We've got breaking news from Capitol Hill on health care reform. There's word of a possible about-face from Senate Democrats on the idea of allowing Americans to buy into Medicare starting at the age of 55. We've got the raw politics. Plus, big banks under fire. President Obama urged banking executives to provide more loans to small businesses. We're keeping them honest. Should banks be doing enough to rebuild the economy?
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Dana Bash and Ted Barrett
CNN Capitol Hill Team
Two senior Democratic sources tell CNN senate Democrats are headed towards dropping the compromise idea to allow 55 to 64 year-olds to buy into Medicare because of opposition from Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman.
"It’s what the White House wants and there aren’t many other options that allow us to finish by Christmas," said one source.
Senate Democrats had an emergency meeting Monday night to discuss this issue, which threatens to derail health care.
Although a final decision was not made at Monday night’s meeting, a second Democratic source said it’s likely a final decision could be made at meeting Tuesday of all Democrats with the President at the White House.
“I think there is a fundamental understanding of the direction we’re going in, “said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
Before the meeting, liberal senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia indicated that the so-called Medicare buy-in would likely be dropped, and while they didn’t like that, they suggested they would support a health care bill anyway.
"If he (Lieberman) is absolutely opposed to it, it looks like we won't have it," said Harkin.
"There is still good stuff in this bill for changing the paradigm of health care in America," he said.
“Democracy isn’t written to say that you get exactly a perfect system, “ said Rockefeller. “I mean, we are where we are. That’s the ultimate bottom line.”
The Medicare buy-in concept was intended to appease liberals upset that Democratic leaders were dropping a public option.
But that ran into a wall Sunday when Lieberman said he would support a GOP filibuster to block health care if the Medicare provision was in the bill.
President Obama is urging America's bailed out banks to step up and help restore the economy. He met with bank executives at the White House today and urged them to provide more loans to small-business owners.
"My main message in today's meeting was simple: America's banks received extraordinary assistance from American taxpayers to rebuild their industry. And now that they are back on their feet, we expect an extraordinary commitment from them to help rebuild our economy," Obama said.
That comment was a lot more muted than what the president said last night on CBS' 60 Minutes when he blasted the banking industry. "I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of, you know, fat-cat bankers on Wall Street," Obama said last night.
Tonight on 360°, we're tracking the dollars and keeping them honest. Are bankers doing enough to revive the U.S. economy? Or are they looking only for only their bottom-line? Share your thoughts below.
Here's a cash reality check: Since last year, more than $450 billion bailout dollars - your tax dollars - have been given to banks. Over the same time period, banks have slashed lending to businesses by about 15 percent. CNN Money estimates JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs alone will give nearly $30 billion in bonuses. Plus, America's banks have spent more than $36 million lobbying against financial reform this year.
"I should note that around the table all the financial industry executives said they supported financial regulatory reform, " Obama said today. "The problem is there's a big gap between what I'm hearing at the White House and the activities of lobbyists on behalf of these institutions or associations of which they're a member up on Capitol Hill," he added.
After today's White House meeting only three of the ten bankers in attendance talked to the media. One of them was Richard Davis, CEO of US Bancorp who agreed there is a "disconnect" between what bankers are saying and what the lobbyists are doing on Capitol Hill. "We're going to do a better job," he said.
Davis also addressed the concern that banks aren't doing enough lending.
"You don't want us to make loans that are not strong and well suited for the consumer or the small business. So we agree viscerally that more lending needs to be done, we're looking for those opportunities to make sure that we don't put people in harm's way, and we don't put banks back in harm's way."
Tonight we also have a 360° follow on the videotaped beating death of a Chicago high school student back in September. You may recall, Derrion Albert was killed in a brawl that involved about 50 students. The attack shocked the nation.
You'll hear from the brother of one of the four teens charged in the killing of Derrion.
David Gewirtz | BIO
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing
Some stories refuse to go away. One such story is the case of the missing White House emails. Over the course of two years beginning in 2007, I documented this story in my book, "Where Have All The Emails Gone?" and followed it up with articles written both here on AC360° and elsewhere.
It was announced today that some of those missing emails have been recovered. At the core of the story were millions of email messages that the Bush Administration was unable to deliver to the National Archives in compliance with the Presidential Records Act. They weren't able to deliver the messages because of what seemed most likely to be almost incomprehensibly poor IT (information technology) management practices within the Executive Office of the President.
Two organizations, the National Security Archives of George Washington University and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington brought suit, demanding the White House turn over the missing records.
Roland S. Martin
CNN Political Contributor
If you told me that I could take billions of dollars in bailout money from the government and shower myself and my fellow comrades on Wall Street with $140 billion in bonuses – and all I have to take is a tongue lashing from the president and nothing more, tell me where to sign up.
President Barack Obama and his administration have undertaken their latest round of berating Wall Street for its bad ways.
On CBS’ “60 Minutes” Sunday, the president bristled at questions about helping the banks, saying "I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.”
You didn’t, but you have. In your defense, this economy stinks, and the mess of the Troubled Assets Relief Program was left behind by President George W. Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, and you and your administration have been trying to figure it out, to no avail.
President Obama met with the CEO's of major banks today. Go here to view a run-down of six of the banks invited to discuss financial reform and lending with President Obama.
CNNMoney.com senior writer
President Obama pressed Wall Street bankers at the White House on Monday, urging them to make more loans and modify mortgages to help taxpayers who propped their banks up with federal bailouts.
"My main message in today's meeting was very simple: America's banks received extraordinary assistance from American taxpayers to rebuild their industry," Obama said. "Now that they're back on their feet, we expect an extraordinary commitment from them to help rebuild our economy."
The president was expected to pressure the nation's top dozen bank chief executives to open up the lending spigots to help the economic recovery. He was also said to be urging execs to curb compensation, and to stop gouging customers with high credit card rates and hidden overdraft fees.
Centers for Disease Control
Youth violence is widespread in the United States and is the second leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24. According to a report released by the CDC, youth violence includes various behaviors such as bullying, slapping or hitting and can cause more emotional than physical harm. Robbery, assault or rape can lead to serious injury and even death. In 2006, an average of 16 people were murdered in the U.S. each day.
Take a look at some of the CDC’s statistics:
• 5,958 young people age 10 to 24 were murdered—an average of 16 each day—in 2006.
• Over 631,000 violence-related injuries in young people age 10 to 24 were treated in U.S. emergency rooms in 2007
• In a 2007 nationwide survey, 36% of high school students reported being in a physical fight during the past 12 months.
• Nearly 6% of high school students in 2007 reported taking a gun, knife, or club to school in the 30 days before the survey.
• An estimated 30% of kids between 6th and 10th grade report being involved in bullying.
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture – and you provide the caption and our staff will join in too. Tune in tonight at 10pm to see if you are our favorite! Here is the 'Beat 360°' pic:
U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose with children dressed as elves during the Christmas in Washington celebration on December 13, 2009 in Washington, DC.
Have fun with it. We're looking forward to your captions! Make sure to include your name, city, state (or country) so we can post your comment.
Coaching the Gang of Four before their last minute health care appeal on the Hill.
The Obamas decide to personally question the latest White House 'party crashers'.