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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  February 16, 2012 10:00am-12:59pm EST

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there is a desire for the u.s. to still maintain a big presence over there. sort of counterbalance the growing region of china. like every country over there china is probably the biggest trading partner. i think in japan and other countries there are mixed feelings to have both countries involved. host: joseph schatz has been our guest. here is his cover story. "too big to bash." thank you for being on the washington journal. house of representatives is coming into session. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] 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. february 16, 2012. i hereby appoint the honorable daniel webster to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, john a. boehner,
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speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the order of the house of january 17, 2012, the chair will now recognize members from lists submitted by the majority and minority leaders for morning hour debate. the chair will alternate recognition between the parties with each party limited to one hour and each member other than the majority and minority leaders and the minority whip limited to five minutes each but in no event shall the debate continue beyond 11:50 a.m. the chair recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. jones, for five minutes. mr. jones: mr. speaker, thank you very much. mr. speaker, i wish all of the members of the house could take the time to read the national intelligence estimate on afghanistan. it's classified but i think they would benefit greatly as we continue for both parties to try to bring our troops home from afghanistan sooner than
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2013. i do want to compliment the secretary of defense, mr. panetta. i did yesterday in a hearing and thanked him for saying he would start bringing the combat troops home before -- by 2013. mr. speaker, i've been advised by military marine general for the last three years on afghanistan. i have great respect for him. he's a man of faith and he served our country at the highest rank in this particular type of service. i can't say his name because he asked me not to use his name publicly but this marine has been my advisor for three years. we exchanged emails. i'd like to share with the house some emails. attempting to try a find a true military answer for the problem in afghanistan would take decades, not years, and drain our nation of precious resources with the most precious being our sons and
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daughters. simply put the united states cannot solve the afghan problem no matter how brave and determined our troops are. he further stated, we need to bring our people home and prepare for the real danger that is growing in the pacific. again, this man, i have the utmost respect for him and i think the american people would if i could say his name. i'd also like to share that one of our marines who serve as village stability operations team leader in afghanistan, known as v.s.o.'s, emailed recently a friend of his and the friend shared the email with me and i quote, if you ask me if it's worth a single american life to build governance in afghanistan, i would say no. this man's over there trying to help the afghan people but obviously he has no faith. he basically said, and i'm paraphrasing, he has absolutely no confidence into afghan -- afghanistan being able to have
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a functional, successful military police force. i thank him for his thoughts and i share them with the house today. there's a lieutenant colonel danny davis that some of us in both parties met with who spent nine months in afghanistan and three weeks ago he came out publicly. he's active duty army colonel saying it's time to get our troops out. there is nothing we can change in afghanistan. i want to say that i respect the colonel for trying to tell the american people the truth and telling congress the truth. we are spending $10 billion a month to prop up a corrupt leader, and nothing's going to change. that's why i shared the thoughts of the team leader and also the retired marine general. in a "wall street journal" article, february 10, title "roads to nowhere: program to win afghan fails," and i quote it's a long article but one paragraph.
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three years and nearly $270 billion later, less than 100 miles of gravel road have been completed, according to american officials. more than 125 people were killed and 250 others were wounded in surget -- insurgeant attacks -- the agency shut down the road building effects in december. mr. speaker, this is what we're trying to say, both parties are trying to say, we keep spending money we don't have. we cut programs for children and senior citizens. we can't help with infrastructure, but we can find $10 billion a month to prop up a corrupt leader? does that make any sense? i think not. the american people have said it makes no sense at all. i have a photograph -- post, actually, mr. speaker. this is a beautiful little girl who's 3 years old. her mother's in tears. her grandmama is patting the mother on the shoulder. the little girl is looking at a marine officer who is
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presenting a folded flag to the mother and all i can think about that little girl is one day she will ask her mother, tell me about my father. and the mother will say well, your father was a wonderful man and he gave his life in afghanistan. then, the little girl will go to school and she'll read the books about the war in afghanistan and she will say, why did my father die? he died for nothing. he died for a corrupt leader that history has said afghanistan will never never change. so, mr. speaker, i want to thank my colleagues on the democratic side who have joined me, my few republicans who joined me on the republican side. let's bring our troops home. let's spend the money here in america and let's save the lives of our soldiers and marines and all those who serve in the military. mr. speaker, i ask god to please bless our men and women in uniform. i ask god in his loving arms to hold the families who have given a children dying for freedom in iraq and afghanistan. i ask god to please bless the
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house and senate. i ask god to please bless the president that he will do what is right. and i ask god three times, god, please, god, please, god please continue to bless america. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from oregon, mr. blumenauer, for five minutes. mr. blumenauer: thank you mr. speaker. this week we watched the state attorney generals and the major banks. $26 billion sounds like a lot of money, but given that almost one in four homeowners own more on -- owe more on their mortgage than the value of their home, lost $700 billion in value, this is the step in the right direction that will help some people but not really a major correction. there's still too far few -- there's still too few real pressures to get the market
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right. there is a simple answer that won't cost the taxpayers a dime and which will stabilize the housing depression within a year. that would help re-establish home values and encourage banks to work with their customers who are underwater. the recent decision of american airlines to pursue bankruptcy is illust are a tif. this corporate giant could actually pay its bills. it had some $4 billion in cash, still taking in revenue but it made a strategic judgment to use the bankruptcy laws to win market rate loan terms, to modify its union contracts and the pension obligations to its employees because under the law a bankruptcy judge can adjust these business relationships to reflect current market conditions. for a business, that is. curiously, homeowners are treated differently. a business speculators could --
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speculator could buy 10 units in south florida when the housing bubble bursts and can get bankruptcy relief on all 10 units but not sally six pack who bought an identical unit to live in. what is it about the homeowner that makes them less worthy of relief than for the fresh start of bankruptcy than the speculator or american airlines? the answer is right here on the floor of the house of representatives. congress has decided to look out for business, not the homeowner. the daisy chain of profit we saw collapsing under the weight of colossal greed and bad judgment were protected at the expense of the homeowner who was trapped with little options to renegotiate with no leverage simply face foreclosure, a short sale or what is described as jingle mail, send the keys back and walk away. it's interesting homeowners
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have been urged it's their moral duty, their obligation to pay even as the mortgage bankers association itself reneged on the mortgage of its headquarters and stiffed the lender to a tune of $30 million. homeowners are expected to do the right thing even if we're seeing misdeeds, shortcuts and in some cases outright fraud. i've been unable to find any good reason that homeowners should be discriminated against in bankruptcy. if it's good enough for business, it should be good enough for the homeowners. there are lots of reasons to change that policy. first, it's simple equity. same treatment. in addition, making bankruptcy available -- relief available to homeowners will make the system respond to reasonable requests for renegotiations which would be cheaper faster and easier than the foreclosure
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process. the simple act will stem the flood of foreclosures and uncertainty which will help stabilize home values currently in freefall. and it will make it harder for another speculative bubble. knowing that homeowners will be treated the same as business and -- business in bankruptcy will -- simply taking a profit and passing it on. i'm introducing the bankruptcy equity act to provide bankruptcy judges the power to align the homeowner's mortgage to its current value and terms and put ordinary homeowners on the same playing field as speculators and businesses. making sure private and federally insured mortgages are eligible for modification, allowing f.h.a. v.a. and the
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department of agriculture to pay out claims on insured mortgages modified in bankruptcy. for an immediate solution to the foreclosure crisis, allowing families to stay in their homes, to be treated equity, prevent the next bubble from forming, i strongly urge my colleagues to examine the bankruptcy equity for homeowners act and join me to treat homeowners as fairly as we treat speculators and investors. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. woodall, for five minutes. wodwood mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent -- mr. woodall: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. woodall: mr. speaker, i appreciate the time this morning. i am on the budget committee. the president's budget arrived on monday of this week. here in the budget committee we had the acting o.m.b. director with us yesterday.
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we have the treasury secretary with us today. we are exploring this budget. mr. speaker, i must tell you i am a hardcore conservative republican from the great south but i am grateful for this president for releasing a budget. a budget is a moral document mr. speaker. it is a moral document that talks about what your priorities are for us as a nation. now, our rulebook -- that's going to happen to this economy if we don't get our budget together. the constitution is the rulebook, everything in this nation must comply. the room book for our finances is the budget we pass each year. as we know as has been several dozen times the senate hasn't passed a budget in over 1,000 days. the democratic budget committee chairman said, but i promised to pass a budget this year. majority leader said, well, you can pass a budget but i am not going to have it considered on
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the house floor. that's wrong. what the president did in releasing a budget this week that's right. that's right because we have to lay out our competing visions. now, i'll tell you there are a couple things that needs to be in a budget, mr. speaker. the budget needs to talk about spending restraint. i don't think there is a family in this country that believes the federal government is spending too little. spending restraint must be a component of every budget. the president laid out his ideas this week -- repairing the safety net mr. speaker. making sure that safety net that families depend on when hard times come, making sure that safety net is resilient. in fact it's a spring and not a cushion, it's a pathway out instead of a lifestyle choice, those things are important. a budget should contain those. entitlement reform mr. speaker. and i want to say earned entitlements because men and women of this country have been paying 15.3% of their -- in my generation. but paying out of their
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paychecks to gain access to social security and medicare but those two programs we all know are underfunded, are headed towards financial crisis and a budget should talk about what your solutions are to restore faith in those programs for all americans. and tax reform, mr. speaker. tax reform. . there is not a person in this country that likes the tax code the way it is. there is not a congressman in this room who if they sat down with a blank sheet of paper today would craft this united states tax code to govern our nation. it's in need of reform. spending restraint, of repairing the safety net entitlement reform and tax reform the president's budget was devoid of any of it. of any. nothing to save medicare for future generations. nothing to protect social security for these generations. nothing to change those safety net programs, mr. speaker, to ensure that they are that hand up instead of that hand out.
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nothing to build upon our work ethic that we have in this country by re-- by reforming the tax code and bringing businesses back to american shores. i encourage folks to go look at that budget. they can see it, mr. speaker it's, office of management and budget, the white house website where they can view that budget. i encourage them to tune in to the budget committee, mr. speaker. we are again having hearings on that budget all week and will continue into the future. i encourage folks to look at the process that happens here in this body, mr. speaker where absolutely any member of congress can introduce absolutely any budget that expresses their priorities. an open process where absolutely all budget ideas are considered. it is a hallmark of this institutions, mr. speaker. i welcomed it last year and was proud of the results of that debate and what was once the paul ryan budget in the house budget committee budget, then the house budget for all the land, and i look forward to that process continuing again this year.
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and with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. neal for five minutes. mr. neal: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. neal: mr. speaker, i rise tate to talk -- today to talk about a piece of legislation i'm introducing later on in the afternoon. the automatic individual retirement account act of 2012. according to boston college's center for retirement research, the united states has a retirement income deficit of $6.6 trillion. this is a gap between what americans need for retirement and the amount that they have actually saved. this amounts to more than $90,000 per household. this is a staggering number and kem straits -- demonstrates that we as americans need to do a more proper job. one area we need to focus on is getting more low and middle income workers into a retirement savings plan. this would do just that. it's estimated that 75 million americans, half the american people who get up and go to work every day, are not in an
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employer-provided retirement plan or other opportunity to save through workplace contributions. the act offers a commonsense solution to dramatically expand retirement savings in the u.s. under this proposal, tens of millions of workers will be eligible to save for retirement through a payroll detrucks. and it has been estimated that the proposal would raise net national savings by nearly $8 billion annually. this legislation would create automatic payroll deposit retirement accounts for workers who do not have access to employer provided qualified retirement plans. the bill would require employers to automatically enroll employees in the plan unless the employees opts out. these are set it and forget it payroll deposit accounts. i am sensitive to the increased burden on small business, so the bill provides for a tax credit for employers with less than 100 employees in order to offset the
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administrative costs of establishing this initiative. furthermore, only employers with at least 10 employees who have been in business for at least two years would be covered by the bill. and the bill does not mandate any matching contribution by employers or other fiduciary responsibilities for the management of the accounts. it's my hope that once employers start participating in the program, they will decide to convert these arrangements to the broader 401-k plans. the i.r.a. contribution limits are lower than the 401-k limits, so business owners may see incentives to switch to bigger plans. and we have also enhanced the small employer pension plan start-up credit so if an employer switches from the i.r.a. to 401-k plan, they will get a credit for three years instead of two. listen to this this proposal was jointly developed working with me through the brookings institution and the heritage foundation. it has garnered widespread
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support, including aarp, the united states black chamber of commerce, the women's i.n.s. -- institute for secure retirement, and aspen institute initiative on financial security. you should join in supporting this legislation. i'm also highlighting another retirement plan bill i'm introducing today, the rirme plan simplification and enhancement act. our current retirement plan rules are very complicated. this bill includes a number of commonsense reforms that will simplify the rules while we still protect participants. under current law, small business that is adopt a new retirement plan are eligible for a tax credit to cover some of their start-up costs. we are tripling the credit to $1,500 to cover all of these expenses. i hope this will encourage more small employers to sponsor retirement plans. currently employees -- employers can exclude some part-time workers from participating in their 401-k plans. as women are more likely to work part-time than men, these rules can be quite harmful to them.
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so my bill would require employers to allow certain long-term, part-time employers to make elective deferals to their 401-k plans. both of these bills are commonsense reforms that will help americans prepare for a good and financial secure rimplete. i hope that you will join on to the automatic e.r.a. act of 2012. the -- i.r.a. act of 2010. the retirement simplification and enhancement act. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. tomorrowson, for five minutes. -- mr. thompson, for five minutes. mr. thompson: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today as co-chair of the bipartisan house and career and technical education caucus in order to recognize february at national career and technical education month. career and technical education programs continue to evolve in order to ensure that workers are prepared to hold jobs in high-wage, high skill, and high demand career fields like
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information technology health care, and advanced manufacturing for the 21st century. during this time of economic uncertainty and record high unemployment, career and technical education programs provide a life line for the underemployed who look to be in careers alongside young adults just starting out in the rapidly evolving job market. career and technical education while historically undervalued helps tackle critical work force shortages. and provides an opportunity for america to remain globally competitive while last engaging students in practical, real world application of academics, coupled with hands on work experience. together these programs provide for integrated learning experiences which assist students with skills that promote career readiness. whether for both high school students and adults, retraining for a new field, or further professional development career and technical education programs are vital to our country's
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economic recovery. and while the limited federal investment has been stagnant for almost a decade, these programs have proven effective to ensure that america can continue to be the world's leading innovator. now, as we move towards fiscal year 2013, i join with a bipartisan group of my colleagues in not only recognizing the importance of maintaining these federal investments for our country's future, but also saying thank you to the countless men and women who make these programs possible. they share a bold vision for america's future. which breaks from the cookie cutter straight out of the box education of the past. and recognize that america can and must remain a global leader. mr. speaker, career and technical education ensures we continue on that path. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. gutierrez, for five minutes.
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mr. gutierrez: one of the many things i love about america is that we are a country of second chances. you can still have a chance to get ahead in our nation of opportunity. there was a time it looked like steve jobs might not make it. he was forced out of the company and apple looked like it might become a historical footnote until they realized their mistake and asked jobs to return. our current basket sensation, jeremy lin knows a thing or two of second chances. he was undrafted by the nba and cut twice before landing on the new york nics. other than my hometown chicago hero, derek rose, he's the most exciting person in sports. which brings me to newt gingrich. now, some might say that newt's being considered at all for president of the united states is a second chance. after all, his reign as speak of the house didn't end wrell. it didn't end with good policy for america, good politics for republicans, or good feelings
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about his personal reputation, yet he's hanging in there in the case for chief. -- in the case for commander in chief. that's a second chance. i'm talking about newt gingrich's reaction to president obama's effort to provide contraceptive coverage to all american women. mr. gingrich has been trumpeting his outrage from meet the prass to cpack to any -- c pack 7 -- cpac, he said, president obama has basically declared war on the catholic church. to be clear, quote, president obama president obama has declared war on the catholic church. that's the second chance i want to talk about. newt gingrich as spokesperson for the catholic church. newt gingrich as the right man to stand up as protector of the values of the catholic faith. if newt gingrich catholic spokesperson is not a generous, forgiving second chance, i don't think one has ever existed in america. now, i'm catholic as a pro-choice legislator who strongly believes that no american woman should be denied
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contraceptive coverage based on where she works, i don't always see eye to eye with my church i don't pretend to be a spokesman or someone who can speak for all catholics. good people can disagree on tough issues. but apparently newt gingrich is well positioned to decide when our president has declared war on the catholic faith. he isn't reluctant to speak on their behalf even with a personal history that seems to be at odds with some of the teachings of the catholic church. frankly, i think his personal life is none of our business but when he wants to dictate morality to the rest of america when he accuses our president of engaging in religious persecution, when he demands that his personal values be shared by all american women he makes his personal life part of the public discourse. i support the president's call for equity for all american women. i salute him for standing up for fairness and counter septemberive coverage and all health care plans. i support the president's effort to find a compromise that respects every american's
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religious beliefs. he did something hard for a leader, he listened to his critics, he worked to find common ground, moderate ground, and he changed. i applaud him for that. i applaud the american people for reminding us that everybody gets a second chance. even a chance for newt gingrich to stand up for american catholics. if newt gingrich can speak for american catholics, then it's true. in america anything is possible. just consider what could happen. maybe charlie sheen can become the spokesperson for the temperance movement. lou dobbs can be the face for immigrant rights. lebron james can be in charge of the cleveland chamber of congress. and the cast of jersey shore can lead a campaign for manners humility, and modesty, if newt gingrich can do it, why can't they? if newt gingrich can do it, why can't i? this is me with senator bill bradley, he's over 6'6". and i'm barely 5'6".
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he has noticed the difference and given me a friendly kiss on the top of my head. so i'm pleased to announce today that if newt gingrich can speak for all catholics, i'm going to start speaking for all tall people. that's right. 5'6" congressman louise gutierrez, president of the national association of extremely tall americans. i'm no expert on being tall, but then again newt doesn't really seem to be an expert on the rules of the catholic church, either. what's going to stop me? thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. duncan, for five minutes. mr. duncan: mr. speaker, i request permission to address the house for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: you are recognized without objection. mr. duncan: mr. speaker, tony blair was the prime minister of great britain and was considered to be a political liberal and perhaps his actions didn't always match his words, but i would like to read a statement that he made at one point. mr. blair said, quote, the role
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of government is to stabilize and then get out of the way as quickly as possible. ultimately the recovery will be led not by the government but by industry, business and the creativity ingenuity, and enterprise of the people. if the measures you take in responding to the crisis diminish their incentives, curb their entrepreneurship, and make them feel unsure about the climate in which they are working, the recovery becomes uncertain. that was stony -- tony blair. thomas donahue, the national president of the -- president of the national chamber of commerce said at a job summit about a year and a half ago here in washington, he said the regulatory activity presently going on is so far above and beyond anything we have ever seen in the history of this country that we are in danger of becoming a government of, by, and for the regulators instead of a government of, by, and for the people. i thought of these two things when i received a letter recently from one of my
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constituents who runs a small bank in east tennessee. and he wrote to me this, he said, one of the single greatest needs of small businesses is access to capital and much of that, small business lending capital, is typically provided by america's more than 6,700 community banks. yet community banks are by and large being forced to do -- to withhold and constrain lending at the time america needs it most. this is largely due to unprecedented onerous regulatory constraints being placed on community banks by federal bank examiners. he goes on and says this, never in modern history have banks especially community banks been under greater pressure by banking regulators. much of that pressure is unprecedented, virtually ignoring a redefining historic standards and definitions of bank examining. . raoux teeb teenly they are being asked to classify and put
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into nonacruel status, loans that are current on their payments. in many cases this can be far more than half of all their classified loan assets. this is enormously inconsistent with historic bank examination practices. and i go on quoting from this letter. in most cases this results in a bank's capital being constrained and consequently may well lead to a forced merging of these banks by the fed into the larger banks. despite acknowledgment by the fed that the two big banks represent a systemic threat to the u.s. and global banking systems, the big banks seemingly are allowed to keep getting bigger and that is -- that is a serious problem. it was the too big to fail banks that got us into the mess that we got into in the first place and now many of the smallest banks in this country are being forced out of existence or forced to merge and so the big keep getting bigger and the small and the medium sized ones are having a
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real struggle to survive. and finally, this banker wrote to me and said, if america is going to have economic recovery and jobs depend on it, banks must not only be allowed to lend but encourage to lend. instead, they are largely being constrained by lending with much of that being attributable to bank examination. by and large, most banks are having to shrink in size and have reduced lending. we have been going through a period of time mr. speaker, in which president bush and his secretary of the treasury at the tail end of their administration started saying this and then president obama and his secretary of treasury have been saying this, they have been saying loan, loan, loan and the bankers have been saying no, no, no. this country could be booming beyond belief right now but we are holding it back in some ways and we won't have a full
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and complete recovery unless that atmosphere changes. i heard a talk this morning by governor mitch daniels of indiana and he said that our employment rate is less than 64% now and he says that's the lowest it's been since the era at state-at-home moms and over a third of adult children are now living at home with their parents which is way above what has been in the past. in fact, we have unemployment rate that is far too high but our underemployment rate is perhaps even much higher and all across this country you have college graduates who are working as waiters and waitresses in restaurants or in other low-paying jobs because they've gotten college degrees and can't find good jobs because we've sent so many good jobs to other countries in recent years and because our regulatory environment is holding this country back and keeping it from booming as it should be right now.
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thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from vermont, mr. welch, for five minutes. mr. welch: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to speak to the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: you're recognized for that time. welch on february 1 of this year, defense secretary leon panetta said american forces would step back from a combat role in afghanistan as early as mid 2013. this is the year faster than had been announced only months previously. he also added that u.s. troops would move into an advise and assist role to afghanistan security forces. now, i know that most everyone who's joined me on this floor this morning would want a faster transition, but to be frank, we wish we could have avoided much of this 10-year nation building altogether. but i rise today to express my strong support for the administration's decision to reduce our military footprint
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on an accelerated timeline. mr. speaker, our soldiers, our men and women in uniform will do and do do whatever it is we ask of them. and indeed the sacrifices that our soldiers and their families have made have been extraordinary. and just this morning with congressman donnelly, i met a family who lost their dad and his son is here who was serving with him in afghanistan and there's nothing that we can do to adequately express to them our enormous appreciation for their sacrifice. if we did not have men and women who at the call of the commander in chief would put on the uniform and report for duty and do what the commander in chief and this congress authorized, we would not have a united states of america. but the obligation we have to the citizens from our districts that are willing to make that sacrifice is to give them a policy worthy of their
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willingness to make that sacrifice. and it's time that we do all we can to accelerate our withdrawal from afghanistan, and the reason is this, that's what our national security requires. there was a very valid reason to go into afghanistan. it was the home of osama bin laden, the taliban gave him sant wear, al qaeda had -- sanctuary, al qaeda had given him freehand. it transformed itself into a nation building policy where our partner has become a corrupt afghanistan government that's unreliable, that is squandering taxpayer money, that is not cooperating with the american military. and the question is, should the american taxpayer and the american soldier be required to do nation building in afghanistan, particularly when the threat of terrorism is real but it's not a nation-centered threat? it's dispersed around the
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globe. and the new american policy of counterterrorism as opposed to counterinsurgency, that is going after terrorists where they are as opposed to nation building where some may be is the right direction for this country to go. so mr. speaker, the policy announced by mr. panetta to accelerate that withdrawal is overdue, it's timely at this point and i strongly support it and urge my colleagues to do so as well. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. shimkus, for five minutes. mr. shimkus: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. shimkus: thank you mr. speaker. i come back to the floor again this week to continue to bach about high level nuclear waste and its location around the
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country. and this week, you know, really sadens me because in the weeks past when i've identified the u.s. senators from the appropriate states, usually i would have more in support of moving their high level nuclear waste out of their state than who wants to vote to keep it in their state. and as i go to connecticut today and the states surrounding connecticut, it's really amazing mr. speaker, how many senators have gone on record to say, no, it's ok, we'll just keep this nuclear waste in our state for 15, 20, 25 more years. so with that let's look at the options we have here. the nuclear power plant that i'm addressing today is called millstone. it's in connecticut. and i always like to compare where the high level nuclear waste should be which is underneath a mountain in a desert in nevada. so as yucca mountain currently
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which we've passed into law by definition 1987 we said yucca mountain will be the location father our high level nuclear waste. it's the law of the land. so how much nuclear waste is at yucca mountain, this mountain in the desert? none. the waste would be stored 1,000 feet underground. the waste would be stored 1,000 feet above the water table. and the waste would be 100 miles from the nearest body of water which would be the colorado river. well let's compare it to millstone in connecticut. right now millstone has 1,350 million tons of uranium of spent nuclear fuel on site. the waste is stored in pools and in dry casks. the waste is 15 to 20 feet from the water table, and it is on niantic bay, just off long
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island sound. here's the picture. here's the nuclear power plant. here's the bay. it's right next to the water. and without moving forward on yucca mountain this waste will be continued to be stored there 15 20, 25 more years. so let's look at the senators from the surrounding states that border this body of water. we have senator blumenthal. he said in a campaign interview he opposed senator reid's fight for yucca mountain. we put him in the yes column. senator lieberman voted no in 2002 so we put him in the no column. senator lautenberg voted no. we hut him in the no column. senator menendez is a vocal critic. he's in the no column. senator gillibrand, we are
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waiting for her to take this position. part of this debate is at least get senators on the record to see where they would be in this position. senator schumer obviously fairly close to connecticut and new york city, he had voted no in 2002. senator jack reed, actually pretty good friend of mine from rhode island voted no in 2002. senator whitehouse, undecided. so how does that do to where senators are at at this time? well, we have 41 senators who say we need to move a high level nuclear waste out of our state to a desert underneath a mountain. we have 14 that we really have no public record on. we'd like to see the senate sometime take a vote and figure out where they might be. and we have 15 nays. now, why is this important?
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the nuclear waste policy act in 1982 said, let's find a single repository. the blue ribbon commission which testified before my committee just last week, said we need a long-term geological repository. as i quoted in a story yesterday, the co-chair said we're not excluding yucca mountain, but we have so much nuclear waste now that we're going to have to find a second location. so you can continue your fight on yucca mountain, but the blue ribbon commission said we need a long-term geological storage centralized. we're just saying we already have one. if we're going to need a second one then we better start that process of looking at a second one. we ought to fill up the first one. we spent $15 billion, and why aren't we moving forward? well, we have the majority leader of the senate who says no. in fact, my colleague, mr. clyburn, was quoted in the
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paper saying as long as harry reid is alive, yucca is dead. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentlelady from florida, ms. wasserman schultz, for five minutes. ms. wasserman schultz: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise in strong opposition to the so-called pioneer act that among other things repeals the gulf of mexico energy security act, or gomesa. less than two years after almost five million barrels of oil flowed out into the ocean and devastated the gulf region's environment and economy. through this horrible tragedy we learned firsthand the dangers of drilling at extreme ocean depths and the difficulties in stopping the spill once it occurs. we also learned the dangers posed by the gulf of mexico loop currents in the eastern gulf. these loop currents are capable of transporting spilled petroleum into the florida
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straits, through the florida keys and on the shorelines up the atlantic side of my state endangers hundreds of miles of coastline in my home state of florida and on up the east coast. we were extremely lucky that more of florida wasn't affected by the deepwater horizon spill in 2010, and that the site of the spill was not within these normally occurring loop currents. allowing drilling on the eastern gulf of mexico would place this within the loop currents. even if we don't have a powerful precautionary tale as the deepwater horizon accident, drilling near florida's coast simply doesn't add up. florida's $65 billion tourism industry relies on pristine beaches. florida is also home to 85% of the united states coral reefs. 85%, which are profoundly sensitive to oil spills. coastal resources to sea grasses would also be put in harm's way. that is why so many bipartisan
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members of florida's congressional delegation have lined up in opposing drilling near our shores. in fact, a few weeks ago florida congressman john mica held a field hearing in miami to discuss the dangers of offshore drilling by cuba. the florida lieutenant governor, a republican, jennifer carroll, stated at that hearing that the deepwater horizon incident in 2010 has shown that a spill that poses even a potential of impacting florida's water or land causes a huge negative impact on the economy. i could not have said it better myself and this is why we simply should not allowing drilling in the eastern gulf of mexico. i would welcome a debate weighing the harms against the benefits of expanding offshore exploration of florida's coastline if the benefits were comparable to the risks, but they're not, not even close. . it would not lower gas prices or produce enough oil to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. in short opening the eastern gulf of mexico is not the answer to our energy concerns.
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if we are serious about weaning our dependence on foreign oil we need to continue the clean energy policies of the obama administration and efforts in recrept years by congress. we have more domestic oil production today right now, than we have ever had. and for example, the 2007 bipaort to increase e fuel efficiency of cars over the next decade will have a profound effect on the demand side of the supply-demand equation. the natural resources defense council estimates that by 2020 the new auto field standards will save consumers $65 billion in fuel costs by cutting consumption or 1.3 million barrels a day. more could be produced in the eastern gulf in an entire year. finally, a little history lesson on the 2006 law that this bill will repeal. in 2006, republican leadership in both houses of congress enacted go mesa, which has eight million acres for drilling in
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the eastern gulf of mexico. in exchange the 2006 law placed the rest of the eastern gulf under a statutory moratorium until 2022. that agreement should be honored not tossed aside less than six years later. our word must be our bond. when negotiations and handshakes are rendered meaningless. in my 19-year legislative career, your word being your bond has always supposed to be paramount. in this case apparently there are some members of the republican leadership that don't believe that and are willing to cast it aside. beyond the economic and environmental reasons for honoring the 2006 deal, protecting our military training areas is also important. the military uses the eastern gulf of mexico for training operations, and the pentagon has said that drill instructors and associated development are incompatible with military activities like missile flights low flying drone aircraft, and training. for this reason the pentagon has long opposed expanding offshore drilling in the eastern gulf. the 2006 law incorporates an agreement between the department
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of the interior and defense department to setaside waters east of the military mission line to preserve military readiness. on behalf of florida's touring industry, fishing industry, and in the name of military readiness, i urge my colleagues to remove this terrible provision from this legislation. to add insult to injury, it is unconscionable that house leadership has refused to even allow a vote on a bipartisan amendment that i co-sponsored with my florida colleagues that would have stripped out the go mesa repeal. they would allow fair and open debate on this. when you don't have much to back up your argument you can't allow for a fair fight. thank you. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentlelady from tennessee, mrs. black, for five minutes. mission black -- mrs. black: i'm here today to commemorate the life of a truly
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wonderful man. mr. danny thomas who represents so much to this wonderful about our country. born to a poor immigrant family, thomas understood the meaning of hard work from a very young age. he started work at the age of 10 selling newspapers and worked until he moved to detroit to go into show business. after years of struggling, thomas achieved unrivaled success with shows like, "make room for daddy," the "andy griffith show" and "dick van dyke" show. it is with this success that he started st. jude's research hospital where no child is turned away because of an inability to pay. since it opened in 1962, saint jude has saved thousands of lives, helped countless families and forwarded vital research on childhood cancer and other diseases. this month marks the 50th anniversary of st. jude's and to commemorate this incredible work done at st. jude's, the u.s.
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postal service is hon york danny thomas -- honoring danny thomas and st. jude's with a commemorative stamp. i can think of no one and no charity more worthy for this honor than thomas and st. jude's. his is a story of hard work, success, and giving. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from indiana, mr. donnelly for five minutes. mr. donnelly: thank you mr. speaker. i rise today to solemnly remember and honor the life and dedicated service of specialist robert todderist jr. a native son of indiana and proud member of the 713th engineer company based in valaparaiso and assigned to 81st troop command. he died along with three of his fellow soldiers on january 5,
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2012 in kandahar province, afghanistan, of wounds sustained when their vehicle was hit by a roadside improvised explosive device. as they scouted for bombs and potential problems along a major supply route. the state of indiana mourns the loss of the fourth brave men who took on this dangerous mission to ensure the safety of their fellow soldiers. specialisted toerist died along with his fell national guardsman, specialist brian leanhart christopher patterson and staff sergeant jonathan mets kerr. private douglas rakowitz was severely injured in the same incident. robert graduated from north judson high school in 1986 and had worked in manufacturing at fauria corporation in plymouth. robert served one tour in afghanistan with the national guard and volunteered for his second deployment when his son
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enlisted. father and son left together for afghanistan in the fall of 2011. bobby the third accompanied his dad's body home to dover air force base. robert's posthumous awards include the bronze star medal purple heart army good conduct medal, and the army achievement medal. he also earned the national defense service medal, afghanistan campaign medal with bronze service star, global war on terrorism service medal armed forces reserve medal with m device, army service ribbon, overseas service ribbon, the nato medal combat action badge, driver and mechanic badge, combat and special skill badge basic marksmanship qualification badge, and he overseas service bar. it is an extraordinary record and he is an extraordinary hero.
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robert will be remembered by his friends, his family, and fellow soldiers as a dedicated reliable hardworking man who cared deeply for his family. he is survived by his sons robert the third and matthew, robert the third and his wife, and they are here with us today. his dad, robert, his sister tammy, brother tom, half brother darell and stepmother nichele as well as extended family and friends who are left to treasure his memory. it is my solemn duty and humble privilege to honor the life, service, and memory of specialist roberted toerist junior. he is a testament -- todderist jr. he is a testament of the sacrifices made by our men and women in the armed forces. we mourn his passing and offer solemn gratitude for his service
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and sacrifice. on behalf of the united states of america, we want to thank your family for your service, for your sacrifice, and for everything you have done. god bless you. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from pennsylvania, mr. fitzpatrick, for five minutes. mr. fitzpatrick: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today to speak on behalf of the senior citizens in pennsylvania's eighth congressional district who rely on a medicare system which makes predictable and stable payments to their physicians. i came to washington with one of the largest freshmen classes in recent history to make the difficult decisions that for too long have been deferred and delayed. i'm proud to have joined a bipartisan group of my fellow representatives last spring in passing a budget resolution which addressed the long-term challenges facing medicare. the budget resolution we supported provides fiscal stability to a program which
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will face severe cuts and drastic changes in the future without serious reform. however while these basic reforms to the existing system are being debated, we are currently faced with a more pressing issue, the solution to which has already earned widespread support among lawmakers, doctors, and health care industry groups. the practicality of the sustainable growth formula for medicare payments has been the subject of much debate in this chamber since its implementation in 1997. over the course of the past two decades, congress has deemed it acceptable to provide for short-term temporary fixes to ensure that doctors receive adequate payment for the servicings they provide to medicare pasheents. -- patients. short-term fixes provide no stability or predictibility to these important service providers. in speaking with a cardiologist in my home of bucks county, he shared his concerns with me over the way congress has chosen to handle the s.g.r.
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he told me that every time a short-term extension comes up for a vote, he is faced with the possibility of having to lay off employees and reducing his practice in the face of potential cuts. the constant threat of cuts to the medicare reimbursement rate prevents doctors and hospitals from developing new delivery and payment models intended to reduce rising health care costs and denies them the flexibility they need to achieve savings through improved care. each time congress enacts a short-term fix, the scheduled cuts in the s.g.r. formula grow deeper and the cost of a full repeal increases. a full repeal in 2005 would have cost less than $50 billion. today's cost is upwards of 300 billion. in the next five years if nothing is done to correct this predictable crisis, the cost of short-term fixes and the total debt accumulated from the s.g.r. will climb to over $600 billion.
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with the drawdown of the conflicts in iraq and afghanistan and the homecoming of many of the brave young men and women who so proudly served our country in those theaters over the course of the past decade we are presented with a unique opportunity to provide for a permanent fix to the medicare physician payments and do so without adding to our already burdensome national debt. the use of savings from the overseas contingency operations fund to permanently repeal the s.g.r. formula will provide doctors and their patients with the certainty they so desperately need in these difficult economic times. as with so many of the challenges facing our nation today, we are presented with two clear options. we could choose to ignore the problems posed by the s.g.r. formula to doctors, seniors, and to our fiscal health by continuing the practice of short-term fixes and forced draconian cuts to hospitals and health care providers and apply the savings from the o.c.o. funds elsewhere.
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or we can choose to use these funds to permanently repeal the s.g.r. and to set our medicare system on a new path and provide for long-term stability for doctors that promote equality, efficiency, and improved health care services for our nation's seniors. i understand that we are presented with another opportunity to provide some breathing room for doctors and their patients as part of the middle class tax cut bill that looks to achieve bipartisan support here this week. let us use the next 10 months to engage in some honest discussion about the real cost and impact of the s.g.r. let's get this right before the end of the year and i look forward to working with my colleagues on both side of the aisle to do just that. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentlelady from california, ms. lee, for five minutes. ms. lee: thank you mr. speaker. today first let me thank my colleague, congressman jones congressman mcdermott, congressman ellison, and others for speaking out this morning clearly saying that it's past
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time to bring the war in afghanistan to a swift and orderly end. there's no military solution in afghanistan. we need to bring our troops home now and we need to make sure that we leave no permanent military bases. the american people are sick and tired of the past decade of war and they want this war to end. at a time when tens of millions of americans are unemployed and nearly 50 million americans are living in poverty, the pentagon is requesting almost $100 billion in the president's budget for -- to fund overseas contingency operations, including the wars in iraq and afghanistan. first of all, we all thought the war in iraq was really supposed to be over. so why in the world are we spending billions of dollars on a war that we are no longer fighting? mr. speaker, we have already spent over $1.3 trillion on the wars in iraq and afghanistan and we cannot afford to blindly continue down this path.
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the reason of course that i voted against that original resolution in 2001 authorizing the use of military force was because it was a blank check for war against any nation anywhere, any time, any organization and any individual. the situation we are in right now, being asked to spend another $100 billion on endless war, is exactly what we should have considered 10 years ago when we went down this path. . this war must end. while everyone would like a stable democracy in afghanistan, we are not going in this direction yet we spent hundreds of billions of dollars there. instead of a stable democracy we do have a corrupt state that relies almost entirely on foreign countries for its budget. the reality on the ground in afghanistan stands in stark contrast to the steady reports of progress we have been hearing from those who seek to
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maintain a military presence in afghanistan in 2014 and beyond. it's time to bring our troops home from afghanistan, not in 2014 not next year but right now. later today, some of us will be meeting with the courageous army officer colonel daniel davis. colonel davis wrote a revealing account of the war in afghanistan after witnessing the huge gap between what the american public was being told about progress in afghanistan and the dismal situation on the ground. colonel davis' assessment is backed up by a recently released report from afghanistan's n.g.o. safety officer. the report warns n.g.o. employees in afghanistan not to take seriously the message of advances in security coming from the pentagon. mr. speaker, i ask that this page from the afghanistan n.g.o. safety officer quarterly data report be inserted into the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. lee: thank you. the report reads, and i quote,
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we find that the insurgency be considered fiction. a dangerous political fiction. i repeat, a dangerous political fiction. that is how this organization dedicated to ensure the safety of n.g.o. employees in afghanistan characterizes the rosy reports of steady progress in afghanistan. mr. speaker, if we are going to ask our brave men and women in uniform to continue to risk their life in afghanistan, the least we can do is be frank and honest about how we are doing in afghanistan. our southlandiers deserve to know the truth and the american people deserve to know the truth after spending the past decade fighting wars. the war in afghanistan has already taken the lives of almost 19,000 soldiers and drained our treasury of over $500 billion in direct costs. those costs will only go up as we spend trillions of dollars for long-term care on our
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veterans which we must do. we are set to spend an additional $88 billion in afghanistan over the next year while domestic cuts in education, health care, roads, bridges and other essential priorities are sacrificed. again, i repeat, it is time to bring our troops home from afghanistan, not in 2014 not next year but right now. let me conclude by saying that as the daughter of a 25-year army officer who served in two wars i salute our troops and i honor our troops. our service men and women have performed with incredible courage and commitment in afghanistan, but they have been put in harm's way and they have performed valiantly. it's time to bring them home. thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. dold, for five minutes. mr. dold: thank you mr.
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speaker. today i rise to pay tribute to american men and women in uniform but specifically to an era in the vietnam conflict that i think did not get as much thanks as it deserves. on february 11 1965, flying off the u.s.s. coral sea, lieutenant commander robert harper schumaker flying an f-8 crusader was shot down over north vietnam. his parachute deployed about 35 feet before he hit the ground. his back was broken upon impact. he was immediately captured and paraded through the streets. they took him to what became
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known at that time as the waloi prison. this was going to be the main facility that would house p.o.w.'s over the next several years. this prison was then dubbed by commander schumaker as what we know it today as the hanoi hilton. this was an area that a number of p.o.w.'s were tore turd on -- tortured on a daily basis. the news media actually got pictures and it was able to send word back to his family that he was indeed alive. not that -- that same fate would not be given to many p.o.w.'s which is why the p.o.w.'s spent time each and every day memorizing the names, the ranks of all the other 591
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p.o.w.'s that would go through the halls of the hanoi hilton. the hanoi hilton wasn't the only prison, however. 11 members of the united states military were actually taken out of the waloi prison and brought over to what would became known as alcatraz. this was known as alcatraz 11. these were considered to be the 11 greatest threats to camp security. we had men like jeremiah denton, who was a senator from alabama. jim stockdale who was awarded the congressional medal of freedom. i'm pleased to say a member of this body, sam johnson. in alcatraz these men spent literally years in solitary confinement. a three-by-nine-foot box with a
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single light bulb that was kept on all the time. they were tortured on a regular basis if they were caught communicating. lieutenant commander schumaker was actually known amongst his peers as the great communicator. they devised a tap code earlier. the tap code which would become now famous for those going through p.o.w. training. survival training. it was a five-by-five box. a, b, c, d, e. they cut out k so they could have an even five-by-five box. they would communicate unbelievable volumes of knowledge. lieutenant -- commander schumaker actually taught french through the walls to sam johnson. in that solitary confinement again, if they were caught communicating they were tortured so there was a
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reluctance to communicate but that's how they kept themselves alive. that's how they exercise the one most important muscle out there and that was their brain. just a couple days ago, mr. speaker, marked the 39th anniversary of their release. february 12 1973. so although we were not here in this body, we were at home, i felt it appropriate to come up and talk about the anniversary. lieutenant commander schumaker holds a dear place in my heart. he happens to be my uncle. when my wife and i had our first child, we decided to name her harper, after him. this is an example of the bravery that goes on each and every day for our men and women in uniform. not a day goes by that i don't thank the good lord for the men and women that are protecting our nation each and every day. that i don't look at the picture of my uncle upon his capture and say, it's never
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going to be that bad. the stories are remarkable, and they continue to come in day in and day out because they don't like to talk about them. this was a unique group of individuals that actually had the american public was in support of. the vietnam conflict wasn't very supportive but everybody in america was supportive of the p.o.w.'s that were putting their lives on the line. they would resist time and again from giving up information and yet the north vietnamese would continue to bring them in to torture them for additional information. mr. speaker, we are blessed to have countless american heroes amongst us but i am proudest of my uncle bob schumaker. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from washington, mr. mcdermott for five minutes. mr. mcdermott: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore:
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without objection. mr. mcdermott: mr. speaker, this country faces a bravery and today i want to recognize the courageous patriotism of active duty army officer lieutenant colonel daniel davis who recently returned from his second tour in afghanistan. he traveled thousands of miles throughout the country patrolling with american troops in eight provinces and spoke to hundreds of afghan and american security officers and civilians about conditions on the ground. convinced that senior leaders of this war, both uniformed and civilian have intentionally and consistently misled the american people about the conditions in afghanistan, davis wrote an 84-page report challenging the military's assertion that the war in afghanistan has been a success. this report, which i read, was written at great risk to lieutenant colonel davis'
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military career and personal life and it forces us to confront uncomfortable truths about the war in afghanistan and the decisionmaking that has led us to our current situation. davis reports, quote, senior ranking u.s. military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the u.s. congress and american people in regards to conditions on the ground in afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognizable. i strongly encourage every member of congress to read this report as soon as possible. it's like the pentagon papers in its power. after reading it you will find it impossible not to heed davis' advice to hold public congressional hearings on the state of the afghan war. more than 5,500 americans were killed or wounded in
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afghanistan in 2011 alone. how many more, he says must die in support of a mission that is not succeeding? that's his question. each and every one of us ought to ask himself or herself this difficult question. even intelligence agencies are skeptical about the afghan war and if it's salvageable and our objectives realistic. last month a national intelligence estimate given to president obama painted a bleak picture about our efforts in afghanistan. at current levels of foreign assistance by the u.s. and europe which will be hard to sustain under the budgetary pressures, the n.i.e. does not forecast rapid improvements in afghan security forces or governance or the removal of the taliban. i fear that we have forgotten the difference between respect for our military leaders and on
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questioning deference to them. consequences all too often discredits one's patriotism and impugns one's motive yet, that unfringing assessment is precisely what the lieutenant colonel implores us to do. after 10 years in afghanistan, what is the wisest course for us now? sadly, we can't even begin to answer that question because rampant overclassification of information has made it nearly impossible for the congress to fully oversee, evaluate and perhaps recast our war efforts. recently the classified information about the afghan war expos the brutal -- exposed the brutal realities about the war. killing afghan civilians, widespread corruption in the u.s.-backed karzai government and revelations about
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pakistan's assistans to afghan insurgents -- assistance to afghan insurgents, just to name a few. not many have traveled 9,000 miles to see what colonel davis seen, heard and understand. we must begin to investigate the question of dishonesty in his report. for our democracy to work congressional officials and the public must have access to this type of information. the american public, which bears the extraordinary cost of this war both in money and in pain, deserves to know the truth. the ancient greek playwright escalessus, in war, truth is the first casualty. it is time to reclaim the truth of our war in afghanistan by having congressional hearings.
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they should begin now. some of us believe we should bring the troops home more quickly than the president, but we have to have hearings so that the american public will understand why it is this action should be taken. i yield back the balance of my time. . the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen, for five minutes. mr. cohen: request unanimous consent to address the house for five minutes. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. cohen: thank you, sir. mr. speaker, i rise today to talk about the life and work of danny thomas. and the st. jude children's research hospital which is located in memphis, tennessee. this year marks the 50th anniversary of st. jude's hospital and what would have been the 100th birthday of danny thomas. commemorative poseage stamps are one of the most visible and enduring ways our nation honors organizations and people. today the united states postal
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service will be celebrating the life and work of danny thomas with the commemorative stamp in my district in memphis, tennessee, at the st. jude's children research hospital. he was born on january 6, 1912 in deer field, michigan. after saving enough money, he moved to detroit to take up a show business career. one of his first jobs was a radio show called "the happy hour club" and that's where he met his wife. he met her on the show asked her to her home and for three years on a streetcar they traveled together. finally he proposed. they were married in 1936 and had three children which the world knows. marlo, tony, and terry. when rosemarie was about to give birth to their first child, danny thomas was torn between his dedication to work and responsibility to his wife and newborn daughter. desperately he sought relief in prayer. he nelt before -- knelt before the statue of st. jude, the patron saint of hopeless causes
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and begged for a sign. should he or should he not remain in show business? he promised if st. jude showed him a way he would erect a shrine in his honor. danny went on to become one of the best loved general tainers in his era. he received five emmy nominations. 6. winning best actor starring in reag series in 1953 and 1954. the show also received an emmy for best new situation comedy in 1953 and 1954 and proud comedy programs "the dick van dyke" show, and "the mod squad." he never forgot his promise to build a shrine to st. jude. he had conversation was his close friend, mentor, and native of tennessee the archbishop of chicago, cardinal stritch. cardinal stritch was the carledal of toledo when -- cardinal of toledo when danny thomas was at church and they
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became close. and cardinal stritch who served time in memphis at st. patrick's church after he was in nashville in his home, he told danny that the shrine to st. jude's should be a hospital where children should be cared for regardless of race, religion, or ability to pay. and he told him that hospital should be in memphis, tennessee. card nadstritch was a great man for many many reasons. this was one of them. the creation of st. jude's children's research hospital. the hospital located in pem physical is one of the world premiere centers for research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic children diseases. it's the first and only pediatric center to be designated as a comprehensive cancer center by the national cancer institute. children throughout the united states and around the world come to memphis and the doors of st. jude for treatment. thousands moore benefited from its research which is shared freely with the world global community. no child is denied treatment because of ability to pay. the hospital's developed proceed yours to push the survival rate
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for childhood cancers from less than 20% when the hospital opened to 80% today. it ranks as the number one children's cancer hospital in the united states by "u.s. news and world report." the first completely integrated hospital in the south, the condition demanded by both danny thomas and cardinal stritch, black doctors wheated quhite -- black doctors treated white patients and white and black patients were together in the same rooms. as one of the largest employer, st. jude has more than 36 employees, supported by full-time fundraising staff of almost 900, the american lebanese syrian associated charities, the shade yack family has a great history in funning that family. the fundraising organization of st. jude is the third largest health care charity in america and raises money solely to support st. jude. danny thomas was presented with the congressional gold medal in 1938 by president reagan in recognition for his work. he died in 1991 he it age of 79. his great accomplishments and al twoism make him and american
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hero worthy of the honor of a commemorative stamp. hi life perfectly illustrates how the american dream can be within the reach of anyone. even the immigrant son of lebanese parents with a humble upbringing. mr. thomas was extreatmently compassionate man who deserves nationwide recognition for his dedication to st. jude and the children that the hospital has helped over these 50 years. to this day danny thomas is still a part of every child's experience the st. jude. children rubbed the nose ever the statue for treatment. i was please the to support this effort by leading a letter to postmaster general and i commend the united states postal service for selecting danny thomas. i urge everyone to contribute and visit the st. jude children's research hospital. i congratulate st. jude and the family of danny thomas for all they do for children in the world. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from minnesota, mr. ellison. mr. ellison: thank you, mr.
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speaker. the speaker pro tempore: for five minutes. mr. ellison: mr. speaker president obama's decision to end combat operations in afghanistan next year is welcomed news. i commend president obama for making this decision. but we should bring our troops home even sooner than that. the american people are tired of this war in afghanistan. large majorities of them want a safe and orderly withdrawal from afghanistan as soon as possible. a decade of war has ravaged military families, our nation's treasury, and our standing in the world. i commend president obama for ending the war in iraq as well. i commend him for trying to end the war in afghanistan, the courageous truth telling of lieutenant colonel daniel davis should give us pause. his report and the failure to establish peace in afghanistan
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after 10 years of war should remind us that we need a political solution not a military one. we have ended the war in iraq. this is a good thing. we are slowly ending the war in afghanistan. this is also welcomed news. but i suggest to you, mr. speaker, that it will be unweiss for the united states to enter into a new war just as -- unwise for the united states to enter a new war just as we are ending two others. if you listen to the rhetoric around washington and the nation, mr. speaker, it is literally impossible to not hear the drumbeat of war with iran. but the rhetoric in washington about the military strike against iran leaves me to think that we may be sliding into a new war yet. i'd like o to be perfectly clear because -- to be perfectly clear, because whenever you speak against the war your patriotism is challenged, your courage is challenged until they
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find out that you were right. so let me be clear, i strongly oppose nuclear proliferation and that includes iran. i supported sanctions against iran to help prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. iran's repression of human rights and support for terrorist groups is appalling. but the heated rhetoric we hear around our city and the events on the world stage are deeply troubling, mr. speaker. news headlines read the coming attack on iron. -- iran. pundits discuss the possibility with shocking casualness and i am alarmed by this. america, we have seen this movie before and mr. speaker, it doesn't end well. two months after leaving iraq we have already forgotten the consequences of war it appears. if you need a reminder, talk to a veteran or a vet an's widow.
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-- veteran's widow. mr. speaker, our military leaders are cautioning against a strike on iran. secretary of defense leon panetta said the united states, quote, could possibly be the target of retaliation from iran sinking our ships, striking our military bases unquote. he said, quote, that would not only involve many lives, but i think would consume the middle east in a confrontation and a conflict that we would regret. unquote. let me repeat a conflict that we would regret. mr. speaker, i wish the united states never entered iraq. and before we entered it, the world, not just americans, but the world said don't do it. some people led us to war anyway. and haven't we all regretted after no weapons of mass destruction, no linkage between saddam hussein and osama bin laden, no -- none of these things that were recommended
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have come to pass, yet we have lost literally thousands of american lives and perhaps $1 trillion dollars. it is rarely intelligence officials have equally dire predictions about a military strike against iran. former israeli mossad chief said that attacking iran, quote would mean reason to war and in that case you would have give iran the best possible reason to continue the nuclear program. unquote. there is serious concern that a military strike in iran would hasten iran's development of a nuclear weapon not slow it down. a strike would only delay not end development. speaking about what would happen after military strike, retired general anthony zinni said, quote, if you follow this all the way down, eventually i'm putting boots on the ground somewhere, unquote. america cannot afford another
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war. we just got out of iraq. we are getting out of afghanistan. and diplomacy, diplomacy diplomacy is what is called for to avoid another war with iran in another decade. mr. speaker, thank you for the time. i yield back the balance. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from missouri, mr. carnahan, for five minutes. mr. carnahan: thank you, mr. speaker. a few weeks ago i proposed a simple challenge to my constituents back home in st. louis. i said tell me your ideas for creating more jobs and economic opportunity in 2012 and i'll compile them. and not only take them back to washington, but work to turn their ideas into action. i want to thank the over 600 missourians i heard from each offering many of their own commonsense solutions to help our economy continue to grow. i want to share their message on
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the floor of the u.s. house of representatives tide. their message was a clear consensus that we need to invest in our infrastructure. to make things here in the u.s. bring manufacturing jobs back from overseas. educate and train our work force for the 21st century opportunities, and work together for the good of the country instead of pulling our country apart at the seams. my constituents in st. louis are deeply concerned that our communities will be left behind in this new global economy if we don't act now, right now, without delay. as joseph expressed best, quote, missouri is a great state but i'm afraid it will be left behind and manufacturing jobs will go elsewhere. chris from st. louis sent me an email saying quote, what would help my personal economic situation and many others would be a greater investment in our nation's infrastructure. joseph p. from st. louis commented that quote, investing
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in our infrastructure and educational systems will not only create jobs but will also result in long-term economic benefits for the entire country. karen m. said quote, we need to realize how important good carpenterers plumbers, electricians, brick layers, secretaries, and caregivers are in the long scheme of things. we need to encourage and applaud these jobs. kevin n. put it, quote we need to invest in infrastructure for communication and transportation because public infrastructure is the greatest catalyst for economic development. to create jobs dianne m. said, she has, quote, long thought that unions and small business that is require special skills to provide apprentice programs to students which would give hope and possibility through real skills to thousands of students who would not be exposed to these trades otherwise. and christine echoed the sentiment by saying, quote i believe it could be helpful to
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increase job training opportunities in our high schools. we need to pull together to create economic opportunities across this country and for the good of the country. maryland -- marilyn b. wrote to me personally, personally i'm frustrated that both sides of the aisle are not willing to work together for the good of all. as a member of congress, i pledge to work with my colleagues to see that these great ideas from america's heartland are developed further. by working together and reaching across the aisle i'm confident we can grow jobs and economic opportunity across this country. i look forward to using these commonsense ideas to build a blueprint for putting our economy back on track. to turn these great ideas into action. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in re-- recess
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a couple days ago, mr. speaker, marked the 39th anniversary of their release. february 12, 1973. so although we were not here in this body, we were at home, i felt it appropriate to come up and talk about the anniversary. lieutenant commander schumaker holds a dear place in my heart. he happens to be my uncle. when my wife and i had our first child, we decided to name her harper, after him. this is an example of the bravery that goes on each and every day for our men and women in uniform. not a day goes by that i don't thank the good lord for the men and women that are protecting our nation each and every day. that i don't look at the picture of my uncle upon his capture and say, it's never going to be that bad. the stories are remarkable, and they continue to come in day in and day out because they don't like to talk about them. this was a unique group of individuals that actually had the american public was in support of. the vietnam conflict wasn't very supportive but everybody in america was supportive of the p.o.w.'s that were putting their lives on the line. they would resist time and again from giving up information and yet the north vietnamese would continue to bring them in to torture them for additional information. mr. speaker, we are blessed to have countless american heroes amongst us, but i am proudest of my uncle bob schumaker. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the chair recognizes the gentleman from washington, mr. mcdermott, for five minutes. mr. mcdermott: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. mcdermott: mr. speaker, this country faces a bravery and today i want to recognize the courageous patriotism of active
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duty army officer lieutenant colonel daniel davis who recently returned from his second tour in afghanistan. he traveled thousands of miles throughout the country patrolling with american troops in eight provinces and spoke to hundreds of afghan and american security officers and civilians about conditions on the ground. convinced that senior leaders of this war, both uniformed and civilian, have intentionally and consistently misled the american people about the conditions in afghanistan, davis wrote an 84-page report challenging the military's assertion that the war in afghanistan has been a success. this report, which i read, was written at great risk to lieutenant colonel davis' military career and personal life and it forces us to confront uncomfortable truths about the war in afghanistan and the decisionmaking that has led we had the payroll tax cut that was in the bill. second is we have unemployment compensation extended for a number of weeks respectful of the needs of our workers who are out of work through no fault of their own. that is in the bill. it does not have strange -- you have to have a high school diploma in order to get unemployment benefits for workers who have been in the work force for a very long time, that would be an unfair barrier. and third, that we would have -- enable seniors to be able to see their doctors under medicare. that's in the bill, too, and while we do not like the pay-for there, we prefer another pay-for, a longer period of time. we do recognize that the bill does contain the three features that we said were necessary and does so at least in terms of the payroll tax cut and in terms of the unemployment insurance in a way that i think is acceptable to most of us. again, on the pay-for for the
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medicare doctor visits for seniors, we think it could have been done in a more economic way, which was better for the taxpayer, better for our seniors, long period of time pay-for by more savings. we'll wait and see if the bill -- if the -- if the speaker is going to move the bill. probably will be asking him later in the morning. secondly, as you know, on the floor now we have one piece of the transportation bill. the republican caucus had with their own bill written by their own leadership that is now in form. this is the first bill in probably 50 years there is a transportation bill that has not been written in a bipartisan way, a transportation bill that loses jobs. maybe more than half a million jobs, cuts safety, and i would call it the republican horse and buggy bill because it's a bill that says no to mass transit when it comes to trust funds being used. the house bill -- this is to quote transportation secretary ray lahood which i think is familiar to you by i think bears repeating. the worst transportation bill i've seen during 35 years of public service. he's a republican. the house bill will take us -- maybe we should call it the horse and buggy bill. the house bill takes us back to
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the horse and buggy era. many amendments have been offered by republicans to a republican bill. that's what they're -- i guess there's some unease in their caucus about this bill so they've broken it up into three pieces to see if people will vote for it. as you know, we're engaged in a long amendment process right now. it's really unfortunate because this is the jobs bill, the transportation and infrastructure bill. so it's a missed opportunity. it cuts jobs. it cuts safety. it's just wrong. i guess getting back to our disclose that we talked about last week with the sponsor of the bill, chief author of the bill kristin holland. i want to talk a moment about the disclose act. to require everyone to stand by their ads.
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this is what they want the public to know, the public should know who's saying it. yesterday, congressman brady and democratic members of the house administration committee requested an oversight hearing on the increasing role and influence of undisclosed money in our electoral system. we're very pleased that many -- a coalition of reform groups have come out in support of the disclose act in saying this legislation provides essential new disclosure requirements to cover the hundreds of millions of dollars in secret contributions being injected into federal elections by nonprofit groups, special interests, other entities. this legislation strikes right to the core of our democracy. our founders intended that the people would decide elections. now, we have a system where big bank rolls will decide the
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outcome of elections. it's just not right. so we're very pleased with the response we received to our many, shall we say manifestations of the ad. meeting with you, videos have gotten us a drumbeat of support for disclose. in other places people are initiating their own disclose, whether it's municipal entities our state legislatures and the rest, so we hope that even though the republicans resist, resist the disclose at the disclosure of who their sources are that at least the public sentiment on the subject will be such that people will either disclose or not contribute. with that i'd be pleased to answer any questions that you have. >> [inaudible] >> to bring it up tomorrow, i
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think it would be important to bring it up tomorrow because i don't think the american people can wait another day. we can't have it be in doubt. if the agreement is reached, then we should bring it up as soon as possible so all data is removed that we will have a tax cut for 160 million americans. that unemployment insurance will continue for workers who lost jobs through no fault of their own. and while seniors can see their medicare doctor. while i would have a longer period for review, this has been a subject for discussion for a long time. i don't like pay-fors. i don't have the gavel. if this is the bill i hope we can take it up tomorrow. >> as the republican leadership on transportation goes back to sort of rework their approach to get the votes two-part question. has the speaker approached you about anything that you or democrats would want in this
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bill in the way he would seek democratic support for it? if not, do you see any scenario given what the house is working on and what the senate is working on, do you see any legislative scenario right now where the transportation bill this year would be prmble or an extension of -- preferable or an extension of current law? >> as i said, no. this is the first time a bill has been written in a strictly partisan way in the house contrary to the senate where they have worked in a bipartisan way and not to people who are necessarily compatible on many issues. chairwoman barbara boxer of california and senator istook of oklahoma not very close on the spectrum but none of less working in a close bipartisan way for a senate bill. i think it's important for us
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to go to conference to reconcile and negotiate a better bill, but this bill is so far away from something that is -- that will even pass. i don't know if the republicans even have the votes to pass this in the house on their own side. so, no, we haven't had any suggestion of what would you like to see here. what we'd like to see here is a bill that creates jobs for the american people, that promotes safety, that promotes commerce. this is a very important bill. it's transportation and infrastructure. it's about moving people and product to market. it's about quality of life issues of people not sitting in their cars for 45 minutes while they could be on mass transit for a third of that time to get to work. it's about, again, it's a jobs bill right from the start. it's a safety issue right from the start and it should be put
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together in a bipartisan way. and the fact that they cut off -- this is really quite remarkable. i mean, just when you think you have seen it all, they go another place which is the trust fund will not be used for mass transit. i don't -- i think they're seeing a lot on this position in their own caucus. >> between the house and the senate where it looks like the house has been in position for preferring the extension -- >> you have to pass a bill first before you go to reconciliation and this doesn't look like a bill that can pass. >> madam leader, in regards to the payroll bill. [inaudible] >> did i use the word strange? >> i think you did. >> well, whatever. go ahead. [laughter] >> because strange is probably
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a good old purpose word around here. >> there is also the drug testing and the [inaudible] >> well, i think that some of that is being mischaracterized. the -- but i would -- what i would like to do is what the actual wording is. we haven't seen it. but some of the things in the bill are an extension of current law. and the republicans are characterizing them as something, bigger than that as some reason to go forward with it. so i really can't respond to you until we see what the actual language is which we haven't seen but we do know that they have not insisted on the provision of high school graduation or a go-ahead and i think that's a -- or a g.e.d.
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and i think that's a big improvement. >> you talk a little bit about newt gingrich. >> have i? >> do you have any memories or spent time with him in congress any thoughts here? >> let's leave the republican process up to them. i think they are branding it in a very, very special way, and i'd just like to leave it up to them. >> [inaudible] >> well, i have played many roles in platforms. i have been the state party chair responsible for platform in california years ago. 30 years ago. i have chaired the platform for the democrats in 1992. clinton -- our clinton-gore
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platform responsibility, community, security, opportunity. we were very proud of that. the -- what i as one person say that i support is not necessarily what the consensus document of the platform is. so i was just talking about me when i said that. in my platform in 1982 it was a mid term platform for our convention in california. we respected the definition of family that worked for people where they found their support their loving system and their opportunity to raise a family or to be a family. so this is a long time for me on this. as i said, i was talking about myself not the entire democratic party or speaking for the president of the united states. >> [inaudible]
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>> well, i -- i hope the evolution continues. it always does, doesn't it? but i'm very pleased that the state of washington has done -- i had the governor was my guest at the state of the union address and she told me this was coming and she was very excited about it as was i. >> do you intend to support a payroll extension? do you think you'll actually support it? >> well, when we -- the fact that we have the three features that we asked for -- payroll tax cut unpaid for unemployment compensation extended for the amount of time that we were requesting without some of the onerous provisions that the republicans were suggesting when we see the final language. the third point that we would have seniors be able to see
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their doctor under medicare, very important. essential that we get these three things done. as we go through these last hours, i hope that we can prevail and say instead of harming one set of workers in order to help another set of workers, why can't we just use our war savings to cover that? so i hope that will be how we go forward. i don't see a scenario where i see members vote against it. >> [inaudible] >> i don't know. they are on their own. one side to the next. >> [inaudible question] >> well, i haven't spoken to him since he announced that he was running. i have spoken to him in his lifetime. went to stanford. you know, he and his brother,
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we're all very proud of him. i served with their father, joe kennedy. the tradition is a great blessing to our country. i have not spoken to him recently. but i look forward to his candidacy and to serving with him in the congress. he's lovely. go back to this side. >> do you embrace the idea that federal employees -- 1.5% of their earnings in their pension to cover the payroll tax? >> no. no. i think we can do better than that. i support the actions of mr. hoyer who has been a leader on this mr. van hollen, mr. cardin, to name a few -- a couple of the conferees plus our distinguished whip who has been a champion for our federal employees. they do great work for our country. we all have to make sacrifices in this. they should not carry an undue
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burden especially when we have an alternative which is called our war savings to cover this. >> [inaudible question] >> i will leave that to you to ask him about his style and his change. i'm just glad that the american people that the drumbeat that president obama created across the country -- remember public sentiment is everything, and the public overwhelmingly supported a payroll tax cut for 160 million americans. the public overwhelmingly supported that we have unemployment compensation and the rest of the package. the payroll tax, since you confined it to that, the payroll tax cut unpaid for in response to the argument we are
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making, why are we paying for this when we don't pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest people in our country? i just think this was something that happened because the public was fully aware of it and i salute the president for his leadership and commend my colleagues who are echoing his voice on this subject, and i think that's what made the difference. [inaudible question] >> are you talking about birth control, are you talking about women's health? i want to remove all doubt in anyone's mind where i am on this subject. this is an issue about women's health, and i believe that women's health should be
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covered in all of the insurance plans that are there. right now as we gather here in another part of the capitol there is a hearing, five men are testifying on women's health. my colleague, carolyn maloney of new york, who is on the committee, looked down at this panel from which a woman, who was the democratic witness, was excluded and said, where are the women? and that's a good question for the whole debate. where are the women? where are the women on that panel? imagine they're having a panel on women's health and they don't have any women on the panel. duh. what is it that men don't understand about women's health and how central the issue of family planning is to that? not just if you're having families but if you need those kind of prescription drugs for
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your general health which was the testimony they would have heard this morning if they had allowed a woman on the panel. i think the fact that they did not allow a woman on the panel is symbolic of the whole debate as to who is making these decisions about women's health and who should be covered. i remind you, i think it's 26 states have this requirement already, so this is nothing really new. more than half of the states already have it. so this is probably pretty good debate to have. just think, suppose you were -- suppose you were a christian scientist and you had an institution and you said if people work here for us who are not christian scientists or even if they are, they cannot
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avail themselves of any medical treatment because that's what we believe, would that work for you? i mean it's just a -- it's so, shall we say disrespectful of the contribution that in this case women make to the work force. 98% of catholic women, i am told by all of you use birth control, to determine the size and the timing of their families. so, again, it's a women's health issue. yes, i think that all institutions should cover it, who get health insurance, should cover the full range of health insurance issues for women, and i think it's really curious as we get further into this debate the republican leadership of this congress thinks it's appropriate to have
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a hearing on the subject of women's health and purposely exclude women from the panel. what else do you need to know about the subject? if you need to know more tune in. i may at some point be moved to explain biology to my colleagues. thank you, all, very much. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> u.s. house coming back in at noon briefly and then 3:00 p.m. to work on the transportation bill. john boehner the speaker of the house, spoke with reporters this morning talking about the transportation bill and an apparent agreement on the payroll tax cut. we'll show you what we can until the house gavels in at noon. >> i still believe that to be the case today. the agreement that's been reached to stop a tax hike on
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middle-class americans is a fair agreement and one that i support. i want to thank chairman camp and all of our conferees for all the work and effort they've put into this bill. but i have to be honest, this is an economic relief package, not a bill that's going to grow the economy and create jobs. tomorrow's the third anniversary of the president's stimulus bill, and yet another reminder that we need to change course and focus on pro-growth economic policies and the types of bills that for months republicans have been passing over to the united states senate. you know, in december the white house famously said that extending the payroll tax cut was the last must-do item on the president's agenda. according to the white house, when he signs this bill he's finished. the president checked out last labor day and has been
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unengaged in leading our country ever since. it's been a within nonstop campaign trip after another. so he can campaign all he wants but the republicans are going to stay focused on jobs, and the types of pro-growth policies that will help small businesses grow and put americans back to work. listen, you all know we passed nearly 30 jobs bills, all passed with bipartisan support. sitting in the united states senate waiting for action. and if we really want to get our economy going again and put americans back to work and have no need for an economic relief package, the president ought to be pushing the democrats in the senate to move these bills because many of them will pass with bipartisan support in the united states senate as well. listen, we made it clear that we want to work with the president on jobs to help move our country forward. and unfortunately the white house has made clear that the
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president is finished with governing for the balance of his term. so not only is this not helping the economy but it's made it worse. unemployment has been up for three straight years. gas prices have nearly doubled since the president took office. the national debt now tops $1.3 trillion. we see a vision how to repair all this. he could have outlined it in his budget submission this week and yet the president has done nothing more than kick the can down the road once again. listen, this white house isn't serious about facing the serious challenges that face our country. and for the sake of our country, let's hope that the president changes course, begins to work with us in a bipartisan fashion to address these policies that clearly have failed. lastly, on our energy and infrastructure jobs bill i'm
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pleased of the progress we've made this week. even with the payroll conference report being added to the schedule. listen instead of more gimmicky stimulus spending or pork layden bills of the past, this bill will remove government barriers to job creation and support improving america's roads and bridges. as i told my members yesterday, given the volume of amendments and our commitment to the full, fair and open debate on this, we won't finish this package this week. more than the 300 amendments filed and we're going to give our members to -- the chance to participate in the debate and we'll work to finish this bill after the recess. so with that i'd be happy to answer your questions. [inallible question] >> that's something the
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committee obviously have position but this will be an issue that the floor will debate and clearly an issue that the floor will decide. i believe in allowing the house to work its will. you heard me say this for about 20 years and i'm committed to it today as the first time i said it. [inaudible question] >> first, we got to get the bill filed. there's a technical issue drafting issue that's trying to be resolved, but we're working with members on both sides of the aisle to talk about how best to move forward. [inaudible question] >> listen, i am not going to get in the middle of the presidential race. good effort. you get a big a. i'm not going there.
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where's your jacket today? >> senate republicans say not being involved in the process. [inaudible] >> i think you need to the conferees, but everything that i've seen, they've been as involved in the process as anybody else. >> mr. speaker, is this a bill that you are proud of. -- proud of or is this something you want to get off your plate? >> listen, this is an economic relief package because the president's policies have not only failed, they've actually made the economy worse. you know we were doing policies like those that we passed and sent over to the senate, be no need for this type of economic relief package. unfortunately, i am not going to allow democrats in the senate to continue to stop this
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bill and cause a tax increase for 160 million americans. >> mr. speaker you keep saying the president's policies failed but today jobless -- four-year low. [inaudible] >> i'm not -- that judgment's not made based on my standards. the president said that if we passed the stimulus bill we passed three years ago unemployment would not exceed 8%. they also predicted at this point in the recovery, unemployment would be at 6%. he claimed that his stimulus bill would create millions of jobs immediately. yet, there are about four million americans who lost their jobs since. so i'm not judging this based on my standard. i am judging it on the standard he outlined to the american people. >> do you fully intend to move on comprehensive tax reform
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this year? >> i think we're serious about making america more competitive, improving our economy and our ability to compete around the world that we need fundamental change for our tax code, both on the corporate side and on the personal side. a lot of effort's been put into it and i think we're going to put effort into it. whether we get to the point of actually having a bill, i think, that question is still open. >> speaker boehner senator barrasso said [inaudible] how does it say about the conference committee? >> you have to talk to the conferees. there was an awful lot of conversation going on. if i recall correctly, there were two or three public meetings where they were all present, so for someone to say they weren't involved really would surprise me.
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>> the senate version of the highway bill [inaudible] >> senate's another chamber. they can do what they want to do. we believe that we need to have fundamental change to get -- >> all of that later in our video library at we'll leave now briefly and take you to the u.s. house. back at 3:00 for more on transportation. conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. eternal god, through whom we see what we could be and what we can become, thank you for giving us another day. in these days our nation is faced with pressing issues of conscience constitutional religious, and personal rights, and matters of great political importance. we thank you that so many americans have been challenged and have risen to the exercise of their responsibilities as
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citizens to participate in the great debates of these days. grant wisdom knowledge, and understanding to us all as well as an extra measure of charity. send your spirit upon the members of this people's house who walk through this valley under public scrutiny. give them peace and solomonic prudence in their deliberations and may all that is done this day be for your greater honor an glory, amen. the speaker: 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. for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona rise? >> i demand a vote on agreeing to the speaker's approval of the journal. the speaker: the question is on the speaker's approval of the
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journal. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it, the journal stands approved. >> mr. speaker. the speaker: the gentleman from arizona. >> i object to the vote that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not present. the speaker: pursuant to clause of rule 20 further proceed thongs question are postponed. mr. poe will lead us in the pledge of allegiance. mr. poe: 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. the speaker: the chair will entertain up to 15 one-minute requests on each side. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. poe: i ask permission to address the house for one minute. the speaker: without objection. mr. poe: mr. speaker religious liberty is under attack by the administration. the right of religious liberty is guaranteed in the first amendment of the constitution because it is a foundation for
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other rights. yet, the administration is forcing religious organizations to violate their conscience by indirectly providing their employees with services that trample on those religious beliefs. the administration's so-called promise of accommodation changes nothing. it is just political word games. the issue is not about contraception. this is an issue about religious liberty. it affects not just catholics but many religions and individuals of faith. regardless of where americans stand on the issue of contraception, sterilization or the morning after pill, it should be alarming to all who believe the government should not persecute religion or substitute a government secular doctrine for -- to the citizens. the constitution does not accommodate for religious liberty. it demands it. whether this administration likes it or not. and that's just the way it is. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. for what purpose does the
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gentleman from michigan seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute? without objection, so ordered. mr. clarke: mr. speaker, i'm speaking directly to the american people today, to all families who are burdened by student loan debt, a solution is on the way. i am working on bills that will responsibly forgive certain student loans and provide every student loan borrower with basic consumer protections by enacting a student loan borrower bill of rights. i urge every member of congress to help our american families get out of this debt so they can live better lives and create jobs for america. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from south carolina seek recognition? mr. wilson: mr. speaker, i ask permission to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. wilson: mr. speaker, for three years, americans have
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watched the president as he tried to borrow and spend his way out of an economic recession. his failed policies have failed this nation with unemployment still over 8%. the washington examiner stated, quote, what this country needs is an honest leader who will tell the truth about our entitlement spending crisis and identify real reforms. but obama's latest budget does none of that. instead, he offerses double doses of tax hikes and crony capitalism. america deserves better, end of quote. over the past year, house republicans have passed dozens of pieces of legislation that decrease spending, provide tax cut and encourage job creation through private sector job growth. i urge the president and the liberal senate to work with house republicans to support legislation that promotes jobs. in conclusion, god bless our troops and we will never forget september 11 and the global war on terrorism. the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from new york seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentlelady ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute? the gentlelady is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, from buffalo to rochester, new york, people in my district want to get back to work. they just need the opportunity. ms. hochul: that's why during budget hearings yesterday with the secretary of defense and the secretary of homeland security, i posed the question, can our government be doing more to make sure that our limited federal procurement dollars are being spent on jobs and manufacturing right back here in america? the answer's yes. they want to work with us and we need to work together to make more of our limited dollars spent in companies that have a higher percentage of the american work force right here making our defense systems and our products for the department of defense. so my policy is to give more preferences to those businesses
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based on the percentage of workers in america. we need to have a policy that's going to reward those companies and not penalize them. we need to create more opportunities for manufacturing right here in america and in my district in upstate new york. so i look forward to working collaboratively. i want to introduce legislation that i expect to be bipartisan in nature. who could not agree that we need to do more to make it here in america? thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: jeaths. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend his remarks? the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. with small businesses competing for government contracts, who things happen. one, the government savings billions of dollars and thousands of private sector jobs are created through these investments. however, the process of contracting can be needlessly time consuming and onerous for businesses to navigate.
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last year the federal government failed to meet the requirement for contracts awarded to small businesses. this complicated procurement proring is hindering job creation and slowing our economic recovery. mr. schilling: last week i introduced, along with my colleague, jutey chu from california h.r. 3985, the building better business partnership act. h.r. 3985 focuses on improving and streamlining mentor protege program which pairs businesses looking to increase government contracts with more experienced businesses. my bill will make mentor protege programs more efficient and successful by placing the s.b.a. in charge of overseeing and setting standards for programs based on what we know works. ultimately, h.r. 3985 will make it easier for small business firms to compete. with that i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from north carolina seek recognition? mr. butterfield: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman wish to revise and extend his remarks? mr. butterfield: yes.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. butterfield: we are at a crossroad in america where we must decide if we're going to continue building economic recovery on the backs of middle and low-income families or whether we're going to ask wealthy americans to join in the sacrifice by paying their fair share. too many americans have already made sacrifices to aid our slow-moving economy and reduce the deficit. the military had to scale back. federal workers had to take a pay freeze. health care providers had to take a pay cut, but we have not required those who can actually afford it to share in the sacrifice. changing our nation's tax policies is not about a redistribution of wealth. it's about fairness, doing what's best for the american people. if those don't make the sacrifice, many will be affected. those that have been blessed with a portfolio that was multiplied under the bush tax cuts will not be the primary
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beneficiaries of tax cuts and policies. i ask my colleagues to insist all americans, including the rich, share the pain of this recovery. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. >> mr. speaker earlier this week the president released his budget for next year. it fails to reduce the national debt by one penny. that's why it's already being called debt on arrival. under this budget for the fourth consecutive year our nation's deficit will be measured in trillions of dollars. mr. buchanan: let me repeat that. for four consecutive years, trillions of dollars in deficits. failure to address our mounting debt crisis puts us on the same course as grief. we need to act and act now. repeating the reckless spending patterns of the past defines common sense. it's time for washington to
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make the tough choices necessary to balance the budget for taxpayers today and future generations. the american people deserve nothing less. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from american samoa seek recognition? mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker, i ask permission to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. faleomavaega: mr. speaker the catch word is innovation. president obama has made it clear on the road to economic recovery we must make long-term investments. startups in small businesses are where new jobs are created. president obama proposed to expand tax relief while eliminating regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs to get the financing they need to grow. the president's budget calls for a $2.2 billion investment
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to support advanced manufacturing research and development programs to assist our business community throughout the country. president obama's budget also creates in a manufacturing capacity for vital defense technologies that draw matcally improves technology and distribution of manufactured goods. mr. speaker, i commend president obama for his commitment in making america the front runner in innovation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. >> mr. speaker, earlier this week the president sent his fiscal career 2013 budget request to congress. it's been saying not serious, inadequate and not political. i want the american people to understand in addition to all these assessments, the president's budget request is downright dangerous. mr. bonner: house republicans have begun a conversation with the american people about our debt our out-of-control
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federal spending, the unsustainability of mandatory spending as well as our future. but it's past time for this congress and his party in congress to join us in honestly acknowledging the real challenges facing our nation and offering realistic solutions to put america back on the path to prosperity to ensure that the best days are in front of us. sadly, his lack of leadership on these critical issues, not only endangers the economic recovery but the future of our great republic. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentlelady from massachusetts seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. ms. tsongas: the health care law signed into law in 2010 contains important new benefits for our seniors and our medicare recipients that have already started to take effect. nearly 3.6 million seniors in the doughnut hole have already saved $2.1 billion on their
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prescription drugs. 24 million people with medicare have already taken advantage of free preventive services. additional reforms, such as the prohibition of lifetime caps on insurance expenditures will soon be made available to our seniors thanks to health care reform. nothing in health reform reduces medicare benefits for seniors. health care reform achieves medicare savings by cracking down on inefficiency, fraud and waste in medicare targeted at private health insurance companies and providers, not beneficiaries. this is how government should operate, by demanding efficiency accountability and protecting taxpayer dollars. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona seek recognition? >> 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, so ordered.
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>> mr. speaker, in this last year, 79,000 pages of regulations were printed in the federal register. mr. quayle: the cost to comply exceeds $1 billion a year. this year, under this rule, when a government contract is given to a new firm, the company is first required to offer employment to the previous contractor's workers. the administration claim this is rule will help government efficiency but it gives preference to union employees and limits the ability of the firm to hire workers and negotiate to get what it wants by piling on new hoops for employers to jump through, we are increasing costs that are passed on to taxpayers. regulatory compliance costs are a hidden tax borne by us all. the administration must stop this myriad of job-killing
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regulations. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. capps: february is not just about valentine's day but it's also a month designated to raise awareness of heart disease, especially its impact and effect ops women. heart disease is the number one cause of death for women and most americans including over 90% of primary care physicians, are not even aware that heart disease kills more women each year than men. we have lost far too many of our loved ones to heart disease. i dare say each of us knows someone, a dear friend or family member, affected by it. and that's why i reintroduced h.r. 3526, the heart for women act. to increase awareness of and
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access to care for those impacted by heart disease. i encourage my co-sponsors to co-sponsor this legislation and join me in the battle against heart disease. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so order. >> why do we say the president's health care law is a government takeover? because under the law, the goth can force religiousing orny igses to violate their conscience and can cut medicare reimbursements without consent of congress this board could start running with minimal congressional oversight. mr. pitts: the minimum benefits package will dictate the level of coverage for every plan in the nation. the united states preventive services task force will
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determine which services have to be provided without co-payment. timely when the government can force you to purchase a service it controls, it's in control. the president's health care law is already failing which is why we need to end it before it's fully implemented. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from missouri seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute? >> i do. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, on march 1, medicare physician payments will be slashed by 27%, badly impacting seniors' access to health care. we must act now to make sure that doesn't happen. a few months ago i had the opportunity to speak to world war ii veterans from missouri who visited washington to see the memorial to their service. mr. carnahan: they spoke to me about how during their crisis americans pulled together to meet the great challenges of their time.
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that's the can-do attitude we need now. we should stop using the lives and health of our seniors as political bargaining chips. plain and simple paying doctors for doing their job, keeping seniors' access to health care, should not be a partisan issue. it should be an american value we can all rally around. i call on my colleagues to work together to keep access to medicare services strong. that's an american value. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from tennessee seek recognition? >> request permission to address the -- address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: you request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute? >> yes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> a few years ago in oregon, a bureaucrat shut down a 7-year-old girl's lemonade stand because she didn't pay $120 for a license.
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mr. duncan: i thought about this when i heard that big brother had struck once again by not allowing a 4-year-old girl in north carolina to eat the lunch she'd brought to school from home because supposedly it did not meet federal guidelines. she's brought a healthy lunch a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, chips and apple juice. instead she ate three chicken nuggets and the school sent a bill for the lunch to her mother. this is the big government nanny state run amok. this was not only ridiculous and excessive it was cruel to tell a 4-year-old child the lunch her mother had sent was not healthy. we seem to have a government, of by, and for the bureaucrats, instead of one that's of, by, and for the people. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the minority leader seek recognition? ms. pelosi: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore:
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without objection, so order. ms. pelosi: mr. speaker, i rise to address the house in relationship to the transportation bill that we are currently debating in the house this week. transportation, as you know, has traditionally been, historically been, an idea where our two parties have been able to find common ground. transportation has been an opportunity for republicans an democrats alike to work to rebuild america, create jobs, strengthen our economy, move commerce move people improve the quality of life, including public safety. that is, up until now, and that is until this bill. with the legislation that we are debating today, republicans put forth the most partisan transportation package in 50 years. it is not just partisan, it's bad for our nation. destroying more than half a million american jobs. the transportation bill is supposed to be a job-creating
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bill. it always has been. until now. destroying more than half a million jobs, cutting highway investments in 45 states, bankrupting the highway trust fund with a $78 billion shortfall and just the strangest of all, among many shortsighted provisions in the bill, i want to make particular mention of what it does to public transportation. it eliminates all the dedicated funding for public transportation leaving millions of riders already faced with service cuts and fare increases out in the coal. the legislation is so detrimental to our nation that the secretary of transportation ray lahood a former member of this body on the republican side of the aisle has said, this is the most partisan transportation bill that i have ever seen and is also the most anti-safety pill i have ever seen. it hollows out the number one
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priority safety, and hollows out the transportation efforts for the last three years. it's the worst transportation bill, secretary lahood, a former republican member of congress said, in my years of service. in recommending the administration veto this legislation, it said it would make america's roads and rail systems less safe, reduce options available to america's traveling public, short circuit local decision making and turn back the clock on an environmental -- on environmental and labor protections. mr. speaker, this is so unfortunate because it's so out of character with the american way, the common sense of the american people about what we should be doing for them. at the beginning of our country, thomas jefferson, when
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he was president, he enlisted his cabinet officers to build an infrastructure plan for america that involved transportation. in 2008, this plan under secretary of treasury was put forth. it recognized that we had made the louisiana purchase, that there were lewis and clark expeditions going on and we had to build america, build roads and transportation out into these territories so people would move there commerce would develop, our country would be strong. following this, the erie canal, the transcontinental railroad, the cumberland road, they were all built after the war of 18 12rks the continental railroad later than that, when our population was sparse and sozz was our national treasury. in my own community of san francisco, the golden gate bridge, and the san francisco
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bay bridge, both were built 75 years ago in the midst of the great depression. president eisenhower in the late 1950's, mid to late 1950's, a time of not a -- not a good economic time either, he built and instituted the interstate highway system. unifying our country. with a national security issue to unify our country. and it was done at a time when our coffers were low on money but it created jobs, it did what it was intended to do. and now we are abdicating our responsible -- our responsibility. again 2,00 years ago, thomas jefferson, 100 years later, teddy roosevelt, his infrastructure initiative centered around our national park system and how to make
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that part of our natural patrimony and some of that falls under the transportation subcommittee of the congress of the united states. and now here we are, 100 years later, putting forth a bill that loses jobs, diminishes public safety, it's a missed opportunity, and it's no wonder our republican colleagues are having so much trouble building support for it in their own caucus. i just wanned to take a moment to share my views with our colleagues about how wrong this is for the future and how out of keeping it is with our great past, which has seen the strength of our country grow because our investments in our infrastructure and our bringing people together through transportation. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore:
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without objection, so ordered. >> mr. speaker, for the fourth year in a row president obama's budget fails to address the nation's debt crisis and calls for higher taxes and increased stimulus spending. this budget punishes small businesses job creators and seniors at the expense of the administration's spending addiction. this is not a recipe for a long-term -- for long-term economic growth. instead, we need credible solutions that simplify the tax code, control federal spending and preserve valuable service for our seniors. mr. bilirakis: washington should create a win-win situation for all americans. the house continues to take tease steps with jobs bill after jobs bill that will put people back to work an allow job creators and entrepreneurs to grow. unfortunately, the president's budget spends too much, taxes too much, borrows too much, and picks the winners and losers of our economic recovery.
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this is not what america needs right now. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from puerto rico seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. pierluisi spks while the federal care act improved the island's treatment under medicaid a number of inequalities remain under medicaid and medicare. mr. pierluisi: i am introducing a bill that requires medicaid to reimburse medicaid -- to reimburse island hospitals less
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than mainland hospitals. this is another example of how the people of puerto rico are placed at a clear disadvantage in the race of life because of the island's territory status. i hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will support my bill. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from new york seek recognition? >> to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> mr. speaker, earlier this month i met with the executive director of the not-for-profit organization, helmets to hardhats. mr. higgins: it has partnered with the department of defense, over 82,000 businesses and organized labor to help returning veterans prepare for and find work. the current unemployment rate for returning veterans under the age of 24 is an unacceptable 38%. helmets to hardhats gives
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veterans the tools they need to start long-term careers in the construction trades. in 2008 alone, the organization placed nearly 1,800 military veterans into construction careers. mr. speaker, the wrath of our combat troops have left iraq and are winding down operations in afghanistan. these veterans put their lives on the line overseas and deserves participation in the economy and into a lasting career. with that in mind, i congratulate helmets to hardhats and i encourage my colleagues to do the same. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas seek recognition? mr. green: to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute? mr. green: i do. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. green: mr. speaker if a free society cannot help the many that are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
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mr. speaker, there is an effort afoot to move medicaid from a need-based program to a block grant program -- needs-based program to a block grant program. this is, of course, by some estimates, would save $180 billion. but the question is not really how much money will it save. the question is how many people will have their bodies healed by virtue of a reduction in the moneys that would go to medicaid? how many lives will be saved is the question we have to ask ourselves. in a country that is the richest in the world, the rich must pay their fair share of taxes so that all can benefit from the tax coffers and so that those who are poor, those who need health care can get a fair amount of health care. i remind you again, of what kennedy said. if a free society cannot help the many that are poor, it cannot save the few who are
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rich. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentleman has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from hawaii seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. ms. hanabusa: thank you mr. speaker. we began this session with a debate on contraception. it seems to pit the availability and access to care, which i believe is a fundamental right, versus legislative behavior of religious institutions. it seems a detractable dilemma that we face but that is not so. mr. speaker, look to hawaii. since the 1970's, hawaii has led the way in terms of medical plans and medical provisions. we have prepaid health care assistance and, of course, as you can imagine we've had this debate. we had this debate in 1999, and the way the state resolved it and i was there was there was the religious exemption given for religious organizations
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broadly defined but the employee is also entitled to buy coverage from the insurer at no extra cost. what does this mean? this means that maybe an additional $2 or $3 but the reality of it is mr. speaker, they didn't pay anything. it ensures coverage because they knew it was in the best interest and guess what, many of the religious organizations did not opt out. so don't speculate. see the reality. look at hawaii. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the the gentlelady has expired. for what purpose does -- the time of the gentlelady has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from rhode island rise? mr. langevin: to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. langevin: i rise to recognize career and technical education month. i am proud to work with my colleague, mr. thompson of pennsylvania where we chair the congressional technical caucus. i'd like to address the importance of the initiative
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that president obama announced recently to support partnerships between colleges and expanding industry. it should be a bipartisan policy. we heard a lot about the skills gap in this country and businesses repeatedly tell me they cannot fill openings because applicants lack skills. we need better collaboration between the companies doing business and doing the hiring and the educators who are preparing our students. in my district, national grid, the primary utility and the community college of rhode island compared workers for available high-skilled jobs. through course works and hands on training students receive a certificate in energy utility technology and can then become new employees. unfortunately, community colleges simply can't afford enough of these programs. the president's community college to career fund is a small price to pay to raulting benefit. it's a worthwhile program and i believe we need to support it. mr. speaker, there is some partisan differences this congress perhaps cannot
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overcome, but the idea of multiplying this effort at our community colleges is a commonsense goal if our goal is in fact to put americans back to work. thank you and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from california seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. >> thank you. mr. speaker, small businesses from furniture stores to restaurants to barbershops drive our economy. mrs. davis: but they had to take a haircut recently since they were more subject to the up and downs of the -- ups and downs of the economy than anybody else. people told me, they need more customers walking in the door with money to spend. well, increasing consumer demand is a key part of our recovery but it won't come right away. yet, we can use a more immediate tool to help these businesses grow in the meantime. in the state of the union address, the president
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mentioned 17 tax cuts for small businesses put money in their pockets soon. tax credits for hiring unemployed americans and for health care costs will incentivize hiring and ensure that the affordable care act is affordable for businesses to implement. an exemption from capital gains tax for small business investment will spur small business spending and hiring, and the american jobs act has a provision which would reduce employers' contribution to the payroll tax for their employees. i support measures like these to encourage the growth of small businesses to reignite the american dream. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the time of the gentlelady has expired. the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives 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 february 16 2012, at 9:48 a.m. that the senate agreed to
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without amendment, house concurrent resolution 99, appointments washington's farewell address. with best wishes i am. signed sincerely karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 12-a of rule 1, the chair declares the house in recess subject to the call of the chair.
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this is an hour and 40 minutes. >> good morning. i am shaun meehan with bloomberg law. i'm pleased to welcome you to a supreme court argument briefing. we are approaching the two-year anniversary of the patient pro-- of the patient protection and affordable care act. since the president signed that into law, it's been challenged numerous time, culminating in a case now before the supreme court. we hope to explore some of the arguments underpinning that case. i now have the distinct honor
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of introducing lyle dennyson of scowtussblog, he's been covering the -- of scotusblog. he's been covering the supreme court for 20 years he's covered the lives of 10 supreme court justices he's not an attorney but he is author of "reporting and the law." i'd like to welcome lye. -- lyle. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. on behalf of the scotusblog and bloomberg law, we're glad you're here. if you weren't here, we wouldn't be.
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contrary to the perceptions of some of my colleagues in thes preroom, i was not around when the steam boat monopoly case was decided beginning the exploration of the commerce clause and i would note that's one case in which paul clement did not appear. i was, however not very far behind when theodore roosevelt began exploring the possibility of a national health care law and -- in the early 1900's. i came along just late bit after that my task here this morning is not to discuss the substance of the case but to give you some outlines of the logistics of what's going to be happening in the next sixty to -- six to eight weeks. first of all i want to tell you what has been settled about the logistics what is almost settled, and what is not yet settled. the first thing i would tell you for sure is settled is that
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justices kay began and thomas will participate -- kay gann and thomas will -- kagan and thomas will participate in the case. there have been repeated discussions about whether one or both of them should disqualify themselves. there's a brief in the case urging justice kagan to recuse. but there are been multiple opportunities for one or the other of them to refuse and they have not yet done so. i think it's clear they will continue to participate. i think it is also settled that there will not be any live television coverage of the oral arguments in late march. the -- there is a request that that be done but i don't think that there's any possibility that there will be live coverage. one other thing that is definitely settled is that the court has completed the briefing schedule, though not all the briefs are in yet.
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i do count last might in the press room -- i did a count last night, there are 93 briefs including one by bob long who is arguing the anti-injunction issue in the case and there are 11 briefs on behalf of the parties. there are still more briefs to come in, including tomorrow, i think, bart farr's brief is due tomorrow on the severability question. some issues that are not yet -- that are almost settled is how much time there will be for oral argument. the court has already committed to five and a half hours but the parties have asked for another half-hour on the anti-injunction act issue and we presume we'll see an order from the court acting upon the competing allocation of time request.
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there probably also will not be a same-day release of the audio tapes made of the oral argument. the current chief justice has a policy that he prefers not to release ups on the same day of the -- release audiotapes on the same day of the hearing so the current practice is to release them on friday after the arguments, when the daily press has lost interest by that time. there could, however be a change in that policy for this case but i plirnl don't look for it. i think the court has already made one or two gestures to indicate that it treats this case differently than others. for example, the court has some of filings in the case posted
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on its website. the court also has set aside five and a half hours of argument for this case and normally there's only one hour of argument. i would just to my friends in the press, i would urge you not to overlook too quickly the anti-injunction act issue. this is one of those issues that for the mainstream press, it tends to fog over division. however, this is a very critical issue in this case and your readers need to know about this as much as they need to know about the mandate. i would also just like to tick off a few issues that are not before the court and perhaps most importantly, the birth control mandate is not at issue before the court now. if you wish to see where that currently stands as a legal
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matter, the federal register yesterday published the regulation, the final regulation on what the administration intends to do about that but there are still negotiations over how to implement the part of the mandate that will require insurance companies to provide contraceptive care at no cost to employees. i would also mention that one other perhaps major issue that is not before the court is the employer mandate. that's the employer egive lebt of the individual mandate. that was raised in some of the petitions for review by but the court opted not to do that. it has been suggested that perhaps i should offer a prediction as to how it will come out. i'm not going to do that. i am not in the business of
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making predictions except that the following panel will be very very informative. thank you very much. [applause] >> thanks so much my name is tom goldstein publisher of scotublog, we are incredibly grateful that those of us in the -- those of you in the room and watching either through streaming or through c-span are taking the time to be with us. everybody understands, i think, the significance of the case that the justices are about to hear on the patient protection act. both with respect to the fate of health care reform an also for the fate of the structure of the government. there are incredibly well-meaning and concerned people on both sides of the case. one small point of personal privilege, i have a dog in this fight as a lawyer in an amicus brief and want to make clear that my job here has nothing to
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do with that. it's simply to facilitate the discussion of the folks who are going to do the talking. i want to introduce them, we have produced a media guide for the folks who are here and you can find their buy yows at the back of that but let me just, so we can move quickly to the substance, give you a little background about each of them. paul clement is the former solicitor general of the united states. he's the principal lawyer representing the state plaintiffs in the case, roughly half the state to challenge the constitutionality of the statute he has the distinction of arguing every case in the supreme court this term. or nearly so. depending on how many cases you count, you could count it as at least 10 oral arguments in the court this term. i think widely regarded as the most distinguished and best lawyer of his generation.
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michael carven is a partner at bancroft. michael is a -- michael carver is a partner at jones day. he's former deputy head of the civil rights division, he's the prince p pal -- principal lawyer for the private plaintiffs, has been involved from the very beginning in formulating the legal theory and strategy in the case, has been involved in a massive amount of litigation, is really regarded, i think, as perhaps the best legal thinker in litigation involving the business community and a lot of conservative issues. to my left is neil caveal, former acting solicitor general of the united states. he argued most of the cases in the courts of appeals as this question was being litigated against the united states. he is now co-head of the
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supreme court practice at an international law firm. he is regarded as, at the very least, among, since i guess he and paul are the same generation, the leading democratic lawyer of his generation. hakil omar is professor at yale university both in the law school and the undergraduate college with a specialty in constitutional law and constitutional criminal procedure, regarded, i think fairly, as one of the five most distinguished legal thinkers in america today and in particular in my own view at the very least, a legal think for the academia who rather than gravitating toward the esoteric and incomprehensible, actually gravitating toward the important and the clear and has
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written and spoken at great length about the health care litigation. so we're here obviously with the purpose of talking about the case as a whole but in the time we have available, our goal is to focus on what we regard as the heart of the case, which is the challenge to the individual mandate. we'll have a question period at the end and if folks want to ask about another part of the case, they're welcome to do so. it has been suggested by the justices of the supreme court that you could talk about this for five and a half hours. we have less than that, so we're going to focus right on the core of it. i have encouraged the panelists to engage each other to not hold back, they are -- none of them are known as shrinking violates, i don't think that's going to be a problem, but to really cut to the heart of the matter. and what the essential arguments are about the constitutionality of the individual mandate. i want to start if i could because we haven't for those
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-- a lot of folks in this room know a lot about the case, a lot of folks won't know as much about it, a lot of people watching it elsewhere won't know as much about it. if i could ask paul clement to, in a sense, set the table work a brief description of what the individual mandate is and what the heart of the constitutional challenge is. >> sure, i'll give it a try. i think maybe neil would have a different way of describing it but probably not too different. the key provision here that is -- that has generated the most controversy and the central constitutional issue we are here to discuss is the individual mandate which requires with one or two minor qualifications every vim in the country to obtain qualifying health care insurance. and the -- this is something that certainly the framers of the act, when they were putting it together, thought was critical. they looked at some states that had tried to do other insurance
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reforms including trying to make sure that insurance was available generally to everybody and that you wouldn't be denied insurance because you had a high-risk condition. states had tried that without an individual mandate ran into problems. at least one state massachusetts, tried it with an individual mandate and it was perceived as being more successful so it was perceived that the individual mandate was critical. i don't think it was perceived by everybody that it was the only way to accomplish adequate health care reform there were earlier versions of the act that kind of more affirmatively embraced the taxing power and taxing authority but in the end, it was settled that the health care act would pass and it would include this individual mandate. what i think gives rise to the central constitutional issue is the starting observation that this is really a fairly unique or completely unique, depending on your perspective, provision of law. there have been a lot of crises
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in this country over the years that economic, other -- that economic other, where congress might have thought that forcing individuals to purchase particular good or particular service might be a useful means of government action, but the government never did. just to take an example that resonated with me because it's so recent and seems to me so obvious that a compelled purchase would have been an even more effective regulation, there was the famous cash for clunkers program. involving a series of insent i -- incentives to get people to help the car industry by giving them incentives to purchase cars. seems to me it would have been much more efficient and effective for the government in accomplishing its objective of boosting the automobile industry that everybody over a certain income level had to buy a car, a much more direct way to accomplish that objective. the government has never seen fit at the federal level to do
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that kind of direct requirement that individuals engage in commerce and so that's what gives rise to the basic issue here i think, the government, for its -- the federal government on its behalf suggests that this is, although i think they can see it's largely unprecedented action, i think they suggest that it's a fairly straightforward regulation of commerce supported by the commerce clause, the challengers on the other hand, point to both the unprecedented nature of the imposition and the government's seeming inability to articulate a limiting principle such that if you could engage in this regulation, which reaglation -- regulation couldn't the government engage in? what commerce couldn't they force you into in the name of federal commerce? in a nutshell, i hope that's responsibly setting the table. i'm sure i've said at least one
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thing that makes neil want to clarify. >> so, first of all, thank you for this wonderful event, it's a delight to be here with all of you. i did represent the government, i'm not here now representing the government, i'm just speaking for myself. i agree with a large part of what paul said in terms of description but let me flesh out what congress is doing. i didn't understand why this individual mandate existed until i started getting really into the weeds an arguing the case. congress is reacting to a problem in which there were approximately 50 million people uninsured in this country and they're priced -- priced out of the insurance market. a large part of that has to do with discrimination against though theses with a pre-existing condition if you're in one job and try to switch your job, you can't do so because the other employer looks at you and says, this person has all sorts of -- this person has high risk and so on
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so the insurance costs for them are too high. 50 million people approximately are uninsured. congress comes along and says, we're going to eliminate the discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions an insist that everyone be rated at a certain level in the community so you can't stick the bill too high to particular individuals. the problem with that is once insurance companies are told, well you've got to insure folks in a fair cross section of the race then everyone could wait to buy insurance until they got sick, wait until you got to the hospital before you had to sipe up for insurance. that way you'd economize on your cost until you got sick that obviously would create massive adverse selection problems and did in the states that tried to reform the existing market through pre-existing condition bans and the like. what congress did is we'll have a mandate so everyone has to
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have a certain amount of insurance to avoid that adverse selection problem. right now, congress found every american family who gets health insurance pays approximately $1,000 extra to pay for those who are uninsured and those costs spread across state lines system of that's really, i think what congress was saying when they said this is part of their commerce power. this is -- health care is approximately 18% of the g.d.p. and this is a comprehensive regulation of the health insurance market. now, paul says that the example that resonates with him is the -- is that if the -- why didn't the government do that with respect to the automobile industry? the automobile industry is really different. there -- that's not a situation in which you can show up at the car lot, drive off with a car and stick your bill to your neighbor. that's what's going on in the health insurance market. that's what congress found. that the uninsured are going into emergency rooms, and you
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and i, who are paying for health insurance, are effectively paying for them. that's an economic effect that is real and present right now. >> michael assuming you weren't persuaded by that, is health insurance kind of foundationally different in awhat that explains why congress could impose the mandate here but not in some other context? >> no, neil is wrong for three reasons. the first is he completely misdescribed congress' purpose in ep acting this plan. this is not me speaking this comes straight from the text of the statute. neil and the government try and pretend that what we're trying to do is prevent the insured from subsidizing the uninsured. it's actually quite the opposite. what you're trying to do is conscript a lot of healthy individuals


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