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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Budget Deal Reached

Aired April 8, 2011 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: We are just now at the top of the hour. It's 11:00 on the nose. Good evening again.

If you are just joining us now at the top of the hour, you have missed an incredibly exciting hour and we've got another one for you ahead. Breaking news just moments ago, just shy of the 11th hour, before a government shutdown at the 11:00 hour, Capitol Hill negotiators reached a deal to headed off -- the shutdown, that is. They agreed on a stopgap bill to fund the government until next Thursday and the framework of a larger bill to pay the government bills for the rest of this year through 2011.

The stopgap cuts $2 billion in spending. The bigger bill cuts $38 to $39 billion. President Obama expected to speak shortly, and by shortly, I mean, somewhere in the next 5 to 7 minutes. House Speaker John Boehner spoke about five minutes ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: Good evening, everyone.

I'm pleased that Senator Reid and I and the White House have been able to come to an agreement that will, in fact, cut spending and keep our government open. And I expect that the House will vote yet tonight on a short-term continuing resolution ending next week to allow for time for this agreement to be put together in legislative form and brought to the floor of the House and Senate for a vote. And so I would expect the final vote on this to occur mid next week.

But I do believe that we'll have what we call a bridge continuing resolution will pass tonight to ensure that government is open.

As you all know, this has been a loud discussion and a long fight. But we fought to keep government spending down because it really will, in fact, help create a better environment for job creators in our country.

Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: House Speaker Boehner, a short time ago.

Dana Bash is live on Capitol Hill for us. Dan Lothian is in the White House. Also in Washington, John King and senior political analyst David Gergen. As I said, President Obama is supposed to speak momentarily.

Dana, I understand you're learning some new details now about what's in this deal.

DANA BASH, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right. We are told that it is $39 billion in spending cuts. That is the bottom line of what they're going to cut from the federal budget. But also we have reporting extensively on the fact that one of the last big hold-ups was the fact that Republicans wanted to cut what's known as "Title X Funding," funding for women's health benefits like Planned Parenthood. We are told that is not in this bill. That this is not in the spending bill.

However, what Senate Democrats did agree to was to assess separate vote on that issue at some point, probably next week, to at least allow that to be heard. But it is not in this funding bill to cut money for Planned Parenthood.

The other -- one of the other so-called policy riders that Republicans were pushing was, of course, the idea of cutting funding for the president's health care law. That was always a non-starter for Democrats, but they are allowing that to be voted on as well in the Senate likely next week along with this big spending measure.

COOPER: And we're told we have about two minutes until the president's speech, and then Harry Reid will be speaking at 11:10 or so after that. We're obviously going to bring you all that live.

So, Dana, as we wait for President Obama to speak, they're going to you say vote next week on a separate measure regarding Title X. Will that -- is it still going to be the same issue of whether or not there should be funding for Planned Parenthood in 2011?

BASH: I believe so. I believe that that would be the issue. But the fact that Senate Democrats are allowing that vote to go on makes it, at least to me, I haven't gotten this specifically from them, but I think I can give you my informed opinion, that they do not think that that is going to pass.

That they're allowing a vote for it, but they simply don't think that that's going to pass. Because we have heard from many Senate Republicans -- I shouldn't say many -- a few Senate Republicans, but enough Senate Republicans that they don't like that idea that they simply don't think that that is enough to pass, that they will allow people who want this out there to have their voices heard, to have votes on the record, but that will not be part of the bigger package. So if the votes aren't there, there won't be law of the land to cut this funding.

COOPER: And the stopgap measure, that would expire, you say, on Thursday night, so there would be a new budget on Friday?

BASH: That's right. The reason why they're doing this stopgap measure tonight as you just heard the House Speaker announced formally is because they need time to actually write this deal that they have to keep the government running for the rest of the year. That's not going to happen in the next hour. So that's why they're doing this until Thursday just to give themselves time -- Anderson.

COOPER: OK.

Again, we anticipate, really, any moment now President Obama approaching that podium, which you see the White House Press Corps obviously has assembled there. Our Dan Lothian -- and let's watch President Obama.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good evening. Behind me, through the window, you can see the Washington Monument, visited each year by hundreds of thousands from around the world. The people who travel here come to learn about our history and to be inspired by the example of our democracy -- a place where citizens of different backgrounds and beliefs can still come together as one nation.

Tomorrow, I'm pleased to announce that the Washington Monument, as well as the entire federal government, will be open for business. And that's because today Americans of different beliefs came together again.

In the final hours before our government would have been forced to shut down, leaders in both parties reached an agreement that will allow our small businesses to get the loans they need, our families to get the mortgages they applied for, and hundreds of thousands of Americans to show up at work and take home their paychecks on time, including our brave men and women in uniform.

This agreement between Democrats and Republicans, on behalf of all Americans, is on a budget that invests in our future while making the largest annual spending cut in our history. Like any worthwhile compromise, both sides had to make tough decisions and give ground on issues that were important to them. And I certainly did that.

Some of the cuts we agreed to will be painful. Programs people rely on will be cut back. Needed infrastructure projects will be delayed. And I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances.

But beginning to live within our means is the only way to protect those investments that will help America compete for new jobs -- investments in our kids' education and student loans; in clean energy and life-saving medical research. We protected the investments we need to win the future.

At the same time, we also made sure that at the end of the day, this was a debate about spending cuts, not social issues like women's health and the protection of our air and water. These are important issues that deserve discussion, just not during a debate about our budget.

I want to think Speaker Boehner and Senator Reid for their leadership and their dedication during this process. A few months ago, I was able to sign a tax cut for American families because both parties worked through their differences and found common ground. Now the same cooperation will make possible the biggest annual spending cut in history, and it's my sincere hope that we can continue to come together as we face the many difficult challenges that lie ahead, from creating jobs and growing our economy to educating our children and reducing our deficit. That's what the American people expect us to do. That's why they sent us here.

A few days ago, I received a letter from a mother in Longmont, Colorado. Over the year, her son's eighth grade class saved up money and worked on projects so that next week they could take a class trip to Washington, D.C. They even have an appointment to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The mother wrote that for the last few days the kids in her son's class had been worried and upset that they might have to cancel their trip because of a shutdown. She asked those of us in Washington to get past our petty grievances and make things right. And she said, "Remember, the future of this country is not for us. It's for our children."

Today we acted on behalf of our children's future. And next week, when 50 eighth graders from Colorado arrive in our nation's capital, I hope they get a chance to look up at the Washington Monument and feel the sense of pride and possibility that defines America -- a land of many that has always found a way to move forward as one.

Thank you.

COOPER: President Obama speaking from the White House.

In about two minutes, we expect to hear from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

We're joined again by CNN's Dan Lothian at the White House, John King, David Gergen, as well as Dana Bash on Capitol Hill who broke the news that a deal had been reached for us just a short time ago.

David Gergen, the president, again, sort of playing the role of mediator in chief, if you will. Can he continue to do that in this next budget battle to come?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: That's a very good question, Anderson.

There are two big questions coming out of this. One of them is the one John King has been raising and that is, will the trust deficit between the White House and members of Congress, within Congress, between Democrats and Republicans, will that be reduced or will it grow as a result of these clashes?

The other big question now for the president after giving a very gracious speech was, as he enters these fights for 2012, will he come forward with a plan, which is as audacious as the one that Paul Ryan, the Republican, has put forward about tackling and moving from the fight over billions of dollars to the new fights over trillions of dollars.

COOPER: Dan Lothian, is that something the White House plans to do, come forward with a plan of their own?

DAN LOTHIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's unclear at this point. I mean, certainly, we have seen what happened in this particular case where the White House had been essentially taking a hands-off approach and letting lawmakers on the hill duke this out. And then when it came down to the final few days, and the last hours, then the president rolled up his sleeves and essentially got his hands dirty. We expect that perhaps the White House will use a different tone in the next round of negotiations. But I can tell you what the president --

COOPER: Listen, Dan, I got to jump in -- let's listen to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

LOTHIAN: Sure. OK.

SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Speaker Boehner and myself just a few minutes ago, this is a statement. We have agreed to an historic amount of cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year, as well as a short-term bridge that will give us time to avoid a shutdown while we get that agreement through both houses and to the President.

We will cut $78.5 billion below the President's 2011 budget proposal, and we have reached an agreement on the policy riders. In the meantime, we will pass a short-term resolution to keep the government running through Thursday. That short-term bridge will cut the first $2 billion of the total savings.

Mr. President, I first of all want to express my appreciation to the Speaker and his office, it's been a grueling process. We didn't do it at this late hour for drama, we did it because it's been very hard to arrive at this point.

I also want to express my appreciation to my counterpart, Senator McConnell. We've talked during this process on a number of occasions. We have, as we say here, on many occasions this turned out to be -- we have a really terrific relationship. We do our best to protect each caucus. We have our battles here. But he's really a pleasure to work with and I admire and appreciate his work for people of Kentucky and the country.

Mr. President, this has been a long process. It has not been an easy process. Both sides have had to make tough choices. But tough choices are what this job is all about.

I think it's important to note, Mr. President, as we said in this statement, this is historic what we've done. $78.5 billion below the 2011 budget that we have been working off of. We worked on many riders. What we have done has been difficult but important for the country. We all agree that there are many cuts that have to take place in the future. We understand them. We must get this country's fiscal house in order. But if the American people have to make tough choices and they're doing it every day, so should their leaders. That's our responsibility, all 100 of us and 435 members of the house.

The Speaker and I have reached an agreement that I read will cut spending and keep the country running. We have agreed to an historic amount of cuts for the remainder of this fiscal year, as well as a short-term bridge that will give us time to avoid a shutdown while we get that agreement through both houses and to the President.

I repeat, we will cut $78.5 billion below the President's 2011 budget proposal, and we have reached an agreement, I repeat for the second time, on the policy riders. I do that because that has not been easy.

In the meantime, we will pass a short-term resolution to keep the government running through this coming Friday. That short-term bridge will cut the first $2 billion of the total savings. And we've already talked to the $78.5.

So Mr. President, I -- if with the permission of the Republican leader, ask unanimous consent, the Senate proceed to counter No. 28, HR-1363, that a Reid-McConnell substitute amendment, a seven-day continuing resolution which is at the desk, agreed to bills amended by you at a third time and the Senate proceed to vote on passage of the bill as amended that the motion to reconsider be considered made and laid on the table with all the above concurring with no intervening action or debate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there objection?

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: Mr. President --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republican leader.

MCCONNELL: Let me thank my friend the Majority Leader and Speaker Boehner for their outstanding work during this difficult negotiation. You know, Mr. President, we had an opportunity tonight to decide whether we wanted to repeat history, or make history. Had we chosen to repeat history, we would have allowed a government shutdown. Instead we decided to make history by implementing in the middle of this fiscal year as the Majority Leader has indicated substantial reductions in spending.

Now, these reductions, Mr. President, are in the billions. Once we get through this process by the end of next week, we will move on to a much larger discussion about how we save trillions, by enacting hopefully on a bipartisan basis a budget that genuinely begins to get on top of this problem. And the problem as we all know is $14 trillion in debt, and over $53 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

The President has asked us to raise the debt ceiling. And Senate Republicans and House Republicans and I hope many Democrats as well are going to say, Mr. President, in order to raise the debt ceiling, we need to do something significant about the debt. My definition of significant, Mr. President, is that the markets view it as significant, the American people view it as significant and foreign countries view it as significant.

So for tonight, again, I congratulate the Majority Leader and the Speaker. This is an important first step, but just the beginning of what we need to do to get our house, our fiscal house, in order. REID: Mr. President --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Majority Leader --

REID: The Republican leader is right, we have a lot of work to do. The one thing I want to mention is how much I appreciate the support of the American people. Of course, they knew we need to get this done, but also the business community of our country.

I had a conversation earlier today with Tom Donohue, the president of the Chamber of Commerce. It was so important to his organization that we complete this, the Business Roundtable, and organizations all over America understand how important this is.

But I want to just mention one more person. I know him, and I dislike -- always an unsung hero, but really hero among heroes, and that's the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Dan Inouye is here behind me tonight. He has been with his staff, tireless staff, working so hard. I applaud his person, Charlie Hoye, who has a fantastic knowledge of what goes on in this country as it relates to money. He came to the Senate in 1983, been here all these years working in the Appropriations Committee.

I'm not going to go through all the staff, but it is important to mention that my chief-of-staff, David Krone, has worked so very, very hard. And I want to mention one other person. I never met him until we started this, what we've been through, and that's -- I hope I don't get him in trouble, but that's John Boehner's chief-of-staff, Barry Jackson.

He's a real professional. It's been very difficult to work through all this stuff. But I admire his professionalism. Of course, the White House staff has been indispensable. I would hope we could have a consent agreement approved at this time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there objection to the majority leader's request?

Without objection, so ordered.

Is there further debate on the bill as amended?

If not, all those in favor of the bill as amended, say aye. Aye.

All those on posed say, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The ayes appear to have it. The ayes do have it. The bill is amended as passed.

COOPER: There you see the Senate voting to have a stopgap budget for the next -- up until next Thursday at which point they will have voted on the budget all the way through 2011.

You obviously just saw the Senate, still has to be voted on in the House, so it's not a done deal yet.

We're going to continue to follow it. Stay with us. We have a lot more ahead as lawmakers rush that stopgap bill through the House. More on what it means. Then President Obama will sign it.

What happens next after the break? We'll talk to our political panel, David Gergen, Paul Begala, and Susan Molinari. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Tomorrow, I'm pleased to announce that the Washington Monument, as well as the entire federal government, will be open for business. And that's because today Americans of different beliefs came together again.

In the final hours before our government would have been forced to shut down, leaders in both parties reached an agreement that will allow our small businesses to get the loans they need, our families to get the mortgages they applied for, and hundreds of thousands of Americans to show up at work and take home their paychecks on time, including our brave men and women in uniform.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That was President Obama about 20 or so minutes ago, hailing the deal reached just a short time before that to avert a government shutdown. The short-term version of that deal passed in the Senate a few minutes ago by unanimous consent. The House also expected to pass it before midnight.

A GOP whip noticed just going out now telling members, basically, to stay close, because they're going to have to vote.

Let's bring back our political contributor and Democratic strategist, Paul Begala, former Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari, along with Dana Bash, David Gergen and John King.

John, you were watching -- listened with the president what Harry Reid said. Do you see this as a sign of how much 2010 changed things?

JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Priceless. Absolutely priceless. Let's start with Harry Reid, first.

I want to thank Tom Donohue, the president of the Chamber of Commerce. That's the guy that fought the Democrats on health care. Spent tens of millions of dollar fighting the Democrats in the midterm election, and now he's Harry Reid's best friend. That was a priceless moment in American politics.

What the president said, Anderson, was even more significant. That is a speech you could study between now and the next presidential election. Yes, the president is a Democrat and he said this deal protects investments. But what else did he say? Remember, I'm the guy who at the end of the year cuts your taxes. I'm the guy who right here is signing off on historic spending cuts.

Talked about a president staking out the middle of American politics and then he says, you know, there's a bunch of schools coming here next week and they weren't sure if they're going to get to see everything. Where are they from? Do you think he picked Colorado for any other reason? That is one of the most important swing states in American politics. That's a priceless speech.

COOPER: You're so cynical, John.

KING: No, I'm not cynical. It was a smartly-crafted political speech saying, we are coming out of this battle and he knows so full well there are so many ahead and he is trying to position himself as the grownup in the middle.

COOPER: Paul Begala, is that how you saw it, as well?

PAUL BEGALA, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, the president is always at his best when he feels like he can bring both sides together. But they did move a long way, both sides. The continuing resolution that they're about to pass in seven days cuts $78.5 billion from the budget that the president asked for just a few months ago. That's a long way for the president to come. A long way for the Democrats to come. And it contains zero of these riders that tried to make social policy in the budget.

The first cut the Republicans had at this in HR-1 had 500 riders. It limited the ability of the EPA to regulate certain kinds of air pollution. It limited the ability of consumer agencies to protect consumers.

Most importantly, for Democrats, it would have defunded Obama Care and defunded Planned Parenthood, not to mention the car talk guys at NPR. Zero riders will be in this. It's a huge concession made by the Republicans.

So I know David is all mad at these guys. I'm not. This is democracy. This is how it's supposed to work. And these are matters of great principle that this people are compromising on. That's why it took so long. It's not easy.

COOPER: Susan --

BEGALA: If it's easy, they could have compromise that a long time ago.

COOPER: Susan, was it a mistake for Republicans to put in so many riders?

SUSAN MOLINARI, FORMER U.S. REPRESENTATIVE: You know what, it's hard to say, because I'm not being in the room in terms of what Republicans needed to put in to bring their base along to this point. And I think it is part of the larger question that John King alluded to before.

And, you know, I sort of gave your question a little bit of a short trip answer in terms of the budget battles that are coming up. This was an important prelude to the budget battles coming up. We may be talking billions and in another week and a half, we're going to be talking trillions. But this was the first dance everybody did together.

Speaker Boehner trying to keep this new group of 87 freshmen along with the new majority makers together. How he would interact with Harry Reid, with Senator Reid and with the president of the United States. Neither side could appear to capitulate. Both sides needed to make sure they took care of their base and everybody needed to come out with their strengths showing in order to go into this next round of more important discussions. So this was about the CR, but it is also about the upcoming battle.

COOPER: Yes, and David, if this was the first dance as Susan Molinari was saying, how did they all come out? Let's talk about Speaker Boehner first of all. How do you think he came out of this in terms of the base of his party, the conservative wing of his party, the Tea Party base?

GERGEN: I think right at the end, he and his team did get hurt by this whole issue of Planned Parenthood. I think the Democrats played that very shrewdly. They really drove that point home and made it sound like it was all about the riders.

But if you look at the totality of what he's done and what the Republicans have done, they really changed the conversation. Look at how Harry Reid talked tonight. Look how the president talked tonight. But most importantly, look at the fact that they got $78 billion knocked off a budget that the Democrats all supported. So the Republicans I think do emerge with that credit and having changed the conversation.

COOPER: And Paul, where -- I mean, when this thing is done at the end of next week, how quickly does this budget battle for 2012 begin? And where were the first fronts in that battle?

BEGALA: Medicare, Medicare, Medicare.

Congressman Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House and Budget Committee, has already passed through his committee a really radical, really revolutionary plan that "The Wall Street Journal" newspapers, not the editorial page, but the news account in "The Wall Street Journal," I think accurately described it as essentially ending Medicare. That's what Congressman Ryan and the Republicans are passing through the House. The Democrats will not, I don't believe, compromise on that. This is going to be --

COOPER: Will the Democrats come up with their own plan? Will the White House come up with --

BEGALA: Well, they have. It's called the Affordable Care Act. The Democrats cut $500 billion already from Medicare and Republicans got the hell out of it, and ran all kinds of intellectually dishonest ads attacking them. They gave at the office.

There are important cost controls. Medicare cost controls built into that Affordable Care Act that the Democrats got pounded for by the Republicans, who are now trying to end Medicare as we know it. It's a really, incredibly cynical move by the Republicans. But, of course, the Democrats are for entitlement reform. They've already been doing it.

COOPER: John King, where do you see the battle?

KING: Health care. Health care. They're going to try to defund the president's health care plan. They will do it in the House. It will not pass. It would never get through the Senate. If it did, the president would veto it.

Paul's point on Medicare, Medicaid, the Republicans are proposing in their budget a fundamental transformation of the role of the federal government beginning and the flashpoints will be health care. It is going to be a huge battle. It is going to make the last couple of weeks look like tidily weeks.

COOPER: And, Dana Bash, in the next -- do they have to vote by midnight, the House?

BASH: They're trying to vote by midnight. They have to. Unlike the Senate, which you saw, they just passed that by voice vote essentially, they didn't need everybody to come in and raise their hand, the House is going to have everybody come in and have an official vote, and they are trying to gather people to hold that vote by midnight.

We're watching our watches to see if that actually happens. But you know, just to make a point on what you were asking about what the next big battle is, Paul Ryan, when he released his budget, he certainly made a big splash and changed the debate.

But in talking to Republicans at the very highest level, they say that they understand it is basically just that. It is just a debate. He doesn't think that there's any chance that they will get anywhere close to doing what he's proposing, in terms of really fundamentally changing Medicare or really fundamentally slashing spending overall in the trillions that he is talking about. But at least he says and other people say that they want to begin the debate.

One other point, what's going on down in the hall, long-term in the Senate. There are six senators, Anderson -- three Democrats, three Republicans, they have been working for months and months on a bipartisan deal. Along the lines of what Ryan was trying to do with that with different specifics, but to finally get the debt and deficit under control.

But in talking to Republicans at the very highest level, they say that they understand it is basically just that. It is just a debate. He doesn't think that there's any chance that they will get anywhere close to doing what he's proposing, in terms of really fundamentally changing Medicare or really fundamentally slashing spending overall in the trillions that he is talking about. But at least he says and other people say that they want to begin the debate.

One other point, what's going on down in the hall, long-term in the Senate. There are six senators, Anderson -- three Democrats, three Republicans, they have been working for months and months on a bipartisan deal. Along the lines of what Ryan was trying to do with that with different specifics, but to finally get the debt and deficit under control. Those are definitely going to be no question, the next big fights.

COOPER: Dana, stick around. Continue the reporting. Everyone, stick around. We're waiting for the House to vote. We're going to bring it to you as it happens.

We are watching government in action, finally in these dwindling moments. And we're watching real-time reporting by our CNN correspondents. Our analysts. We'll bring it to you, all that ahead. Stay with us, right after the break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REID: We will pass a short-term resolution to keep the government running through Thursday. That short-term bridge will cut the first $2 billion of the total savings.

Mr. President, I first of all want to express my appreciation to the Speaker and his office. It's been a grueling process. We didn't do it at this late hour for drama, we did it because it's been very hard to arrive at this point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: That's Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Tonight, just moments later, the Senate approving the deal to avert a government shutdown. Now, we're waiting for the House to vote on it. Anticipate hearing from House Speaker John Boehner. We're going to bring that to you live.

Joining us again, Dana Bash on Capitol Hill. CNN senior political analyst David Gergen is with us. Political contributor and Democratic strategist Paul Begala. And former Republican Congresswoman Susan Molinari.

David Gergen, you know, to your point earlier about the kind of no one really coming out of this all that well, do you think -- you were saying, though, you think President Obama has maybe come out OK.

What about Boehner? What about Reid?

GERGEN: Well, I think that John Boehner probably has won the biggest, he's made the biggest advances considering the fact that, you know, he's a speaker in one house. One-third of the power in Washington. I think the president helped himself. What I found fascinating about the Harry Reid speech in that exchange with McConnell, and Paul Begala referred to this, and so did John King, it was a real moment of political theater.

The relationship between Reid and McConnell seemed to have warmed up a lot. The trust factor is going to be really important in the weeks ahead. They seem to be on a really good place.

I also found it really interesting that Reid thanked so many people, but the one person that he did not thank was the president. And the president I think deserved more -- maybe he just sort of thought, well, of course it was obvious that the president deserves thanks, but it was like he single out all this people, ordinary in the tableau Washington, everybody sort of, you know, defers to the president or sort of makes that kind of bow to the president. And it's very clear that a lot of the heavy lifting was done by the Senate and the House members.

COOPER: It's interesting, Susan, because I'm getting a lot of tweets just from people as I look during commercial break at -- who watched Harry Reid speak and heard Mitch McConnell and all the back slapping and the thanking, and are kind of sickened by it. I mean, they kind of feel like, they're all back slapping each other for doing their jobs, and you know, a job that they did at the last minute.

BASH: Well, yes, I think, you know, these jobs that are so difficult, particularly when there's jobs to follow are typically done last minute. You know, it's not unusual. In state assemblies and city councils that these very difficult decisions, you know, become this Kabuki dance for both sides to have to prove to each other's political supporters that they held out to the very last minute.

And so, at the end, the end result is that the American people win, although we may keep them up a little late at night. But I do think that it is an important dance. It is one that, you know, changes the paradigm.

And, you know, we all keep talking about this, but we're not talking about fighting over how much we spend anymore. We're talking about how much we save, and how much we're going to cut.

And I think the thing that's missing in this whole dialogue, which, you know, sort of setting the stage for is the Senate Democrats that are going to be up in 2012. These are the ones that are going to be driving a lot of the debate and what Harry Reid, Senator Reid, has to keep an eye out for. So I think that might have been some of the tension that existed up until the moment where everybody declared victory.

COOPER: Do we know, Dana -- I mean, we know you were reporting, and you broke this, you were way ahead of everyone else. Do we know of that $39 billion? I mean, where are the cuts are? Where are the biggest cuts are? Do we know the breakdown yet?

BASH: We don't know the breakdown yet. We're waiting to get those details. That is also going to be very interesting. And exactly where the breakdown is because there were so many fights about what to cut at the end, and really philosophical fights about what to cut at the end.

As you know, we've been talking about the fact that Democrats were very concerned that some of the cuts that were in the initial Republican bill went too deep in terms of from their perspective those who need it most, whether it was housing or education programs for low income Americans, what have you. So they were pushing for the kinds of cuts that Republicans says were smoke and mirrors, that weren't really cuts, they were just cuts to say they're cuts. So it would be interesting to look at that.

I want to actually answer the one question that you asked me earlier, which is what we're all waiting for, which is when is the House actually going to pass this measure to keep the government running?

I just was talking to a House Republican leadership aide, who said that it probably won't happen for the half hour or hour. You know, you're looking at your watch, you're looking down at the clock, well, that's going to be already be passed midnight.

What this leadership aide said is that still there will be no real lapse, the government will not shut down. There will be no lapse in funding, because by the time they pass it and the president signs it, they're hoping that will be maybe about 12:30 Eastern Time. Maybe a little bit later. But the actual legislation makes clear that the funding continues starting in 12:01. So technically, there will be no lapse in funding at all. It just might take a little bit longer when the clock strikes midnight to actually get this finally done.

COOPER: Do we have Tom Foreman standing by, guys?

OK, let's try to get him up, because I would like to look at the details of the Ryan budget as we move forward, because that's part of the discussion that we've been having.

David, what do you make of the Ryan budget? I mean, it has gotten a huge amount of attention. It's got a huge amount of criticism, obviously, from liberals. Do Democrats -- I mean, do you agree with Paul Begala, the Democrats have come up with their own plan?

GERGEN: No, no. I think Paul is right about the fact that there was this huge health care bill last year. But he knows, everybody knows that we're looking at under the president's own budget post health care. We're looking at a trillion dollars a year, and over the next ten years in deficits.

And everybody recognizes those are unsustainable. That if we were to continue down this path, we would find ourselves in a debt crisis, which could easily knock this economy back into another deep recession. And something much more serious has to be done about entitlements. Now Paul Ryan has proposed a plan, with which I disagree on many of its elements, and among other things. I don't think he really doesn't deal with social security. He doesn't deal with defense in a serious way. He doesn't deal with taxes.

You can't do this all by just cutting taxes. But I do think he deserves credit for the boldness and the courage that he showed in taking on something which he's clearly going to get clobbered. But the White House has always said, well, we don't want to go first. Let the Republicans go first.

OK, Mr. President, have gone. They have shown their cards. It's time for the White House to show their cards now on what are they going to do about these $10 trillion in budget deficits we're going to see over the next ten years.

COOPER: Paul, you want to jump in on that?

BEGALA: Yes, the Democrats did go first. I mean I just said they cut half a trillion --

GERGEN: What?

BEGALA: Let me finish -- they cut half a trillion from Medicare spending for which they were viciously attacked by the same Republicans who now want to do away with Medicare all together.

The key here is to get costs under control. If you cut spending in Medicare, but don't control the cost of health care, then citizens instead of paying through the Medicare system will pay through their own pocket. So the game here is not just to shift the cost from Medicare out of this pocket as a tax payer into your other pocket as a private citizen.

The key is to get health care costs under control. And Bob Reischauer, former head of the Congressional Budget Office, looked at the affordable care, looked at the Ryan act and he told Ezra Klein of "The Washington Post" that if you're scoring it, it's 5-0, the Affordable Care Act does more to control health care costs.

But this point you're making about taxes is important. The Ryan budget doesn't even reduce the deficit in the first ten years, because it takes the savings from ending Medicare, get this, and gives it to tax cuts for the rich and for oil companies. It's unconscionable. And it's why it's not going nowhere. They're going to run from this like the devil runs from holy water. I mean, you cannot come to the American people and say, I have a good idea, we're going to end Medicare as we know it, but we're going to take the savings and giving in tax cuts just to the rich. I mean, it's untenable.

GERGEN: Anderson, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, has said the biggest threat to the national security of this country does not come from some nation overseas, it comes from our deficits. The Congressional Budget Office has followed up and said what is driving our deficits is the cost of health care. We have to come to grips with the cost of health care. Paul is right, we have to deal with the underlying issues that are driving this. What are process of doing this?

Ryan is forcing, just as a bipartisan budget commission came forward, with a $4 trillion plan, Ryan comes forward with a multi- trillion dollar plan. The White House has not come forward with a multi-trillion dollar plan. And with all due respect, it's time for them to come forward. I just think that's a responsibility of what the presidency is all about.

BEGALA: The deficits were caused -- David and I both worked for President Bill Clinton who balanced the budget, and I work on that budget. The deficits and the debt were caused by taking an enormous surplus that Bill Clinton had helped to create, and we cut taxes twice, mostly for the rich, we waged two wars on a national credit card, which we've never done before in American history, then we created a new entitlement program, Medicare prescription drug, which was larded with corporate welfare. And then we deregulated Wall Street, which helps set off the financial crisis. That's what caused the deficit here.

And, yes, Medicare was a part of that. And I give the Democrats a ton of credit for stepping up on Medicare, again, for which they got shylock in the last election. I just don't think that Mr. Ryan or the Republicans have any credibility here. They want to end Medicare, as they always have, and give the money and tax breaks to the rich and do no good at all for the deficit or the debt. That's the shell game they're playing here.

COOPER: Susan --

GERGEN: Before we can argue, Anderson, about what happened in the past, the question is what are we going to do --

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: But you said the Democrats have to go on first. They have, though, David. You have to give them credit for that.

GERGEN: No, they have not dealt with $10 trillion of deficits that are coming up. I mean, you talked about something they passed last year. What are they going to do about the deficits that are coming up, that are still built into the budget, that the Congressional Budget Office has projected?

Everybody in the world understands. And financial communities all around the world understands that the United States has to come to grips with that in order to sustain itself.

(CROSSTALK)

BEGALA: How do we cut taxes $850 billion?

(CROSSTALK)

MOLINARI: As a matter of fact, the president's Deficit Reduction Commission came up with a series of recommendations, none of which was reflected in the president's budget.

COOPER: Yes, Paul, what about that? I mean, the president basically had this Deficit Reduction Commission, bipartisan panel that was much heralded, they came out with a plan, which had some obviously controversial things in it, but some very concrete ideas in it, and I haven't heard him really herald his own plan or trumpet it very much.

BEGALA: Right. He kind of danced around it, didn't he, in the state of the union.

COOPER: Or ran away from it.

BEGALA: Well, you can dance around it in the state of the union address. You're going to have, and I actually think tonight might be a helpful step toward that. This is what in, I think, national security parlance they would call confidence building measures, right?

David Krone, the remarkably gifted chief-of-staff for Senator Reid, has now built a relationship with Barry Jackson, the highly respected chief-of-staff for the House speaker. That's all inside baseball, but those things matter. Those relationships matter.

Now I think Harry Reid perhaps believes that John Boehner is somebody that he can deal with, who can make a deal in that doable stick. These things matter. They're going to all have to do it together. But the Ryan proposal is a setback for that, because it doesn't ask rich people to pay more after they've gotten now three tax cuts, each of which were nearly a trillion dollars. They instead say, we're going to give you more tax cuts. And you cannot go, the American people -- we just did a poll, CNN, 85 percent of the American people say we ought to keep Medicare as it is or increase it. 85 percent. So you have a consensus in the country that we love Medicare, telling people we're going to abolish Medicare and give the money, tax cuts for the rich. It's just not going to happen.

COOPER: I want to bring in Tom Foreman, because I think a lot of folks at home, maybe, you know, having been following this as closely as, you know, all you nerds in Washington, and I say that with love as a nerd myself, but Tom, give us a look at this Ryan proposal, what we're talking about.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, this is a very, very broad brush, Anderson, as all of our guests know. There are a lot of details in this. But some of the things -- Medicare, yes, this is a big, big deal in here. What they're talking about is a voucher system for private insurance for all of these elderly Americans where basically they get money from the government, they would buy their own insurance.

There are some people who would say that it isn't getting rid of Medicare, it is simply changing the nature of it. Other people would say, uphold it that it is going well together.

Medicaid, they want to change that to block grants to the states, basically that's the care often for disabled people and people who don't have a whole lot of money. They want the states basically to start take over that.

There's a provision to lower the top tax rates to 25 percent and to end a lot of deductions, all deductions, to cap domestic spending. There are a lot of provisions in it. I will say this, one thing about the Ryan proposal when you look at it, it is really massive and really sweeping. And obviously, I would like to hear the thoughts of our guess here about the notion that what this really does, though, is simply stake out the ground where the debate begins. Because as you know, in any negotiation, that matters.

COOPER: The idea that it's going to stake out the ground? David, it does certainly change the day --

GERGEN: Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't understand that was directed to me. I do think it's the opening bid. And it's a bold bid. As I say, again, there's much of it with which I disagree. But for, you know, we've been waiting and waiting for some elected political official representing the party to come forward with a serious plan. This is a serious plan.

And by the way, Alice Rivlin, who is a major democratic figure, one of the most respected people about the congressional budgets in the country, you know, was in effect a co-author of much of this plan with Paul Ryan. It is not totally outside the main stream. I would not call it radical. I happen to disagree with major elements of it. But it does put forward something.

And now what we need, and we have a group of people in the Senate who are working very hard, the gang of six. They've got some potential co-sponsors there. They are working on a plan. What we haven't yet heard is where is the White House plan?

COOPER: We have got to get a quick break in. Still waiting for the House to vote. More of our panels. Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We protected the investments we need to win the future. At the same time, we also made sure that at the end of the day, this was a debate about spending cuts, not social issues like women's health and the protection of our air and water. These are important issues that deserve discussion, just not during a debate about our budget.

I want to think Speaker Boehner and Senator Reid for their leadership and their dedication during this process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: President Obama tonight endorsing the budget deal. The Senate passing a stopgap version of it. The House expected to vote on it, shortly.

First some of tonight's other stories, though. Isha Sesay joins us with a "360" news and business bulletin.

Isha?

ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, NATO is refusing to apologize for that friendly fire incident in Libya. Opposition leaders say five people were killed yesterday when NATO missiles hit a rebel formation of tanks near el Brega.

Now this video posted on Facebook claims to shows one of the air targets. And NATO commanders said today they had no idea opposition forces were even using tanks. And now opposition fighters say they'll paint the top of their vehicles pink to alert NATO they are friendly fighters. Of course, it's likely Gadhafi fighters will just do the same.

Another hot spot, Syria. listen to this.

(VIDEO CLIP)

SESAY: Bullets flying in with bombs off the Friday prayers. Syrian state television says that at least six people were injured by armed gunmen. This also took place in Dara, where a doctor tells at least 22 people were killed when Syrian security forces fired on crowds. But Syrians really has a different take on the violence saying armed groups are to blame and 19 unarmed security forces were killed. Protesters want more freedoms and the release of political prisoners.

At least three people were killed and more than 140 injured in yesterday's big aftershock in Japan. But there isn't any new damage at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. Evacuated workers return to the facility today.

On Wall Street, the Dow is shedding 29 points, snapping a two- week winning streak.

And Anderson, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who is recovering from being shot in the head is planning to attend the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour later this month. She's waiting for final approval from her doctors. Her husband, Mark Kelly, will be the commander of the shuttle's last mission into space. Mark Kelly saying last month his wife was doing remarkably well.

COOPER: Isha, thanks so much for staying up late for us. Have a great weekend.

Let's check in one last time with Dana Bash on Capitol Hill.

So, Dana, the Senate has now voted. We're still waiting on the House to vote.

BASH: That's right. And the house is going to really vote momentarily. It's just a question of getting all the paperwork done, getting all the members done. But we're talking really about maybe 10 to 20 minutes that the House is going to vote and then of course it's got to go to the president's desk for him to sign it. And this, what they're talking about, voting on is of measure to keep the government running and to keep the government running through the end of next week. And that is so that they can have time to really actually put pen to paper and put together the big deal that they made tonight. That is to keep the government running for the next six months, until the end of the fiscal year, but also to cut between $38 billion and $39 billion in spending. That was the agreement that they came to between the House Republicans and the Senate Democrats. And of course, the White House as well, Anderson.

COOPER: And the minute that we have left, after this is done by the end of next week, then the new budget battle begins.

BASH: That's right. The first thing that they're going to be talking about, the first battle is going to be over the debt ceiling, whether or not to raise the debt ceiling. Because Republicans have already said coming in to this Congress, that they're not -- many of them, they're not going to do that unless they get more spending cuts. So with each movement that the Congress makes going forward, you're going to see a fight over these spending cuts. And that's going to be the next one probably in May.

COOPER: Dana Bash, great job tonight.

You broke the story that the deal had been made. Excellent reporting as always. We're watching real time reporting as it's happening.

We're going to -- I also want to thank all our panelists -- David Gergen, Paul Begala, Susan Molinari, John King, and many others. Dan Lothian at the White House for us.

And a lot more at the top of the hour. We'll be right back.

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