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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  October 9, 2013 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT

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after our report last night the death benefits have been cut off for military families of soldiers killed oversea s. a lot of lawmakers talked about how deplorable it was to withhold benefits from these grieving families. but with republicans and democrats still fighting, today the solution they have come up with is a charity, a well known, well respected charity for vets and their families called the fisher house foundation. they will step in and do what government is supposed to do. this was hammered out as the bodies of the fallen arrived at dover air force base in delaware today. we begin here tonight with nbc's andrea mitchell who broke the story. she is with us from dover tonight. andrea, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the denial of the benefits was so outrageous and caused such an outcry that the white house was scrambling to come up with a fix and did turn to a private charity to bail them out.
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the agreement came after families had already traveled here to dover air force base for the dignified transfer of their loved ones' remains. flown home from afghanistan, received in silence, punctuated only by the rhythmic footsteps of the honor guard. met by secretary of state chuck hagel, the army chief of staff genere odierno and secretary of the army mchugh. killed sunday during a combat mission in canada daf province afghanistan by an improvised explosive device they represent an honor role of sacrifice. 24-year-old private first class james cody patterson, an army ranger from philomath, oregon. at his high school back home. >> cody was just awesome. he was super funny and had a great attitude. very compassionate and positive. >> reporter: but family and friends were angry about the benefits freeze. >> the family not being able to receive the help that they should be able to receive
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because the government is shut down just -- it blows my mind. >> reporter: three others arriving today. army ranger sergeant patrick hawkins from carlisle, pennsylvania. he celebrated his 25th birthday a week ago. first lieutenant jennifer moreno, also 25. an army nurse from san diego. and special agent joseph peters, a 24-year-old intelligence officer from springfield, missouri, the father of a 20-month-old son gabriel. an merge legion post in frederick, maryland, the veterans are furious. >> they deserve it. they died. they fought for the their country. their widows and children who get the benefits. >> reporter: ken fisher who heads a private organization for veterans and their families stepped in to pay the benefits after seeing our report yesterday. >> they are grieving. they have suffered enough. why on earth should they have to worry about where their next dollar is coming from? >> reporter: while in belleville i will noise jefferson's
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restaurant offered to donate 100% of their profits today to the families of the fallen. >> maybe if one person does it, a hundred more will and it will help more people out. >> reporter: tonight president obama told doreen gensler -- >> when i heard about the story i told the department of defense within our administrative powers we should be able to get that fixed. >> reporter: and to be clear, this fix is to let a private charity step in and fulfill a commitment that the government made and right now won't keep. while some pentagon leaders are relieved right now, we also hear that many top uniformed leaders are frankly disgusted that the world's greatest military is letting it be bailed out by a private charity. brian? >> andrea mitchell, dover air force base tonight. andrea, thank you. in congress, in washington, it
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was the politics of this death benefit and the broader shutdown that played out for most of this day again today in congress largely an exercise, as you saw, in damage control. nbc's kelly o'donnell. kelly, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. it is congress's job to fix this mistake but nothing was simple today. with the private group stepping in, that took the political pressure off. that group will pay the benefit and when the government reopens it will be reimbursed. because that charity acted it gave the senate a chance to do nothing to solve the problem. >> how dare we not provide grieving families with the necessary support in their time of need ? >> reporter: today, every house democrat and every house republican voted to guarantee military death benefits. but what seemed like a quick washington solution spiralled
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into politics. even the senate chaplain, a re tired admiral, weighed in. >> it is time for our lawmakers to say enough is enough. >> were you trying to jolt lawmakers with your prayers? >> well, i was trying to express what some of them have expressed and felt. that at some point you have to draw the line. at some point you have to say enough is enough. >> reporter: the shutdown, many complained, has politicized a group beloved by both parties -- the military. one of the families of the fallen soldiers denied benefits is from pennsylvania. >> even for washington, that's unusual that veterans or children or soldiers are used as kind of a political strategy to make a point. >> reporter: a pawn? >> in many instances, yeah. i would agree they are. >> reporter: while democratic leader harry reid insisted the death benefits would come back. >> they will be restored without question . >> reporter: reid made a strategic choice today.
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>> open the government. >> reporter: the senate ignored the new military benefits bill that would fix the problem. why? because democrats say unless house republicans agree to re-open the whole government, democrats will not approve one program at a time. even death benefits for families of fallen soldiers. a hearing with the secretary of veterans affairs, a tea party republican from kansas made it personal. >> find this a difficult question to ask. do you think senator reid doesn't like our veterans or the v.a. in particular? >> reporter: an awkward silence followed. >> personally, i think he very highly values veterans. >> reporter: i told leader reid about the provocative exchange. what is your response to that, sir? >> it doesn't -- i can't dig any identify that with a response. >> reporter: you get an idea of the tone around here, even when it comes to veterans and their families. some praised secretary hagel and the administration for coming up with the solution and also say if the charity hadn't stepped forward the senate would have passed the bill.
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brian? >> kelly o'donnell from the hill, thanks. there are nights we wish there was better news to report and then there is this. eight days now to the other deadline approaching. next thursday the government will hit the debt ceiling. if congress fails to raise that limit so that the government can pay its bills and meet its obligations, many are warning of a larger catastrophe for the u.s. economy. kate snow has our report. >> reporter: this is wall street. you might think if the u.s. government stops paying the debt the most immediate impact would be on the stock market. many economists say defaulting wouldn't just unsettle financial markets, it could potentially impact all these people around me. it could impact this entire city, cities all across the country. in fact the effects could be felt all across the globe. >> every major country and every major bank around the world owns treasury bills. the day they don't believe that we are good for the money or that there is a risk that we are
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not going to pay them back on time, there is going to be a huge global crisis of confidence. >> reporter: if congress doesn't solve this, what are we asking the treasury department to do? >> if we pass the deadline the treasury department has few and only bad options. they have to decide who to pay -- social security? or are they going to pay the chinese back who bought our treasury bills? >> reporter: think of it like your checking account. as of october 17 the treasury department says the u.s. would have about $30 billion in its account plus income the from tax revenue coming in. on october 23, a $12 billion bill comes due to pay for social security payments. on halloween, we owe $6 billion in interest payments on our national debt. the next day, a huge bill, $67 billion for social security, disability benefits, medicare and pay for the military and retirees.
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>> america would not be able to meet all of our financial obligations for the first time in 225 years. >> reporter: some republicans say the president is exaggerating the risk of default. >> default is when you can't service your debt. we have enough money coming in. >> reporter: even if we pass the debt ceiling deadline they say there is enough money on hand. >> i am not advocating going through the deadline. i am saying if you go through it, you will not default and leaders in our country should reassure the world's markets we will not default. >> reporter: some republicans suggested the government prioritize and pay important interest payments first. the administration says that's not practical. the treasury department pays literally millions of bills every day and they say it would be complicated to figure out which one of those to pay first. >> kate snow with the other portion of all of this. thanks as always. well, today the president formally introduced his nominee to be the next chairman of the federal reserve. her name is janet yellen.
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she is the the current vice chair. if confirmed her new post would make her the most powerful woman in the free world. it is a position that doesn't open up very often. there have been only two fed chairmen in this past quarter century. they have the power to set monetary policy for the nation and thus move markets around the world. nbc's rehema ellis reports tonight on the nominee. >> thank you, mr. president. >> reporter: today, janet yellen, the number two at the federal reserve, was nominated to be number one. >> she doesn't have a crystal ball. she does have a keen understanding about how markets and the economy work. >> reporter: endless acknowledge of foresight during the most difficult periods. >> she was one of the first to spot the bubble and also spot how collateral damage and how much damage this could cause the economy. >> reporter: born in brooklyn, 67-year-old yellen is surrounded by financial genius. her husband is aobel prize winning economist.
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>> their idea of a great family vacation is the beach with a suitcase full of economics books. >> reporter: people who know her say for her brilliance she's also down to earth. she's known to eat in the calf tier i can't and has a stamp collection from her mother. >> the past six heres have been tumultuous. >> reporter: today she acknowledged tough times and her faith in finding solutions. >> we can help help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to work hard and build a better life. >> reporter: if confirmed she'll become the next chair and the first woman to lead the federal reserve in a hundred years. rehema ellis, nbc news, new york. still ahead for us here tonight, a warning about an outbreak that has sickened hundreds of people across 17 different states. in the middle of the shutdown, the feds are having trouble tracking it because of the government shutdown. later, making a difference. the amazing effort tonight to re build and remember. so now i can help make this a great block party.
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there is a story in the news linking this shutdown with a serious salmonella outbreak traced to chicken. close to 300 people are known to have been sickened already in this. the vast majority of them in california. investigators believe the outbreak is larger than that. but the agency responsible for monitoring and stopping widespread illness, the cdc, is largely shut down. we get our report tonight from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: in chula vista, california, the blair family is convinced they are recovering from food poisoning. they bought foster farms chicken and ate it that night. >> i felt violently ill. i had to run to the bathroom every few minutes. i thought it was the stomach flu. >> reporter: their chicken has
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the same lot numbers as those with salmonella outbreak. so far 278 people were sickened. for every reported case 25 more go up reported. this outbreak combined with another outbreak involving foster farms last year could have sickened nearly 10,000 people. investigators believe the salmonella this time came from three foster farms processing plants in california. today, the usda threatened to shut the plants down. >> we have concerns that they have difficulties in producing a safe product now. >> reporter: particularly alarming, some of the salmonella strains are resistant to antibiotics.
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the hospitalization rate double what's normal. the outbreak comes as the centers for disease control is hobbled by the government shutdown. 9,000 of the 13,000 workers furloughed. they have called back 30 staffers to help t with the salmonella outbreak. >> it's outrageous that congress is keeping our top experts at home when the public health demands that these people be at work. >> reporter: in a statement, foster farms says it deeply re grets any foodborne illness that may be associated with any of our products. experts say it is important to clean chicken thoroughly, keep it away from counter tops and salmonella can usually be killed when cooking chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees. so far foster farms said it's not recalling product bus it is implementing additional safety measures in processing. tom costello, nbc news, washington. we're back in a moment with the passenger who went into action mid-flight after the pilot collapsed at the controls. before copd... i took my son fishing every year. we had a great spot, not easy to find, but worth it. but with copd making it hard to breathe, i thought those days might be over. so my doctor prescribed symbicort.
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could have ended very differently. the pilot died while at the controls. his friend and passenger was able to contact controllers and then two instructors on the ground were able to talk him into a safe landing. if there was good news here faced with a harrowing chore it was the plane itself -- a cessna 172, the first plane a lot of beginner pilots learn to fly on, famous for dependability and simple controls. but landing one usually takes practice. our parent company comcast made an announcement that made news in the tech and tv world. it has to do with twitter. in the near future the ability to highlight a mention of a clip or broadcast on twitter which then users -- comcast subscribers -- could then view instantly on a mobile device or tv by hitting a button that says "see it." it would allow you to record a show or change the channel on your tv at home via twitter or your hand held device. if you have kids in sports
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or you were one you know the post game ritual that sounds like this. good game, good game, good game. the nhl still does it. it wouldn't hurt the nfl or major league baseball to try it. it is supposed to be nice. the problem is kids will be kids. there is the old spit in your hand trick and worse. now the kentucky high school athletic association is saying because fights have broken out after hotly contested games, the traditional player line-up after these games should be monitored or, in some cases, stopped. when we come back here tonight, our making a difference report. finding common ground and building a brighter future for those affected by two tragedies. ah, this is just what the eight layers needed.
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it's good to know how to put the control back in your go. new oxytrol for women. now over the counter in the feminine care aisle. visit to learn more. finally tonight our making a difference report. they were two of the most tragic events in the recent history of this country. we saw them both last year. the destruction left behind by hurricane sandy followed soon after by the massacre of 26 people at sandy hook elementary in newtown, connecticut. with all the suffering, a new jersey firefighter had an idea. honor the newtown victims by building new playgrounds in
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their names and build them in places that were hit hard by the storm. nbc's katy tur has the report on this program, making a difference. >> who's ready to get their play ground on? >> reporter: on a sunny fall day on long island, kids were climbing, swinging and sliding around a bright pink and brand new playground, built to fill one very big hole. >> i am getting emotion al now. >> tears in our eyes. how can can there not be? >> it's heartbreaking. >> reporter: after one of our country's darkest moments -- a simple idea. >> today is the tenth play ground of 26 we are building. >> reporter: 26 for each of the 26 lives lost in the tragedy at sandy hook. each in a place ravaged by super storm sandy. this one in new york is for 6-year-old caroline previdi. what's it like to be here? >> i have a grandson who will play here . he'll ask grandma what's the
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playground for. i will tell him and caroline will go on. >> reporter: firefighters, cops, community members and construction workers, it is all built by volunteers, the funds all donated. >> when something ugly happens, something beautiful is coming out. >> reporter: carlos daughter was one of the teachers killed at sandy hook. >> i'm pretty strong. but it hurts. >> reporter: now a playground in connecticut bears her name. >> she saved 17 kids and gave her life. i know my daughter and her students are looking down at what we're doing. that's what makes p me happy and
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proud. >> reporter: rebecca and steven kowalski's son chase is honored on the jersey shore. >> it is about the spirit they have been giving back to us more than they ever know. >> everyone thanks us. now we're thanking you. >> we heal a little bit more with each playground. >> reporter: playground number eight. >> it was his baseball number. i take it to the next level and look at the infinity sign that makes the number 8. that's our love, you know? infinity. >> yep. >> reporter: back on long island, caroline's park is a success. >> to imagine that caroline would be watching over the kids that will play on the play ground. they will know the story of caroline. i think it is a wonderful story. >> reporter: a reminder that bringing joy to one child may be the best way to honor another. katy tur, nbc news, island park, new york. >> that gives us great pleasure to tell their story. that's our broadcast on this wednesday night. thanks for being with us. i'm brian williams. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac --
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marriage, your marriage with bruce right now? >> go [ bleep ] yourself. you hear me? go [ bleep ] yourself! >> three very choice words helped bruce make a point about the separation. we'll tell you exactly how long they've been hiding this secret. i'm billy bush. plus, there's endless will examples of reality couples split. it's amazing any of them are together. how much are the shows to blame? if only they could keep up


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