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On eve of shutdown deadline, Congress has a trillion-dollar divide

House Speaker John Boehner announced a budget deal just a day before the deadline for a possible federal government shutdown. The Republican-written bill has no sign of past shutdown flashpoints, but it doesn't mean everyone is happy. Political editor Lisa Desjardins joins Judy Woodruff to take a look at the fine print and the political wrangling over the more than $1 trillion package.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    One day before the U.S. government faces another shutdown, Republicans in Congress insist they will get a funding bill passed in time.

    Our political reporter and editor, Lisa Desjardins, looks at what the trillion-dollar deal says about Republican priorities and why it faces potential problems on both the right and the left.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    In the U.S. Capitol, the day started with seeming confidence.

    REP. JOHN BOEHNER, Speaker of the House: And, tomorrow, we will pass a responsible bill that keeps the government running.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Republican House Speaker John Boehner announced a deal just one day before the federal government faces a possible shutdown. Now, there's a change this time. The Republican-written bill has no sign of past shutdown flash points, not the health care law, not the national debt.

    Instead, Republicans are flexing their muscles this time around by filling this bill with other victories.

  • Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole:

    REP. TOM COLE, (R) Oklahoma: So, I think we will have a very big vote on our side. And, frankly, there may well be some Democratic votes. I would expect there will be, because, remember, this is a negotiated product with a Democratic Senate.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    So, what's in it? First, the big picture. This deal funds just over $1 trillion in spending. It would keep in place another round of automatic budget cuts or sequester. Also, this bill separates out the Department of Homeland Security, funding the agency only through February, and thereby teeing up a bigger fight next year over President Obama's immigration policy.

    And that's problem one. Some conservatives like Mo Brooks of Alabama want action on immigration now. He's a no on the deal.

    REP. MO BROOKS, (R) Alabama: I think that you could safely say that there are dozens of Republicans that share my view. Whether it's a majority, I can't say. I don't know.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    So the right is not happy.

    SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) Massachusetts: We have just to stand up and say no.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    And neither is the left. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren railed against the deal today, because it will loosen some key restrictions on Wall Street, rules put in place by the Dodd-Frank Act.

  • SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN:

    We want every single person in the House of Representatives to stop and think, do I want to vote for something that is reckless, that puts our economy in danger? And who does it help? It helps a handful of the largest financial institutions in this country. Make no mistake, this is about money.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Those are the greatest issues for Democrats, but Republicans also tucked some other items they like in the fine print, for one, school lunches. This deal would delay nutrition rules, hitting a pet cause for first lady Michelle Obama. And fishing tackle, the budget deal means no regulation on lead in fishing tackle or in ammunition.

    Republicans also wrote in greater budget cuts for the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency. The bill would block all funds for Washington, D.C., to legalize marijuana. And one of biggest items affects voting. This bill would dramatically raise the limits for how much money congressional candidates can raise from any individual.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And Lisa joins me now.

    So, Lisa, this time last night, approximately, we thought there was going to be a deal.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Right.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    But we're watching it. Is it unraveling? What's — where do things stands?

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Unraveling is too strong of a word.

    There is definitely major pushback from Democrats. They are trying, Judy, to get as much leverage as they can at this last moment before a government shutdown. That's House Democrats. And we saw Elizabeth Warren on there very angry about the campaign finance changes.

    And I have to tell you, I just got off the phone with some Senate Democratic leadership sources. They sound like they want this to go through. They feel they got the best deal that they could. They're ready to make that argument. And they think it's just too close to the deadline.

    So, time will tell, the next 12 hours obviously critical, because — and a lot of our viewers know — Congress really only operates these days on a deadline, unfortunately.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Well, there is clearly some division among — in both parties, but also among the Democrats, as you were just showing.

    The leadership may be ready to go along, but then you have liberal Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, somebody who has made a career out of talking about consumer rights, who was saying that this idea of easing financial regulations is going to hurt everybody.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Yes. Right.

    And let's talk about what we're talking about here, because a lot of our viewers will remember credit default swaps, the phrase probably we never wanted to utter again from the recession. This change that is in this bill deals with those credit default swaps. Those are called derivatives.

    And this change would allow banks that trade in derivatives, those risky trades. It would allow them to take those risks and get federal government backup. Remember that idea of too big to fail? Democrats say that this allows these banks to take these risks and the taxpayers would be on the hook to some extent, not fully, but to some except, more than they are now for those risks. They say that's dangerous.

    Republicans say this is good business and that banks right now are clogged up, that the regulation is harming the banks.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And, meanwhile, you have got other Democrats who are concerned because of basically opening wide open some of the campaign finance rules, saying that it's, what, possible for you to give — a person to give to a political party 10 times as much money as they can now give.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Right, incredible.

    We're talking about a spending bill here, and now, all of a sudden, campaign finance is the conversation. The American people haven't been able to debate this. It hasn't been debated on the floor of either chamber, but yet here it is in this bill.

    What that change would do would essentially allow national political parties to get political fund-raising in three different accounts. Right now, they're limited to just over $60,000 from individuals. But now they can get that money from individuals in three different accounts, and then they can funnel some of that money to candidates in local races.

    So it's really sort of opening a new portal for money to go in larger denominations to local candidates.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    But, originally, the Democratic leadership agreed to all this.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Yes.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    So what's going on here?

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    I can tell you, again, Democratic leadership is in a tough spot right now, but they're feisty on the phone with me, talking to my sources. They say that if Democrats saw — Democrats who haven't been part of the negotiations saw what Mitch McConnell wanted in this deal, the way he wanted to, in their words, undermine Dodd-Frank, they would be very happy with what they get.

    They said that there were seven different items that he wanted to use to attack and undermine Dodd-Frank, also consumer protections, and they said they knocked six out. They say that's a good record, but some like Elizabeth Warren say, no, we can't stand for any of this.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Meanwhile, as you say, whatever — if this happens, it's clearly Republicans flexing their muscles, taking a cut out of EPA, the environmental agency, the IRS, in effect slapping the wrist of Democrats in a number of areas.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Yes. That's right.

    And that's the funny dynamics, too. In the Republican Party, they all were hoping to go home, Republican leadership, and say, hey, look what we got you. Look at these things. This is just the beginning. Look at what's ahead. They wanted to show that they can govern to the American people, but instead, on this night before a deadline, there are still complications. It's still not entirely clear they have the votes.

    And, Judy, here's what's important to our viewers who are thinking, will there be a shutdown? It's telling that a top Republican source of mine in House leadership told me they have a backup plan. If they cannot get the votes for this deal, they're ready to push through a short-term bill through January, not their favorite, wouldn't show they can govern the way they want, but their party is complicated right now and split.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Government at its most efficient.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    Or not.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Lisa Desjardins, thank you.

  • LISA DESJARDINS:

    You got it.

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