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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  February 7, 2012 12:00pm-5:00pm EST

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quorum call:
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a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. mr. franken: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. franken: thank you, mr. president. i have five unanimous consent requests for committees to meet
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during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent that these requests be agreed to and that these requests be printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. franken: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, sue lanto is an advocate for victims of domestic violence. she often visits a local courthouse in suburban minneapolis to help her clients obtain protective orders. last month, she wrote an editorial in which she acknowledged that -- quote -- "most of us who work at the courthouse have had moments when we were frightened because cases sometimes become volatile." patricia buss handles family court matters in minnesota, she says she -- quote -- "personally thinks of the risks every time she walks into the courthouses."
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and john baker is an attorney in maplewood, minnesota. he is also a retired marine. he concurs with sue and patricia says "i am not saying that we need to create fortresses in our courthouses but basic security screening and training can go a long way. that is not being done." the local courthouse is a workplace for many people, for secretaries, custodians and clerks who clock in and clock out every day. it's also where justice is administered. it's where we report for jury duty and fight traffic tickets. it's where adoptions are processed, divorces are finalized and misdemeanors are adjudicated. but as sue, patricia, and john explain, local courthouses can be dangerous places.
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stakes are high, tempers flare, victims confront their assailants, defendants confront their accusers, prosecutors argue with defense lawyers. a rash of incidents in late 2011 raised concerns about security at local courthouses, especially in rural and suburban communities. in september a department opened fire in the crawford county courthouse in arkansas, shooting a judge's secretary. authorities reported that the gunman entered the courthouse unopposed wearing tactical gear, armed with semiautomatic weapons. a local newspaper later noted that the shooting -- quote -- "highlighted the vulnerability of the state's many small rural courthouses where the guards, armed police and metal detectors
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common in large cities are often too expensive." too days later there was a shooting in the adams county superior court in indiana. according to media accounts, that courthouse did not have a metal detector, either. a local judge observed that there were -- quote -- "a lot of security problems here that need to be corrected and that the shooting really drove home the point that things need to change." then in december, a defendant retrieved a gun from his car and walked into the cook county courthouse in grand moray, minnesota. the courthouse did not have a metal detector, and the gunman was not screened. he shot and wounded the prosecuting attorney and a witness. the blif also was injured during -- bailiff also was
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injured during the encounter. after the shooting a minnesota judge wrote to his colleagues expressing concerns about courthouse security. he put the issue very well. he said -- quote -- "i am no longer willing to risk my life, the life of court staff, the life of the public who have no choice about going to court." he said he was worried about being carried out in a body bag. these are not isolated incidents the center for judicial and executive security in st. paul targets court targeted acts of violence across the nation. it estimates there were 23 such incidents at local courthouses in 2010 and 2011, or about one per month. and this isn't the first time we've confronted this issue in minnesota. a few years ago a man took hostages at the courthouse in
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morrisson county. after the shooting in grand moray in december, a local sheriff recalled that -- quote -- "there were a lot of heroes who really averted something much more serious." i'm grateful for those heroes. minnesota's sheriffs and law enforcement personnel across our nation are among them. these brave men and women have many duties, including the daunting task of keeping our local courthouses safe. in fact, the national sheriff's association sent me a letter last week, i think it's worth noting, mr. president, so let me -- let me read it. quote, sheriffs of typically responsible for the safety and security of the local courthouseness their counties, along with performing traditional law
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enforcement duties and operating the local jail, sadly in recent years there has been a spike in violent incidents in courthouses across the country. this violence places law enforcement, judicial personnel and the general public in harm's way. as such, it is imperative that sheriffs have the resources, particularly in rural areas where resources are extremely limited, to ensure courthouses have the appropriate equipment and tools necessary to improve security, enabling for the protection of courthouses throughout the united states. our sheriffs need support and we should not wait for the next courthouse shooting before we give it to them. that's why today i am introducing the bipartisan local courthouse safety act. it does three simple,
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commonsense things. first, the bill cuts through bureaucratic red tape, giving local courts direct access to security equipment that federal agencies no longer are using. this provision is modeled after a defense department program that allows the pentagon to give its excess equipment to local police and firefighters. the local courthouse safety act would do the same thing for local courts. it would give them direct access to the federal government's excess metal detectors, wands and baggage screening machines. second, the local courthouse safety act gives states the flexibility they need to make investments in courthouse security. it clarifies that states may use their byrne justice assistance grants, the byrne j.a.g. grants, and state homeland security grants to improve safety at local courthouses.
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the bill does not require any new spending and it does not impose any new mandates on anyone. it simply says that states can use existing federal resources for courthouse security upgrades if they so choose. finally, the local courthouse safety act provides statutory authorization for the justice department's valor initiative, which provides training and technical assistance to local law enforcement officers, teaching them how to anticipate and survive violent encounters. mr. president, this is a bipartisan issue and this should be legislation we can can pass even in this divided congress. i'm proud to introduce this legislation with senator boozm boozman, my republican colleague from arkansas, and a champion for law enforcement personnel in his state and across the
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country. i encourage my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to join senator boozman and me in advancing this bill. in doing so, they'll join a long list of -- and growing list of groups that support it, including the national sheriffs association, the conference of chief justices, and the conference of state court administrators. thank you, mr. president. and i ask unanimous consent that the bill's text be included in the record. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. franken: i ask unanimous consent that business -- that morning business be extended until 6:00 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each, with the republicans controlling the time from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. and the majority controlling the time from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. further, that the majority leader be recognized at 6:00 p.m. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered.
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mr. franken: thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from north dakota. a senator: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to speak about jobs, about energy independent and about good environmental stewardship for our country. mr. hoeven: i rise to speak about working with our strongest ally and trading partner, cana canada. i rise to speak about moving forward on behalf of the american people, moving forward, not delaying, not failing to act in their best interests. yesterday, canadian prime minister steven harper left for china. he left for china with five of his top ministers, including his minister of trade and his minister of natural resources. he he also took along 40 leading
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businessmen from canada, including many of their leading businessmen in the area of energy and oil and gas. he left on a trade mission to china. and what's at the very top of his list? the very top of his list in this trade mission to china? it's selling oil, canadian oil, to china. why is that? the reason is because our current administration evidently would prefer that we buy oil from the middle east and from venezuela rather than buying oil from our closest friend and our number-one trading partner, canada. now, that seems hard to believe. that seems hard to believe. but if not, how else can you explain the administration turning down the keystone x.l. pipeline project after more than three years of study?
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not 60 days. not60 days, more than three years of study. we recently passed legislation in this chamber and in the house -- it was approved by the president -- and in that legislation, we said that the president needs to make a decision on the keystone x.l. pipeline within 60 days of the date of that legislation but that's after three years of study. the administration came back and said well, can't make a decision in 60 days but forgot to mention that they've been looking at it for over three years. in fact, let's go through that time line. i think it's important that the american people -- i think it's important that the american people understand the real time line. the real time line has nothing to do with 60 days. the real time line is more than three years that a project has been held in limbo.
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september 19, 2008. september 19, 2008, trans-canada applies for a permit to built the keystone x.l. pipeline. that's more than three years ago. both the environmental protection agency and the state department said that they would have an answer on the project before the end of last year. made very clear after going through the full nepa process, including the full environmental impact statement, doing all of the due diligence, all the work over more than three-year period, that they've had -- that they'd have an answer before the end of the year. butted administration says that -- but the administration says nope, we don't have enough time. we don't have enough time in more than three years to make a decision, so the decision is no. the decision is no. and you ask, well, why would that possibly be? why would that be? is this such a unique project
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that we've never done this before? that after more than three years of study -- not 60 days, three years of study -- that somehow this is so unique that we can't make a decision in that amount of time? so the administration says no. well, on this chart, you see this red line. it runs from arkisty, which is alberta, canada, all the way down to illinois, to refineries we have in this country. this is the keystone pipeline. that was approved in two years' time, roughly 2006-2008, and then constructed and it now moves almost 600,000 barrels a day of oil from the canadian oil sands down to our refineries. so that project already exists. we're talking about building a sister pipeline, the keystone x.l., that will bring oil from calgary-alberta area, from the province of alberta in canada, down to our -- down to cushing, which is a major oil hub, and our refineries in the gulf.
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so it's not a new concept. we're already doing it. this pipeline carries almost 600,000 barrels a day. the new pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels a day. and it's not just about canada. it's not just about moving canadian crude to our refineri refineries. my home state of north dakota and montana produce oil as well, light, sweet, bakken crude. good stuff. we need to get that product to market as well. 100,000 barrels a day from north dakota and montana will go into this pipeline. 100,000 barrels a day. now, that's incredibly important to states like north dakota and montana, because right now we have to move that product by truck and by train, and there's incredible wear and tear on our roads. and with the congestion on our roads, there's also traffic accidents and traffic fataliti fatalities. 100,000 barrels a day represents 500 truckloads a day. 500 truckloads a day on some of
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our highways in western north dakota and eastern montana. this pipeline would reduce the number of truck miles to move that product by 17 million truck miles a year. so it's not just about moving that product from canada to refineries, it's about moving our own crude, crude that we produce in this country to market, and our states need that vital infrastructure. and this is infrastructure that the government's not building -- the government's not building this infrastructure. not one penny of tax money, not one penny of federal government spending. this is a $7 billion-plus investment from the private industry, from the private sector to give us the infrastructure we need to get our oil to our refineries. so it's not a new project. it's been done before. as a matter of fact, as my next chart shows, not only has this
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been done before, but this administration, the obama administration, has approved similar projects before. they've approved similar projects. in august of 2009, the current administration approved a 1,000-mile pipeline that moves 800,000 barrels of oil a day that's in -- that's working right now, that is moving oil right now. they approved this project august 2009. it came on-line in october 2010. goes from the pro province of alberta down to refineries in wisconsin. so they approved that project. they approved it in august of 2009. so what's going on here? well, the issue that they've talked about, said, well, we -- we have to delay this because of the western sandhills region of
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nebraska. the western sandhill sandhills f nebraska included something called the ogallala aquifer. now, the ogallala aquifer, obviously very important for water supply and for irrigation. that's here in western nebraska. so that concern has been raised. so we put forward legislation that addresses that issue. we put forward legislation that follows the lead of the state of nebraska and says, we will reroute the pipeline in nebras nebraska. for example, rerouting it over here where there's already the existing keystone pipeline. but in the legislation that we've put forward, we say we will reroute the pipeline in nebraska, that issue will be fully addressed, and we do not set a time line on doing it. and we expressly provide that we work with the state of nebraska to do it. nebraska had a special session in november. after their special session, where we all agreed to do the
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rerouting, they came out, the state of nebraska, their legislature and their governor and their senators support the project. they say, yes, we need to move forward with the project. as you can see, there are many pipelines through there already. nevertheless, we say, okay, the administration said that's an issue. we do the rerouting and we set no time limit to do it. so why aren't we proceeding with the project? what are we waiting for? and what are the ramifications of waiting? what are the ramifications of waiting? look at all these pipelines. this is not a new concept. so i take a step back to what i mentioned earlier -- what's going on here? why is it that prime minister harper, the prime minister of canada, is today, even as we meet here, he is today in china arranging to sell oil that they
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produce in canada to china rather than to us in the united states, when we need it so badly? not just for our economy, not just for the jobs, but for energy security at a time of incredible upheaval in the middle east. and now this oil's going to go to china. what's going on here? well, the only thing that i guess we can figure is that the administration has decided they don't want oil produced in the canadian oil sands. they've decided no, we don't want oil that's produced up here in canada in the oil sands. the argument is that somehow because of the -- that oil will have higher greenhouse gas emissions. so we're not -- we're not going to take it and somehow that's not going to be produced. so it's an environmental issue. the only problem with that is that it is going to be produced. it just won't come to us.
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it will go to china. and maybe, an even bigger irony, although certainly not a bigger problem but a bigger irony is that the environmental stewardship will then be worse, not better. so if that's the argument, it's going the wrong direction. this oil, which will be produced up here, that's exactly the agreements that prime minister harper is now working on with china and believe me, china wants the oil. there's no question about that. they've made it very clear. while we continue to put canada on hold, china is working very hard to make sure that oil comes to them. let's talk about the environmental aspect of that. instead of bringing it in a pipeline down to our ryan ris, the highest, the best technology in the world in terms of refining, you put it in a pipeline and you have lower emissions in the very best refineries in the world. instead, we're going to put this oil in tankers, thousands
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and thousands of tankers that have to go across the ocean, producing greenhouse gas, and it's going to be refined in china where they have lower emission standards, meaning higher emissions. they don't have the same standards we do so you have more greenhouse gas and at the same time we have tankerloads of oil coming in from the middle east producing more greenhouse gas because we can't get the oil from canada. so if that's the argument, what are we doing? we're saying okay, we're going to say no to the jobs, we're going to say no to the fact that we can be energy independent in terms of oil, together with canada, between the united states and canada we can be independent in our oil needs. we won't need to get oil from venezuela, we won't need to get oil from the middle east. huge national security issue. look what's going on in syria, look what's going on in egypt, look what's going in iran. look what's going on with the price of gasoline.
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and we can become oil independent with our best friend and ally, canada, but we say no, instead after three years we're going to say no to the project so canada sells it to china and we get worse environmental stewardship. i hope the american people fully understand exactly what's going on here. because it's time to act. right now prime minister harper is talking to president hu jen tao, the president of china and believe me, china wants the oil. president harper and canada, our closest ally in the world, has waited three years, three years to get a "no" answer from the administration. so we'll see what kind of agreement he comes back with from china. but the reality is it's time to
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act. here's some of the pipelines that are moving crude oil and other product around our country. do you really think that that's a problem? particularly when we put in legislation, when we went specifically find out what the administration's concern was and we solved it and we built it into the legislation. the time has come to act. i call on my colleagues to join me. we put forward legislation that addresses the concerns, but it's time to act. for the good of the american people. thank you, mr. president. and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: under the previous order, -- could i get you -- will the senator rescind the action, please. mr. hoeven: i will. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m.
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>> right now house and senate conferees are meeting on the payroll tax cut extension, long-term unemployment and medicare payments to doctors. those tax cut extension payments expire at the end of this month. we join the meeting in progress. >> 7,000 of those millionaires last year paid not a single cent in terms of income tax. if we're asking who contributed, the workers at million workers being asked to pay for that, they alreadied that had their pay frozen. they have contributed. seniors, some mentioned they didn't get a social security cost of living increase. they contributed. americans who have without decent health insurance, they have been paying for a
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long time. what many of us are saying is if you did a simple surcharge on the wealthiest in this country, the 1/5 of 1% wealthiest, you could avoid putting this on the backs of seniors, avoid putting this on backs of middle class fam is are. senator crapo said something important. we should find adjustments that have the least amount of pain. i agree completely with that statement. he said we should be fiscally responsible. i agree with that statement. there is no reason why we can't be fiscally responsible, make the adjustments that have the least amount of pain without putting the burdens on our seniors and our middle class. so there may be some cases where some of these proposals moved in some cases for other reasons but as the 20 of us try to figure out how to do this best i would hope we would realize we're trying one, keep the mission of advancing our economy, rewarding the middle class and those who work very hard and coming up with common
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sense solutions, common sense solutions. with that i yield. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i will be brief. i think it has been a good discussion. today, on a lot of issues. i would just ask us all to keep in mind as we proceed, the issue of balance, that we take an approach is perceived by the american people to be fair. the president's recommendations were cited several times today. the recommendations he made to the joint committee and i just want to stress that at the time the president made those proposals, this was in his speech of september 19th, he made it clear, that his proposals that would require some changes that have been mentioned today in medicare, for example, were contingent on making other changes like closing corporate tax loopholes. let me quote what he said because i think it is important since the president's budget will be submitted shortly and i'm sure he will have some proposals as well but you
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have to look at it in the context of the full recommendations and the question will be whether my republican colleagues want to support the full budget. hear is the the president's statement just for the record. quote, and i will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on medicare but does not raise serious revenue by asking the wealthiest americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share. we are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable. so when the president made his proposals, he made them as part of a package approach, asking all the american people to be part of, be part of the solution and not singling out seniors or middle income families to take a disproportionate brunt of the hit. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. to conclude on this issue i would just say that the purpose of this is to
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protect taxpayers from overpayment and these are payments that people are not entitled to because their income has changed. some of it may be because they received a bonus or got an increase or somebody in the family got a job but also could be because of fraud, that they, you know, proposed he will gact -- eligibility for a subsy did i they didn't provide. with the important example that dr. price laid out under this proposal, we're asking them just to pay back a small fraction of the overpayment or subsidy that they're not entitled to. again, an example he suggested, the family would keep an overpayment of $7,000 and being asked under this proposal, this so-called pay-for, to only return $700 additionally.
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so it is a reasonable proposal. it is one that has received support in other legislation and i think is one that, i think really deserves more merit than maybe it has received in the discussion between the parties. this would reduce the deficit by a significant amount, by over $13 billion. it is clearly an important part of making the legislation we're trying to move forward, not increase the deficit and be paid for. so with that i'll, before i close off the meeting and describe what might happen next i'll turn it over to senator baucus. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we have been ui offers back and forth at the second level. i'm hopeful we pretty much close that out. on the larger ui issues, it's number of weeks.
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drug testing, ged, waivers, so forth. i might not be a bad idea we in the were to send over to the house very quickly an offer on that, on all of the ui, and you could expect to see that very soon. >> well, thank you very much. we'll look forward to that. that is obviously one of the core issues that we have to come to agreement on fairly quickly, both ui, payroll tax holiday and sgr being the three large ones and i do think that it appears from the conversation today that the democrats rejected the offsets we had in our legislation but i think that we do want to get an offer on those pay-fors as well. so i look forward to engaging with my senate colleagues and other members of the conference on trying to find a way to go forward.
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if we aren't successful on that, we will have three choices. one to go outside the scope of the conference to find other offsets, to increase the deficit, which even the president has said he doesn't want to do that with his legislation, or begin looking at scaling back some of these core policies we've identified which would mean less time or less generous benefits. so, at this time, at this point in our talks, i think those options will guide us going forward. i look forward to receiving the proposal on unemployment insurance and would look forward to hopefully receiving an offer on other pay-fors if these are not acceptable. >> mr. chairman, i might add, just to repeat, we do not have much time here. >> no. >> and for all intents and purposes the practical limitation is probably first part of next week. >> yes. >> recess coming up. we have to do this clearly
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before the recess. that will take a couple days before the recess begins. >> yes. >> second, i urge us all to be very flexible. you've raised chairman scope of conference questions. i think that basic principle of not taking matters outside the scope of conference is a good principle but there could be modifications frankly that is, i think, could be thin scope. beyond that we're not going, we are going to pass this. when we do pass it, that is the whole package, it is going to be one, supported by both political parties, which is to say, that in the senate, under the senate scope of conference rules, i can not speak for the house, by definition, we will agree to waivers if technically needed because it will a bipartisan solution, package.
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you mentioned a couple other alternatives if we don't reach a solution here. i just urge all of this that, don't want to be corny about this but the american people want us to find a solution. the american people want us to work together. it is amazing to me, i know it is amazing to all of you when you return here after visiting with constituents at home, how different this places in washington, d.c. i mean there really is an echo chamber here that is not constructive. i urge us, when we're trying to figure this all out is to remember that people we serve, what would they, what would their guidance be for us? would they want us to compromise? would they want us to, say, okay, can't have it all. at least come up with a solution. they want us to reach a an agreement that basically passes the smell test the
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answer is unqifly question. american people want us to get our work done and maybe, maybe, the approval rating of this outfit might go up a percentage point. that of course is not the reason why we want to reach an agreement. we want to reach an agreement because it is the right thing to do and i just urge us to keep that bigger challenge in mind. >> yes. mr. levin. >> just a couple of things. there is an urgency here and really no alternative but to succeed. number two, i hope very much that, that, when the republicans receive ideas from us on unemployment insurance that they will be taken very seriously. and number three, i think if we're going to succeed, we need to find a way to have a
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lot of back and forth among all of us on these issues and i'm not exactly sure what the procedure is or what the structure will be but we need to intensify our discussions. i go back to, as i said earlier, the only conference i remember, there have been so few here, and this was many years ago, relating, welfare reform, which was a very controversial issue. but, we essentially had subgroups that said down and, and, exchanged ideas back and forth. house, senate, democrats, republicans and i think we need to do the same thing in one way or another on all of these outstanding issues. thank you. >> well, thank you. and i very much appreciate the sentiment of the remarks both from mr. levin and especially from
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senator baucus. look, our time is short. we do need to find pay-fors that will pass both bodies. i would ask for all the conferees to remain flexible because we don't have a lot of time left and we need to begin to move very quickly. so in terms of scheduling i can't give a prediction but we do need to remain flexible to be able to get together on a moment's notice. and so with that, this meeting is now adjourned. [inaudible conversations] >> as this meeting comes to a close should let i know
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very quickly that the u.s. senate is in recess right now allowing members to attend their weekly party lunches. they will be back at 2:15 eastern. we'll of course continue our live coverage of senators when they return. also coverage of state of the state addresses continues. coming up, ohio governor john kasich will deliver his state of the state address in steubenville, ohio. we'll have that live starting 1:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span2. meantime we showed you live coverage of house senate and conferees meeting today's tax role cut extension, long term unemployment and payments to doctors. today was their fourth meeting. we'll go back to earlier today and show you their remarks from this same meeting. >> good morning. last week we had a good
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discussion on the policy merits of extending the payroll tax to the end of the year, extending and reforming the unemployment program as well as the doc fix and other medicare extenders and i think i heard pretty broad consensus that those three policies are at the heart of this conference committee. i also heard members suggest that some of those items could not be fully concluded until we had a better idea of what the pay-fors are. as you all know those provisions were fully offset in the bipartisan bicameral deal in december. they were also fully paid for in the house bill. and my back of the envelope math shows that extending these policies to the end of the year would cost between 150 and $160 billion. now i understand there will be differences of opinions on some of these items but for today's purposes i'll start with three policies within the scope of this conference that have enjoyed bipartisan support in the past. such will have 45 minutes to
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discuss each of the following. the first will be a one-year pay freeze for members of congress and federal employees which could save $26 billion. the second, the president's proposal to reduce medicare subsidies to wealthier seniors which saves roughly $31 billion. and recovering overpayment of subsidies in the health care law which could save $13 billion. these three bipartisan proposals total $70 billion. close to half of the estimated total and with that, i'll turn to senator baucus to begin our usual round-robin discussion, beginning with the debate on the pay freeze for members of congress and federal employees. [inaudible]
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>> thank you. >> now you know why i'm here. >> right. >> thank you, snored reed for the technical support. >> thanks, mr. chairman, we're making real progress here. american people clearly counting on us. and, i'm hopeful that this discussion here will help frame conditions of various senators so that we can then sit down and get to work. getting to work means reaching agreement. we don't have time. in fact i think we have less time than we think we have and by that, i mean i think we've got to wrap this up in a matter of at least, close to wrapping this up in a matter of days. and i would urge us to be
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thinking of ways that we can compromise. i suspect, i'm hopeful that some of those, basic clues where we compromise during this discussion, open discussion here but it's also helpful for both sides to learn what can and can not be accomplished to help us reach that compromise. we don't have time, we have very little time and, that, mr. chairman, i urge us to go ahead and begin talking about basically the offsets that are going to be necessary. to one degree or another in this bill. and i wasn't going to lead off here but we lead off? >> yes. >> okay. is that okay with you. my understanding you're going to go ahead and -- >> mr. chairman, are we on the first item of the agenda. >> yes.
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>> which extension of pay freeze for members of congress and civilian workers. well, mr. chairman, let me talk about our federal workforce and how much i oppose a freeze being included in this conference report and would urge us to reject it in its entirety. let me first point out that the federal workforce has already made substantial sacrifices to help bring our budget into better balance. they have had a two-year pay freeze which equates to about $60 billion of deficit reduction that already has been on the backs of our federal workforce. if the president's proposed .5% increase is approved for this coming fiscal year, that will be another 18 ball -- billion dollars of deficit reduction our federal workforce is putting on the table. we're asking our federal workers to do more services for the public with less people. a number of federal workers has been declining and yet the amount of responsibility
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they're being asked to shoulder has increased. i want to address this comparable pay study that has been at least quoted substantially by members of the congress. and take issue with how the results are being interpreted. when you look at that study, it points out that our lowe lower-waged federal workers, that is, those who are high school graduation level or less, when you look at their salaries, you find and in fact they receive comparable benefits that are higher than the private sector. that's because we provide retirement benefits, health benefits, et cetera. i hope we're not going to have a race to the bottom. the private sector, when you look at the lower-wage workers, they're much less likely to have health benefits. they're much less likely to have retirement benefits. and i would hope that we're not trying to race to the bottom when it comes to our
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lower-wage workers. it is interesting when you look at the crs report, as it deals with our those hot have professional degrees that are working for the federal government and we have quite a few. we have those that working at nih as researchers. we have those who are working at nst, as engineers. working at nasa as a scientists. working at fda to keep our food supply safe. when you look at the professional workers working for the federal government, you find in fact their salaries are less than the private sector. making it difficult for us to recruit and retain that are trying to answer some of our most difficult challenges. whether it is to find cures for cancer. whether it is to keep america competitive in developing the best technologies or, for the future or whether it is in dealing with our food supply and keeping us safe and the list goes on and on and on the work that is being done
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by our federal workforce. let me point out that the crs study does not reflect the fact that we've had a two-year pay freeze. that in and of itself has made the federal workforce less competitive in salary than the private sector. i want to quote from afge study i think is very telling because i think this is part of the misconception that is out there. the private sector pays men more than women, whites more than blacks, old more than young but the federal government does not reproduce all these differentials because its pay system, demographic traits are irrelevant. federal pay is attributable too the job, not to the demographic traits of as on individual holding the job. i think that is is true to a large extent. want the federal government to be a mod fell -- model for pay fairness sometimes we don't see duplicated in the private sector. when you look at our federal
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workforce you find 25% of our federal workforce are veterans. private sector is 8%. we all talk about doing right for our veterans. well, let's take a look at those who are working for the federal government and make sure that we don't treat them unfairly. mr. chairman, i know that you put on the schedule only the pay freeze this morning but i have to point out that the house bill came over to us with other offsets for the federal workforce including significant changes in their retirement calculations. the cumulative effect of all of what you put in would have a major negative impact on our federal workforce. i want to talk about fairness for one moment. i want to talk about how fair it would be to tell federal workers that, yes, we're doing this payroll tax holiday so you will get more money in your paycheck, oh by the way you will pay more than that and lose more than that through this pay freeze over time. that basically what we're
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telling our federal workforce. so the middle income families working for the federal government will not get the benefit of the payroll tax holiday. that makes no sense at all from the point of view of fairness. the relief that we're providing through the payroll tax is temporary. the last through the end of 2012. the pay freeze is permanent damage. that is done to middle income families. where is fairness? we have a challenge with the federal budget. i understand that. that is not the issue that is before this conference committee. the issue before the conference committee is whether we'll extend tax relief to middle income families? whether we'll deal with the protections of unemployment insurance and make sure our seniors have access to their doctors. that is the focus of this conference, not to deal with the underlining budget problems of our nation. i hope we get to that discussion. i hope we get to the $4 trillion of deficit reduction over the next decade and a balanced and fairway but when you start
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using the federal worker here, it tells me that we are not serious about deficit reduction and coming together with a balanced approach. lastly, let me talk about fairness. i don't know how any of us could go back to our districts and tell our border security patrol people, our fbi agent or nih researchers that we're going to freeze their salary but the feds, the hedge fund operators on wall street, and those who have made obscene amounts of money during this recession, they're going to keep their tax rates just where they are now, which by the way is lower than your tax rate, and by the way, we're then going to put another freeze on your salary, when they get the benefit of, where is the fairness in this? where do we come out with fairness? so mr. chairman, i, i just urge us as quickly as possible to put this bad
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issue aside, this bad proposal aside. it shouldn't be in our proposal and i think it really is an afront to the fairness in our society and making sure all of us contribute. our federal workers have already had a two-year pay freeze. [inaudible] >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think i'll just defer to our house colleagues since these are pay-fors that were included in the house-passed bill. >> i'm going to ask chris van hollen to, to discuss this but i don't think we should only ask those who have a higher percentage of federal employees than the rest of us to carry the entire load . .
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>> there are a few exceptions. i suppose there are some federal employees that would not be classified as middle income, but there are very, very few. and affordable, they are very
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much income -- no income tax players and middle-class families. and when we talk about health care and pension benefits for federal employees, those benefits have helped them become an important part of the middle-class of this country. and all three of these items on the agenda today essentially would hit middle income tax payers. the freeze, the health care coverage provision, and the medicare payments. i want to just pick up what, before i turn it over to chris -- >> your bite of apple may be so large that we will be moving to the republicans, if you don't conclude so because we will not have double and then one. we are trying to keep is even. no two bites of the apple. >> why don't you finish and let them go?
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>> then we will come around. >> okay, i wasn't sure about bites of the apple. >> now you know. in excel let me say a word about the urgency of this. i want to say what max baucus said, and others. we must reach agreement, we must reach agreement for 10 months. and i think that means we need to resist finger-pointing, and instead really worked very hard together. the urgency demands it. all right, i'll let -- >> thank you -- >> the next bite of the apple. >> i think mr. upton is seeking recognition. the baucus touch on this mic. the light doesn't work but it is
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on. >> i want to say just a couple of things. this provision is within the scope of the conference because we include it, you'll recall, and the house passed bill. in factbill. in fact, what a separate vote on just this issue as an item under suspension last week, and it passed nearly three to one. i would complement my colleague from pennsylvania for voting for it last week, as i recall. 99% of federal employees that were eligible last year for a step increase, all federal employees, they have the table, they know where they are. step one, et cetera. so nearly 100%, 99% of federal employees who were eligible for a step increase, in fact, got it last year. and increased the average $1300 per person. and our roles in the house, more spending coming up to the
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offsets. this is eligible, part of the conference, part of the agreement. this is a pretty sizable offset that we on this side certainly on the republican side, that really on the house side are looking at. and i would say that the median house hold income this last year was $52,000. so maybe as we look for an agreement here, even though many of us would support a total pay freeze on federal employees, maybe you look at just at those workers that are earning more than 52000 which in would include members of congress. to say that should be included as an offset for this new spending. look, americans across the country are looking for congress to sacrifice, too. it's one of the reasons why literally the first week last year, session, the second day, we had and and and on the house floor that cut congress is spending below what it was the year before, and we did it again
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this year as part of a budget. so federal workers know that they are being asked to sacrifice here, but in return we are making, trying to make sure the that the deficit doesn't go up, knowing we took concrete steps this last year on discretion spinning to make sure that it did not. i yield back. >> senator baucus. >> anybody? dick carden, back to? >> just very briefly. to congressman upton's point, those professional degrees work for the federal government are the ones that are in greatest risk of us losing their talent. we're talking but the researchers at nih, talking about our scientists who can make more money and the private sector. so i resist tried to draw a line
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as far as the pay issue is concerned. and as relates to member's account, you're not going to get indiscriminate on that issue. we fully expect there's going to be a vehicle through the appropriations process to deal with that issue. i don't think we should confuse the issue of our federal workforce with members of congress. let's not put them in the same category we are in. >> if there's no for the speakers, mr. levin. >> i think senator casey want to say something. he would like to take the mic. >> thanks very much. we are trying to have one speaker per side. if we keep doing additional rows, so if there's a senate republican who would like to speak, i think that's really who is up next. we will come back around the neck mr. chairman, i wouldn't get too locked in. [inaudible] i would yield to senator casey.
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>> mr. chairman, just a couple of items here. i think you can parse this a lot of different ways. the statistics, however, from crs and from the office of personnel management are what they are. federal employees on average make a lot more than people in the private sector. taxpayers that pay our salaries would like to see some shared sacrifice here, whatever happened to that concept that we've heard so much about, about shared sacrifice? people social security didn't receive a cola for two years and he didn't receive any other increased. they understood the reason for that, as i've mentioned in our last meeting. arizona public employees have received an increase in five years. the reality is that washington works, the people work in washington are very well paid and we have very good benefits. and the people that pay their salaries are the ones that are going to be, are going to be
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making a lot of different sacrifices in a lot of different ways here. i think it's fair to ask federal employees to make a sacrifice as well. now, at the end of another year that will have been a two-year pay freeze. we haven't had a two-year pay freeze yet. remember the bowles-simpson's commission said we should have a three-year pay freeze. i've heard a lot of talk, recommendations of that commission are except when it comes to this. so there are a lot of reasons why i think it would be perfectly appropriate to ask federal employees to make part of the sacrifice. i perfectly understand why the two representatives on this panel who represent more of the federal employees than the rest of us would be making the arguments that they are. i probably would be making them as part of that effort as well. i think all of us has did you ourselves as representatives of the whole country here, and it just seems to me fair that we extend for a relatively short period of time the relatively
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high level of payment, with no increase, for federal employees. >> mr. levin? >> i will turn this, chris, i just want to say, there are federal employees in the house proposal to pass on a bipartisan basis, only a handful of democrats, -- [inaudible] i'm talking about the proposal that came over from houston federal employees, $63 billion. there are two proposals, and we all have federal employees everywhere. chris van hollen? >> thank you, mr. levin. look, i think we all benefit from the federal employees doing research at nih into lifesaving cures and treatments. i think we all benefit from the
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folks in the intelligence community who help track down osama bin laden. i don't think this is an issue of whether or not we represent a small number of federal employees. again, i think we all benefit and i think the american people benefit from the. let me start that those mr. up to and referenced in the house. the reason that had such a big vote, i think the gentleman knows, is because you couple a freeze on congressional with a freeze on all federal employees salaries as mr. card mention. i think we can all settle the question of the pay freeze for congressional salaries. we can all support that. that chairman was to entertain a motion, we can do that right now but let's not mix up of the to. and the reason you have that vote was come and heard from a lot of my college. they were afraid to be accused of trying to protect their own pay if they voted against that provision. let me just briefly get to the threshold question here, as to
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offsets. i don't want to go into great detail because we've had this conversation before. but we do have this new standard being applied to payroll tax cuts. the majority in the house, in the very first act, change the rules to say that when it comes to tax cuts for folks at the very top, we don't have to pay for them. we can put another trillion dollars, according to cbo, on the national credit card buys ending the tax cuts for the folks at the very top. we don't have to pay a penny. now when it comes to less than $100 billion tax relief for 169 americans, we have a different standard. so, it seems to me when we are considering offsets, if we're going to insist on offsets, we should look at some of the offsets that have been suggested by our democratic colleagues originally in the senate, with the surcharge, and other proposals to close corporate tax
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loopholes. and i say that by way of mentioning that federal employees are prepared to sacrifice. i mean, federal employees recognize that they've got to be a part of the solution here. federal employees have seen a two-year pay freeze, as senator cardin mention. that's about $60 billion. social security recipients are now getting their colas. the president has proposed with respect to federal employers, not a vocal one, but a half percent which still represents $18 billion that would be dedicated towards deficit reduction. in other words, $18 million cut. that comes to $60 billion plus $18 billion, $78 billion that federal employees will help contribute towards deficit reduction, as they should, and so the question here is not whether federal employees are going to be part of the solution but whether they should be singled out as the td bank for
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all these other issues. and if you look at other legislation moving through the house, and maybe the senate, he seemed to be the main target. talking about using federal employees asked to pay for the transportation bill. so, they may be an easy target for a lot of people but i think it's counterproductive to move in that direction. i want to talk about a couple studies. just had the cbo study. there have been a lot of studies on this issue in this issue has come up in the context of the joint committee. it's come up in the context of other deficit reduction efforts. and really what we need to do is take a comprehensive look at this issue. if you look at the federal salary, if you look at the bureau of labor statistics data, they show that federal employees on average if you look at the compensation package are underpaid by 26%. what's the difference? the difference is the methodology you use. what the bureau of labor
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statistics, the federal salary council does is they look at the responsibility of the job of a particular federal employee, and tried to compare that to federal jobs with similar responsibilities. so for example, you have somebody who's been a pediatrician but then goes to work at nih, is supervising about 30 or 40 researchers in the area of, trying to find cures and treatments for cancer. when the folks at the federal salary council look at that, they see not just a solo practitioner slash my pediatrician but they see somebody who also has responsibility for managing 30 people. it seems to me that's a reasonable distinction to be made, that that person is not just, doesn't have comparable pay to pediatrician but so is managing people and the private sector. take a simple prison cook. you could say well, that person should just receive the same amount of money as a cook
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anywhere in any other kind of institution, but the reality is that prison cooks also have to be trained to take care of violence in the prison or other kind of outbreaks. and so that's why you have these big disparities in the different studies that have been done. and as i say, federal salary council says, on average, when you compare actual job responsibilities, federal employees are on average 26% underpaid. now you have the cbo study that looks, as senator cardin point out, simply demographic characteristics. so if women on average are underpaid in the workforce, if there is a discrepancy, if we don't have pay equity and the general work force, that would translate through into that same analysis. and so that's a different approach. but the cbo approach also shows that they agree with respect to highly skilled workers, he of people who are underpaid. and income every study shows
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with respect to highly paid, highly skilled workers, you have people who are underpaid in the federal workforce. in fact, according to the cbo analysis, it was approximately 18% underpaid. so some of the folks the federal government is trying to recruit in some of the most sensitive positions in the federal government are underpaid. and these are people i would think that we would want to make sure that we're able to continue to have in the federal government. and so to take a hatchet approach, to say our solution to this is an across the board hatchet approach is the wrong way. and even if we're to try and sort of segment out the groups are, i think it would be a mistake in the sense that this is an area that requires a more comprehensive view. people have proposed doing, taking a study, looking at the discrepancies in these different reports, really getting to the bottom of this, rather than taking an across the board whacked.
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again, it seems to be the flavor of the day to be able to go after federal employees but i think it's a shortsighted approach, and i would urge my colleagues to step back, ask yourself the question, why there is this big discrepancy between these different studies, huge swings, and take a comprehensive look at this issue before we plunge in and do what i think could be great, long-term damage. not do so much the federal workforce, but to the country. because if we don't make these decisions in a smart way, ultimately it's the taxpayers who will be hurt because they are not going to be able to have a set of skills that are necessary to make sure the federal employees can do the job that needs to be done. thank you, mr. chairman. >> dr. price? >> and to mr. chairman. i tell you, the taxpayers that are being hurt right now are all the american taxpayers, by the policies that have been adopted
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by this congress, and the lack of responsibility when it comes to spinning. look, nobody is criticizing the work the federal workers are doing. they do great work. i have a bunch of them in my district as well and i want to commend the senator from maryland and the gentleman from maryland for standing up to represent their constituents. it's a commendable thing. however, folks at home are looking at us and see what the heck is going on? we believe that these policies are appropriate. that an extension of the temporary payroll tax holiday is an appropriate policy. however, we don't believe that we ought to do it without paying for it. we don't believe that it ought to be paid for with money that we just don't have. and so, the american people say find the money. we know there's money there. find the money. the house bill is an honest, sincere, positive attempt to try to get us moving in the right
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direction when it comes to spending here in washington, my having appropriate offsets. so far, the arguments that we've heard against this i think rings hollow with the american people. the numbers are clear. they have been reviewed by a couple folks, the office of personnel management study in october 2011. the average federal, average federal government's average was $75,614. which is commendable, but the average salary out there in the real world is $52,000. so, the average federal worker makes about 45% more than the average individual out there in the private sector here a half million federal employees make over $100,000. and that is actually increased 36%, increase the number of folks that make over $100,000 since the recession began. and one of the statistics that
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just, it's income principle to become is the is department transportation, which when the recession began had one individual whose salary was over $170,000. and now, 18 months later, 1690 individuals making over $170,000. now, they may all be appropriate compensated. however, i think when the american people look at this and they know the tightening of the belt that they've had to undergo, and what, the conversations they've had around the kitchen table, when you look at each other and say i don't how we are owing to be able to send our son or a daughter to college culture item how we can pay for our carpets we can get to that second job. i don't know how we will be able to do that. so when they look to us around this table, and it is incomprehensible that we just can't figure out how to pay for this on another pot, and this is
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one that clearly, there is room for improvement. i think it's important to ask the question what's happened in the past. kind of a distant past. 1933, franklin delano roosevelt come he didn't asked for a pay freeze. he put in place a pay cut. a pay cut for federal workers. at a time in the early '30s when i think folks could argue that was not dissimilar to where we are now. and the bowles-simpson commission has been mentioned, recommended a three-year pay freeze. this isn't something is out of the or near the bowles-simpson's commission has been touted by folks on both sides of the aisle around this table right here within the last week to 10 days. so i think that we need to recognize that others have looked at this issue outside of the cameras and outside the microphones have said, look, it's a reasonable thing to do to have a pay freeze. and remember the pay freeze
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doesn't include the s.t.e.m. increases. simply includes the cola. the cost of living adjustment. it's what our seniors have done in this country over the last two years. they have had not had a cola increase in social security. so, we all want to pay for these policies. we all want these policies to occur. there's no doubt about it, but we need to pay for it with money that we have, not money that we don't have. and you. >> all right. senator reed. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think the point that senator cardin made deserves to be reinforced. if you look at the pay scales of federal workers, lower paid workers tend to make more than lower paid workers in the private sector. -- >> opening remarks and house and senate conferees on the payroll tax cut extension.
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you can see this meeting in its entirety on our website. go to going live now this afternoon to ohio. ohio governor john kasich is about to deliver the state of the state address at the wells academy in steubenville. expected to focus his remarks on improving education of the state. this is live coverage on c-span2. it is being brought to you courtesy of the ohio channel. [applause]
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[applause] [applause]ññññññññ
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[applause] [applause] >> you may be seated. it is now my distinct honor and pleasure to present governor john kasich. [applause]
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>> well, thank you, mr. president. d mr. speaker. thank you, members of the general assembly, my partners i moving ohio forward. how about that cabinet? thanks for coming over here today, folks. you know i love you for what you're doing. making ohio a stronger and better place. the students and teachers at th academy, they are just fantastic. they are just the best. [applause] t they are reflection of the
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people of steubenville, and i have to tell you, no one coul have ever received a better reception than i did coming int this great town. i love the people of steubenville. we will be back many times. i just want to make this town great. and your children at wells academy are a reflection of you excellence, and i want to thank you for that generous reception that you gavet about my wife, k kasich. a little wave, okay? [applause] i remember that cartoon that said kasich will still not reveal how he snagged that hot wife. [laughter] i hope we all appreciate ou spouses. ey never get the glory. they never get the light. they are the ones that are
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raising the kids, taking care of e home front. i think about bob who is with u here today, five children. think about his wife. let's do this. it's unbelievable so let's remember our spouses because without them we can do any of what we do. [applause] -- we can't do any of what we do. as the governor i promise i was going to travel like all over the place. i hope you realize i kept my word. i visited many of your towns many times. in case you wonder about my travel schedule you can read all about it in the newspapers about the number of times i used the state airplane. ...
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you may not get to stubenville but here it is. it's so important to understand the culture. first and foremost, the teachers and the administrators have adopted a principle. i've seen it in the frederick douglass academy in har lumbar and i've seen it in many other fine charter schools around the state and some of our public schools, do you know what it gets down to?
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in the teachers minds and the administrators' minds nothing gets them down. not poverty, not broken homes these are obstacles but we want the parents to be involved but the teachers have a deep commitment in the child's future. one thing we have to do is ask all our people in public education, including our parents, give these children a chance to realize their god-given destiny and that is exactly what is happening here and it's important to note that 60% of the children in this school are economically disadvantaged. that's 15% above the state wide average and yet their number 1 and they're number 1 because of that commitment. you know, they don't spend a lot of money on administrators and overhead and buildings. in fact, this building they share with the high school. you may have heard about the high school here. their the home of the football power house the big red. ever heard of them?
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[applause] >> well spent where it really needs to go and it's something where it needs to do. teachers use data to look at the struggles and the problems that children have. and as a group, they fix it. it is very data-driven. they know what works and then they apply it, they stick to it and they're able to lift these kids. the administrators are right there with the teachers. i've always thought administrators need to teach there in the classroom and there they are there all the time. i had a little bit of time to spend time with the superintendent and the principal and they do it and they find to get the resources for the teachers and to get the job done. at the end of the day, the students are doing so well, it creates success and the one thing i've learned in life, is when you have success that builds momentum for more success
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and they have also successfully implemented an early childhood education program. it's something my life has believed in. the whole time we've been married she talked typically about it. we got good news, ohio just received the $70 million grant. we were the fifth best in the country and we're going to be able to use that money and apply it to early indication, making it work and making it better across the state of ohio for the better of our children and it's fantastic news. [applause] >> secondly, i came to steubenville 'cause where i grew up. but when you come from an ethnic town along the river, you're all family. you may not know each other and you may not be related but you're all family. and, you know, some of you know my story. i'm privileged today to have my uncle george here. uncle george was one of 8 kids.
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uncle george -- i so love uncle george. his father was a coal miner. he died of complications from black lung. uncle george from a family of 8, 8 children -- uncle george graduated from high school. my dad who carried mail on his back for 29 years graduated from high school and the two sisters graduated from high school. the other four boys never got it done. never graduated from high school. but it didn't make them anything less than great, you know, 'cause my uncle steve ended up fighting on iwo jima and becoming a war hero, who we honored till the die that he was put in the ground. uncle george went on to college, became a guidance counselor and he was a guidance counselor -- think about this, for 37 years. how the lord works and how
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families work. and you know the bottom line when the talk about the ethics and people who have commonsense and you talk about people who are god-fearing and you help -- you think about people who can get knocked down and they never get knocked out, i mean, that was mckees rocks. that's where i come from. and that's why coming here -- you know, even this morning became very emotional for me. thinking about the fact that the lord gave me a chance to come here and stand up here not johnny kasich, but just another kid from an ethnic blue collar hard-working town, people who play by the rules and get a chance to do something to lift people. and it's why i came to steubenville and it's really confirmed the decision to come here and people keep asking me, where are you going to go next year? we'll have to deal with the legislature on that one. [laughter] >> hey, look, we cannot forget the untimely and tragic death of
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lee west, a young man killed in a house fire. it just happened last week. the school mourns, the town mourns. there's no great words for the west family, but it gives us a chance to the students who are here today, from our high school -- you know, invite those kids that sometimes you think of as the nerds or invite those kids who sometimes get ignored, hug them, make them feel special because you never know what's going to happen in the next day. my mom and dad were taken from me in a horrible car crash in 1987, but they didn't die in vain, their son became a better man and, you know, maybe through the death of lee we can become better people. but you know what? visit the family, hug them, tell them what a great young man lee west was and don't just stop after a week.
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you go and visit them, you'll be doing a great service not only for them but great service to the lord as well. you know, i think it is so important because when i look at these things, i'm -- it just kind of gets me so pumped up. how far we have come as ohioans, you know, where we were and where we are now. and i know some of you have heard this before, but many of you have not. and it's good to reflect back. a year ago, ohio ranked 48th in job creation. we trailed only michigan and california in lost jobs. michigan, the home of the auto industry that was devastated and california, of course, filled by a bunch of whack-a-doodles. who would have ever dreamt that we'd be here the third worst? when i came to ohio state in 1970, we were the promise land and somehow we drifted.
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we lost 600,000 in the last 10 years, 600,000 jobs gone, 400,000 jobs gone in the last four years. 400,000 families, one-third of our college students were leaving the state within three years of graduation, they're finding their destiny somewhere else. who can blame them. if there's nothing here, i don't blame them. ohio's credit outlook was negative. we thought there was a very good chance -- tim kaine and i the budget director thought we would get downgrade and we were nervous about it and then think about it for a second 'cause we gloss over it. 8 billion in the hole. 8 billion in the hole, the largest deficit in the history of the state of ohio and people said there is no way we can deal with this. well, you know i want to compliment my partners in the legislature, my staff, the governor's office. i'll tell you what we did. we just looked at the problems
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honestly. you know, see, when politics becomes the order of the day, the power of special interest groups become the order of the day, you really get confused. but if you look at a problem and you see what it is and you design a solution, it's amazing how far you can go. and that's exactly what we did through this process. and whether we know it or not, some of it was strongly bipartisan. so i know it's not easy sometimes to look at a problem and strip out the politics and who you know and what you know and who helped you and didn't, that's a job. people elect us not to get a favor but they elect us what we think about principally and that's what it's really about. and it's not easy when people attack you, when you make people uncomfortable, but why did you do this if you're not willing to do it? you're shortchanging your family if you're not willing to stand up. think about this. in six months we eliminated an $8 billion budget shortfall without a tax increase.
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eliminated it, we are now balanced and, in fact, we cut taxes by $300 million. and when i came in, we had a rainy day fund that had 89 cents and i'm told that budget guru over there, brian per era sent an 89 cent check to the amount that we had in the rainy day fund. try 247 million in the rainy day fund today. it's pretty staggering. mraus mra[applause] >> and we did it the right way. look, we were fought going to hurt the mentally ill, the disabled, the poor. we just weren't going to do it. somebody's got to stand up for them. oh, they have a lobbyist. but we don't see him here. best lobbyist in the world, we'll all meet him some day so you can't step on these folks and i told john martin and tracy
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plouck we cannot pushed too hard on the mentally ill or the disabled or the poor to take away from them. that would be sinful. that would be wrong. and we knew we couldn't raise taxes and folks, i got to tell you, if you keep raising taxes you don't make it. 'cause companies look around and look for the lowest cost to be able to make money and if we continue to do it, we would just continue to hurt ourselves economically. so it's not just a philosophy or some sort of an ideology, it's what makes sense. and how did we do it? we did it with reforming and reshaping. and i have to tell you can't cut your way to prosperity. people think i'm this big budget cutter. i would rather reform, reshape and make it work better. come up with a better solution and let's talk a little bit about it. how about medicaid? medicaid has been out of control as a part of this state budget forever. greg moody, i don't know even know how we got the guy, greg moody comes in he's got great
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experience. he leaves his private sector job and he has a vision for how we can -- how we can help it. now for how many years did you read the studies of the fact that we wanted mom and dad to stay in their own home rather than going into a nursing home? for how many years did we see home health care and the ability for mom and dad to be healthier and happier and more independent ought to be accomplished and we couldn't do it but we did it, didn't we, in this budget. mom and dad and now stay at home if they're able to and about a fifth of the cost of being in a nursing home. thank you for your work on that. [applause] >> we've been able to intergrate mental and physical health. this is a big deal. if you have a mental health issues you got physical health issues. and the ability to intergrate them is what makes a big difference in the lives of those people. and we're doing it. we also found out that 4% of the medicaid population drives over 50% of the costs.
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so moody came up with this program to try to guide them in the right way, look, we all know too often poor people get primary care in an emergency room. you can't get primary care in an emergency room. you got to get primary care from a primary care physician. so what we're doing is creating the concept of a medical room. we coordinate their care. we also bring some certainty and we eliminate the confusion that many sick people have 'cause they don't know where they're going so if we can coordinate their care and get them in the right setting, they'll be comfortable, they'll be more healthy, the quality of medicine will improve and do you know what's unbelievable? we'll save money and that is exactly what we're doing. and let me also tell you we're spending time now on this low birth weight moms. it's one other example of being out in front. i promised that a year ago when i was here we were trying to do so many things at once. what are we doing there's a couple in richland county in
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mansfield they figured out to deal with the problem with women with low weight babies. if we can coordinate their care and drive them to the doctor, we can cut the incidents of low birth weight babies by an enormous amount and think of the savings and think how happy the mom is and think how great it is for the kid, for the baby? well, that's what we're doing. we got a long way to go to completely mature these programs but we're doing it. and let me also tell you that we are working with the private sector. when proctor & gamble and general electric and the companies in cincinnati have gotten together on payment reform to have outcome-based medicine. think about this, right now we pay people on the basis how many in the door and how many out the door. that's not how we should pay them. we should pay them on the basis of their outcome. we should pay them on the basis of the fact that if you keep me healthy and give me primary care, we're going to pay you more money. it will improve the quality. it will improve satisfaction and it will reduce the costs.
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and i've talked to mr. kafaro who's here today to help us about developing a national program to work with the administration. i mean, it's the way we got to do things. i think she's got some ins down there and if she doesn't, i don't know, we'll see if you can do that. but we want to involve her in this. and we want this to be bipartisan going forward. sentencing reform, how long did we wait? i would like talk about my buddy a prosecutor who stood up and say we're not just going to play politics. locking 12,000 people up next to hardened criminals, rapists, murderers, drug dealers for less than a year, we think we're doing good? gary moore, where is gary moore? this guy is a greater leader in corrections reform and because of your work in the legislature and because of your constant insistence on improving this
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situation, we were able to pass sentencing reform. we're now a low level offender can be put in a community setting where they can get their lives back. where they can have a second chance. now, here's the amazing thing that, you know, when you talk about reforming prisons and giving people an easier time, it's great applause line at a republican dinner as you can probably imagine but i'm not looking for those. what i'm looking for is giving people a second chance. so you know what we're thinking about now if you've been a violent offender and you're in prison and you want to work your way out of that, we'll give you a chance. we'll create a process whereby people can work their way back. if you take violence in the prison, it will lock you up for 1,000 years, have no doubt about that. it's a great achievement to have done sentencing reform in this last year. construction reform, 124 years multiple crimes. you build a house and everybody is a multiple crimes it drives up the ratesfy high. we have ohio best politician is
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with us today. he's the president of ohio state university. gordon, you got to stand up and take a wave. where the heck are you? there he is. [applause] >> gordon said if we can go to a single prime contractor we can cut the cost of building my new hospital by 25%. 124 years we did it. we don't do it anymore. now we're down to a single prime and who's going to benefit? the public, students, families through lower tuition, lower costs? thanks, gordon, for what you did and for the other presidents that were strong enough to do this. economic development, 1962-1963 jim rhodes created the department of development. it worked fine for a while but it's become slow, bureaucratic, outdated, atrophied. i want to thank you -- and you know tom sawyer is out here and i called him the other day as we moved the contract through the controlling board, tom was there when we first brought up jobs
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ohio. we had some bipartisan support, not overwhelming, obviously, but we thought that if we could create an entity that could move at the speed of the marketplace and not the speed of the statute because i saw a race between a statute and a glacier and the glacier won. [laughter] >> and in the 21st century, you got to move at the speed of the marketplace and so we created jobs ohio and it's beginning to bear fruit in our state already. and i'm so excited and, mark, thanks for coming from california. now he's an ohio resident. who knows what we'll see next, right? it's amazing. education reform, think about this. no mom and dad should have to have their kids in a school where they're not safe and they're not learning. [applause] >> so it's a civil right. mra[applause] >> and this is not an attack on public school system or public school teachers. we have to honor the ones that are really out there just like
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we see here in wells academy. but when the schools aren't working and they're underperforming, let our children go. we went in this state from 13,000 vouchers to 30,000 families who can have more choice and more freedom to next year 60,000 vouchers. i don't know that exists anywhere in america. [applause] >> and it's going to give our poor people a chance. [applause] >> we looked at the cap on the number of charter schools and let me make it clear. if you're an underperforming charter school, we'll be on you. we have to have excellence in every school and just 'cause it has a name and if it's not working, we're going to have to deal with it and i'll ask the legislature to exercise proper oversight and let me also -- yeah, you can applaud for that 'cause i know a lot of people are concerned about that. [applause] >> and if the school continues to fail, parents and teachers
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have the power to take over the schools themselves and i want to give a big shoutout to stan hefner he's a man who decided -- he's committed to let moms and dads across the state how they're doing. he published the state who ranked the schools how wells got to be number 1. he's traveling the states and we need to let moms and dads know how their schools are doing. and i'm very proud of the fact that we did teacher evaluations. we had 19 meetings across the state, 1400 emails from teachers and do you know what teachers are worried about? they don't mind being evaluated but they don't want to get the short end of the stick. they want to make sure that there's multiple ways for them to be measured. and we listen to them. it's exactly what we did and we took this framework -- we took this framework to the state board of education and as i mentioned earlier today, the unions, us, the administration, the members of the legislature, we got the framework improved.
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and our schools across the state and, frankly, consistent with the race to the top write give arne duncan and the president great credit for what they've done here, we're moving ohio forward but we have more to do. where are we today? ohio is the number 1 job creator in the midwest today, as we sit here. number 1. [applause] >> we're the number 9 creator -- job creator in america, from 48 to 9 in one year. [applause] >> legislature, people. mra[applause] [applause]
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>> it's about time 'cause we're a power house here in ohio. and you know what? our private sector job growth -- rather than losing the 400,000 jobs over the last four years, we created 43,500 new jobs, a net increase of 43,500 families better off. in total manufacturing jobs, it's not just autos, believe me and i'm going to tell you in a moment, 14,400 manufacturing jobs. god made some people to make things and it's coming back to america. and it's coming back to ohio. jobs ohio and our economic team have produced as a result of saving or creating new jobs and working with those companies that on their own decided to move forward, $4.7 billion in payroll. that's a lot of money that gets spent $4.7 billion in payroll.
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[applause] >> 3.2 billion in new capital investment. i mean, they're taking 3.2 billion and putting it into our state. it's just such incredible news and think about some of the saves debolt what a great save for canton, ohio, american greetings hey, wendy's came home from atlanta, georgia, wendy's is back in columbus where wendy's belongs. [applause] >> and do you know that credit rating agency standard & poor's, remember them. they downgraded the united states. they downgraded spain. they downgraded france. they downgraded italy and they improved our credit rating all at the same time. we have gone from negative watch to stable as a result of the hard work we've done. and that sends a signal all across this country that ohio is open for business.
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[applause] >> now, everybody wants to see how partisan everything is. >> baloney. that's not true. oh, yeah, it's been partisan at times. i mean, sometimes really partisan, okay? i get it. i didn't fall off of a turnip truck over here. but let's think about some of these things. the commonsense initiative, you know, mary taylor, our lieutenant governor, this is a program where we're just trying to make sense out of things so we're not shutting businesses down because we're doing dumb things in government. let me just give you one story. you know, there was this -- the ohio liquor law required food manufacturers to purchase alcohol in retail containers and retail prices. one recipe for merlot wine sauce called for 140,000 pounds of wine which they had to purchase uncorked, sterilize and pour one bottle at a time, no sipping allowed. [laughter] >> we worked with the department of commerce, the general assembly, couple culinary has
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announced its expansion. they will no longer have to do that. now, you see that's just a commonsense little thing. and yet we were snuffing out jobs and hurting families because we didn't have it together. mary is trying to do that. i think it was overwhelmingly bipartisan for the commonsense initiative. the sentencing reform i've already mentioned. jennifer bruner here, by the way? where's jennifer? is she in here? she's here somewhere. wave, jennifer, we all love you. or most of us do. [applause] >> i asked jennifer to epi. us on collateral sanctions. ladies and gentlemen, you don't know this, the legislature does. do you know that if you have a felony conviction and you serve your time and you come out of prison, do you know that you are prohibited from cutting hair or driving a truck? we can't have that. we're going to fix that and i've asked jennifer to help and gary moore convened a meeting on an
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early morning and shirley smith who's hugging me, which is why i believe in god. [laughter] >> i said to those who were the hardcore right wing, lock them up forever, can't do that. i said to the left wing get-out-of-jail free card, we're talking about human beings. you got to give people a chance here. you can't -- you can't be in a position where you paid your price and you want to get back. you can't get a commercial driver's license. i mean, that's one of the most needed things in the area of oil and gas today. you got to drive a truck. so we're going to get this done. right, ross? we're going to get this done. and we're going to slabe, you got another assignment to do. [laughter] >> war on drugs, bob johnson and burke, we closed all those pill mills, didn't we? it made a difference, didn't it? [applause] >> and -- and we're cracking down on these doctors that are just not doing their job and abusing their practice.
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highway patrol, john bourne by the way they're a fired up group again. john bourne is along as well as the highway patrol the is along on board and the war on drugs is something we have to pay attention to because it is wrecking our communities. [applause] >> and we're working with the highway patrol to get that done. but, again, another bipartisan effort. i was in the house when it passed unanimously, went over to the senate, flew through. yeah, there's things we can do. teach for america. you remember a year ago we should have teach for america and bang, you helped and in the snap of the finger we have teach for america. we have these people and they want to help people and they will help in our schools and breathe life in our schools and it will be fantastic to see the way it works. let me also say that i don't even know how to tell you this,
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we have 1,000 ohio children -- the average age 13 years of age, they're in the slave trade business in our state. teresa federer is, you know -- she's on fire about this. 1,000 of our children aged 13. i can't even -- it's hard for me to even think about. my girls are 12. could you imagine somebody snatching your daughter and somebody forcing them into prostitution at 13 and 14 years of age? i called colonel charles yesterday. i said we got a war on drugs, we got to have a war on the slave trade business in ohio. i know we started on it but we've got -- we've got to stop this. we've got to snuff this out in our state.
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[applause] >> it is the scourge. [applause] >> and let me also tell you if it wasn't for bipartisan support, i wouldn't be standing in steubenville today. [laughter] >> okay. now we'll get to a really cool part, i hope. we got -- look, that's really remarkable. we're alive again. we're out of the ditch. we're growing. we're becoming -- it's happening in our state. it's not me. it's all of us and it's the people of the state. i'm just thrilled to be part of it. that's all i ever wanted in this job. so it's happening. but we've got cultural changes that we have to make and people who represent the status quo,
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who are going to fight us for the next series of things that we have to get done. remember your purpose in the legislature. but i also think it's -- i get all fired up when i read the stories of other people who are heroes. it gives me more energy. and i remember reading "fear no evil." sharonsky sat in the soviet prison. it was all phonied trumped up charges of being a traitor and if you sign this statement like galileo did, we'll let you out of the gulag. if they use galileo against me they won't use me against somebody else. and we worry. john adams, navy seal, we worry about politics. a guy -- every day puts his life on the line in there in the service like so many other veterans in here. let's learn from people and get excited and courageous and so i'm starting something new and i
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hope it will always last. the governor's courage awards. now, let them tell you -- i wrote a book in 1997, 1998 and it was called "courage is contagious." first chapter are about two boys who died. one of them said, you know, that john kasich, he's just a congressman -- a little boy in a congressman's body. i think you shine the light on people to do special things. and today we're going to shine the light on three people. the first one i want to tell you about is joanna crone. joanna had a son, a senior in high school, lost his life because prescription drugs. she formed a group called solace. danny and dr. johnson and so many of the people -- my great friend tom neehaus. they know about solace -- i
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remember when i was going to be sworn in and these ladies were up there in their pink shirts and you made me cry because they said we want you to help us. joanna crone could have gone -- fade away -- i mean, 17, 18-year-old kid gone, but she stood up and she made a purpose of what -- what she needed to do to rally not only her but all these women who were part of solace. these are beautiful medals. a man of courage is full of faith. a beautiful quote from cicero, as you can see, it's just a token, joann, of how we feel about what you've done and the ladies from solace. and maybe in a way we do this
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also in memory of your sweet son who didn't die in vain. come and receive this award. [applause] >> you did great. thank you for coming. >> thank you. [applause] >> okay. [applause] >> i've just talked to you about human trafficking. adults use manipulation, blackmail and even forced to take our teenagers and make them prostitutes, slave labor or worse. one human traffic survivor here in ohio to refused to sit down and let this crisis go
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unnoticed. teresa flores joins me here on the stage. >> when teresa was a teenager she was exploited, blackmailed, trapped in a hell of abuse that she could not escape. there wasn't anybody to help her, no support, no one to help her get free. can you imagine that? abused, drugged, beaten, raped. she didn't give up somehow. i just don't know how she did it. today she's a licensed social worker in columbus, a licensed social worker in columbus. and she helps liberate other women trapped by human trafficking. you know, her courage has helped her to turn her experience around and make a difference in countless lives. teresa, you come and get this medal. [applause]
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>> thank you. [applause] >> we don't want to see those on ebay, ladies. [laughter] >> well, i went to dayton for a ceremony honoring u.s. army specialist jesse snow who lost his life in war.
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jesse was in afghanistan. and he crawled through enemy fire to help his comrades. he lost his weapon, he lost his weapon, he secured ammunition then. he performed first-aid. he used his body to shield other people. that's how he died. threw his body in front of others so they might live. and this wasn't some snap of the finger decision. he knew exactly what he was doing. and he comes from a family that has tremendous patriotism and service to the country. i don't think i'd ever quite
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been to a ceremony like that, mr. snow, your young brother, you loved your brother. you did. you loved your brother alex. we know he's been honored with a silver star. i'll make an additional medal before it's all said and done. they built a beautiful monument to him when they finally buried him. it's not enough for me 'cause i can give one more honor and one more medal to the snow family. mr. snow, alex, please come and get the medal. [applause]
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[applause] [applause] >> i want all the veterans who have served this country stand up and be honored for their heroic service. join me in saluting our veterans. [applause] >> well, i hope you're inspired by them. i know you are. and there's many great things to
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do for our state. and we got to remember these people. i don't want to get -- i'm not going to be a preacher that you got to wear a collar. i was a member of the legislature. it was very interesting. sometimes i fought with my own party. it happens. it's what mom told me what to do. stand up and fight for what you believe in. 18 years in the congress. balanced budgets, military reform. you know, i learned a couple things 'cause we have a lot of new members here. some that have ever stood for election. i think you got to steer clear of mindless partisanship. look, i had teresa here today. teresa took 100 things, she and i wouldn't agree on 10. that's okay. 'cause i like her and she likes me. and she believes my heart's in the right place and i know hers is. so why don't i search for things that i can do to make things better 'cause i got to tell you
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something, being a good republican or being a good democrat -- you lost it. they don't give you awards for being partisan. oh, you got to respect your philosophy and you have to carry it out. but you look at what's happening in washington. do we want to be them? they can't get out of their own way. the country's losing faith. so together we got to make sure that we move forward and that we can find things that we can work together on and not be nasty and mean and name-callers, hey, fight like crazy. tip o'neill and ronald reagan did and then they had a drink. tip had two. [laughter] >> but when i left politics, i never looked back. leave it all on the field, ladies and gentlemen. and now we have to build on what we have accomplished. and i just got to tell you, our main job -- it's just all about jobs. i mean, rhodes was right, jobs, jobs and jobs. when people have jobs, moms and
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dads are strong, kids get out of poverty, families are together, marriages last. and i got to tell you, you don't achieve this by just snapping your fingers. these jobs don't come here just on accident. it does not happen that way. we have to think about the strategic way we can work together. we have to leverage our assets and the strengths that we have and i want to say to all of you, i know the idea as a legislator you got to go to columbus and vote. you know, rosenberger is a perfect person to vote as an after-thought. his job is to work with every business in the district and bring home to the people of wilmington. i want all of you, i don't care who you are in this legislature, i don't care who you are in this crowd, if you have an idea that you think can help create jobs and advance our society and our state, tell us. don't be shy. i don't bite. most times.
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[laughter] >> every one of these projects has to be customized. it takes time. we have to work it out. and it can't be done overnight. we also can't give away the store. be careful not to give away the store. we've laid the foundation for growth. and we have a blueprint for different clusters in the state that we think can work. so rather than giving you -- and i can give you a laundry list of the mbr and all these legislative things and i want to talk to you about what i think is realistic, not what is blue sky and from what ohio can take hope and we can build upon. and let's start with manufacturing. moms and dads, stop telling your kids that they shouldn't try to be -- get a job in manufacturing. manufacturing is coming back, encourage, your people, your kids. if god them to make things, let them make things. [applause] >> it's going back because of our workforce, because of our location, because of our ability to move things. it's coming back to ohio.
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but let me tell you, when my uncle, uncle george, when steve and andy worked in the steel mill and they had to work around and lift and push and -- it's the brain increasingly now. you can't work on an auto line, you can't work in a steel mill if you don't know how to use a computer. technology is the order of the day in advancing manufacturing. but let me tell you about some of the recent things that have happened in this state that are good. let's talk about autos to start. 'cause ohio does have a base industry in auto. no question about it. ford -- oh, and let me tell you, i went up to detroit a year ago, mark and i went -- mark kwame went up there and they were shaking their fingers at me. you are not getting it right in ohio. shaking their finger. they shook their finger at me this year and they said, you are getting it right in ohio now, okay? and general motors put out a letter. they don't put out a letter praising their mom let alone
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some government, saying that things were getting better. ford is investing a billion dollars in the state of ohio. and wasn't it a great day, gail, when we were at avon lake? those people were so happy -- [applause] >> ford is going to invest 4 or 56 billion. michigan number 1 to be expected. we're number 2 in america. on the ford investment. a billion dollars. and they moved a bunch of business which i'll talk about a little bit more from mexico to avon lake. from mexico to avon lake. [applause] >> get it? [applause] >> i'm writing right now an op-ed piece with the ceo of general motors talking about ohio and manufacturing in america. they have a continued commitment to toledo defiance and, of course, lords town. chevy cruise, baby, it's
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selling. and it's working. chrysler, a half a billion dollars investment in toledo, 111,000 jobs. i met with sergio and i said sergio, how many more can we get? because when they do something good, you push them for more. that's just the way it has to be and we're working with them now to train people. lloyd jacobs, university of toledo, we're going to do workforce training because when you are able to get sticky with them, they can't get out of your grasp. we want to grab them and we want to hold them and we want to build what we have and not go through a breath-holding exercise down the road. this is a way to do it. and honda, i had a vision last night. batch in a super car, in the seat next to him and jerry seinfeld in the backseat, okay? honda continues their major investment in ohio and give them a lot of credit, they don't ask for a time. we're going to help them to
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train their workers. it's fantastic. let me also say -- is jaime here from republic steel? i was told he was going to come here. is he here? their family which are big entrepreneurs and big business people in new mexico, think about this they have made a huge investment in lorraine, ohio, who would have ever thought that that kind of an investment was going to create more jobs in republic steel in lorraine, ohio, this year. it's a mexican family making an investment in the state of ohio. [applause] >> it's phenomenal. [applause] >> vns, in youngstown, advanced manufacturing, what are they doing? it's energy. republic steel is auto and maybe energy. hey, don't forget -- don't forget the huge investments from united states steel right up there next to that plant in
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republic steel. they believe in ohio. listen to this, folks, i just don't -- i can't believe it. the unemployment rate in youngstown has gone from 11.5 to 8.3% in the last year. the mahoney valley is alive again and they deserve it. [applause] >> hamilton ohio, they were going to move their shock absorbers to mexico, not only are they not moving them because we got down there and we worked with them. not only are they not moving them to mexico, they're moving people in mexico to hamilton, ohio, to make shock absorbers. johnson controls up near toledo, a whole new generation of battery-making, something that we can put in our cars that's good for the environment, something that go in our cars that will bring about a new generation -- generational change in the way we power our cars, right up there in toledo, ohio. and whirlpool, this is really cool.
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whirlpool is moving a bunch of their stuff from germany to toledo, ohio, why? market, location, workers, it all fits together, doesn't it, when you're on the ball and working aggressively with these companies. [applause] >> oh, and let's not forget the timkin company who already made a $100 million investment in ohio and they're on the verge of another $225 million investment for a jumbo caster. we can never forget them. they're part of the backbone of our state. here's the thing with manufacturing we got the people. we know how to work. we know how to make things. we've got a legacy of it. secondly, we've got location. now, let me tell you, it's interesting. every company thinks about costs. that's what we do and we work with them. i talked to ceos until like the sun goes down. here's what's working. the labor costs in china have
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risen. the rate labor costs in mexico has risen and, unfortunately, the violence creates serious risk. and do you know what we have in ohio? we're close to markets. so we have to devise a strategy and we're in the process of ding a strategy right now where we can have a lot of foreign trade efforts and that's foreign trade to places like california, to the state of washington and then maybe we can even look overseas because here's the thing, all-in costs, access to the market, the ability to move things, the ability to make things all in costs, we're starting to win. and we've got to pick off these companies one by one to bring these manufacturing jobs back here to this state. and it's worth mentioning, huh, mexico to avon lake, mexico to republic steel, germany to whirlpool in clyde, ohio, see, it's working. and it takes a lot of different
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things. it takes energy changes, energy is a big cost driver for companies. you must lower your energy costs and we've got to promote our strength in advanced manufacturing. aerospace, how did we all these years go without recognizing that the sheer brilliance and excellence of wright-patterson air force base? did you know we're flying in a very limited way unmanned vehicles down there. unmanned vehicles are the future of aerospace and right down there in wright-patterson air force base they have the technology and the right people. wayne struble, my dear friend and brilliant policy director, he's working, i'm helping him to get the faa to give us is wider opportunity to fly these unmanned vehicles both at wright-pat and springfield in will himton -- wilmington and this could change the whole face of ohio. i can't change anything in washington. but let's take advantage of what
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we have down there to drive this and we'll work -- we're working with a delegation and working with the pentagon to see along with the general to see if we can get this done and leverage our experience not just in flight but also in manufacturing. now, folks, logistics, if you make things and you can't move it, you might as well not even make it. we need to be the best -- logistics is becoming an industry in the state of ohio now. it's an industry in america. it's the ability to move things and move them quickly by land and by sea and by air. and we're starting to win at this. it was not long ago, wagner, senator wagner, when we website went to north baltimore and we went to improve the infrastructure, jerry ray got some money so we could expand the structure. the north baltimore modal is exploding and i'll tell you why. because people can avoid chicago with all their business and all
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the hassle there and they can come to north baltimore, ohio, and that facility will be expanded and it represents the best in logistic advancements, senator, and we need to work to expand that operation. i know that chrysler would like to ship things through our multimodal and it means jobs. tql down in claremont county, people working down there, young people, what they do they have no trucks but they take virtual trucks and match them with loads and they ship things all over the country. 1,000 people down there -- i was told the average pay pay is $70,000. it was like going to google or to paypal or to, you know, the place where you buy all the shoes, you know, where all the people get excited, you know? it's young people excited and let me also tell you bx solutions in toledo, we lost 700 jobs and turned around a couple of weeks later and because of a great young man up there who created 550,000 new ones but we
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have to do better job with our infrastructure. now, let me just say something to you. we didn't take your highway money. i don't want to be misleading people anymore. oh, yeah, you want a road, we'll give you a road and it's just not true. we are 1.6 to $2 billion short. no one's leveled with you. we didn't take the money. and i didn't put this thing out now so i can get the turnpike. that's just baloney. that is not what this about. it begins to tell the truth to people so they can understand the situation that we are in. i have not made a decision yet about what i want to do with this turnpike because if we don't get the money, we're not going to do it. and we're in the process of studying it. maybe we can have more public/private operations and we got that in the transportation bill. we got this bridge down there in cincinnati, we ought to be involving the private sector and let them see the benefit of it being engaged with us.
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let them profit somewhat from it. let's get more of this infrastructure done. you can't shut down the bridge. it's a major artery in this country. maybe we can figure out a way to get a few pennies together by letting companies be able to suddenly start to lease some of these rest stops, where we can get some good food and a lot of other good things along there if we can open that process up. so i am not telling you exactly what we're going to do but let me say this to you, let's think about this for a second. we will never give up underline control of the turnpike but if we can bond against that revenue or if we can lease it, and take care of the maintenance and make sure that the people that live there, who have largely been ignored over the last 40 years -- the people who live there get a responsive -- get responsive agreements from those that might take this turnpike over and if we can generate billions of dollars, we don't
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want to do that? you got to be kidding me. so everybody slow down. chill out a little bit. let us complete the study. and let's see where we are, but infrastructure has to be a critical part of the long-term growth of the state of ohio. and whether you agree with this or not, you agree with that principle and we have to make it work. [applause] >> so we did manufacturing, logistics, let's try medicine for a while. cleveland clinic university hospital -- case western, are you kidding me? the crown jewels. gordon gees ohio state's new hospital. by the way, he's got a way working up there by the name of dr. rizai, this guy is doing deep brain massage.
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and i went up -- the cabinet saw it and i went up there -- he puts a sensor in the brain and it sends a signal that disrupts the brain that causes parkinson's in people. there was a man, they shut off the pacemaker, they put it back on, he gave me a carved piece of wood. it was like magic. john glenn was with us the other day at the cabinet meeting. it's incredible, if we can encourage that and then commercialize it as well. but you'd think of the university of cincinnati performance medicine in dayton, our children's hospitals. we get the best stuff in the whole world. think about this, phillips, the great, great medical company moved their imaging r & d from san jose, california, to
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cleveland. that's better than the super bowl for the browns, okay? that's a fantastic thing. [applause] >> okay. well, maybe not better than the super bowl but equal to a super bowl, okay? also, steeis a company we helped create moving some of their jobs from canada into cleveland. see, we're working to create a medical corridor and we want these great facilities to work together because if they work together we can have clinical trials and we can go out there pushing medical devices and we work on it every day but you got to change the culture of these institutions 'cause they all think they're michael jordan and what we know is if we can get them to work together, we can have an awesome result in all the fields of medicine today and bring tremendous advancement to us. divided we fall, work together we win. financial services, number 2 in the country in property and casualty. we just got 800 jobs from
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amtrust moving from new york city to cleveland, ohio. it's just fantastic news for cleveland and they want to change the very face of cleveland. we've got chase, a huge investment from chase in columbus, the huntington bank, p & c and the huntington banks and we're creating a course in several universities in the community colleges to train kids in risk management so that we've got people that can work there. you can't have an insurance company and have no employees. and we're carrying this out and working with universities and community colleges to get it done. agriculture, it's our base. we are on the cusp of becoming a worldwide leader of exporting animals. whoever thought that we would be able to say that we're exporting -- nonblue tongue cows to turkey. thank you -- where is rosenberger. where did you ever come from that and jim, you see we can ship this livestock all over the world and we need to move into
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agribusinesses and find more networks. keep treating agriculture as the stepfather. it's the base and foundation of our state. it always has been. [applause] >> technology, i mean, janova, new cloud computing, cleveland is the fastest growing market for technology jobs in america and cincinnati is third. we can begin to compete with the silicon valley, the triangle of north carolina and with boston, because we have people who know what they're doing. we just got to create the climate here so people are excited about -- about being in ohio. and today i want to tell you about the best technology research -- resource that you've never heard of. and it's buried underground in ohio. this will set us apart from every other state in america. let me tell you what happened. there's this guy -- let me see if i can find his name here. there's this guy named al stutz.
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have you ever heard of al. he ought to get one of these awards. he's a regular guy and works in the government. he figured out when the telecom companies were cratering and the cost of the fiber was decreasing, ohio ought to buy it. so we went and bought all this fiber and it's like this black fiber which means you can send stuff so fast. it's high speed -- it's beyond high-speed internet. and i'm announcing today we're going to increase the speed of ornet from 10 gigabytes per second to 100 gigabytes per second and what does this mean? it's not back to the future with gigabytes. i mean, this really means something. it means that health care and research -- that these researchers no longer have to rely on overnight mail to share their massive files on hard drives but can email them instantly. it allows our research hospitals and universities to compete more successfully for the research grants that create breakthroughs in jobs, the multimedia space.
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it means that companies in the entertainment, design and graphic industries that must allow huge amounts of data to collaborators right here at home in ohio, like lexis nexus, online retailers and banks who need files backed up for security will find ohio a cheap and easy and fast place to work, you did it in 1987. we're exploding its power and it's going to yield huge, huge benefits for the people in the state of ohio. ornet you've heard it first. believe it, it can change the face of the entire state of ohio and i want to thank al in the legislature who had the foresight to do this. [applause] >> okay. they all thought i came here for energy. baloney. i came here because of what i told you earlier but there happens to be some good energy things going on. we had an energy summit. many of you came to it, two days long, many people came. we need to have an energy policy -- if america can't have
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a policy that makes us energy independent, let ohio create an energy policy that makes us independent. [applause] >> we'll start with coal. we're the saudi arabia of coal. clean it and burn it. clean it, gordon, and burn it. clean it, batell and burn it. use it. [applause] >> renewables, hey, you can be for coal, you can be for gas and you know what? you can be for wind and you can be for solar and you can be for geothermal. we need to be for our renewables. they're starting to gain momentum. they're starting to become more economically workable. but let's, of course, not stuff stuff in that's going to drive up costs for people, you know, that are unrealistic but we need to embrace renewables in our state. you already have. and i compliment you on that but there's some additional things we can do like capture waste heat. you know when you drove down
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here, did you see the big cooling tower? how would you like to capture that and put it back into the company so they can lower their costs, generate power and at the same time, clean the environment? we will have a proposal to do just that here in the state of ohio. and conservation, we all have to do it. okay. let me tell you this, though, natural gas, fraccing. people are getting it in the state. we've been working on this for -- well, before i was even sworn in. you cannot degrade the environment at the same time you're producing this industry. it is not acceptable. and it's not a false choice. the biggest companies know that you need to have tough environmental rules. they can't be complicated. they can't be over the top but we need to have them because we can't have some yahoo come into this state and damage this whole
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state because they're irresponsible. so the biggest companies understand we need to take care of things like high pressure pipelines. we don't want a high pressure pipeline explosion in our state. we have to take care of the gathering lines. we have to make sure that the well head is not going to contribute to contamination of the groundwater. i mean, we have to do all of these things. but we cannot let our fears outweigh the potential. and i'm always concerned about talking about the potential because the people in the mahoney valley, the people in steubenville, the people in ohio how many promises have they been heard and have been shattered. let's take our time. we only the 36 wells drilled but the good news is, it looks pretty good. it looks pretty good. billions of dollars worth of investment in this state and that's all good as well. and we have much work to do. now, everybody today is talking about a cracker facility. well, let them tell you what we got.
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we have a company called mark west. is frank simple here today? where is he? where is frank? frank come on up? okay. we have with us today -- you know -- [chanting] >> i kind of like this. this was kind of what it was like when i was growing up. [applause] >> hey, steubenville, let them know what you think about disruptions, huh? let them -- tell them what you think about it. [applause] >> well, let me tell you -- let
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me tell you about frank temple who's here with us today. he's the ceo of mark west. he is locating three facilities in ohio, two processing facilities and those are the facilities we use to separate the gases. he's also bringing a fractionator which is used to take the liquids that are produced from the fracking and can separate them into the propane ethane. he's investing in these three nitz in this state, a half a billion dollars worth of investment, 700 jobs to build the darn thing so start signing up and at the same time, it's going to yield hundreds of permanent jobs all in, direct and indirect. give him a round of applause for having faith in ohio. [applause]
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>> thanks for coming, frank. [applause] >> okay. let me say -- let me tell you a couple -- a couple other very essential things that we need to do in our state. [chanting] >> first of all, on the energy piece of this, on the energy piece of this, we're going to have to work together collaboratively and we have been. democrats and republicans can understand the big picture here. but let me tell you a couple other things we need to do quickly, workforce training. everywhere you go, everywhere i go what do they tell you? they tell you, well, we can't -- we got a lot of -- we got a lot of job openings. we have job openings but we don't have the skilled workers
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to fill it. [inaudible] >> we don't want you to be. [applause] >> you know, we have 80,000 unfilled jobs right now in ohio. can you imagine that? okay. let me tell you what else we have. we have a workforce training program -- shame on us. think about this. we have 77 different programs located in 13 different agencies. those 77 and 13 and adds up to zero 'cause that means there's no accountability, whatsoever, when it comes to our limited accountability as to how these programs work. so here's what we need to do quickly. one, and we need your help on this. companies need the forecast. they have to tell us what they need, what they do is they complain about that they don't have any workers but they won't tell us what workers they need. so we've gone to the business round table, the chambers of commerce and we are aggressively
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and with the energy companies i told them we don't want foreigners working on our well heads and those are people from west virginia, indiana, michigan, and oklahoma, okay? we want ohioans on the well heads. [applause] >> who have to help us to get them to forecast, short-term and immediate term. how many welders do you need? how many technicians do you need? how many molders do you need? how many truck drivers do we need? we don't have enough mathematicians and engineers and we need to point the kids where the jobs are. it's a major program for us. secondly, we need our community colleges to begin to educate people for those jobs. now, some of them are doing a pretty good job. some of them aren't doing a very good job. you know, we only have a 10% graduation rate nationwide for community colleges. community colleges should be like the emergency vehicle.
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when there's a job, put kids and students in there including adults and get them trained quickly so they can get the jobs that are available so we have to match the community colleges with the business community and the forecasting. it sounds easy, try it. [laughter] >> we've been working on this for six months. this is a huge cultural change. and our universities, they've got to do a much better job of focusing kids on realistic job propositions. do you know that we actually -- well, i don't want to get into the negative, but some of our graduation rates, our four-year graduation rates, they're just wrong. i'll give you one. after four years, 14% graduation rate? we can't have that in ohio. we need to graduate more kids and get them degrees, whether it's a technical degree, a community college degree or a university degree because the more degrees they have, the more
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job security they have, the more income they get and the healthier we are as a state. and we need to put this together and let nothing stand in our way. [applause] >> our career in technical schools are doing a pretty good job. they serve as a model. they work closely with businesses and i'm not saying that some of these schools aren't doing great but it has to be seamless, it has to be consistent, and it has to be robust. and let me also tell you that in order to keep tabs on all this, i'm going to have this thing called the workforce training reform plan. i mean, it sounds like another i mean, i don't like to give them these names but here it is. this guy rich frederick who works for them he's reporting directly to me. he's going to change the whole thing. we're going to metric how the community colleges, the technical schools and by the way, let's bring vocational education back strong in our k-12 education. [applause] >> bring it back.
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and you know, it's sort of like paul brown used to say, rich, if you can't get it done, i'll find somebody who can. we will get this done but we need your help and our door is open on any creative ideas you have. higher education, we have a great system of universities but we don't have a very great university system. we have the best higher education in, i think, the world. i asked gordon to do four, five things. we're going to have a capital bill. in the past each individual came and lobbied for themselves. no more bowling green ahead of everybody else. what we're going to do -- what we're going to do is gordon is -- god bless gordon. think about this guy. i mean, he's the university of colorado, he's ohio state, he's brown, he's vanderbilt, he's west virginia, back at ohio state. it's an incredible, incredible resume. i don't know if it's great or they wanted to get rid of you but it's pretty darn good.
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but anyway, the fact of the matter is i asked him to get the university presidents together and they're going to come with a capital bill for the first time in our history that doesn't have universities just going for themselves. they're working together. it is a sea change and a cultural change. now, we are also asking gordon to increase graduation rates for all of our universities. no more 14%. it has to be a tackle. we have to be patient but we have to demand it gets done because it's not fair to our families and our students to not get graduated. the emphasis should not be on enrollment. it ought to be on graduation. now, let me also say to you -- [applause] >> i've told gordon, i see up there in university in akron, kent state they get great program there. he said i want one. you can't have them, gordon. we don't want them competing with one another we want them
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collaborating with each other so we don't have duplicate programs. it requires a big cultural change and we're getting there. and it's not good enough to do research if you don't commercialize and create jobs. what's the point? i can find your research on a top shelf of a building 40 years from now, commercialize, create jobs, spin off companies. we can get that done but it's going to take new and renewed focus. and so, you know, whether it's graduation, whether it is working together on this issue of the fixing of their buildings, or whether it is targeting people, getting the universities to target people for jobs that exist -- if we create a university system, it will be unbelievable. it will be absolutely unbelievable and we're on the verge of being able to do it and finally k-12, 67% of ohioans think the system is great. graduation rates in ohio, 80% statewide. where do the other 20% go?
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urban areas, urban areas it's a 65% graduation rate. 35% don't get out of high school. it might have been okay back in the days of my uncle george where you can go get a job in a steel mill but that doesn't work like that. a 35% dropout rate in our urban schools? 41% of the kids that are graduating from k-12 are taking remedial math and english, 11th and 12th grade when they get to college. it drives up the cost of college and the kids in there are supposed to be going to college. he's taking 11th and 12th grade and guess what he drops out of the college and he has a $20,000 debt. it's not sustainable. and ohio is falling behind and ohio is stuck in the middle and we have to fix it and i want to spend the next year building a consensus and i talked about this program that mayor jackson in cleveland is talking about to reform public education.
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i'm counting on cleveland to deliver the goods. i'm counting on cleveland to be their best advocate. oh, i'll work with them. i'll go door to door to every one of your offices with the mayor of cleveland but if the cleveland business community and the mayor is really committed to very comprehensive unbelievable reform, and we can involve republicans and democrats in this endeavor, we can change urban education in ohio and change urban education in america. and that is worth fighting for and risking for? of [applause] >> we got to study the wells academy, the fine charter schools in cleveland. and we need to study them and find out what works, data driven and do it. and it doesn't mean we shortchange our teachers. you know, if they're not doing well, let's help them. if they're doing great, let's
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pay them. we're waiting for everything to settle down and the things on the walls that create a bedrock foundation for our young children. my god, there's nothing more important than these teachers and they have to be of excellence and we'll help them. it's just the way it has to be. now, folks, if we can train, educate, forecast, use our location, use your great people, use our resource, our assets, we'll be number 1 in america. we'll be the most powerful state in america. i have no doubt. we have the scale, the size and everything that we need. and the reason why it's all about jobs is not some political thing. just think about it for a second. imagine going home, uncle george, you remember, when they come home and say i lost my job today, or think about when somebody can go home and say, i got a job today, son, i got a
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job today. my wife and i and some of the campaign people went to wilmington during the campaign. i cried. i'm not ashamed to admit it. go into a food pantry, 7, 8, 9,000 people playing by the rules and one day it's all pulled away from them. they played by the rules. they're hard-working, god-fearing. it happens. it's a shame. it's part of what the sorrow that we see in the world. we visited that food pantry, sweetie, i know you'll never forget it. i think rachael ray even went there and did a part of her show about the tragedy and a focus on wilmington all the time. well, i went down there the other day to announce the airport transport services group aims. 259 new jobs. and they were gathered in the
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hangar there. and there were people in the crowd and they represented the commissioners and the mayor and the preachers and the mailmen and they were all there. and behind us on the stage were the people who were working in their brand-new shiny uniforms. they got to go home and say, son, eight job today. it's going to be better. that's what it's about. let nothing stand in the way of building a prosperous ohio, a richer ohio, an ohio free of poverty and unemployment -- oh, we'll never get to all of that, but the closer we get to it, the better off we are. and it is such an exciting time for all of us to work together to do good. god bless our country, and god bless ohio.
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thank you all very much. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. durbin: the january jobs report shows that president obama and many have joined together to help put our economy on the path to recovery. the economy added 257,000 private-sector jobs in january. that's the 23rd month in a row that the economy added private-sector jobs, for a total of 3.7 million payroll jobs over that same period. in january the unemployment rate fell again from 8.5% to 8.3%. the unemployment rate has fallen .8% since august. that's the first time in almost 17 years that the unemployment rate has fallen for five consecutive months. job growth is occurring across many sectors of our economy. in illinois, we're seeing
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manufacturing jobs return, some from overseas. and across the country last month the manufacturing sector added 50,000 new good-paying jobs. don't get me wrong, we still have a long way to go. we have to quickly agree on the extension of the payroll tax cut which will expire in just a few days. we have to ensure that unemployment benefits for those looking for work are continued. we are on the right track but we shouldn't rest in our efforts to foster an economy that's built to last. i'm not a deficit and debt denyer. i understand the gravity of our fiscal challenge and we need to work to resolve these problems. my work on the president's fiscal commission and as part of the gang of six, i hope, shows a commitment to this issue. however, as ben bernanke, chairman of the federal reserve, said last week, even as fiscal policy-makers address the urgent issue of fiscal sustainability, they should take care not to necessarily impede the current
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economic recovery. the two goals of achieving long-term fiscal sustain ability and avoiding fiscal head wind for the current recovery are fully compatible, in the words of chairman bernanke. they are mutually reinforcing, he said. on the one hand, robust recovery will lead to lowering debt. on the other hand, a plan that puts fiscal policy on a plan to sustainability could help keep longer-term interest rates low, improve household and business confidence, thereby supporting improved economic peformance today. mr. president, we can grow our economy and reduce the deficit. in fact, it is arguable that we can't balance our books on the budget with 14 million people out of work. we have to work to put this economy back on its feet, to put america back to work, earning good mexico, paying -- good incomes, sustaining a tkpwroebl economy. a credible deficit-reduction plan will include investments
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that look to the future. not only can we fiscally -- be fiscally responsible and still invest in infrastructure, education and innovation, we can only be fiscally responsible if we do make those investments. failing to invest in the future is a recipe for more intractable fiscal problems in the years to come. those who say just cut spending and ignore the consequences ignore the reality. those who are saying government spending is holding our economy back, no, they say that if we cut government spending that somehow we're going to enliven and rejuvenate this economy, history tells us quite a different story. president clinton presided over the strongest period of private-sector growth in recent memory, and he did so while government spending grew every year from 1995 to 2000. in three of those years, president clinton generated a balanced budget, the last balanced budget we've seen in washington.
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it is clear to me that we should be heartened by the recent positive economic data, but we can't mistake it for a signal to retreat. we've got to continue to keep working to build a strong and fiscal -- strong, fiscally sound economy for the 21st century. one of the things that's a critical element in that is unemployment insurance. the january report, as i mentioned, says we're on the road to recovery, adding 257,000 private-sector jobs and the unemployment rate dipping from 8.5% to 8.3%. even with these gains, more than 12.5 million people are still unemployed, actively looking for work, and more concerning, there are a number of longer-term unemployed which remains at about 5.5 million. the trouble finding work isn't due to lack of initiative. we need more jobs. and until there are more jobs available, we should maintain unemployment insurance benefits at current levels. maintaining the current level of
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federal unemployment insurance has proven to be one of the best things congress can do to breathe life into this economy. the c.b.o., respected, bipartisan, estimates every dollar we put into unemployment insurance not only goes into the economy but is respent and is worth $1.90 in economic activity. and late last year the economic policy institute estimated that extending federal unemployment benefits for one additional year generates $72 billion in economic growth, creating over 560,000 jobs over the course of the year. an estimated 3.2 million people were kept out of poverty simply because of unemployment insurance checks. as of the end of last kwraoerbgs 200 thousand -- year, 200,000 individuals were collecting unemployment in illinois. 43% of these unemployed people have kherpb in -- children in their home. i came to reinforce to my
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colleagues and the colleagues working on the unemployment insurance bill that this isn't just about numbers. it's about real lives. i received a letter from laurel in december who does a far better job of illustrating the role of unemployment benefits than anything i could say. here's what laurel wrote. thank you for working late nights. i'm from evanston illinois. i graduated from everyoneston tweup high school. my position is compliance manager in a large multinational conglomerate, was eliminated last december 2010. i'm trained as a lawyer. i've worked in international law, economics and policy. in addition to a law degree, she writes, i have a master of science in international relations from the london school of economics. i wrote my thesis about u.s. trade policy, the now expired agreement on textiles and grow thing and international economics and labor. after working for a think tank in london on democracy and participation, i went to law school.
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during law school, i interned at the united nations and later for a legal and regulatory group on wall street. i was working in the legal department of smiths group for international compliance when i was laid off. while working there, i studied for a masters in law in international comparative law in the evenings. after being laid off, i received severance from my previous employer who was able to get a short-term contract with the world bank for a few weeks. however, since the end of that contract in july, i haven't been able to find a job or get a contract. my first phase of unemployment ended in november. i've now been receiving unemployment insurance payments for seven months just beginning phase two. if unemployment insurance extensions are not renewed, i understand i will no longer receive payments. i'm a 38-year-old single female living alone. my parents are elderly. my mother was just diagnosed with breast cancer. my dad had two strokes in the last six years. i'm paying $402 a month in cobra payments to keep my health
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insurance. a rented apartment and the unemployment just covers my rent. i've been living on savings since july. without the help of unemployment, i won't be able to pay my rent, and i'm terrified. i've had over 20 informational interviews and applied to 42 jobs since i first heard my job might be eliminated last november. the extension of unemployment insurance means something to me personally. i need more time. i believe at least some of the applications i've submitted in both the private sector and government agencies and companies that have not hired anyone despite a job. i believe many companies are waiting to see what will happen with government contracts. the agencies are stalled due to the hiring freeze of funding. i know something has to come through soon, and i support the efforts to extend unemployment benefits. is this an example of someone who is not trying, someone who is not trained and educated? just the opposite. here's a person who clearly has been driven her entire life to
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develop skills, challenge herself, to improve her ability to earn and learn. and here she is out of work. desperate. she doesn't know which way to turn. she's single. she may not be able to pay her rent. her unemployment benefits -- are unemployment benefits important for her to keep her on the track of finding a job? of course they are. the money that we give her will be spent back into the economy to try to create a better economic climate. i receive thousands of letters along these lines in the last two years. if congress doesn't move quickly to maintain unemployment insurance benefits, millions of workers relying on this program will be left without a lifeline. the joint economic committee estimates 3.3 million workers will exhaust benefits by june if we fail to act. nearly 170,000 in illinois. i'm concerned about what this will do to our country, and especially what it will do to these people, our neighbors,
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members of our families, friends, folks who just need a helping hand. prematurely ending unemployment insurance or the payroll tax cut would make our economic recovery more difficult. there may be some political strategists who would applaud that saying well, a little bit of pain for a few months here and we could change that president into another person, let someone else take the job. i think that's very shortsighted. of course, i support the president, make no mistake about it, but to sacrifice the well-being of this country and the growth of this economy for the sake of an election is just wrong. conferees in the congress must act soon to maintain a robust unemployment insurance system for those still struggling to find work. now is not the time to roll back unemployment insurance. mr. president, there is one other issue i'd like to raise at this point, and it's one that i have worked on for some period of time here with senator mike enzi. it relates to a phenomenon which all of us are aware of --
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internet sales. there is hardly an american with access to a computer that doesn't buy something on a computer. i do, and lots of families do. some of the basics and in addition to that, some other things that may be just aspirational purchasing. but the interesting thing that's happened over the years is that we have allowed the internet retailer to have a different position when it comes to their tax liability. i talked to a lot of local businesses in illinois, small businesses, businesses on the main street. some of them think things are getting better, and i do, too. they sense the worst may be behind us and the future is looking brighter. but at the same time, they share with me the frustration they have currently now with customers coming into their shops and businesses, looking for everything from running shoes to sporting equipment. you name it. and then just about the time when they tried on the second or third pair of shoes, looked in the mirror, got everything squared away as toker what going
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to buy, they sometimes pull out their phones, turn on an app and take a picture of the bar code on the product. you see, there is an app which allows a person to find out where you could buy that very same product cheapest on the internet. so here's the local retailer doing their part to make a sale, and it turns out they get nothing from the experience. what's the advantage which internet sellers have over those who have businesses on the streets and highways across america? well, one advantage relates to sales tax. in my home state of illinois, the payment of sales tax on internet purchases is voluntary and personal, and if you don't declare it and pay it, it isn't collected. you're supposed to pay it, but many people don't, and so those selling on the internet subject to local sales tax in fact aren't collecting that sales tax. i think that can change and
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should. becky anderson owns anderson bookstores in napierville, a great little town. she described to me how she loses critical sales every day because consumers walk in, ask her questions, look all over her shelves and then buy an item online from remote retailers because they don't collect sales tax. becky understands that most customers don't realize that they really do owe the sales tax to the state of illinois and local units of government. they say -- quote -- "this runaway train may undermine more than our bottom lines. it's not a stretch to say entire main street shopping districts could disappear." that's becky's conclusion, having watched what's happened with these internet sales not collecting sales tax. she talks about a local shoe store downtown in napierville that was forced to close and lay off employees strictly because of internet sales. local business owner michael app, president of electronics in glenview, illinois, describes in
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detail how this gives a price advantage for internet retailers. he says oftentimes the profit margin is 10% or less. when an online competitor doesn't collect sales tax and then offers free shipping, it's a huge advantage for his competition. local businesses will never be able to compete if we continue to provide a built-in price advantage for online retailers by exempting them from sales and use tax collection. there was a time, i guess, and i heard the argument here that we didn't consider the sales tax for online sales because the argument was made that they may not survive, it's a fledgling industry. well, that day is long gone. they are certainly not fledgling, they are in full flight. over the past decade, online retail has become an important part of american commerce. online retail allows customers to compare prices, shop around right from the comfort of their living room. at the same time, local businesses like anderson bookstore in napierville compete with online retailers by trying
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to provide good customer service and the lowest prices they can. these local businesses also invest in our communities. they hire local workers. they pay local property taxes. they are involved in communities, supporting baseball teams and charity efforts in their community. they are our neighbors, and they deserve a fair shake. last year, senator enzi, lamar alexander of tennessee and i introduced the marketplace fairness act. we had seven additional cosponsors -- senators tim johnson, senator boozman, senator jack reed, senator blunt of missouri, senators whitehouse, corker and pryor. this bipartisan group of senators understands we have to do more to ensure a fair marketplace for american businesses. the bill will level the playing field for main street businesses and limit the current built-in price advantage given to online retailers. it allows states to treat
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brick-and-mortar retailers the same as online retailers by providing two streamlined approaches for states to require both to collect sales and use taxes. the bill also includes a small seller exemption which will ensure small online retailers are exempt from the requirement to collect state sales and use taxes. the notion here is if grandma franken has an apple butter recipe and makes a few cases this year to the delight of all of her neighbors, she won't be burdened with this responsibility of selling it online and collecting a sales tax. let me be clear. this bill does not impose any new taxes, period. this bill does not raise taxes, period. it does not amend the internal revenue code at all. it's simply a collection issue that for too long has put local businesses at a disadvantage. the real job creators in america, many of them are the small businesses in our communities that struggle to get by every day, and when they get
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better and they get well, america gets well. now is the time to help these retailers. it also is going to help state and local budgets, those that are trying to make ends meet in a tough economy. i hope we can get this done and done quickly. one thing i would like to add. the largest online retailer in america, supports our legislation. we're not at war with online retailers. they have concluded it's best to have a uniformed streamlined system that uses available software for collection from a retailer and distribution through the state departments of revenue. it is voluntary. we don't impose a mandate on any state to adopt this, although i think every one of them will, and it moves us finally in the direction of fairness. fairness not only for those who are doing the bricks and mortar sales but fairness for all customers and all retailers across america. i commend this bill to all my colleagues. if you truly believe, as many of us who have spoken time and again about the value of small
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business to economic recovery, most small business people will tell you this is a critical element in their competitive edge and their ability to hire more people and be profitable in our communities all over the nation. mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: i ask for vitiation of the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. coats: madam president, i rise today to call upon the president of the united states to overturn one of the most radical and unconstitutional mandates ever issued, a mandate that requires faith-based organizations and hospitals, educational institutions to provide and pay for health
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insurance coverage that violates the fundamental tenets of their faith. our founding fathers believed so deeply in the importance of religious freedom that they made it the very first american principle in the bill of rights. the first amendment to the united states constitution reads in part -- "congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." on january 20, the obama administration announced one of the greatest deviations from this constitutional guarantee of religious freedom in our nation's history. the federal rule under president obama is a blatant assault on the conscious rights of any organization or any individual that opposes abortion or the use of contraceptives. while i am a pro-life senator and believe that life begins at
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conception, i am not someone that supports banning contraception, but i do support the right of those who hold to that belief that those tenets should be respected and that federal mandates, federal regulations and federal laws should not be used to overturn that principal belief. i don't believe this was an oversight. the obama administration doubled down on its ruling by ignoring the numerous efforts by faith-based organizations to be granted an exemption. this issue is not a debate over whether the use of contraceptives is right or wrong. this is not a debate over whether the health care law is the right policy or the wrong policy. i do believe personally that the obama care policy is the wrong policy for this nation, but this is a debate over whether congress is going to sit idly by and watch the administration walk all over the freedom of
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religion. and not just the congress but the institutions of america and the people of america. a core american principle. or will we stand up and protect what our founding fathers put their lives on the line for and what millions of americans defend each day? catholic institutions, whether they be catholic social service in all of its forms, whether it be universities like the university of notre dame in south bend will have one of two choices. first, they can either pay for health insurance that covers things like sterilization or birth control despite their deeply held religious objections, or they can refuse to offer any sort of health insurance to their employees which will result in these organizations facing significant fines and penalties while their employees must seek health insurance elsewhere. in other words, the obama administration is saying compromise your religious
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beliefs to comply with our massive federal health care law, or you and your employees will face a penalty. while this decision will greatly impact many in the catholic faith, it will also extend beyond a singular religious denomination. a wide variety of religious institutions and organizations across the country will resist providing insurance coverage for bird control. cardinal designate timothy dolan, president of the u.s. conference of catholic bishops said, and i quote -- "never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. this shouldn't happen in the land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the bill of rights." although the most blatant violation of the first amendment, this ruling is a culmination of attacks on
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religious and faith-based organizations by this administration. i feared as "washington post" columnist michael gerson noted in his article today that such a trend will threaten the good work being done by faith-based groups of any faith, whether it be catholic or protestant, jewish or muslim. any group or nonprofit, hospital or charity that is working to provide services to people in need now have to compromise their basic religious tenets in order to continue to provide that insurance coverage for their employees or pay a fine by not doing so. there have been some bills introduced here to overturn this. i would hope that those in the administration who are listening to the people and listening to the protest that is being made
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against this almost unconscionable mandate will not stand by idly and wait to see whether or not congress will act, because we will act and we'll act as soon as we can. i would hope that they would reconsider this sweeping, unconstitutional authority which is in direct vootion of the first amendment. george washington once said every man conducting himself is a good citizen, and being accountable to god alone for his religious opinions ought to be protected in worshiping the deity according to the dictates of his own conscience. we must take a stand to protect this inalienable right, the right of conscience, established by our founding fathers and sustained for over 200 years. mr. president, you can undo this wrong by rejecting and overturning this mandate that
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has been opposed which violates the most basic of human rights and principles of our constitution, and i'm calling on you to do something. with that, madam president, i yield the floor.
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mr. boozman: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: i ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. the presiding officer: the senate is not in a quorum call. mr. boozman: i ask permission to speak, then. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. boozman: thank you, madam president. i come to the floor today to add my voice in opposition to president obama's unwillingness to respect the conscience rights of religious institutions. on january 20, the department of health and human services issued a mandate requiring almost all private health insurance policies, including those issued by religious institutions, to cover free sterilizations and contraceptives at no cost to policyholders. what this means in simple terms is that churches are exempt from the mandate but institutions such as church-run
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universities, hospitals and nonprofits must comply with the government regulation. therefore, in order to continue to operate, these church-run institutions must violate the very beliefs that inspire them to care for the least among us. i would not be surprised to see many of these faith based institutions disappear should this mandate move forward. despite the president's contentions that this outcome is not what he intends, his mandate unfairly forces people to choose between their health and their morals or religious values. many parents, christians and others, object to sterilization agents that abort, and contraceptives. americans should not have to pay for services or health care plans that conflict with their deeply held religious beliefs. this is purely a political
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decision on the part of the administration, and it shows that president obama will do whatever necessary to appease his base and protect his own job. even if it means a blatant infringement on first amendment rights. with this mandate, president obama is not only trampling religious liberties, but he's also confirming what many feared when this health care bill became law. americans saw this massive expansion of government as a threat to individual rights. this mandate, one of the first based on the president's health care bill, does little to comfort those concerns. in fact, it comes across as confirmation that the president, in other words, to force on us his belief that he knows what is best for americans when it comes to our health care choices. in an effort to fight the administration's overreach, i've joined with several of my colleagues in supporting
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legislation to protect freedom of conscience and prohibit the government from imposing mandates on our religious employers. religious institutions play a critical role in our communities. if federal policies make it difficult for those institutions to continue important social services without going against their principles, it will hurt the least fortunate among us by threatening the much-needed assistance and outreach provided by religious groups across the nation. the seemingly endless number of regulations that this administration has handed down to the american people needs to end. let's force the president to govern in a manner that respects the values of the american people, not just his base. protecting religious organizations from this
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overreaching mandate is certainly an excellent place to start. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president. the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: i'm here once again to raise a topic about how we raise our youth, how we raise our children in rural america. and i want to talk about just for a few moments about the proposed department of labor child farm labor rules. last week, we had perhaps what would be considered a piece of good news, the department of labor announced that they would
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withdraw and repropose the parental exemption portion of their proposed child labor rules. i'm worried, however, despite this good news there is still a lot of effect that will occur, a lot of consequences that will occur as a result of the rules that -- the proposed rules that are not being withdrawn and there is no suggestion that they are going to be reproposed. so the thing i want to make clear to my colleagues is that while the department of labor announced that they were going to withdraw a portion of the rules, unfortunately, the majority of what is going to be offensive, difficult, and a challenge for our way of life in rural america remains. last year, the department of labor proposed a set of rules on their own volition, no direction by congress, to put in place restrictions upon a person's ability to work on a
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farm and restrictions on a young person's ability to work on a farm including their own family's farm. what we're talking about here is youth less than 16 years of age. and those rules as proposed would actually restrict the ability of a person, a son or daughter, to work on their parents' farm. the current exemption is that if your parents own a substantial interest of that farming operation, you can work on your family's farm. the proposed rules as of just a few weeks ago said that they would restrict that definition and it had to be something more than your parents -- the current law says, the ciewrpts rule say if your parents have a substantial interest in a farm, you can work on that farm. the rules as proposed said that we're going to narrow that definition. if your family operates in a family farming corporation or a limited liability company,
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these new restrictions would apply. fortunately, that proposed rules, the department of labor has withdrawn, and i assume will be reproposing what their definition of a family farm is. the point i want to make is that so much of the proposed rules yet remain. the remaining portions of the rules still threaten to fundamentally alter agriculture as we know it today. if the d.o.l. rules as now proposed go forward as they currently stand, the education and training for the next generation of farmers and ranchers will be severely disrupted. we've relied upon h-h, county extension programs to provide training and safety certification for a long time but the department of labor now says they no longer want those programs to qualify because they are too local. they want a national standard and want to replace with a department of labor program
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safety training program, replace what has traditionally and very effectively occurred through 4 o-h, f.h.a. and county extension programs. the current programs with 4-h and f.h.a., improve, and instead criticizes these training programs for being too locally driven and lacking federal direction. their solution is to nationalize these programs and have them run by the united states department of labor. in my view, local experts in our high schools, our f.a.a. program, our 4-h clubs should be the ones conducting training programs and educating our young people and parents and communities should be allowed to look after the best interests of their families and their communities' citizens.
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the department of labor in addition to attacking the programs that are in place that are valuable to us in rural america is also proposing to change the so-called agricultural hazard occupations, the proposed rules would prohibit a young person under the age of 16 from participating even with the certification and safety training from the department of labor, they would be prohibited from doing such things as rounding up cattle on horseback, operating a tractor. the rules, proposed rules say that you cannot be involved in production agriculture if you're more than six feet off the ground. well, in today's environment, in today's agriculture, tractors and combines are six feet off the ground. can't clean out a stall with a shovel and a wheelbarrow. those are things that i'm sure maybe the 15-year-old doesn't want to do, but they are things that are important to a family's farming operation. they're important to agriculture.
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and of value to a young person in their training and developing skills that are important to them for the rest of their life. can't work in a pen with a bull or mama cow. here's one that really stands out to me. no engaging or assisting in man malhusbandry that -- quote -- "inflicts pain upon the animal such as branding, castratingor, dehorning or treating sick animals." the inflicting pain sounds to me something different than an interest -- inflicting pain upon an animal sounds like a different standard than really worrying about the young person's safety. it is -- these are important tasks that have to be done on a farm and that young people can safely do. one example, one additional example that stands out to me is that they are suggesting in the rules that they would limit a young person's exposure to
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direct sunlight if the temperature reaches a certain limit once you factor in wind velocity and humidity. how does that work in the practical world of agriculture and farming today? for someone in washington, d.c. to propose rules that restrict a young person's ability to work on a neighbor's farm because of the amount of sunlight, wind velocity and humidity is something that, again in my view, demonstrates a lack of understanding about how things work in the real world. one would assume that the department of labor, before making such drastic changes to farm labor rules, they would have -- identify reliable evidence and data to show the need for changes. in fact, the department of labor admits that it lacks the data to justify many of its suggested changes and, furthermore, according to the national farm medicine center, a youth-related -- youth-related injuries from farm accidents have declined nearly 60% from
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1998-2009. i have no doubt if you ask a farmer or a rancher about the importance of safety, they would tell you that safety is a top concern, especially when they're dealing with a young person. but they would also tell you that it is critical to a rural way of life in being able to train and encourage the next generation to safely and successfully pursue careers in agriculture. if today's young person is not given the chance to learn at a young age what it takes to operate a farm, we put at risk the future of agriculture in our nation. i've always had a strong interest in agriculture. my state of kansas is -- its economy resolves in many ways about the success of farmers and ranchers and the ability of communities across our state is dependent upon the success, the profitability of production agriculture. but i also have known and strongly believe that there is
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something more than just economics to family farms. this is the way that historically in our country, in our nation's history we have transmitted our -- our character, our values, our integrity, our love of life, our understanding of how things work from generation to generation. and it's worked. it's been an important component of our country's history, who we are as american people. today across kansas, when i visit with a business owner, they will tell me they love to hire farm kids because they have a different characteristic, a different makeup, a set of -- a standard that is different than other people. they learned something about reliability and that work doesn't get done if you don't show up, and it's not about punching the clock to check in and to check out, that agriculture -- that -- that a calf is born at times that are inconvenient to the farmer. there's just a different set o of -- of characteristics that a young person develops by growing up and working on a family farm.
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if these changes go into effect -- and the rule as proposed is being considered and expected that we will have an answer within several months from the department of labor as to what the final regulations will be -- but if these rules go into effect as they are written, not only will we see a shrinking rural work force, our nation's youth will be deprived of valuable career training opportunities and a certain way of life that many of us highly value will disappear. it is important to us as a country, certainly to a state like mine that a young person experience the value of farming. i don't know how many times you talk to somebody who's determined what their career is going to be based upon an experience that they had as a young person and their ability to -- to know what they want to do with their life is determined about the experiences they have as -- as a young child. our country cannot afford to lose the next generation of
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farmers and ranchers and this rule should be withdrawn in its entirety. we know that rural america's values are not always washington values and in the weeks ahead, i would ask my colleagues and americans across the country to express their opposition to the department of labor for this destructive rule. don't allow it to move forward so that we can protect our values for the next generation of american farmers and make sure that rural america remains a great place to live, grow and raise a family. i yield the floor. a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from mississippi. mr. cochran: madam president, i'm pleased to rise in the senate today and congratulate eli manning and the new york giants football team for their great victory in the national football league championship game.
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as most senators probably know, eli is a graduate of the university of mississippi and he lives in oxford, mississippi, during the off-season. the giants 21-17 victory was the second nfl championship for this team in the last four years. eli manning began the game by completing his first nine passes, which was a new super bowl record, and he was named the most valuable player of the game. he became the fifth player in nfl history to win multiple super bowl most valuable player awards. during the reg season, manning threw for 4,493 yards and 29 touchdown passes, including nfl record of 15 touchdown passes in
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fourth quarters. he also led six game-winning drives that allowed the giants to overcome deficits in the final stage of their games. manning and his wife abbey have supported many worthy causes and have made a strong commitment to the health and education of young people in mississippi. they've made a pledge to raise $2.5 million for the eli manning children's clinics at the hospital for children in jackson, mississippi. and they've also donated $1 million to start the ole miss opportunity scholarship program which helps children in mississippi with special financial needs to have the opportunity to attend college. manning has served as a member of president bush's council on physical fitness and sports and
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is active with many other organizations, such as the march of dimes and the american red cross. his commitment to volunteerism and national service is very impressive and worthy of high praise. madam president, i'm very proud to congratulate eli manning and the new york giants as super bowl champions. mr. mcconnell: madam president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: throughout my
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senate career, i've spent a lot of time defending the first amendment. most of it i spent defending one particular clause of that amendment, the one relating to the right of free speech. but recent events have shown quite unexpectedly the urgent need to defend another clause in the first amendment. i'm referring, of course, to the right of free exercise of religion. make no mistake, the obama administration's decision to force religious hospitals, charities, and schools to comply with the mandate that violates their religious views is abhorrent to the foundational principles of our nation. no one in the united states -- no one -- should ever be compelled by their government to choose between violating their religious beliefs and being penalized for refusing.
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yet that's precisely what this mandate would do. one out of six patients in america is treated at a catholic hospital. catholic charities is the largest provider of social services to poor children, families, and individuals in america. the catholic church runs the largest network of private schools in this country. these institutions have thrived because they've been allowed to freely pursue their religious convictions in a country that, until now, respected their constitutional right to do so. but this ruling should send a chill up the spine of people of all religious faiths and even with those with no faith at all,
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because if the state -- in this case, the federal government -- is allowed to violate the religious rights of one religion, then surely it can violate those of others. if the rights of some are not protected, the rights of all are in danger. isn't that what history clearly teaches? isn't that what the constitution is all about? the obama administration has crossed a dangerous line. the founders knew that the right of religious belief is inviolable. they gave this god-given right the pride of place they knew it deserved right there in the first amendment so that americans would never have to fear its loss. unfortunately, because of the actions of this administration,
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americans now do. this is a huge mistake that i hope the administration is currently reconsidering. and if they don't, congress will act. the first amendment rights of the american people must be protected and those of us who recognize the fundamental importance of religious freedom to our nation will see to it that it is respected by this government and restored in full. madam president, i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from missouri. mr. blunt: i'd ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. blunt: i want to talk about this recent h.h.s. directive to faith-based organizations on health care, madam president, and suggest that it's exactly the kind of problem that many of us were concerned would develop when the government took -- said it was going to take a greater role in deciding what health care would be like, who would make health care decisions. in this case what kind of insurance you could give your employees if you're a religious organization. there are several pieces of legislation that might deal with this issue. my guess is there will be several more unless the
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administration itself deals with it quickly and withdraws the position they have taken, which is that faith-based institutions would have to offer health insurance policies that violated their faith principles. it is a fundamental first amendment right of americans to have the ability to pursue their faith-based principles in the religious freedom restoration act of 1993 passed by congress that was a majority democrat in both the house and the senate, signed by president clinton. it appears to me very clear that this is an inc r*u sion that the law itself as well as the constitution does not a hroufplt and one of the most objectionable things about the -- does not allow. one of the most objectionable things about the white house position, the administration's position is we want you to change your principles. we're going to give you a year to accommodate that change.
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principles based on faith cannot be accommodated in a year. they should not be accommodate tphad lifetime. they are exactly that. they are principles based on faith. this is not about -- this is about institutions that run hospitals, that run schools, that run day-care centers, that run all sorts of things under the umbrella of the mission of who they are. and this is about how their employees relate to them as providers of health care insurance and the kind of insurance they provide. this is not about just anybody you might run into. this is someone who's chosen to work from one of these institutions. this is someone who's chosen to affiliate themselves with one of these faith-based organizations. clearly the catholic bishops are outraged by this. i've got a letter here from bishop carlson in st. louis that
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was read in missouri churches last week, talking about this, and it says "in so ruling, the administration has cast aside the first amendment to the constitution of the united states. denying the catholics our nation's first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. as a result unless the rule is overturned, we catholics will be compelled either to violate our conscience or to tkop health coverage for -- drop health coverage for our employees and bring about the consequences for all in doing so. the administration's sole concession was to give nonprofit employers like hospitals and universities, which do not, which do not currently provide such coverage the courage -- that's not in the letter, do not currently provide such coverage one year in which to comply." i've got another report from the chief army -- the chief of catholic military chaplains who
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wanted to send a letter to be read, who initially the military said couldn't be read. the united states army said that the letter written and sent by the catholic -- by the person, the archbishop in charge of catholic military chaplains could not be read in services. and after a meeting, after a discussion with the secretary of the army, that was changed, but only apparently when some of the letter was agreed would be taken out. this is way over the line of where the government should be. unfortunately, it's exactly the line that many of us feared would be crossed whenever the government begins to think that the government is the person to make health care decisions. whether that's a decision you and your doctor should be making between the two of you or the kind of insurance you and your family choose to have, or in this case, the kind of insurance
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you and the institution you represent chooses to offer to the people that are working there. and this is wrong. i think people know it's wrong. this is something that cannot be allowed to stand. i'd like to turn to my friend from new hampshire to talk about this with me for a little bit. ms. ayotte: thank you, madam president. i certainly share the concerns of my colleague from missouri, and i share the concerns of my constituents in new hampshire and citizens across this nation who see the recent rule issued by the administration for what it is: an unprecedented, unnecessary affront to religious liberty in our country. and i'd like to say at the outset that this issue isn't limited to the catholic church. the administration's new health care mandates on religious institutions impact all religions.
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and, madam president, religious freedom is a foundation, a foundation america -- a foundational american right enshrined in our bill of rights. the first amendment to our bill of rights makes clear that congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. unfortunately, i see the administration chipping away at these bedrock freedoms as it engages in a troubling pattern here with respect to this rule. and i think that we saw that the president's new mandate on religious institutions highlights the deep flaws in the health care bill. this unconstitutional law was moved through congress and signed by the president two years ago without the type of due consideration, transparency or accountability we would all expect. we've been suffering the consequences since. and it's highlighted with what we see with these recent mandates from the health and human services.
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i'd like to share some of the concerns that my constituents have raised about these mandates that were recently issued by health and human services. there's a letter that i received this week from william edmond faya h*e, the president of thomas morehouse college in new hampshire. he says benefits upon a community's willingness to violate a cardinal teaching of its faith effectively prevents the full practice of its religion and, thus, again violates the free exercise of a constitutional liberty. he pleaded with our delegation, the new hampshire congressional delegation, and he said, i hope that you will see that the mandate undermines the constitution, compromises the integrity of the government and abuses the foundational principle that free associations form an essential part of the social fabric of the united
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states. we're fortunate in new hampshire to have a number of very effective catholic institutions and organizations. we have the catholic medical center in manchester who serves so many in the manchester community and surrounding areas. the catholic medical center has also expressed concerns about this mandate saying it would force us to offer services that were against our ethical and religious directive or force us not to offer insurance altogether. they added neither are acceptable options, and the government should not put the catholic medical center or any other catholic organization who does such wonderful work in the state of new hampshire and throughout this country in this position. the president of one of our great colleges in new hampshire,
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president jonathan de felease, said this, in a country and in a state that values and respects individual's rights to express their religious beliefs, it is simply appalling to think that this mandate is anything other than an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience. i've heard many concerns from my constituents, and i would hope that health and human services would stop what it's doing right now, this mandate that places religious institutions in this impossible position and with this impossible choice of violating their core beliefs in order to comply with a mandate or dropping employee insurance coverage altogether. we should not be putting these organizations that do great work
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throughout this country in that position. again, this isn't an issue that just applies to the catholic church. this applies to all religious institutions. and i would ask my colleague from the state of missouri, as a result of our concerns about the actions of the administration, we have offered legislation to address this. what does that legislation do in order to make sure that this mandate does not go forward? mr. blunt: that's a good point. this is not just about one set of religious beliefs. the current discussion is about specific items in a health care plan. but there are lots of faith-based groups that have different views of how you deliver health services, working on these issues for some time now, i've met with a lot of these groups. this is an issue of conscience. whether it's the catholic
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church, the christian science church, the seven-day adventist church, the baptist church that i'm a member of, there may be different views of this, but the views are not views that can be put forth by the government. and that becomes the government view. there was a recent supreme court case, a school, hosanna taber academy verses equal opportunity provision where the court voted 9-0 that faith-based institutions have privileges others do not have because that's what makes them faith-based institutions. the hiring decisions, firing decisions, the workplace decisions are different. because if they're not different, it's just another school or another hospital that might happen to have a theology department or it might happen to have a chapel once a week. that's what it is. so we've -- senator ayotte and i and others, senator rubio, worked on various ways to approach this. we've offered a bill some weeks
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ago now that would, on these issues of conscience that would create a respect for rights of conscience. the respect for rights of conscience act which was drafted early last year has the full support of the major groups that are concerned about these conscience issues. the christian medical association, the beckett fund and others said we need to be concerned about these issues, whether it's a hiring decision now or now a health care decision. and what do we do to protect health care providers and insurers, including purchasers, from being forced to violate their own principles by buying a policy or offering a policy that provides things that they don't believe in their faith group are the right things to offer? i saw one of the president's advisors early this morning beginning to gabbing away from
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this and -- beginning to back tpwrae this and saying we're seeking information this year. that's not what they were doing at all. what they were doing is we're going to comply with this rule and we're going to give you a year to figure out how to compromise your principles in a way that applies. that's the wrong thing to do. whether it's the respect for rights of conscience act or other legislation, if the administration doesn't take care of this administratively, i believe it will be taken care of legislatively. when you've got bishops, when you've got church leaders, when you've got people that have spent their life dedicated to hospitals and schools and other institutions that reflect their faith principles, you can't just suddenly decide that those don't matter or they can be changed in a year. they also will need to have some legal cause of


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