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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 19, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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mr. harkin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. harass mr. president, i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection.
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mr. harkin: mr. president, over the past six months i have come to the floor several times to discuss the findings of an ongoing investigation by the health and human services into the for-profit education committees and the growing role they play in higher education. this investigation has been now ongoing for over a year. today i would like to focus my remarks on our men and women in uniform and how the for-profit schools are focusing on recruiting them to their schools. and what this means for the taxpayers of america. mr. president, the first g.i. bill made it possible for thousands of service members returning from world war ii to go to college. in the process, that ushered in a new era of american prosperity. that g.i. bill continued, of course, through korea, the cold
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war, and through vietnam. i, myself, used the g.i. bill after my service time so i could go to law school. over the decades we've built on that success by extending federal financial aid to active duty members of our armed forces and indeed to all americans who seek to build a better life through higher education. on the whole, this ha has proveo be one of the federal government's smartest investments, an investment in human capital that has produced huge benefits for our nation. we in congress have been eying attorney sure that this new generation of veterans returning from iraq and afghanistan are getting the education benefits they earned and the quality of education they deserve. led by senator webb and others, we have enacted new laws and expanded existing programs to provide generous new educational
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benefits to veterans, to active duty service members, and to their families. this is an historic achievement, and i am sure that all of us were proud to support this. implemented in august of 2009, the post-9/11 g.i. bill provides that veterans who serve 90 days or more on active duty after september 10, 2001, are eligible for up to 31 months of educational benefits and for the first time ever in history, veterans can transfer these benefits to a spouse or to a child. and over the last drksd the department of defense has -- and over the last decade, the department of defense has also expanded this to active duty airmen. this program will pay up to a maximum of $4,550 a year toward a service member's classes.
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in 2009, congress created the military spouse career advancement accounts designed to expand employment and portable career opportunities for active duty spouses that provides for a grant of $400 over a three-year period of time. so when the congress acted to give new and better benefits to veterans and active duty members and their families, we fully expected that for-profit schools might have an important role to play in providing higher education. obviously, they are flexible and some of the primary work done is suited to veterans and to veteranveterans juggling work ad family obligations. during my time in the military, of course, we had the university of maryland that still obviously provides a lot of online work.
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at that time it was called distance learning. did you it by mail. and the university of maryland provided a lot of educational benefits for many years to active duty personnel serving in far-flung places around the world. now, of course, that was not a for-profit school. that is a -- that was a nonprofit school. now, unfortunately, when we enacted this whole new benefits package for service members and veterans and their families, we did not anticipate what would happen by opening up a new stream of funding to the for-profit schools. we didn't foresee that the for-profit sector, eager to please wall street investors, would go after this new funding aggressively in ways not in the best interests of veterans and service members. we didn't recognize that by allowing service members to combine, transfer, and borrow against these various federal benefit packages, we were giving
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for-profit schools an opening to enroll service members, veterans, and service members in very expensive educational programs. my committee's investigation over the past year has revealed an industry dominated by the very same wall street companies and equity investors who brought about the subprime mortgage crisis. these investors are focused on rapid growth, quick profits, and relativin relatively short orde, for-profit universities have succeeded in enrolling 10% of the students and claiming fully 25% of the federal financial aid budget, including $7 billion a year in pell grants. so the for-profit sector of higher education has 10% of all of the students in the country in higher ed. they get 25% of all federal financial aid. many of these companies generate big profits and there is a big
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problem: the committee has compiled data from 30 companies that own the for-profit schools, including the 15 largest publicly traded ones, showing that more than half the student students that e institutions enroll drop out within the first year. two-thirds of the students who are there for a two-year program drop out in the first year. and some of the worst-performing institutions have been the most aggressive to enroll service members and veterans. because profitability in the for-profit education industry is driven by enrollment growth, my committee investigation has focused largely on the extraordinarily aggressive marketing at these schools. building on the findings of last year's undercover investigation
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by the general accounting office, which found abusive recruitment practices at each of 15 campuses visited, we have uncovered additional evidence that misleading and deceptive recruitment tactics are not the exception but the norm. several months ago here on the floor i spoke about documents uncovered in my investigation. those documents instruct recruiters in tactics designed to manipulate and emotionally exploit potential students in order to convince them to enroll. and again i will show today, later in my talk, i will show a chart and i will show a document that shows now they're going after military people -- military active duty and veterans -- to exploit fear, uncertainty, and doubt. that's their recruiting tactics. well, we should be concerned
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that congress may have unintentionally created an opening for the current generation of veterans and active duty services to be victimized by these abuses. simply because of their eligibility for expanded federal aid that we put -- enacted here in the congress. my committee found evidence that large for-profit schools are adegrees civil recruiting active duty service members and veterans expressly -- expressly -- because of their generous educational benefits packages. it's not just that these military benefits provide a new revenue stream for the companies; the point is it's an especially valuable kind of revenue stream for these companies, more valuable than even going after non-veterans and nong.i.'s. now, why is that? well, listen. military money helps these
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for-profit schools to meet a key statutory requirement that no more than 90% of their revenue can come from federal financial programs. okay, that's in the law. no more than 90% of the income coming into a for-profit school can be from financial -- federal financial programs. well, if a school is getting close to that 90%, ghast they do? -- guess what they do? they go out after military people. and why is that? because a military person, active duty or veteran, enrolled in a for-profit school, that does not count for their 90%. it counts on the 10% side. so a school could actually have -- and there are some -- 92%-94% of all their money coming from federal financial programs, even though the law says you can only get 90%, because military
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doesn't count. so you can see why, if they're close to 90%, they're going after the military. and that's exactly what's happened. that's exactly what happened. with their eyes on this 90.10 ratio, they have created marketing plans and a sales force specifically designed to target and enroll as many veterans, service members, and family members as possible. schools spend billions on sophisticated marketing campaigns and large sales teams to get those students in the door. documents obtained by the "help" committee paint a picture of an industry with a laser-like focus on enrolling military students. for example, i have a 56-page document -- a 56-page document
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here from kaplan military university, used to be just called kaplan university. now they've added kaplan military university. nice -- nice touch. but this lays out their strategy for recruiting military students. now, if you go through this it here, you'll see their objective number one -- i -- as i said, that is laser-like focus going after military people. objective number one: "grow our military enrollments to 9,000 per year by 2011." end quote. at the time, kaplan has signed up about 2,200 military students each year so they were aiming at more than a fourfold increase in the military. the document goes on to lay out
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the marketing and sales plans for achieving this enormous growth. quote -- and this is in this document -- quote "drive awareness sri appear print advertising in key military publications and targeting key military installations." to do this, the document suggests that kaplan planned to spend $30 million over three years for new military-specific recruiting staff, advertising and public relations. just on the military. in a later brainstorming exchange between kaplan executives, the number-one item on the list of initiatives to deal with kaplan's 90-10 situation -- because they were getting close to that 90% -- w was -- quote -- "accelerate military billings/collection. go to d.c. and pick up the check if you have to."
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go get that military money so we don't go over that 90% limit. at education management corporation -- another for-profit school -- the story is similar. let me quote from a 2010 memorandum prepared by a consultant to the c.e.o. of e.m.c., education management corporation. the memo begins -- quote -- "thanks for the call outlining the interest of edmc in learning more about potential areas of funding that could add revenue that would also address the 90-10 issue." number one on the list says -- quote -- "probably one of the most important potential short- and long-term targets for edmc are the 800,000-plus military spouses who have been authoriz authorized" -- and this is in
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italics -- "for the first time in history for a one-time entitlement of up to $6,000. an aggressive effort to reach these spouses at the military bases with various career fairs, direct communications, and visibility with the office of military families in washington would be very important." a subsequent e-mail message between edmc's executives recommends that the company should be -- quote -- "leveraging military spouse benefits to the fullest extent possible" in order to overcome the 90-10 regulation. executives of for-profit schools are candid about the value of military students in trying to ease investors' concern about regulatory compliance. the c.e.o. of bridgepoint education told investors --
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quote -- "our military enrollment grew from 1% in 2007 to 17% at the end of september 2009." he went on to say -- quote -- "we believe that when we are able to report our 90-10 for 2009 that it should decrease due to our penetration in particular into the military market." so we know that these for-profit schools in their own words are aggressively pursuing military personnel and their families. now, how are they enticing them to enroll? a kaplan training manual entitled "military learning modules" tells recruiters how to utilize fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the sales process with regards to competitors'
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offerings and teaches them how to overcome objections that potential students may raise in signing an enrollment agreement." and this is the one from kaplan. "fear, uncertainty, doubt." "this technique was originally created within the computer hardware industry and uses these emotions to attempt to influence perceptions or beliefs. the technique is especially effective when prospects introduce the 'need to examine other on-line schools.'." in other words, a kaplan recruiter calls up a -- a veteran or a military person on active duty, wants to get them to enroll f. that person says, "well, okay, i might look, i've seen some ads for phoenix, i've seen some adds for i.t. and others, maybe i'll look those up." they want to use this fear,
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uncertainty and doubt when prospects introduce the -- quote -- "need to examine other on-line schools. statements such as the following instill fear, uncertainty and doubt regarding the features of competitors' programs." it's one thing when you're doing this and you're selling, you know a keyboard or a hard drive or, what was that it said, computer hardware. that's one thing. but when you're doing it to enroll a young man or woman whose family may never have gone to college, they've enlisted in the military out of patriotic sense of duty, they've had no college experience whatsoever, maybe they didn't do all that well in high school. but now near the military and they're thinking about what they're going to do -- but now they're in the military and they're thinking about what to do and they get hit with this. that's what i find really objectionable.
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when these for-profit schools exploit fear and doubt -- fear, uncertainty and doubt in our young military people -- and i'll have nor say about that and give you some examples of just how -- and i'll have more to say about that and give you some examples of just how onerous is this. when they do this, get them to sign up in their school, take tack pairs' money and then go out and borrow some more -- taxpayers' money and then go out and borrow some more money, turn over to the school, then find out they have no support, nothing to help them, they drop out within a year. they've got debt, they've gotten -- they went through their military benefits, which they can never get again, and the for-profit schools have the money. a military recruiter at colorado technical university -- another for-profit school -- it's owned by the publicly traded career education corporation, told "the new york times" -- quote -- "there is such pressure to simply enroll more vets.
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we knew that most of them would drop out after the first sessi session. instead of helping people, too often i felt like we were almost tricking them." robert songer, the coordinator of all education programs for service members at camp lejeune marine corps base in north carolina expressed his reservations to the bloomberg news service. quote -- "some of these schools prey on marines. day and night they call you, they e-mail you. these servicemen get caught in that. nobody in their families ever went to college. they don't know about college." mr. president, these recruiting tactics are nothing short of disgraceful. when students are enrolled through deception or fear, not only are they being tricked, they're also more likely to be unprepared for the challenges of college.
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these strongarm, emotionally abusive tactics are indicative of schools that see students strictly as a means to an end of higher profits. they appear to have little or no interest in providing students the academic help and support they need to succeed. the end result is that service members and veterans and their spouses end up enrolling in high-cost programs, dropping out in staggering numbers, often winding up with a mountain of student debt. and this often happens despite the availability of similar or better quality programs in the public and nonprofit sectors of higher education. now, the tactics have certainly paid off for the company's bottom line. i released a report last december documenting the absolutely tremendous increase in the amount of money these companies are receiving from military education programs.
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building on the already substantial growth in revenues generated from the traditional federal financial aid programs, which went, by the way, from $14 billion in 2005 to $2 billion in 2009 -- to $29 billion in 2009. the relentless focus that for-profits have brought to military recruiting has yielded an astonishing growth in the funds they get both from the department of defense and from the department of veterans affairs. again, keep in mind, we're talking about two entities: active-duty personnel and veterans. as the new post-9/11 g.i. bill was implemented, 18 large for-profit operators pushed their intake of v.a. dollars from $26 million in 2006 to an astonishing $286 million in 20
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2010. this is what happened. this chart illustrates what happened in v.a. here we are at $26 million in 2006, $25 million in 2007, $27.6 million in 2008, in 2009, when we passed the bill, it kind of goes up to $55 million. look what happened in one year, from 2009, $55 million to $28 $285.8 million in one year. by the way, that's -- that's the profit they took in. that's the amount of money they took in. these same companies -- now, that's the veterans. the same companies increased their collection of department of defense benefits by 337%, $40 million in 2006 to $175 million in 2010. now, again, this is for active duty. you see the steady increase here
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all the way up and, again, up into 2010, from $40 million in 2006 to $175 million in 2010. this didn't just happen. it's happened because the for-profit companies decided they were going to go after military because they were getting close to their 90% threshold. and keep in mind, these dollars don't count for that and so they can keep under the 90% threshold by getting more military people. again, let's be clear. these exorbitant amount of federal dollars are not going to small family-owned institutions. they're going to some of the largest wall street-owned companies. out of the $640 million in post-9/11 g.i. bill benefits that flowed to for-profit schools in just 2009 and 2010 -- that's half a billion, $640 million, over a half a billion dollars in one year -- $439 million went to the 15
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publicly traded companies. this amount is equal to 69% of the military money flowing to for-profit schools and 25% of all post-9/11 g.i. bill benefits. let me repeat that. let's just say this. 25%, one-fourth of all of the g.i. bill benefits post-9/11 went to 15 publicly traded companies. it would be one thing if the for-profit schools were using this for educational expenses. but, unfortunately, the lion's share of that money -- taxpayers' dollars, taxpayers' dollars -- went into profits, marketing and, guess what? wall street executive salaries and bonuses. what are we getting in return for this enormous investment of taxpayers' dollars? well, we're getting a lot of questions.
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we're getting a lot of questions. i will go on right after i yield to the leader. mr. reid: mr. president? through the chair, could i ask my distinguished friend, the chairman of the "help" committee, if i could do a unanimous consent situation here? i would ask that the distinguished chairman's statement not appear interrupted in the record. mr. harkin: yes. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that morning business be extended until 7:00 p.m. tonight, senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each during that period of time. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that it be in order to proceed to s. 1038, introduced earlier today. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i move to proceed then, mr. president, to s. 1038. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to s. 1038, a bill to extend expiring provisions of the u.s.a. patriot, improvement and reauthorization act of 2005 and the intelligence reform and terrorism prevention act of 2004
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until june 1, 2015, and for other purposes. mr. reid: i have a cloture motion at the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the motion to proceed to s. 10 1038, a bill to extend expiring provisions of the u.s.a. patri patriot, improvement and reauthorization act of 2005, the intelligence reform and terrorism prevention act of 20 2004, and the fisa amendments act of 2008. signed by 18 senators as follows. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask that reading of the names be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that upon conclusion of morning business on monday, may 23, the senate resume
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consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 1038. that at 5:00 p.m., the senate proceed to vote on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed. further, that the time for debate on the motion to proceed be equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i appreciate, mr. president, my friend, the senior -- junior senator from iowa, allowing me to interrupt him. the presiding officer: the senator from iowa. mr. harkin: i thank the leader. mr. president, we know that student outcomes for the general
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population at for-profit schools are pretty dismal. on average, 55% of students who attend these schools drop out within a year. and there is no evidence that military students are fairing better. eight of the top -- of the ten top recipients of v.a. dollars see more than a half of their associate degree students enrolled drop out within a year. five of the schools see more than a 60% drop. this is what our investigation revealed. here are the ten schools receiving the most department of veterans affairs funds. you can see i.t.t., they have got the most. $70.9 million. that's a -- that's a one-year -- that's a one-year amount. those who enrolled for a four-year degree program, 44% withdrew. those who signed up for a two-year program, 53% withdrew.
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you can look down here to kaplan. they got $17.3 million. look at this, under bachelor's degree, 68.2% withdrew. 69% of a -- of the two-year students withdrew. first year, in the first year. now, here's what's startling. that's bad enough as it is, but our investigation showed that neither the department of defense nor the department of veterans affairs has any method to assess what's happening to these students. they just get the money, these students get high-pressure tactics from the recruiters, these schools. the money flows out and the department -- neither the department of veterans affairs nor the department of defense has any way to assess whether or not they are getting a good
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education. i might add neither does the department of education nor does any of the entities that accredit these schools. they have no way of assessing what's happening to these students. so if you want to know why we need a gainful employment rule to finally find out what's happening to some of these students. and i might just add, mr. president, that senator carper has looked into this also in his subcommittee. he has looked into this. and we have discussed the possibility of looking at something to get the department of defense to start taking better care of their -- of their active duty personnel and the veterans affairs -- veterans affairs department, department of veterans affairs to take
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better care of the veterans. we need to have better assessment of what's happening to these students and what's happening to the money and how much debt they're accumulating and what's happening to their education. what we're doing is we're basically handing over huge and growing sums of military money to for-profit schools without any ability to assess whether these schools are giving our active duty members or veterans any kind of a quality education that they deserved. the complaints i have gathered in the course of our investigation point to a deeply disturbing willingness on the part of for-profit schools to exploit veterans. i want to repeat that. our investigation shows clearly that a number of these for-profit schools are out to exploit veterans. i received this letter from a veteran who attended i.t.t. technical institute, the biggest receiver of v.a. funds.
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here is what he said. he said -- quote -- "unlike other institutions i reached out to, as soon as i expressed interest in i.t.t. tech, they began to actively and aggressively pursue me. minutes after i filled out an online form, a recruiter called me. he then called me every day, telling me it was urgent for me to enroll. the letter writer notes that due to the high cost of tuition, he had to take out loans, but he writes -- quote -- "the expensive tuition did not seem to go toward a quality education." end quote. he concludes with this. -- quote -- "within two months of leaving i.t.t. tech, they sent me a bill for $2,000 and a transcript that showed clear signs that it was altered in a way to specifically make my positive balance disappear and create a negative balance."
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end quote. this letter writer ends with these scwilg words -- quote -- "i regret attending i.t.t. tech. the institution provided at best an absolute minimum education and left me with nearly insurmountable debt." end quote. this is a veteran. another veteran who attended bridge point education's ashford university wrote the following -- quote -- "i was extremely disappointed, confused and angry. i felt that i have been misled, deceived or even outright lied to in an effort to gain my contractual agreement." end quote. he was repeatedly assured by bridge point recruiters that his post-9/11 g.i. bill benefits would cover the entire cost of his degree, only to find out after he was enrolled that he would owe close to $11,000. another student, this one at the
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university of phoenix, sent this letter to the arizona attorney general after trying to resolve his complaint with the school -- quote -- "i have been a police officer for over 20 years. i am also an iraq war veteran. i believe that the university of phoenix is using deceptive practices in order to lure students into the school. the enrollment counselors tell students that they should be complete with their course of study in a short period of time, fully knowing exactly how long it's going to take. the enrollment counselors eventually tell the student that it's going to take a lot longer to finish their program, but not until the student has committed all of his financial aid and invested so much money that it would be senseless to leave and waste his invested time and money." end quote. a letter to the attorney general of arizona. mr. president, what are the consequences for a student who
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enrolls at one of these schools but is not satisfied with their experience? well, the post-9/11 g.i. bill benefit package can be depleteed rapidly. if benefits are used up without completing a program or for credits that can't be transferred, the benefits cannot be recovered. in fact, because of the high tuition, many students, as i pointed out, have to apply for additional grants or loans to pay for schools -- school. that means that many veterans are pressured into signing up for one of these for-profit schools, told that they have all these benefits, free money to pay for their tuition, they sign them up and then all of a sudden they find that that's not quite enough money. now they have to apply for a loan. and they get a loan. they drop out within a year or
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so. the schools keep the money, some of it grant money, some of it loan money, and the g.i. or the military person is left with a debt and absolutely no diploma. here's a letter addressed to the ohio for-profit school regulator that reads -- and this just tears your heart out. this is from a mother. "normally, a 26-year-old man doesn't need his mom advocating for him, but this is anything but a normal situation. i expected my son to be changed by his tour of duty in iraq, but i could not have been prepared for the reality of those changes. my son struggles on a daily basis with symptoms from posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. he suffers from bouts of depression, anxiety, headaches,
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nightmares, vision problems, mental confusion, insomnia and many other symptoms. you have to pretty much bottom line your conversations with him. he can't mentally process a lot of details. if you continue with your details, he's done with the conversation unless you can return to a quick bottom line." the mother goes on -- quote -- "it is my belief that the i.t.t. representative may have quickly figured this out and taken advantage of the opportunity. i remember when he, my son, called from i.t.t. because i was on my way out to an important occasion. he said the representative told him he needed a co-signer just so he could start school immediately, but not to worry about it because the military was going to pay for everything, even give him money to live on
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and pay his expenses. he sounded so hopeful, something i hadn't heard from him since before the war. it was really hard for him to admit that he couldn't continue going to school. he said he just couldn't retain the material. it became too stressful for him to continue. my son is a proud young man. he's not looking for pity or charity. he is embarrassed that he believed what he was told by the i.t.t. rep. he could hardly come around to me when he found out that sallie mae was calling me for payment of his loan." that she had cosigned. veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder commonly isolate themselves from family and friends. this made it even worse. "as a mother and a human being, i am outraged that this kind of
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predatory lending tactic is used on anyone, but especially on an american soldier who gave everything he had and almost lost his life many times and who continues to suffer. i will pursue this on my son's behalf until someone listens and forgives these loans. thank you all for your effort. it is very much appreciated." end quote. so, mr. president, this situation is unacceptable. unacceptable. active duty military personnel and veterans using their hard-earned benefits, victims, victims of these kind of high pressure tactics of the for-profit schools, enticing them to enroll, taking their money, causing them maybe even to go into further debt, and not giving them any support whatsoever.
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as i said before, the agencies distributing this money do not investigate and act on the reported abuses by for-profit schools. they just don't. earlier this month, the g.a.o. released a report concluding that the v.a. still faces numerous challenges in implementing a program that they wanted to start to begin interventions. mr. president, many for-profit schools have succeeded in building a highly profitable business structure while failing to provide the student services, learning environmental and career services that will enable their students to graduate and succeed. the federal government must be vigilant to ensure that poor-performing for-profit schools with huge dropout and student default rates are not allowed to continue to receive billions of dollars in federal taxpayer money every year. we owe this to taxpayers, but we
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also owe this to the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our nation in uniform. that's why i wanted to take the time on the floor today to point out this new and disturbing finding of our committee, how much these schools are targeting, targeting military personnel. how they're using the high-pressure tactics to get them to enroll because they know if they get the money, if helps them keep below that 90% level where they can only get 90% from the government, but the military money doesn't count. shameful. it's shameful that these for-profit schools are allowed to get by with this, and they continue it yet today. continue it, reaping huge profits -- huge profits -- paying their c.e.o.'s and their executives enormous amounts of money, hundreds of millions of
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dollars every year. and yet, as our men and women in uniform, our g.i.'s taken in, who aren't provided an help or support, but now are saddled with a lot of debt or they've used up their g.i. bill pweufrs, and maybe -- bill benefits and maybe now they want to go to a community college, somewhere to really get a good education, and now they find out they can't get any more g.i. bill money. they're done. they gave it all to one of these for-profit schools. mr. president, i'd like to ask unanimous consent to put the documents that i have referenced in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: would the senator from iowa yield for a question? mr. harkin: delighted to yield to my friend from illinois who has also been a -- i would say over the last several years focused a lot of attention on the abuses of the for-profit
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schools. mr. durbin: i thank the senator from iowa. your investigation is a clarion call to every member of the senate, both political parties. are we going to continue to waste taxpayers' money? are we going to continue to allow these schools to exploit veterans and students across america? you can't turn on the local television here in washington, d.c., where there are a lot of military families, without running into i.t.t. ads trying to lure these young veterans into their programs that are virtually worthless, that end up saddling many of them with debt, if not saddling the government with debt before it's all over. i'd ask the senator from iowa, is it not a fact, for the record, that when the new leadership came into the republican house of representatives, that in the first few weeks of activity, one of the first things they did was to attempt to stop the department of education from
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regulating this for-profit school? mr. harkin: the senator is right on the mark. the house wanted to keep the department of education from what we call a gainful kpwhroeufplt role -- employment role, which is a rule saying if you're going to take all this money and you're supposed to be educating kids to get a job or career, what's happening to them? we want to know if they are actually getting jobs. what can be more innocent than that? we want to know what they're doing. yet, the republican leadership in the house of representatives wanted to stop the department from issuing that rule. mr. durbin: i might ask the senator from iowa, at the end of the day is it not true that while these for-profit schools have about 10% of the students in america they take in about 25% of all federal aid for education? mr. harkin: the senator is absolutely right. mr. durbin: is it not true we requested together that the g.a.o. do a study of the amount of money that was being spent on
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behalf of our veterans at for-profit schools and did we not find that the cost to the federal government was often two or three times as much for the same education that was being offered at community colleges and public colleges? isn't it true that the for-profit industry, by all objective measures, is exploiting our g.i. bill at the expense of our taxpayers, our government in debt and these veterans who are unwittingly signing up for these worthless course stph-s. mr. harkin: i say to my friend, yes, we d. on december 8 our committee issued a report -- december 8, 2010 -- partially is in the report of what the senator is saying now, how much more expensive these programs are in these schools compared to what they can get, say, at a community college or a nonprofit
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school in their states. and the senator is right, it's three to four times as much. and plus, there's one other thing i'd say to my friend. he knows this, that when these students go to, say, a small not-for-profit school that you'd have in illinois or the colleges i have in iowa like simpson or grace land or central college -- a number of our small private colleges do a great job. they do a wonderful job in helping poor students who need a lot of pell grants. what these colleges do, when students come in and they borrow money and they're using pell grants, they get a lot of support from the university. the university is there to help them, to help them with their studies. they get the kind of help and support because a lot of these students come from families that have never gone to college. they have never had that kind of experience. they come into college, they get
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that support. what the for-profits do, they'll sign these kids up. once they get the money, good luck in ever getting any help or support from the for-profit colleges. mr. durbin: i might say to the senator from iowa, next time he's in chicago and headed out to o'hare airport, right before the o'hare exit look to your right. you'll see a tall office building and it will say west wood college. this has been one of my favorites because i have met so many so-called students -- and i say that despite their best efforts to be students -- who have been exploited by west wood college. i want to share with the senator one story to show you that this can go from bad to worse when it comes to veterans and west wood college. there was a veteran named carlos who wrote to me. he served in the army in aircraft, came home -- army in iraq, came home and wanted to get a college degree. he saw the ad for west wood college and went to sign up.
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they said don't worry about it, carlos because your g.i. bill will pay for everything. carlos signed up and started going to west wood college and was disappointed at how awful the courses were. he didn't feel like he was learning anything, he said. after a year, west wood called him in and said carlos, you're on your road to a degree but we've run into a problem. the g.i. bill won't cover all the expenses. if i'm not mistaken -- i'll ask the senator from iowa -- doesn't the g.i. bill pay about $17,000 a year? mr. harkin: that's right. mr. durbin: they said to carlos, we need for you to take out student loans on top of the g.i. bill. he ended up taking out the loans, going $23,000 in debt over and above the g.i. bill, and he couldn't finish. he didn't want to go any further in debt. i might say to carlos, he got off easy. i had a young woman who went to west wood college for a criminal
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justice degree. after five years of extra effort to get her diploma, she ended up with a worthless diploma that she couldn't turn into a job anywhere at any shiver's office or -- sheriff's office or anyplace related to criminal justice. i might say to the senator from iowa, she was $90,000 in debt. $90,000 in debt at the age of 26 with a worthless diploma from west wood college, this for-profit school. she's living in her parent's basement because she can't get a job to pay for anything. whatever she makes goes to student loans and she can't borrow a nickel to get a real education. think about this girl. she was doing the right thing. i'll say something to the senator from iowa and will ask him to comment on this. i think the federal government is at fault too. somewhere along the way west wood college ended up qualifying for college student loans and pell grants.
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who said they're qualified? i would challenge that based on these experiences. are we doing our job as a federal government to make sure that these are truly acredited colleges and universities? i ask you at this point, is there more that we can do to make sure these are real schools, teaching real courses that can lead to jobs? mr. harkin: i say to my friend, first of all, west wood was one of the schools that the g.a.o. had an undercover investigation into that had one of the most deceptive programs of getting students to sign up. and that's all documented on film. secondly, the accrediting agency that accredits west wood was out at west wood about the same time, and yet they found none of the things that the g.a.o. found. and i had a hearing. i had them before a committee.
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i asked the accrediting agency how could it be that on the one hand the g.a.o. finds all this and yet you say they're fine and they get accredited? they did admit that there was some laxness or there was some loopholes, there were some things they weren't paying attention to that they needed to do a better job of accrediting. i say to my friend that what the federal government does is we say for a school to be able to be eligible for federal financial aid, you could accept pell grants and get the guaranteed student loans, you have to be accredited. the federal government doesn't do that accrediting. that's done by private agencies. here's another one, i say to my friend from illinois that we need to look into. get this: the accrediting agencies that abg credit, let's say a west wood, do you know where they get their funding? from the schools they acredit. talk about a fox in a chicken
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coop. they go out to accredit west wood but it is west wood paying to accredit them. this is something as a federal government, we've got to get into. this is a system that has kind of run amok, this whole accrediting system. i think there needs to be a better system of accrediting schools. i can assure my friend this is something our committee on education will be looking at in the future. mr. durbin: is it not true when our g.a.o. undercover agents went to take a look at 15 for-profit colleges along the lines you discussed, they found all 15 made deceptive or questionable statements to potential applicants including recruiters at this so-called west wood college. investigators found administrators misquoting the cost of the program, failing to distkhroes graduation rates.
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as with the experience of the young veteran i described, the g.a.o. report found recruiters overstated what it would cost to go to public college, on film. this is on videotape. when asked about the cost of a program by an undercover g.a.o. investigator, this recruiter from west wood said it depends on the program. usually with the bachelors program coming in with no college credits it could range from $50,000 to $75,000. more traditional schools you're looking at $100,000, $150,000, $200,000. as i might say to the senator from iowa, isn't it true to obtain the same degree he was offering at west wood from a public university in texas would cost a student $36,000? isn't that what the g.a.o. came in and said? these people are deliberately misleading these youngsters and new veterans who are trying to make a life for themselves, piling debt on them with a worthless diploma and ripping off the taxpayers. why don't we have a sense of
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outrage here in congress of this going on? i would say to the senator it strikes me that first and foremost, we should protect the young people in america and we ought to make an equally high, if not higher, priority of protecting our veterans. we created the g.i. bill with a great sofrs pride. i know -- great source of pride. i know you're a navy veteran yourself. great source of pride that we remember standing up for this generation of veterans. senator jim webb voted on that. now these same veterans are being ripped off because we're not doing our job in congress. i ask the senator, when it comes to some of these recruiting practices that are being used by kaplan university, which is owns "the washington post," what you have disclosed here on the floor is embarrassing that we allow this to occur to our veterans. mr. harkin: i say to my friend it is. it's embarrassing and shameful. i said earlier this is from
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kaplan's recruiting, they call it their military learning module. and they call it fear, uncertainty, and doubt. as i said earlier, they say -- now this is an internal document. this is for the recruiters. this is not something they hand out to the public. we got this through our investigation. they say this technique of fear, uncertainty and doubt was originally created within the computer hardware industry and uses these emotions to influence perceptions or beliefs, and on and on. as i said earlier, it's one thing for high-pressure tactics to sell you a hard drive or a new computer or something. but when you are exploiting fear, uncertainty and doubt on a g.i. who may have post-traumatic stress disorder, who may have served in iraq whorbgs didn't go to college -- who didn't go to college -- young people now are worrying about their future and
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what's going to happen to their future, and they come in and put the pressure on them with fear, uncertainty and doubt to get them to sign a contractual agreement and turn over their g.i. bill benefits. it's just disgraceful. mr. durbin: i ask the senator again, this is kaplan university, which owns "the washington post"? mr. harkin: it is the other way around. "the washington post" owns kaplan university, yes. mr. durbin: i also think for the record that kaplan university makes more money than the newspaper. be that as it may, the fact is they are linked economically? mr. harkin: yes, they are. mr. durbin: it strikes me -- and i've always respect this had newspaper, but i wonder how they can rashallize -- rationalize this activity, the exploitation of students and veterans. i'm sure you have been visited by so many people who say senator harkin, loved your speech, loved your hearing, got to talk to you because we're the good guys, we're the good school. we're the ones that don't exploit students.
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i found a couple of them that i believe. there are some that are good. but the rest of them, at this point it's an embarrassment to me. as a person who couldn't have gone to college without a student loan, and i've voted reflection civil to give the next generation a chance, i've got to say, the party is over as far as i'm concern. next time we have a debate on pell grants and college loans, i want this issue front and center. they are ripping off the taxpayers and ripping off the studented and ripping off thes and we are -- and ripping off the veterans and we are fools to ignore it. the house republicans have announced that they want no part in reform. they want to take this power away from the department of education. i think we have got to send a different message. harass headquarter a right on target on this -- mr. harkin: you're right on target on this. what's happened as we've looked at this over the last year and a half now, is even the good actors are being sucked into this vortex because the business
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model itself is bad. for example, how many times has my friend heard from the for-profit descrirks well, the reason we have these high dropout rates -- for example, here's westwood, 57.6% dropped out in the first year. here's kaplan, 69% dropped out in the first year for on associate's degree. reason is we serve a lot of low-income students. these are low-income people that -- you know, that they searchedz they have a lot of problems in their lives. that's why we have such a high dropout rate. what they're not telling you is because of the business model, that's exactly who they go after to leecruit. why do they do that? because the lowest income person/student gets the highest pell grants and the most guaranteed student loan. so if you're in the for-profit business and you want to make the most money, you don't want
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to recruit senator durbin's son or daughter; you want to recruit somebody whose parents never went to college, who is probably minority, maybe doesn't even speak english all that well, who can get the maximum pell grant and maximum student loan. and once you get it and they get the money, well, if you stay, fine, if you don't, no big deal. mr. durbin: let's stick on that point for secondary. how long does the student have to stay at the school for the school to get the amount -- the federal money? if they left and didn't finish, you know, would the school still get paid? mr. harkin: that's -- this is something else we've got to look into. right now the federal rules -- laws are that a student has to be in for at least 60% of a term. if you're in for at least 60% of a term, then the school can keep the money. now i ask my friend from illinois, what's a term? well, i ask people that, they
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say, isn't that a semester? well, a term is whatever a school says it is. some of these schools have a term that's six weeks' long. so, sign up, you turn over your money, you spend four weeks there, you fulfilled 60% of the term -- if you leave, they keep the money. mr. durbin: and you end up with a student loan? mr. harkin: and, by the way, as the senator fully knows, these student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. they are around your neck forever. mr. durbin: i might also add that i think that congress made a serious error in saying that the private loans from the same schools will be treated the same way. they are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. here you have someone who could be 19 or 20 years old signing up for $4,000, $5,000, or $10,000 worth of student loans. have they really thought and reflected on the fact that that debt -- that debt they have incurred is going to be with them for a lif lifetime?
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and at some point in their lives when they can no longer borrow money to go to school and they still are facing default on their student loan, they could have their income tax returns attached, they could be prohibiting from federal employment, they cannot discharge this loan in bankruptcy. they're stuck with it. and that poor girl living in her parents' basement with a $90,000 loan from westwood college, a ripoff institution, is stuck. she has nowhere to turn. and the college president, incidentally, wrote to me and said, i am just being totally unfair with him about her speefnlts i know her experience inside and owvment i said, you want fairness? you step in and you pay back her loan. they don't have the interest of the student at heart. they have the interest of money at heart. that is unfortunately something i'm glad you're investigating and we will continue to speak out on. mr. harkin: i thank you for your great help in working this
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area. i want to add one other thing about this whole thing about the debt of these students. some have likened what the for-profit industry -- school industry is doing to the subprime bubble that we had. but there's a big difference. even as bad as the subprime mortgages were, a person who had a house that they couldn't pay for, you could walk away from that house. you could always walk away from it. that's the end of your debt. you can't walk away from this, no way. that's the difference. this is not a dischargeable debt. and these students, as you point out, they might want to get a loan further along. maybe they want to go to a legitimate school. they can't get any money for that. they'll be barred from federal employment. and this will follow them for the rest of their lives until
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they pay it off. and yet these companies are making almost obscene profits and paying their c.e.o.'s tremendous salaries and benefits, and, ace pointed out earlier, many of these -- many of these for-profit schools are owned by the same investment firms on wall street that brought us the subprime problem. well, i say to my friend, we just can't let this go. there's too much at stake here, not only for the taxpayers of this country but for these students, these young kids, these poor kids that are being preyed upon. so whenever you hear these schools say, well, the reason we have this problem is because we're servicing all these poor kids, don't forget, that's who they prey on. that's who they go after. because they get the most pell grants and the most student loans out of the poor kitt kids and then after they get the
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money, hey, if they leave, no sweat. they don't care. it's not a problem with them. i thank my friend from illinois. mr. durbin: i thank the senator from iowa and i ask unanimous consent, if he's concluded -- have you concluded? mr. harkin: yes. mr. durbin: as he's concluded, i ask consent to spea speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: we have been talking about students who have been exploited by for-profit colleges. i think about turning the tv on here in washington and the ad that shows a lovely young woman who says, you can go to college in your pajamas. she's got a computer on the bed there. and it strikes me that i don't believe anybody who fall for that, but some must. and they end up siping up for these for-profit schools, getting deep in debt with a worthless diploma when it is all over. and the exploitation of
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veterans, senator harkin is bringing that out, so that people understand it. i hope that the people who are going to give the patriotic speeches in this chamber about our love of country and our love of the men and women in uniform will love them enough to stand with us and put an end to this exploitation by these for-profit colleges. speak beining on a related top , i wanted to speak about the "dream" act which i just reintroduced. the "dream" act legislation is which i first introduced 10 years ago and it came to my office when we were approached by a korean-american woman in chicago whose daughter was brought to the united states when the little girl was 2 years old. she was brought on a visitor's visa. her mom stayed, got -- had other children, and started a business and eventually she became a naturalized citizen and the other brothers and sisters were born in the united states. but this young girl that was brought from korea literally no papers filed. well, she turned out to be an
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amazing concert pianist. she was accepted at the juilliard school of music and when she went to apply and was asked about her citizenship, her mom realized she'd never done anything about her daughter's citizen shvment so they called our office, we checked in, and the laws of the united states were very clear. they said this young girl, who had never remembered ever being in korea, was told to return to korea and wait at least 10 years and try to get back in the united states. i thought that was unfair. it turns out she wouldn't h. wasn't alone. young people all across the united states brought here by their parents, undocumented have, lived their lives here, have gone to school here, have pledged allegiance to the flag in their classroom, know no other national anthem and have learned that they are without a country. they have no place to go. for many of them, it is a rude awaninging. after all the effort they've put into school to realize they can't do anything, they can't qualify for student loans, even
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at good schools, they can't qualify for a lot of jobs that they might otherwise have, if they graduate -- engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers -- because they have no citizen shvment and so i said, let's at least agree on something basic. you shouldn't hold a child responsible for the wrongdoing of their parent. i hope we all agree on that. secondly, if we've spent so much time and resources in giving this young person a chance to be educated and they have paid us back by working hard at graduating, isn't it in the best interests of america to give them a chance to help our country move forward? and that's why i introduced the "dream" act what. it says, if you graduate from high school, if you came to this country under the age of 146, graduated from high school, you have no serious problems with the law, you've had no issues of moral character and you go on to do one of two things -- either serve in our military or finish at least two years of college -- we'll give you you a chance to
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become legal in america. it's called the "dream" act. we have been drg for at least ten years. 55 slotes on the senate floor, a majority, but not enough. there was a republican filibuster requiring 60 votes. we fell short. we had three republicans join us in voting for t we lost a handful of democrats. we're going at it again. i have reintroduced the bill. the reason i've done it is because the challenge is still there. these young people are still out there and their lives are still hanging in the balance. i think it's time to give these young people a chance. i don't want to give them amnesty. i want them to earn everything they're going to get f they have-to-pay a fine or tax on the way, so be it. they'll pay it. they're determined to become part of america. these are young people who have become superstars in their own rights. by every account, they are the leaders of tomorrow but for fact that they don't have a citizenship or a legal status in
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america. the "dream" act is supported by defense secretary robert gates. he believes it will bring diversity to our armed forces. and general colin powell, a man i respect very much, who believes as i do that we should give these young people a chance. this "dream" act would stimulate our economy with a lot of new people in professions that we need to have filled -- nurses, teachers, engineers, doctors. that's why the act has the support of such a diverse group as rupert murdoch and the c.e.o.'s of companies like microsoft and pfizer. every day i get facted by these students across america. they keep looking to us and won gearing if the day will -- and condering if the day will come when we give them a chance. i want to tell you two stories. this is elliott -- i'll show you his photo, a handsome young man. his parents brought him to the united states in 1994 when he was four years old.
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he is a computer wizard. in high school he won awards for outstanding achievement in science and information technology. he graduated in the top 5% of his high school class. he was named tech prep student of the year in cincinnati ow, o. noise a 19-year-old honor student at the university of cincinnati, majoring in nfltion technology, with a 3.8 g.p.a. here is what one of his professors said about him. "i work with thousands of students over the past 30 years and elier is one of those students that comes along every ten years or so who just makes your heart sing." elier sent me a letter. "technologies and computers, that's where i want to spend of the rest of my lievment i'm short sale a spend plief imloamenting and discovering new technologies of the future. i'm dreaming big and i'll continue to do so."
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now, can we use person with those talents in america? you bet we can. in illinois and new mexico, in ohio. look at leading american technology companies like google, yahoo, intel, and ebay. they were founded by immigrants to the united states. that could be elier's future and part of america's future. here's the sad part of the story of this otherwise mages young man: elier is in deportation proceedings. after having won all the awards for great academic background and demonstrated the kind of leadership we need in america, our government has officially decided it's time for him to leave. here wheys said about being deported. "i've been living in the united states for the last 14 years of my life. the most important years of my life were spent here in america. i cannot speak, read or write spanish. i've never been to mexico since the day we moved here at the age
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of four. mexico's not my home and i'm afraid of going back there." so would it be a good use of taxpayers' dollars to deport this young man and send him back to a country where he can barely speak a few words of the language, a place he can never remember? he asked the department of homeland security to grant him a stay and i'm going to work hard to make sure he gets it. i don't know if i'll be successful. but it makes no sense for us to lose elier lara. he has so much to contribute and we need to have him here. in the past, i've spoken about oscar vasquez. oscar say student from arizona. i'd like to update on oscar's situations because while we take our time addressing this issue, the lives of these young people goes on. -- go on. oscar vasquez was brought to phoenix, arizona, by his parents when he was a child. he spent his high school years in junior rotc, as you can see
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from his uniform. he ceemed of enlisting in the military. but at the end of his junior year, a recruiting officer told oscar he was ineligible to serve in our military because he was undocumented. oscar found another outlet for his talent. he entered college-level robot competition sponsored by nasa. oscar and three other dream act students -- four of them -- worked for months in a storage room in their high school. they were competing against students from m.i.t. and other top universities. oscar's team won first place. this is oscar today. i'll show you his updated photo. good-looking young man. in 2009, he graduated from arizona state university with a degree in mechanical engineeri engineering. he was one of the top three students in his class at arizona state. following his graduation, he took a brave step. he voluntarily returned to
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mexico, a country where he hadn't lived since he was an infant, and he said -- quote -- "i decided to take a gamble and try to do the right thing." last year, the obama administration granted oscar a waiver to reenter the united states. without this waiver, oscar would have been barred from returning to the u.s. for at least ten years. he would have been separated from his wife carla and their two-year-old daughter samantha, both of whom were american citizens. when oscar returned to the united states last year, he did two things. he applied for citizenship and he enlisted in the united states army. he's in basic training right n now. he wants to be an apache helicopter pilot. in june, oscar will complete basic training and be sphwhorn as an american -- sworn in as an american citizen. this story of oscar vasquez is a story of america and it's the story of the dream act. this young man, determined to serve in our military, was turned away as undiewvmentd he went on -- as undocumented. he went on and earned a college
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degree with no help from federal programs, graduating at the top of his class, then went to mexico and took a chance that he could get back here so he could enlist in the army and he made it. tell me, what is fairness and justice for oscar vasquez? that's what the dream act is all about. i introduced this bill in 2001. i've met so many young students like these who are my inspiration to come to this floor regularly and remind those who follow the senate that this is an issue that will not go away. as these lives will not go away. we need those young people. and i want to call on other students all across america who were lucky enough to be born here in america, who never had to question their own citizenship or future. i'm asking them to stand in solidarity with these young men and women, people who may be sitting next to them in a lecture hall or just across the aisle at a desk, that are just like you and they need you to stand up for them.
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if we can have students across america mobilize on behalf of dream act students, we can create a force for change, a force that can pass even with 60 votes this dream act in the united states senate. i need my colleagues to not forget the dream act, not forget these young people and not forget what america is all abo about. mr. president, just a few steps from here is my office and right behind my desk is a certificate that i've had displayed as long as i've been in the senate. it's my mother's naturalization certificate. she was an immigrant and she came here at the age of two. she would have been one of the dream kids of her generation. it wasn't until after she was married and had two children that she finally took the classes and was naturalized as a u.s. citizen. she was a young mom in east st. louis, illinois, and i've got her picture light to on the naturalization semplet to
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remind -- certificate. to remind me not only of who i am, to remind me of her and her journey. her journey to america i think is the same journey these young people made. coming as an infant and striving to succeed in a place which didn't always welcome immigran immigrants. but thank goodness this nation of immigrants from time to time will rally and celebrate our diversity, celebrate the length and breadth of the american family and all the culture and all the ethnic backgrounds that it comprises. i'm so proud of this great nation and i'm proud of who we are and what we are, this nation of immigrants should remember that fine young people like these dream act students deserve a chance. and given a chance, they will continue to prove to america that this is, indeed, a great and noble experiment in our country, bringing together people from all over the world. mr. president, i would yield the floor at this point and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call: mr. durbin: mr. president, i ask the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from illinois is recognized. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the consideration of calendar number 51, s. 990. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: calendar number 51, s. 990, a bill to provide for an additional temporary extension of programs under the small business act and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. durbin: you know that a landrieu-snowe substitute amendment which is at the desk be agreed to, the bill as amended be read a third time and passed, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements related to the bill be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the judiciary committee be discharged from further consideration of senate resolution 184 and the senate proceed to its immediate consideration. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 184,
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recognizing the life and service of the honorable hubert h. humphrey, distinguished former senator from the state of minnesota and former vice president of the united states upon the 100th an verse riff his birth -- anniversary of his birth. the presiding officer: without objection, the committee is -- the bill is discharged from committee and the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. durbin: mr. president, first i ask unanimous consent unless i'm already added as a cosponsor, i be added as a cosponsor to this amendment. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin cloture motion i ask unanimous consent the sessions amendment at the desk be agreed to, the resolution be as amend be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table without any intervening action or debate and any statements placed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to senate resolution 192, submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 192, designating may 21, 2011, as national kids to parks day.
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the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements relating to the matter be placed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to senate resolution 193, submitted earlier today. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: s. res. 193, honoring the bicentennial of the city of astoria. the presiding officer: without objection, the senate will proceed to the measure. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements relating to the matter be placed in the record as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 2:00 p.m. on monday, may 23. that following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, that following any leader remarks the senate proceed to a period of
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morning business until 3:00 p. p.m., with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, and that following morning business, the senate resume consideration of the motion to proceed to s. 1038, a bill to he can tend expiring provisions -- extend expiring provisions of the patriot act under the previous order. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, there will be a roll call vote on monday at 5:00 p.m. on the motion to invoke cloture on the motion to proceed to s. 1038, relating to the patriot act. and, mr. president, if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until
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>> history, as you know, is much more than just politics and soldiers, social issues. it is also medicine, science, art, music and theater and poetry and ideas. and we shouldn't bump things
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into categories. it's all part of the same thing. >> today, senators voted down goodman live on the ninthiding e circuit court of appeals. next, we are some ofr: the debai on the nomination. >> mr. president, i rise in strong opposition for theon nomination of fredman loots the u.s. court of appeals for the ninth ns he sa tt at the first hearine before the judiciary committee, his recordtt is public and he h. written what he is written. he has said padilla said. that record is what we have -- o what we have to know us. the basics on which we have to make a decision about his nomination to the federal
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confirmation on the floor. the festival is record endorsesd a powerful judiciary that can take control of the law in general and of the constitution in particular. activist his act does judicial philosophe is fundamentally at odds with its both on which our system of government is based.ecord to i examined a judicial nominee's entire record to determine if he ed is qualified by legal experience and more importantly by judicias philosophy.nani as to professor liu coleco the aba granted him qualified. that is more than a little bad place since the aba's own criteria state denomination have that leaves 12 years of actual bot and part this stance will j. try to experience as a judge. so it's a little bit more compact way if somebody was washed the aba all these yearsie
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i've been in the senate. professor liu has none of that. none of the actual part this is a trail t experiences good. suffice it to say that understanding ministries the aba judicial nominee ratings has eluded me for many sometimes they do ati great jobs a lot of times they don't. the more important qualifications for judicial service is the nomination of judicial philosophy for his understanding of our proper role of judges in our system of of je government. professor liu has been unequivocal about this issue, writing and speaking directly about how judges should go about judging. the they would apply the law, especially the constitution.omen the debate about judicial philosophy really comes down ton
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this the real question is what the constitution means.ay be in the mean of its words properly may be found. the debate is about who gets the cotituti final say in what theple constitution means. the people are the judges.ica'ds america's founders cle carly top the people side in this debate.i and it's farewell address inn sd 1796 george washington said the very basis of ouras politicalple system is the people control the constitution. he said until the people change obligatory above all. that certainly includes, inmariy fact -- that primarily includes government because i it was -- t was the constitution thato existed you to those in power and limit government. the constitution cannot limit government if it cannot permit th judges. the it cannot limit judges if they control what the constitution
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means in accordance with their own predilections and values. the constitution belongs to theo people, not thte judges. president obama takes the opposite view.op when he was a senator and oppose the nomination of chief justice john roberts at one of the greatest appellate lawyers in the history of the country he said the case is based on deeply what is in their heart? pre at that than senator obama saidr they made the same case to theas planned parenthood action andair said that these were the criteria by which he would pick judges.kept president obama has certainly kept a t campaign promise to pro professor goodwin liu. a professor liu on asserts new constitutional meaning in after
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article after article, speech qt after she, the argus on a quests for new constitutional meeting may find that in such things, ns conditions and evolving social moments and practices then shifting cultural understanding. no matter how you cut it, this e alternative ways of saying that the constitution means whatever judges say it needs. this is a blue print for a judiciary that controls theon professor liu treats thes constitution as if there weren't some written code and it's the only one who has the key to arguring it out. stand professor liu is hardly the onet to take this argument. it's pretty standard for thoseo. one or constitution to remain something other than what it does. when these folks want government to power, real constitutional deny what they want.
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these folks do not want government to have power andre urged judges to make a so-called rights that are not there atpoll all.s others seeking liberal or conservative political results, this is real judicial activism.t judges taking control of itsinge meaning.on in judges remaking the constitution in their own image.partating in my 35 years of actively participated in the judicialrece confirmation process, i don't recall someone who moreadvocateh forcefully and directly advocated such an activist pub judiciary.e stan in order in the 2008 article published ir the stanford law review, for example, professor liu argued it is quote a culturally situated interpreter of social mania,icae unquote. don't be a a surprise to americy than in much more pedestrian view ohaf the judiciary, which alexander hamilton described as the weakest and least dangerous
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branch. fhomasned jefferson warned of to judges control domain it would be nothing than a lovable actsst and the judges could twist and s shape. there's no room in this judicial now i grant that there are individuals and institutions in our society who should play this role. i think that electedctves, representatives, representativen bodies by which i am proud to po serve the constitution. but the last people in our society should play this role of culturally interpreting social meaning. our judge in whose hands have placed the interpretation and tk application of the supreme lawed of the land. i for one did not take an oathey and 50 or perspective on how the world works, whether that sometn
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judge's liberal or conservativee for something in between. i did not take support of the judges view of evolving social norms or shifting culturalunder. understandings. a they support the constitution of the united states in then document that belongs in itsthef words and standing to the peoplo of the united states. the constitution i swear todingl support for the government, including limits and the people alone have the authority to change the limits. nomin professor the advocated an activist judiciary before he had been nominated to the judiciaryh committee, he painted a very pat different picture.ture. before his nomination for example he wrote in the stanford law review that the judges must- determine collective values on a given issue have converged that they can be persuasively crystallized an absurd into legal document. nominion he
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they told the judiciary committee there's no room to o create yourr theories. if anybody's gas what all of that correct is value inion incredible crystallizationff is really means, but if that stuff. is not a new theory, i don't know what it is. dir before his nomination, professot luke wrote forcefully about where judges should look for the meaning of the constitution. receive the words for it, become one of the stars of the universe. tha it arrived at is first-rate, the professor lu told me that whatever and if written in the books and the articles that have no bearing on my role as a judge, unquote. and then at the end of the samee hearing last year, professor lu told one of my committee colleagues that i see look across my entire record come in very many i think relevant to
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the kind of judge that would be, unquote. which is sad.and if he wants to be adjudged him t he argues to find a meaning for the constitution in changing ndltural understanding andg a evolving social norms. after he was to become a judge he challenges critics and tells supporters to that record. the this has been about the mostfirn stunning confirmation conversion i've seen in all my time in the senate. i'm really concerned about this. nomination. he's then i'm sure very articulate and provocative law . trofessor, professors tend to ba that way. i remember church work who was savaged here by the other sideas in the united states senate, one of the greatest political and economic thinkers, but most importantly judicial thinkers that i've ever known. sav and he was savaged for remarks r
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that were not any less or not anymore than goodwin liu. in closing, the judicial nominees is really oversight. it's really a site over judicial power. judges must either take the laws as the people and their electedr representatives make that were e judges they make the lot into b whatever they wanted toe. be. those are the two choices.he our liberty requires that people to whom the constitution belongs dlone have authority to change e it. by our liberty requires judges who will be controlled at the esiden constitution. president obama and professor liu as that advocated to contros the constitution, change thetitu constitution to literally create from scratch a new constitutione
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or at least their provisions of the constitution. liberty that will destroyer of liberty.e when i look at professor lu'srot record, i see consistently andot strongly advocates an approach that allows judges to find the virtually anywhere they wantth . that is the office of the that defined limited role that judges properly have in our system oftl government. primitive the federal bench,ivit especially to what is already the most act this circuit in the country who believes judges should have that much power. th, having said that, mr. president, the ninth circuit court of appeals is the most act to this court and the whole country. c it is a court that ignores the law consistently for at least some of the judges on the courty judge reinhardt is a brilliant whn by any measure apparently doesn't even care what the words to the constitution say.
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he's going to interpret things the way he believes, which iss pretty contrary to what the constitution actually says.oe pretty contrary to the laws that we were allowed it to make the laws had put in writing. fuchsias one. there' there. judge reinhardt gets reversed almost every time he writes an opinion by the supreme court of states. people the problem is people can say well, that's taking care of by the supreme court. but - yeah, it is as individual decisions, but in these court of court cases and legal opinions written that will never be considered by the supreme courtt because the supreme court only considers between 80 and 100 cases a year. thousands of cases are decided by the circuit courts of appeals, so they are important.. and he would put on them is important, too. we don't need any more e judicit act to this either from the rightth or left interpreting ths
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constitution in accordance withl their own predilectionys rather than what the constitution actually says. in goodwin liu, he has a of long his very a really c outrageous combats, at least to us conservatives. and i think really too good b thinking liberals who want the courts to be what they should be, interpreters of the law, not they are not elected for anything and they are appointed for life on the basis that they will do is write and that theyeo will upholdf the law whether thy agree with it or not.o they certainly can write in their opinions by the disc skirt the law, but they've got to hold nse lock unless the law isunco absolutely unconstitutional. and i've got to say that folks on our side who listen toaught
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governor liu, we know what youtn stand for and what he is taught in schools, but he has written books on law review articles. it's really contrary to what judges should do. and i don't care that therling american bar association has given him such a starring qualification, something they would not do for any republican appointee. i can tell you, i've never seen it before.ero somebody who has zero experience in e the court and released thes experience and a lot other than as a professor. now that's a nondurable tophat y position. astoundingto to me. i think a discarded in the discr american bared association, whih should be done on it.been a and in this particular case has done anything but. this is important -- this is ano important issue. y.wish i didn't have to vote
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against goodwin liu because i like him personally. i like provocative law professors. it may disagree with me. in fact, sometimes especially they better darn well bei l intelligenikt disagreements. i worry about some of these farw left law professors who are teaching our kids how to becomee lawyers and teaching them the t wrong things. but it's okay if they teach them the wrong things, but also teach them the right things and contrast the two. pems i have no problem with that.ho i do have a problem with law professors who basically ignore the actual words in the law ande especially when they ignore the words in the constitution or the stork -- those with the constitution constitution whiche i found goodwin liu has done from time to time and which i believe disqualify him for this very, very o high honor that on
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the court which with otherappeno circuit courts of appeals happens to be very, veryortant. important that the next court immediately under the supreme court of the united states of america. with that, i suggest the absence of a quorum en masse at the time be divided equally. the >> without objectionsout ordere. the clerk will call the roll. the clerk will call the roll. tt >> over the past two years, ourn nation is engaged in a great debate about the kind of country we want america to be, a placend government or a place where noot problem is too big or too small adr the government to getpresidm involved.pologies this debate of those because ofa a president who made no apologies about wine to move america to the left and it continues today despite widespread opposition tode thee' president policies because of the president's clear right
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determination to forge right rob but neither is president obama't division assured.s. a big part of the president's plan was to put government in charge of our nation's health care system.private industr having a debate right now about whether businesses need to ask the white house permission to move to another state. and whether private businesses should be forced to disclose political contributions in order to get a federal contract. and still another part's president's vision involves the people he wants to put on our nation's courts. do we want people who have a reverence for the u.s. constitution and who believe it means what it says? or do we want people on our courts who care more about advancing an ideology that's antithetical to the constitution an they do about upholding it?
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this is the question presidents hink is the question presidents and it comes to the judicial nominees, and i think the thisa preference in this area isome of abundantly clear based on some of the nominations we've seend n president obama wants many and women on the courts will advancn of government beyond anything the founders could ever have unn imagined yet not until now hasne the senate been asked to come from someone who has openly andy vigorously repudiated the widelf accepted meaning and purpose of the constitution and byn liu referring to the nomination to the ninth circuit court ofernooe appeals said the sector and i would like to take a moment to explain why i believe it ishe s critically important that the senate reject the nomination nog by opposing cloture on that. the first thing i would like to say is that i have nothingg ag against him personally, no one disputes he has a compelling
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personal story or that he is possessed of a fine turning a lifetime appointmenth, isn't a bright nor is it a popur popularity contest. us who whether it is incumbent upon those of us required to vote onn judicial nominees like him to evaluate each one of them closely to examine their judicial philosophy is to look at their records and consider just what we've done here. what have we found? when it comes to the record as a practicing lawyer the first thing to say t is it is almostee nonexistent. he has no prior experience as aa judge and minimal experience actually practicing law.hat this means evaluating what kindj of judge he would be and tryingn to determine his philosophy ortw necessarily limited to what he has written and what did his writings reveal?f a the field of the judge not asn
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the fed as an impartial arbiterv but those who view the bench as a position of power and at the last presidential election he give liberals as he put it, oppo quote, a tremendous opportunity to actually get their ideas andf the progressive vision of the constitution and the law into an practice, end of quote. r. here's an open acknowledgment s that a judge should use his position to advance his owns views.nant. this is repugnant. dge anyone who likes such a view as a judge would undermine the integrity of the court so what are his views? in an article he published thres years ago he wrote courts shouln interpret the constitution as containing a a right halter sub education, shelter, subsistencen hanstitutional right. t by the court should determine how particularly welfare goods t
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should be distributed rather than the people themselves through the space process. mr. u the point here is mr. lu appeare to view the judge not as someone whose primary job is tout interpret the constitution but someone whose lifetime tenure mpberates him to advance hismese view of what the constitution means and empowers him to impose it on others. is the in his view it is the job of the judge to create new rates regardless of the constitution on during the space process. while this philosophy may be popular geon the left wing colle campuses it is no place. courtr. whatsoever in a u.s. court roomm and on who enters the courtroomt should have the assurances judge will uphold rights equally and the ball out to overstep theirns bounds his writings provide no a such assurances to be on the deeply h coelntrary they suggest a deeply held commitment to the view that
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the constitution can mean pretty much what every judge wanted too the judges can just sort of make in his court, the defendant couldn't expect to be protected by the constitution and laws because it is subject to the whim of the judge.ite this is precisely the opposite a of what americans expect in athe judge.posite o what th it also happens to be the opposite of the founders envisioned for the courts. fedel as itis says in federal 78 the judiciary has made a forced more will but merely judgment. with compare this with his writings, which suggest again and again a ch at judge shouldn't look so much of the words of the constitutionret when setting out to interpret i- as they should, quote, our unquo collective value in of quote or, quote, our evil thing norms, ans of quote.well, let's well, let's be clear it is the d judge in his view who will determine what norms are evil.
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thing, not the american people.f clearly the constitution itself would take a back seat in hisvea court.eview indeed, even a brief preview ofa his writings suggest that as a judge he might very well accorded greater respect to the foreign law than he would urgene to our own constitution. can as he rode the u.s. can hardly claim to have a monopoly on whyo ioe solution to the common legat problems faced by constitutionar democracy around the world. again this might fly on the lefo wing classroom but those who look to the courts for equal americans shouldn't have to an wonder when they walk into an american courtroom which ti nation's law they will be judge, under.'s so as i see it, there's no question based on the writings it. lu's judicial philosophy ist totally another call to the b judicial oath that he would be sworn to uphold.
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the nomination of the bench, sot professor lew sought to distance himself from his legal writings. th he he told the judiciary committeee that he stands by them, howevert when he can't have it both waysh and as others pointed out, if ws can't go by the things he hasch written there is nothing left upon which to evaluate peery and so on the question of oesn't qualifications, professor lew just doesn't have much legal experience outside of the is classroom.ache and while no one is saying judg, teachers can't be good judges, philosophy is evidenced by his writing is so far outside thede mainstream that anyone that m believes in the privacy of the t u.s. constitution should beeepl, deeply, deeply troubled by thept prospect of his appointments tos the court. gebelieve this money is of jud precisely the kind of judge we want to prevent from getting one the bench.ed. he should not be, a i will vote against cloture and i would urge our colleagues to
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do the same. t i yield the floor. of >> mr. president today's american to the floor to talk with the nation to become nomination and an extremely well qualified fair minded scholar. the president nominated him to serve the country in the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit to read all weekeo the speeches about mr. lew's rem merits so i will repeat them only briefly. clerkedin the he was a rhodes scholar clerk is the united states supreme courte he served in the dean of the counseling school of law and isg a professor there right now.en e he's done a line of pro bono work and helped launchop of thaa americorps. on top of all that he led the hy american dream. he's a highlyss successful son s immigrants. prais his integrityed is increased bys democrats an ad republicans not just one or two, but many. former republican congressman
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and very conservative congressman bob barr commended his catchment to the bush's constitution. one of president bush's former i lawyers falls within theen mainstream, even kenneth starr,r the whitewater special prosecutor and forces him to serve in the clintonmi administration. the record is clear any claimsnb anything but deserving of the confirmation is simply-- i inaccurate. i i recognize every senator has a right to vote how he or she it's feels they should vote. it's worth noting however that the vote before us now is not a. vote to confirm him. it's a v hote on whether he deserves an up or down vote. there is no question he doesn'te deserve the up or down vote. a simple up or down vote is a controversy of request. this is not only my viewlo and i view of my fellow democrats it w is the view of my republican friends as well.he junior senatr in article 1 of our republican
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colleagues, the junior senator t from texas and longtime member of the texas supreme court wrotq the following, and i quote, wasteful delay in the process of selecting judges hurts the justice system and harms alles i americans.te it is intolerable the matter ma what to fight thetter white houe and no matter which party is aef majority in the senatehe filibusters are by far the most brilliant form of delay day imaginable. end of the quote. chamb the junior senator from texas if in the chamber today. we will see if he still feels os that way or if he will hurt our, justice system and harm all vir americans through intolerable ww brilliant deily. we will be watching how he votet today. we will also be careful of tenns watching anotheree republican ts senator, the senior senator from tennessee who said this in 2005, and i quote, i pledged then and there i will never filibuster in
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the presnoident's judicial votea nominee, period. i might against them but i will always see them come to devotee. the senator from tennessee is here today never as annt unambiguous as it gets whether we are watching to see the see i public pledge the junior senator from georgia said this in 2005,t and i quote, i will vote to support a vote up or down on uen every nominee. understanding that william a minority party on the issues i s will take exactly the samedoes position because this document, our constitution, end of quote. the senator from georgia will be voting this afternoon.isin now as he predicted he is in ths minority and the issue is the reversed. we will see if as he promised hl will take the same position.
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four years ago anotheran of they republican senator as the senioe senator from , utah and chairman of the judiciary committee said" this on the floor and i quote, we may not use the word rule o advise we may not use our role ofun advicede and consent to undermie appoint judges. d it is wrong to use a filibustero to defeat the judicial nominees where the majority support. coud could vote upthat or down.againo that is why i never voted against the cloture on the judicial nomination, and ofnst quote. againstna cloture on the judicil nomination, that's for. the there's more. that is precisely the vote before us now. we are watching to see if the senior senators from utah follos his own counsel or if he and hie own judgment undermine thedent d thesority of the president of the united states..
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these pledges were publicly andu plainly in the courtld of law te would be -- considered pretty r evidence that doesn't take the t great legal mind to recognizee r the simple we've hearw d the promises. now we'll hear the votes. i ask for the yeas and nays. right now comments from senator roy blunt of misery in response to the president's remarks. this is ten minutes. chesident, to talk aboutspee president obama's speech today on the support of the arab we're
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calling the arab spring. i believe and hope as many of my colleagues do that it's in the united states best interest totd advance freedom in the middle east supporting free people and space government is always guided american foreign policy l lending our support to people who year and for freedom is really part of our national dna and doing so in a practical and private debate could pragmatic way in the context of regionals stability is imperative to our own national security. supportive of the president's actions as they related to osama bin laden and the decisions made there and in recent months i thought the president has been g little unsteady in net financing of the principles that i dra mentioned earlier. he demonstrated uncertainty in dealing with president mubarak before withdrawing his support. and if i can say so, withdrawing
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eversupport suddenly. s after hesitating for severalllog weeks and allowing mr. gadhaffi to regroup we offered participation in the nato aireri operation with a confusing of mention that doesn't have thehae kind of u.s. leadership might in have benefited from and then in syria we stood on the sidelines for weeks while terrible things demonstrators before we finallya announced a series of sanctions just this week.k. of course we all recall that iny co 2009, the iranian regime possibly could have been freedom. add that time the president andl the united states barely lifteds a finger to support those elements.ire indeed, the president's entire narrative has been unclear sincs he took office as it relates since the time he took office from the time of the speech in h
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2009i think that speech has left our friends and the arab worlddi both a disillusioned andm the an confused. nobody from the american people to the arab streets seem sure i what our policy is in support oi freedom. so i was very interested in the president's speech regarding thi new american policy in the region targeted towards rapidly changing situations in thethe pe middle east. the president laid out a plan ad for the nh program for someddlen middle eastern countries whoseby internal stabilities challenge by recent events. the plan would consist of arant, combination of grants and loanst and debt forgiveness and the president's plan not believe madam speaker has merit and there is value to a robust role for the united states to supporl these certain governments in a e critical time. however it's important we recognize any support given to n
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these emerging or existing arab governments can only be of help are helpful to p themselves.nt of i believe congress must be a w partner in the development of the package for it to work.aid s congress will have to ensure is that whenever aid is given as ot both targeted toward an outcomef that is and the national state security interest ofs the united states and doesn't increase the u.s. deficit so it will be a matter of looking at what we can find resources to use them in ad this new and different way.dents my support for the president's also be contingent onng met several principles being met by the government that receives any u.s. aid. as a member of t the four me operations appropriationerat committeeio i'm going to be looking for things where the awr president would certify that the the following conditions are being t met to proceed further with this plan that he outlined today.
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the leaders must reject oallf expeo rec forms of terrorism if theyrom expect to receive this kind of m second they musta demonstrate c credible plan for economic development andre poverty reduction. lack of access to economicriving opportunity has been the drivinn force behind what happened in u. these countries. it was not about us or about ano israel, it was jobs and food and economic opportunity.e of so that has to be one of the log criteria that these governments would be looking at. of third, the need to demonstrate a record of support for glock. a prerequisite for insuring thed u.s. aid dollars will not be used to subvert the system of justice or jail opponents or to undermine the constitutional government. fourth, they mustri respect minority and religious freedoms including women's rights. fifth, they must have a distained commitment to theinstl
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space reform and institution bs building.p nobody believes the space societies spring up overnight. the recent months remind us of e failing to demonstrate a commitment to a more open systen of government can end in a peaceful and force a change. sixth, these governments if wers held them must respect international norms such as honoring the treaty obligationsn and -- respecting universal human rights and last but not least any government the pre participating in the aid packagy like the one the president be talked about today must be peac. committed to regional peace. and in particular, madame president, that includes peace with israel. the mos israel was both the most to gain and most to lose as new attitudes toward freedom andghot democracy spread throughout thed middle east.pted leaders attempted to base the wh populations with the anti-semitismm and other to
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respond to their passions may be even more dangerous to israel and the regimes they are an replacing. age but an average of internationalt relations is thatha truly free d space societies respect of their subsistence recognize one another's right to peace andeace solve their conflict is throughu peaceful resolutions of violence, not threats, not undeo terror and interchange we should toward israel.t are only nations that are the constructive and their attitudee and policies towards our allyrab israel should be eligible for kind o noe kindf of aid the president discussed in his speech. none of these conditions are meant to suggest these governments must be identical or that the leaders must always the agree with the united states. i believe for example the kingdom of jordan currently meets these standards. tha i'm hopeful that egypt's leaders will commit to these principlesn as well.ity should leaders of the palkestinian
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authority should look to them as a model for receiving aid from the united states and other thneeed president also address e need for a peace settlementsraes between the israelis andld be hd palestinians. f it would be hard to find anybods c this body who doesn't agree with that concept. israelis n we need peace, the israelis need peace, the palestinians need peace. but we need to be very careful that we don't set expectationsep so high that we create deep challenges not only for that process but also for the kind of regional acceptance of israel that must occur in order to achieve peace. in particular and concerned the president believes that unilateral concessions by israel including redefining its borders are a pathway to peace.makes sen i simply don't think that makesa sense. b there doesn't even appear to be a palestinian partner capable of making the hard decisions that n
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must occur in order to get an agreement. do we really think that hamas te that recently joined the government is going to be partyp to a peace deal with israel?sra? the palestinian authority has te made real progress on the west bank in recent years while hamaa has brought chaos to raza. they can't make peace. that's why any financial a relationship the united states has with the palestinian the authority needs to be based on the principles i just describedh in the famous westminster speech in 1982, president ronald reagan told the world the followingthee while we must be cautious aboute forcing the change we must not hesitate to declare the ultimate objectives and to take concrete actions to move towards them. we must be staunch in our conviction that freedom is note the sole prerogative of theew lucky few but the any label and the universal right of all human
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beings.i o believe those words are no n less true today 30 years latertt than they were then and as we ovement toward freedom the ab w. unprecedented in the history of -- the arab world on a fold. those taking to the streets arer not burning american flags or as shopping anti-western slogan is also probably important to notev the or not waving american flags. mam madam president it's simply not about us it's about them. are other passions are driven bynomc generations of economic polal stagnation and lack of political and economic freedom that's left behind much of the free worldfra prosperity.the these freedoms of exactly what the united states stands for. america's role to support responsible leaders committed to peace and sustainable space change. m i'm hopeful president will work with my colleagues in the hand to those leaders who are truly committed to these valuesh
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and if he does, i hope to be part of that process as well. i believe a quorum is notthe roh present. >> the clerk will call the roll. thank you.
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now to london for this week's question time when the prime minister david cameron answers questions from members of the house of commons opposition leader and milled and challenged the prime minister of remarks by the secretary kenneth clarke on rape laws. members also questioned the prime minister on the future of the u.k. nuclear deterrent policy, the state visit to ireland and disability benefits. this is just under 35 minutes. >> thank you. i'm sure the house will wish to
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join me in paying tribute to the marine from the killed by semper fi is the explosive device in afghanistan on sunday. he was a selfless enthusiastic and committed marine who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country. our thoughts must be with his family, friends and colleagues. mr. speaker this morning i had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others in addition to the duties in the house and i will be traveling to dublin as part of this week's historic state visit. in the prime minister's words of condolence introduced in 2003 the illegal migrants to avoid the authority for 14 years are able to full access to the welfare system and can even obtain a petition passport the last eight years 10,000 such
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migrants have one such rights and with an estimated half a million illegal immigrants in britain today will the promise to seek to change the rules and restore some sanity to the control? >> my friend makes an important point and we pledged to break the link between the permanent settlement in the u.k. because we believe saddling in britain should be a privilege rather than an automatic right if you a date certain amount of time we are going to consult on further measures including the future of the 14 year rule that he mentions and we can say this year we've already announced there will be tight rules for those wanting to settle here and have already implemented a new income and english language requirement for skilled workers who've been here more than five years. >> to the mardy and nigel meter he showed exceptional bravery and courage like all of our
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troops in afghanistan and our thoughts are with his family and friends. mr. speaker, the world of the secretaries to speak for the nation on matters of justice and crime. this morning the secretary was on the radio suggesting that there were serious rights and other categories. would the minister now like to take this opportunity to distance himself from the secretary's comment?ake >> first let me say rate is onee of the most serious crimes there is and should be met with punishment -- >> as always british prime wel ministers questions -- wit >> about what that experience means and what stays met a rapem and talked to them about what that experience means to them and how it stays with them for the rest of their lives could only want to have the most serious punishment possible. the real disgrace in our country is that only 6% of rapes that are reported to a police station
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end in a conviction. that is what we have to sort out. now, i have not heard the justice secretary's interview but the position of the government is very clear. that there is an offense called rape and anyone who commits it should be prosecuted, convicted and punished very clearly. >> well, let me tell him what the justice secretary said this morning. because he was asked about the average time that a rapist gets and he was -- and the interviewer said the rapest gets five years and the justice department says that includes date rapes, intercourse with 17s ours with 15s and were there were forcible rape and serious rape. the justice department cannot speak for the women of this country when he makes comments like that. >> as i've say i've not heard this interview but the point is this. the point is this. it should be a matter for the court to decide the seriousness
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of the offense and the sentence that ought to be passed. i sat on the sexual offenses bill under the last government where we looked at all of the issues about whether you should try and differentiate between different categories of rape. i seem to remember the honorable gentleman sitting on the front bench was leading the debate for the government and we decided as a house of commons not to make that distinction. what matters is, do we get more cases to court? do we get more cases convicted? and do we get more cases sent down for decent sentences. that is the concern we should have. >> here, here. >> mr. speaker, the prime minister, when he leaves this chamber should go look at the comments of the justice secretary and let me just say to him very clearly, the justice secretary should not be in his post at the end of the day. now, now, that's the first thing he should do. the second thing he has to do is to drop this policy because this policy that they are defending is the idea that if you plead --
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if you plead guilty to rape, you get your sentence halved. that could mean the rapist spent as little as 15 months in prison. that is not an acceptable policy and the prime minister should drop it. >> i think what the leader of the opposition is doing is jumping to conclusions on this issue. the point is this, there is already a plea bargaining system in britain of one-third. and we are consulting on whether to extend a plea bargaining system to make it even more powerful. we have not yet decided which offenses it should apply to or how it should be brought in. this is a consultation. but the aim of plea bargaining, and it is worth remembering this -- because plea bargaining is used in systems including very tough criminal justice systems like america and the aim of plea bargaining is to make sure is that more people get prosecuted, more people get
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convicted and you actually save the victim from having to go through a court process and find out at the end that the culprit is going to be commit a guilty plea at the last minute. that is what the government is looking at and when we've listened to the consultation we'll announce our conclusions but he needs to be patient until we do that. >> mr. speaker, we're getting used to this when there's a terrible policy, the prime minister hides behind the consultation. frankly that's not good enough. let me tell him -- let me tell him what people think about this policy. let me tell him about that. let me tell him what people think of this policy. the judges say the policy is wrong and the violence against women are saying it's the wrong policy and his own victim's commissioner says the policy is bonkers. now, i know he's in the middle of the consultation but i would like to hear his view on the policy which he should drop. >> the terrible fact that he refers to, the terrible fact is that only 6% of rape cases are
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actually prosecuted and end in a conviction. that is after 13 years of the party opposite running the criminal justice system so that's the improvement we want to see. let's make sure -- he wants to know my view, my view is to get out, convict and prosecute and send these people down for a decent period of time. rape is such a serious offense and so he should wait for the outcome of the consultation rather than just jumping on the bandwagon. >> dave miliband. >> mr. speaker, it's about the way he runs his government because yesterday -- because yesterday the justice secretary was saying this proposal is likely to survive the consultation. the prisons minister was defending the policy. people are rightly angry about this policy. they think it's the wrong policy all i'm asking is something very simple. why doesn't the prime minister give us his view? >> i've given you my view and i'll give you my -- i want to
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see more people prosecuted and convicted for rape. and we're going to take steps to make sure that happens but i'll give you my view on something else. yes, which is this. i think there is merit in having a plea bargaining system which we have already, which should be discretionary to try and make sure we convict more. what we had under the last government was a mandatory release of all prisoners irrespective of what -- yes, he sat in the cabinet that let 80,000 criminals out of prison. that wasn't a discretionary policy. it was a mandatory policy and it was a disgraceful policy. >> dave miliband. >> mr. speaker, mr. speaker. doesn't he realize what people are thinking of him on crime. before the election he made a whole series of promises and now he's breaking them one by one. he's out of touch -- he was out of touch on anonymity for rape victims and now he's out of touch on sentencing for rape victims.
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he's cutting the number of police, cutting 12,000 police officers. why doesn't he go back to the drawing board on crime and get rid of his justice secretary? >> well, in terms of broken promises, i remember the leader of the opposition saying at those party conference about ken clark, i'm not going to say he's soft on crime. well, that pledge didn't last very long. one of these days, the party opposite is going to realize opposition is more than just jumping on a bandwagon, picking up an issue. it's about putting forward a serious alternative and making some serious points. >> order! sir allen hazelhurst. >> by contrast, mr. speaker, in harmony with the priority being given by the government to strengthen relations with the commonwealth, does my right honorable friend touch importance to the particular world of the commonwealth parliamentary association and
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will he mark that to find a way to mark that when it takes place in london in july? >> i'm very grateful for my honorable friend for raising this issue. i do think the commonwealth parliamentary association is an important part of the commonwealth and in celebrating that anniversary, i've had an extremely attractive invitation to come along and say a few words and i'll certainly see if i can. >> tom? >> thank you, mr. speaker. why is the prime minister giving private and confidential nhs prescription records of 9 million british citizens to multinational private companies that will no doubt show no mercy with that information? >> i think what we're trying to do is clean up the mess of labour's nhs i.t. program that cost billions of pounds and is still struggling and we're desperately trying to get it under control and make sure we can save money to put in health care. >> simon kirby. >> thank you, mr. speaker. would the prime minister join me in sending a message of support
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to tony player's former speechwriter, peter hyman who is seeking to set up one of the coalitions excellent new preschools in east london? >> well, it's funny they don't want to listen to tony player's speechwriter but they listened to such rapt attention for so many years so what he said. i welcome the free schools policy and i very much welcome what peter hyman is doing trying to establish a free school. i think this is an excellent policy. and yesterday we had a new policy from the party opposition and he said just paw he's opposed to the free school policy doesn't mean he's oonsz to every free school. i think we're back to the days of john prescott where you can't have me good schools because everyone might want to go to them. [laughter] >> we're back to old labour. >> mr. nigel dodds. >> mr. speaker, doesn't the
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visit of her majesty of the queen demonstrate not just her own personal courage to visit the severe dissident threats but it also demonstrates whatever some of us reservations might have in one aspect of her visit. it demonstrates the extent of the improvement in relations between the irish republic and the northern kingdom and it also demonstrates a demonstration of the status and bold the cooperation who plague the terrorists who plague us in the northern island and persian gulf. >> i think this is a remarkable visit. i think it demonstrates that the relationship between britain and the republic of ireland is strong and probably has never been stronger and with a successful of devolution of proce process, i think the visits her majesty to heal the wounds in
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the past and look to a very pry future between the two countries are remarkable and certainly welcomed. >> mr. speaker, since it's the peop people, couldn't the banks be denationalized and give them shares and will he look to the imaginative schemes put forward by my right honorable friend bristol west and i look back to the sun newspaper to this. >> i will certainly look at all the possible ways to put the banks that are nationalized back into the private sector. i personally strongly support the idea of widening share ownership so we'll look carefully at the scheme that he suggests but also he's together make sure we secure value for the money of the taxpayer as we look at the deep pits from the party opposite.
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>> there will be no increase in women state pension age before 2020 yet in the pensions bill that increase starts in 2018. why the u-turn? >> yet again another reform that is important for making sure our pension system is affordable and sustainable, that the party opposite has completely given up. what we're doing is links pensions back to earnings and making sure our pension system is sustainable for the long term. that's what we're delivering, something never done by the party opposite. >> mr. james gray? >> mr. speaker, the people of england have most to lose against scottish independence abortup of the union as to the people of scotland. will then the prime minister give all of the votes of the referendum? >> my view is clear if the scottish parliament wants to hold a referendum i think that
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would be a retrograde step but if they would to hold that referendum we have to grant that referendum. i want to make sure we keep it together. it would involve a vote for people in the scotland, not a vote for the rest of the united kingdom. >> i'm a very generous person. i compliment the government and not to the human trafficking directive. but the reason support by the scottish children's commissioner he could identify 200 children trafficked into scotland at 1,000 children into the national u.k. most bodies recommend that the u.k. government appoint a guardianship for children. how can they give the house an
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assurance that the u.k. is actually prepared for the responsibility that comes up to -- >> i will look carefully what the honorable gentleman says 'cause i know he has a very deep concern about this trafficking issue, as many members in our house do. and, frankly, the fact that children and young adults are trafficked for sex and other purposes in our world is completely disgraceful and we have to stamp it out. as he said we have signed up with the directive and we were complying with the terms of this directive and we have to make sure we do everything we can to stamp out this repulsive practice. >> dr. julian lewis. [inaudible] >> although i have discussions on many issues with the leader of the opposition, the nuclear deterrent has not recently been one of them that is partly because the government's policy is absolutely clear. we are committed to retaining an independent nuclear deterrent based on trident. my right honorable friend the defense secretary will make a statement to parliament today to proceed with initial gate. >> dr. julian lewis.
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>> i'm grateful for the prime minister for repeating our commitment to the future of trident, its renewable and the deterrents remaining in place. would he give his plea of guilty to those honorable members, both in the conservative party and on the labour benches who think like him that the nuclear deterrent should be above party politics that we should form an alliance on this important issue just as we did on the alternative vote so successfully? >> i do agree with my honorable friend that it would be better if we could elevate this issue over party politics and indeed when we voted to go ahead with trident, it was on the basis of a labour motion that was supported by most labour mp's and supported by all, i believe, conservative mp's but i have to say with the honorable gentleman i have a feeling he will never be satisfied even if i placed a
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trident sub-marine ahis constitue -- in his constituency and gave him the key, something that i'm not willing to do. [laughter] >> why continue to waste billions on a national vir illity symbol that has not played any part in the military operations we have taken part of and likely to pay any part in the future. doesn't it gives justification and encouragement to other countries to acquire their own nuclear weapons. >> i don't accept either part of his argument, with the signature of the nonproliferation agreement and we are strong supporters with it but second, our nuclear deterrent is just that. it is deterrent. it is the ultimate in your opinion against blackmail and attack by other countries and that is why i believe it is right to maintain it and indeed replace it. >> mr. james clapperson. >> does my right honorable
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friend agree that there is no case for giving the e.u. power over taxation, at least of all in present circumstances? committee assure me that the government will simply say no to the proposed e.u. directive for a corporate common tax base? >> i can certainly reassure my right honorable friend. the point those in the e.u. who want to see further, they are normally making one of two arguments. either they want to raise more money to the e.u. which i don't agree with or secondly they're trying to reduce tax competition within the e.u. i think it's important we keep our competitive tax rates and don't give them further our tax base. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the ministerial court is extensive and it's in the rules governing ministers but what is his policies and his government's policy on those ministers that break the ministerial code. >> what was the ministerial code
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is an extremely serious offense and i know he has asked questions before about my right honorable friend for epson. let me be clear that there was no decision in making process -- that no part of the decision-making process to award work program contracts and i wanted to make that point clear to him as he asked me the question. >> oliver coalville. >> thank you, mr. speaker. may i echo the attribute that my right honorable friend made to nicompel mead, the young royal marine who is serving with three commander brigade which is in my constituency. given the recent inflation figures and the loose monetary conditions which contributed to the cause of the credit crunch, will my right honorable friend lead a investigate reviewing the target -- >> prime minister? >> the point i'd make to my
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honorable friend is this. i think one of the fundamental causes of the problems in the credit crunch was the poor regulation of our banking system, the poor regulation of credit and we've actually taken steps to put that right by putting the bank of england back at the pinnacle of that system after the failure of the system put in place by the party opposite. in terms of inflation i strongly support monetary policy being independent established by the bank of england. i don't want to go back to the bad old days of the treasury setting interest rates. i think it's better to have it vested in the monetary policy. >> thank you, mr. speaker. a number of my constituents with very serious health conditions are being declared fit for work by the department of work and pensions work capability assessment. can the prime minister give me a guarantee that the assessment will be fit for purpose by the time from the big move to incapacity to esa and especially in light of cuts to dwp? >> well, of course, we want to get these tests right but i believe what the tests are showing are that it's been wrong
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to leave so many people on benefits for so long without proper assessment. now, of course you can always improve the processes and we'll make sure we do that as we go along but i think it's absolutely right to go through people on all benefits and ask if they can work? what help do they need to help to work? and if they are offered work that they don't take, frankly, they shouldn't go on getting benefits. >> sir peter tapsel. >> here, here. >> now there is to be a full investigation into the abduction or murder of madeleine mccann. shouldn't be there a serious investigation of the murder of dr. kelly. >> well, my honorable friend is raise towing issues. first on the issue of madeleine mccann. what i think i think it's welcome that the metropolitan police have decided to review
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the case and review the paperwork. on the issue of dr. david kelly, i thought the results of the inquest that were carried out and the report into it were fairly clear and i don't think it's necessary to take that case forward. >> dennis skinner? >> is the prime minister aware that the most revealing statistic in recent days has been the fact that in recession-hit britain, the billionaires have gone up by 20, an increase of 37% in the first year of this tory rule whilst in the real world, inflation is going to through the roof. thousands of blind people are having to march in the streets in london to hang on to their disability insurance. what a savage indictment on this lousy rotten tories dropped off
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by -- >> here, here. >> i think the most i can -- i can see he enjoyed that. >> the prime minister's reply. the prime minister. >> i think the most revealing statistic today is the fact that the unemployment figures show that employment in our country is up by 118,000. unemployment is down by 36,000 and youth unemployment fell by 30,000. those are the statistics of what's really happening in the real world rather than in dinosaur land that he still inherits. >> mr. speaker, hard-working families want a cap on benefits but the party opposite is voting against such a cap. would the prime minister help us in this way? who's living in the real world
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and who's representing real families, us or them? >> the honorable lady is entirely right. what we are proposing is a cap on benefits that a family can receive of 26,000 pounds. you'd to have earn something like 40,000 pounds to get the level of benefit. and, frankly, they'll be people watching this thinking i'm earning 15, 16, 17,000 pounds. why am i paying my taxes to go to families that are getting more than 26,000 pounds in benefits? so to answer her question, we're the ones who are in touch with what people and the party opposite seems to have gone to sleep. >> julie elliott. >> mr. speaker, what could the prime minister say to the people in the largest city in the northeast in my constituents on the news that the torch is not stopping in the city? >> well, i have to say i wasn't aware of that and perhaps i can look into the root the olympic
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torch is going and if i'm able to divert it, i will do my best. >> thank you, mr. speaker. an increasing number of judgments coming out of the european court of human rights and the european court of justice are deeply unpopular in our country. >> here, here. >> and intrudes on what should be the reserves of the member states. can the prime minister assure my constituents that he will use every ounce of his considerable personal authority to support efforts, to push back on these overbearing institutions? >> i agree with the honorable lady. in terms of the echr, we are leading the process of trying to reform that court so it pays more attention to the decisions of national parliaments and crucially national courts. in terms of the ecj, one of the things we must do is stop the transfer of further powers from westminster to brussels and that's why we're putting in place the referendum lock. >> does the prime minister think
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that power and influence of this house of commons will be diminished or increased by the reforms to the house of lourdes announced yesterday? >> i think parliament will be increased as a whole in terms of its authority and its respect. i think it is right to insert into the house of lourdes some elected peers so that actually we recognize that in the modern world it's right to have two chambers, both of which are predominantly elected. that's the policy of the government. what i would say is it's quite clear to me that there are massive divisions on all sides about this policy but it's an opportunity for the house of commons to try and find a pass through this so we achieve what was in every manifesto to the house of lourdes. >> thank you, mr. speaker. an independent investigation is due to report back regarding allegations that runningboro
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control diverted 106 monies to plug gaps in the general budget and also to fund unrelated projects. can the prime minister offer any advice on how residents will be able to make use of the localism bill to make sure that section 106 money is spent correctly? >> well, i would make two points to my right honorable friend. first of all, the localism bill allows them to divert section 106 money because of the councils that go ahead with building homes will get more money they don't have to feel they have to go for the one big huge development that draws in the section 106 money. it may be that a different pattern of development, more in tune with what local people want will actually deliver some of the benefits the local people want to see. >> can i return the prime minister to his remarks earlier about rape, while we all support moods to make the justice system easier for women, many victims
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and nonvictims alike find his proposals to reduce sentences by up to 50% abhorrent. and the only he can take is take this out of any presentation now. >> what the honorable lady says is not what we're proposing. that is the -- that is the point. and let me make this point as well. this government -- because we take the crime of rape so seriously, we've actually boosted the funding for rain crisis centers but the real need which i think the whole house should unite over, is the fact that 94% of rapists are walking the streets free because they haven't been convicted. that's what we've got to change. >> here, here. >> mr. aiden burly. >> thank you, mr. speaker. there are currently 2.5,000 across the public sector paid not to do the service they represent but instead to do campaigning activities that should be funded by the unions. because the unions don't pay their salaries they can spell
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their sums on other things. do you think it's time to reform? >> well, my honorable friend raises an important point. whenever you raise a point about union funding, you get shouted down by the party opposite because they don't want any examination of what trade unions do or how much money they give to the labour party. i think they protest a little bit too much. >> i'm absolutely delighted to be supported by the trade union. can i ask the prime minister why he has trusted advisor that it would show no mercy. it would be big opportunity for private profit and it would transform the nhs into an insurance provider and not a steered deliverer? >> well, i'm very, very grateful for the honorable gentleman to allow me to clear this up because when i read about him
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being my advisor i was slightly puzzled. [laughter] >> because i've never heard of this person in my life, and he's not my advisor but i did a little bit of research, and it turns out that he was an advisor to the last government. >> here, here. >> oh, don't worry. there's plenty more he helped develop labour's nhs plan in 2000 which increased the role of the private sector. he was appointed by the labour as the chief executive as one of the 10 strategic health authorities set up by labour. and when the leader of the opposition was in the cabinet, mark britnell was director of the nhs. what i don't know him i suppose party opposite knows him very well. >> mr. andrew tyree.
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i can't understand why the house doesn't wish to hear mr. andrew tyree. >> here, here. >> i was i was rather impressed by that last answer but i will draw the prime minister on something else. the government planned to have second chamber. could the prime minister tell the house whether he will use all means necessary including the parliament tax to protect the coalition's legislative programs. >> the short answer is yes,


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