Return to Transcripts main page

Connect the World

U.S. Government Shutdown would have Far-Reaching Impact; Ukraine Aid Looms Over Slovakia Election; Pakistan: More Than 50 Killed in Two Separate Attacks. Aired 9:40-10a ET

Aired September 29, 2023 - 09:40   ET



BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: Well, hello and welcome to "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson live in Abu Dhabi. You've been

watching breaking news here on CNN looking at the legacy of the late U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein who has died at the age of 90. CNN will continue

to follow that story throughout the day.

For now, though, I want to stay in the world of U.S. politics, looking at a story that is developing in Washington and reverberates as far as the front

lines in Ukraine. The U.S. government will grind to a halt in less than two days unless lawmakers can find some way to keep the money flowing as of now

there seems to be little if any chance of avoiding a shutdown.

Now the House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is planning to bring a stopgap spending bill with border security provisions to the floor for a vote but

its prospects of passing are virtually non-existent because hardline conservatives in his own party object to any short term funding extensions.

Well, there are warnings of a potentially devastating economic impact if the U.S. government shuts down. Brian Todd now looks at how it would affect

millions of Americans have a look at this.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This Wisconsin food pantry is bracing for a surge of needy families if the federal government shuts down

this weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A lot of people might come through and be like this is my first time here. How does this work?

TODD (voice-over): Two reasons for more hardship federal workers won't get paychecks and families who rely on food assistance could lose it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They don't get those benefits; they might come here every week, instead of only once a month.

TODD (voice-over): First to feel the pinch almost all of the country's more than 3.5 million federal workers going without pay.

EVERETT KELLEY, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: Paying them from paycheck to paycheck when they don't get a paycheck it can be

devastating, metaphoric will be disaster.

TODD (voice-over): Over a million our active duty military.

SABRINA SINGH, DEPUTY PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: These service members have rent to pay mortgages, child care, so those bills are going to mount up

it's an incredibly stressful time.

TODD (voice-over): Some workers will still have to work without pay those deemed essential. For example, soldiers Border Patrol and air traffic


PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. TRANSPORT SECRETARY: It certainly doesn't help with that safety critical job for them to come to work with the stress of not

getting paid.

TODD (voice-over): Among the many services at risk food and water safety inspections services at National Parks disaster funding for places like

Hawaii and Florida passport processing. We can expect airport delays with many unpaid TSA screeners likely to be absent, and thousands of preschool

kids could be shut out of the Headstart Program.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're talking about kids that are living in extreme poverty, not having this system up and running would really, really impact

the kids and the communities that need it the most.

TODD (voice-over): Other impacts immigration court cases put off and no new government aid to help states cope with migrants.

KATHY HOCHUL, NEW YORK GOVERNOR: New federal funds will not be available to help states like New York deal with the asylum seekers crisis.

TODD (voice-over): Social Security and Medicare payments will continue uninterrupted. But service --

KELLEY: Person come and wants to apply for a new claim that won't happen. Persons have an issue with their benefits, you know, they have no one to

call no one to talk to.

TODD (voice-over): The broader economy would take a hit experts say because things like permitting for construction projects and loan approvals for

farms and small businesses could be paused.

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS & POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: A government shutdown is just yet another drag on the economy because it ends up

disrupting lots of supply chains and lots of services that people and businesses rely on to keep other parts of the economy running.


TODD: What should the average American do to prepare for a possible government shutdown? Analyst Catherine Rampell advises, check to see what

benefits you're receiving from the federal government, whether it's food stamps, or your child's preschool, find out if those benefits will be

disrupted. And she says, contact your representative in Congress and urge them to work as hard as possible to reach a funding deal. Brian Todd, CNN,



ANDERSON: Well, to Ukraine now and how that DC shutdown could have impacts as we said on that front line, as you'll know from watching this program,

Ukraine, of course relying heavily on U.S. funding. So Kyiv watching what is becoming known as the shutdown showdown and the money discussions on

Capitol Hill as closely as anyone.

Well, another worry for Kyiv Russia's planned uptick in its military spending. Moscow says it will pump more money into its war chests next

year, almost 70 percent more. Well, putting all of this together the possibility of Ukraine fatigue in Washington, Russia's planned, massive

spending hike now appear to be inextricably linked.

I want to bring in CNN's Fred Pleitgen, who is on the ground in Eastern Ukraine. And it is clear that there is some fatigue in the U.S.

particularly on the hardline right -- the right leaning side of the divide in the U.S. Certainly there are calls for no blank check.

There are calls from some Congressmen and women for no more money at all, for Ukraine. And at the same time you see this uptick from the Russians in

military spending? What sort of impact could that have on the ground? Could these two strands have on the ground for those in Ukraine fighting against


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there Becky. Well, I'm certainly I believe that the Ukrainian certainly see that as a

possibility and is certainly something that concerns them as well.

And in fact, I was able to speak to the top commanding general of the southern front, which is, of course, where Ukraine is currently conducting

its main thrust of that counter offensive that it's currently trying to push through.

And I said, look, there is fatigue in Washington D.C. about arms for Ukraine and whether or not he believes that that is something that will

continue in the long run, but the Ukrainians that we speak to on the front line, and that general as well said, look, we simply don't have a choice.

They believe that if they stop fighting, that they will lose their country, they will lose their identity, and possibly lose everything not only that

they fought for but basically this entire country, to the Russians, and they believe that that is something that they call genocide. For them they

say if they give up, then that is it for them.

So certainly right now from the soldiers that we're speaking to on the ground, they say they are going to continue fighting. They say they're

going to continue fighting whether or not they get weapons from the West. They say they simply have no other choice.

And as far as the commanders are concerned, what we hear from them, and what I heard from the commander on the southern front as well, as he said,

look, they're very grateful for the weapons that they're getting from the United States. And quite frankly, they're going to ask for more weapons

from the United States to continue this fight.

Because what we see here on the ground, Becky, is that the Ukrainians really need a lot, especially of ammunition if they're going to continue to

stay in this fight, and continue to stay in this fight for the long run.

I think that one of the things that has become clear is that the counter offensive that the Ukrainians have been conducting certainly is going a lot

slower than they would have hoped for certainly hasn't made as many gains as they had hoped for. And that's why they believe it is going to continue

for a very long period of time.

They certainly have said they don't intend to stop fighting in winter for instance. There's a lot of people of course, in Washington D.C. like for

instance, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who said he believes that this counter offensive really only has about a month until it gets too

cold and too wet on the battlefield to fight.

The Ukrainians are saying that's not the case. They intend to continue, but they are going to need a lot of help, specifically, as far as ammunition is

concerned, not just from the U.S., but from other countries as well Becky.

ANDERSON: Fred Pleitgen is on the story for you, thank you Fred. Well, election on Saturday could determine whether Ukraine loses military support

from one of its neighbors in the West. And it's to the west of the country voters in Slovakia are electing their fifth Prime Minister in four years

and an opposition party led by this Kremlin sympathizer appears to be the front runner going in.

Robert Fico is trying to win back the position that he's held twice already and says Slovakia will stop supplying weapons to Ukraine if he becomes

Prime Minister again. CNN's Scott McLean is with us now from London. What are the chances of success for Fico and just how significant would a

successful campaign on his part be?


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it would be massive Becky remember Slovakia, of course is a small country, but it's an important one. Its

member of NATO member of EU at borders Ukraine and it's also supplied a lot of helicopters, artillery systems, and a lot of military hardware to the


And now you have this Candidate, Robert Fico, who's saying, if I get into office, we're not going to be sending that anymore. He is openly

sympathetic toward the Kremlin. His argument is that, look, if you send weapons to Ukraine that will only prolong the conflict. He also seems to

agree with the Russian line that Ukrainian in his words, Nazis and fascists provoked Russia into war.

And you have to understand the context here. Slovakia, like many countries in Europe is dealing with inflation high energy costs, high cost of living;

it's also dealing with 100,000, Ukrainian refugees. And all of this is sort of straining the public purse and making this message about peace anyway,

you can get it pretty appealing. He also, frankly, doesn't believe that Ukraine can win, listen.


ROBERT FICO, SLOVAK PRIME MINISTER CANDIDATE: Please, can someone explain to me why tens maybe hundreds of thousands of soldiers should be dying on

either side of this conflict. They will have to sit down anyways and find an agreement, because Russia will never leave Crimea. Never leave the

territories that have controls in Ukraine. So what is this conflict good for?


MCLEAN: And two more quick points to make Becky and that is that first off, he's not in any way advocating for leaving NATO or leaving the EU. And also

even if he does get the most votes tomorrow in the election, there are a lot of political parties in Slovakia, and so it is almost certain that he

would need to partner up with at least one of them to form a coalition government.

Now his party is considered obviously quite populous, but more left wing and socialist, so he may choose to partner up with a more moderate party,

but there is also a far right party that has views on Russia and Ukraine far more extreme than his own that he also hasn't ruled out partnering up

with as well Becky.

ANDERSON: Good to have you, Scott. Thank you. Next up, dozens dead in Pakistan in an apparent suicide attack at a religious procession the very

latest on that and violence elsewhere in the country is coming up stay with us.



ANDERSON: Well, you're watching "Connect the World". I'm Becky Anderson for you. Time here is 6 in the evening. You're watching the show from Abu Dhabi

Programming Hub. Well, to a shocking day of violence in Pakistan, I'm afraid with two suspected suicide attacks.

Religious procession marking the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad was targeted at least 52 people were killed and dozens injured. This as two

blasts hit Friday prayers near Peshawar City. At least four people were killed there. Let's get you to Sophia Saifi in Islamabad, Sophia?

SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Becky again, like you said, it's an incredibly tragic day here in Pakistan. It was a public holiday. It's a day of

devotion. People take up precession all across the country. And that is exactly when right before Friday prayers in the South of Pakistan where we

saw that deadly attack take place 52 dead, many, many more injured.

A similar incident in the North of Pakistan with a far smaller death toll but still an entire mosque completely demolished with the roof caving in.

There's been an increase in militant attacks in the country there is the Pakistani Taliban, which has been responsible for such attacks in the past

has not claimed responsibility.

They've taken a step back and they said they have nothing to do with these two attacks. So we don't have a claim of responsibility at. Balochistan in

the South of Pakistan has seen an increase in attacks in the past couple of months.

The past couple of weeks, there were two Chinese workers that were attacked a couple of weeks ago; a political leader was attacked just two weeks ago

in that same region of Baluchistan in Mastung. Pakistan's military had in fact released a statement just this morning that they had managed to

succeed in repelling militants on the Pak-Afghan border.

So militancy is on the rise in the country. There's a lot of concern there is also a lot of despair, as what's happened in Baluchistan today. So what

is usually a day of joy of families gathering of celebration is now ending with about 52 families burying their dead and loved ones tonight, Becky.

ANDERSON: Sophia thank you for the details, Sophia Saifi on the story for you. That's it for this hour of "Connect the World". We'll be back right

after this short break for our second hour stay with us.