July 29th, 2011
10:51 PM ET

Raw Politics: Republican explains switched vote

Editor's note: Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-GA, explains why he decided to support Speaker John Boehner debt ceiling bill.

Related: Senate Democrats block Boehner debt ceiling plan after House approval

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics
July 29th, 2011
10:45 PM ET

Video: Will weekend yield a debt deal?

Editor's note: Anderson Cooper speaks with John King, Jessica Yellin, Gloria Borger, and Ali Velshi about the debt ceiling fight.

Related: Senate Democrats block Boehner debt ceiling plan after House approval

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics
Senate Blocks Boehner's Debt Plan: Join the Live Chat
July 29th, 2011
09:45 PM ET

Senate Blocks Boehner's Debt Plan: Join the Live Chat

It's been a dramatic night on Capitol Hill. The House approved Speaker John Boehner's debt plan in a party line vote of 218-210. 22 Republicans voted against the plan. And there was no support from Democrats. The measure then went to the Senate where it was blocked. With four days to go until the debt ceiling deadline, we're no closer to a deal. We'll have the breaking news and look at what's next in negotiations. Plus, tonight's other headlines.

Scroll down to join the live chat during the program. It's your chance to share your thoughts on tonight's headlines. Keep in mind, you have a better chance of having your comment get past our moderators if you follow our rules.

Here are some of them:

1) Keep it short (we don't have time to read a "book")
2) Don't write in ALL CAPS (there's no need to yell)
3) Use your real name (first name only is fine)
4) No links
5) Watch your language (keep it G-rated; PG at worst - and that includes $#&*)

Filed under: Live Blog
July 29th, 2011
09:02 PM ET

Senate Democrats block Boehner debt ceiling plan after House approval

Washington (CNN) - Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the nation's the debt ceiling and slash government spending narrowly passed the House on Friday and then was blocked by Senate Democrats, setting up a weekend of negotiations to seek a deal that would avoid a potential federal default next week.

The Senate vote was 59-41 to table the measure, which effectively kills it unless Democrats decide to bring it up again.

Earlier, Boehner's proposal was approved by the House in a sharply polarized 218-210 vote that was delayed by a day while the speaker rounded up support from wary tea party conservatives. No Democrats supported the measure, and 22 of the 240 members of the Republican majority also opposed it.

Even though it was blocked in the Senate, the Boehner plan now is the Republican negotiating position for hammering out a deal with congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama to avert a possible government default next week.

Friday's House vote was a critical test of Boehner's control over his tea party-infused GOP caucus. The speaker was forced to quell a right-wing revolt over the measure after a number of members complained that it doesn't do enough to shrink the size of government and stem the tide of Washington's red ink.

Boehner, R-Ohio, managed to sway several of those members by including a provision requiring congressional passage of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution before the debt ceiling can be extended through the end of 2012.

In his floor speech before the vote, Boehner called the proposal imperfect but necessary, and he criticized Obama and congressional Democrats for rejecting all deficit reduction measures passed by the House so far.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
July 29th, 2011
08:49 PM ET

The threat of Islamic extremists in the U.S. military

The arrest of Army infantryman Nasser Jason Abdo for his alleged plot to attack Fort Hood personnel instantly brought back the pain, shock and grief of the massacre on that base in November 2009 that left 13 people dead. In an eerie echo of that past attack, Abdo even reportedly purchased weapons and bomb-making material at the same gun store used by accused Fort Hood shooter Major Malik Nadal Hasan. News of this latest plot has reinvigorated a shock wave that continues to reverberate throughout the ranks of the U.S. military.

Why would an American Muslim soldier choose to plan a deadly attack against his fellow soldiers? Was there anything in his background or behavior that would have provided indications of his deadly intentions? And what does this latest arrest mean for the military in addressing issues of violent extremists in its ranks? For the government and its military leadership, a precarious balancing act of addressing security concerns while avoiding witch-hunts and combating discrimination continues to play out.

For the Pentagon, general concerns exist over the so-called “insider threat”, or double agents who may infiltrate the military for nefarious purposes. Screening procedures exist designed to preclude enlistment by individuals with terrorist ties of some kind, but once someone is in the military what happens then?

U.S. authorities had previously investigated Hasan in December 2008 due to his e-mail exchanges with al-Qaeda ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki. In those communications Hasan appeared to be seeking spiritual guidance for a possible attack, asking about killing U.S. soldiers and if that would be justified. Tragically, this exchange didn’t lead to authorities taking action against Hasan until it was too late. In my opinion, a combination of an over-sensitivity to Hasan’s background and a failure on the part of authorities to share vital information allowed him to slip through the cracks.

While the number of cases of violent Islamists among active or former military remains extremely small at around a dozen serious cases, they’ve left a legacy of suspicion and fear of American Muslims in the military.

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Filed under: Islam • Opinion
Sect leader warns of 'death' to 'those who prosecute the church'
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs declined to give an opening statement Thursday after firing his attorneys in his sexual assault trial.
July 29th, 2011
08:30 PM ET

Sect leader warns of 'death' to 'those who prosecute the church'

San Angelo, Texas (CNN) - A Texas judge warned Warren Jeffs against calling "for the jury's destruction" shortly after the polygamous sect leader said Friday during his sexual assault trial that those who prosecuted his church would face "sickness and death."

The comments that precipitated the warning to Jeffs, who has been granted the right to represent himself, occurred around midday after Judge Barbara Walther had sent the jury out of the San Angelo courtroom.

"I, the Lord God of heaven, ask the courts to cease the prosecution of my holy ways," Jeffs said. "There will be a judgment against all those who prosecute the church. ... I shall let all people know of your unjust ways. I will bring sickness and death. Let this cease."

Walther then told him that "if you call for the jury's destruction" while the jury - who will decide if Jeffs is guilty on two counts of sexual assault on a child - is present, "you will be removed from the courtroom."

The defendant responded by saying, "I am not threatening. I am releasing a message."

The exchange was one of several contentious ones Friday, when the one-man defense team ended his self-imposed silence by repeatedly interrupting prosecutors and launching into a diatribe on religious freedom.

Jeffs' trial stems from a 2008 raid on a ranch near Eldorado, Texas, run by his church, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This trial addresses the two sexual assault counts, while Jeffs is expected to be tried later on a related bigamy charge.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
July 29th, 2011
08:08 PM ET

Letters to the President: #921 'One step forward . . . one back . . .'

Reporter's Note: President Obama has vowed to strike down the GOP plan to deal with the debt ceiling, but the House Republicans passed it this afternoon anyway.

Dear Mr. President,

Did you see House Speaker John Boehner this afternoon? Wow. Talk about fired up. The speech he gave on the floor was crazy fired up, especially for him, because as you may know, he’s not exactly a lightning bolt kind of guy. But then I suppose you can’t blame him.

He was really up against it with his tea party pals. They have held his feet to the fire over this whole affair, and to be frank, in a one-off way they’ve done the same to you. Now, of course, the question is: What’s next?

I have the feeling that even Machiavelli might find all the possible twists and turns a tad daunting. As a practical matter it seems as if what this really means (since your whole team says the measure passed this afternoon is going to be killed) is that now everyone can get serious about real and final negotiations. And I suspect the biggest player at the table now is going to be the clock.

I don’t mean just in a “wow, time is running out so we better get busy” way. But rather, I have the feeling that the clock will now start giving cover to people on both sides of the aisle. After all, when you are playing chicken with a catastrophe, bailing out too soon just makes you look silly, but bailing out too late looks foolhardy, and the entire DC crowd is bordering pretty darn hard on the latter.

So I suspect what we’ll be hearing a lot now from both parties is, “We are working out a final deal. It is not the deal we want. But heck, the sky is about to fall, what else could we do?”

Fair enough. As long as we get past this crisis so we can finally turn our attention to the next one.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1
Beat 360° 7/29/11
President Barack Obama pauses while speaking during an event announcing new auto fuel economy standards at the Washington Convention Center July 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)
July 29th, 2011
07:26 PM ET

Beat 360° 7/29/11

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!

Vladimir Duthiers
“The audacity of nope."


“Debt ceiling Plan D ... first, Michelle, what's the limit on my Mastercard?"

Beat 360° Challenge

Filed under: Beat 360°
July 29th, 2011
01:57 AM ET

Raw Politics: Can Obama invoke 14th Amendment?

Editor's note: CNN's Jeff Toobin discusses the possibility that Pres. Obama could act unilaterally to avoid a default on U.S. debt.

Related: House vote on GOP debt plan delayed

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics
July 29th, 2011
01:51 AM ET

Video: In debt fight, what's the next move?

Editor's note: Jessica Yellin and Jeffrey Toobin discuss what the White House and the Senate may do next about the debt ceiling.

Related: House vote on GOP debt plan delayed

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Raw Politics
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