Tonight on 360°, breaking developments in the battle for Libya. President Obama, French president Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron, the prime minister of Britain have written an op-ed laying out their vision for the country and it involves the end of the regime. Plus, is fuzzy math part of the budget compromise on Capitol Hill and Goldman Sachs comes under fire in a scathing Senate report on the financial meltdown.
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We're one step away from a 2011 federal budget. All that's needed now is President Obama's signature. The Senate passed the compromise deal this evening in an 81-19 vote hours after the House approved the measure, even with opposition from 59 Republicans and 108 Democrats.
What got lawmakers upset is a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office suggesting that the deal stuck last week to keep the government running would save about $352 million, a lot less than the $38.5 billion touted by negotiators on both sides of the aisle.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), one of the architects of the deal, is defending the cuts.
"Certainly it (the CBO report) has caused some confusion, but let's understand we're cutting $38.5 billion of money that has already been authorized and appropriated and anybody who doesn't believe this money wouldn't be spent if we didn't act is kidding themselves, because this is real money and these are real cuts," Boehner told reporters.
We'll check into the reports of fuzzy math and let you be the judge. We're Keeping them Honest.
Also tonight, should Goldman Sachs, the largest investment bank on Wall Street, face criminal prosecution for the financial crisis?
That will be up to the U.S. Justice Department and SEC after a Senate panel released a scathing 639-page report following a two-year bipartisan investigation on the crisis.
What is known for sure is the economic meltdown cost millions of Americans their jobs and homes and wiped out billions of dollars in other investments. Americans on Main Street know all too well the damage done. Yet no one on Wall Street has ever faced criminal prosecution. Is that about to change?
Last summer, you may recall, Goldman paid a $550 million fine to the SEC to settle civil fraud charges. Again that was civil charges – not criminal. Still, the penalty was the highest ever against a Wall Street firm.
A lot of people are wondering if Goldman may now face criminal charges.
In the Senate report, Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) claim Goldman Sachs misled clients and Congress about the firm's bets on securities tied to the housing market. The report suggests Goldman was peddling securities to clients based on shaky mortgages. Mortgages they knew were shaky and that traders at the firm were simultaneously betting against.
Goldman has issued this statement:
"While we disagree with many of the conclusions of the report, we take seriously the issues explored by the Subcommittee. We recently issued the results of a comprehensive examination of our business standards and practices and committed to making significant changes that will strengthen relationships with clients, improve transparency and disclosure and enhance standards for the review, approval and suitability of complex instruments."
Other financial institutions were mentioned in the report, including the now-defunct Washington Mutual Bank.
We'll have more with Matt Taibbi, a contributing editor at Rolling Stone, who has written extensively on the financial crisis and CNN's Eliot Spitzer, who prosecuted Wall Street tycoons when he was New York's Attorney General from 1999-2006.
We'll also have new developments on Libya. President Obama, along with French president Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron have released an op-ed that will be published in three newspapers tomorrow calling for the removal of Moammar Gadhafi.
Join us for these stories and much more starting at 10 p.m. ET on CNN.
CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - In a joint opinion piece to be published Friday, the leaders of the United States, Britain and France lay out in stark terms their contention that Libya's future must not include its leader, Moammar Gadhafi.
"It is unthinkable that someone who has tried to massacre his own people can play a part in their future government," said the article, titled "Libya's Pathway to Peace," by U.S. President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "It would be an unconscionable betrayal."
The article, which is slated to appear in the International Herald Tribune, Le Figaro, and Times of London, was sent to reporters by the White House.
Ready for today's Beat 360°? Everyday we post a picture 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:
President Barack Obama holds a meeting with Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office of the White House April 14, 2011 in Washington, DC. Obama met with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, and Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the co-chairs of President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, following a speech Wednesday in which he outlined his plan for deficit and debt reduction. (Photo credit: Gary Fabiano-Pool/Getty Images)
Update: Beat 360° Winners:
“Now, Vice President Biden has graciously agreed to oversee the search for a new FAA official to keep on eye on these snoozy air traffic controllers. Anything you’d like to say, Joe? Joe?”
“Joe Biden's contribution to the discussion: wearing a shirt that makes an American flag with the president's tie."
Washington (CNN) - A budget deal reached last week to avert a government shutdown won approval Thursday from both the House and Senate, sending it to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The measure cuts $38.5 billion in spending while funding the government for the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends September 30. With its passage, the White House and Congress will now focus on what are expected to be more rancorous battles over a budget for fiscal year 2012 and the upcoming need to raise the federal debt limit.
A final-hour agreement last Friday in talks involving Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and House Speaker John Boehner included the spending cuts demanded by Republicans as a step toward controlling America's skyrocketing debt.
The measure passed the Republican-controlled House on a 260-167 vote. The bill would not have passed without support from members of both parties, as 59 members of the Republican majority opposed it, showing the challenge faced by Boehner in keeping his conservative Tea Party-infused caucus unified. amid politically perilous tax and spending negotiations with the Democrats.
The House vote also reflected growing liberal angst and anger over the impending spending reductions. Only 81 Democrats backed the measure; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, voted no.
In the Senate, the final vote was 81-19.
Under the deal, $38.5 billion would be from the budget for the remainder the fiscal year, which ends September 30. Among other things, the package slashes funding from a wide range of domestic programs and services, including high-speed rail, emergency first responders, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
As part of the agreement, Congress also voted Thursday on measures to de-fund Planned Parenthood and Obama's health care overhaul. As expected, both passed the House and were defeated in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
One point of concern for conservatives was a report released Wednesday by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office showing that of the $38.5 billion in savings, only $352 million will actually be realized this fiscal year. Boehner insisted Thursday that all of the cuts will take effect eventually, but conceded that the analysis "has caused some confusion" among House members.
Sara Hammel and KC Baker
(PEOPLE.com) - Walking the red carpet at New York City's Museum of Modern Art this week, Michael Douglas was feeling grateful for all the well wishes he'd received from friends and fans as he battled cancer.
"I feel great!" the actor, 66, told PEOPLE at Tuesday night's event to celebrate Carnegie Hall's 120th anniversary. "I feel a tremendous amount of support from so many people."
Absent from the event was his biggest supporter: wife Catherine Zeta-Jones. Hours later, it was revealed that she has quietly sought healing of her own. Her rep says the actress recently checked into a facility for a few days to treat her bipolar II disorder.
The revelation was surprising to many, not least because the Oscar-winning actress and mom-of-two stayed steadfastly positive in public while sticking by Douglas's side through a grueling six-month battle with cancer.
But behind the scenes, those close to the actress say she felt the strain. Her rep acknowledged the timing of Zeta-Jones, 41, seeking treatment was in part connected to "the stress of the past year."
Adds a friend, "Catherine has had to deal with Michael's illness, and that's been hard."
CNNMoney.com Staff Reporter
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - A Senate panel issued a scathing report Wednesday that describes Goldman Sachs as a "case study" of the recklessness and greed on Wall Street that set off the 2008 financial crisis.
The 600-page report also blames the lending practices of big commercial banks, such as the now-defunct Washington Mutual, for plunging the U.S. economy into a painful recession.
The regulators who failed to crack down on the banks, including the Office of Thrift Supervision, are faulted for their cozy relationship with Wall Street, as are the major credit rating agencies, Moody's and Standard & Poor's.
"Our investigation found a financial snake pit rife with greed, conflicts of interest, and wrongdoing," said Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate subcommittee charged with investigating the causes of the financial crisis.
The subcommittee, which spent two years on the investigation, based its report on thousands of internal company documents and emails, as well as hundreds of interviews and Congressional testimony.
The subcommittee singled out Goldman (GS, Fortune 500) and Deutsche Bank (DB) as examples of Wall Street firms that reaped huge profits by marketing securities backed by subprime mortgages as safe investments to clients, even as the banks bet against these very same securities.
CNN Wire Staff
Cairo (CNN) - Egyptians exulted Wednesday over the detention of their ailing former president and his two sons in a probe exploring the killing of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the center of the country's dramatic uprising earlier this year.
Former President Hosni Mubarak and his sons, Gamal and Alaa, were taken into 15-day detainment Tuesday in connection with the protesters' deaths, according to Ahmed Hemeida with the Justice Ministry.
Mubarak has decried accusations of his responsibility in the deaths, saying the probe is aimed at tarnishing his reputation and that of his family. The detention and questioning of the former authoritarian leader is unprecedented in the modern Arab world. Saddam Hussein, Iraq's late leader, was captured by U.S. troops and put on trial after his regime was toppled more than eight years ago.
But Mubarak's case is different because his detention didn't involve the West. In contrast to Saddam's case, the government made the arrest amid domestic demands that he be held.
Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: President Obama is fast raising money for the next race for the White House, as are his potential challengers. And in today’s edition of my priceless advice to the top official in our land, I have an idea about how some of that money might be put to better use!
Dear Mr. President,
I don’t often have good ideas. Frankly, it is possible that I’ve never had one, although my notion for airlines serving free shrimp po-boys to everyone who has to take a middle seat still seems promising.
That said, I have had an inspiration. As I’ve read over all the plans being trotted out for budget reduction, including yours, I’ve thought, “Well, I see the sacrifices that we, the voters will have to make, but what about you, the leaders?” You’ve made quite a noise over this notion of going after the rich, and certainly a good many of our top political types not only have a lot of money, but also have an open door for raking in much more than the rest of us in the form of campaign contributions.
Editor's note: China government has banned "time travel" and other story lines on television. CNN's Eunice Yoon explains.