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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  July 13, 2009 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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>> thank you, mr. chairman. . and join my other colleagues who have noted your distinguished career. as often as i have been asked about your nomination in the weeks it has occurred, i said your nomination should make us all feel good as americans, the people of humble origin can work hard to sacrifice and love and through the support of their
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families to achieve great things in america. that makes me feel very good about our country and the opportunity it provides to each of us. in the history of the united states, there have only been 110 people who served on the supreme court. 110. it is amazing to think about that. this means that each and every supreme court nomination is a historic moment for our nation. each supreme court nomination is a time for national conversation and reflection on the role of the supreme court. we have to ask ourselves, those of us who have the constitutional obligation to provide advice and consent, which is the proper direction of the supreme court in deciding how we should vote and conduct ourselves during the course of the hearing? of course, i think it is always useful to recall our history. the framers created a written
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constitution to make sure our constitutional rights were fixed and certain. that the state conventions who represented we, the people, looked at that written constitution and decided to ratify it. and the idea was, of course, that our rights should not be floating in the ether but rather be written down, so we could all understand what those rights, in fact, are. this a free market judges a role that is both unique and very important. -- this framework to give judges a role that is unique and important. the role of judges is to be modest, self restraint, and limited. judges are not free to invent new rights as they see fit. rather, they're supposed to enforce the constitution's text and leave the rest of to week, the people, through the elected representatives of the people
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such as congress. it is my opinion that, over time, the supreme court has often veered off the course established by the framers. first, the supreme court has invented new rights not clearly rooted in any constitutional text. for example, the supreme court has micromanaged the death penalty, recognized in 35 states and above the federal government itself, and create new rights spun from old cloth. it has announced constitutional rules governing everything from punitive damages to sexual activity. it has relied on international law which we have heard some discussion about the the people have never adopted. the supreme court has even taken on the job of defining the rules of the game of golf. if you're curious, that is pga tour versus martin from 2001.
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some people talk about judicial activism. in one sense, activism is a good thing if it is enforcing the rights and laws passed by the legislative branch. on the end, as you know, inventing new rights, a very off this course of forcing a written text and pulling ideas out of the either are pretty far from enforcing the written constitution the framers proposed and that the people enacted. my opinion is that as the supreme court has invented new rights, it has often neglected others. this flip side is troubling to me, too. many of the original importance of guards and government power have been watered down or even ignored. express constitutional limitations like the takings clause of the fifth amendment designed to protect private property and the commerce clause is limitations of the first amendment as well as the second amendment's right to keep and
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bear arms. i believe it has been artificially limited almost like they have been written out of the constitution over time. on location, judges have not been forced them like i believe the american people expected them to do. so what is the future like? where should the supreme court go from here? they think there are two choices. first, the supreme court could try to get us back on course. that is the court could demonstrate renewed respect or our original plan of government and return slowly but surely to written constitution and written loss. rather than judge-made laws. the supreme court's recent second amendment decision in d.c. verses heller is a good example of that. or a kirk could alternatively veer off course once again and follow its own star. it could continue to deduct from the written constitution. it could further erode the
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established rights we have in the text of the constitution. and it could infant even more brand new rights not rooted in the text and not agreed to by the american people. your honor, i think the person of this hearing is to determine which path the would take us on if confirmed to the united states supreme court. would you vote to return to written constitution and laws written by elected representatives of the people or would you take us further away from the written constitution and laws legitimize by the consent of the government? to help the american people understand which of these paths you would take us down, we need to know more of your record. we need to know more of the legal reasoning behind some of your open in the second circuit. and we need to know more by some of your public statements related to your judicial philosophy. in looking at your opinions of the second circuit, we recognize that lower court judges are bound by the supreme court and
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by circuit precedent. to borrow a football analogy, the lower court judges let the quarterback who executes the place, not the coach that calls them. a means many of your cases do not tell us that much about your judicial philosophy or what it would be an action of confirm to the u.s. supreme court. but a few of your opinions do raise questions that i intend to ask you about, and i think they suggest the kinds of plays he would call if you're promoted to the coaching staff. they raise the question, which steer the court in a direction of limiting the rights that generations of americans have regarded as fundamental? so americans need to know whether you live and, for example, the scope of the second amendment and whether we can count on you to a poll of one of the fundamental liberties enshrined in the bill of rights. we need to know whether you limit the scope of the fifth amendment and whether you would expand the definition of public use by which government can take
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private property for one person and give it to another. and we need to know whether you will uphold the plain language of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, promising no state shall denied that any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the loss. judge, some of your opinions suggest to limit some of these constitutional rights and some of their public statements that have already been mentioned suggest the would invent rights it did not exist in the constitution. in a 2001 speech, you argue but there's no objective the in wall. but only what you called a series of perspectives rooted in life experience of the judge. in a 2006 speech, you said that judges can and even must change the law, even introducing would you call the "radical change." to meet the needs of an evolving society. in a 2009 speech, you endorsed the use of foreign law in
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interpreting the american constitution on the grounds that it is judges "and ideas." and "did their creative juices flowing." george sotomayor, no one can accuse you of not having been candid about your views. not every nominee is so open about their views. yet, many americans are left to wonder whether -- what these various statements mean and what you are trying to get out with these various remarks. some wonder whether you are the kind of judge who will uphold the reconstitution are the kind of judge that will take us off course and a toward new rights invented by judges rather than ratified by the people. these are some of my concerns, and i assure you you will have every opportunity to address those and make clear which path you would take us down if you were confirmed to the supreme court. i thank you very much. and congratulations, once again. >> thank you very much, senator.
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senator white house. >> thank you, mr. chairman. judge sotomayor, welcome to you and to your family. your nomination has already been a remarkable -- a remarkable legal career, and i join many americans that are so proud to see here today. it is a great country, isn't it? and you represent its greatest attributes. if your record leaves no doubt that you have the intellectual ability to serve as justice. for a meeting with you and from the outpouring of support, i have experienced both personally and from organizations that have worked with you your demeanor, your collegiality are well established. i appreciate your years as a prosecutor working in the trenches of law enforcement. i am looking forward to learning more about the experience and judgment your poor is to bring to the supreme court. in the last two and a half
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months and today, my republican colleagues have talked a great deal about judicial modesty and restraint. fair enough to appoint, but that. calms when these words become slogans. -- but that point comes when these words become slogans, not real critiques of your records. if these calls for modesty and complaints about activist judges are often codeword, seeking a particular kind of judge and who will deliver a particular set of political outcomes. it is fair to inquire into the nominee's judicial philosophy, and we will have a serious and fair inquiry here. but the pretense that republican nominees embodied modesty and restraint or the democratic nominees must be activists runs starkly counter to recent
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history. i particularly reject the analogy of the judge to an umpire who merely calls balls and strikes. if the judge in or that mechanical, we would not need nine supreme court justices. the task of an appellate judge, particularly on the court of final appeal, is often, to define the strike zone, within a matrix of constitutional principle, legislative intent, and statutory construction. the empire analogy is blind by chief justice roberts, though he cast himself as an umpire during his confirmation hearings. it well-respected legal commentator recently reported that "in every major case since he became the nation's 17th chief justice, roberts has sided with the prosecution over the defendant, the state over the condemned, the executive branch
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over the legislative, and the corporate defendants over the individual plaintiffs. some umpire. is it a coincidence that this pattern "has served the interests and reflected the values of the contemporary republican party?" some coincidence. for all the talk of modesty and restraint, the right wing justices of the court have a striking record of ignoring president, overturning congressional statutes, limiting constitutional protections, and discovering new constitutional rights. the infinite -- the infamous ledbetter decision, for instance, the louisville and seattle integration cases. the first limitation on roe v wade that out right disregards the woman's health and safety. and the d.c./heller discretion
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discovered a constitutional right to own guns at the court had not previously noticed in 220 years. some balls and strikes. over and over, news reporting discusses fundamental changes in the law brought by the roberts courts right-wing flank. the roberts court has not kept the promises of modesty or humility made when president bush nominated justices roberts and alito. judge sotomayor or, i'd like to avoid coleworts and look for simple pledge from you. that you will respect the role of congress as representatives of the american people, that you'll decide cases based on the law and the facts. did you not prejudge any case but listen to every party that comes before you and that you will expect -- respect president and limit yourself of the issues the court must find. in short, you'll use the broad discretion of the supreme court
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justice wisely. net me emphasize that this question. as justice stevens said, we work with federal judges and it is like the work of the english common law judges which sometimes requires the exercise of judgment. a faculty that calls into play notions of justice, fairness, and concern about the future impact of the decision. look at our history. america's common law inheritance the accretion over generations of individual exercises of judgment. our constitution is a great document that john marshall noted "leaves the minor ingredients to judgment, to be deduced by our justices from the documents great principles." the liberties and our constitution have their boundaries defined in the grey and overlapping areas by informed judgment. none of this is balls and strikes. it has been a trueism that
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courts have the authority to say what the lot is, even to invalidate statutes enacted by the elected branches of government when they conflict with the constitution. the issue is not whether you have a wide field of discretion. you will. as we have been reminded, you are not free to act as a knight errant, roaming at will of your pursuit of your own ideal of beauty or good is it yet, he concluded, in all conscience is the field of discretion that remains. the question for this hearing is, will you bring good judgment to that wide field? well you understand and care how your decisions affect the lives of americans? will use a broad discretion to let its diplomacy, liberty, and just is made by the constitution? i believe that your diverse life experience, your broad professional background, your expertise as a judge at each level of the system will bring you that judgment. as oliver wendell holmes famously said "the life of the
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law has not been logic. it has been experience. if you're white experience brings life to a sense of the difficult circumstances faced by the less powerful among us, the woman shrouded around the banks and the voice mail as she tries to avoid foreclosure for her family, the families struggling to live in a neighborhood where police are often there. and the kids are in bed, while the parents sweat out how to make ends meet. the man he believes a little differently or looks a little different or thinks things should be different. if you have empathy for those people in this job, you're doing nothing wrong. the founding fathers set up the american judiciary as a check on the excesses of the elected branches and as a refuge when those bridges are corrected or consumed by passing passions. cords are designed to be our guardians against the hamilton and federal's papers called those ill humors which the arts
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of designing men or the influence of particular concern showers sometimes disseminate among the people and have a tendency to occasions years suppressions of the minor party in the community. present circumstances, those tend to fall on the poor and voiceless. but as hamilton noted, consider it men of every description ought to prize what will it in the courts as no man can be sure that he may not be tomorrow. the victim of the spirit of injustice by which he may be a gain there today. the quorum can be the only sin shall refer the little guy when the forces of society are against him. when proper opinions and elected officials: 10 no year. this is a correct fitting and intended function of the judiciary and our constitutional structure, and the empathy president obama assad for you
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has a constitutionally proper place in the structure. if everyone on the court always voted for the prosecution against the defendant, for the corporation is the place of, and for the government is the condemned, the vital support to american democracy would be extinguished. the courtroom is supposed to be a place for the status quo can be disrupted, even the been did when the constitution or laws may require. with the cut -- were the comfortable can sometimes be afflicted, and the afflicted find some comfort, all under the stern shelter of the law. it is worth remembering that judges of the united states have shown great courage or the years, courage emerging on terrorism at and providing the sanctuary of careful attention, what has been called the cool, dry atmosphere of judicial determination amidst the inflamed passions or invested powers of the day. judge sotomayor, i believe your brought into balance background and empathy prepare you well for this constitutional and proper
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judicial role, and i join my colleagues and welcoming you to the committee and looking forward to your testimony. >> thank you. judge, welcome. it is truly an honor to have the before us. it says something remarkable about our country that you are here. and i assure you during your time before this committee, you'll be treated with the utmost respect and kindness. it will not distinguish, however, that we will be thorough as we approach the areas where we have concerns. there is no question to have as stiller resident -- a stellar resume. if we only went by a resume or judicial history, we would not need to have this. but other things at into that. -- but other things add into that. equally important to is
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providing consent on this nomination is our determination that you have a judicial philosophy that reflects what our founders intended. there is great division about what that means. i also wanted to know that i thought this was your hearing, not judge roberts' hearing and that the partial birth abortion ban was a law passed by the u.s. congress and upheld by the supreme court. i have a different point of view on that. as i expressed during our meeting, i think our nation is at a critical time. i think we're starting to see cracks. and the reason i say that is because i think the glue that binds our nation together and our political philosophies -- we have very severe political philosophies. the thing that binds us together is an in nature as that you can have a fair and impartial judgment in this country. but we, better than any of the
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nation, when we have been wrong, have corrected the bronx, but we have instilled a confidence that, in fact, when you come before you, there is blind justice. and that, in fact, allows us the ability to overlook other areas where we are not so good because it instals in us the confidence of an opportunity to half a fair hearing and a just outcome. i am concerned, as many of my colleagues, with some of your statements. i do not know if these statements were made to be provocative or if there truly heartfelt in would you have said. but i know this some of those concerns will guide my questioning when we come to the questioning time. you're very straightforward with me in our meeting. my hope is that you will be
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there as well. i am deeply concerned by your assertion that the law is uncertain. that goes completely against what i just said about the rule of law being the glue that binds us together. and your praise for an unpredictable system of justice -- i think we wanted to be predictable. we want it to be predictable in its fairness and on how cases are reviewed. and it should not matter which the judge you get. it should matter what the law is and what the facts are. i am worried that the constitution may be seen to be malleable when night, as someone who comes from the heartland, seems to grasp the people -- and hold, and the people from oklahoma soon to grasp and hold it there is a document and other
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statutes in but occasionally treaties that should be the world and -- rather the narrow opinions. policy is made in the court of appeals. that is surprising to me, and as i look at our founders, the court is to be a check, not a policymaker. your assertion that ethnicity and gender will make someone a better judge, although i understand the feelings and emotions behind that, i am not sure that can be factually correct. maybe a better judge than some but not a better judge than others. the other statement, there's no objective stance but only a series of perspectives, no neutrality, no escape from tories in judging. what that implies, the fact that it is subject of implies that it is not objective. if we disregard objective
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consideration of facts, then all route -- rulings are subjective and we lose the glue that binds together as a nation. even more important is their questioning of whether the publication of impartiality of judgment including personal prejudices is possible in most cases or is even desirable is extremely troubling to me. you have taken the oath already, twice. and if confirmed, will take it again. i am going to repeated again. it has been said once this morning. here is the oath. i do solemnly swear or affirm that i will administer justice without respect to persons and do equal right to the poor and to the rich and will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me under the constitution and the laws of the united states, so help me god.
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it does not reference for an law anymore. it is not reference whether or not we lose influence in the international community. we lost influence when we became a country in the international community to several countries. but that did not impede us from establishing this great republic. i think this both succinctly captures the role of the judge. i am concerned about some of your statements in regard to that. your judicial philosophy might be, and i am not saying it is, inconsistent with impartial neutral or richard the oath describes. with regard to your judicial philosophy, the burden of proof rests on new. but in this case, that burden has been exaggerated by some of your statements and also by some as president obama's stated intent, to nominate someone who was not impartial but instead it favors certain groups of people. during the campaign, he promised
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to nominate someone who has the heart and can recognize what it's like to be a young teenage woman. the implication is that our judges today do not have that. the you realize how that is? the empathy to understand what is it like to be poor, to be african-american, gay, disabled, or old. most of our judges understand what it is like to deal. senator, referred his empathy standard when he voted against chief justice roberts. he stated that tough cases can all be determined on the basis of the deepest values, one's core concerns of the broader perspective on how the world works. i believe that standard is in the proper role of the judge. the american people expect our judges to treat all litigants equally, not to favor and not to enter the courtroom already prejudiced against one of the parties.
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that is why a lady justice is always depicted blind. and why aristotle defined law as reason free from passion. we expect a judge to merely call balls and strikes -- maybe so, maybe not. but we certainly do not expect them to sympathize with one party over the other. that is where empathy comes from. the judge sotomayor your, you must prove to the senate that you live here to the proper role of the judge. and only base their opinions on the constitution statutes and when appropriate, treaties. that is your oath. that is what the constitution demands of you. you must demonstrate that you will strictly interpret the constitution and lost and not be swayed by your personal bias or political preferences which you are entitled to. as alexander hamilton stated in
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the federalist paper number 78, the interpretation of the law is the proper in a particular province of the court. if the constitution, however, must be regarded by the judges is fundamental law. he further stated it was in this debate -- indispensable that judges have an inflexible and uniform adherence to the rights of the constitution. in nominee who is not adhered to the standards necessarily reject the role of the judge's dictated by the constitution and should not be confirmed i look forward to a respectful and rigorous interchange with you during my time of questioning. i have several questions that i hope you'll be able to answer. i will try not to put you in the case we have to answer a future of opinion. i understand your desire in that regard, and i respected. thank you for being here, and i applaud your accomplishments. may god bless you.
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>> thank you. >> we're leading the turf -- leaving the senate committee to bring you live gavel-to-gavel coverage of the u.s. house. we will return to the hearing immediately after this short house session the you can continue to watch it on c- span.org or c-span3. the house is meeting now for morning hour. times set aside for short speeches on any topic. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the
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u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's room, washington, d.c., july 13, 2009. i hereby appoint the honorable henry cuellar to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, nancy pelosi, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the order of the house of january 6, 2009, the chair will now recognize members from lists submitted by the majority and minority leaders for morning hour debate.
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the chair will alternate recognition between the parties with each party limited to 30 minutes and each member other than the majority and minority leaders and the minority whip limited to five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from virginia, mr. wolf, for five minutes. mr. wolf: i thank the gentleman. mr. speaker, i rise today to with great concern regarding the recent violence and loss of life in the uighur autonomous region. much does not know about what happened due to the chinese government control, the situation evolved into an explosion of anger between hong chinese and uighur citizens. chinese officials have vowed to severely punish individuals connected to the protest including through the use of the death penalty. the chinese government long standing persecution and prosecution of the uighur
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people is well documented, including by our own department of state, as is the government's history of covering up abuses and reacting violently in the face of peaceful protest. the chinese government must allow an independent international investigation into the events surrounding the weeks' past violence. i urged the state department to work toward that end. the chinese government has blamed the unrest on nobel peace prize nominee. this is reminiscent of the chinese government's blaming last year's protest into tibet on the dalai lama. both the dalai lama have made scapegoats by the communist government and both the champions for their people. reba suffered in prison for five years. and to her release, two of her sons were arrested and remained today languished and in jail
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for crimes they did not commit. amazingly the reach of the chinese government does not stop at its borders. in 2006, she called my office seeking assistance because she noticed a suspicion outside her home in northern virginia. after checking with the f.b.i., we learned that the vehicle had been rented by individuals connected with the chinese government. in a recent opinion peace she wrote for "the wall street journal" she condemned the use of violence on both sides and called on the united states to speak out against oppression in china and monitored daily human rights abuses perpetrated by the chinese government. today, i sent a letter to the government, president obama, asking that senior officials of the national security council and the state department immediately meet with ms. kadir to discuss the events and discuss the events.
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president obama is a father and secretary clinton is a mother. so they know. failure to meet with riva kadir would be reminiscent when one visited washington and the city's foreign policy establishment sought to destruct him at every turn. he was refused a meeting with president ford who declined to meet him with an upcoming meeting with the president. i hope this administration does not repeat this mistake and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from north carolina , ms. foxx, for five minutes. ms. foxx: thank you very much, mr. speaker. today our nation is suffering with tremendous economic problems with unemployment reaching a 26-year hiatt 9.5%.
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last month alone our economy shed 467,000 jobs. in december, 2006, the u.s. had had 54 straight months of job growth, the longest in the history of this country. democrats took over the congress in january, 2007, and our economy has been going downhill since then. since january, 2009, when president obama became president and the democrats continued to control congress, things have really gone downhill. americans of all walks of life are hurting and cutting back as consumer spending slumps and more families find themselves with a breadwinner without work. what we need to get us out of this slump are policies aimed at helping employers create jobs. when employers create jobs and start hiring, the unemployed can get back to work and rejoin the ranks of the workers that
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make our nation great. and what kind of policies encourage employers to create jobs? policies that reduce the burden of government mandates and keep the tax man from dipping too deep into the pockets of those who create jobs, small business owners. what we're talking about is cutting back the jungle of red tape and keeping taxes low for the entrepreneurs who always lead the way toward economic recovery. in 1802 thomas jefferson put it this way. if we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them, they must become happy. he was voicing a common insight into the tendency of government to quickly put burdensome mandates on entrepreneurs and job creating small businesses under the guise of lending a helping hand. today we know this syndrome as big government. unfortunately, for the real engines of job creation in america, the ways and means
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committee democrats floated a massive tax hike in the past few days that will fall squarely on small business owners and entrepreneurs. sure they will market their $540 billion tax increase as a, quote, surtax on the wealthy, end quote, and you can bet your last dollar that anyone who dares to question this tax will be called a defender of the wealthy. how about defending the small businesses that will help pull us out of the recession? how about looking out for innovators and risk takers whose ideas and products create jobs and grow our economy? these are the people who will be shelling out for this new $540 billion tax, and they're the very same people who could be hiring the unemployed and creating jobs if we just give them the breathing room they need instead of hiking their taxes one more time. i yield back, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time.
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pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess, the chair declares the house in recess until 2:00 p.m. today. as well as the treasury department. that includes stimulus spending the dow live coverage from the house returns here on c-span. day one of the senate judiciary committee hearing on the nomination of judge sotomayor your for the u.s. supreme court is in a break. the hearing is expected to resume at 2:00 p.m. eastern. you can watch it live on and c- span3 or follow the hearing on c-span.org.
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>> president obama has picked a rural alabama family physician for surgeon general. she is known for her efforts to rebuild her nonprofit medical clinic in the wake of hurricane katrina. here is president obama's comments today at the white house. if >> the good morning, everybody. before i introduce america's next surgeon general, i would like this a few words about our ongoing efforts to reform the health-care system that she will help oversee. we are now closer to the goal of health care reform than we have ever been. over the last several weeks, a
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key committees in the house and senate have made important and unprecedented progress on a plan that will lower costs, provide better care for patients, and curb the worst practices of the insurance companies. it is a plan that will not add to our deficit over the next decade. let me repeat that. it is a plan that will not add to our deficit over the next decade. and eventually will help lower our deficit by slowing the skyrocketing costs of medicare and medicaid. even though we are close, i have got no illusions that it is going to be easy to get over the finish line. there are going to be more debates in the more disagreements before all is said and done. but health care reform must be done. i know there are those who believe we should wait to solve this problem are take a more incremental approach or simply do nothing, but this is the kind of criticism we heard in the country tried to pass medicare, a program that is now providing
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quality care to generations of american seniors. it is the kind of criticism we heard when we tried to pass the children's health insurance program which was providing quality care and coverage to millions of kids. it is the same washington thinking that has ignored big challenges and put off tough decisions for decades, and it is precisely that kind of small thinking that has led us into the current predicament. so make no mistake, the status quo on health care is no longer an option for the united states of america. if we step back from this challenge right now, we will leave our children a legacy of debt, the future of crushing costs that bankrupt our families, businesses, and because we will have done nothing to bring down the cost of medicare and medicaid, will crush our government. premiums will continue to skyrocket, placing what amounts to another tax on american families struggling to pay bills. the insurance companies and the
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special interests that have killed reform in the past will only continue to benefit even more. there will continue to deny coverage to americans with pre- existing medical conditions. people will continue to lose health insurance just because they lose their jobs or they change jobs. this is a future that we cannot afford. this country cannot afford to have health care premiums rise three times faster than people's wages as they did over the last decade. we cannot afford 14,000 americans losing their health care every single day. we cannot afford a future where our government will eventually spend more on medicare and medicaid than what we spend on everything else. during the campaign, i promised health care reform that would control costs, expand coverage, and ensured choice. i promised that americans making $250,000 or less would not pay more in taxes. these are promises that we are
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keeping as reform moves forward. this is no longer problem we can wait to fix. this is about who we are is a country. health care reform is about every family's health, but it is also of the health of the economy. i want to but never the on notice because there was a lot of chatter during the week that i was gone. we are going to get this done. inaction is not an option. for those naysayers and cynics who think that this is not going to happen, do not bet against us. we are going to make this thing happened because the american people desperately needed. even those who are satisfied with their health care right now, they anderson and that if premiums keep on doubling and if employers keep on shedding health insurance because it is unsustainable and you look of the trajectory of or medicare and medicaid are going, then in action will create the biggest crisis of all.
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i understand people are nervous and a little scared about making change. but the muscles in this town to bring about big changes are a little and trumpet. but we're going to get this done if. if anyone understands all the bridges the meeting this challenge in a personal and a powerful way, it is the woman who will become our nation's next surgeon general, dr. regina benjamin. the list of qualifications that make dr. benjamin an outstanding candidate to be america's leading spokesperson on issues of public health are long indeed. she was in the second class at morehouse school of medicine and went on to earn an md from the university of alabama and birmingham and an mba from tulaned. she served as associate dean for rural health of the university
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of south belem of the college of medicine. in 1995, she became the first physician under 40 and the first african-american woman to be named to the american medical association's board of trustees. in 2002, she became president of alabama state medical association. she has received numerous awards in the recognitions including the macarthur genius award. that is very impressive. but of all these achievements and experience, none has been more pertinent to today's challenges, more closer to her hard in the world health clinic machine is built and rebuilt in baya labatrie in alabama. it is a rural town of about 2500 people. it is a shrimping town where a lot of people work for
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themselves, scrape by, and cannot usually afford health insurance. but the way, dr. benjamin, while we were talking and the oval office, described the demographics of this town which are interesting. you have at whites, blacks, and asians in this community. there are a lot of cambodians and laotians who have moved their and our part of this shrimping town. so it is a diverse but the report world community. like so many other rural communities, doctors and hospitals are hard to come by. that is why even though she could have left the state to make more money as a specialist or as a doctor in the welfare community, regina benjamin returned to alabama and opened a small clinic in that town. when people cannot pay, she did not charge them. when the clinic was not making money, she did not take a salary for herself. when a hurricane destroyed the
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clinic in 1998, she made house calls to all her patience while it was being rebuilt. when hurricane katrina the story again and left most of her town homeless, she mortgaged her house and maxed out her credit cards to rebuild the clinic. for a second time she tended to those who had been wounded in the storm the when people needed medicine, she asked the pharmacist send the bill her way. when her clinic was about to open for the third time, a fire burned it to the ground before it could serve the first patient. you can guess what dr. benjamin did it with a former community, she is rebuilding it again. one disabled patients brought her an envelope with $20 inside. another elderly man said simply maybe i can help. i have got at hand. for nearly two decades, dr. regina benjamin as seen in a very personal way what is broken about our health care system. she's seen an increasing number
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of patients that have suddenly lost their health insurance because they lost their jobs are because it simply became too expensive. she has been a relentless promoter of prevention and wellness programs have been treated too many costly diseases and complications it did not have to happen. she has witnessed the shortage of primary-care physicians and the world and underserved areas where she works. but for all those in the scene and all the tremendous obstacles is overcome the regina benjamin represents what is best about health care in america. doctors and nurses who give and care and a sacrifice for the sake of their patients, those americans who do a thing to heal a fellow citizen. through floods, fires, she has refused to give up. her patients have refused to give up. when we were speaking in the oval office, she said the one thing i want to do is make sure that this surgeon general's office gives voice to patients.
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but patients have a seat at the table, somebody's advocating for them and speaking for them. and now in washington and across america, i refuse to give up on the goal of health care that is affordable and accessible. we do not have to deal with hurricanes, floods, or fires. all we have to do is make sure the american people have a decent shot and getting the kind of choice that high quality health care that is affordable. i know she is going to help us get there as the next surgeon general. i am honored to nominate her for the post and secretary sebelius is equally excited even though she is just standing. with that, let me introduce the next surgeon general of the united states, dr. regina benjamin. [applause] it is kind of hot out here. >> it is. thank you, mr. president.
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and thank you, secretary sebelius for being here with me. i am honored and humbled to be nominated to serve as the united states surgeon general. this is a physician's a dream. but for me, it is more than just a job. public health issues are very personal to me. my father died with diabetes and hypertension. my older brother and only sibling died aged 44 of h.i.v.- related illness. my mother died of lung cancer because as a young girl, she wanted to smoke dislike her twin brother could. my uncl.e buddy, my mother's twin use one of the few surviving black world war ii prisoners of war, is a home run now on oxygen, struggling for each breath because of the years of smoking. my family is not here with me today, at least not in person,
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because of preventable diseases. while i cannot change my family's past, i can give voice and the movement to improve our nation's health care and our nation's health for the future. these are trying times in the health-care field. as a nation, we have reached a sobering realization. our health-care system simply cannot continue on the path that we are on. millions of americans cannot afford health insurance or they do not have the basic health services available where they live. i went back home to alabama as part of my obligation to the national health service corps. it provides underserved communities in america with qualified physicians. they paid for my medical school education. in return, the place me in an area that desperately needed physicians, and i stayed.
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so in 1990, i founded the world health clinic in alabama. as a physician, my party has always been the needs of my patients. i decided i would treat patients regardless of their ability to pay. however, it has not been an easy road. as has been explained, hurricanes destroyed my office and devastated our community. i worked for years to find resources to sustain a doctor's office to treat patients without health insurance or the ability to pay out of their markets. it should not be this hard for doctors and other health-care providers to care for their patients. it should not be this expensive for americans to get health care in this country. and mr. president, thank you for putting health care reform at the top of your domestic agenda. my hope is confirmed as surgeon general is to be america's doctor, america's family physician. as we work toward a solution to
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this health care crisis, i promise to communicate directly with the american people come to help guide them through whatever changes may come with health care reform. i want to ensure that no one, no one falls through the cracks as we improve our health care system. i will also work to shine a light on in spiry and work of the six to 200 members of the u.s. public health service commission court. these men and women serve on the front lines on the nation's fight against disease and poor health conditions. i would like to close by thanking two of my medical school professors. first, former surgeon general dr. david said juror who instilled in me a passion i committed the medicine. he required me to go out into these small towns in this. with rule positions in the purges but in public health projects. those experiences, no doubt, let me to open my practice in alabama. i must also thank former
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secretary of health and human services, dr. louis sullivan. he was 19 and taught me hematology. more portly, he taught me leadership. from him i learned how to impact policy at the federal, state, and local levels to help our patients and to help our community. i am indented to both of my mentors. finally, i would like to than k my staff and patients at the world health clinic. all of the worker the past three years have been for them and for patients like them. today is no difference. citywide, mr. president, for having the confidence in me. and if confirmed, i promise i will give you and the american people my best. [applause] >> president, are you going to
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get more involved in health care? senators say you ought to. >> that was a good one. we are going to get this done. >> are you willing to compromise for a bill you want? >> the house will return today at 2:00 p.m. eastern to the 16 bills. their bills kind of being transferring land and a measure to allocate funds for the treatment and rehabilitation of torture victims. recorded votes take place at 6:30 p.m. eastern. live coverage when the house returns here on c-span. the senate judiciary committee started its hearing today on the nomination of federal judge sonia sotomayor or for the u.s. supreme court. the committee is taking lunch break right now, but you can see live coverage wind. the return at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span3 and c-span.org. during an earlier break, said a committee leaders reacted to this first day of hearings which is expected to last all week. >> well, you know, so far we have heard from the centers
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which is appropriate. you always do. i was impressed with the senators. i think most senators want to hear from her. we will hear her opening statement today. it is a relatively short one. i decided not to the questions today. i think i am sympathetic to the fact that she is here with a broken ankle. her foot is in the cast. she has to be very patient throughout this. we will finish all our statements today and then go to questions. that is when we will hear the most from her. i know she is eager. judge sotomayor or is eager to be able to testify because there has been all these things said about her that she cannot respond to. i think when she responds, the american public is going to be extraordinarily impressed. >> do you think the senators
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recognize the significance for the hispanic population in the u.s.? >> i recognize the significance for all americans. of course, it is significant in the hispanic population. i just think that there have been just over 100 justices in the supreme court since the beginning of this country. it will also be only the third woman. i a urge president obama in long talks i had with him prior to the nomination to show diversity on the court. he called me in afghanistan as a was visiting troops to tell me he was going to nominate her. i told him i was delighted with that show of diversity. thank you. >> can i ask you about the cia did cheney store the broker the weekend? >> it would be best to ask
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senator feinstein who is the chair of that committee. we should get an answer one way or the other. . >> one does something wrong and if it is made known, the next one does not. -- does not make the same mistakes. >> what about the comments of
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republicans [unintelligible] >> mr. estrada was nominated and they did not even hold a hearing for him. >> i think we are having a good hearing chairman leahy is a good chairman. he is experienced. he does a good job with these matters. it does seem to me that things are developing perhaps as we would expect. there are concerns about the judge's judicial philosophy expressed in the number of speeches. and in some of her cases. her friends and supporters are pointing out that she has been on the bench for a long time, has a great deal of experience, which is correct. they think her record is mainstream. for those of us who are concerned, it is a question of
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great importance that a judge be absolutely committed to of the nativity. -- to object to the. -- objectiv 80ity. ahoy there may bthere may be fae choose not to see because of their background. that is a fundamental red flag. that is really astounding statements that some of the senators have said. i hope this process will continue to be a good one. this wonderful lady with great experience will be given a fair shake and be able to answer these questions, i hope.
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i think we will be proud of this hearing when it is over. >> wouldn't a judge's experience shaped the way perceive these issues? >> when you take that oath for equal justice to the poor and rich alike, that you willç not respect persons, but be impartial -- she made a very significant speech in which she talked about this problem or this idea that your background inevitably is going to shake you. it is just an aspiration to try to not have it that way. and hispanic judge that came through this senate and really a liberal judge, he disagreed. i think he made a nice statement about why the next day in the
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hearing. >> would you speak to the comments senator gramm made about elections having consequences. does that make a difference for you here? >> i think it does. i believe most senators get less respect to a president's nominees, and probably senator obama when he was a senator, and he articulated that quite openly, as some have quoted him. how much each individual senator will have to decide to give deference -- over the years, i believe more senators feel it their responsibility to make a judgment and there's probably less deference today than 20 years ago. >> what kind of message do you want to send to your republican base during this time if we know that most likely she will be confirmed? >> i think we need to begin a
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national dialogue about the critical importance of a judge showing restraint, that to be committed to the law and that they not allow the power of being on the bench with a lifetime appointment to effectuate their personal, political, or other views that they might have. let me explain that. it is not activism for a judge to reverse prior lot if it is a good, sound decision. what is activism is if it a judge makes any ruling or decision or reverses a case based on ideological, philosophical, a personal view and not a lot and the facts. thank you very much -- and not a the a lot and the facts. thank you very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> and his first day of the senate judiciary hearing is
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taking a lunch break. you can watch it live on c- span3 at 2:00 p.m. or follow-up live on c-span.org. we are waiting for the white house briefing with robert gibbs in just a few minutes. the wall street journal reports the cia sort of a secret program aimed at killing or capturing al qaeda operatives, but never got very far, and was halted by cia director leon panetta. this morning, "washington journal" talked with the national journal's intelligence correspondent about that and his story of congress' role in intelligence. of "national journal." all lot of news about the cia. mize president dick cheney. one of the points you make in an earlier article is that there have been a dozen oversight committees, special panels looking into u.s. intelligence operations and the conclusion is often the same. take care of congress first.
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explain that guest: there have been at a dozen of these special bipartisan commissions and panels that have tried to assess, what are the important things that need to be fixed in order to reform intelligence. they come to the same conclusion about congress providing oversight of intelligence operations. the conclusion is that it is dysfunctional. h:z::zah::zh,
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with part of the broader campaign of the retina -- reagan administration to stanch socialism in south america. when it came to light that the cia had conducted this operation of mining the harbors, the members of the intelligence committee were shocked to find out that they have not heard about it and it brought the
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director of the cia at the time, bill casey, and essentially said, why is this something we are learning about only now? what are you thinking? this is tantamount to war. we have told you time and again not to be involved in direct attempt to overthrow the nicaraguan government. why are we sure about this for the first time? and his responsem9ñ was7.ñ basi, i briefed you a couple of months ago and it was one or two lines in a very long briefing that have essentially been missed by most of the members. casey never tried to bring it to their attention and highlight it. is it really significant operation. essentially, during the hearing when all this was coming out, one of the members, a republican from utah, i believe, was so incensed at the growing that the members were giving casey. he thought it was just an overt sign of partisanship.
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he remembered to his -- he wrote a memo to his members that they should back off the cia. he criticized what they thought was their job and how many have failed to do it and they felt that the cia had deceived them. host: what you think rise president cheney knew and what you think he withheld? guest: what we know now, cia director leon panetta, the current director, in late june of last month when to the intelligence oversight committees on the hill and said, there is a secret cia program going on for the past seven or eight years, you have not known about it and vice-president cheney's visit a clear directive that the cia not tell you about it. we have learned that this is in some way connection -- connected to let a presidential finding issued by george bush in two dozen one that authorized the cia to target and in certain
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cases capture or kill certain members of al qaeda. this is apparently a subset of that. will we do know is that, according to panetta, that cheney said that this is something that the congress should not know about. a number of members of the committees have said that is something that had never really come to fruition. it had not crossed the threshold of what the agency thought was appropriate for a briefing the congress. there're all kinds of programs and operations that the agency is considering at any time. specifically also, when they are directed as part of a presidential finding. in 2001, bush essentially gives a broad overview that says the cia's authorized to go out and hunt and kill and captured members of al qaeda. all kinds of things start happening under the umbrella of the directive. at what point does the cia decide that this has reached a threshold that we can notify congress, or this is something that we can keep internal
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because we're not hushing up the wave will work? the fact that the vice-president personally intervened to keep it secret tells me that it is something rather significant if it needed to be kept from the oversight committees. host: senator kyl of arizona and senator durbin of illinois weighing in on the story. here is part of what they had to say. guest: this allegation of what the press president ordered a, you think you should -- that should be kept secret? guest: it is not out of the ordinary for the vice-president to be involved in an issue like this. host: but to order it be kept secret? guest: what if it is a top- secret program? let's do not jump to conclusions is what i'm saying. host: senator durbin? guest: i can tell you, we know that by president cheney played an unusual role with president
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bush in the early days of his administration that seemed to change over time, but it is inappropriate for the vice- president or the president to be ordering that a program be kept secret and not disclosed at the highest levels of congressional leadership. we have to have a check and balance in our system. to give to the president on board the power and authority goes way beyond what our constitution has in mind. future administrations. how will it be for him a republican takes over in the next term or four years after that?
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there is a point at which your potential the criminalizing policy, he wants to avoid that. at the same time, it is undeniable that this recent revolution -- revelation has a new wrinkle. up to now, all of the excess is, if you like, have been known. we have had an electronic surveillance, interrogation of suspects, retention of suspects that has -- and detention of suspects that has been known. we do not know what this program is, but is apparently something new, not related to the previous programs. and it is something that the intelligence community has known nothing about. i do not see how he can go forward easily saying that there should be no investigation into how it came to pass that the vice-president ordered a program be kept secret from the intelligence committees when it appears that it fell within the domain of programs that should have been briefed to them under the law.
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i do not see how we can avoid calls for investigation on that. host: next call from los angeles on the republican line, good morning. caller: you can see how cheney has been bought -- involved with these communities. of course the neocons have not only had torture used on their israeli friends, but it has go to work for israel in the middle east. seymour hersh has written articles about this. host: are you familiar with this? guest: not so much with the books, but what i think the caller is getting at is that there is this tremendous anxiety still hanging over the bush administration over what role but vice-president really played in national security. and to go back to the comments of earlier this week, the first senator said it is not usually the role of the vice-president to get involved with classified
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programs. historically, it is quite unusual for the rest president to get involved. there's this thing during question about what role the vice president played and that is something that people are not going to give up on right now. politically, it is expedient for democrats to pursue it, but it is also a struggle. it is almost an aberration and it is fascinating. people want answers to it. i am fascinated by what the world is that he played and how extraordinary it really was. i think what the caller is getting at is that there are still all of these unanswered questions that continue, even if cheney has been off the scene officially for six or seven months. host: victor is on the phone from hammond, indiana. caller: i'm calling about if the cheney, if he has anything to do
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with the nancy pelosi -- like, anything that they were hiding from the democrats or anything. and number two, what about obama being half white? guest: to your first question, whether that has to do with nancy pelosi -- just to back up for the viewers were you're talking about, in may, speaker policy came out in a press conference and said she had not been told back in 2002 that they were using waterboarding as an interrogation technique against suspects and then she made a statement othat the cia lies to congress all the time. this has been a controversy on the hill over the past several weeks. it appears that the issue in question about brittainy and a program he ordered kept secret is not connection -- connected to the interrogation program that nancy pelosi was speaking
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about, but these two events are connected in the following way. when santa claus came out and said theç cia lies to congress all the time, the republicans basically came back and said, really, about what? now the cia director comes forward and rides more evidence that the cia apparently was line, or lease not telling the whole truth about this program. this is not a narrow in the quiver of the democrats in this ongoing partisan feud. host: jeanne madison sent in this week saying, doesn't this put them to closing a bad position for refusing to allow a vote on impeachment investigations? she, too, is responsible. christopher is on the phone for shane harris, good morning, independent line. caller: i'm calling because i wanted to ask, you really think that the cia is always
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trustworthy? guest: no, i think the cia has not always untrustworthy. it is a very checkered history and write an article about it this week in the "national journal" and from about a month ago. certainly, it has always disclosed its activities to congress, but i cannot say what detail. but it is the fact that the agency has kept secret various activities and operations and programs. this revelations about -- this revelation about the vice- president ordering a secret, i do not think anyone is surprised at the relationship that the agency has with congress. it is marked by gamesmanship. is the role of congress to buy up with the agencies are doing and it is the job of the agencies to tell them what they are doing, but not too much to try to keep their operations as independent as they can.
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i'm not saying the cia is a rogue outfit. there are instances in history of that kind of behavior, but oversight totally is not the case. it is also the case that congress has fallen down on its oversight ability -- responsibilities. host: we talked about former congressman and press president dick cheney also served in the ford administration. his feeling is that the pendulum needed to swing back and give the presidency more authority. you include in your piece a statement saying that it needs to come back to congress. guest: we have to remember that the intelligence committees that we have now in the senate and house are relatively recent creations. they are -- they were set up in the mid-1970s in response to the
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undeniable abuses of authority by the end -- by the agencies. what was set up is an organization with the agent -- with the administration and a body of laws that are given to try to check those authorities. it is very clear congress does not give permission to the executive branch and the cia to conduct its affairs. it provides a real check in the system of government is the nature of the system of checks and balances to create tension like this. the metaphor of the pendulum swinging is just part of the system. if we are at a point now where it is not precisely clear where the pendulum has been doing -- is going. it has clearly been on the side of the executive. it is not at all clear to me the president of, is siding with those in his party in congress who would like to bring more control back to congress. he has already said he plans to
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veto any bill that would include a provision currently being debated on the hill, which would expand the number of members that get briefed on covert operations. it is not surprising that he would want to limit the number of people briefed on those operations. that is in keeping with history. but islam interesting that he is not siding with his party on that. john host:, from texas, good morning. caller: when it comes to announce -- nancy pelosi and the president, my opinion is that the democrats are using the submission to cover up with nancy pelosi said she said the cia lie. it is possible that the attorney general for jamaat an investigation. what is the statute of limitations if it is something that vice-president chaney allegedly did in 2002, well, the seven years.
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guest: i'm not sure what the statute of limitations would be. as i understand it, the attorney general said he would open an investigation into any officials or contractors who might be a essentially practicing techniques -- practicing interrogation techniques beyond what was authorized at the time. he has said that he is not going to prosecute anyone that was operating under the written assurances from the justice department what shelby -- within the bounds of interrogation. a -- what fell within the bounds of interrogation. as far as as being a political cover of rajeev for the democrats, i think that is right. -- political cover for the democrats, i think that is right. this is part of the ongoing relationship and gives the democrats a chance to come back and say, see, we were lied to.
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i do not think what you are going to see is what you would want to see in this system of oversight, that is, that republicans and democrats would get together and say, ok, it appears that the vice-president of the united states may have kept information from us. wyda we put our heads together and figure out how that happened. instead, you're seeing more partisan bickering and this is one more piece of ammunition in that. >> jane harris is the intelligence reporter for national journal. -- shane harris is the intelligence reporter for "national journal." our next call is from detroit, good morning. caller: good morning, my question is [no audio] 4 years, question is [no audio] 4 years, there has been a historyno carr0
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well-known rivalry between jane harman and nancy pelosi. does that impact any of this? guest: i think it does. the backdrop is that they famously do not get along. jane harman wanted to have the position of chairman on in the house intelligence committee and it is also reported that nanci policy was not about to have that. and there are questions of term limits and -- >> we're leaving this journal segment now as robert gives as alive -- arrived to begin today's briefing.
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>> attorney general holder is reportedly leaning toward having a criminal prosecutor look into whether u.s. interrogators tortured terror suspects. what are the president's thoughts on the wisdom of doing or not doing this? has the what has communicated in any fashion with mr. holder on this? >> i think my best guidance for you and others on this would be to look back at what the president said over the course of the past many weeks, including at his speech at the archives, that our efforts are better focused levine forward and looking back. -- looking forward and looking back. anyone that followed the law, that was acting in good faith of the guidance that they were provided within the four corners of the law will not and should
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not be prosecuted. obviously, if some laws are broken, that falls into the dominion of the attorney general. >> [inaudible] >> you are talking about something fundamentally different than what chaka is talking about. i do not want to equate two stories with the initial cia. >> you said just now that you think the attorney general agrees that those with -- those that acted within the four corners of the law. >> yes, but that is not a new state and. that is not based on some guidance i was given today. the release of the memos, the release of the archives -- or, the presentation of the archives speech, those that follow the law and acted in good faith with the guidance that they provided should not and will not be
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prosecuted. >> has there been any type of communication, either direct or indirect, between the white house and mr. volcker about this topic? >> not that i'm aware of. -- and mr. holder, about this topic? >> not that i'm aware of. >> is there a possibility that he will not get legislation by august, as you have hope? >> may become i do not know. -- maybe, i do not know. the president said last week that we are continuing to make progress, he thinks, toward that. i spent, obviously, last week out of town. but looking back at some of the coverage, there is always a little bit more from all over -- a little bit more trauma over aspects of this. i get that. that is how this town continues to operate. if you ask the president, he
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would say we are closer to comprehensive, fundamental, cost-cuttingç reform than we he been at any point since we have had this debate over the course of the past four years. if you look at whether it is -- over the past 40 years. if you look at whether it is agreements in the pharmaceutical industry, the aarp, hospitals, people at the table in previous attempts at reforming the system in a comprehensive way were on opposite sides of the table. obviously, there is a lot of legislative committee gritty -- legislative and integritnitty ge
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haven't -- hammered out in the next four weeks. >> [inaudible] >> i have been announced virtually every week since starting his job to comment on individual tax proposals. i will begin this week by saying the president has laid out what he thinks the best proposals are. you know them because i have said them 483 times. but the president is also going to watch what played out on capitol hill and see what happens. >> the president has said that health care reform, he would like it on his desk by august recess. >> i think the president has talked about moving a bill forward. i do not think anyone was under the illusion that the whole process would be wrapped up by the beginning of august. >> what does he want done by the beginning of august? >> i think we can get a bill through the house and a bill -- hopefully, a bill to the senate,
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but i do not think anyone is under the illusion that all of it is going to be wrapped up in just a couple of weeks. but we can make a lot of progress toward that goal. >> so, by august recess he would like to have it through the house and senate, or maybe the senate? >> i will take either one. but we would, obviously, like to see it through both houses. >> you sound a little bit more pessimistic -- i should not sit pessimistic. you sound a little less optimistic about this. i just asked if it was going to be. >> while you were moving in your goal posts, i love my crystal ball back -- i think you
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heard the president say -- [phone rings] is that the president now? [laughter] i think you heard the president say at the end of last week, that is his strong hope that we get something moving through by august. >> also, there are some meetings today with jewish leaders. could you tell us more about that? >> we will give you a readout of that. i know a number of people, many of whom the president has known for quite some time -- lee rosenberg, alan solo and others are in to talk about issues that they're concerned about, particularly long-term peace in the middle east. we will give you a readout of who is in their and what they discussed. >> the president has always used strong language and there are
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critics who do not think that health care reform can actually happen. he sounded a little bit tougher today. is there a sense of desperation here that this is slipping away? >> nou, again, -- no, again, i understand that opponents of health care reform, the special interests that have lined up the same way every time this debate is had over the course of the past 40 years, the lei is absolutely what they want. -- delay is absolutely what they want. but american families, american small businesses cannot wait. they cannot wait for reform. -- because of weak for reform that cut costs or provides for millions of americans to have
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quality and affordable health care. i think the president was simply noting the stakes of this debate. again, i think if you look at this just from what happens in a çsubcommittee, and also what happens with major stakeholders involved in the business of health care at the table negotiating productive agreements that move us closer to something that we have not seen in a long time. >> why do you have -- what the president has to address his critics. critics. no carrierringno carrierringcon0
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be there. but usually, we find out about these meetings at a time. >> if it is a secret meeting,
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they did a very poor job. >> can you tell us more about it? >> i think, in meeting with some of the democratic leadership and democrats involved in health care reform to discuss where we are and how we can move forward. >> [inaudible] >> i think, leadership like senator reid, speaker policpelo, but i am not sure. >> are we finding how important is that the senate also pass something by august? >> the hope, obviously, is that the senate will get something done by august. >> does it make a difference whether or not congress going on recess having passed two bills, or the fear is that if they have
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not passed something, the opponents have a whole month to take potshots at all of the elements of the plan. >> they have had months and months to do that anyway. so i do not think -- >> it matters with the senate passes anyway? >> no, i'm not suggesting that, but if they go on recess they will -- there will be a proliferation of potshot, the scene today is the proliferation of potshot. that is the with the mary grow around goes -- the merry go round goes. the president is clear about this on friday, albeit in italy, that he wants something moved through this process by august. through this process by august. >> does he want ano carrierring0
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government dealing with the skyrocketing costs. we've got to do something about it. >> what does the president say to the lawmakers who say, look, this isç legislation that deals with one sixth of our economy, let's not rush it through, let's take the time to get it right? and at christmas -- to get it right by christmas time. what is the rush to get it done by august? but this is not a new debate in washington. this is not a debate that started around march. well, it did, actually, but 1960 something. i think the president believes we cannot afford to wait on reform.
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again, we of the countless people struggling with the high cost of health care. i doubt the president's message is going to be, do not worry, we can travel through with the high cost of health care for several more months. >> [unintelligible] >> if you get your invitation with dan to come to the meeting, i will let you in part that. do not worry, guys, here the whole hour. >> will there be a veto if there is not any public action? >> i do not think we have laid down anything quite that definitively. but to go back to the principles that the president outlined, including the strong belief that for those who cannot get -- who are not provided insurance through their employer or cannot get it at an affordable rate as part of the private market, then they have the option to go into
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-- or have the option for a public plan. prs that is very important. this on a number of occasions2j and i think i have told 8j c13 and i think i have told 8j c13 of this,no carrierringconnect 10
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answered if he thought it was such a good question? >> we just talked about this very top-secret meeting that we are having today that unbeknownst to me as part of the public domain -- no, it was not. have you ever assembled six members of what -- of congress in washington and kept a secret?
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that is my dream, helen, kaman. -- começ on. [laughter] i missed you guys. again, i think the president believes that we're making progress, that is what is important. and we're going to continue to work toward that, understanding again, we know we have a long way to go and we're going to keep working. >> some democrats on the helsinki is just not involved enough. >> yeah, given the amount of time -- some democrats up on the
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hill think he is just not involved enough. >> given the amount of time that he has spent on this, the president has outlined some strong reforms he wants to see and we will continue to work. there is a tendency to always focus on the negative. there was a great headline over the weekend and basically, that synopsis' was, despite good news, health care lags. i'm glad that some people who do that are not weathermen. i think if you look at the players that are involved, the people that are sitting around the negotiating table, they are all still there.
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you have not seen sights devolved into the traditional debates that we have seen over the past 40 years that have delayed this type of comprehensive reform. >> the 250,000 tax pledge that the president reiterated today, for about three or four weeks we have badgered you on this issue and you would not do it. he did it today. why for four weeks did you not do it and then is this a signal to capitol hill? the funding mechanisms that you're coming up with on the house side -- >> i think the most important thing, not to get away from your question, but the most important thing is that we have to have a plan that does not add to the deficit.
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the president has outlined that, a series of things, including the very game changers are was talking about a minute ago. they have to be involved in the form. we have to change the arc of a health care spending in this country for all of those involved. i think the president is adamant about making sure that is in the legislation. and again, i do not even have to remind you that the president supersedes me in whatever i say. >> it was clear that had been a lingering question. >> it was more -- my past statements on this have been, i think, not wanting to get into as much as you all have wanted me to get into, despite the fact that we do not appear to be very involved in health care, giving you guys a tally each day of every different proposal lead
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comes up or down. >> i understand, but does that mean funding proposal if you guys determine that is going to raise taxes on families, whether it is a soda tax or something, is this a non starter? >> i will let you " the president. -- i will let you know quote the president. >> has made it clear that he does not want to tax people under $250,000. the president during his campaign talk about a possible surge next -- surtax on incomes over three adder $50,000 for social security. -- over $350,000 for a social security. >> what he talked about was not a surtax, but if i am recalling correctly, it is that the $250,000 level that chuck talked
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about. you have this gap and once you go over $102,000, warren buffett -- warren buffett and i pay the çsame amount of tax even though it might surprise you to find out i make less than warren buffet each year. with the president was talking about in terms of social security was that making sure that -- was making sure that the payroll tax did not disappear for the most fortunate. >> my point is, is there a point where you are soaking the rich. -- soaking the rich? the carrying capacity of this small group of people has been conceit -- where the carrying capacity of the small group has been exceeded?
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>> sudano how the 1% of households and did over the past 10 to 15 years, but my sense is, pretty well. whether it was a pretty darn good economy for seven or eight years in the '90s or a tax system that, as i know you have looked at the causes for the long-term deficit that we are now working on and understand that those -- some of those very tax policies make up a sizable portion of the current deficit we carry. the bottom line is, i think the president believes that just 1% of this country has had a pretty good run of it for many, many years.
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>> the meeting with labor leaders today, can you tell us#: 1?w0t+ the economy. 1?w0t+ t$&xw!health care. i think -- jobs, obviously. i think those are the predominant topic that the president will talk about today. >> the comment that the president made in the rose garden about chatter over health care, what extent does that reflect concern that perhaps some momentum was lost on this while he was gone? >> dan asked a similar question. again, there's always the tendency for the focus on the negative, not on the positive. if you objectively look at where we are in this process relative to comprehensive reform with all of the stake holders that are involved, you will find we have
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made a significant amount of progress and are closer than we have been in those four decades. >> why does the president find it necessary to ask people for more patients economically at this juncture, as he did over the weekend? but to think what the president was doing was reemphasize in that reemphasizing that, as you know, the stimulus is not a four week or four year plan. it is a two year plan combined with minnick factors that we ultimately believe will lay the foundation and get the economy turned around again. part of when i mention the financial stability system, you
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know, we covered in some detail earlier in this process where we work with the health of the bank's. remember, all of these questions about, how much more money would you need to give to the banks? banks that went through health testing, stress testing actually could raise $50 billion to $80 billion by themselves. that is a very important part of our economic framework, this financial stability making progress. again, we saw in the end of the fourth quarter of 2008 and in the beginning of the first quarter in 2009, we saw a job loss that exceeded anybody's
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prediction. in fact, the job loss exceeded any number on record in history. we were heading toward falling off a cliff. we have pulled back from the edge of the cliff. çwe are making progress, implementing a plan to stabilize our financial system and to begin over the course of the past 100 or so days, move to spinning out a recovery program that has prevented -- that is creating jobs, prevented layoffs of jobs like teachers and firefighters, given reckitt -- record amounts to state and local governments to stave off a deeper budget cuts. i think the president was providing an update for the american people in where we are
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and understanding what we got into and what it was going to take to dig out of a very deep hole. >> is that the same thing that the president is going to do in michigan as well? >> you heard the president's joint address to congress earlier in the year to discuss the need for continued education beyond high school. many of the jobs that we're born to create in the future -- the report today on health care and energy -- are going to require some pose high school graduation. one of the things that he will discuss tomorrow is to see that more to fruition as it relates to our community colleges up in michigan. >> [inaudible] >> i think is just a speech. i have only seen it as a speech.
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>> it is a town hall, where would they not have questions? >> i guess we could not find enough questions. >> [unintelligible] >> again, i hesitate to get into the prediction game too much. the most important thing is that the president believes that in order to continue to make progress on fundamental reform, we need to continue to move expeditiously in that direction. what is important is, obviously, this is a process. but we cannot afford to wait on it. i do not think the president's message any time soon is going to be that we can afford to wait on reform, particularly as it relates to health care. >> if my notes are right, i'm
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sure the president can continue to stay. is he thinking of asking them to postpone their august recess? >> i do not want to get into that. i think the president believes there is ample time to do that, but if we're not making progress, then we will certainly ask for more. >> accentuating the positive -- >> i would have called on your earlier. [laughter] >> will you positively identify the other two? >> let me figure out who the exact, maybe 45.
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>> -- four or five. >> rahm emanuel said last week that the goal of this reform is to lower costs and improve coverage. the goal is not too great a public auction. taken together, should we therefore assume those two comments on the record that public option is not essential? explain to me why not? >> q > quote rahm or me -- do not quote rahm or me, quote the president. >> public auction was not listed among the clear parameters that he mentioned.
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>> i do ... you are wrong, i just do not know. -- i do not doubt that your -- e wrong, i jestina know. your memory is better than mine and i would have to go back and look at precisely what he said. >> so, we shued not come to the conclusion of taking these three things -- >> [unintelligible] >> what is your and the warehouses take based on what it knows so far about the allegation made on the table but the former vice-president had some direct involvement in creation of or suggestion of a cia program and congress was not briefed? >> let me first state what i know the president strongly believes, and that is, i think
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you are dimension this also in the your house speech, there are systems that have protected our values and kept us safe. the president believes that congress should always been briefed fully and in a timely manner in accordance with the law. those are his beliefs as it relates to any of those programs. i know that from what i have read, director panetta learned of this, learned that congress had not been briefed, terminated the program and briefed members of congress. i know that he is also reviewing how that omission came to pass.
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and i think that is why. >> what is the degree of the president's knowledge about this situation? has he just learned about this himself in the past couple of days? >> he has been a -- i'm not going to get into a lot of details, but obviously, there have been discussions. . . the chaplain, father coughlin. chaplain coughlin: lord god, eternal law giver, we bless and praise you. your very laws of nature form a
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balance of power and an orderly pattern for the study of science. the blessed people of this nation are those who choose each day to be law abiding citizens. in business, in matters of justice and even in traffic. freedom is found and served when obeys the laws seem as preserving the common good and choosing a higher good rather than self-interest. good laws not only embodies standards of behavior and ideals for us, it also unites us in an orderly pattern of living together. and become a common endeavor for each of us to model freedom and responsibility for the rest of the world. therefore, lord, guide and protect the lawmakers of this nation, preserve them from all
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illusions tied to their hopes and free them from prejudice which binds anyone from equal justice. bind your spirit where again through the house of representatives that have seen their good work all may give you glory. amen. the speaker pro tempore: the chair has examined the journal of the last day's proceedings and announces to the house his approval thereof. pursuant to clause 1 of rule 1 the journal stands approved. the pledge of allegiance will be led by the gentleman from arkansas, congressman boozman. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. chairman. those of you in the gallery are welcome to join us. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, madam, pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on july 13, 2009, at 9:14 a.m. that the senate passed with an amendment request a conference with the house and appoints conferees, h.r. 2892. with best wishes, i am, signed, robert f. reeves, deputy clerk for lorraine c. miller, clerk of the house. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from wisconsin rise? mr. obey: mr. speaker, by the committee on appropriations i present a privileged report for filing under the rule. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title.
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the clerk: report to accompany h.r. 3183, a bill making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for the fiscal year ending september 30, 2010, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: referred to the union calendar and ordered printed. all points of order are reserved. for what purpose does the gentleman from arkansas rise? mr. boozman: i ask permission to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: no objections. mr. boozman: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to honor the joel albrighten family, the albrighten communications tamly and k-tv for their generous
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contribution of historical events to the university of arkansas. through a partnership formed between the two with the david and barbara prior arkansas and oral vision history, the library one of the largest in the state and the largest in the country can be a treasure that all can enjoy. this library contains more than half a century of katv news coverage, including more than 26,000 hours of arkansas history collected over the past 50 years. the bulk of this video footage has never been made available to the public. and with the additional funds from this gift, the prior center will be able to offer this footage online. arkansans and americans will be able to benefit from this great historical database. and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee rise?
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mr. roe: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. roe: mr. speaker, on friday, the democrats on the house ways and means committee announced their intention to finance a washington takeover of health care by raising taxes. for those of you keeping score, the democrats' economic plan has -- is to spend billions of new dollars on programs that generate no economic activity in the stimulus package, crinessed regular appropriations spending at a rate that's to increase inflation, implemented a national energy tax and now create a tax on those that trats call wealthy but who you and i call job creators and entrepreneurs. while i am no economist, i'm pretty certain that no one in their right minds would call this a pro-growth agenda. remember earlier this year when congress cracked down on abusive practices by credit card companies. they said this plan was needed because too many saw credit cards with a license to spend with little or know repercussions. well, maybe we need a national credit card reform.
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while there are some in this congress that uses the u.s. treasury with no limit. our children and grandchildren will be paying for this short-sitedness. let's start by rejecting this trillion dollar-plus fiasco that's being called health care reform. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia rise? mr. price: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. price: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, our nation is enduring one of the most troubling economic periods in its history. 3.5 million americans have been laid off since this congress began. unemployment is approaching 10%. americans are looking for leadership and real solutions to promote economic growth and create good jobs. but the democrats in charge only offer more borrowing and spending that's delaying recovery and job growth. americans have lost confidence and trust in this majority to lead us to recovery.
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republicans have positive solutions that the american people support in the economy to encourage small business, the job creation engine of this nation. in the area of energy, an all-you can create -- all-you can create energy policy. and in the area of health care. no government takeover but putting patients and their families along with doctors in charge. positive solutions are needed. and we ask all house members of reason to work together for these positive solutions. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia rise? mr. wolf: to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. wolf: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. i rise today to introduce a resolution of inquiry directing the attorney general to transmit to the house information in his possession related to the attempt transfer of detainees held at guantanamo bay into the united states.
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i respectively asked attorney general holder on three occasions for specific information about his attention with regard to the transfer of detainees to the u.s. and how he would protect the communities surrounding detainees held in the u.s. i do not believe these are unusual requests. after waiting 118 days for a response, i received on a cursory letter last thursday that failed to address the single question. the information included was nothing more than a summary of press releases. the attorney general's failure to respond to the inquiries is a disservice to the president and the american people. this resolution would hold the attorney general to the president's public commitment of transparency and accountability. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: if you were the gentleman from illinois rise? mr. shimkus: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore:
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without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. shimkus: thank you, mr. speaker. i know there was a pause in the cap and tax debate last week, but don't worry for my colleagues on the other side, we're going to continue to talk about the damaging effects of cap and tax. why? because jobs will be lost. the 212-219 vote was a victory for us who were opposing the cap and tax bill. in fact, iwas a bipartisan no vote. it was a bipartisan no vote against job loss. this is a picture of miners who lost their job in the last clean air act amendments. 1,200 in this one mine alone. what's our solution? an all-of-the-above strategy that opens up the outer continental shelf for revenues, for renewable fuels, for coal and electricity and wind and solar, nuclear power, renewable fuels.
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those are the job creating engines that will help us get out of this economic recession. we can't do that by raising energy prices. we could only do that by lowering it. that's the all-of-the-above energy strategy that we have brought to the floor as republicans. we have to vote against the cap and tax bill. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. gohmert: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. gohmert: thank you, mr. speaker. you know, we heard our president say that we're not a christian nation and he may be right, but for those like the president whose education was lacking of great deal in the fullness of our history, i wanted to refer to the greatest resignation of all times. when george washington led the military in a revolution that
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did what no man has ever did before or since, won the revolution and resigned and went home. in his resignation, the last paragraph on this document said, i now make it my earnest prayer that god would have you in the state of which you preside and his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of his citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government, to entertain a brotherly affection for their fellow citizens of the united states and particularly for the brotheren who have served in the field. and finally, that he would most graciously to do justice, to demean ourselves without charity, humility, specific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the divine author of our blessed religion. and without a humble invitation of whose things we could never hope to be a happy nation. that was george washington. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for
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what purpose does the gentleman from indiana rise? mr. pence: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. pence: as most americans know, in february of this year, this democrat congress and this administration passed a $1 trillion stimulus bill with the promise that we would see immediate relief. even at the website for the recovery act there is the statement the recovery act is providing immediate fiscal relief, etc., etc. but the facts tell a different story, mr. speaker. the administration said that if the stimulus bill was passed that unemployment wouldn't pass 8%. it's 9.5% today. almost two million americans have lost their job since the stimulus was passed. and remarkably this administration continues to argue that the stimulus is working. the president of the united states actually said the stimulus had, quote, done its job, and in fact told cnn over the weekend that the stimulus was, quote, working exactly as
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we anticipated, closed quote. his own secretary -- treasury secretary said that the country was going through a, quote, healthy and necessary judgment. a healthy economy, a stimulus bill that had done its job? mr. speaker, the american people know better. what we need in this congress is not another big old giveaway stimulus bill. what we need is fiscal discipline for washington, d.c., and tax relief for working families, small businesses and family farms. that's a republican prescription for a real recovery, and we ought to get on with it. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? >> mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman from california is recognized for one minute. mr. lungren: mr. speaker, we voted on cap and trade or cap and tax here in this house, and a lot of people are wondering what do the american people think about it, what does the
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rest of the country think about it, what does the rest of the world think about it? well, the votes are in from the elitists. we just heard from somebody in great britain, prince charles, who tells us unless the rest of the world follows us, we only have 96 months until basically the end of this planet. and he says we ought to stop this idea of consumerism and we have to stop the little people from being able to advance themselves. oh, only the elites. oh, and then there's vice president gore. and he appearing across the pond said the passage of cap and trade is the best step towards global governance that we've ever seen. so you may wonder what the people in detroit think. you may wonder what the people out of work in my district think. but we know what the elites think. thank god for cap and trade so we can keep the little people where they belong. they don't deserve any advancement in the economy, but let the princes of the world
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continue lecturing the rest of us. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana rise? >> ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, last week i offered house resolution 615 which says, members of congress who vote for a government-run health care option agree to opt out of the current congressional exchange of private insurance choices and accept the same government-run program for themselves. the people are tired of this body making laws and crafting programs without having to face the consequences of the votes cast for them. so i challenge members to co-sponsor my resolution and publicly pledge that they will use the same government-run plan they vote for to care for themselves and their families.
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if it is good enough for american families, it should be good enough for families of members of congress. furthermore, i challenge the american people to hold their representatives responsible for their actions in this regard by urging their representatives to support this resolution. the american people deserve health care that is affordable but does not allow the government to interfere with the sacred doctor-patient relationship. with that i yield. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, the chair will postpone further proceedings today on motions to suspend -- for what purpose does the gentleman rise? >> mr. speaker, i move that the house do now adjourn.
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the speaker pro tempore: the chair has not recognized that motion. and there is no question before the house at this time so -- mr. broun: mike. parliamentary inquiry -- mr. speaker, parliamentary inquiry. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman may state his inquiry. mr. broun: when i stood up, the speaker, if i'm not mistaken, recognized me. is that not correct? the speaker pro tempore: that's not correct. mr. broun: well -- the speaker pro tempore: the question was -- mr. broun: when i said, mr. speaker, you said, the gentleman from georgia. and then i made my motion. you didn't ask why i was standing. you just recognized me, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the announcement that the gentleman from georgia seeks recognition to offer a motion to adjourn
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does not render such a motion pending under the chair which has actually confered recognition for the motion, it cannot become pending question. as stated by the chair under similar circumstances, october 28, 1997, when no question is pending, the chair may declare a recess. there being no question pending on this point, pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess
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>> recorded votes are to take place at 6:30 eastern. while we wait for the house to return, topics today at today's state department briefing include the situation in north korea and china. a spokesman speaks with reporters for 20 minutes. >> good afternoon. hope you had a good weekend. we will start off with some items on the secretary's schedule. as is becoming my wont, the secretary had tom hall at the u.s. agency for international development. she stressed the obama administration sees development as one of the most powerful tools we have to advance u.s. foreign policy. she noted long-term stability
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and some problematic areas -- not only defeat of extremists, but construction of roads, the creation of jobs, strengthening political institutions and noted that the 2010 budget requests puts us on a path to double [unintelligible] and reiterated what she said on friday about the quadrennial, diplomacy and edelman review on the need to maximize cooperation and synergies between [unintelligible] she is also going to meet with the u.k. secretary from northern ireland. they will discuss ways of moving forward, not only with the important work of reconciliation, but with promoting prosperity and progress in northern ireland.
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the secretary will discuss lessons from the northern ireland conflict and how they can be applied in other areas of conflict and leading to resolution of those conflicts around the world. with that, i will take questions. >> do you have any update about north korea and the state of the health of the dear leader? >> the short answer to that is i do not have much. we have seen reports about kim jong il's health, but as standard practice, we do not comment on these matters. >> did you see the footage of him from last week appearing at the memorial ceremony for his father? >> yes. he did not look in the pink of health. >> he did not?
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>> he did not. but we have no specific information. >> is it fair to infer from your answer when you say we have no specific information that the u.s. government has no information at all? >> i would not in for that. i just have no further information we can share. >> so you may have information? >> you know what our practice is. our practice is not to get into the information that may be obtained through intelligence channels. as you know, we do not have an embassy in north korea and our means of getting information is very limited. >> you have had conversations with the south korean news organizations reported this. have you discussed this matter
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with your chinese and south korean counterparts to see if they may have better information than you do? >> i do not have a specific answer to that question, but i imagine we discuss these things often on a bilateral basis both with south korea and china. >> i know you cannot talk about intelligence matters, but what is the official view of the state department or u.s. government on the so-called succession? what is the u.s. can't really believe is going to happen? -- what does the u.s. can't really believe is going to happen? >> will we are focused on is a the behavior of north korea. -- what we are focused on is the behavior of north korea. we have very serious concerns
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about their actions. specifically, actions that run counter to various un security council resolutions, their refusal to address these concerns, with the international community, specifically through the six-party talks. we have a process in place so that the leaders in north korea know that there is a consequence for these kinds of actions that are provocative and unduly raise tension in northeast asia. >> but that's not the question i asked. the question -- >> it wasn't anything like it. >> i appreciate that. >> let me ask it differently.
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what is your understanding of what is going on with the leadership right now? is the no. involved right now in a succession process in which kim jong il is leaving the scene as leader and slowly transferring power to his son? >> as i said a few minutes ago, we don't get into any analyses derived from any kind of sensitive channels. we are paying very close attention to some of the public announcements that come out of north korea. through the media, through their official press agencies, and we are following this very closely.
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as i said many times, we have real concerns about north korea's proliferation activities, about their plans to develop nuclear and ballistic missiles and technology. so, of course we are concerned about any stories of political changes. i am not an expert in internal north korean politics enough to discuss it. even if i work, i would not want to discuss them from here. >> have the north koreans responded at all to the release of the two journalists? >> you saw the secretary's statement on friday.
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we remain very concerned about these two young ladies. we do want their immediate release. i am not aware of any specific responses we've gotten from the north koreans, but we do hope they will release them as soon as possible. >> there was a suggestion about those comments that the question that elicited that response from the secretary may have been planted. >> i don't have anything to say about that. i did not plant the question. can you -- >> can you say that is not true? >> i cannot. >> so it is possible that someone asked this person, whoever was -- to elicit the answer that was
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given? >> i cannot answer one way or another whether it is true or false. >> can you explain why that person in contrast to everyone else did not identify themselves? >> i was not aware of that. >> that is what the inference was in the final report. i'm a little surprised you're not able to deny it. if you are not, maybe it was planted. >> i was not aware of that particular detail. i know she was a state department employee. but i'm not aware she did not identify herself. >> the secretary of state in may said that the iranians are building [unintelligible] and today, the "washington post" published a story saying there
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is no such project. they say that iranian influence in latin america has been largely insulated. i want to know how the secretary to be so wrongly informed. >> what we can say is that right now, there is a major iranian presence in nicaragua. regarding their plans for a larger diplomatic presence, that would be something for the iranian government to address. we of course respect the sovereign right of every country to determine the size of their diplomatic missions. we would always hope the size of the mission would reflect the
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bilateral interests in that country. we also would expect that countries would recognize in their dealings with iran that' they have certain duties to the international community, especially regarding its plans to develop nuclear weapons and its support for terrorism. we would hope that in any of the bilateral dealings they would have with iran that they would stress these important issues. >> before saying to us that the iranians are building this embassy, did the secretary consult the embassy in nicaragua? >> she does consults by means of
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the assistant secretary. but who she consulted with in may, i am not sure. >> is the iranian presence in latin america overestimated? >> compared to what? >> do you think you evaluate correctly the influence of iran? >> i am not sure i can answer that question. i do know that we are concerned about iranian activities in the past in latin america. their possible involvement in some terrorist activities in the past, but, as i said before, it is the sovereign right of every country to determine their diplomatic presence. >> iran is reportedly coming up with some new nuclear proposals.
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is that something you are aware of? >> i have seen the media reports on that, but i do not have firm information about any specific overtures. >> has the united states made any specific representation, perhaps a third party, in the case of the "newsweek" correspondent and has been in prison in iran for several weeks? >> as you know, we do not have an embassy there. it is difficult to make a diplomatic representation on his behalf. i saw the very compelling article in the pages of the "washington post" today and we are deeply concerned by any harassment, intimidation, and imprisonment of journalists on groundless charges.
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i do not know the specifics of this case, but "newsweek" believes he was doing nothing contrary to his journalistic mission. that kind of harassment is unacceptable. >> do you have any update on the iranian [unintelligible] who was detained last week? >> yes, i do. if you could wait just a moment. we are deeply concerned of reports that an iranian-american scholar has been unjustly detained in iran. due to privacy, we are unable to comment on the details of his arrest and prison and. it is unfortunate the iranian government is making choices that only serve to isolate iran from the international community. we urge the iranian authorities to immediately release him as
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well as returned passports all americans being kept in iran on groundless charges. this includes [unintelligible] and we call on iran to be forthcoming on the information in determining the whereabouts of robert levenson has been missing in iran since march 8, 2007. at the state department and across the u.s. government, we are committed to making every effort to reuniting these american citizens with their families. >> are we talking about u.s. citizen suits passport has been confiscated by the iranian authorities? >> besides this caller has been detained, and i assume they took his passport, -- beside the scholar who has been detained, and i assume they took his passport, i am unsure of the
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number. >> could you check to see if there is more than two? >> yes. >> even though you do not have a u.s. embassy there, have you asked the swiss to raise this matter with the iranians? >> we have. we have also asked ours was protecting power to go when and provide it counts for access to the person. >> have they succeeded in doing so? >> i do not believe they have gotten access, just that they have requested it. >> do you know when he was detained? >> i believe it was late last week. if i can get you that time, i will. >> has there been any change in
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the u.s. policy [unintelligible] >> i do not. let me see if i can you a specific answer on that rather than -- >> the president of afghanistan has [unintelligible] >> that question was asked last week. once again, we will have to ask for your question to be answered. >> we have a report that chinese police shot dead two people.
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the report said the police were trying to stop these people from attacking a uighur. do you have any comment on this incident, and i guess it's a cute they are said to get a u.s. diplomat on the ground there. but do you have, do you believe the chinese authorities are using excessive force? >> we do have a team on the ground from the u.s. embassy. our team got there a day or two after the incidents started. the short answer to your question is we are still gathering information. we have expressed our concerns to the chinese government about the situation in xinjang.
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we are encouraging china to handle the situation as we go forward in a transparent manner in their assessment of what happened. to do it in an open and transparent manner. of course, as the work to restore order, we believe it is important they respect the legal rights of all chinese citizens. right now, we do not have sufficient information to comments on the reaction. >> they have been openly and transparently beating the crap out of all these people who are protesting. even their own state media is reporting. what does that mean, open and transparent? >> we have had our issues with
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the chinese government that we have been open and transparent about in terms of respecting the rights of all of china's citizens in terms of respecting the rights of the uighurs to practice their own religions and not put restrictions on their religious activities or their manner of worship. we have also had some issues with restrictions on the uighur's ability to express their cultural identity. this gets backed to the need for china to respect the right of its citizens to freely express
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themselves. >> but if they restrict their right openly and transparently -- i am not sure i understand. you say handle the situation in an open and transparent matter, what does that mean? >> this situation did not emerge out of a vacuum. there are issues we think relating to the uighurs that we think the chinese government has to address. in terms of how they have specifically dealt with a very difficult situation on the ground there, we do not have sufficient information to be able to print out how they have handled it. >> i saw last week you called for them to exercise restraint. >> we still do.
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>> but that was absent from all of your proceeding remarks. >> that is my fault. >> [inaudible] >> we continue to call on all sides to exercise restraint and refrain from violence. >> when do you think you will have that information, given you have a team on the ground. >> we are making assessments, we do have a team from the embassy in beijing. we are also requesting more information from the chinese government so that when the time is appropriate, we will make that announcement. >> when might that time be? is that before the release of the human rights report in one year? >> i am not going to put a deadline on it. i would imagine it would be before then. >> you said this is a very
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difficult situation, which made me think it is almost as if the u.s. government's sympathies here are with the chinese government and the situation they're dealing with rather than -- i don't know the circumstances, i was not there. but when police shoot two people dead, [unintelligible] it's almost as if the balance of concern is toward the government and not toward the people. >> i am certainly not trying to convey that impression. what we have been trying to do is lower the temperature as much as we can. we had a very overheated situation last week with a lot
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of lawless violence on the streets. much of it, if not all of it, was as a ticket -- was ethnically motivated. the best thing we can do is try and call for restraint on all sides and not fan the flames of a very volatile situation in the streets. that is what we have been striving for. >> you say you have issues with china regarding cultural [unintelligible] you have not made that clear to china recently.
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at the raise these issues recently? >> that is something i think we will have -- we have raised our concerns with the way the situation is developing. we have an embassy is in constant communication with chinese authorities. i do not have a specific answer to your question, but we do raise it every year in the human rights report and there is a constant dialogue with the chinese authorities on these issues. >> the chinese government is asking to stop assistance
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[unintelligible] and at the same time, the activity in the u.s. is funded by the movement for democracy and i am a stand that is funded by the state department budget. what a jerk, about a chinese request to stop the assistance? the take a look at the possibility of stopping that assistance? >> i did not get the last part of your question. >> what about the chinese stopping [unintelligible] assistance] would beat state department consider to stop the [unintelligible] >> i have not seen these reports and not aware of the chinese government asking the national endowment for democracy to stop its assistance -- >> [unintelligible] they are asking the international community to stop. >> not being aware of a specific
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request, i'm not in a position to comment. i do know that her organization does receive funds from the national endowment for democracy, which received its funds from congress. until we see this actual report, i'm going to decline to comment. >> would you even consider it? >> consider what? >> [inaudible] >> is not part of the state department. it is funded directly by -- we will see. i have not seen these reports. i'm not going to comment. >> are you investigating payments made by the chinese government that they actually orchestrated the unrest?
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are you disregarding [unintelligible] >> the state department would not be investigating any of these claims. as far as i know, we have no information that would substantiate those kinds of claims. >> if you don't have any affirmation, why are you willing to leave open the possibility that u.s. taxpayer money might be [unintelligible] >> i'm sorry if i conveyed that -- >> i asked if he would consider if he would stop funding her. >> you are asking me to answer questions that we don't have all the details on. i'm just saying i'm not going to comment on something until we have the details. >> i want to verify -- i was not
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here last week, so maybe i missed a few things. when you refer to the lawless violence, you are referring to demonstrators as carrying out lawless violence? >> i am referring to the riots we all saw on the streets last week. >> so the fact they're being hit by police were being shot could be explained by the fact that this is lawless violence and must be put down? >> i said the situation is volatile because of ethnic tension running very high. because of this ethnic and the sea, there were examples of mob violence. >> honduras, there was a story
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over the weekend saying [unintelligible] he was asked about the possibility of amnesty and said [unintelligible] i don't have any problem with amnesty -- do you find that idea and appealing one? >> this is not an american process. it is a process led by the president of costa rica. we're giving our full support to that. >> that sounds like an american process to me.
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>> we are supporting this process led by the coast region president. >> [unintelligible] >> is not a process being led by the united states of america. we have to give time for this process to work. we are standing firmly behind the president of honduras and he late last week said he expected to sit down again within one week with the two parties and these are the kinds of proposals and i hope both sides can discuss them. >> what has the secretary been doing on this? >> over the weekend, it was the assistant secretary for western hemisphere affairs.
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there were a lot of conversations and they met with the president of honduras. they discussed the talks in san jose, costa rica. they reiterated support for the restoration of democratic order in honduras and the mediation efforts. we have had a number of conversations. >> did -- we have a report hugo chavez called secretary shannon over the weekend. if that is correct, what sort of real can you give us on that? >> it is correct. he did call over the weekend.
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let me take the question and see if i could give you an answer. >> [inaudible] >> i thought there was an additional -- >> i think it is just the one. >> can you double check? >> yes. thank you. >> the house is currently in recess, subject to the call of the chair. the house is scheduled to debate 16 bills today, among them a number of bills selling or transferring federal land and a measure to allocate funds for the treatment and rehabilitation of torture victims. recorded votes are expected at 6:30 eastern time. when this week, spending for the next budget year on energy and
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water projects as well as the treasury department, including stimulus spending. live coverage when the house returns on c-span. the senate is considering a defense authorization bill. on this morning's "washington journal" a discussion of weapons programs that might be cut. host: we want to welcome winslow wheeler, project director for the center for defense and the mission and author of this book. guest: @ thank you taryn much. host: at the defense authorization bill, how much the pentagon will be spending and where. guest: it is a huge bill. reports to be $679 billion, about $1 billion off the president's request. in truth, this is not the money bill. the appropriations bill will be the money bill. this authorizes the money, but all it means is advice. the big stuff in this bill is
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policy, determinations, decision by a narrow vote in the committee to continue with more of 22 production. buried in the bill is almost hopelessly cosmetic revision on financial management. the bill itself is 750 pages. it is about 1 inch in half to 2 inches thick. >> the taxpayers for common sense estimating $9 billion and what they classified as pork, but what one may call pork, they may call jobs in a congressional district. >> that is one of the reasons why they put pork in the bill, because they think it creates jobs. when i -- when i worked with the senator from new mexico we looked at gio looking at how many jobs pork spending generated for new mexico. the answer was pretty interesting. the numbers were tiny, except for the military bases, and in one case the money passed
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through the headquarters in albuquerque to be spent in texas. in other cases, the production lines employed hundreds -- we were told employ hundreds, it employed more like 20 people. you have to be careful what these claims that many factors through around that f-22 was built in those states so you have to support us, senator. host: you say our military forces have become high cost dinosaurs that were inefficient, lethal against magic it has broken free of their constitutional controls to the point they essentially have become a presidential military. guest: correct. that is, i believe, from the first chapter, written by a retired marine corps lieutenant colonel. the authors and that authority are retired military officers, former pentagon officials and a couple of people like myself who worked on capitol hill, for
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example. i will put it this way, since world war ii, we are at a post- world war ii high in terms of spending with a dollars and adjusted for inflation. our military forces are the smallest they have ever been in that period in terms of combat brigades, a navy combat ships and submarines, air force tactical aircraft. major parts of our equipment inventory is on average older than has ever been in that period, sometimes than it has ever been in history. we're sending troops into combat in iraq and afghanistan with, in some cases, significantly less training than we had, for example, the hollow years of the 1970's when abutting be up when jimmy carter for its allegedly being weak on defense. we have a real problem on our hands.
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and so far we're doing absolutely nothing about it. host: one of your recommendations from different military officers, former officers, is first and foremost, we must abandon a business as usual procurement process hopefully centered on an aircraft's specifically comprised force strategic martin -- bombardment. caller: away from business as usual? guest: except for us being compromised for strategic bombardment, the f-22 is a classic example. the sticker price is $350 million per airplane. host: built where? guest: lockheed martin says 44 states, the major assembly is in georgia and texas and washington. the engines are ohio -- excuse me, conn. -- conn. there are bits and pieces all over the place.
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we really need a competent assessment from g a l, for example, to get a real count -- gao. host: what surprised you, researching and editing? guest: nothing's changed. we have been on this path for a long time. more money results in smaller, older, less ready forces. this is something that is independent of democrats and republicans. i suppose the thing that really surprised me the most is the failure of parties that could be doing oversight over this and alerting the public, not been particularly aware. i mean, it has been a simple data on the sides of the budget and the size of the forces, but it was news to people about the
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shrinkage of forces as ever increasing cost a couple of years ago. that shouldn't be the case. people should be complaining about that on capitol hill all the time, and they are not. host: our conversation is with winslow wheeler. our phone lines are open. you also e-mail us at journal@c- span.org or send a tweet @ twitter. as you know, there are a lot of former military officers at this town -- in this town and former members of congress that are making sure these contracts are part of the congressional budget process. guest: absolutely. busy people. host cut is that why nothing has changed? guest: that is part when i worked in capitol hill, the boeing representative was frequently in my office keeping it up to date on things. they have good access all over capitol hill. but that is not a hub of it.
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the hub is there is a culture on capitol hill these days where you don't want to do any serious oversight because that might get you into trouble. it might get into trouble if you give the military witness in the hearing diehard time, people will start the labeling you as anti-defense. if you don't of c. grimsley -- obsequiously -- no press release of how much you help that minor plant in maine, you don't put out a press release every time you voted their way, you are somehow hurting yourself politically. i worked for four different members of congress. on three of them, they decided to oppose pork in their states and they came to their political benefit. they got a reputation for being bought full, independent, rather
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than somebody toting. host: james here in washington, d.c. good morning. caller: i am calling to first of all ask -- for you to comment on the quote read earlier about congressional control of war powers. i think george washington said that the reason why congress has control over war powers is that it will prevent any war from the wage without long deliberation. to paraphrase. the other thing is that if you could talk more about business setting defense policy. in brigadier-general wrote a book called "where it is a racket," that talks about sending saddles to europe in world war ii 1 -- i, and there was not enough calvary.
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another one was whether or not you think that this funding of foreign militaries represents a hidden expenditure in the defense budget. host: i will stop your. a lot to follow-up on. guest: i think the war powers issue was with the previous guest, but i would simply say, i worked for one of the primary authors of the war powers act and was a research assistant, and i got exposed to a lot of the constitutional arguments on the act and it is pretty clear in the constitution who controls the authority to make war, and it is the congress, not the president. the chief executive, commander in chief powers come into play when congress has made that decision. that is not the conventional wisdom -- people try to save the war powers act is
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unconstitutional because it deprives the presence and in the constitution did not give him. on some of the other issues, i have done a lot of work on the junk congress adds to defense bills. host: junk? guest: it is junk, because we don't know what it is. there is 450 or so it earmarks as taxpayers for common sense found in this senate defense bill, cost about $9 billion. the vast majority of those things are five, -- are items that have not been research. we did not even know the real cost. we get the advocates of you. we do not have a real assessment. we don't have an independent assessment of what the
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assessment is, what can do, can become and what is needed. i don't want some congressman's view on what he thinks is earmarked will do. i want oversight over it. and the armed services committees and appropriations committees refused to do it. if we went through a process where each of these earmarked were properly assessed, there would be a lot of improvement in the bills because it is ridiculous to assume that everything they defense department puts in its budget is the final word on good ideas. >> one example you pointed to, when president bush released what was probably his final defenseb?
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under medicare rules, -- health
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care keeps costing more, while medicine and private insurance keep covering less. my mother was one of those people. she kept having to cut all the wrong corners with her health. she had a stroke and was paralyzed for the last four years of her life because she had to stretch her medicine taos thin to make ends meet. this is america, the great education country ever. why do we still allow this to happen? i'm hopeful this will be the year we fix our health care. we have been talking about this for decades. none of us are getting any younger. we needmen and need help now. deneed help and need help now. i'm hopeful this legislation will close the doughnut hole and finish it off. it will help me and millions
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like me as soon as it becomes law. let's make this the year we finally inform health care. thank you. >> thank you, phil. my neighbor to the north. i spent last week, saturday, in charleston, monday of last week in columbia. i joined with the south carolina small business chamber of commerce, aarp, and south carolina fair share holding two widely attended town hall meetings. we heard stories from people that we're going to hear some of today. today, we're joined by diane
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buck and her husband joe, they are both from atlanta, georgia. diane has epilepsy. that she manages with medication. when her husband joe lost his job, the search for affordable health care coverage became increasingly difficult. they found the policies for her and joe cost prohibitive. they were denied individual policies. she is now forced to piece together medicare -- medication. for a hardworking couple in the wealthiest country in the world, this is unacceptable and undignified. that's why we need to reform the health care system now.
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we'll end co-pays, put a cap on out of pocket expenses each year and ending rate increases based on pre-existing conditions, gender, or occupation. we will also restore sensibility and peace of mind into the days when insurance companies effectively rationed your care. denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. that's just part of diane's story. let me present her, now, to tell you some of the rest. [applause]
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hi, >> hello, everybody, i'm diane, if there's trembling in my voice, this is a really emotional subject for me. we are now experiencing firsthand the dysfunction of our health care system. we here to encourage to encourage our leaders to make the tough decisions required to make sure no americans will be left without quality, affordable health care. i've had ep acceptcy since i was 5 years old. it's important that i have access to group health insurance because otherwise it becomes a pre-existing condition. i did have coverage through joe's job, but when he was -- when he lost his job last year we found that due to the small size his company, the only option i had was to continue coverage through a conversion policy. the price quoted was $2,400 a
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month. it was, you know, shocking. joe found an individual policy, but has had to raise the annual deductible from $2,500 to $5,000 recently just to to afford the rise in premiums. after being denied coverage by three companies, i became uninsured on may 1, 2008. since then, i've had to postpone some of my annual exams and up against trying new and more effective ep accept -- epilepsy medication and seek charity to maintain my health status my medication was $900 a month, that's another shocking fact this health care reform bill will help us by getting rid of exclusions based on pre-existing conditions. it will set up an exchange where we can easily shop and compare plans and set standard
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benefit options to plug holes in coverage that can leave us paying tens of thousands of dollars if we get sick. this bill gives us a good option if private health care companies fail to meet our needs so far. joe and i are average american who was worked hard all our lives and never thought we'd end up in this situation. we hope you'll do everything you can to protect people like us and all americans from the stress and the trauma of losing your health care. [applause] >> average americans like diane and joe and phil, and tammy who i'm going to introduce, become
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extraordinary american whence they speak up on behalf of their country and their fellow american whors enduring what all of them have had the opportunity to outline today. tammy is at ground zero. she's one of those small business owners. she owns a small coffee shop, rastafs coffee and she employs nine people. four full time, five part time. she works tirelessly and wants to d the right thing on behalf of her employees to make sure that they have health care benefits. but as a small employer, it's out of her reach. even though she struggles to provide some of them the coverage they need. the president's down soinl economic advoysors informs us that employer spending for health care premiums will more
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than double to $885 billion by 2019. premiums will increase 20% in the next four year, resulting in 3.5 million american workers losing their jobs. because of rising costs, one in five employers will stop offering health care benefits in the next three to five years which means 11 million americans will lose their employer-sponsored health insurance by 2019. you heard it here firsthand, a job in health care -- and health care go hand in hand. they are synonymous in this economy. health care reform will not only give a tammy and her employees an opportunity to get quality, affordable health care insurance, it will keep small businesses like tammy's coffee shop from being dragged down by the overwhelming cost of health
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care, giving them the chance to thrive and grow in a new economy. someone on the front lines for america, at ground zero, tammy rastaf. [applause] >> thank you, chairman larson. as he said, i'm tammy rastaf, i own a coffee and tea shop in richmond, virginia. it's family owned, i have nine employees. i know small businesses needs health care reform and need it fast. my dad started the business 30 years ago as a single parent. i was raised in the store and i'm happy to continue the family business. my father is still -- instilled in me the value of treating an employee like family. that means making sure our employees and their families have important benefits. we offer health care and retirement benefits. lately this hasn't been easy. on health care, our commitment
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to our employees has run up against the harsh reality of ever-rising costs. about four years ago, when premiums rose beyond what the business could afford, we had to change to a high deductible plan. that cut our costs for that year but over the last four years, our premiums have gone up 80% and i can't afford to pay those premiums. our health care system is failing small business. it's failing business owners like myself, it's failing our employees, it's failing our families, and it's threatening our bottom lines. that's why i want to thank these leaders in congress for introducing this critical legislation. this proposal brings new hope for small business struggling with health care. it will help small business by giving us new choices, giving us new bargaining pow we are the insurance companies, increasing transparency so we know what we're getting and promoting accountability so
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we'll know that we can count on our health care. this bill would help my business and my employees in a number of important ways. we would be eligible to purchase coverage in the health insurance exchange in the first year it is open, giving us more choices of better, more affordable coverage, including the option of a public health insurance plan. instead of spending more than 10% of my payroll in insurance coverage, i could save more than $11,000 by paying 2% and allow my employees to buy the coverage they want in the exchange. at least two of my employees would qualify for affordability credits to help pay for their coverage, but these employees are like part of my family and if i choose to continue to provide coverage for them through the exchange, my business will qualify for a tax credit half the cost of the coverage. in closing, i want to make one final point.
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as a small business, the cost retruly can't afford in health care is the cost of doing nothing. we need health care reform we need more choices, and we're willing to contribute our fair share. we're looking to congress for leadership on this issue. thank you. >> thank you, phil, diane, and tammy for your eloquent presentations, presentations are more persuasive than anything we can say in terms of the provisions of the legislation, but speaking directly to why we need this health care reform and how it would affect you directly. it's very exciting for us. this is why many of us have come to congress and been involved in public service to begin with. i'm proud to be standing here with steny hoyer and john conyers and others to say, we
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hear what you are saying and we promise you that working with the president, we'll have health care refrm and we'll have it this year. with that in mind, i'll take any questions. any questions for our guests or the leadership? >> i have a question, now that there are allegation this is a vice president cheney specifically told the c.i.a. not to inform congress about certain terrorism programs -- >> i'll be pleased to answer that at the end, i will, but let's stick to health care because this is so big and transformational for our country, it's about our -- about the competitiveness of our businesses, the personal security of our families, as mr. hoyer mentioned, in terms of the budget impact of it, and our -- again from these -- for these in many other reason, we hope you'll have questions on this subject.
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then i'll get back to you. >> could you talk about the discussions you've had with blue dog democrats and other democrats who are concerned about the package that has been put forward in draft form, how much have you met with them and could you say to what -- how confident you are that you're going to be able to get them onboard when you're actually voting? >> i invite my colleagues to join in on this. welcome to the legislative process in case you haven't noticed, this is how it works. we work together, i think we started our meetings months ago, the president had his health summit at the white house sort of launched the initiative and then we've had meetings all along. in the last few weeks, we've had listening sessions under leadership of our distinguished whip, mr. clyburn, all along the approach we've taken, our communication among the chairman and with the members has been led by mr. hoyer and
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the -- and our democratic caucus provided us the forum under the leadership of mr. larson and mr. becerra to listen to the concerns of members. we've made a great deal of progress. i think we're on schedule and the conversations have been very productive. as you get toward the end, when you're ready to introduce and then you go to the markup and the amendment process is when you get some of the differentiation beyond the consensus we have built today, but ofrom those conversations, i feel very confident that we'll have strong health care reform that will lower costs, improve quality, give people more peace of mind that recognizing that if you don't have your health you don't have anything. we intend for them to have that health care. mr. hoyer, would you like to speak? >> i want to make one comment, i agree with what the speaker said, but you mentioned blue dogs in particular,ic to a
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person, the blue dogs believe we need to pass, and they want to support, health care reform. they know their people want health care reform. as the speaker indicated, the ledge -- legislative process you get down to the specifics of the house, not the objective, then -- of the hows, not the objective, then there are spiritted discussions. those are occurring now. i'm absolutely confident that there is nobody with whom i've talked in the caucus who doesn't believe health care reform is essential for us to do and do do this year. >> is it going to be included in this bill. >> we're discussing the specifics. there are a number of pay-fors in both houses on the table. we're going to be discussing those further. i want to emphasize that every democrat that i've talked to in our caucus believe this is a doing health care reform is essential.
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a, we promise wed would do so, and b, as i said, it's an economic and moral imperative. a healthier america is a more successful america. >> if i may, we have had six listening sessions involving all of our members and we've done so by regions. the reason is, i think all of us realize so much about this legislation, as to the -- has to do with where you live, what state you live in and exactly what you can expect out of this. based upon that demographic. these listening sessions have brought our members together. i have been absolutely thrilled with the excitement with these
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members. we all are concerned. i come from a relatively poor state, a state that's going to be challenged with a lot of this. we heard from other states as well. i think we are in a good place with all of this. now, a part of what we call a massive tax increase will be mitigated somewhat by the type of savings we put into the final bill. so that's what we've been doing in these listening sessions.
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i'll tell you, we're much, much better off today than we were thursday of last week. >> mr. clyburn to that end, on that point, you talked about the justify sets, to offset proposed tax increases, doesn't that make it hard when those on the other side point to the figure, the 280 and 350, and they cannot store it, doesn't that make it hard? >> sure. we know this is going to be hard. president obama said from day one this is going to be hard to do. but that doesn't mean we ought not do it. that's one thing i like about this caucus. we like to go out and do the hard stuff. >> to follow up on the question about the blue dogs, are you definitely introducing your bill tomorrow and will it be something the blue dogs can support? they said they couldn't support the draft bill that's been out
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there? >> i don't know that they have -- we -- i've had people coming through my office all day speaking individually about it, as mr. clyburn said, their particular situation. it is our goal to have a health care reform that will lower costs. this is esen torble doing this. will lower costs, will lower costs for the individual, for the business, for the economy, for the government. we re-deuce our deficit. we are going to have health care reform -- reduce our deficit. we are going to have health care reform that works. that's why the listening sessions, that's why, i think, a record number of mr. larson's caucus meetings on this subject, there's been a great deal of communication among members and from all different regions of the country on this subject. it is our plan to introduce our legislation tomorrow. it won't the finished product. it is a mark that is to be marked up in committee to go to
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the next step. but in order for us to be on schedule, we have to roll out our legislation this week. it's all in fairness to the republicans as well. because as soon as we have a mark, then they can make their comments about something that is on the table. but it is -- you know, it is just the beginning, because then we have three different committees working their will on it in the house and then we have to deal with the senate. but it is pretty exciting to see the enthusiasm and knowledge that our members from all sectors. i associate myself with what mr. hoyer said. in all of our meetings, we have been assured over and over again that the recognition we must have health care reform is universal in our caucus across the board and that we are trying to find a way to make it work in the best way for all of the regions in our country. it's pretty exciting. we'll be meeting with the president, mr. hoyer and i, later today to talk about some
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of the other issues. but this -- i mentioned this in this previous question, we are trying to squeeze all the savings we can out of this system first. rightfully so. many members in our caucus, including the blue dogs, want us to do that and we share that view. there are other provisions that they want addressed we haven't done, so this is not anything different from where we're going, it's just moreso. do you have a question? >> on the issue of how to pay for it, chairman rangel rolled out his proposal on friday and some senate democrats said they're taking a different approach. is there flexibility from house leaders in paying for this bill? are you going to show some flexibility when you meet with the president this afternoon? >> mr. rangel put forth, and mr. larson can probably speak for this, he's on that committee, the committee worked all day friday on what -- met in the morning with some of the
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members and then met about how to have a surcharge, a surcharge at the high end so that middle income people in our country are not touched by the pay-fors for this. this is about the middle class in our country. lower their costs, improve their quality, expand their coverage and do so in a way that gives them peace of mind. a middle income family with a pre-existing condition in the family, is changing jobs, needs portability, needs health care, this is about them. and in terms of the pay-for, to the extent we can squeeze more out of the system for save rerks deuces the need for the pay-for, but it will be at the high end, not touch the middle class. mr. larson, a member of the ways and means committee. >> let me say a couple of things with respect to this. the speaker mentioned squeezing.
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wouldn't it be great if we were joined by our colleagues on the other side of the aisle in understanding what the private sector has said to us, ad infi need tum about the clost that's -- ad infinitum about the cost that's there. whether it's pharma, hospitals, doctors, whether it's insurance industry that there are costs in our system that if we have said today will rise to, by 2019 to levels that are unaffordable, that'll be 20% of our gross domestic product. so, let us wean out those costs. we know, for example that c.b.o. will not be able to score some of the obvious savings that will result and people in connecticut familiar with insurance will tell you that with respect to insurance i.t., there are billions of more dollars that can be weaned
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out of the system. but this is a moment we have been waiting for since harry truman, through even richard nixon, bill clinton, and now the moment is right because of the citizens we have here in front of us today, because of americans, 47 million who have no coverage, are desiring that congress act. the speaker said it, it's a mark. it's a mark, but it's an important mark in history that will allow us to move forward, working with our president to make sure that we fulfill the promise and the dream of all americans. >> i'm going to add something to that, i think that was the last question, but i want to add something to what job said. the fact that there are 47 million americans without insurance is a critical concern to all americans. why? because all americans are paying for that.
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all more thans are paying between $750 and $1,100 extra on your premium, that you mentioned, extra on your premium because those people are not pay, not involved in the system, are not getting prevention, not getting wellness care, so they're more expensive. but the object of this legislation is to bring health care costs down. yes, we want access for all americans, but we want to bring health care costs down for the families who are represented here today. and the reason we want to bring health care costs down for families represented here today ois so they can be healthier so they don't have to make choices that will damage their health. and which will make it more expensive for all the rest of us and as i said, from a moral perspective, it is right that we make sure that every american can take care of their health care concerns.
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so that yes, there are 47 million americans uninsured, but as critically, there are 260 million americans who feel pretty good about what they now have, but -- but are very war rid about losing it because they won't be able to afford it. we have a system that is almost twice as expensive as any other in the world. that's what this legislation attempts to do. bring costs down for the country, for all americans, and for each individual, and for their families. this is a critical time to accomplish that objective and we intend to do. so >> it'd the president appointed a new attorney general, she established a rural health clinic in alabama. we're proud of that appointment, it's a necessary one, but it's also about
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prevention and wellness and about how our children are healthier and a healthier america is the goal of all of this. i congratulate dr. regina benjamin and thank the president for this important appointment. mind you, much of the prevention that would be part of this in the wellness and the rest in the bill will not be scored as positive because that's the way the c.b.o. scores, but it will be those savings -- those savings will be there. that's why i think at the end of the day, the revenue that we may take in may be more used for deficit reduction than it will be to cover what the industry did not want to give up as we try to squeeze out as many savings as possible. i promised i would answer your question -- >> can you respond to report this is a vice president cheney -- >> the information that you reference is information that was presented in a classified session of the congress. i did not have that briefing. the intelligence committees did. i can't speak to that.
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but i think that it behooves the committees to take whatever actions they believe are necessary to get more information on that subject. as to whether the intelligence community was directed by the vice president to create a program and intentionally withhold that information from congress. and further, if the same intelligence community of people were asked is there anything else we should know whether they said yes or whether they said no. thank you all very much, again, let's thank diane and joe and phil and tammy for being here. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> the house is in recess subject to the call of the chair. the -- they were supposed to debate 16 suspension rules today but the democrat leadership ran into a republican protest vote. the senate is debating policy this is afternoon. they expect to spend a week on the bill and amendments to it. at 4:30 eastern, senators will pause that debate to consider the nomination of robert groves for census bureau director. votes on that nomination start at 5:30 eastern. live coverage on c-span2. the senate judiciary committee began hearings on judge sonia
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sotomayor for the supreme court. senators return tomorrow to question the nominee at 9:30 a.m. eastern. you can see the opening day comments tonight on c-span2 and live coverage of tomorrow's hearing on c-span3, c-span.org and c-span radio. we're waiting to go live to the white house where president obama is about to speak to the urban and metropolitan policy round table. while we wait, from this morning's "washington journal" a discussion of the c.i.a.'s relationship with congress with the "washington journal's" intelligence correspondent. f "national journal." all lot of news about the cia. mize president dick cheney. one of the points you make in an earlier article is that there have been a dozen oversight committees, special panels looking into u.s. intelligence operations and the conclusion is
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often the same. take care of congress first. explain that guest: there have been at a dozen of these special bipartisan commissions and panels that have tried to assess, what are themportant things that need to be fixed in order to reform intelligence. they come to the same conclusion about congress providing oversight of intelligence operations. the conclusion is that it is dysfunctional. really what members of congress need to do is sort of reassess what their role is in overseeing the executive branch and the conduct and formulation of intelligence policy, whether that be how they conduct investigations, how they proceed with@@@@::zz::zz::zz"2 they haven't taken this on as seriously as some would like. it's evolved on partisan lives and is part of the partisan attacks we've seen in other
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areas of policy. for a long time, intelligence was thought to be a special domain where politics would not enter. that hasn't been the case in the last 10 years. host: one of the example, i'll avoid the expletive but a conversation between a republican from utah and someone who was the c.i.a. director in the reagan administration. guest: the reagan administration was involved in a number of covert operations in latin america, specifically in nicaragua and was found to be mining harbors to try to disrupt shipping in the ports. this was part of a broader campaign of the reagan administration to staunch the spread of communism and socialism in central america, which i think everyone is broadly familiar with. when it came to light they conducted the operation of mining the harbor the intelligence committees in the senate, members of the intelligence committee were shocked to find they had not
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heard about it and brought the director of the c.i.a. at the time up and said why is this something we're learning about only now? this is practically tantamount to war, we have told you time and time againering, you're not to be involved in direct attempts to overthrow the government in nicaragua. casey's response was, well, i did tell you about this i briefed to you several months ago, it was one or two lines in a very, very, very long briefing, probably amounted to hundreds of pages, that had essentially been missed by the members. he never made any effort to highlight it for them. essentially, during the hearing where this was coming out, one of the members, jake garn a republican from utah, i believe, was essentially so incensed at the grilling the members were giving casey in ha what he thought was an overt sign of partisanship essentially rattled off many expletives about the character of his colleagues and said they
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should back off the c.i.a. and it almost came to blows. it was that bad, it was that tense between these members over what their job was supposed to be overseeing this agency, how many of them thought they failed to do it, or the c.i.a. deceived them. >> let's bring that back to headlines we've seen over the weekend. what do you think vice president cheney knew and what do you think he withheld? guest: what we know now is that c.i.a. director panetta, current director in late june, last month, went to the intelligence oversight committees on the hill and said there's a secret c.i.a. program that's been going on for seven or eight year, you have not known about it and vice president cheney specifically directed that the c.i.a. not tell you. what we know is this is in some way connected to presidential finding issued by george bush in 2001 that authorized the c.i.a. to target and in some cases capture or kill certain
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members of al qaeda. apparently, this program, still unknown, is a subset of that. what we do know is that cheney, for reasons we can't be sure, whether it was so controversial or secretive, said this is something the congress should not know about. the members of the committee said it hadn't come to fruition, hadn't cross theds threshold of what it was appropriate for briefing to congress. one reason this is interesting is there are all kinds of opingses the agency is -- operations the sidgetcy is considering at any time. in 2001, bush gives a broad order saying the c.i.a. is authorized to try to hunt, kill, capture members of al qaeda. all kinds of discussions start happening under the umbrella of that directive. at what point does the c.i.a. decide this particular idea has reached the threshold we should notify congress? or is this something we can keep internal because it's something we're hashing out in
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the brainstorming session? that's what's interesting about this, i think the fact that the vice president personally intervened to say, keep this secret, tells you it was something that was more than notional. it must be something rather significant he felt it needed to be kept from the oversight committees. host: this issue came up on yesterday's abc's "this week" with george receive knopp los. here's part of what they had to say. >> this allegation of the vice president ordering it to be kept secret, do you believe that should be investigated? >> the vice president and the vice president are the two people who have responsibility, ultimately, for the national security of the country. it is not out of the ordinary for the vice president to be involved in an issue like this. >> to order it to be kept secrete screth? >> what if it's a top secret program? let's don't jump to conclusions is what i'm saying. >> senator durbin? >> i can tell you, we know that vice president cheney played an unusual role with president
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bush in the early days of his administration. that seemed to change over time. but it's inappropriate for the vice president or president to be ordering that a program be kept secret and not disclosed at the highest levels of congressional leadership. we have to have check and balance in our system. to give to the president unbridled power and thord goes way beyond what our constitution has in mind. host: we've seen this unfold before on different issues, where is this heading? guest: i think first, for some sort of investigation. up until now, president obama has been reluctant to open up any kind of investigation of past intelligence practices in the bush administration. i think the primary reason for that being he doesn't want to see -- to be seen as trying to score political points on his predecessor and frankly, number two he know he is could be celting a precedent for future presidents. what if a republic takes over after him and wants to look
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into thing os because madrid. he wants to avoid criminalizing policy. at the same time, it's undeniable that the recent revelation adds a new wrinkle. up to now, all the controversial programs and excesses about intelligence have been known. we've had electronic surveillance, detention of terrorist subject, interrogation of terrorist suspects there hasn't been another skeleton to fall out of the closet until now. ate parently this is something new not related to previous programs and something the intelligence communities knew nothing about. the other program they knew about, in some fashion. i don't see how he can go forward easily saying that there should be no investigation into how it came to pass that the vice president ordered a program be kept secret from the intelligence committees when it appears it fell within the domain of program this is a should have been briefed to them under the
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law. i don't see how we can avoid calls for an invest. host: our next caller from los angeles on the republican line, good morning. caller: you can see how cheney's been involved with neo conservatives, you can read the new book "the kabal." they've had to go to war for israel in the middle east, seymour hearst has written articles about this. >> i'm not familiar with those books, but i think what the caller is getting at is, there's a tremendous anxiety still hanging over from the bush administration over what role precisely did the vice president play in the conduct of intelligence and national security? you go back to the segment from "this week," the first senator said it wasn't unusual for the president or vice president to get involved with classifying intelligence informations.
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it is actually historically for the vice president to be involved. what a lot of this reflects is there is stale lingering question about what was the role of the vice president? that's something people are not going to give up on right now. politically, it's expedient for democrats to pursue it. but it's almost an aberration, and it's fascinating. as someone who writes about intelligence and history, i'm fascinated by what the role is he play and how ex-trared noir -- extraordinary that was. there are still all these unanswered question this is a continue after cheney has been off the scene six or seven months. host: if you want to read the works of our guest, go to nationaljournal.com. victor is on the phone from hammond, indiana. good morning. democrats' line. caller: i'm calling about the dick cheney if there was
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anything they were hiding from the democrats and everything, and another question, whatever happened to obama being half white? guest: to the first part of your question whether it has anything to do with nancy pelosi to back up and remind viewers what you're talking about there, in may, speaker pelosi came out in a press conference and said she had not been told by the c.i.a. back in 2002 that they were using the waterboard as an interrogation technique against terrorist suspects. she made a quote that c.i.a. lies to congress, her words, all the time this obviously sparked quite a partisan controversy on the hill over the last several weeks. it appears the issue and question about dick cheney and the program he ordered kept secret is not connected to the interrogation program that pelosi was speaking about, but the two events are connected in
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the following way. when pelosi came out and said the c.i.a. lies to congress all the time, the republicans countered essentially by say, oh really? about what. prove it. show us where else they're lying. now the c.i.a. director comes forward with evidence that shows the c.i.a. was liing or at least not telling the full truth to congress about intelligence programs. this is now an arrow in the quiver of the democrats in this ongoing partisan feud that began with interrogation and now has apparently spread to a program of undetermined origin and purpose. host: we have this tweet saying, doesn't this put nancy pelosi in a bad position for refusing to allow a vote on this? she's responsible too. now we have a caller on the independent line. caller: i'm calling because i wanted to ask, do you really think the c.i.a. is always
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trustworthy and do you believe at all times -- guest: i think the c.i.a. has not always been trustworthy. it's a checkered history, i write about it in an article out in "national journal" from about a month or so ago. i think it's the norm that the agency does disclose most of the operations to congress, i can't tell what detail that's in, but it is in fact the case the agency has kept secret various activities, operations, and programs. this most recent revelation about the vice president is one of the longer narrative and i don't think it comes as a surprise to anybody familiar with the relationship the agency has with congress which is really marked by a lot of gamesmanship. it is the responsibility of congress to find out what the agencies are doing. it's the job of the agencies to not tell them too much and try to keep their operations as
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independent as they can. i'm not saying the c.i.a. is a rogue outfit. there are instances where it displayed that kind of behavior. to say there is full and transparent oversight is not the case. . >> we have to remember the intelligence committees we have now in the senate and the house are relatively recent creations. they were set up in the mid 1970's in response to undeniable abuses of authority
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by the intelligence community which senior officials today will say undeniably were abuses. what is set up is this constant tension between an executive which has the prerogative to conduct foreign policy and foreign affairs and national security operations and a body of lawmakers that has now been given the legal authority to check those processes. not to try and block them, not to authorize them, per se, because it should be very clear congress does not give permission to the executive branch and the c.i.a. to conduct its affairs, but provides that real check in the system of government. it's the nature of the system of checks and balances to create tension like this. so the metaphor of the pendulum swinging, that's part of the system. the pendulum has clearly been on the side of the executive. there are people trying to push it back more towards the legislature. it's not at all clear to me that president obama is siding with those in his party in congress who would like to bring more control back to congress. he has already said that he
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plans to veto any bill that would include a provision currently being debated on the hill which would expand the number of members who get briefed on covert operations. it's not surprising that as the president he would want to limit the number of people who are briefed on those operations. that's in keeping with history. but it is surprising in the sense that he is not siding with his party on that. host: john is on the phone from texas. good morning. caller: good morning. i would like to know -- when it comes to nancy pelosi and the vice president, my point of view is that the democrats are using vice president cheney as a means to cover up what nancy pelosi said when she said they lied. and the second part of my question is attorney general holder, he wants to -- it is possible that he is going to come out with an investigation. what is the statute of limitations? it's something that vice president cheney allegedly did back in 2002. this is seven years. what's the statute of limitations on that to bring charges? host: thank you, john.
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guest: i'm not sure what the statute of limitations would be. the attorney general has said he would open an investigation into any officials or even i think contractors it might be who essentially practiced interrogation techniques beyond what was authorized by the justice department at the time. he has said and the president agrees that they are not going to prosecute anyone who is operating under the written assurances from the justice department of what fell within the balance for interrogation. the first part of your question, to what degree is the issue of cheney and the potential cover-up of an intelligence program really kind of i think you were saying political cover opportunity for the democrats. i think that's right. this latest sort of data point here in the narrative is part of this ongoing partisan war between republicans and democrats on the intelligence committees i think. it gives the democrats a terrific opportunity, frankly, to come back and say see, we were lied to by the bush administration. speaker pelosi said so. here is more evidence.
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i don't think what you're going to see is what arguably you would want to see in a sort of perfect system of oversight which would be the republicans and democrats would get together and say ok, it appears that the vice president of the united states may have kept information from us. we are a legitimate oversight committee. why don't we put our heads together and figure out how that happened? instead, what you are seeing is more of the same partisan bickering and it's one more piece of ammunition in that. host: our guest is shane harris. he is the intelligence reporting for "national journal ." before that he worked for "governing magazine ." our next call is dave from detroit. good morning. caller: good morning. my question at the end of my comment is -- [inaudible] over the years, there have been a history of president's who made the comment -- [inaudible] host: dave, i apologize but i will have to stop you there. i think the essence might have
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been the tensions between this agency and the executive branch, if i could decipher between the dropouts in his cell phone call. guest: this is certainly the case that the c.i.a. has had tensions with congress. there is obviously tensions within the executive branch itself. presidents tend to i think use the intelligence community in a way as a tool. it is their intelligence service. that's not always been the case. but certainly they use them sometimes at their peril. host: there has also been the well-known rivalry between jane harmon and nancy pelosi. does that impact any of this? guest: i think it does to a certain extent. the backdrop is they famously do not get along. jane harmon wanted to have the position as chairman of the house intelligence committee. it's also true that nancy pelosi was not about to have that. there are term limits on that position and jane harmon wasn't technically i think qualified to take the job in terms of the term limits that were there. sort of within the party itself, these issues tend to become a distraction from real
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oversight. it has been the case that feuding between republicans and democrats over time, over the past 10 years specifically has kept them in some cases from the real business of oversight. i think -- >> we're leaving this recorded segment now to take you live to the eisenhower executive office building where president obama is about to speak to the urban and metropolitan policy roundtable. the president may comment on treasury department numbers released today that the federal deficit has topped $1 trillion for the first time. live coverage here on c-span. >> i want to thank you again for coming today and participating in this conference. what i observed this morning was a level of energy and enthusiasm that we really haven't seen. so thank you for the time. the remarks i heard was the real feedback was the bold, who boulder than the president of the united states who give his remarks to you right now? with that we'll turn it over to the president. >> all right. well, hello, everybody! a couple of -- a couple of
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quick acknowledgments. where's greg? where's greg nichols. thank you. there you are, greg. >> thank you so much for your participation today. i understand governor rendell is here or was here. he may have stepped out, but when he comes back in, i hope to have a chance to say hello to him. burrell ellis, c.e.o. of dekalb county, so nice to see you, burrell. kathy novak, where's kathy? good to see you. henry cisneros, where are you? the legendary. good to see you, my friend. fredericko pena, thank you so much, who worked so hard to help us get elected. julius stash, where is my friend from chicago? there she is. good to see you, julia. obviously, you know our understanding cabinet that is so focused on these issues. ray lahood, sean donovan, lisa jackson. where's ms. mills there?
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great to see karen. and hilda solis. i want you to know as well as our new director of our office of -- i always forget the full name of this. i call it the drug czar. ok. by the way, nichols vouched for you. so thank you so much, all of you, for participating. i see a lot of friends old and new. it's great to be back and it's great to be joined by some of the finest urban thinkers in america for what i understand has been critical conversation on the future of america's urban and metropolitan areas. as you might imagine, this is a subject that's near and dear to my heart. i have lived almost all my life in urban areas. michelle and i chose to raise our daughters in the city where she grew up. even though i went to college in l.a. and new york and law
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school across the river from boston, i received my greatest education on chicago's south side working at the local level , to bring about change in those communities and opportunities to people's lives. i see a number of chicago folks who were fighting with me -- i mean alongside me for many years. i already mentioned julia, but obviously, there are a number of other folks as well. that experience also gave me an understanding of some of the challenges facing city halls all across the country. i now know that those challenges are particularly severe today because of this recession. four in five cities have had to cut services. just when folks need it the most. 48 states face the prospects of budget deficits in the coming fiscal year. and that's one reason why we took swift and aggressive action in the first months of my administration, to pull our
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economy. oh, goodness. sorry about that, guys. to pull our economy back from the brink, including the largest and most sweeping economic recovery plan in our nation's history. if we had not taken that step, our cities would be in an even deeper hole. and state budget deficits would be nearly twice as large as they are right now and tens of thousands of police officers and firefighters and teachers would be out of a job as we speak. i think that all of you are aware of that. what's also clear is we're going to do more than just help our cities weather the current economic storm. we have to figure out ways to rebuild them on a newer, firmer, stronger foundation for our future. that requires new strategies for our cities and metropolitan areas to focus on advancing opportunity through
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competitive, sustainable, and inclusive growth. that's why all of you are here today. i know there were a lot of ideas that were shared throughout the morning and afternoon. the first thing we need to recognize is that this is not just a time of challenge for america's cities. it's also a time of great change. even as we have seen many of our central cities continuing to grow in recent years, we have seen their suburbs and exburbs grow twice as fast. it spreads homes and jobs and businesses to a broader geographic area. this transformation is creating new pressures and problems, of course, but it's also opening up new opportunities because it's not just our cities that are hotbeds of innovation anymore. it's our growing metropolitan areas. when i spoke to the u.s. conference of mayors last year, i tried to hone in on this point, that what i think traditionally had been seen as
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this divide between city and suburb, that in some ways you have seen both city and suburb now come together and recognize they can't solve their problems in isolation, they have got to be paying attention to each other. in these metropolitan areas, they are home 2085% of our jobs and 90% of our economic output. now, that doesn't mean investing in america comes at the expense of rural america. great the opposite. investing in mass transit and high-speed rail, for example, just -- doesn't just make our dunkin' donuts more economical. it doesn't just make our cities cleaner. it boosts rural areas that harness that energy. our urban and rural communities are not independent. they are interdependent. so what's needed now is a new, imaginative, bold vision tailored to this reality that brings opportunity to every corner of our growing metropolitan areas. a new strategy that's about
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southern florida as much as miami. it's about mesa and scottsdale as much as it's about phoenix. it's about aurora and bolder and north glenn as much as about denver. an early step was to appoint our first white house director of urban affairs. his team and he share my belief that our cities need more than just a partner. they need a partner who knows that the old ways of looking at our cities just won't do. that's why i have directed the office of management and budget, the domestic policy council, the national economic council, and the office of urban affairs to conduct the first comprehensive interagency review in 30 years of how the federal government approaches and funds urban and metropolitan areas. so that we can start having a concentrated, focused, strategic approach to federal efforts to revitalize our
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metropolitan areas. we're also going to take a hard look at how washington helps or hinders our cities and metro areas from infrastructure to transportation, from housing to energy, from sustainable development to education. we're going to make sure federal policies aren't hostile to good ideas or best practices on the local levels. we're going to put an end to throwing money at what doesn't work and we're going to start investing in what does work and make sure that we're encouraging that. now, we began to do just that with my budget proposal, which included two investments in innovative and proven strategies. i just want to mention these briefly. the first, promise neighborhoods, is modeled on jeff recanada's successful harlem children's zone. it's an all-encompassing, all hands on deck effort that's turning around the lives of new york city's children block by block. what we want to do is to make
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grands available for communities and other cities to jump-start their own neighborhood level interventions that change the odds for our kids. the second proposal we call choice neighborhoods. focuses on new ideas for housing in our cities by recognizing that different communities need different solutions. so instead of isolated, monolithic public housing projects that too often trap residents in a cycle of poverty and isolate them further, we want to invest in proven strategies that actually transform communities and enhance opportunity for residents and businesses alike. but we also need to fundamentally change the way we look at metropolitan development. for too long, federal policy has actually encouraged sprawl and congestion and pollution rather than quality public transportation and smart, sustainable development. we have been keeping communities isolated when we should have been bringing them together. that's why we have created a new interagency partnership on sustainable communities led by sean donovan as well as ray
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lahood and lisa jackson. and by working together, their agencies can make sure that when it comes to development, housing, transportation, energy efficiency, these things aren't mutually exclusive. they go hand in hand. that means making sure that affordable housing exists in close proximity to jobs and transportation. that means encouraging shorter travel times and lower travel costs. it means safer, greener, more livable communities. so we're off to a good start, but the truth is that washington can't solve all of these problems that face our cities, and, frankly, i know that cities don't expect washington to solve all these problems. instead of waiting for washington, a lot of cities have already gone ahead and become their own laboratories for change and innovation. some leading the world in coming up with new ways to solve the problems of our time. so you take an example like denver. their metropolitan area is projected to grow by one
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million residents over the next 15 years or so, but rather than wait for a congestion crisis, they are already at work on plans to build and operate a public transit system up to the challenge and to surround that system with smart new housing, retail, and office development near each stop. philadelphia is an example of what's been called urban agriculture. it may sound like an oxymoron, but one proposal is trying to make a situation where fresh local food supplies are within a short walk for most city residents, which will have a direct impact not only on the economy and on the environment but also make an immeasurable difference in the health of americans. or kansas city. one idea there focuses on transforming a low-income community into a national model of sustainability by weatherizing homes and building a green local transit system.
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three different cities with thee unique ideas for the future. that's why three of the cities that are members of my cabinet and office of urban affairs will visit this summer as part of an ongoing national conversation to lift up best practices from around the country, to look at innovations for the metropolitan areas of tomorrow. forward-looking cities shouldn't be succeeding despite washington. they should be succeeding with a hand from washington. we want to hear directly from them. we want to hear directly from all of you on fresh ideas and successful solutions that you have devised and then figure out what the federal government can do or shouldn't do to help reinvent cities in metropolitan areas for the 21st century. so i know that this change is possible. after all, i'm from a city that knows a little something about reinventing itself. in the 19th century after a
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cataclysmic fire, chicagoans rebuilt stronger than before. in the last century, they led the world upward in steel and glass. and in this century, under my friend mayor daley's leadership, they are helping to lead the world forward in newer, greener, more livable waste. daniel burnham said make it no little plans. that's the spirit behind his bowled and ambitious -- his bold and ambitious plans unveiled 100 years ago this month that helped transform chicago into a world-class city. that's the same approach we have to approach the reinvention of all metropolitan areas. sustainable places that provide our children with every chance to learn and to grow and that allow our businesses and workers the best opportunity to innovate and succeed and that let our older americans live out their best years in the midst of all that metropolitan life can offer. now is the time to see that
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moment of possibility and i am absolutely confident that starting today with this conversation you and i together, we're going to be able to make this happen. so thank you for joining us. i'm looking forward to all of us getting to work. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you, everybody. [applause] >> the house is in recess subject to the call of the chair. members were to debate 16 bills this afternoon, but the democratic leadership ran into a republican protest vote and had to recess the house until an agreement is reached or vote time rolls around. that is at 6:30 eastern time. live coverage when the house returns here on c-span. and on the other side of the capitol, the senate is debating defense programs this afternoon as senate leaders expect to spend a week on the bill. at 4:30 eastern, senators will
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pause that debate to consider the nomination of robert groves for census bureau director. votes on that nomination start at 5:30 eastern time. live coverage is on cable-satellite public affairs network. and the senate judiciary committee began the confirmation hearing of judge sonia sotomayor for the supreme court today. the committee heard opening statements from members and judge sotomayor. senators return tomorrow to question the nominee. that's at 9:30 a.m. eastern time. our live coverage will get underway then on c-span 3, c-span.org and c-span radio. tonight you can see those opening day comments on c-span 2. senate republican conference chairman lamar alexander on an energy plan to build 100 nuclear power plants over the next 20 years. he talks about his proposal as an alternative to pending cap
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and trade legislation to address the nation's energy needs and climate change. from the national press club, this is 45 minutes. >> united states senator from tennessee and chairman of the senate republican conference. today in washington, there are some other things going on. a little hearing involving a supreme court nominee, and on several television channels that will be carried for the next week reminded me of the watergate hearings. in the early 1970's and a story that senator inouye told me. in the early 1970's, there were only three television networks. that was all. not several hundred as there are today. and the watergate hearings only involved seven senators. four democrats and three republicans. sam earvin was the chairman, a democrat, howard baker, was the ranking republican. and one of the democrats was daniel inouye, the world war ii hero, senator of japanese-american descent, and those hearings were on those
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three networks every day all day for weeks. japanese-american descent and those hearings were on those three networks every day all day for in other words, all you could watch on television for several weeks as watergate hearings. after several weeks, george gallup came to him and asked for a meeting and said i have some information for you. gallup, the polster came to him and asked for a meeting and said senator, i have some information for you. according to a recent survey, there's only one man in the united states better known than you are and that's richard nixon. senator inaway by his distinctive apprance and by his deep voice and by being on the only television networks every day for week his become a very well-known american. there are lots of choices today and i appreciate you being here today, and i appreciate those watching through television being here today.
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our country is at a critical point in recession in history. today's is the most severe in decades and unemployment reaches 10%. we have too much national debt. a gathering storm threatens the technological edge that has given americans. we're only 5% of the world's people. a remarkable standard of living that comes from producing year in and year out about 25% of the world's wealth. the sting remains from last year's oil prices. we rely too much on other countries for merge. there's the unfinished job of cleaning the air and for many, the global warming of our planet has become an urgent concern. so it's against this backdrop that for the first time ever legislation dealing broadly with energy and climate change is coming out of the house of representatives. the senate is also moving ahead on both issues and the decision congress makes will affect our well-being for years to come. the house of representatives has chosen the high cost solution to clean energy and climate change.
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its economy-wide cap and trade and renewable energy mandate is a job killing $100 billion a year national energy tax that will add a new utility bill to every american family's budget. republican united states senators offer a different solution. a low-cost plan for clean energy based upon four steps. one, building 100 nuclear power plants in 20 years. two, electric cars and trucks for conservation. number three, offshore exploration for natural gas and oil and number four, doubling energy research and development to make renewable energy cost competitive. the house plan will raise prices and send jobs overseas looking for cheap energy. the senate republican plan will lower utility bills and create jobs and it should put the united states within the goals of the kyoto protocol on global
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warming by 2030. our plan should not add to the federal budget since rate payers will pay for building the new nuclear plants. federal loan financing for the first nuclear plants is not designed to cost taxpayers any money. nuclear plants ensure one another, so there's no cost from there. offshore exploration for oil and gas which is part of our plan should produce enough royalty revenues to pay for programs to encourage electric cars and trucks. and doubling energy research and development should cost about $8 billion more per year which is consistent with president obama's proposals for 2009 and 2010. so in furtherance of our low-cost plan, i am today, as one senator, offering a blueprint to build 100 nuclear power plants in the next 20 years. other senators may have other blueprints in support of the
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same plan, but this blueprint will attract comments and support, i hope, for americans of all political persuasion in congress and outside of congress, and i welcome those comments at www.alexander.senate.gov. this is an especially good time to step back and ask what kind of america should we hope to create during the next 20 years? first and foremost, we should want to see an america running on energy that is cheap, clean, reliable and abundant. in order to produce nearly 25% of the wealth in the world for americans, we consume about 25% of the world's energy. we should want an america in which we create hundreds of thousands of green job, but not at the expense of destroying tense of millions of red, white and blue jobs.
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in other words, it doesn't make any sense to employ people in the renewable energy sector, that we're throwing them out of work in manufacturing and high tech. that's what will happen if these new technologies raise the price of electricity and send manufacturing and other intensive energies -- energy-intensive industries overseas searching for cheap energy. we want clean, new, energy-efficient cars, but we want them built in michigan and ohio and tennessee and not in n @ @ @ @ @ @å
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in the great smoky mountains is a thing of the past. where children are less likely to suffer asthma attacks brought on by breathing pollutants. finally, we should want an america in which we're not creating energy sprawl by occupying vast tracks of farmlands, deserts and mountaintops with energy installations that ruin scenic landscapes. the great american outdoors is a revered part of the american character. we've spent a century preserving it. there is no need to destroy the environment in the name of saving the environment. none of these goal, the ones i just outlined are met by the
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waxman/markey bill. what started out as a move to reduce carbon emissions has ended up as a contraption of mandates that will impose a huge and unnecessary burden on the economy. renewable energy such as wind and solar and biomass and geo-thermal are intriguing and promising as a supplement to america's energy requirements, yet the waxman/markey bill proves once again that one of the government's biggest mistakes can be taking a good idea and expanding it until it doesn't work anymore. trying to expand these forms of renewable energy to the point where they become our prime source of energy has huge costs and obvious flaws that may be impossible to overcome. what's worse, such an effort creates a whole new problem which some conservationists call the renewable energy sprawl where we're asked to sacrifice the american landscape and
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overwhelm ecosystems with thousandses of massive energy machines in an effort to take care of our energy needs. for example, one big solar power plant in the western desert where they line up mirrors to focus the sun's rays and what spread across more than 30 square miles. that's more than five miles on each side produces the same 1,000 megawatts of electricity that you can get from a single coal or nuclear plant that sits on one square mile. to generate the same 1,000 mega watts with wind you would need 270 square miles of wind turbines, generating 20% of the nation's elect rhys frit wind would cover an area about the size of west virginia. to those of us in the southeast where the wind blows less than 20% of the time they say well, use biomass which is burning
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wood products. a sort of controlled bonfire. that's a good idea. it might reduce forest fires and reduce resources, but let's not expect too much. we need a forest much larger than the 550,000-acre great smoky national park to feed a 1,000 megawatt biomass plant on a sustained basis, and think of the energy used and the carbon produced by the hundreds of trucks that it would take every day to haul that stuff to that one plant. already we're beginning to see the problems. boone pickens who said that wind turbines are too ugly, quote, devote, to put on his own ranch. last week postponed what was to be america's largest wind farm because of the difficulty of building transmission lines from west texas to population centers. the sacramento, california, utility district pulled out of another project to pull out of
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sierra, nevada, for the same reason. the transmission lines were meeting too much opposition particularly from environmental organizations and according to "the wall street journal," california officials are worried that the state's renewable mandates have created a, quote, high risk to the state economy, and that the state may be short of power by 2011 if the problems continue to pile up, unquote. add to that a point many forget. solar and wind energy is only available about one-third of the time because today it can't be stored. you use it or you lose it. solar's great advantage is that the sun shines during the peak usage hours while the wind often blows at night when there's plenty of unused electricity, but with either, if you want to make sure your lights will turn on and your factory will open its doors when you go to work, you still need the other power
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plants to back you up. so is this the picture that you want to see in 20 years? there's another option. nuclear is already our best source for large amounts of cheap, reliable, clean energy. it provides only 20% of america's electricity, but 70% of america's carbon-free, pollution-free electricity. that's compared with approximately 6% of pollution-free, carbon-free electricity supplied by wind and solar. it is already far and away our best defense against global warming so why not build 100 new nuclear power plants during the next 20 years? we did it before. american utilities built 100 reactors between 1970 and 1990 with their own rate payer's
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money. why can't we do it again? other countries are forging ahead of us. france gets 80% of its electricity from 50 nuclear reactors and it has among the cheapest electricity rates and the lowest carbon emissions in the european union to show for it. japan is building reactors from start to finish in four years. china is planning 60 new reac r reactors, more than the rest of the world put together while russia is selling its technology all over the world. india is making plans to build nuclear reactors with our help. president obama has said that even iran has the right to make nuclear power. we invented the technology. isn't it time that we got back in the game? there seem to be a couple of things holding us back. both of which are discussed at length in the blueprint that i'm presenting today. first, a failure to appreciate just how different nuclear is
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from other technologies, how it's tremendous energy density translates into a vanishing small -- a vanishingly small environmental foot print. a uranium fuel pellet the size of a them bell can contain 150 pounds of coal, or 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas. france, which as i said, gets 80% of its activity from nuclear plants stores unusual radioactive waste, beneath the floor of one room beneath the facility. the second thing holds us back is an exaggerated fear of nuclear technology. nuclear power plants were the result of president eisenhowerer's ad atoms for peace program. the idea was to take the greatest invention of the last century and use it to provide low-cost energy to reduce
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poverty around the world. a nuclear power plant is not a bond. the material makes up only 4% of the reactor fuel. it would have to be enriched to 90% to make a bond. even then you have complicated physics to make it explode. nuclear plants are run completely today than they were when a valve failed 30 years ago. now operators trained for five years before they're allowed to take the control and they have more training for airline pilots. as for terrorist attacks i invite you to go to youtube and type in plane crashing into wall. they took an f-4 fight are jet, strapped it to a railroad track and accelerated it to 500 miles an hour, faster than an airliner before crashing it into a simulated nuclear containment
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structure. the containment structure, in other words, the nuclear plant was fine after the crash. there wasn't much left of the airplane. there's also the miscon vepg that the plants are uninsurable and can't survive without a federal subsidy. there is an insurance for nuclear plants called anderson and it's never paid a dime of insurance and today the way it works that every one of the 104 nuclear plants in the united states can be assessed $100 million in damages for an accident at another reactor. that's another factor adding to safety consciousness. most reactors have revenue of about $2 million a day which pays for the $5 billion construction loans and still makes possible low rates for consumers. when the tennessee valley authority restarted its browns
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ferry unit one reactor two years ago, tba thought it would take ten years to pay off the 1.8 billion construction debt. it took three years. when oil prices were skyrocketing, connecticut proposed putting a windfall profits test on the two nuclear reactors in the state because they were making so much money. >> nuclear power is the obvious first step to a policy of clean and low-cost energy. 100 new plants in 20 years would double u.s. nuclear electricity production, making it 40% of all electricity production. add 10% for sun and wind and other renewables. another 10% for hydroelectric. maybe 5% for natural gas, and we begin to have a cheap as well as a clean energy policy. step two for a cheap and clean
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energy policy is to electrify half our cars and trucks. according to estimates by brookings institutions scholars, there is so much unused electricity at night we can also do this for 20 years without building one new power plant if we plugged vehicles in at night while we sleep. this is the fastest way to reduce dependence on foreign oil, one. to keep fuel prices low, two, and third, to reduce by the one-third of carbon that comes from gasoline engines. step three is to explore offshore for natural gas its low carbon and oil, using less oil, but using more of our own, and the final step is the double funding for energy research and development that launched many manhattan projects like the one we had in world war ii. this time to meet seven grand energy challenges, including
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batteries for plug-in vehicles and making solar power cost competitive with fuels, making carbon capture a reality for coal-burning power plants. i suggested to secretary chu that he reserve a nobel peace prize for a scientist that figures out a way to capture carbon from existing coal plants. safely recycling used nuclear fuel. crops we don't eat, make them competitive with gasoline. making more buildings green buildings and providing energy from fusion which is recreating on the earth what happens at the center of the sun. the difficulties with nuclear power are political, not technological, social, not economic. the main obstacle is a lingering doubt and fear about the technology. any progressive administration that wishes to solve the problem of global warming without
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crushing the american economy should help the public resolve these doubts and fears. what is needed boils down to two words, presidential leadership. we can't wait any longer to start building our future of clean, reliable and affordable energy. time has come for action. we can revive america's industrial and high-tech economy with the technology that we already have in hand. the only requirement that is that we open our minds to the possibility and potential of nuclear power. as we do, our policy of cheap and clean energy based on nuclear power, electric cars, off-shore exploration and doubling energy rnd will help family budgets and create jobs. it will also prove to be the fastest way to increase american energy independence, clean the air and reduce global warming. i hope you will let me know your thoughts at
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www.alexander.senate.gov. you will find on our website a copy of this blueprint for nuclear power plants in 20 years. i thank you, and i would be glad to take some questions. yes, sir? >> senator, do you plan to introduce legislation to forward the blueprint or will you rely primarily on the gop energy package? we will start with the gop and the republican energy package. as i said this is my blueprint. i expect there will be other republican senators offering their own blueprints to advance the republican plan. i'm going to wait and so what the reaction is. i hope to get response and feedback and suggestions and corrections to what i've said in this blueprint. i hope that several democratic senators, a number of whom support nuclear power will agree
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with me that the smart thing to do in this country is build 100 new nuclear power plants so i'll wait and see. i'm going ahead with senator carper on legislation to deal with sulfur, nitrogen. we know what to do about those. carbon is more elusive and i think i'll wait to see the reaction and if i can attract democratic support. yes, sir? >> senator alexander, what, at a minim minimum, needs to be in a nuclear title in a climate change bill in this senate for you to support it? >> well, i'm not sure we need a climate change. i'm not sure we need a climate change bill. >> but assuming that the democrats in the senate decide to proceed with a democratic house bill and also tried to get some republican support most
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people say the fastest way to do that is to add a nuclear title. i realize it's a hypothetical, but it's a likely hypothetical. what would you like to see in this title? >> i would strenuously argue against adding a nuclear title to the waxman/markey bill. the waxman markey bill needs to be junked. i mean, it has become a contraption of taxes and mandates that hurts the economy that may not do very much for global warming. let me give you one example of why it's unfixable. we've had testimony before our energy committees and our environment committees in the senate that an economy-wide cap and trade is an inefficient way to discourage the use of carbon-based fuels. all it would do, at least for the near-term is raise the price
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of gasoline, say, but not reduce the amount of carbon because it's not enough to change the behavior of americans. if you're going to put limits on fuel which is 30% of the carbon, the right way to do that is a low-carbon fuel standard that gradually shifts carbon out of fuels and people move to something else such as electricity. so i could not support any legislation with an economy-wide cap and trade. i think the more americans look at that, the more they'll see it's uncessary and a huge tax and they won't want to pay an additional utility bill especially when there's an alternative that would reduce their utility bills and clean the air and in my view would put us within the kyoto protocol by 2030. >> yes, bill? >> what's your sense of what secretary chu's view is and
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whether he might be an advocate within the administration? >> well, of course, i'm very impressed with secretary chu. ese a very impressive secretary. i believe he obviously knows nuclear power. i think he's restrained by administration policy. i congratulate him for moving ahead with the four loan financing arrangements that were created by congress in 2005. that's more than the bush administration got done in terms of loan financing and that's very important. as soon as you get the first four nuclear plants built it will make it much easier to build the rest, but there is this strange reluctance on the part of an administration that declares that global warming is one of its great missions to the single technology that would help us deal with global warming in this generation and until this president becomes as interested in 100 new nuclear
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power plants as he is at building wind mills, i don't think secretary chu will be permitted to have a very aggressive nuclear policy, but that's one reason for our agenda. sometimes by our advocacy, we can change the minds of enough people that it brings democratic support to republican ideas and we have a bipartisan idea and my goal would be that the president would eventually adopt this and say we'll have to do this if we have to deal with global warming in this generation without running all of our auto jobs overseas. yes, sir? >> senator, have you been approached by senator boxer and senator kerrie and any of the democrats that are trying to push the climate bill in trying to build bipartisan support and would you vote against a cap and trade bill even if it goes against an economy-wide cap? >> i just said yes to that. >> yes. an economy-wide cap and trade is
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a disaster for our country. its i a job-killing $100 billion a year tax and you add to that the mandates that require the southeast and huge wind turbines. that's like requiring a state that has deserts to make elect rhys frit hydroelectric dams and rivers that they don't have. they don't have the river s as we don't have the wind. so, yes, i would hope that the senate would start over and draft a climate change bill that would avoid an economy-wide cap and trade and that would focus on nuclear power, electric cars, off-shore exploration and many manhattan projects to make renewable energy cost competitive. yes, ma'am? >> senator, do you anticipate any of the nuclear power plants -- >> well, it might very well.
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the tennessee valley authority is leading the country right now in terms of restarting nuclear power plants and i just finished one and it's half way through another and it's exploring new plants which is part of the territory. nuclear power is attributed to tennessee. we have the mountains in cities like knoxville and always struggling with dirty air. we need to produce electricity from something that doesn't put smog and soot in the air and doesn't contribute to global warming and for us nuclear power is the best option. yes, sir? >> senator, you mentioned that there were a number of democrats when it comes to nuclear energy and you are hoping some of them would come onboard and have you had a chance to discuss this
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with them and what is their response. >> we know the senators like senator carper of delaware and senator carbon of maryland are strong supporters of nuclear power and there are others. i have not discussed this proposal. i'm offering this blueprint today and i'm sending it to senators and solicit their advice and hopefully gain their support. >> yes, sir? >> i'm still confused about what you want the government to do to build these nuclear plants. is anyone stopping the industry from building plants right now if they want to. >> yes. if the ideal way to start would be the president to direct the department of energy to give him a plant to build 100 nuclear power plants and to list the obstacles that stand in the way of it. >> it's not so much that the government needs to do anything.
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it's that the government needs to avoid stopping the plant. the one affirmative thing that the government could do is increase the number of loan financing guarantees for the first six or eight plants. secretary chu is committed to doing it for four. that would be an $18 billion credit. i'd like to see that go to $50 billion and all those dollars should not be at risk to the taxpayer because they simply allow the tax to borrow the money to make the construction. a second thing the government could do that might be on the list of the president would be a manhattan project to do a better job of recycling used nuclear fuel. we can't do that today, but if as most people believe, i believe, that we should find better ways to recycle nuclear fuel than we have today. we can still use nuclear waste
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on site for years and in the next five, 10, 12 years with aggressive research we can find ways to recycle that fuel and do it in a way that the plutonium is not separated from the other fuel. so that would be a success thing the government could do. a third thing the government could do is to make certain that it has sufficient staff at the nuclear regulatory commission, to to process the applications and it doesn't slow applications and in other words, to take a position that it is a national goal to build 100 nuclear plants in 20 years. the presidential leadership are two things we need the most on nuclear power. if we had that, it would happen, yes ma'am? oat issue of presidential heedership, you insinuated your frustration. i wanted to ask you about
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already the economic policies have already cost about half a million machine tool types of jobs. what do you prepare to do about the loss of capacity to actually be able to build the parts required to have this type of program? the single west way to rebuild in america, the capacity to build nuclear plants is to start building them. there is a new french company that's come to chattanooga to build large turbines that will be necessary. westinghouse who is interested in building nuclear plants is creating a school for welders. as soon as investors are clear that the united states will build 100 plants, as soon as we get three or four up, there will be new industry here. plus there is an announcement today by babcock ask wilcox that it plans to seek approval of a
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small nuclear reactor that would be 125 megawatts instead of the 1240 or 1500 megawatt great, big things that we now see. that's very promising. ge has a small reactionor as others do. if we start building small reactors, that could accelerate the building of reactors because utility companies wouldn't have to invest such large amounts of money and in the babcock and wilcox place, all of the parts are built in the united states. they're built in ohio and they're built at the factory and these megawatts and ship them by rail to a plant site and if they needed two or three they would be put together like lego blocks. >> would you be -- what do you think about contrasting something like retooling gm. giving them contracts to bell these things. would you be opposed to that? >> i don't want to see the government get in the business of -- the government is already
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getting into the insurance business, the banking business and the student loan business and maybe the health care business. i don't want the government to get into the business of building power plants. it's not necessary. we built the first power plants with the rate payer's money and not government money. all we have to do is create an environment in which private enterprise can succeed. yes? >> your plan calls for a long-term -- you know, it talks about not increasing the use of electricity in the united states over the next 20 years and reducing the amount of coal by 50% and cutting coal use by h f half. how do you propose to ensure those two goals, the energy conservation coal and the coal reduction come to pass. >> i don't believe i say anywhere in there that we won't use more electricity in the united states over the next 20 years.
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i think we will use more electricity in the united states over the next 20 years which is why we need to build nuclear power plants. i think we are likely to use less coal over the next 20 years, and i think we should use less coal. we have some dirty coal plants that ought to be closed and the best way to replace them is with nuclear power plants and they can't be replaced by solar or wind because they only blow or shine a third of the time. even the big, new plants in tennessee that were delighted to have that make poly silicone, the material for solar panels on roofs. each of those uses 120 megawatts of power. so if they were dependent on solar power, they wouldn't be there. they're dependent on nuclear and coal. the one exception would be that over this time, i'm very hopeful, as i said earlier, that some scientists will win the nobel prize by inventing a commercially viable way

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