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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 16, 2012 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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madam president, this plan has massive tax cuts for the wealthiest among us. this planning cuts discretionary spending $2 trillion below the budget control act that cut $the -9d 00 billion. this plan ends medicare in two years. this plan repeals health care reform, meaning 30 million more people would be uninsured. perhaps most stunning, this plan cuts social security benefits 39%. now, one can say it balances, but it balances at an extraordinary cost. and the cost is borne by those least able to bear the cost. i urge my colleagues to reject this plan. a senator: will the chairman yield for a question? mr. conrad: i'd be happy to.
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mr. harkin: i ask the same question of the distinguished chairman. would this budget have the interest rates double on student loans on july 1 from 3.4% to 6.8%? mr. conrad: well, it's hard to see how it wouldn't. let me just say on education, it cuts education 59%. the presiding officer: the question is on the motion. mr. conrad: i ask for the yeas and nays. the presiding officer: is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: is there any senator who still wishes to vote on this measure? if not, the nays are 83, the yeas are 16. the motion to proceed therefore fails. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. may we have a little order here for the majority leader, please. mr. reid: mr. president, we have one more vote this evening, and the republican leader and i have worked out something tentatively and i think we'll be able to put it in writing in just a few minutes where we'll have two votes tomorrow at noon on the two fed nominees. and then we -- as i think most people know, i moved last night
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to the f.d.a. bill. excuse me. i hope that we can -- don't have to file cloture on that, that we can just move to it and start the amendment process. that's what the people want, that's what we want, that's what we're willing to do, and i hope we can do that. it's a wide-ranging bill, extremely important for the country. relevant amendments. there is lots you can do there. so i would hope that we can do that. have an agreement to that effect. the presiding officer: under the previous order, there will now be two minutes of debate equally divided prior to a motion to proceed to senate concurrent resolution 44 introduced by the senator from utah, mr. lee. mr. lee: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. lee: mr. president -- mr. president, as this debate draws to its conclusion, i remind my colleagues of the old adage that you can make excuses or you can make progress, but you cannot make both.
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a senator: the senator deserves the right to be heard. mr. lee: i remind my colleagues of the old adage that you can make excuses or can you make progress but you cannot make both, at least not simultaneously. our current course is unsustainable. maintaining the status quo will inevitably impair our ability to fund everything from defense to entitlements, and so sticking to this course isn't the solution. it can't be the solution. if followed as a solution, it will have an impact that will prove devastating on america's most vulnerable populations. it's for exactly that reason that i have proposed this budget, a budget that balances within five years, a budget that simplifies the tax code, a budget that puts health care decisions back into the hands of individual families, individuals themselves and their doctors where those decisions properly belong. we don't have much time. we have got to get this done. i urge my colleagues to support this budget. thank you, mr. president. mr. reid: mr. president, could
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we have order, please? the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the senator from north dakota. mr. conrad: mr. president, this budget proposal has the most serious mistakes i have seen in 26 years of dealing with budgets in this chamber. this budget starts with an $8 trillion mistake on the size of the deficit. mr. president, if we put up the calculation, this budget has federal revenues of $27.5 trillion. budget outlays of $37.2 trillion. for a difference of $9,750,000,000,000. but it claims deficits of $1,750,000,000,000. mr. president, that is an $8 trillion mistake. number two, it has $5.7 trillion
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of mistakes with respect to budget authority. if you add up the individual budget function totals, they are $5.7 trillion less than the aggregate budget authority totals in what is being offered by the senator. number three, this requires some committees to cut more spending than they have available to them in their resources. for example, the "help" committee is instructed to save $2.7 trillion, and they only have $510 billion available to them to cut. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mr. conrad: mr. president, this budget is chock-full of basic, fundamental mistakes. it should not even be considered as a budget on the floor. the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. the question is on the motion.
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is there a sufficient second? there appears to be a sufficient second. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: does any senator still wish to vote on this measure? if not, the ayes are 17, the nays are 82, and the motion to proceed is not agreed to. under the previous order, the motions to reconsider are considered made and laid upon the table.
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the senator from iowa. mr. are grassley: thank you mr. president. as cofounders and cochairs of the senate caucus on foster youth, senator landrieu and i offer a resolution to recognize may as national foster care month. the resolution is an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges faced by children in the foster care system. it's also a time to acknowledge the dedication of foster care parents, advocates, and workers who are changing the
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lives of children every day. national foster care month was established more than 20 years ago to bring foster care issues to the forefront. today we continue to see almost half a million children who are unable to remain at home because of abuse or neglect or because of other family issues. during this separation, foster youth face loneliness, instability, and grief. unfortunately, children in foster care experience an average of three different placements, which often lead to disruption of routines. some are required to change schools and move away from siblings, extended families, and familiar surroundings. they face educational instability and as a result, score lower on all academic measures than peers.
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foster youth have to overcome misperceptions and stigmas and deal with emotional pain and trauma that comes from such separation. it becomes a reality for many children every day. in 2010, about 254,000 children entered into care. while many are reunified with their families or adopted into new ones, more than 107,000 children -- were awaiting adoption at tend of 2010. the senat -- stay in the senate caucus on foster youth is providing a voice for these foster young people. senator landrieu and i founded this caucus in 2009 to raise awareness of issues challenging foster youth, including educational stability, substance abuse, sexual exploitation, and the overprescription of
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psychorepublican to i -- psychotropic drugs. we hear from youth about policies that affect their quality of life. among other activities, the caucus sponsors a speaker series to bring the best ideas from the field to us policy-makers in washington, d.c. today i invite my colleagues to join us on this caucus, to get involved and to make a difference. senator landrieu and i created the foster care caucus in the senate to focus on all youth in the system, but we have particular focus on older children who may lack the security or support of a biological or adoptive family. these kids tend to age out of the foster care system then struggle in creating a stable life that make -- that many of us often take for granted.
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more than 27,900 youth age out of foster care without a legal permanent connection to an adult or family. we must focus on how to reduce this number from year to year. we have made great strides over the years and we have done so in a bipartisan manner. in 2006, the senate finance committee held the first hearings on child welfare in more than a decade. the hearings led to a passage of the child and family services improvement act which improved programs designed to help troubled families, provided grants for states and community organizations to combat methamphetamine addiction and other substance abuse and increase caseworker visits for children in foster care. it also supported grants to strengthen and improve collaboration between courts and child welfare agencies. in 2008, i introduced the bill
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that became the fostering connection to success and increasing adoption act. this bipartisan bill made it easier for children to stay in their own communities and be adopted by their own relatives, including grandparents, aunts and uncles. it provided incentives for states to move children from foster care to permanent adoptive homes, and it made all children with special needs eligible for federal adoption assistance. the law also broke new ground by establishing opportunities to help kids who age out of the foster care system at age 18 by giving states the option to extend their care and helping them pursue educational and vocational training. last year, to try to prevent children from having to enter the foster care system in the first place, i worked to reauthorize grants that support families who struggle with substance abuse and that improve
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the safety, permanency and well-being of children who are not in their homes or are likely to be removed from their homes because of substance abuse by parents. children in the foster care system yearn for permanency and those -- and these grants help keep families together, when possible, so that children are not subject to the many difficulties that they face in the foster care system. but congress, as you know, must be vigilant. we must always keep our eyes on the prize. that is, a safe, loving and permanent home for every child. we must always stress prevention as well as reunification and the reunification services, because these two key components are necessary to reduce the number of children that are forced to remain in foster care. finally, let me take a moment to pay tribute to many volunteers,
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guardians, mentors, and workers and the child protective community. every person in this field plays a vital role in improving the safety of our most valuable youth and our country's better off for that. they are dedicated and important to thousands of children and can be very positive influence for families across the country. may, this month of may, is a time to pay tribute to the community. it's time to remember these young people, and, more importantly, it's time to encourage others to get involved and, hence, make a difference. it's my hope that this awareness will extend beyond may and people will recognize the need to step up and to fight for these vulnerable youth on a daily basis. i encourage members to cosponsor our resolution, and i especially appreciate the cooperation and
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working relationship that i've had with senator landrieu on this subject of adoption, foster care, and particularly for aging out young people. i yield the floor. ms. landrieu: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: i so appreciate the eloquent statement that my colleague -- our colleague from iowa has put into the record and his passionate advocacy on behalf of this special group of children in america. from his position as a senior member on the finance committee, both serving as chair and as ranking member, his support has been essential to their well-being. and in a committee that has a lot of important issues, mr. president, from tax reform, international trade, the senator from iowa, senator grassley, never fails to keep the needs of foster children, foster care children and their families and the support community on the front of that agenda, and i just
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could not have a better partner. and i'm very grateful for his partnership on this issue and his friendship. i also want to recognize some of our colleagues, mr. president, from the house. representative karen bass, representative tom moreno, representative michelle bachman and representative jim mcdermott that work very closely with senator grassley and myself. and as you can see, this is a cross party lines, across geographic lines, and across different political philosophies we want to say one thing very loud and clear to the country, that foster children are not criminals, they're not delinquents. they are children that are in desperate need of love and care and support. our foster care system in many ways works beautifully and in some ways needs, of course, to
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be fixed and repaired and strengthened. but overall, the foster caper system -- foster care system should at all times be temporary. it's a temporary place for children to go to be protected and healed and nurtured until they can be returned to their birth family or to their extended family, with sibling groups intact, or until they can be processed to a kinship adoption, which senator grassley has been a tremendous advocate for, or to a domestic adoption. i can't really add anything to the very excellent and comprehensive statement that the senator made but i would like to add just a few points. one, because of the work that many of us have done -- and we don't hear good news around here this often -- i want to share that in the last 20 years,
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because of the work that our group has done and others in the congress, that we have doubled the amount of children being adopted out of the foster care system. that is a tremendous victory because of the legislation that's been passed, the focus across party lines. in 1990, we only adopted, mr. president, 14,000 children out of foster care. last year, or the year of record, 2010, we adopted 53,000. it is really more than a triple -- a tripling of adoptions out of foster care. i don't have the numbers right in front of me for reunifications but senator grassley and i know that that number has -- has increased as well. so we are making progress in the bills that were -- that we're
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proposing and passing, the appropriations that we are investing. and it hasn't been a lot more money over the last few years, it's just been a real strategic focus, which i like to believe that our caucus and the adoption caucus as well and the foster care caucus has really helped to to -- to produce. so, again, we've had more adoptions out of foster care, we've had more reunifications out of foster care, we have shortened the time that children are in foster care, but we still -- and in this month of may -- still have many challenges, mr. president, and that's why senator grassley and i want to urge our colleagues to join us in this resolution, resolution 462, be a cosponsor, step up and to say by your cosponsorship that you care about this issue, that you want to help us continue to make progress.
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just four other quick points. one, i want to remember our former colleague, john chafee, who was, when he was here in the senate, an extraordinary advocate for foster care children. we call the -- the john chafee independent living in his honor. and as senator grassley said, we're making progress with helping our children that age out, that we failed to reunite them with their birth family, we failed to find them an adoptive home, they're aging out but we're trying to give them more help and support. that is still a challenge. some of our members are working on foster children and school choice. if foster kids are -- or children are brought into the foster care system, they're separated from their families, it's quite traumatic. of course, it's for their own good. sometimes their families are being abusive. sometimes their families are being grossly negligent.
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sometimes they're, unfortunately in this day and age, sometimes their families are deported and they're there in the home alone. we also want to make sure that the children get to stay at least in the school of their choice. i mean, it's one thing to be pulled from your family. it's another thing to have to lose your family one day and your school the next day and all of your teachers, all of your friends. so there are legislation pending that would give foster children the opportunity to stay in the school they're in when they enter care. that would be a great reform. we also want to continue to promote kinship adoption, reaching out to the extended family, trying to keep children placed in their extended families that are willing and responsible to raise them. but not place being children with kin if the -- placing children with kin if the kin and the relatives are not responsible and not willing. that is not a solution.
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and then finally, we want to promote quality foster families. this is a problem that is easily solvable. it seems like it's a lot, this number of 450,000-some-odd children. but it represents only one-half of 1% of all children in america. this is not a big number. sounds like it when you say 450,000, but the percentage, one-half of 1%. we calculated one day just on the back of a napkin, if one family for every four churches in america would say "yes" to taking in a foster care child, we -- or to adopt a child out of foster care, there would be no more orphans in our country. again, one out of -- one family out of every four churches, if we stepped up for the children that are available for adoption,
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we would have no more orphans in america. and then we could focus on recruiting quality foster families that can help these children to find their way -- to find their way back to their biological families, with their sibling groups intact, or find their way to a new family that will love them and nurture them and protect them and support them forever, because that's what families do. we don't support our children until they're 18 and let them go on their merry way. we are with them until the moment they take their last breath, and that's what parents do. we're with our children forever. and every child in this world deserves a forever family. so senator grassley and i have come together to work to strengthen our foster care system. we know that it is broken in places. we know that it can be fixed. we work on fix technicia fixing.
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i thank our colleagues that have joined us in just recognizing foster care month, as senator grassley said in his conclusion, i will say in mine. we want to thank everyone that helps on this every month of the year, not just may. we want to thank the teachers that reach out especially to the foster children they know are in their classrooms. we want to thank the judges that process their cases. i want to thank the casa workers, court-appointed special advocates. i think it is a great ompleghts for all the volume theres that help to make our foster care system in america better. so, mr. president, thank you so much. again, it's senate resolution 462. i want to thank our counterparts in the house and say again what a really joy and pleasure it is for me to work with senator grassley these many years on helping to promote the very best practices in the country on
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other -- on reforming our foster care system in america and trying to help where we can around the world. and i yield the floor. who are more mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from kansas. mr. moran: mr. president, thank you. i ask unanimous consent to address the senate a if in morning hour. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. moran: mr. president, today we considered five separate budget proposals for the federal government. at first glance that would appear to be the fiscally responsible thing to do. the families back home in kansas and small businesses, owners that i talk to, they do that every year. they operate with a budget and we know the federal government needs to do so as well. however, this chamber, the senate has not done so in 1,113 days, more than three years. in my first speech on the senate floor as a new member of the united states senate, a little more than a year ago, i
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indicated to my senate colleagues that my greatest concern for our country is our nation's out-of-control spending. i'm here today because i still have that concern. we spend too much money and we no longer can delay the difficult decisions necessary to correct that problem. our national debt stands at more than $15 trillion. this enormous amount of debt is slowing our economic recovery and threatening the prosperity of our future generations who will have to pay for our fiscal irresponsibility. writing and passing a budget is one of the most basic responsibilities of congress. it's required by law. the budget sets forth priorities ant guidelines for -- and guidelines for the fiscal year and begins the process of determining how much money should be spent and which programs should be cut back, he eliminated or even further supported. without a budget, the annual appropriations process -- and i am a member of the
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appropriations committee and i want the froes works but in many ways that appropriations process continues to be on hold. this is not the way to run our country. to put our country back on its path to fiscal responsibility, we must set a budget. we set budget limits and then we have to stick to them. any serious conversation about budget and federal spending must include a candid assessment of our nation's entitlement programs. those programs include social security and medicare. mandatory spending makes up 56% of the federal budget. if we had one. this percentage would only increase in years ahead, as more americans retire and fewer workers are there to replace them. without addressing our long-term commitments, our attempts to significantly change our country's fiscal outlook will be limited. as i said, i am a member of the senate appropriations committee where our appropriations process deals with about 30% of spending on an annual basis. we've done a reasonable job. i hate to be overly complimently
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to congress, but we've done a reasonable job on holding the line on that discretionary spending, that 30% that we deal with every year. it has been pretty flat-lined over the last several years. but you cannot solve our country's fiscal problems by only dealing with the 30% that we include in the appropriations process. you have to deal with the remaining portions of our budget. these challenges, these -- not only the appropriations process and the challenge it is every year to determine how much money we spend, but the broader issues of so-called entitlement spending cannot be ignored any longer. of the five budgets we considered earlier today, four of them -- all but president obama's budget -- contained serious proposals to reform these entitlements. i can critique every one of the four budgets that move in the right direction of balancing the budget. there are things i would do differently, but i commend my colleagues for offering serious solutions to serious problems. it's bothered me greatly that,
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when members of the house or members of the senate offer a serious budget, they're immediately attacked from a political point of view, as if we can continue to ignore the problems that we face and simply make sound bites out of proposals that members of the senate and the house care very seriously about. we've got to work together to put forward commonsense solutions that will preserve these programs for future generations. this is not about ending those entitlement programs. in fact, the reports that come from -- just recently from nonpartisan sources tell us that both medicare and social security will face significant shortfalls in the near future. therefore, this is about taking care of these programs to so that they are available for those who need them in the future. i want to be able to tell every young person when they question, will i be able to get social security when i retire, i want that answer to be "yes." and if we don't deal with the issues, the answer cannot honestly be "yes."
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in congress, we have a solemn obligation to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. our spending debate is oftentimes seen as something that's philosophical or academic or, more likely, just a partisan argument. but the truth is that out-of-control borrowing and spending has a very real consequence on the daily lives of every american and certainly on the economy in which we live and operate. it is about whether or not americans can find a job, make payments on their homes and automobiles, and whether their children will have a bright future and the opportunity to pursue what we all call the american dream. when we continue to fail to balance the budget, when we don't put ourselves on the path toward a budget, it means increasing -- a balanced budget, it means increasing inflation, higher interest rate rates which results in less business investment and fewer jobs. the graifort opportunity we have to -- the greatest opportunity we have to improve the lives of
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americans is to erect an environment where employers feel comfortable in investing in the future and create jobs so that people can go back to work, and when they go back to work, they can put food on their family's table, they can save for their children's education, they can save for their own retirement, and most importantly, every person in america will once again be able to pursue the american dream. mr. whitehouse: thank you very much. i would like to address a slightly different topic, which is the continuing conference on the highway bill. we passed a very good highway bill in the senate. we passed it on time for the march 31 deadline when the
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highway trust fund was going to expire. we passed it in bipartisan fashion, with 75 senators supporting it. we passed it after it came unanimously out of the environment and public works committee, with the support of both the chairman, senator boxer, and the ranking member, senator inhofe. we passed it after a very transparent and open floor process in which around 40 amendments were agreed to, either by vote or agreement. and it has the support of everybody from the u.s. chamber of commerce to the labor, from the pavers to the environmentalistists, so it is a good piece of legislation. it was done right. it's problem is that it's running up against a time deadline. as my director of transportation tells me, if we delay this too long, he has to start dropping projects off of this summer's
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highway work period because the time is slipping away, as we dawdle here in congress on this bill. and it's not just the rhode island department of transportation that's saying this, as standard & poor's global credit portal has a report, "increasingly unpredictable federal funding could stall u.s. transportation infrastructure projects." as it says within the report, "as construction season begins in the northern half of the country, this continuing uncertainty in funding could force states to delay projects, rather than risk funding changes or political gridlock come july." so, we need to get this done, and i have heard at this point that the house republican conferees intend to hold the
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conference on this bill through late-june. and if we do that, that will cost jobs in america. that will cost jobs in rhode island, that will cost jobs around the country because our transportation directors are going to have to take work scheduled for the summer and postpone it. and that is a very unfortunate turn of events. it has nothing to do with the merits. unfortunately, the house was not able to pass a highway bill of any kind, which is unfortunate because it's not the most complicated tafnl task. it's something we've been doing for decades around here, but they couldn't get that done. so what they have done is now gone to conference on the senate bill without a bill of their own, and it appears to be causing delay. so i'm here to urge that we all encourage the house members of the highway conference committee to expedite their work as much as they can. there is a two-week period that
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the house is taking off, parntslapparently. and if it is delayed by two weeks so members can go home, i don't think that's a profitable use of our time. there is a great deal of loose talk around here about jobs. we've even had bills that didn't relate to bills called jobs bills because of gimmickry in the titling. bur this is but this is a real . it is 9,000 jobs for rhode island, as calculated in years of work, job years. and we're just wasting that if we don't get this done on time. so if people really want to do something about jobs, they can get the highway bill moved along rapidly so that the work can be done in this summer work session. with that oh, mr. president, i yield the floor -- with that observation, mr. president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: i ask the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i rise tonight to speak about the war in afghanistan. i have spoken on the senate floor many times over the last number of years about the war. i have done so because i believe that the american people and our service members in the field deserve a policy worthy of their
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efforts and their sacrifice and a thorough examination of the issues at hand, and i have done it also because when it comes to matters of war, the senate has an important responsibility to ask tough questions of any administration. i believe that we are entering a critical phase in our engagement in afghanistan which will have implications for our eventual drawdown of troops in the year 2014. earlier this month, the president spoke to us from kabul on the new strategic partnership agreement known by the acronym s.p.a., and of course this is an agreement with afghanistan. he described a transition plan which focuses on protecting and promoting shared democratic values, advancing long-term security, reinforcing regional security and cooperation, social
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and economic development and strengthening afghan institutions and governance. i agree with the general approach laid out in the strategic partnership agreement but i have several outstanding questions and concerns regarding u.s. engagement in afghanistan. i'd like to describe some of these concerns and lay out specific steps that the administration should take with respect to the war to ensure that u.s. security interests and the tangible security, political and economic gains in afghanistan are in fact protected. i have participated in more than 20 hearings on afghanistan and pakistan with the senate committee on foreign relations. i have personally chaired four hearings on aspects of our engagements in the region. i have visited afghanistan and pakistan three times, most recently in august, 2011, with the presiding officer, senator
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bennet, along with senator blumenthal and senator whitehouse. when we were there, we met with -- as i have done on other visits, we met with u.s. military and civilian leaders as well as senior government officials in both countries. through this engagement, i have sought to examine u.s. goals and progress in this war within three broad areas. first, the formation of representative political institutions. second, the overall security environment. and third, the development of key sectors in afghan society, including education, health, the economy and the well-being of women and girls. in examining these factors, it's clear to me that a responsible drawdown of u.s. and international forces in afghanistan must be concurrent with not only progress on security and an increase in --
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and an increase in well-trained afghan national security forces but with a strong commitment to a transparent political process in afghanistan. we should work to ensure that there will not be a crumbling of institutions similar to that scene prior to afghanistan's civil war in the 1990's. in fact, without representative political institutions, i am concerned that the training of the afghan national security forces could in fact be counterproductive and that we would end up developing a force that answers to a dysfunctional political system. politics and governing institutions matter a great deal and there are tangible steps the united states can take to support afghanistan's political development in the short term. let me be clear. we should be under no illusions that afghanistan's political system will nor necessarily
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should reflect our western model developed over centuries. but there are universal principles that should apply in afghanistan, including the inclusion of all key political groups and transparency in elections and governance. in fact, the adoption of these universal principles is perhaps the only antidote to continued decades of conflict. first, in 2014 -- in the 2014 transition to afghan leadership will require the active participation of the constellation of ethnic groups in afghanistan. they will need to have some confidence in the political process or afghanistan could very easily again descend into civil conflict similar to that scene in the aftermath of the soviet withdrawal in the 1990's.
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the opposition represented in what was formerly known as the northern alliance will likely be among the most skeptical. the united states can play an important role in bringing the interested parties together for dialogue to identify areas of concern and a path forward looking towards 2014 and beyond. second, presidential elections are scheduled to take place in 2014. according to the constitution, president ham add karzai is limited to two terms and should step down. president karzai has seen his country through a very difficult and historic time. afghanistan's elections, the foundational act in a democratic system, have historically not met international standards and have established the basis for an unresponsive government and unresponsive government officials and unfortunately widespread corruption.
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a peaceful transition of power in afghanistan is not only good for the country and good for its democratic institutions, it is vital to our own transition out of afghanistan. third, afghanistan's independent electoral commission needs to become a truly independent body. currently, the president selects the commissioners, creating the suspicion that the body is biased. in accordance with international standards, the commissioners should be reflected by a body that reflects the broad consensus of the afghan people, not just the president. a statutory check on executive authority is needed to ensure the impartiality of the body in the years to come and enhance public confidence in the electoral system overall. fourth, president karzai has issued a presidential decree which allowed him to nominate the five national and 133
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provincial commissioners of the electoral complaints commission. this body also needs to be independent from the executive branch to remove any perception of bias. during the last election there was a lack of transparency in the handling of these electoral complaints. afghan authorities need to take steps now to ensure that the national and provincial commissioners are fair and transparent in their work. as it stands now, the political opposition does not trust the electoral complaints commission to equitably deal with inevitable disputes that emerge from the process. now, throughout this process the united states should emphasize the important -- the importance, i should say, of international standards in the conduct of elections. and stand ready to support a process that is based on three -- on those universally accepted principles.
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we know that at the bond conference -- bonn conference in 2011, afghanistan pledged -- pledged -- to strengthen and improve its political process. we must hold them to that commitment. the united states should condition its aid and support of the administration, of the 2014 election, based on these reforms. let's sandy very clear message we will not be a party to funding the administration of an election similar to those conducted in 2009 and 2010. the administration must begin to act now. electoral reforms take time to adopt and implement. the clock is ticking. while political challenges abound in afghanistan, the parliament has emerged as an important check on the executive and over the past several years has begun to exercise more of a voice in governance. we have seen several examples in
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recent years where the parliament has weighed in on important issues. moreover, 27% of the afghan parliamentarians are women, a stunning statistic compared to where we were just ten years ago. the parliament's upward trajectory is a promising pillar of the democratic process, it should say the democratickization process. but more can be done. the united states can be suppose afghan parliamentarians from other and different developing democracies and the opportunity to meet their counterparts in other parliaments. during our trip to afghanistan last august, i and senators whitehouse, bennet, and bloom thawl, had the fortunate opportunity to travel to five of the isaf regional commands.
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we saw first hand the progress made by our airmen, soldiers, marines, and sailors on the ground. due to their efforts, the enemy has lost territory and influence. according to the pentagon, the number of aaattacks by militants in 2011 dropped the first time in five years. there has been undenial progress in pushing back the taliban but these gains are delicate and will be short lived without an afghan force that can assume more responsibility for security. i discussed these issues with lieutenant general walledwell --, caldwell, the former nato commander in charge of training the -- i should say lieutenant general caldwell has been ably replaced by lieutenant general daniel bolger. we've seen significant progress in the training and deployment of the afghan special forces units, which according to the
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pentagon, have made -- quote -- "impressive strides towards becoming an independent and effective force"-- unquote. we have also seen growing independence of the afghan regular units as of the end of march, 13 a.n.a. or kandax have been designated as being able to operate independently with advisors. in september of 2007 there was only one with that designation. we've gone from one unit to 13 in a rather short period of time. so we know there's progress, but despite this progress, however, challenges in training the afghan national security forces in fact remain. first, the afghan security forces still do not have an elite pashtun officer corps and only 6.6% of the enlisted recruits are southern pashtuns.
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this is a significant shortfall that must be addressed if they're going to develop the cohesion necessary to represent the ethnic makeup of the country and address ongoing security challenges in the south. second, nato currently requires 2,774 trainers to conduct its training mission but faces a shortfall of 440 positions. while this capability has improved, the training shortfall remains stubbornly high around has an adverse impact -- impact on nato's ability to train the afghans in a timely manner. our nato partners can and should do more to help address this deficit. finally, i've concerns about the long-term price tag associated with the afghan national security forces. while investing in these forces will be a fraction, a small
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fraction of the hundred to $120 billion a year currently spent in afghanistan by our government, we must work to ensure that the force is right sized to the security challenges in the country and that there are strict accountability measures in place to ensure that the afghan national security forces abide by all u.s. standards in terms of human rights and the geneva conventions. while we've made progress on the battlefield, the taliban and terrorist groups like the haqqani network remain capable of spectacular attacks across the country and as we know, in kabul, the capital. 34% of the attacks by militants took place in regional command east, an area where the haqqani network is most active. i believe the after a began national security forces will be capable by 2014 in providing security ins much of the country
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but we need to maintain a capability to attack and disrupt terrorist groups in the country who seek to project force outside of afghanistan's borders and do harm to u.s. interests. central to the political effort is the ongoing effort to reconcile with the taliban. i have a high degree of skepticism this can work, at least in the short term. the taliban have shown little interest compromise and recent events show this group is willing to target civilians and to conduct devastating terror attacks against the afghan people. ultimately there does not need to be a political end to this conflict -- i'm sorry. ultimately there does need to be a political end to this conflict as there are in all wars. but how we get there is important, and the administration must set clear guidelines. in the meantime, i support maintaining pressure on the
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taliban till it accepts the afghan constitution and agrees to peacefully participate in the political process. during our visit to afghanistan last august, we also had the honor to meet with several of pennsylvania's service members. since 2001, pennsylvania has lost 80, 80 service members and 589 have been wounded. these courageous individuals gave what president lincoln said, the last full measure of devotion to their country. we owe them a debt of gratitude and we owe a debt of gratitude as well to their families and to veterans returning from the field. i like a lot of our colleagues have visited with our wounded warriors and their families at bethesda and walter reed and other places to keep them in our thoughts and prayers every day. the courage and commitment of these young americans is hard to describe in a speech, and it's
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hard to illustrate, but it does demonstrate the best of who we are as a country, and we see that every day. we know in the area of development as well that there are enormous challenges across a lot of sectors in afghanistan that will likely extend for years. prior to the civil war, afghanistan was one of the poorest countries in the world. after decades of war, afghanistan's minimal infrastructure was destroyed. the challenges today to significant progress are indeed substantial. government corruption obstructs any serious effort at rule of law, and any basic respect for contracts, which is a fundamental element, a fundamental element of business growth. the precarious security environment also serves to deter any international investment. poppy growth, fueled by the heroin trade remains rampant.
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women continue to be subjected to unspeakable violence and discrimination across the country. amid these daunting challenges, the u.s. should prioritize a few key areas for developmental progress so to mitigate -- so as to mitigate the challenges leading to 2014. the foundational basis for development in any society is the educational system. we know that in 2002, only 900,000 students were enrolled in school, just nine years later, 2011, more than eight million children were enrolled in school. 35% of whom were girls. this will have a long-term, long-lasting effect on afghanistan society and the united states should be proud of this element of our engagement and should seek to protect those gains. i and other senators when we saw this were pleased to see that the partnership agreement
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prioritized the access to and the enhanced quality of education. we've also seen significant strides in the fields -- in field of health care. in 2002, only 9% of afghans had access to basic health services. today that number has grown to 64% of the population. more children live to see their fifth birthday than ever before in afghanistan. health care, too, is emphasized in the agreement that the president talked about recently, and it focused on basic health services and specialized care for women and children. these are real achievements, but they are very fragile. also fragile are the overall gains made for women and girls in afghanistan. i was privileged as i know senator bennet, senator whitehouse, and senator blumenthal was privileged to meet with a group of afghan women leaders during our august, 2011 trip. and we were all tremendously
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inspired by their determination to continue the fight for women's rights in the face of blatant oppression and violence. in 2010 i cochaired a senate foreign relations committee hearing on the plight of women in afghanistan. we must preserve the progress that women and girls have achieved in the past ten years. empowered women have an immensely positive impact on their communities. investing resources and education, health care, and other basic needs. they also dissuade young men from turning to mill tansy. in -- militancy. in 2011, secretary clinton told a group of afghan women, i'm quoting, "we will not abandon you, we will stand with you always"-- unquote. we as a nation have an obligation to stand by that commitment, to the women and girls of afghanistan. it's not only the right thing to
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do, it's in our national security interest to do this as well. and i agreed like many did i think with the findings of a 2011 report by the senate foreign relations committee which made three main recommendations with respect to u.s. assistance to afghanistan. first, it called for a multi-year civil assistance strategy for the country. second, the report called for a reevaluation of the performance of stabilization programs in conflict of interest zones. third, it cawlt called for a focus on sustainability. the report argued that all u.s. assistance projects should meet three basic criteria. they should be necessary, achievable, and sustainable. this simple concept is critically important. a great deal of funding and resources has been expended in afghanistan, much of it on important and necessary programs. but with a withdrawal of
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international troops and a commensurate decrease in funding going into the country, there is a distinct possibility that afghanistan could experience an economic depression which could have dramatic security implications. there is time now to address this problem by conducting a careful review of all u.s. assistance to the country. these programs -- or those programs, i should say, that are not sustainable should be phased out. while this may have painful short-term consequences, it will be better for the long-term viability of the afghan economy. the u.s. and international community should consistently reemphasize that while there will be a transition in 2014, this does not mean the wholesale withdrawal and disengagement from afghanistan. the strategic partnership agreement agreement has accepted send this message. the u.s. will still have a significant -- still have significant security concerns in
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the country and should maintain a strong counterterrorism capability. work will still remain in providing support and assistance to the afghan national security forces. the international community can also continue to play a key role in helping afghan society to develop. all of this falls squarely within our national security interest, and all parties in afghanistan and in the region should hear this message. and finally, mr. president, i'll end with a few comments about pakistan. i continue to believe that pakistan is too important to u.s. interests nor us to sever ties or significantly diminish the relationship. we know we've had trouble in our relationship, but we know a couple of other things as well. pakistan has lots of nuclear weapons. it is a hotbed of islamic extremism. it also provides the best logistics routes for our
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supplies headed into and and out of afghanistan and pakistan will play an essential role in ensuring the transition to a peaceful afghanistan. despite the seemingly insurmountable challenges and at times divergent strategic interests, we must continue to find a way forward and work together where our interests do overlap. pakistan has made significant sacrifices in countering extremism within its borders, mostly against forces that represent a direct threat to the state itself. it has yet, however, to go after the haqqani network in a serious way, it continues to provide a haven for the taliban, which is the headquarters of those seeking to destabilize the afghan state. pakistan has not taken adequate measures to confront the proliferation and trade in illicit bomb-making materials which have killed thousands of its own citizens citizens and hundreds and hundreds of our u.s. troops
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across the border in afghanistan. taking all of this into account, there's significant elements of pakistani society that we cannot consider allies. this is why i strongly support the conditionality built into u.s. assistance to pakistan, which requires that the pakistani authorities make significant progress to countering terrorism and attacking i.e.d. networks. if they don't take steps to address these issues, this assistance will be significantly cut, and it should be. for more than two years i've worked to address this critical problem of improvised explosive devices, which are responsible for the majority of deaths and injuries among our service members in afghanistan. the primary explosive ingredient in i.e.d.'s used in southern afghanistan is callsium ammonium nitrate, so called c.a.n. it's also used as a fertilizer
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and it produced in factories in pakistan. i have been adamant that the pakistani government must significantly increase its commitment to regulating the bomb components and preventing them from being smuggled across the border into afghanistan. in june 2010 i intrusioned resolution 570 which -- introduced resolution 570 which called for increased effort for pakistan to monitor and regulate the sale, transfer and use of ammonium nitrate in order to prevent trough afghanistan. the resolution 570 passed the senate unanimously on june 28, 2010. during our recent visit to pakistan, i discussed this issue with several senior government officials, as did senator bennet, senator whitehouse, and senator blumenthal. the pakistani leaders expressed an interest in countering the proliferation of bomb components and presented to us an active --
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an action plan for interdicting these materials. however, the proof of their commitment has yet to be seen through the implementation of this plan. in december of 2011, i introduced an amendment to the national defense authorization act that would require the secretary of defense to certify certify -- certify -- that pakistan is demonstrating a continuing commitment to and making significant efforts towards the implementation of a strategy to counter i.e.d.'s. this provision, unfortunately, was removed during the conference committee. the final version of the bill requires the secretary of defense to produce a report on pakistan's efforts to counter i.e.d.'s. i continue to believe that combating this threat posed by i.e.d.'s is one area where our interests do, in fact, overlap with pakistan. at this time of frayed
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relations, i.e.d.'s continue to kill pakistanis, afghans and, of course, americans on the battlefield. by working together against this common threat, we can begin to rebuild confidence in the relationship and make progress toward more vexing strategic issues that affect our countries. in september of 2010, i gave a speech on afghanistan and pakistan at the army war college in carlyle, pennsylvania. former secretary of war root believed that the army war college was established in 1903 -- quote -- not to promote war but to preserve peace by intelligent and adequate preparation to repel aggression." that's what secretary root said all those years ago. as we look forward to 2014 and a long-term relationship with the people of afghanistan, all of
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our support for representative political institutions, improving the security environment, and afghan social and economic development are intelligent and adequate preparation to repel aggression. the next year and a half will be very consequential. if the u.s. works to strengthen representative institutions, bolsters the afghan security forces and maintains sustainable development assistance, all will pay dividends for our peace and security for years to come. mr. president, i would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. casey: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: i ask unanimous consent that at 10:30 a.m. on
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thursday, may 17, 2012, the senate proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 646 and 647, that there be 90 minutes for debate equally divided in the usual form to run concurrently on both nominations en bloc, that upon the use or yielding back of time, the senate proceed to vote without intervening action or debate on the nominations in the order listed, that the nominations be subjected -- or be subject to a 60-vote threshold, the motions to reconsider be made and laid upon the table with no intervening action or debate, that no further motions be in order to the nominations, that any statements related to the nominations be printed in the record, that the president be immediately notified of the senate's action, and the senate then resume legislative session. further, that the cloture votes with respect to these nominations be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed
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to the immediate consideration of -- immediate consideration en bloc of the following resolutions which were submitted earlier today: senate resolution 463, senate resolution 464, and senate resolution 465. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: i ask unanimous consent the resolutions be agreed to, the preambles be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table en bloc with no intervening action or debate, and any statements related to the resolutions be printed in the record at the appropriate place as if read. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: i ask unanimous consent that h.r. 2947 be discharged from the committee on energy and natural resources and be referred to the committee on agriculture, nutrition, and forestry. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate complete its business today, the senate adjourn until 9:30 a.m.
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on thursday, march -- thursday, may 17. that following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the morning hour be deemed expired and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day and that the majority leader be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. casey: it is the majority leader's intention to begin consideration of the motion to proceed to calendar number 400, s. 3187, the f.d.a. user fee bill and equally divide the time until 10:30 with the republicans controlling the first half and the majority controlling the second half. at 10:30 a.m., the senate will proceed to executive session to consider the stein and powell nominations, both nominees to the federal reserve board of governors. at 12:00 noon there be will be two votes on confirmations of the nominations. if there's no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until
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of the u.s. senate. on weeknights watch key public policy events and every weekend the latest nonfinks authors an and books on tv. you can join in on the conversation on social media sites. now the -- now the former coshare. and philadelphia mayer michael discuss the nation's fiscal evey challenges. sea abcts george steph no no lis mod races. i want to begin with you. you i haven't been here for the heard -- e the last couple of speakers. i have been interviewing a lot
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of people on the budget issues. it made me think. he must feel like the pope these days. -- you must feel like people these days. everyone feels the need to kiss the ring of simpson-bowles even if they do not adhere to everything you laid out. what i would like to do is have you talk a little bit about what you are hearing when you go out into the country and tried to lay the groundwork for support. what you're hearing back from people of what they expect, what they want, what they need, and what they understand. >> thanks to pete peterson and michael for this. this is a great forum. i am always glad to show up. i new peak years ago when he was talking about social security reform. he's a very dear person in my life.
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bowles is just superb. he is a numbers guy. i do the color. we will often say to a group "pull up a chair. we do not do bs or mush." people are thirsting for that. you do not give them bs or mush. when someone from office says i am here to tell you we're going to save everything and we are going to save precious medicare and precious medicaid and --cious social puri without social security without touching those, and they are fake and phony. withoutot get theire messing with medicare. there is no need to blame it on obamacare. collet elvis presley care -- call it elvis presley care.
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i do not care. it cannot work if you use your brain. >> what do you mean? >> it will take pre-existing conditions from someone from three years old to 60. one person in the united states weighs more than the other two. you have obesity and diabetes. you have people who choose to do booze and cigarettes and tobacco and designer drugs. a new dees is discovered predict a new disease is discovered every month. it is not even get a bill. what is that. use your head. 10,000 a day turns into 65. another final one is this. if anybody believes we're hauling out the defense budget, and the only thing that is hollow is their brains.
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we spend $750 billion a year on defense. the top 14 countries on earth, including china and russia combined, spent $540 billion. 750 billion for us. $550 billion for the top 14 countries on the earth. this is where we are. how many contractors do you have in the defense department? it is quite a range. it is between is1 millionand 10 million -- between $1 million and $10 million. that is quite a range. [laughter] social security will go in debt faster. we have not heard anything from the aarp. if these guys are monsters. are the patriots or -- they
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patriot or monsters? that is its. >> what do you hear back? we all know that medicare is going to be a problem in the future. the costs continue to grow. do not take away what i have now. we know that defense spending exceeds what the rest of the world spends. do not leave us in the least bit the vulnerable. when you get pushed back, what do you do? the two or three numbers figures that seem to make people understand everyone is going to have to contribute to this. >> the escape hatch is i am ready to do something as long as everyone else will. they know nobody else is going to do that. that is their way out. it is done with smiles and graciousness. i am ready.
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you're not ready for any of that stuff. you have the realtors. you have the end of housing in america. what is a million dollar mortgage deduction? give a 12.5% non refundable tax credit. that help the little guy. what people really understand is that when everybody is talking about this, and they say i'm ready to do something, at the say i doshypocrisy of those to not want to hurt the little guy. when the tipping point comes, it will come from people who loaned us money. to the market will respond. they will say we will more money. interest rates will kick in. the guy that gets hurt the most is the little guy. >> i guess you are deep in the bond market every day.
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i know this is an imprecise science. how much time are the bond market's going to give our federal government to address this? >> i expect less than most people think. what are the numbers to get people's attention? total federal revenues last year from all sources, $2.30 trillion. total spending, at $3.60 trillion. in 2020, and the cbo data, social security and medicare will be $1 trillion a year more than it is now. it is going to grow from about $ -- it is going to grow. this is stunning to me.
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i suspect that the time that we have to deal with this is shorter than most people would observe. the principal beneficiary of low interest rates has been the u.s. government. another amazing statistic. $15 trillion of debt. $225 billion of interest cost right here. that is the same number we had only have $5 trillion outstanding. rates are so low. if you put it in when rates were low, [unintelligible] simple stuff. i get confused when people talk about debt as a percentage of gdp. tell me we have a fixed cost of $1 trillion a year and we're going to march our way to it. that scares the devil out of me. >> how is it affecting the decision making of you and your peers? >> the reason we got started in
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this is that we started asking ourselves how we are going to plan for the next 10 years. that is what the business people do. we sat down. what is the outlook? the best we could get to is that if we did not do anything, it would be awful. if we actually acted, it will be difficult for a few years. until there is some clarity, i do not think there's any one solution. the only solution that does not work is the one we are doing now, nothing. until there was some clarity, most business people were hunkered down. we're trying to figure out how to run our business. in that slow-growth environment, how is your business to do as well as they can do? >> cutting costs as close as you can to the bone.
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quite not putting more people to work in manage in the medium term. i recognize the fiscal cliff in january 1 but that is not how you run a business. until you see a plan to make it better -- >> simpson-bowles is one plan. i have heard the president expressed his frustration about simpson-bowles and the way the financial and the corporate community has reacted. when it comes to the tax increases, particularly those on the business side, the business runs away. >> i will only speak for myself. we are in. it is a matter of public policy. we would stand up for that in the heart beat. when you start breaking it into pieces, you cannot put it together again.
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this is a matter of priorities in choices. we can do anything. we are the richest country on the planet. the only thing we cannot do is . how can you not sign up for it in a heartbeat? >> if you asked me, what is the one word that almost everyone can sign onto it would be balanced? -- be balance. can you sell that at the local level? >> we sold it. people bought it. it was real. it was honest. in september of 2008 before we really knew what was going on, i announced to the public that we had a minimum of $450,000,000.50-year plan deficit.
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-- $450 million 5-year plan deficit. i told it had grown. two days after president obama was elected, that thursday, i stood up to republicans and said we had a $1 billion five-year plan deficit. i use the words "this is a shared sacrifice approach." we stopped our business tax reduction program. we cut a variety of services, a look at everything we were doing. we did not lay off thousands of people. i did not want to damage our ability to provide services. there were things we are doing that so we could not anymore. we did temporarily raise taxes
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as well. we closed to $2.4 billion gap. in january, i announced we had another $1.5 billion five-year plan deficit. it was 500 cuts and 50 cermet new revenues. -- 50% cuts and 50% new revenues. no one was happy. every senior executive in the city government to pay cuts and furloughs. we had to let the public know that we were not going to ask anyone to do anything that we were not prepared to do. >> can you tell us how much the symbolism mattered? do you think it is a model? >> i do not make a whole lot of money. it is what it is. i will tell you what happens.
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we decided to then have eight town hall meeting shortly after we made all these announcements. the swimming pool will not open. the library hours will be cut back. it was not one of my best moments. we go to these meetings. eight town hall meetings. i wonder people. three hours of folks screaming at us about how stupid we were. -- 300 people. three hours of folks screaming at us about how stupid we were. people understood that my 10% cut was not solving the fiscal crisis. they understood the mayor stood up to cut his plan as part of a plan that would close the hole and that we were serious. no one stands up and the stuff like that. >> i did that once when i was
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getting shelled on every side, i gave back $93,000. it saved me a lot of pain. it may be symbolism. they understand that. taxing the rich and all the stuff they do not get. they understand that. you did it to yourself. >> where do you get your health care? it is free. you fly on a government plane. where you get that back to reading the-- that, read the digest?"s >> you can have these venting sessions where everyone could at least speak. >> my constituents are there. we had a close personal relationship. i pick of their trash. we run recreational centers. if you call 911, you expect
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someone will show up. i have a daily poll. there are thousands of people i run to on a daily basis. they tell me how you feel. the people from philadelphia are not shy. i think that many members of congress are very much out of touch with what is really going on back home. they live in a closed circle environment. this all about point scoring in who is up and who is down and he will cut the next ad -- who will cut the next adding he will be on television. mayors do not have time for that. i cannot debate on whether i'm plowing snow. you either did it or you did not. this is a daily test we go through. our budget is balanced. theirs is not. i cannot spend more than i have. i have a capital budget.
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they do not. they just wait for step to break and then they send somebody to fixed appeared in march 2008, 98 was shut down for three days because a bridge inspector happen to go to a store to get a cheese steak, looked up, and sell a gaping hole in i-95. there is no capital program in the federal government. how can you run a government with no capital program and no idea going into the future of how you will spend an plan? this is not the way to run the railroad. >> there are not that many recent examples where government, republicans and democrats, have come together to make more difficult choices. you have them come together in 2001 to pass tax cuts. the last time i could see was probably under the first president bush in 1990.
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both parties seem to learn from down that roado again. >> that road got all twisted. they went to the air base and put together a deal and said "here is what we can do. we can give budget reform. we can deal with catastrophic health care." house members were out there. they were all republicans. they made the deal. they said "we need revenue." they went to george the first and said he will not believe what we are asking. if we can do this, we need revenue and you will have to help. he said, "that is great. these are funds." dole promise that and so did newt gingrich. we boughttisan votes,
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the package. newt came back and won on the floor of the house and said there is a member of the group i am voting against. i hope my republican colleagues could help. the democrats were thrilled. it was the end of george bush. it was the beginning of newt. >> in your commission, you were but haveet buy in limited success. -- buy in and had limited success. how do you build a bipartisan coalition? >> you do it with trust.
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trust is the coin of the realm in the legislative body. that is all i ever did. i did not want to be anybody. i wanted to legislate. i knew how to do it. i knew how to construct bills. i knew that. there is no trust now. the coin of the realm is trust and there is no trust even among party members. look what is happening within one of the leaders of the house helps some guy in the primary to knock off another guy that was sitting next to him. what is that? >> there is probably even less trust from everyone out there in the country and how they feel about washington. they cannot trust washington right now to solve their problems. >> i think the next word is
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"courage >" ." you have to have the courage to do the right thing. some in our profession worry so much about keeping their job and what ever is going on in their head that they are blind to the 50 million folks that do not have one. they are worried if i do this and then i have to raise more money or this group will line up against me. the country is calling on you for your service. have some courage. do what is right. the rest will take care of itself. if this is the only thing you can do, that is really a personal problem. >> are they speaking out? are they mobilizing? are the energized? >> i think every survey has shown that democrats, republicans, libertarians, what
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ever you want to be, everyone is calling for compromise. unfortunately, 500 folks here are not really listening. they're talking amongst themselves in a room. this is our thing. we have a position. we have to maintain its. the country is calling for compromise. no one is in a total gridlock. i do not know what the constituency is for gridlock. you do it. people hear it. you make your pitch. can it be sold? to take action and move on. that is what this business is about. i'm a public servant. >> i am reminded, and i recognize it is different because he was appointed and not elected, of paul volcker in the 1970's. we have corrosive inflation. he went to take out a mortgage. he understood the only thing
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worse than fixing inflation was not fixing it. in 10 days, he took the prime rate up to 20% and it really triggered the recession of 1982. the last time we have unemployment over 10% and had an impact on the center of the country. companies where dependent on this. it traded a foundation shortly there after. it sustained economic growth. i look at that moment as good as an example of shared sacrifice as i can think of in my lifetime when everybody was impacted by it. you try to buy a house. it was hard. the only people that benefit it were those that had money and could get decent return. we were struggling. there is no easy answer here. it is going to take a group of
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people. it was different because he was appointed and not elected. it will take people who have a responsibility of their role. >> if you are at a town meeting trying to sell a plan like this in six months, they say that is easy for you. you have a comfortable living. what are you prepared to sacrifice? >> whatever i am asked up. i'm serious. we talk about can you sit down and do bipartisan work and banged out a solution that to give their nose to. whatever the as the me, my own personal story my father started a tiny printing business. it enabled me to be the first person in my family to be able to go to college. here i sit.
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have you not feel some obligation to do what ever is asked that i feel that way. whatever it is. whenever the compromise is. -- whenever the compromise is. you have to step up. >> we are approaching a pretty remarkable moment. unlike anyone that i know in my adult lifetime where so many decisions have to be made at time.a concentrated we have a limited time to bring people together. you are almost certain to be doing it after an election when feelings are most raw. looking at it from both sides, recommend that congress deal with that right after the election? to put it off? to bite the bullet in the lame
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duck session? >> i think it is going to be between november 6 and december 31. it will be chaos. it will be absolute chaos. you are going to find the guys that were defeated. new ones are waiting to come in. if you have a flood, a fiscal cliff. if you extend the bush tax situation, that is $3.80 trillion over 10 years. you have to take the payroll back to 6.2. when they raise it, grover will call that a tax increase. then you have the sequester coming in. there will be hair and blood and
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eyeballs all over the floor. did they will do something. they may do a six month extension. you can bet the closest thing. the old president or whoever is elected is going to come in an january and say i never knew these figures were so bad. i am so shocked that this country is in this unsustainable, a totally predictable situation of the deficit and interest which matches anything in spain, portugal, ireland, or italy. we of $16 trillion. what the is $1 trillion? -- we owe $16 trillion. what is a $1 trillion? nobody knows. the big bang theory of the universe was 13,600 million
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years ago. that is not even close to $1 trillion. that is where we are. it is like you have rocks for brains. >> we're also at 8% unemployment. can you sign on to what talked about?nton signe >> and bill clinton has been the greatest ally for us. i know he went to the president. i know he went to him and said "you did this by executive order and you got 11 of the 18 to vote for it, hell, i wrap my arms around that thing and take get." he would have. he told the president that. >> would you take delaying the cutbacks until the economy is growing again?
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>> we put in our proposal. when everything fails, read the 67 page report. it uses a word of "shared sacrifice" and "going broke." it is not a mystery. he cannot get there would just fluffing it. what the hell was your question? speak out. >> i said i think you did. [laughter] what did you find you cannot address, you cannot cut, people would say no way? >> every department and agency in the government had to take a cut. i had to cut police services. i did not lay off a police
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officer or sanitation worker or health worker but we cut back over time in the police department by 30%. we lose 15 or 18 officers a month. we were not able to hire as many as i wanted. we kept it at historic lows. a part of it was really more about what we were not going to do while maintaining the core services. i do not know when a recession will be over. technically, it is over. i do believe this is not going to last forever. i have to be prepared for growth going forward. people would not stand for massive cuts in public safety. they would not stand for massive cuts in programs that affect children or seniors, are most vulnerable populations. where we could cut administratively and become more efficiently.
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every service we provide has a constituency. that is why we got three hours of shouting and screaming. there are some things that are essential and some things that are good to have a. we kept the essentials and cut back on the good to have stuff. if you want to see leadership and action, democrats and republicans, more than half of my colleagues i have no idea what party they are in. there is no democratic or republican way of sweeping the street. we do what we do. that is where you're seeing great leadership on the grounds all back home that mayors are providing because we have to. there was a guy on the video. we have to get things done. you get things done by making tough decisions. every majomayor have constituens
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that are upset. some will win and some will lose. they are trying to do the right thing to run their city's. >> would you think your own party has fallen short in washington? -- where do you think your party has fallen short in washington? >> we did not hold onto the house. that cramped our style a little bit. for single more and more votes to take place -- forcing more and more votes to take place, the senate -- you have ot pushing infighting. make folks vote. i was a legislator. it was not ad d & r thing.
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you can say whatever you want to say about the republican party. right, wrong, or in different, they seem to stick together. it would certainly be more beneficial to the president if the democrats would really line up. this is the agenda. these are the reasons why. be bold in their actions. >> i wonder if you can address, when the things we know is difficult and you hear it around the world, if we fail to make the investments we need to make an education, if we fail to make sure that our infrastructure is world class and on a par with china, we're not going to be able to have the kind of growth we need in the future. in the end, growth will be the biggest driver for producing our
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deficit. can you sell that idea across the business community? >> business people are good about talking about priorities and making choices. we live in a world of limited resources and infinite demand. most business people get the notion of you cannot do everything and you have to pick your spots. i do not think that debate, i do not think we have had a rich discussions of priorities. we have been trying these last 10 years to do everything simultaneously. it is all important. everything is important. i love your numbers on the defense department. it falls into choices and priorities. i think the business community get it. i think they get it then more people -- most people give us credit for. you do not know what you do not know. one of the biggest buyers
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of treasuries is the japanese. >> they have a tsunami. they have had to shut down all of their nuclear plants. it would not be an unreasonable decision for them to make a comment to take those dollars that would have been directed to financial advancements and put it into other investments. does that put more pressure on the treasury? i do not know. i began to recognize that there is a geopolitical elements that we do not control. we can get wrapped up in the debate of the dollars we spend. someone has got to lend them to us. it gets back to how much time do we have. we do not know the factors that could turn that upside-down. >> it could be happening in greece. >> that is exactly right. you can see that and lots of places around the world. we have had good leadership.
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we have had sound decisions. the longer we wait, the more painful it will be. it is arithmetic. complicated.n, but there is a factor of what we do not control. i worry about that a lot. >> judy woodruff brought this up. what would you say to richard murdocuch? >> i was shocked. senator lugar is a very dear friend of mine. he was helpful on my leadership. we counted on him. he was such a remarkable man. i believe this gentleman that one said that we have to step up the partisanship. that is his pitch. i would cite the case of paul
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that came to the u.s. senate who was there when i was there who said "stick it in jesse helms." after a year, it they were sponsoring legislation together. there are some softening agents in there. they are not likely where they were before. the softening agent in the senate are not there. the sharp edge people are there. then you have a couple of leaders. you have here and mitch -- harry and mitch. they love the ring. they know how to hold their turf. if you mess around too much around with the other guy, and they will make you the chairman of the journal committee. or the ranking member. [laughter] >> you do not sound all that optimistic. do you think that these issues will be addressed in the fall, personally in the u.s. senate?
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>> that things can be solved with the way they are now? >> dole finally said that we will not go with that. first, i've got to have this. we cannot give you that. we will give it to you in six months. get that thing o we have legislation and we are here to legislate they are here to do fund- raisers. we would have night where we cannot get a quorum because they were raising >> you have to have discipline and use a little courage. the filibuster, don't mess with that, because that is an
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automatic fannie keeking machine. it will kick your fanny sometimes and it will keep you in the fannie some time and you will not love it. there is a way to break that easily. it is just three words. listen to the threat of filibuster. we will have a round the clock, bring your cot. >> put the question around. i think one of the advantages when it works on a local level is that people actually can make the direct connection between the sacrifice they are making, the cutbacks have had to endure, and the benefits. what were the benefits that people saw?
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>> we saw we actually had a plan. some parts that might agree with and some parts they hate. c itonst was public this is why we are doing . this is what this is about. we talk about shared sacrifice, a million times of day. we talked about the fact we would not compromise on public safety. we are still focused on, in the midst of -- we are running the government with integrity. there have been some challenges with that in previous administrations. i jokingly said it was a dumb
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idea. but we were out there on a regular basis. our basic philosophy was, you have a right to be upset. you have a right to let us know what is on your mind and we will tell you why we are doing what we are doing. i think in that exercise was over and the next budget came, and things continue to worsen, but we were steadfast in what we were trying to accomplish. people got the message that we are not just throwing everything up on the wall to see what sticks. here is the plan, this is what we are trying to accomplish. public safety was not being compromised. we were focused on our police officers and firefighters and correction officers and the like. the things that people truly cared about. we have 70 swimming pools and philadelphia. when i made that announcement, i
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said we were only going to be built have 10 of them open. this was in november. -- only going to be able to have 10 of them open. we ended up having 46 of those pools open, and every summer since, all 70 have been opened. we had five ice rinks. i said we would only be able to keep two of them open. they immediately stepped up and said we will run the other three for you. you are out there hustling and working, driving the agenda, getting the private sector involved. we had people sending us money on their own, saying we have to have these pools open. people want to see action. they want to see leadership. we talked about trust, courage, and in the end, if you want to run for office, then be a leader. if you have a deep-seated need to be loved and admired every
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day, this is not the business for you. work in a pet shop somewhere. [laughter] we have courage, trust, fairness, balance. let me throw in another word and see if you view it -- said you put this in context with your plan. not just avoiding a catastrophe, but really gaining a picture of what america can look like if a plan like this is implemented, and what it will need -- what it will mean to the average man or woman sitting at home. >> first, just to comment. if you are a leader, you are taking flak by the ton. he said it beautifully. if you want to be loved, go somewhere else. i have had my skin ripped off 100 times and it grows back double strength. my dad ran for public office. he was a governor and senator.
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somebody yelled out, simpson, i would not vote for you if you were jesus christ. he said, if i were jesus christ, you would not be in my precinct. [laughter] an attack unanswered is an attack believed. you are entitled to be called up full, edie it, bonehead, but never let it distorts the you are. but i m an optimist. these guys are all talking about what we have to do. i do have hope, and it will come before december 31, because in a room somewhere, not like paul and chris will sit down -- there is no need to study it any further. you had all those things and everything is out there. there's nothing hidden as to what you do. you have to have a blend of
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revenue. to cannot spend your way out of this. cannot tax your way out of it, and you cannot grow your way out of it. not a single economists said you could have double-digit growth for years and grow your way out of this. you have to have a blend. if you are in a situation , --ing with andy sternbac those guys put together a recommendation, what we do with the defense budget. if you cannot get that done, and forget the stereotyping. that is what is out there now. you say dick durbin sign on to our report -- what is this? i can tell you that i really feel you are going to see people come together and drop all the phony stuff. the phony stuff is, i am not
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going to touch medicare, medicaid, social security and defense. those people are total fraud. every cent of revenue last year, everything, excise, sales, everything the federal government brought in which only three programs, medicare, medicaid, and social security, and we borrowed everything else, including the wars and homeland security and culture and infrastructure and research and development. that is where we are. >> i want to go back to last august. the stalemate over the debt limit. we saw the stalemate coming out of that. it did seem like that was the moment when the world was watching. what were the practical effects
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that you felt? >> i will give you a very specific example. just on the optimism point for a second time i do think the topic is getting recognized. two or three years ago, it was not. if you consider that progress, raising the focus, sounding the alarm and having people hear it, that is real progress. the next up is, you have to do something about it. but we were banging away and no one was listening a few years ago. we had a pretty good investment portfolio, and i never believed for a moment that a maturing treasury bill or bonn would not be paid. i never believed it. but what if we were wrong? what if we just live on one. in the week before, we actually raise the half billion dollars of cash. we went to two banks, which i
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found very funny. we were worried that the federal redwood not pay its obligations and we were wrong to give the money to banks. it was a relevant point. we put a half billion dollars into two banks. we did enough cash for to know that if we were wrong, in which could run our business for 30 days on that cash flow. >> we did a temporary default. i cannot imagine that a maturing bill would not get paid. >> that was the work that bob used always use in 1993 and 1994, literally unthinkable that we would not hit the debt limit yet. we came far closer than anyone ever thought. >> it is to separate issues. a maturing bond was not require a higher debt limit. we cannot imagine that a maturing obligation would not get paid.
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they could not fuel the engine to spend money. but the politics of the moment were unclear. it was not visible enough to any of us to roll the dice and bet the ranch that we would be right. we had enough in the mattress so that if we were wrong, we could keep the place going. >> you have to put money away in the matter is again for next year. >> i hope we don't need to get a bigger mattress. >> you referred to it a couple of times. could you have done what you did without the requirement you had to balance your budget? >> i would have wanted to. i believe in fiscal integrity. i believe in the fundamental principles that you cannot spend more than you have, that you have to have a balanced budget. with or without a balanced budget requirement, we also
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have rating agencies. i came into government in 1992. the city on its own was facing a fiscal crisis that had nothing new did nothing to do with anything going on in e country. i learned some tough lessons. i paid attention to the finances of the city very closely. fiscal integrity and physical security are very, very important to me. we have a lot of people watching what goes on in our city. the rating agencies also pay attention to those issues and i am -- the fact that we have a balanced budget requirement, that we have a fiscal oversight into the, that we have to produce a five-year plan puts in certain contexts people understanding that it is unfathomable that we will might have a balanced budget. we have to have a five-year plan approved by a financial oversight agency. it will be a major embarrassment not to be able to do those things.
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bourses' fiscal discipline, but a five-year plan also forces you think about every dollar you want to spend, that is $5. it ensures a certain amount of discipline but allows you to plan for the future. i am not sure what the folks down here are doing other than trying to get through that next news cycle. that kind of discipline really is required. you have to understand the consequences of your actions. i am left with the impression that unfairly that some of the proposed cuts that come down through these budgets, we are not clear that many members of congress truly understand the consequences of these cuts, the impact it will have at home. you can name 100 programs which all have their constituencies. i get that, but there have to be some fundamentals that you agree to.
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fiscal integrity has to be one of them. dealing with the debt crisis is a paramount issue with the government. i agree with the center, but it has to be balanced approach. it can be a number of different gs, bou h you are trying to do, what are the outcomes you are expecting, and where are you going. those are the things that unfortunately, many of us do not hear about a local level as it relates to the federal government. >> let me wrap this up with a hippocratic oath to the next six months between now and the election. it does not look like much is going to get done in washington until afterwards. what is the best way for both parties to do no harm between now and november? >> i think this could to keep telling the story. sounds so corny, town meetings -- i would always find out where they are and then have a town
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meeting in that play spirit i would speak for five minutes and state for two hours. these people will not expose themselves to the public except in certain other ways. [laughter] i don't know why that slipped out there like that. communication, talking, -- i bet we have talked to 500,000 people in the last year and a half. we speak for 10 minutes each and take questions for an hour, and stick around sometimes. people are saying, how come people don't understand where we are? we sadeq you are listening to people that are more interested in re-election than their country. grover norquist is one smart cookie. he is the most powerful man in america right now. how does that sound to you, that grover norquist, the americans
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for taxpayers reform or whatever is coming is the most powerful man in america. he has 95% of the sitting members of my party pledging never to raise a single penny in tax without the commensurate cut in spending. so we said here is one for you, grover. we are taking the tack expenditures and getting paid taking $100 billion to reduce the debt and the other trillion to give to the lower tax base. what can he do to you? he cannot murder you or burn down your house. the only thing he can do is to beat you for re-election or put some of dud in the primary to take you out. that means more it to you than your country, then you should not even be in congress. [applause]
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>> this memorial day weekend on c-span we will take you to colleges and universities around the country to hear commencement addresses from members of congress, the president's cabinet, state and local leaders and business executives and we also want to hear from you about your commencement experience. did you graduate from college this year or attend a ceremony for friend or family member or maybe something about a past commencement sticks with you. we want to hear from you. call us and tell us her story, (202)643-3011 and we may use your comments on the air. that is (202)643-3011.
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>> when people are saying to him, don't take the vice presidency, right now you are the most, you are a powerful majority leader. don't take the vice presidency. you want have any power. johnson says, power is where power goes. i can make power in any situation. his whole life he said nothing in his life previously makes that seem like he is -- that is exactly what he had done all his life. speech today at the white house president obama had lunch with house and senate leaders from both parties. we spoke with a reporter about what came out of the meeting.
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>> president obama met today with congressional leadership at the white house. russell berman the hill joins us. how did that meeting go today? did they agree to anything. >> caller: they always agreed that they like eating hoagie sandwiches that the president serves them. but beyond that, it was described as a cordial but a serious meeting. there was a bit of a clash between the president and the speaker over the speaker's remarks about the debt ceiling in which he said yesterday in his speech to the president, that he wants the same principle applied as last year which is more spending cuts and reforms banned the increase in borrowing authority that the congress is expected to have to consider at least by the end of the year. the president said that he wanted congress to increase the debt ceiling without the same corresponding cut so they was
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clear issue that is definitely an order we will have to watch of the next several months. >> host: the present set up the meeting and mating was at the white house. clearly hear the message to deliver. what was that? >> caller: the president called the meeting to talk about his to-do list for congress where he has been touting on the campaign trail and official events over the last couple of weeks. that includes the jobs program for veterans, tax breaks for small businesses and other measures. but the speaker and the speaker's office said the book of the meeting was actually not about this and has not been met very favorably by house republicans. and the bulk of the meeting was actually spent adjusting the year and issues, much like the debt ceiling in the automatic spending cuts that are to take effect in 2013 and the expiring bush tax cuts that are set to expire in a year. >> you talked about speaker
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boehner. who us else was at the meeting? >> was house minority leader nancy pelosi,, senate majority leader harry reed, senate minority leader mitch mcconnell. >> are these meetings largely just for show or to try to really get something done? is there any sense that something can get done on these issues before the end of the year were before the election? >> caller: there is very little hope that these things can get done before the election, at least the ones that are, the ones they just talk about with the tax cuts and the spending cuts in the debt ceiling. some of those other issues that the president want to talk about like the student loan bill and some of those others are ones that might be dealt with in the next few weeks and months. but when you asked if they are for show or not, i think to some extent they are. the president wants us to know that he is still meeting with congress and they are still engaged in the legislative process. but obviously a lot of these negotiations are going to go on behind the scenes between staff
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and not all the time between the leaders themselves. >> host: which individuals and what kind of signs we be watching and reporting on on these issues in particular as they try to get these things resolved in this election-year? >> guest: well there is a lot of complicated web of issues coming up at the end of the year. and it's a bit of a chess match because it's a battle for leverage. we saw that today here he reads office a few minutes ago put out a statement saying that harry reed said that he doesn't want to deal with the debt ceiling until after they deal with the expiring bush tax cuts and after they deal with the sequestered cuts that are coming into play. that is a bit of play for leverage. the democrats are taking advantage than the republicans, speaker boehner's were seen as trying to get republicans some


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