put the deal on the floor. >> woodruff: ed todd zwillich,
we'll see whether you get much sleep tonight. thank you. >> no problem, judy. >> suarez: now, our second look at this continually unfolding story, with little time left before the 112th congress ends thursday at noon. for that, we are joined by congressmen from both sides. representative tom cole is a republican from oklahoma. representative chris van hollen of maryland is the ranking member on the budget committee and part of the democratic leadership team. representative cole, let me start with you, since you've just come from a powe wow with your side of the aisle. what's the latest? is a vote imminent? has there been any shift from an earlier stated determination to amend the current bill? >> well i think there's discussion on the way. that meeting is still going on. so i stepped out early and i wouldn't presume to comment on any final decisions. but, look, at the end of the day, we're doing what you ought to do. we have a product literally at 2:00 in the morning last night. we're looking over, deciding the appropriate way to proceed. i think we'll reach that decision tonight. we're looking for consensus among our membership as to what 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 bng a dirty word. as you indicated there 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 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. ' 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 some. >> 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 9 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; the paradoxes of immigration; 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 a 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 ache it one step at a time. we can't expect anything to happen overnight. it's baby steps. >> brown: on new york's statten 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 wayne gretzky. >> 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 on going 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 rock-aways or coney island or statten island south shore. 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 so the governors of new york, new jersey and
connecticut have asked for 82 billion dollars 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. really prevented from moving forward at all. when you go to places like the rock-aways, 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 addressd these issues directly to governor and some municipals 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 neighbors 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 aggressionive 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 arnold 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. suddenly you know what? we're getting the run-around because fema says we can't do it way. we have to talk to somebody he will. 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 rock-aways. when we think of the storm we think of it hitting people in the flood waters' 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 em bullet at i can 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, simple thesed 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 orm 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 admitted 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 break-away wall so when the water comes through again as it inevitably will, she doesn't have that
luxury. she good 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 liske. there are places down the jersey shore where the truck driver, where the garbage collector, where the school teacher 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 help alreadysters 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 can the socioeconomic landscape of what were working class store front homes. >> brown: thank you both very much.
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 and merrill owe. 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 prayer. 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 the 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 hell 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 the cabernet. 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 the 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 vin vin... 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 fe 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.
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... 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. thait 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 5000 wind turbines that power the area. >> they're still installing them. every 8 to 10 turbines requires a technician. 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.
>> 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 handful of cattle ranchers in congress when she is sworn in tomorrow. the 61-year-old republican was a state senator from sparsely populated northern nebraska. she won her party nomination in a surprise victory over other, better known candidates last summer. in november, she defeated former democratic 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 shreves and get to work. in nebraska we're very fortunate. we have a nonpartisan uni camral. 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 hood winged 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 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? >> 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 be, 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. >> suarez: find the series of interviews with the newly elected senators on our politics
page. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. house republicans delayed action on a fiscal cliff compromise passed overwhelmingly by the senate. they demanded more spending cuts, leaving the bill in limbo. 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 has the answer.
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 funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> bnsf railway. >> and by the alfred p. sloan foundation. supporting science, technology, and improved economic performance and financial literacy in the 21st century. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.