tv Today in Washington CSPAN February 2, 2011 7:30am-9:00am EST
pensions, would the prime minister welcome the launch yesterday by the national association of pension funds of its workplace retirement income commission which is designed to produce proposals to improve the adequacy of pensions so that people can live with dignity and with enough money in retirement? >> well, my honorable friend makes a very good point is we want to see strong private sector pension provision. and i think the history over the last 13 years has been depressing when so much money has been taken out of the pension system not least by the pensions tax that happened year after year proposed probably by the two people now running the labour party. we want people to have independence and dignity in their old age. >> mr. speaker, 200 years ago, the privileged people in this country managed to steal the english common land from the english common people. why is his government returning to that kind of activity by taking away the forests and
woods of our country? >> i have to say, this government is taking a completely different approach to the last government. the last government sold off forestry with no guarantees of access, nogators -- gar tees of habitat. is the the case that there are organizations like the woodland trust, like the national trust that do a better job than the forestry commission? i believe yes, there are. is there a problem with the forestry commission that is -- >> order, i apologize for interrupting the prime minister. the prime minister must not be shouted at. the question was heard and the answer must be heard. the prime minister? >> what i would say to the honorable gentleman is there a problem when you have the
forestry commission that is responsible for regulating forestry but is also a massive owner of forestry. we don't accept that with the bank of england or with other organizations so this is worth looking at to see if we can produce a system which is actually better for access, better for habitat, better for natural england and better for the countryside that we love. >> order. we come now to the -- ..
american spectator magazine has written half a dozen books including the conservative crackup and madame hillary. and his latest after the handover:the conservative road to recovery. join our three our conversation with your e-mails the personal sunday at noon eastern on booktv on c-span2. nevada governor bryan sandoval delivered his first state of the state address last week from the legislative building in carson city. he gave an overview of this plan to close nevada's $1.2 billion budget gap by reducing state spending to 2007 levels. sandoval was sworn in as the governor earlier in the month. he replaced tim gibbons who was defeated in the republican party
>> please be seated. governor sandoval. we will commute to the assembly chamber and look forward to your message. >> mr. speaker, mr. president, distinguished members of the legislature, hon. justices of the supreme court, constitutional officers, by felon of adkins. it is a pleasure to be here for my first state of the state with so many new members of the legislature. nv is fortunate to have these leaders take office when we are in such a time of need. welcome all of you. a [applause]
we are honored for your willingness to shares this evening with us. please allow me to express my special gratitude to the douglas county high school junior rcc, capt. howell rumor, mayor don d. a. and manuel for their contributions for the program. [applause] as we gather here in carson city, countless are watching on television from the internet. it is as if the collective nevada family has gathered around the table. each member leaning forward in his or her chair, eager to hear the news. in this time of sacrifice our
nevada family look to us for reassurance for solution and leadership. so i begin with the story of two men in uniform who leadership in times of sacrifice can inspire us all. lieutenant colonel tony milligan is stationed at no less air force base. he was awarded the bronze star and prestigious 2010 air force award for his heroism in afghanistan. lieutenant-colonel millikan's survive a blast from a 700 pound explosive device that exploded less than 50 yards away from his location. his story of courage is echoed in the tail of specialist ernesto podium from gardnerville who is assigned to the first cavalry of the nevada national
guard. he left his pregnant wife in may of 2008 and deployed to afghanistan for his vehicle was sliced in half in an explosion. he was severely injured and he earned a purple heart. these are but two examples of the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform every day. gentlemen, god bless you both and thank you for putting surface above self. [applause] [applause]
as our family gathers tonight, we are confronted all sides with bad news. our friends have seen their credit ruined. someone in our family has lost a job. the house around the corner stands vacant. a neighbor is closed for business. relative is one trip to the doctor away from financial or physical ruin. some believe government is the only solution to our current plight. i disagree. unemployment, foreclosure, bankruptcy, the cure is not more government spending but helping businesses create jobs. the key is to get nevada working again. [applause] the silver stake has a long
history of economic peaks and valleys but the state of our state this evening should not be described as just another dip in the road. instead we find ourselves on the new terrain of a changed global economy and the crossing is hard. the nevada looks to us to decide how to navigate this new path. certainly there are short-term solutions. some of them painful. but true success lies in making a fundamental course correction and declaring in the words of abraham lincoln the dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. the occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. case is the new so we must think anew and act anew. we begin with a state budget.
when my staff and i first arrived at the state capital we were told the state general fund must spend $8.3 billion in the coming millennium instead of the $6.2 billion we are spending today. we rejected that premise. the population of nevada has declined yet the proposed budget would have increased state spending by 34%. that kind of math made no sense. like any nevada family or business we began the budget process by looking at how much money we had to spend, not at automatic spending increases. we sought to return spending to to versus 7 levels before the current economic crisis. when the economic forum released its forecast in december revenues for the next biennium were projected to be $5.3 billion. so we started there.
we examined each department on a case by case basis. medicaid and other health and human service caseloads have grown exponentially requiring an additional $245 million. moreover nevada is now responsible for providing an extra $190 million toward the federal medicaid match. we must also begin paying the $66 million in interest on money nevada has borrowed for unemployment benefits. the previous budget included $450 million in stimulus funds from the federal government. of course stimulus spending was intended to the only one time contribution to our state budget. it was not available for the next biennium. finally, due to reductions in local revenue, the state must contribute an additional
$440 million to our public schools. in total there was a $1.2 million hole in the budget. we were confronted with the difference between the immediate priority and long-term investment. that required us to reform our overall spending plan. i can tell you the process was as painful as it was necessary. the budget i am submitting to the legislature represents an 8% reduction in total spending from the current biennium. my budget recommends the consolidation, elimination or centralization of 20 departments and agencies. from the consolidation of departments of personnel, information technology, public works and administration to be smaller but nonetheless important streamlining of energy policy, we will make state government more efficient and
more responsive. state employees have been told merit pay and longevity pay will remain frozen and salaries will be reduced by 5%. i believe this is a far better alternative than the mass layoffs chosen by other state and local governments. positions are eliminated in this budget and layoffs will occur but not on the scale seen in other states. my plan also eliminates the cumbersome furlough program. administrators and employees alike told me furloughs' make it difficult to manage an agency and nearly impossible to provide high quality customer service. basic support in our k-12 schools is reduced by $270 per pupil. the change in total support from current spending is just over 9%. this is not ideal, but i believe
reductions are within reason. if the education establishment is willing to make real changes in how those dollars are spent. state, local and student revenue for the nevada system of higher education is reduced by less than 7% with a loss of one time stimulus dollars, the total reduction is 17.66%. however, the regions have the option of bringing tuition and fees more in line with other western states. so many of these funds can be recovered. in health and human services and public safety we identified over $100 million in state spending for what are essentially local programs. the state can no longer afford to pick up this path so some of these responsibilities must be transferred to the local level. nevada needs to know that we did
not blindly accept the cuts requested by the prior administration. the department of health and human services alone, $118 million in spending for essential programs was restored. my budget preserves $55 million for personal care services. $4 million in adult health-care and $8 million in benefits to two parent household on temporary assistance to needy families. we also reserve funds for traumatic brain injury services, autism, early intervention services, independent livinged medical necessary ventures, prosthetics and orthotics. [applause] the list goes on. these programs are preserved and
overall spending is still reduced. however, spending cuts alone could not do the work of balancing the state budget in a reasonable, fought for manner. we made $1 billion of public money work harder so as to mitigate cuts to services and programs. none of this money comes from new taxes. we made better use of existing dollars. the public does not think of revenue as yours or mine. all of it, every last penny is there's, whether it is and this bucket or that but it does not matter. my budget continues to redirect $0.09 of property-tax. i will restrict this money to the support of universities and community colleges in these counties because property values rise and economic growth occurs
where universities contribute to economic development. [applause] we are turning to the school district but not to capture capital construction dollars already allocated to projects. instead we propose to change the debt service in all those counties. maintenance and equipment purchases will continue which means no construction jobs will be lost. [applause] simply put these tax dollars were unnecessarily locked away in one of those separate buckets. we will use $425 million of these funds to offset the
$440 million in lost local funding i mentioned earlier. the money will stay in education and be used in the district of origin. [applause] i have committed the state will -- the local school support tax rebounds. temporary use of tax revenue celebrated for teachers' salaries to defray the costs of education spending. that is to reward teacher performance merits but we must live with current realities. i am proposing $190 million by monetizing the state tax proceeds.
the solution is not perfect but it is sound. it presents for the reduction to education and human services. a [applause] when all is said and done the proposed general fund expenditures in my budget total $5.8 billion over the last several years within 1% of general spending in 2007. we not only balance the budget but restored many cuts the constituents feared most. [applause] we also addressed longstanding issues and emerging challenges, in 2001, barbara buckley led the charge to integrate the child
welfare system in clark, in 2003 former senator bill read audio also pushed toward the funding plan. we will fidget -- my budget will finish the job of brands to clark county, the basic operation of child welfare services with local autonomy. in addition -- [applause] -- in addition we provide $7 million of incentive payments with welfare agencies achieved stated goals. my budget response to the national health care reform legislation passed by congress last year, i believe many aspects of the law is unconstitutional. we will fight to have them overturned. [applause] in the meantime, however, the
law imposes many deadlines and we cannot wait until litigation is resolved. we must plan for a major expansion of medicaid which may cost nevada $574 million from 2014 to 2019. we must also plan for a health-insurance exchange so that we and not the federal government control program. my budget includes funding to address these issues and i have submitted legislation to address the operation and oversight of the nevada health insurance exchange. [applause] these initiatives and the overall approach we took to balancing the budget are not about being a liberal or
conservative. the government responsibility is to provide solutions to the day, i have met this challenge through hard decisions. all the while remaining conscious of the current realities. on friday nevada's unemployment rate increased yet again and another clear indication businesses are in a fragile state. and a necessary sacrifices of the times. through increased health-insurance premiums, steadily increasing costs for unemployment, and health-care providers necessary under my budget, every business finds it harder to find a profit and keep workers employed. i recently received a thoughtful letter from a woman who works
for small dental practice in las vegas. for the first time in twenty years they lost money. she wrote the assault on practice finances come from everywhere. insurance companies, state, federal government, epa regulation, payroll taxes and cost of dental products and supplies. she begged me to set new directions that free up time and money. a lot of small businesses will decide it isn't worth it to sacrifice the time and effort they do now. ladies and gentlemen, it is worth it. i want that dental practice and other nevada businesses as well as their employees and families to succeed. that is exactly what are am fighting for. [applause]
fellow nevada this, we know the budget alone will not solve the state's current crisis. if anything the budget is only a symbol of the challenges presented by our economic situation. in order for nevada to fully recover we must focus our energy on job creation. we must ensure long-term improvements in our education system and do everything in our power to guarantee that the people respect the government that serves them. i will spend the balance of my time tonight talking with the nevada family about three policy areas, economic development, education and response of government. for at least the last 100 years, nevada governors have called for
the creation of economic development agencies or state publicity officers to foster what assemblywoman alice powell in 1922 called the up growth of new industry. in 1983, governor richard bryan proposed an overhaul of the department of economic development to create the current structure. our efforts at economic diversification must emphasize favorable investment climate, and geothermal power. he was right then and he is right now. we owe it to nevada it to renew our development efforts for the realities of today. [applause]
working with senate majority leader stephen westburg, i propose a complete overhaul of our state's economic development program. minority leaders mike mcginnis also lend their support and of course lieutenant governor brian cruellikey will modernize the state system of job creation and diversification. we propose to redesign the commission on economic development and recommend a 50% increase in general fund dollars to run it. a new entity, nevada jobs of limited, will be a public-private partnership existing largely outside state government. with private sector mentality it will be more nimble and it will be a cabinet level agency with the governor joining the
lieutenant governor, senate majority leader, assembly speaker and representative of higher education and other critical stakeholders on the board. majority of the board members will come from the private sector to in short the focus is squarely on the job is. [applause] nevada jobs unlimited will pursue strategies that grow jobs within existing nevada businesses as well as recruit companies from out of state. but we will do so with a new sense of urgency, coordination and accountability. collaboration, player performance indicators will be the patricks of this new system. we are also proposing a $10 million catalyst fund to provide much-needed resources to close deals, finance infrastructure and spur the
growth of new jobs. the fund will be continued in future budgets only if it delivers the kind of success we expect. our proposal builds upon the foundation laid by the new nevada taskforce which was convened by the lieutenant governor last summer and provided new ideas for the future of the state's economic development activities. our future lies in business sectors like technology, commercialization, bio science, renewable energy, asset development, defense sector expansion. innovation will drive tomorrow's economy and so it must drive our decisionmaking as we rebuild our economic development infrastructure. there is a treasure in our state that the launch this focus on innovation -- switch. two million square foot technology ecosystem campus in
las vegas. cnbc recently called the switch supermap of the best data center on the planet. for the last ten years switch has been building massive, secure technology data centers in combination with a telecommunications hub that is unique to north america. switch's of vision and innovation have attracted many fortune 1,000 company's to las vegas and they are bringing jobs to nevada. switch is sponsoring an incentive program called the nevada advanced technology alliance. by moving employees into nevada companies will save 10% to 20% on nationwide telecommunications costs no matter how big the corporation. this incentive is not funded by tax dollars, donations or any
other government effort. it is simply takes the technological innovations of switch and extend those benefits to those who partner with nevada by establishing operations here. this is an advantage unique to nevada. we will be offering to businesses around the world. with us tonight are switch ceo rob roy and his wife stella. thank you for raising the bar on innovation. [applause] let me tell you briefly about how innovation will help drive change in broadband technology, the gaming industry, renewable energy and the state's infrastructure needs. we must continue to drive investment in broadband technology that fast tracks job growth and provides a platform for spurring innovation across our state.
my budget includes $3 million to help residents of rural nevada use broadband access to start and pro-businesses, or communicate anywhere in the world. these improved broadband connections will allow the electronic exchange of health information between providers and hospitals to improve quality of care. since i completed my term as chairman of the nevada gaming commission the gaming entertainment industry has expanded to new states and many new quarters of the world. competitive forces demand a new approach from our regulatory infrastructure. an increasingly competitive and global economy, nevada will be the place for gaming innovation. nevada started this industry. we shaped its development and we must remain the undisputed leader in the gaming economy.
[applause] twenty-first century demands mandate we provide a flexible environment for the technological resources that are the underpinnings of modern gaming devices. i have asked the leadership of our regulatory bodies to begin immediately to process statutory and regulatory changes that sensibly reflect a modernization of the gaming industry. nevada can strengthen our leadership role in renewable energy and energy efficiency industries. the nevada retrofit initiative is leading a groundbreaking partnership with higher education, non-profit and local banks for the construction and financing of residential energy efficiency retrofits. in addition, renewable energy
loan fund is a successful low interest loan program that provides financing for renewable energy projects. over $8 million has been loaned to nine projects throughout the state. companies have used these revolving loans to expand manufacturing capacity and create new jobs. nevada must remove barriers and develop a business models that allow for the export of renewable energy to california while benefiting taxpayers here at home. the nevada vision stakeholders' group conceived by senator horseburg recognized our state's economic development and geology of intertwined and recommend nevada secure better access to federal land for renewable energy production and transmission projects. i support all efforts to make nevada the renewable energy capital of the world. [applause]
finally, we need to improve ground connections by linking las vegas to phoenix via interstate 11 into southern california via a high-speed rail. both are critical for transportation and logistics as well as tourism. [applause] my message tonight is one of opportunity. certainly for those who care about economic growth. but also for those listening outside our state. nevada is a place you can call home and headquarters with equal measure. we are proud of great cities, low taxes and state's natural beauty. many state leaders are products
of our schools and universities. thanks to my executive order freezing most state regulations and requiring a complete regulatory review, we can promise you a stable regulatory environment. nevada officials and agencies see their job as one of helping you do business, not slowing you down. we are uniquely situated for logistics and transportation. we have abundant natural resources in our home to preempt a cancer and brain institute. we love our state and you will too. for businesses operating in nevada we want you to know that our focus is on your growth. roughly 80% of new jobs will be created by local businesses and we need everyone of them to put nevada back to work.
new economic -- [applause] -- new economic development initiatives will include world manufacturing work force development and business expansion programs for small, minority and veteran businesses. we will not leave behind those whose careers have been disrupted by the economic earthquake that has shaken our state. for many, old skills will be inadequate for the new economic reality. i have therefore directed the department of employment training and rehabilitation and the department of health and human services to jointly develop a seamless service plan to put nevada to work and reduce reliance on social service programs. [applause] the silver state works program
will target veterans, unemployment benefit recipients, public assistance recipients and ex offenders. primary goal is to promote a work first culture through employer hiring incentives, on the job training and community service. we will invest $10 million over the next biennium in providing these services to 10,000 unemployed workers and we will administer silver state works utilizing existing staff resourcess. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, each one of us has a role to play in nevada's economic recovery. our buying power matters. whether we're buying a car, computer or book, we should shop nevada first. [applause]
i have said before that if nevada were a stark, i would buy it now. it is true. [applause] we have opportunities ahead of us and plans to realize them. education reform is the lynch pin to a solid return on our investment. let me share with you my plans for public schools, colleges and universities. as governor, part of my job is to tell people things they don't like to hear. when it comes to education in our states i want to level with the people of nevada. our education system is broken. not the people be personal but the system. many teachers, professors and students are excelling, collectively they are held back
by an antiquated system that emphasizes too many of the wrong things. the only suggested answer has been more and more money. educators who are effective at teaching students and a leading schools are paid exactly the same as those who are failing. graduation rates remain the worst in the nation. the achievement gap leaves too many students without hope or opportunity and grade level performance on national assessments lags. i know that many students take personal responsibility for their education and succeed as a result. i want them to know they are not alone. nevada's system can and will support them. [applause] since the advent of the class size reduction program in the early 1990s, hundreds of
millions of dollars have been provided to local school districts. students who first participated in that program should now be graduating yet many are not. i believe we have put too many constraints on local school districts. my budget proposes for creation of a block grant program that encourages students to be innovative and results oriented. if one district chooses to continue class size reduction, so be it. if another district wants to pursue other programs we will no longer hold them back. [applause] flexibility, local autonomy, and accountability are the keys. the new superintendent of schools in clark county, dwight jones, recently demonstrated by his already a leader in our
state. he wrote the downturn in the economy offers a real opportunity to change how we deliver our services. funding will be a challenge but the greater imperative is outlining what we want to achieve. i agree. i know you are in the room. i applaud you. [applause] here is my outline of significant reforms in the way we manage our schools. end teacher tenure. [applause] an important first step is to eliminate protection of seniority when decisions about force reduction must be made. rely heavily on student
achievement data and evaluating teachers. as incentives we will provide $20 million in performance pay for the most effective teachers. [applause] eliminate costly programs that reward longevity and advanced degree attainment. [applause] bill gates, secretary of education arne duncan and others have repeatedly noted this kind of spending does not improve student achievement. end soaker -- social promotion. [applause] students who cannot read by the end of third grade will not be advanced to fourth grade. [applause]
it is simple. until third grade we learned to read. after that we read to learn. [applause] most kids who start behind stay behind. it has to stop. [applause] improved accountability report cards and provide more parental choice. open enrollment, better charter school options and vouchers to make private school education a possibility for more families. [applause] reform k-12 governance. i ask the legislature to support the recommendation of nevada's promise to provide an improved
governance model in which the governor appoints the state board of education and superintendent of public construction. [applause] finally, i am pleased to announce tonight that the executive budget includes an additional $10 million to preserve the kenny c. c. when millennial scholarship. [applause] in one of our colleges and
universities it is widely acknowledged that they are important for our state's economic development. but here again the system has failed us. graduation rates after six years of the state's public two year colleges range from a high of 20% to a low of only 4%. our four year institutions have graduation rates below 50%. there is concern that further budget reductions will require significant changes to the university and community college system. perhaps a new system is precisely what we need in this new era. [applause] therefore, i will look forward to autonomy over tuition to the regions. nevada's tuition rates are well below our western neighbors.
the regions have long asked for the authority to raise them. universities and community colleges must develop a more strategic focus that connects the reprogram this and the state's economic development efforts. i would also ask that at least 15% of any increased tuition be reserved to ensure access for those who need financial aid. [applause] as we increase autonomy we will also increase performance indicators so that graduation rates, completion times and access are measures of success. i know that none of this is easy to hear. so let me be clear. nevada as many effective teachers in our schools. we have great principles and
outstanding college professors. but there are also some who have no business teaching or serving as an administrator. it is unacceptable that children in classrooms literally across the hall from one another achieve a dramatically different levels because of the quality of their teacher. the current system cannot address this. it is too cumbersome and so focused on the wrong things that we lose students along the way. there will be many debates about these issues in coming weeks and one who will debate them with us is here tonight as my guest. i am pleased that michelle wie, former chancellor of washington d.c. public school system and the founder and chief executive officer of students first complete original national advocacy organization is here tonight. michele is recognized throughout
america as a leader in education reform. she will add our considerable voice to hour debate and i thank her for demonstrating the importance of finally having a frank and honest conversation about public education. michele, i know we will hear your voice as one for advocating for students' first. [applause] just a little more than two weeks ago the nation watched in horror as a gunman opened fire on a member of congress, a federal judge and other innocent people in tucson, arizona. this despicable act served as a sobering reminder that civil discourse can vanish in a split-second. in nevada we must never allow
this to happen. [applause] isolated madness will not make us afraid of those we serve. terror will not keep us from putting service above self from treating each other with civility and from working together to in short public's confidence in state government. [applause] we have the power to demonstrate to the people of nevada that honest, civil and responsive government is alive and well in carson city. [applause] weekend work to draw the lines
in the congressional seat and state senate and assembly. the laws of our land are clear and i will not sign a bill that favors one political party over another. [applause] congressional seats and a legislative districts should be drawn with a fair and proportional representation of constituents's period. [applause] we can rededicate ourselves to eliminating any sign of waste, fraud or abuse in government. i will soon sign an executive order creating the office of the inspector general within the executive branch. the inspector general will join the existing internal audit division in reviewing auditing
and evaluating the expenditure of state funds. [applause] a i will work with legislative leadership to introduce a bill that sunsets every licensing and advisory board now on the books. more than 180 of these require gubernatorial appointments and under our proposal, boards and commissions will sunset and the end of june of 2013 giving us time to eliminate, consolidate or improve functions among those that must remain. [applause] i am also pleased to announce the priority and performance budget makes its debut in documents transmitted to the legislature this year.
we articulate not only what level of priority each program or service carries with the performance measures by which it will be judged. this initiative will expand to include public participation in websites and other tools as we ask nevada to rank spending priorities. [applause] even more robust performance indicators will therefore be established. i am also calling for the creation of a central grand office for state government. this office will identify federal and philanthropic opportunity that have for too long been overlooked. it will provide a targeted coordinated effort to in views additional outside dollars into worthy programs. i will also work with senator
roads on longstanding idea to provide bonuses to state workers whose agencies so that innovative thinkers are rewarded. [applause] finally i will explore resources and services available through the judicial college, attorney general's office and other state agencies. and rulemaking to take advantage of appropriate training. and with transparency and clarity each and everyone of us in this chamber can take steps to send a clear message to our constituents. this was the people's government. we are but stewards. nevada has every right for high
standards of congress. [applause] in case we think there's no one to show us the way we can stop and recognize employees like trooper chuck allen. he was recently named the reno gazette journal's citizen of the year in recognition of his volunteers and. by day he is a public information officer with the nevada highway patrol. he is proof that service is alive and well in our state. thank you. [applause]
government employment is not just another job nor is it an entire entitlement program. we seem to have lost the sense of public service where collective bargaining is concerned. i hope this legislative session will see an open discussion of a more balanced approach to employee negotiation. [applause] collective bargaining must be reformed. if we are to change the course on which we find ourselves. i stand ready to work with local government officials and union leaders to ensure employee compensation does not hamper government performance. [applause] we must also admit nevada's
retirement system cannot sustain its current level of liability. future employees must join under some form of a defined contribution plan and the public employee benefit plan could no longer afford full health coverage for all retirees. new employees and during that system must do so under a new set of rules as well. i encourage the legislature to send me a package of public employee retirement and benefit reforms as quickly as possible. [applause] together we can create many more opportunities for improvement. i have directed my staff to explore a major consolidation of the departments of transportation, motor vehicles and public safety. the objective is to streamline
governance of the three agencies to more effectively and efficiently provide public service. dollars saved will be reinvested through the state highway fund tiatcco cf1 o >> in addition, i plan to continue the dialogue recently begun with cities, counties, and school districts. i firmly believe there are more opportunities for shared services, cooperation, and functional home rule. we must focus on accountability at every level, and we must reward success at every turn. the nevada family expects us to succeed by working together. [applause] i will continue the dialogue the nevada family expects us to succeed by workin together. [applause] therefore i end this speech where i began my inaugural
address just three weeks ago, looking forward with optimism. presented by the comin to the promise of opportunity presented by the coming celebration of 150 years of ure. statehood in 2014. changing the current terrain is difficult to be sure. changing course is ever easy.fi but i believe that by making the short-term sacrifices i have outlined coupled with long-term reach that milestone with pride. my fellow nevada, i have no he . doubt that together we are changing the course of history. we are leaving the nevada family on to a new path and are submitted that it is one of
progress and ultimate prosperity. if we have the courageve to mak the tough decisions and there we will be many, we will succeed. if we focus on new solutions that fundamentally change the y way we do business, we will succeed. if we make supporting private sector job creation a way of life for all government agencies, if we control state ey spending, if we push forward with education reform, if we recognize that service above self is a way of life hot, if we do all these things together, u] truly nevada will be nevada >> again. thank you. god bless you.nevada. god bless the great state of nevada. .lead [applause]
congressional chronicle with timelines and transcripts of every house and senate session. congressional chronicle at c-span.org/congress. >> at this event yesterday white house council robert bauer called the number of current judicial vacancy an emergency situation. he took part in the judicial discussion process hosted by the american constitution society. from the national press club in washington, this is an hour and a half. >> policymakers, law professors and law students it promotes the vitality of our constitution and its fundamental values, individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, access to justice, democracy, and the rule of law. acs has worked to draw attention to the federal judicial vacancy crisis. the senate confirmed only 62 of
president barack obama's judicial nominees in the past two years. compared to 100 for george w. bush and 128 for bill clinton during the first two years of their presidencies. we have 875 federal judgeships and we now have 101 vacancies. that's an extraordinarily high number. 49 of those vacancies are described as judicial emergencies. most recently the tragic deaths of john roll brought attention to this crisis. he was at the safeway in tucson to talk with gabbie giffords about this very issue. about judicial vacancies in arizona. and his death has resulted in arizona now being added to the list of judicial emergencies. this vacancy crisis is obviously
not a partisan issue. it's an issue about the integrity of our courts in the administration of justice for the american people. on the heels of justice anthony kennedy calling attention to this problem, a group of ninth circuit judges led by chief judge alec cainski urged the senators strongly to fill the vacancy and chief justice roberts highlighted this crisis in his year end state of the judiciary report. so what can can be done about this? well, today we are extremely lucky to be able to hear from someone who is so well suited to answer that question. white house counsel bob bauer will share his views on the nomination process so what he sees as the likely development in the coming year. bob was named white house counsel in november 2009.
he was formerly a partner and chair of its political law group. bob was president obama's personal attorney and general counsel of obama -- of the obama for america campaign. he also served as general counsel to the dnc, as co-counsel to the new hampshire state senate in the trial of chief justice david barack. he was general counsel to bill bradley for president. and he was also counsel to the democratic leader in the trial of william jefferson clinton. bob has graciously agreed to take a few minutes of questions at the conclusion of his remarks and we will then hear from an extremely distinguished panel. so now it is my pleasure to turn this over to bob bauer. thank you, bob. [applause]
>> thank you. good to see you. thank you for your invitation as speaker today on the obama administration and judicial nominations in 2011. i have been fortunately free to make of this topic what i would, my host did not specify that we take any particular approach to the topic so this then is what i propose to do. i would like to lay out what i hope that we can accomplish this year in cooperation with the senate against the history of the last two years' experience with judicial nominations. what i will not do is rehearse the familiar litany of complaints about the nominations and confirmations process. there is plentiful commentary on the subject. some of which is learned and useful and some part of which is now an dreary exchange of accusations who has been behaving badly or my favorite the charge that someone behaved badly first is apparently being enough to listen -- lessen the culpability of the person who
behaved badly second. but the facts speak for themselves and there's no need for rhetorical embroidery. here are the essential facts and as those of you who like to participate in sports debates say you can look it up. the confirmation rate is perilous low. and one result is the large number of seats designated as judicial emergencies. more than one-half of the nominations now pending in the senate are judicial emergencies. the state of emergency being that which by the standards of the judicial conference involve courts where the cases filed exceed the capacity to hear them. the vacancy rate overall has come to hover around a historic 12%. this is twice the more or less structural rate. twice the 5% rate that we might expect in the normal course of resignations, retirements, deaths. and yet we have nominees who have waited for historically long periods of time for a vote.
there are now a total of 49 nominees for the senate. nominated in the last congress and now renominated or nominated for the first time just last week. now, the chief justice of the united states as caroline pointed out just a moment ago has taken appropriate note correctly stated that the underlying problem has persisted for many years. and that the need to address it has become in his words urgent. this chief is the second to take up the call against the breakdown of the nominations and confirmations process. chief justice rehnquist did the same some years before. and for him, as he stated it, the consequence was growing, unattended judicial workload and the threat that it presented of an erosion in the quality of justice. and over time these concerns have also been registered bay range of task forces and special commissions like the miller commission in 1996 which opened its report by stating, quote, the federal judicial system continues to be plagued by a
troubling accretion of unfilled vacancies, delays in the appointment process and backlogs pending appointments. now, the effect of this judicial emergency is terrible and pernatius. >> it's calling delays for americans seeking their day in court around the country. trials are delayed for months. some courts lacking the necessary capacity had to outsource portions of their case loads to other courts. an individual of judges on courts with numerous vacancies have had to take on hundreds and sometimes more than 1,000 additional filings. what is most strike, what is most disturbing on the state of affairs is what i call the general absence of the political sphere of the same sense of chief justices there are exceptions to be sure. senator layhay has spoken forcely and eloquently to this
problem and his concerns are certainly actively expressed by the democratic leadership. i have noticed in the recent months in the course of my members is that this concern is spreading and it is by no means on one side of the aisles. republicans as well as democrats increasingly know some privately, some publicly that we are witnessing something profoundly troubling. now, it is true as many have point out that there are institutionally on the confirmations. the senate rules for all practical purposes permit a single senator to freeze the process for a particular nominee. and a particular nomination. we are all familiar with the lament about the procedural tools that are available to accomplish delay or the means by which delay becomes the functional equivalent of fatal opposition. these are all-important points in a discussion in the confirmation process but they are significant largely as
expressions of the problem not as primary source. the problem as i see it once more subtle and more profound. it is the very climate enveloping the climate many years in the making in which it's widely accepted in which this is the way things go and that the costs cited by the chiefs, heavy costs, are somehow bearable. now, distinguish this climate from the charged one of highly contested individual nominations. in the latter we see proponents and opponents claims it will follow confirming or rejecting particular nominees. this type of conflict is far from the subdued setting for the confirmation struggles of today. if it is a war and that's something i don't care for it's a cold not a hot war. there are two examples of today's broader climate on how it manifests itself that may be useful. first, nominees left to languish
on the floor for as much as hundreds of days without a vote are basically ignored not put to one side because of perceived deficiencies in their records or shortcomings as potential jurists. it is a quiet blow to the process but it's a heavy blow nonetheless. no shouting on the floor, just nothing on the floor. it is as if, and it is apparently to some, as if it did not matter at all. but, of course, it matters a great deal to the nominees, to the courts to which they were nominated to serve and to the parties before those courts. chief justice rehnquist quite rightly pointed to the grave loss and the quality of justice when we don't have enough judges for the cases to be decided. and it is the loss and the quality of justice when this very proposition, the proposition that we urgently need judges to have an effective and responsive judiciary draws a
limited or intermittently attentive audience. that's one problem. let me cite another. in our selection of potential nominees and in consultation with senators and in some cases representatives, we have been forced to give up on qualified candidates in part because of the opposition has been expressed as a concern about quality or qualifications. but in my experience, these concerns, however, strongly expressed, are all too often hard to really pin down. sometimes it's just a question of personal preference. the president has selected a candidate for a nomination and a particular member would have chosen differently and this stalls progress on filling the vacancy. and if it stalls, well, it stalls because it seems somehow the delay does not matter as it should. that is new world. a confirmation process once characterized by hard-fought battles waged around specific
nominees now is disabled by steady resistance to moving nominees as a class across-the-board. this can happen and it can only continue if its effects are seen somehow not to matter very much or not to matter enough. and yet each party can always suspect the other of partisanship, of simply cutting back on one party's number of nominations even if there's no great divide in one case over competence or i had ideology but this is the point is it not? that if this is acceptable, even in the absence of major disagreements about compensate sense or ideology it's to keep the court short to administer justice it only goes to show how the costs have become baby and how the loss in the quality of justice somehow has seem not to matter. one question raised from time to
time is this administration can raise to elevate the issue. to call more attention from this grave problem in varying different directions and in varying ways. the president highlighted what he called the dramatic shift in the confirmation process a change he noted that could process and i quote a a crisis in the judiciary. he wrote, quote, if there's a genuine concern about the qualifications about judicial nominees, this is a debate i welcome. but the consistent refusal to move promptly to have that debate or to confirm those nominees with broad bipartisan support does a disservice to the traditions of this body, the senate, and the american people it serves, unquote. in this new congress, we will continue to make this case for treating the confirmation of the judges the priority, the urgent priority it is. we will make this case from
today to the next session into the next. and it sharply defines the issues seeks to raise the stench of surgery si and call the system of our justice that can be found among democrats and republicans alike. for our part in the administration we continue to devote our energies to removing obstacles and excuses for delay. we have obviously appreciated the process by which nominations are made presenting challenges of its own. at the citation to the miller report says some years ago this is nothing fru. there are some delays in the nominating about it. but we are not sanguine about it. identification of the candidate, consultation with the congress, coordination with the american bar association and the ever-exacting vetting process consumes more time than they should, we have made adjustments. we will make more, but the number of nominations in the last year has been steady, 71 in
2010, an increase of 73% of the 2009 number for a total of 112 overall. and as i noted some 49 are now before the senate. the judiciary committee hearing schedule for all intents and purposes is booked for this purpose until the spring. so it's not for want of nomination that is we do not have confirmation. now i appreciate, of course, at that there are occasions when there are major differences over the nominee will bring to his or her own post. these differences are absurdly overstated and each side of the debate would do well to take up a more measured stance in these discussions. i understand my wish is unlikely to be granted but i've learned in this job that one hangs tightly to whatever slim thread of hope one can but eventually after full and fair deliberation, a president's no, ma'am must receive a vote.
this principle goes to the heart of the advice and consent process, to the president's constitutional authority to nominate and to the senate's constitutional authority to give or withhold consent. stepping back from old controversy, echewing the habitual finger-pointing, regional constitutionalists and all those in between should uphold a process, a constitutional process that moves from nomination to debate to a vote. in this respect, returning to the scene that we should treat nominations and confirmations as if they really matter, one way certainly is to respect constitutional form. the case in which a vote is denied should be rare, truly exceptional in character and serious rather than casual discussion to be devoted to the question of what such a rare case might be. now, of course, some senators may fear that committing to a conventional vote will give the game away removing any serious
incentive on the part of the administration to heed concerns and consult about particular nominees. fair enough. that's essentially a question about good faith. but this administration is committed and i believe it has shown that it will consult with the senate in good faith. we've endeavored to do this. we've agreed to review a second time, occasionally a third time the issues raised about a particular nominee. but if in the end, if in the end if the objection a senator or senators would want a different nominee or insist one who would decide different cases of the reading of the law then the objection should be put to a vote. against this background, this is what the administration hopes to accomplish, believes it can accomplish in the year ahead in the close collaboration in leadership. we will work with democrats and republicans alike to re-examine seriously where we stand on individual nominations on the process generally.
this has to be a bipartisan process. and i'm convinced from conversations with republicans as well as democrats that there is a growing recognition that however we got to this point, over however many years we cannot in good conscience remain here. i heard the same from sitting judges, a group including nominees from the republican and democratic administrations of the past. and they come in bipartisan groups confidentially to express deep concern that the past at which we arrived is simply not sustainable. so the principles on which i hope we could reach agreement and believe that we could reach agreement are as follows. judicial nominations are anunder taking in public administration, the administration of justice. and this is the first principle to which we will always have to repair. the current slow crawl cannot be reconciled with acceptable standards for maintaining our system of justice in good order. the administration will continue to consult closely with senators
in full recognition of their legitimate interests and concerns and prerogatives while expecting that differences about particular nominations can be explored on a common understanding about what constitutes a legitimate, reasonable ground of difference. and last, where legitimate differences remain and this will affect a small number of nominations but those differences will remain, the nominee should have a vote anyway. none of these principles should be beyond the reach of good faith, agreement and implementation. and at a time when the american public is asking with particular intensity that the parties work together to solve problems, this problem, the problem of our damaged nominations and confirmations process should not be left out of the bipartisan work to be done because to refuse or neglect this work would be to affirm again that somehow in some way it does not matter. and certainly there should be agreement and i think there is
agreement that that cannot be true. that a process so vital to the administration of justice does matter very much. as the president stated last year, and i quote, the real harm falls on the american people who turn to the courts for justice. all americans depend on having well qualified men and women on the bench to resolve important legal matters, from working matters seeking timely compensation for their employment discrimination claims to communities hoping for swift punishment for perpetrators of crimes, to small businesses seeking protection from unfair and anticompetitive practices. unquote and we could obviously multiply many times over the list of the kinds of cases americans are trying to bring to their court that because of this state of affairs cannot be heard in a timely fashion. so in 2011, the task is urgently to have the performance of the judicial confirmation process at
long last rise to have the level of its importance. with that, i'll be happy to take your questions. yes. >> yes. with the judicial nominations, a u.s. attorney position face some similar difficulties, in particular in texas, no u.s. attorney positions have been nominated. can you discuss briefly the timeline for nominations in these positions and what the state of u.s. attorney nominations is across the country? >> well, obviously the subject of judicial for him nations is a subset discussion about nominations, executive nominations. and the speed at which the nominations are made and the speed at which eventually they're confirmed and there is no question that we have experienced across the country in particular cases some real difficulties in moving nominations.
some of the problems i think that have been at work in those difficulties i've alluded to in these comments. there is a robust process of congressional consultation, obviously congressional interest in law enforcement and the nominee of two positions are very intense. and there are often very sharp disagreements that break out about precisely how those positions should be filled, the qualifications of these individual candidates to fill them. and that is even after the point at which we find willing candidates who submit to and ultimately emerge from the process by which we review those candidates and vet them. let me assure you the effort that i'm suggesting that we are making and will continue to make to move judicial nominations will translate also and carry over into nominations to other positions including the positions you cited. although i move to something more specific i won't mention a
particular nominee but a particular aspect of the process. we will try to break through over gridlock over some of these nominations. to give you sort of an idea, we have gone multiple times back to the congress, sometimes just to the senate side and sometimes whole delegations in the stake in the matter, things that have been brought up by the nominees. it might be a conflict of a particular nominations, it might be a vetting no, ma'am unconstitutional that we have to work through. sometimes they prove very, very difficult to address. that's not true across the country. it's because of some particular conditions, some particular circumstances, but we spend a great deal of time trying to work through that. susan davis is here and i'm sure would attest that we devote a great deal of time not just on the phone but in person in a
variety of ways trying to work through these issues to a resolution. and in a large number of cases we're successful. in the cases that you cite we have not so far been successful but we will continue to work at it. yes. [inaudible] >> joann anderson with "congressional quarterly." two questions if i could. i wonder what -- does the renomination of some of the most controversial judicial nominees such as goodwin lu if that says anything on your thoughts of the process of actually getting through the senate this go-around? and an unrelated topic if i could any reaction on yesterday's court ruling on the health care law? >> very sneaky. [laughter] >> nice little stalking horse about judicial nominations and right behind it comes health
care. [laughter] >> on the -- on the -- the president does not nominate nor in any case has he renominated any individual, the administration did not fully support and did not successfully bring to a confirmation slow in the case of all the other renominated judicial prospects from last year we're fully committed to them all. we'll speak to individual members and we will move as i suggested in my comments to assure the earliest possible vote with every expectation that we can successfully place all of these individuals on the court. and what was your second question? [laughter] >> what was your question actually do i have any reaction to the health care vote? i would have decided it differently. [laughter] >> this is one district court decision -- there have been a number of decisions.
we've won so far the administration position has been sustained so far. and so this is part of a process and eventually we'll have a resolution of these issues. i don't think that yesterday's development other than adding another voice to the, if you will, opposition to the bill, to the constitutional objections to the bill offers the current course towards resolution, the resolution that i expect to be successful. yes. >> the problems you've talked about problems in nominations in general or is there something particularly dysfunctional about judicial law enforcement nominations given the recent light? >> well, there are obviously different categories of nominations that are going to attract different levels of interest in which congress is going to have different perceived equities. obviously, congressional equities in nominations are
extremely significant. and judicial nominations by virtue of the lifetime tenure feature. and the importance of the case law for those courts is going to raise the stakes considerably. there have obviously been issues in the executive nominations process as well reflecting there's some overlap in the character of difficulty that's affected both of these processes. but i definitely think by virtue of the lifetime tenure of these federal judges, there is -- and the significance again of the case loads they decide there is a -- a legitimate high level of congressional concern to participate actively through the advice and consent process. now what we need to do, however, is to have that process work more functionally and appropriately, i think, consistent with the constitutional and regional expectations. we should return more to constitutional form here and at a minimum expecting that there will be disagreement, have a full and fair deliberation and eventually a vote. but if your que