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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  January 23, 2013 5:00pm-8:00pm EST

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reports. congress is partisan, congress is divided, congress is dysfunctional. one recent survey that got a lot of media attention reported that congress is less popular than a root canal. across the country, people are fed up with congress. indeed, members of congress are fed up with congress. americans want a congress that can take on the tough challenges of today, but another recent poll by "usa today" and gallup showed that 77% of americans feel -- quote -- "the way politics works in washington these days is causing serious harm to the united states. americans think congress has a problem. indeed, americans think congress is a problem.
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well, if we want to fix a problem, we ought to be specific about it. a doctor wouldn't try to fix a patient without a precise understanding of the patient's problem. an engineer wouldn't try to fix a system without a precise understanding of the system's problem. a mechanic wouldn't try to fix your car without a precise understanding of your car's problem. so if we are going to fix what is wrong with congress, we better have a precise understanding of what congress's problem is. let's start with the senate. we do have our share of dysfunction in the senate, i will confess. undoubtedly the filibuster is being abused. certainly nominees awaiting confirmation are unjustifiably delayed.
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indeed they are held hostage. so everything is not all roses in the senate. but we did pass a highway bill, a bipartisan highway bill that passed the senate with 74 votes. we did pass a farm bill, a bipartisan farm bill. although i did not support that particular measure, it was a bipartisan measure that passed the senate with 64 votes. we passed the hurricane sandy emergency relief bill also in bipartisan fashion, with 62 votes. we had open debate, we had discussions, we had amendments, and we passed legislation. particularly we passed by a powerful bipartisan vote of 89-8, a bill that avoided tax increases for 99% of americans
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and extended emergency unemployment benefits for another year and protected us from the fiscal cliff. when it comes to legislating, the senate actually has a pretty strong bipartisan record. how did those senate bills do on the house side? well, the house couldn't pass its own highway bill. congress has been doing highway bills since the eisenhower years. this isn't rocket science. the house couldn't do one. the best the house of representatives could do was to pass a short-term extension that allowed some of their members to get to conference on the senate bill. but they took no bill into conference because they couldn't pass one. even then they delayed the conference negotiations and they
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cost the united states of america an entire summer construction season for highway construction, putting thousands of jobs in jeopardy before they finally came around and passed an amended version of the senate bipartisan highway bill. so their record on the highway bill is nothing to be proud of. the house also couldn't pass a farm bill. farm bills are pretty ordinary legislative business too. we do them all the time. but the house has passed no farm bill. we passed a strong bipartisan senate farm bill. they can't even agree to call up the bipartisan senate farm bill and pass it. with 80% of the agricultural land of the country in drought, there is no farm bill.
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it is trapped in the sink hole of the house. the house almost couldn't pass a disaster bill. if you go back to hurricane katrina, when katrina hit back in 2005, the house of representatives then had emergency aid on its way to the 850,000 damaged or destroyed homes of the gulf coast in 11 days. in 11 days, aid was on its way. this time, with this house of representatives, the house balked at the bipartisan senate disaster bill, and finally it took them 78 days after a landfall of hurricane sandy to send help to the 500,000 homes
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and businesses damaged or destroyed by that storm. the condemnation of the house of representatives was bipartisan. the republican governor of new jersey blamed -- and i quote -- "the toxic internal politics -- the toxic internal politics -- of the house republicans for this fiasco. this, he said, and i'll quote again, is why the american people hate congress." is there a problem over in the house? you bet there is, to the point where one departing house republican member has compared the speaker of the house to the manager of an asylum. and the speaker's house republican colleagues to the asylum inmates. that's pretty strong criticism
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from within the republican party. so the reason i give this speech is to try to be precise about what the problem is that has driven congress's approval into the cellar, and what exactly is that problem? well, i think that the house votes on the so-called fiscal cliff bill and on the emergency hurricane sandy aid illustrate what the problem is. those bills passed the house for one reason and one reason only: the speaker of the house of representatives waived what's called the hastert rule. what's the hastert rule? the hastert rule is probably the most significant contributor to dysfunction in washington right now. it's not even really a rule.
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it's a policy, a political policy of republican speakers that began under former republican speaker hastert. hence its common name as the hastert rule. and the rule is that the speaker will bring no bill to the floor of the house of representatives without a majority of his own party supporting the bill. it doesn't matter about a majority of congress. democrat votes don't count. it's only when the speaker has a majority of republican votes supporting it that the speaker will allow legislation to come to the floor. it's actually gotten a little bit harder under speaker boehner who has said -- and i quote -- "i don't feel comfortable
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scheduling any controversial legislation unless i know we have the votes on our side first." which sounds like he's saying he has to be able to produce a majority of the house out of just the republican caucus before bringing a bill. but whether it's the original hastert rule requiring a majority of the majority before they'll even bring a bill to the floor or what appears to be the boehner rule that they have to have the votes on our side first -- end quote -- it is a rule of obstruction. there are somewhere between 50 and 60 members of the house republican tea party caucus and a whole bunch more house republicans who are scared of the tea party and scared of what might happen to them if they get
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a tea party primary challenger. so getting a majority of his party together for anything reasonable is a challenge for speaker boehner. house republicans could not get a majority of their conference to support a highway bill. so the hastert rule kicked in, and there was no house highway bill. none. couldn't do one at all because they couldn't get it through their conference under the hastert rule. that's why there was no highway bill. the house republicans could not get a majority of their conference to support a farm bill. so, under the hastert rule there is no house farm bill, and the speaker won't bring up the stalled bipartisan senate farm bill because under the hastert
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rule, he can't get a majority of his party to support even the bipartisan senate farm bill. we were headed for the exact same result on the fiscal cliff. we were headed for the skabgd same result -- for the exact same result on the fiscal cliff. speaker boehner could not get his party to support protecting america from the fiscal cliff. so with literally minutes left to spare, and with the house republican conference ready, willing, and about to pitch the country off the fiscal cliff, speaker boehner did what? he ignored the hastert rule.
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he ignored the hastert rule, and he let the fiscal cliff bill come to the floor of the house without having the votes on our side first, to use the speaker's language. two-thirds of house republicans actually voted to roll america off the fiscal cliff. here's the vote count: republican yes votes on the fiscal cliff legislation were only 85. republican no votes on the fiscal cliff legislation were 151. he wasn't even close to making the hastert rule. that fiscal cliff bill passed the house 257-167 because the
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democrats came out and voted for it. 172-16. 172 democratic "yes" votes. 16 democratic "no" votes. two-thirds of the "yes" votes that put the fiscal bill, fiscal cliff bill across and saved america from a 100% tax increase and protected our economy from the fiscal cliff. two-thirds of those votes came from democrats. if the speaker had enforced the hastert rule, we would be over the fiscal cliff today. what happened on sandy? after nearly three months of stalling, while my state, while the presiding officer's state of
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connecticut, while the states of new york, new jersey and other states struck by sandy were waiting urgently for the relief that we got to the coast within 11 days. they stalled and they stalled because they could not get a majority of the republican caucus to support federal relief for our hurricane-ravaged states. under the hastert rule, they couldn't get that bill to the floor. so speaker boehner once again decided to forego the hastert rule. that's how they got the sandy emergency aid bill passed. look again at the votes. republican "yes" votes for the disaster bill: 49. republican "no" votes for that
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bill: 179. that bill was dead on arrival under the hastert rule. the republican caucus couldn't support it, wouldn't support it, and we would be without any help now if they followed the hastert rule. on the democratic side, what was the vote on the hurricane sandy bill? 192 yes votes to 1 no vote. the final count, 241 ayes, 180 nays, the bill passed, but about three quarters of the support came from democratic votes. if the speaker had imposed the hastert rule, not only would we be off the fiscal cliff, but we'd have failed at providing disaster relief for hurricane sandy. the only reason that these
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critical pieces of legislation avoided the fate of the highway bill, of the farm bill, is that the speaker didn't follow the hastert rule. he couldn't follow the hastert rule because he wouldn't have been able to pass legislation. and if his tea party caucus had forced america off the fiscal cliff, he knew that there would have been hell the pay, so he waived the hastert rule. now, of course, house republicans are all in a fuss about having waived the hastert rule. one tea party lawmaker admitted that the new year's day tax vote left a lot of his fellow republicans, he said, with a real bad taste in their mouths. so it's probably back to hastert rule business as usual on the
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house side, with death by tea party to any major bipartisan senate legislation. the tea party over on the house side wants to vote for extreme things like voting to repeal or defund obamacare over 30 times, over 30 times. or voting to turn medicare into a voucher program. if it's extreme enough, then they'll vote for it. but those are things that aren't supported by the american people, and they can't pass the senate. for the regular business, for the regular business of government, for the regular business of passing senate bipartisan legislation, the tea party hastert rule combination is deadly.
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so back to where i began. if you're concerned about dysfunction in congress, if you're wondering why we're less popular than a root canal, if you're wondering why 77% of americans look at congress and think that we're actually doing more harm than good, if update an explaining -- if you want an explanation of the dysfunction, take a look at the hastert rule. if you look at this problem the way a doctor would look at a patient, the way an engineer would look at a system, the way a car mechanic would look at an automobile, and you look for what is broken, be specific, it is the application by the speaker of the hastert rule that prevents bipartisan, ropg strong senate legislation from
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going forward. when something moves, it's because the hastert rule has been waived. so if you want to see what's wrong, that quest takes you straight to the house of representatives, and there it leads you straight to the house republican conference, and there it leads you to that toxic combination of the tea party and the hastert rule. when you understand the problem, the cure is obvious. the house should ditch the hastert rule. call things up for a vote. let everybody's vote count. don't refuse to proceed unless only your own party will let you. it's the obvious and only solution. the fiscal cliff bill and the sandy bill and the votes on those bills prove it. with those tea party extremists
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dominating the house republican conference and ready to pitch the country over the fiscal cliff, and leave hurricane victims high and dry, the speaker had to ditch the hastert rule. the only way the house could do bipartisan business on major issues is to ditch the hastert rule. as we saw the, the senate has its problems but we're actually doing okay. just as our legislative record shows. over and or again, we pass real significant, bipartisan legislation after a real process on the floor of argument and amendment. and as the house legislative record shows, the problem is over there. more precisely, the problem is within the house republican conference and still more precisely again, the problem is that toxic combination of the
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tea party and the hastert rule. if we want congress to function effectively, if we want to succeed at doing the work of the american people like the fiscal cliff bill, like the hurricane relief bill, if we don't want to see more important legislation like highway bills and farm bills fail in the house, unable to pass in the house, blocked in the house, the solution for the problem is clear. we have to ditch the hastert rule. and let the house as a body work its bill just as the american people elected it to do. mr. president, may i ask unanimous consent that the period of morning business be now extended until 6:30 p.m. today and all provisions of the previous order remain in effect.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. whitehouse: i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. chambliss: i rise to speak today about our tax code as well as our economic future. there's a problem with our tax code, one that hits home with nearly all americans, and that is its complexity. in the fast past few years i have met with hundreds and hundreds of constituents who are worried about this issue, individuals, small businesses, farms and large corporations alike struggle with meeting their obligations to the i.r.s. because of the complexity of our current tax code. earlier this month the i.r.s. taxpayer advocate revealed some startling figures in the agency's annual record report to congress. it estimates that individuals and businesses spend 6.1 billion hours each year complying with the i.r.s. tax filing
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requirements. the complexity of the tax code is so burdensome that the average citizen and nine in ten taxpayers now pay a professional preparer or use often-costly commercial software to assist in tax preparation. then there is the problem of our corporate taxes. the united states has the highest marginal effective tax rate among the largest developed nations in the organization for economic cooperation and development. according to recent studies by the cato institute that rate for u.s. corporations is almost 36%. in fact, only argentina, chad, and uzbekistan have higher tax rates than does the united states. while the u.s. are corporate rate has remained high, other countries are lowering their rates. sweden, for example, has become the latest country to announce that it will lower corporate tax
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rates in part to help attract more foreign investment in sweden. our corporate tax rates continue to be higher than they should and rewee lose our competitive advantage to other nations in part because of that high tax rate. mr. president, i want to talk about a way to fix both these problems. since joining the senate, i have introduced in each new congress the fair tax act. today i am reintroducing this legislation because of my belief that the fair tax can fix the problems built into our current tax code. the fair tax will promote freedom and economic opportunity by eliminating our current archaic and inefficient tax code and replacing it with a simpler, fairer means of collecting tax revenue. it will repeal the individual income tax, the corporate income tax, capital gains tax,
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all payroll taxes, the self-employment tax and the estate and gift tax, in lieu of a 23% tax on the final sale of all goods and services. elimination of these inefficient taxing mechanisms will not only bring about equality within our tax system, it will also bring about simplicity in our tax code. it will provide tax relief for business-to-business transactions. these transactions including those for used goods that have already been taxed are not subject to the sales tax, so there would be no double taxation. some of my colleagues have asked how the fair tax would affect our revenue on our entitlement programs. social security and medicare benefits would remain untouched under the fair tax act. there would be no financial reductions to either of these vital programs.
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instead, the source of the trust fund revenue for these two programs would be replaced simply by the sales tax revenue instead of by payroll tax revenue. another question i get is how the fair tax would affect impoverished americans. under the fair tax act, every american would receive a monthly rebate check equal to the spending up to the federal poverty level according to department of health and human service guidelines. this rebate would ensure that no american pays taxes on the purchase of necessities. mr. president, we have made nearly 5,000 changes to the tax code since 2001. i have supported some of them and i have not supported others, all in the name of improvement and economic benefit. i believe that we can do better than simply lower our taxes.
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i know that we can make a bigger impact on our economic future by ridding ourselves of tax structure that is holding us back. ronald reagan once said, and i quote, "i believe we really can, however, say that god did give mankind virtually unlimited gifts to invent, produce, and create, and for that reason alone it would be wrong for governments to devise a tax structure or economic system that suppresses and denies those gifts." mr. president, with that statement i could not agree more. with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor and i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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quorum call: a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. menendez: mr. president, i rise to encourage the senate to
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seek quick action on the sandy relief package that has been long overdue. i know that the majority leader is committed to bringing it to the floor as soon as we can get some type of agreement with the other side of the aisle, and i hope that agreement can come quickly because a recovery that is delayed, as this already has been significantly delayed, is a recovery that very likely can fail. and we cannot afford for one of the biggest engines of the national economy, which is the northeast, to fail in its recovery not only for the sake of the northeast but for the entire country. and i appreciate the majority leader's steadfast commitment to provide that relief as quickly
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as possible here in the senate. but time is awasting. we're already here on wednesday and i am concerned that we will lose another week before we, in fact, can seek passage which will then go to the president and move on towards beginning having the resources flow to communities across the northeast who have languished since sandy had its toll. there's no excuse for delay, mr. president. we already have a delay in the house. they could have passed the package that the senate passed in a transparent process that took the appropriations committee on both sides scrubbing the bill, that was brought before the senate in a fashion that we like to see the senate work over, i believe, it
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was 25-some-odd amendments that were considered, a full vetting of the legislation, a strong bipartisan vote at the end of that process, sent to the house and unfortunately it languished and died at the end of the last congress. now, the house has acted in a different fashion. and so while i am happy at this point, mr. president, to accept the house's version, even though i do believe that the senate version is superior in a variety of ways, getting passage here of the house version so it can be sent to the president and so that we can get relief to citizens in the northeast is critically important. you know, i look at what the package the house has and i say to myself, $50.7 billion in
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resources in addition to the flood insurance package that already passed will allow our residents and small businesses who have been waiting so long to recover and begin to rebuild. it will show them finally that they have a strong partner in the federal government. finally someone is there for them as we have been whenever and wherever disaster has struck our fellow americans throughout this nation. i would have obviously preferred the senate bill, which is stronger, but we can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. we need to get assistance to the victims of sandy as quickly as possible, and this is a vehicle that gets us to that goal. now, while the house bill significantly reduces assistance in a couple of areas, including fishery disasters and community development funding, which i think in those respects may stunt the recovery of an important industry along our coast and could potentially siphon off billions in cdbg
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funding that's badded neede badd right now in new york and new jersey by amplifying what disasters are eligible for it. i'm pleased to say that we protected the overwhelming amount of cdbg funding from the senate bill, about $16 billion. and while not everything we needed, it will now be spread even thinner across more disasters, we can certainly help many communities recover and rebuild as we can. because time is of the essence. there is a fierce urgency of now. we have many businesses, many business owners that i've spoken to me who said to me, "senator, i'm at a critical juncture. i don't know whether or not i can reopen. if the government's going to give me no assistance, then i likely wouldn't. because adding more debt, even in terms of long-term
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low-interest loans is still de debt, and i took out that to start this business or i took out debt to be able to get through the great recession, but i don't really have the option to take out more debt without some direct assistance like a grant that can help jump start my business, get those individuals i had employed reemployed once again and create an opportunity for our community. that decision right now for those businesses, which are life-and-death decisions, are pending, hanging by the will of the senate to act. i'm also pleased that the package that the house passed recognizes what i've been saying all along, the funding that the army corps of engineers' efforts is critical to rebuilding coastal communities and
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particularlparticularly new jers weakened coastal defenses. we are at the lowest of our immune system as a coastal state and we already see the biting cold. it's cold throughout the capitol today. that's how cold it is outside. well, think about those residents who don't have a place to call home, those fellow americans who don't have a place to call home because they don't have the wherewithal to get their home back in a way in which they can once again be able to live there, raise their families there, meet their challenges as a family in a warm, nurturing environment. that doesn't exist for many of our fellow americans because they don't have the wherewithal to decide whether or not they're going to get the type of assistance that can help them rebuild that home. that is pending. and part of that is the army corps of engineers' ability to reengineer our beaches in a way that ultimately provides not
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just for the potential of tourism, which is a $37 billion industry in our state, but even more importantly, for the protection of lives, for the protection of property, for the protection against repetitive losses. that's what's going to happen when we get this money to the army corps of engineer to be able to rebuild our coastal defenses. this package would give jersey shore residents and businesses the comfort of knowing that they'd be better protected in the future than they have been in the past. it also includes $13 billion in critical funding i sought to help restore our transportation systems. it would allow new jersey transit, for example, to repair extensive damage from the storm and allow the agency to build facilities on higher ground to prevent future flood damage, a commonsense option, a commonsense option when we think about fiscal responsibility. why would we rebuild only to the
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very same status that was allowed to be flooded in the first place and caused all of the damage that the government would pay for? this passage of this potential package from the house would allow the port authority to finish repairing the path stations a and harden electrical equipment to prevent future damage. the package that would come to the floor, if we could get agreement, would include necessary policy reforms that i have supported that will streamline recovery efforts and improve fema's public assistance programs, critical to a successful recovery. these reforms would allow us to rebuild what is in place before the storm stronger and better. again, important in terms of the end results, important in terms of the fiscal responsibility to ensure that we rebuild in such a way that we don't end up with repetitive damage that would be
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more costly to the government. and it would allow a third-party dispute resolution process for major projects because some of the history that we have, particularly in katrina from senator landrieu's experience, was that the reality of not having a dispute resolution process ultimately forestalled recoveries in critical projects to that state and those communities. and also for coverage of child care costs related to disaster recovery through fema individual assistance. those are all critical elements. so without going to all the provisions of the house bill, let me just say, we need to pass this relief package. people are suffering. they are waiting for certainty in rebuilding desperately their lives and businesses and communities, trying to get back on their feet, need this aid, even if it's late and even if
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it's ultimately longer than other disasters have had to wait, as i pointed out in the past. i think it was in ten days or so, $60 billion flowed to katrina. we are nearly three months -- three months -- since the worst disaster on the east coast in terms of a natural disaster has taken place. the people of the northeast, the people of my state of new jersey and other neighbors in ne york despy ed thisdi anit's time to help t llow americans. it's time to do it now. it is time to do it this week. it's going to take time for this recovery to take place, and the longer we delay, the graifort the chance o -- thegreater the e that we, in fact, create i think we want success, not fail
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europe. i think we want to understand as an institution, as i have said again many times, that this is the united states of means respo the challenges, the disasters that take place in other parts of the country. we do it hopefully more expeditiously than this and at the same time we stand by our fellow americans so that they can reclaim their lives, we claim their commitments to their communities, reclaim the opportunity to reopen their businesses, to contribute to those communities, to our state, to this nation, to our society. and so i strongly urge our colleagues, who have some reticence to agree to moving forward on the sandy bill, to come to common ground with us, to come to an ability to move
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this relief package. no american should have to languish months after a disaster to get help. that should not be the standard. the hallmark of our response should be an intelligent but expeditious response to the consequences of a disaster that any american faces. that's -- that's the tradition we have had. it's a tradition we should maintain. it's a tradition that, unfortunately, in this particular instance has not been a reality. it's a tradition that i hope we can ultimately embrace brais once again this week in pushing through a sandy package that can move to the president for signature and relief to our communities. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i now ask unanimous consent that from wednesday, january 23, through monday, january 28, the majority leader be authorized to sign duly enrolled bills or joint resolutions. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, i am ed told there are four bills at the desk due for their first reading. i ask that be done en bloc. the presiding officer: the clerk will read the titles of the first bill en bloc. the clerk: s. 81, a bill to provide guidance and priorities for federal government obligations in the event that the debt limit is reached. s. 82, a bill to provide that an executive action infringing on the second amendment has no force or effect and to prohibit the use of funds for certain purposes. s. 83, a bill to provide continuing operation of government in a fiscally responsible manner. s. 124, a bill to provide that
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members of congress may not receive pay after october 1 of any fiscal year in which congress has not approved a concurrent resolution on the budget and passed the regular appropriation bills. mr. reid: mr. president, i now ask for a second reading and object to my own request for all four of these measures. the presiding officer: the objection is noted. the bills will be read for the second time on the next available day. mr. reid: mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn -- recess until 9:30 a.m. on thursday, january 24. following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be approved to date, the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day. that following any leader remarks, the senate be in a period of morning business for debate only until 12:00 noon with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each during that time, with the majority controlling the first half-hour, the republicans controlling the second half-hour. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, if there is no further business to
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come before the senate, i ask that it adjourn -- that it recess under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands in recess until 9:30 a.m. tomorrow.
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>> secretary date clinton on the u.s. can't let them as they come out numbers of congress questioned the secretary tonight 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span.
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>> from the very start, organized militaries have spent a lot of their time fighting unconventional, irregular warfare. and you know where? those terms don't make a heck of a lot of sense. that's one of the big takeaways they had printed in six years of reading and research for this book. really think about the subject is all messed up. we think somehow conventional warfare is the norm, the way you decide is how conventional army slugging it out in the open. but the reality is that supposed than the exception. think about the more modern world. what was the less conventional where we saw? this is a hard question to answer because in fact it is the russian invasion of georgia in 2008, which didn't last very long and yet all over the world, there's people dying in war. but afghanistan or mali were serious for congo for me admire
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or any other country. all these people ravaged by unconventional warfare. that's on top of the nearly $10 billion for him after his fastest month. the senate may also consider a continuation of violence against women act expired in 2011. live coverage in the senate returned here on c-span 2.
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>> today i'm pleased to speaker boehner and house colleagues have decided to change course and pass a bill to yet another fight over the debt ceiling. the most important aspect of this legislation is though boat and the house today that it surrenders the hostage republicans took in a decoupled for the full faith and credit of the united states because social security and medicare or anything else. this is a clean debt limit increase. we'll set the precedent for future debt ceiling extensions will have to have. by passing this bill, republican joint democrat to say we will not hold the full faith and credit of the united states hostage. we will pay the bills we have incurred. over the last two years, the bipartisan budget control act has been in love is in place of the congressional budget. so folks, please, every time you
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hear republicans talking about are not having passed a budget, understand it is not true. in fact, republicans voted on the budget control act. they hope this passé. it was a law. as senator murray announced today, this year the senate will return to regular order in the budget resolution to the senate floor. the house republicans had to add a gimmick or to today ago that i understand, we all understand the tea party plays a big part in what goes on in the house and they need a gimmick or two to get things done over there. but spare the metaclass another knockdown drag out fight, we are going to proceed to work on this legislation intended out of here as quickly as we can. i went to give credit where credit is due and i think
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speaker boehner for his leadership in defusing a site over the debt ceiling debate. as i said before, not everything has to be a big fight. this proposal they have in the house is that worth fighting about. so again, i think the speaker for his work in this regard. the metaclass has been telling us they don't want another crisis in this showcase send the security they deserve. senator durbin. >> thank you, mr. leader. america is suffering from confrontation fatigue. they've had enough of it. they want us to solve the problems and challenges facing our nation. they certainly don't want to see america default on its debt for the first time in its history. they don't want to see the interest rate go up on the debt we have to pay. as sharon murray can tell you, for every 1% are interest rate
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goes up because of confrontations and doomsday scenarios, because the american tax years $1 trillion over 10 years, $1 trillion. for this confrontation fatigue across america has led to some dramatic rethinking in the house of representatives. today the vote in the house of representatives such an important precedent moving forward. the bedrock safety net programs will not be held hostage in a dangerous threats to default on our debt. house republicans will soon vote in favor of something they promised they would never accept, a debt ceiling increase that is not coupled with deep, painful, unfair cuts to social security, medicare and medicaid. that's exactly how we got to operate going forward. the debt ceiling, confidence of global financial markets and the full faith and credit of the
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united states are now and will continue to be a separate conversation from the balance deficit reduction we can and should achieve in the months ahead. we stand ready to work with republicans on just such an agreement. over the past two years i've been working on a bipartisan basis and paint everything should be on the table and any deficit reduction plan must be balanced. unfortunately to this point, senator mcconnell and some senate republicans have refused to engage in deficit reduction discussions that included revenue and spending cuts. i hope the republican leader in his caucus will change course, joining senate democrats and reduction discussions that are truly balanced, strengthen the safety net across america, protect the vulnerable people in our nation and improve progressivity for working families. these are important debates that help us determine where we as a country are headed. we expect and require that the
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tea party elements to the precedent setting today. social security, medicare and medicaid would not be held hostage to the debt limit. >> well, thank you. i want to thank colleagues. first, i'm not sure what happened at the house republican retreat last week, but it sure had a mellow in effect and their members. maybe they were deep breathing exercises, soft muzak. either way we welcome the author of a retreat. there's a huge de-escalation on the debt ceiling issue. hence the president's second major win in a month and shows republicans are in full on retreat on fiscal policy. president obama has consistently said his refused to negotiate. his strategy is indicated
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republicans are backed up their threats to take the nation into default. the president spared on republicans. they blinked because they realized they didn't have the leverage they thought they would. this is the president's second big victory in a row coming after the new year's eve agreement that ended bush tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of americans. gambling was the fault was never a sound plan. substantively we all know, markets now, this is though, americans know as playing with fire. politically it was a loser as well. americans had a bad taste in the mouth that could join christ in 2011. poll showed that the republicans back then it would have the him even more so. in recent weeks many conservative opinion makers have been warning republicans this is a losing fight. even senator cornyn was getting cold feet last week about the idea after initially sounding bullish about it. the house republican proposals a
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major concession in two ways. it takes the mere threat of a default of the table. second, ends the so-called honorable, which insisted on dollar for dollar cut to match any increase in the debt ceiling. the script in a precedent that will not be taken hostage going forward. so obviously we democrats would prefer a longer-term extension agreement. keeping the nation's creditors in suspense on a monthly basis about whether we're going to fulfill our obligations is not ideal way to the government. but the bottom line, this proposal gives us something we can work within the senate, in the short term, removes the credit default with the long-term benefit they president that will make raising the debt ceiling easier from now on. >> well, for the last several years, congressional republicans have held the full faith and
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credit of the united states of america hostage to score political ndp 30 party base. consider doing what congress has always done under both parties and allow the government to pay the bills it has occurred, they decided to play a game of chicken with the global economy. up until now, republicans have been all about politics and points coring. the two families who've been watching this debate across the country, it was about their jobs and their paychecks and their future. when republicans put us through this in 2011, at that s&p to downgrade her dad. today speaker boehner announced he would not allow consumer confidence began falling. job growth slowed in the recovery faltered. it was a good wound at a time when we needed to be working together to grow the economy, not slow it down.
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the 2011.i. met brinkmanship guide to the budget control act and highlighted the american people just how extreme republicans were when it came to their budget priority. you think they would have learned their lesson that the manufactured crisis demand. republicans have been hurting our economy again and again. so i'm very glad the republicans have stepped back when it comes to the debt limit and essentially admitted their demand of the last two years for spending cuts equal to the depth of that increase is both absurd and on workable. they may have needed to curb red meat to the tea parties to have it cleaned that permit increased to the house. i certainly would've appreciated to have a longer-term bill that provides more certainty. but this sets a new precedent and it makes clear that they can't use this issue as a
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political pawn anymore. this morning i announced that the senate will be moving it progrowth, pro-middle-class budget resolution through the canadian senate floor. i discussed this with my colleagues in the weeks before i officially became chair and we plan to have money budget resolution regardless of whether the house rules this issue into their short-term bill to increase the debt limit. i'm hopeful when republicans say they want to return to the regular budget process, they actually really mean it. that means the constant crisis over manufactured to i'm me to add. the brinkmanship needs to stop and they truly need to work with us to the balance of bipartisan budget deal that the american people expect and deserve. thank you. ibm lack idea mark
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[inaudible] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> as i said, i intend to move forward a budget resolution to the senate to do a sequestration replacement and cyprus sedation level so we can move forward. house republicans can't have it both ways. if they want us to want to move a resolution for an regular process, they can't have brinkmanship on every crisis and manufacture for the next six months. i hope they stop doing this brinksmanship, bring our country back to a place or they can do the regular order as they've asked us to. in the far budget resolution through and find a resolution to reach a fair and balanced you at
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the end of the day. [inaudible] >> yes. i don't know if the republic will vote for her. we'll see. idea mark [inaudible] >> well, you go back a few months, that's what they said then. i [inaudible] >> of course there has to be a balanced approach. >> the person to ask this of senator durbin, who has sat on bipartisan budget negotiations
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with the gang of six and with simpson/bowles who also forward balanced approaches to debt and deficit and that is not changed. >> i could just tell you that the amount of revenue regenerated after the fiscal cliff negotiation is still short of any of the numbers that were suggested either by simpson/bowles or by the gang of six. we'll understood ever going to have spending cut, it includes revenue. i struggle to understand the notion that they want except a dollar in revenue coming out of tax reform. but it's always been the mantra on the republican side. were going to simplify the tax code and so forth. i'm sure senator schumer can be to that. there's room within the tax cut for us to reduce the deficit and still protect the middle class and promote growth.
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[inaudible] >> we believe strongly that this is the way. senator schumer said clearly the civic tree for the president. there's no one of the brinksmanship and that's way more than one occasion to my remarks it's how we feel. [inaudible] >> anything we do will be based on a budget. we do think separate and apart from now, but the framework for moving forward is the budget senator murray has indicated she will move forward with.
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>> can you be more specific -- [inaudible] >> senator durbin correctly said it's always been republican mantra. close the loopholes and use this mayonnaise. rethink some of those should be used for revenues. so did simpson/bowles. as the discussions have been about. we haven't changed our position and i hope they have a change to various. that will be up to the budget committee and the finance committee will discuss that. i [inaudible] >> say that again. senator murray, we talked about that on the way over here. >> as i just said, we're going to put out a budget resolution. i'll do record the of the finance committee, members of my budget to make a determination on the best path forward on the
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answer to all of those questions. [inaudible] >> we have enough problems over here with what we do. that's up to -- there was color the speaker. that's up to ms. pelosi to decide. one last question. [inaudible] >> you didn't listen to what i said. and what i said is that any comments come at any conversation any state made by the republicans on our not having a budget is false, untrue.
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we pass the budget control act with the help of republicans. we didn't have to do a budget. you folks listen to that. >> it's not reality. were under the budget control act as we speak. there are limits placed on every little spending right now. for under the budget control act. we have been for the last year and a half. >> unless you can figure a way out of day. -- the way out of it. [inaudible conversations]
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>> the confirmation hearing for john kerry, the president's nominee to replace hillary clinton at the state department is tomorrow. senator kerry testifies before the relations committee at 10:00 a.m. eastern with live coverage on c-span. senator kerry is the chairman of the foreign relations committee, but because he thought the
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nominee, thursday's hearing will be chaired by new jersey senator, robert menendez. a week later, the confirmation hearing for chuck hagel, the president's nominee to be defense secretary. mr. hagel served two terms as republican senator for nebraska. his confirmation hearing it live on c-span thursday, january 31st at 9:30 a.m. eastern.
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november 20th lappin and west west to play dice regional command south from october 2010 to october 2011. from august 2004 to february 2007, served as deputy commanding general operations, not division and its latest deputy commanding general for operations for combined joint task force 76 afghanistan from january 2006 until february 2007 with responsibilities and what is not regional command east,
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south and southwest. travel to afghanistan offered by security force officers to gather a full picture of isaf coalition of partnered efforts and today he'll update us on the progress of the campaign. he will mix them up in a comments in an take your questions. but that general, alternate over to you. >> thanks for that very kind introduction. i can tell you she looks much better person than to be sitting couple in what we call that can come and stare into video lands. i see some familiar faces out there also. were the process of moving afghan national security forces. this within 27 team in the afghan national security forces
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will plan, lead and execute operations in afghanistan. igc were trained, bias, says an support these operations and this is a fundamental shift. i biked to talk about the afghan national security forces that have worked with over the course of six years and three deployment. make no mistake the progress is very real, unmistakable and very substantial. let me be clear, though. they're a challenge is in the afghan security force. partners are going to work through those challenges. 2012 we began moving out of partnered operations and in fact now the afghan national security forces will have delay to protect over 85% of afghanistan population wants tranche for is fully implemented weekending about march timeframe.
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the afghan national police and army can and do fight for afghanistan and for the people of afghanistan. what we must do now is those supporting and sustaining afghan national security forces. the systems and capabilities allow them to address the current threat through sustained and continues to dvd. the security for subsistence encompasses all activities that move the afghan security forces to sufficient and sustainable security. in terms of our mission, this is more specifically known as strained, advise and assist. today in fear of the growing capability of the afghan national security forces, we are fully engaged in supporting the government of afghanistan to develop security forces that are capable of containing insurgency and managing the balance.
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the challenges continue to the capability and capacity while the current site and through security for subsistence, that's exactly what we are doing. afghan national security forces are taking a lead, not just because of the listing agreement, but more importantly because long-term stability demands that afghans own, manage and lead security affairs. the afghan people want this and the nature of this site requires indigenous forces. more importantly, transition undermines the insurgent narrative and cover the insurgents are designed to the people of afghanistan who quite frankly have 24 years of work and desire better future for their children. the afghan national security forces are leaning in to challenges. currently they have a large
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majority of bobby operations. insurgents have been pushed out of major population areas in pursuit. the population surge presents an urban energy, when i did not see six years ago the city streets, markets, cars and of course with cars comes traffic jams. cell phone coverage has expanded over 80% of the population and the kids are back in school. human capital summit the biggest changes since 2006 to 8 million afghans and secondary now we rely primarily on ied scum which killed more afghan coalitions. frankly the people are tired and have no desire to be controlled by insurgents.
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it's worsened over time and taliban movements are springing up as the people of afghanistan rejects the heavy-handed type pics of insurgents. polls indicate the majority of the afghans think the country is heading in the right direction, which is again a significant increase from my time in 2006. in the next phase in the campaign, german by security for subsistence. 400 security for subsistence teams are in place, training, advising and assisting afghan national security forces as they take lead for security. we are now bringing in built for missions, i.'s in many cases that focus on and train to assist the afghan national security forces.
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they will demand a security for subsistence teams to buy force protection and required to enable support to afghan national security force. our early on assessment is these formations are serving to accelerate national security forces forward into security. isaf forces are training afghan forces to enablers, though much remains to be done, strains remain to be done in evacuation, logistics, counter ied and support. it's important to note that these enablers will not resemble u.s. they will be supported by an sustained by afghan national security for systems. too often we look at a piece of material. what we must do is have the view towards the future that looks at
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how afghans will use these capabilities within their own organizations, how they will adopt and more importantly how to educate, train and develop leaders for the future. we are witnessing examples of increasing afghan national security force capabilities. i'll give you just one example. in november, the afghan berean corps successfully connected level operations across regional command south. these operations included all security element, police, army and afghan plan come afghan led the logistically supported by afghan forces. this is plan and conduct game the supply and separate resupply missions conducted by emerging afghan air force using helicopters.
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the afghan organizations demonstrate independently security force that assistance will focus at the next organizational level. while this supports a smaller footprint, it is not simply about doing life. this is about putting our advising and enabling resources in the right places at the right levels within the afghan national security force to ensure that afghan partners can hold the gains of the past. this is about the right mix this capabilities to security while continuing to support the afghan national security forces as they grow in capability over time. our partners need our help in this regard and we will be better with no doubt challenges and we still have a long road ahead. as we look to the future, it is
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not without associated risk. some are generational and some are regional. population -- the afghan national security forces display them as they take lead in security. i'm confident with our mission and security concept, we can mitigate that risk by supporting afghan partners will continue to grow the afghan capability. there are short-term solutions will take time and long-term partnership and the international community to put forth in the chicago declaration. we will stick with our afghan partners as they continue. while the afghan national security forces moved to the lead, coalition support and coalition forces specifically the study cannot in operations in combat conditions. it would be trained, advise and
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assist, but again we'll still be in combat conditions. we know that our central task of moving afghanistan to sufficient come sustainable security is security provided by the afghan national security forces as the security forces growing capability, they now have an opportunity. that opportunities to secure the future of afghanistan. this also represents an opportunity for the afghan people over 34 years of war and conflict have continued to be resilient and creative and very much for the next generation of afghans. afghan securing the afghan people as we look towards the national elections in 2014, i'm confident the security provided by the forces provide space for the process and support an emerging private sector. success may not be in the front
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pages and defeated every time a legitimate, well-trained indigent forces. the sources are taking a leap. recognizing the road ahead there'll be afghan solutions. my caution to others we should not be the solutions through western eyes assistant to critical. what we are now seeing is afghans will work. we must remain patient in supporting our partners and again, it will take time. in closing, it is initial comments to the redhead for afghan security forces again is not without challenges. it will be a partner and our help. they were in the way to taking me to the transition process. i've talked entirely too long and i could go on and on. what i'll do is stop and ask your questions right now.
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>> general comic thank you. refer briefly to anti-taliban movement. much of his considerable exit nations of localized anti-taliban and other adjoining districts might eat built into something bigger, broader, more promising. has that teetered out, or where does that stand? >> or a silly series of local movements that are out there. frankly if my assessment that the afghans for 24 years now and again the heavy-handed tactics in the insurgents out there. we work with the afghan national security forces, specifically administered interiors to try to identify this opportunities and move forward when we can to make
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sure that they are secured and give them some space, so to speak, to continue to grow. [inaudible] >> they have not been crushed. they have at this point not being together. there's great potential. >> general, can you elaborate a bit on what the day-to-day responsibilities for u.s. troops will be? if they're not going on, it's been acting like a qrs force. >> is purposely designed to take you through the history of it. 2006 in that timeframe with coalition led operations, where we plan and executed and
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assessed operations that, you know, we began the initial stages of heart during and were frankly coalition led. the afghan national security forces go around at that particular point in time. as they came back in 2010, we had moved to u.s. partner operations. clearly we are now looking away from that. but we have to do is put the afghan national security forces into the lead. soviet dignity will be all about training, advising and assisting afghan says delete operations. they stand on their own without that support, which is key to them moving forward. i would say that inside will
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shift away from the security force assistance teams you might be familiar with the starter during january, february the 2012th and two that the concept along to a redesigned brigades said there is one organization that man trains and equips together. those are not purely headquarters focused, but they are focused on increasing the capability. it doesn't mean they won't be going on a patrol with him either. now initially, we see this as being focused at the afghan level, which is of course the battalion level. they become more capable over time and will lift up to the brigade level and potentially the campaign level to the
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corporal the sound level. that's the concept. >> is it fair to say this is going to be a large force waiting for the afghan as they take the lead, if they need additional u.s. combat support? >> i'm not sure what you mean by five century force. >> they're not going out on patrol. >> will be a certain component of this again as some of the training largely have to be done as you get better, you can lift up to brigade, which you have to shatter that brigade as it moves around and some of it obviously is a force protection component has to be with the security force assistance teams in advisory teams out there as they move forward. so the pieces until the afghans
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aren't enabling capability out there, that when required will come back to some of the coalition enablers. >> the afghan national security forces, where arafat? if this is a u.s. force in you or see are seen, which you say were making progress? where are they? >> i don't tend to look at these guys through a u.s. lands. and that's what i try to caution is so sacred to capability three western mind that. from where i'm not, there is one face and nice. i'll be honest with you, back down in kandahar, which is
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considered the heartland of the taliban movement, haven't seen a hard fight down there, it abu grave and places like that was frankly very pleased with where the afghan national security forces were. and so i'd say again they're still going to need some support. >> the fighting season for 2013. and pastors around this time we'll get a brief of what they say one of the big concerns is the assassination of leaders and lasher's insider attack. what are you looking towards the theater i was the biggest several threat afghans are going to face? >> the insight that is on my
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mind. my assessment is operational commander in afghanistan. it is an enemy type and we actively work with our afghan partners. i'm sure you are very aware of the counterintelligence efforts on board there to beat back that thread. you know, in terms of insurgency itself, the other signature courses the ied and frankly using that ied, to which they're holding terrain, with a spectacular attack does is keep in the minds of the population out there and some newsworthy events. so you might suggest that's to say the people's minds out there. suddenly ied threat, recently
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some of the religious leaders inside of afghanistan and outside of afghanistan have suicide bombers, which is a huge step forward. so i think you will see, again, last year's campaign plan, which frankly failed, was to retain a lot of the territory of the applause from what we know as the search, search one. it's the best way to describe it. they don't hold that sanctuary anymore. and now in lisbon and with the afghans want, to have the afghan national security forces into the lead. bear with them during this fighting season it's going to be a critical time, but i'm confident with the concept we have come the security forces
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sustained that they're going to get through this fighting season. >> it's been a few years now. what is your assessment of how important they are today sent in some sense importuned post 24 team? some proposals expanded even further than now. >> i'm a fan of the afghan local solution. also you why. it starts at the local level than security. the community comes together via the run mechanism to decide to secure itself. it's about communities more than security. it's about them pushing back against the insurgent up or, which causes problems where they have afghan local police.
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we use some of our capabilities and trained this afghan local police once they've been vetted and cleared. the key now is once you've gone through the local governance progress in dividing us to tie back to the district chief of police at the district level so that there's oversight in the afghan police. i think it's one of those solutions i talked about that's not quite, i think in fact i talked to the village elders and when i'm out and about -- >> reduces violence in these areas? >> at least in some areas violence goes to. >> over time it has decreased. you've got to remember this is a threat to the insurgents, soap will be attacked out there also.
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>> he sketched very clearly the campaign plan for the hands-on aspect of training advice and assistance and thanks for that. can you talk about some of the hands-on pieces, which are probably about by challenging. casualty evacuation, close air support. what are the challenges? what are the big pieces that are the heavier lift quite >> the number one thing on my mind right now. it would follow that with afghans concerned about most as it grows and capability to rip place within the coalition. we've been working hard with afghan partners, especially the young lieutenant years ago with
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the maintenance and sustain that at three to combat leaders, kind of like i was once upon a time when you walk into the entire system. both were able to do is knock it to stop at the national level with dan bolger, good friend of mine and take it from a national level, but at the level if you will and that level of maintenance and actually walk it down all the way and through that process you start to uncover the challenges. so they're not exposed to this and bringing their entire staff with them. so when we go down to the poetry
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recently dead, what you find out if it's not so working through the maintenance systemic trauma, if everything the afghan state, afghan national supporters thursday, simply trying to get ready for that. and a lot of that in the u.s. army, to look a little bit through the readiness briefing, how does that now relate to that capability out there? in terms of the casualty evacuation, what has happened here in terms of the afghan solution, they were starting to partner with public health and find the hospitals and clinics and actually through mutual agreement says they evacuate the casualties background, use those
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house does better out there. up in the north recently extended itself out towards the west. and what were starting to see when the aircraft to become available, they are coordinating nonstandard casualty evacuations, what we call in the u.s. side, not medevac, nothing like that, but through the coordination centers at the regional level and move forward and pick up casualties and eventually moved them back to the military hospitals and police hospitals. as we look at things like air support, what we must do is bring the capability to fruition and that's the indirect fire,
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observed indirect fire. we research initiative and i think that's a lie. but as a company commander, i relied on that border that's out there. so now back up into the air they have capabilities inside. the other capability starting to merge a higher or the strikers, which is an armored platform. don't get it confused the strikers. it's a very capable platform without her. and their seven can ask that will be under two emerging brigades that look at the national level, that the allocated. so now you've got some drum
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mobility and in those platforms, it can potentially go look if we need to train a gun system to the platforms and that would help take care of some of it. does that answer your question? >> somehow fear among them that what is their future, it dirty, 40 years or more they've gone through and are still going. what is their future? and now so come the spurs reconciliation is concerned, do we think it's working because some taliban are saying after the u.s. leaves they are waiting for another war in afghanistan. >> your question is about the concerned party of afghanistan? i think there's concerned about the uncertainty. this past week in washington
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helps solidify some of those questions that are out there and i think to look towards future announcements by the president got what the future looks like they are, you know, the afghans are somewhat cautious as they look to see future because of the past 34 years of war. again, i think there's multiple opportunities that they have to capitalize on that. one of the opportunities as a younger generation that has advanced itself over the last 11 years in terms of education. there's a younger generation of asking that they are that are very smart very intelligent. i try to talk to them as much as possible. i know for certain they don't want to go back to where the taliban. again, i'm sure there's going to be some solution that's out
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there. i can't look towards the feature until you exactly what it is. >> many nations in the region, including india and pakistan have a fear that what will have been, still inside pakistan, where they will go because pakistan is also among other nations. but reality can you give to those working in afghanistan? >> i think what we have to look at then is we have to rest comfortable with that list then, chicago, tokyo come in the international community has a huge commitment and frankly when we look at $16 billion of
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international commitment, it can, i don't think afghanistan is going to be standing alone. we'd like them to stand up, but again we need to be there. the >> can you review the bidding on what his profile at the insurgency today, roughly how many taliban either? how many al qaeda -- what are your best estimates and the breakdown between the hard-core click >> that it's a very difficult question. part of it deals with the nature of how things in the inning out of afghanistan for certain. i've seen numbers quite honestly as low as 20,000 insurgents and with the afghan partners around
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30. the exact percentage of what's hard-core and what's not is very hard to break apart. i think there's three forces in afghanistan. what is the ideology that drives the insurgency. i think there's probably some tribal dynamics and i think dynamics a day. i think there's an internal component also. to try to take those three parts is quite hard. >> what progress has the u.s. and pakistan made him shrink in the safe havens? was the extent of the cross-border court nation center? >> for a military did, we are starting to move away from because we have to, a trilateral system with afghans come the
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u.s. and pakistan. i think it will take time to learn now afghan and pakistan are talking together. if you're familiar with the coordination centers on the military side, that is a mechanism, a tool if you will that can come together. and then we have the process, i would just offer to you on the political side were starting to see afghans in pakistan start to engage more. i think there's great potential in that regard. i apologize. one more. i got to meet some people here. >> 66,000 troops in 2013 and 2014. if i could company said the
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afghan war and the insurgents improve resilience. jet indications the enemies are growing tired, too? >> certainly i think it's getting dark. so the short answer there is yes. i would just -- in terms of your first question now, the president stated in the coming months is going to make announcements about the next phase of the draw down the thought they are any would be inappropriate for me to even speculate on general allen's assessment and recommendation to the secretary of defense and chairman, so i'm not going to. thanks, guys. i appreciate and i apologize that i talk in them.
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i haven't been there for three different times. unfortunate on a comment it's probably going to be my last tour in a heinous sin. i've been truly fortunate and last but the coalition forces, not just the "usa today"'s. three thanksgivings, three christmases layer and i can tell you that the sacrifices our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines have contributed significantly to the progress of the afghan national security forces. i spent three 9/11 is there also and the fact that we haven't had a 9/11 since that time frame from that region is owed to the sacrifices of service members
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out there also. so never forget that. look forward to seeing some of you in afghanistan. i've got about three months left. thanks. [silence]
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>> attorney general, eric holder called on congress to pass the president's plan to reduce gun violence. he said lawmakers should ignore pressure from pro-gun groups. the attorney general's comments were before the u.s. conference of mayors. >> americans have been stunned by senseless acts of violence involving guns from columbine in 1999, where 13 were killed at virginia tech. in 2007, 32 murdered. fort hood in 2009, six murdered, including when congresswoman who is murdered in aurora, 2012. oak creek 2012, six murders. and of course the december 14
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tragedy, which killed 20 young children and educators in newton. that incident is still incomprehensible to most of us. to many times during the last year, mayors have expressed shock at a mass shooting an even more frito-lay wesco with gun violence that occurs on the streets of our cities. the u.s. conference of mayors has a calling for sensible gun laws to protect the public for more than 40 years. mayors and police chiefs have worked together in its efforts over the years. in an open letter to the president and the congress and three eighths after the newton tragedy occurred, the conference of mayors sent a statement urging immediate action, now more than 200 mayors have signed on to the letter and we are calling on our president to exercise his powers to review executive order or action of the
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congress to introduce a pass legislation to make reasonable changes in our gun laws and regulation. specifically we called on congress to enact legislation to ban assault style weapons and high-capacity magazines. we asked them to strengthen the national background check system and eliminate loopholes within it to strengthen penalties for first-time purchases of guns. we are well away preventing gun violence, whether it's a mass shooting the school or just a murderer and a street corner will take much more than strengthening our gun laws. we have culture of violence in our nation said that a violent act should be the first response to compensating. what can we do about that? been to strengthen and more more adequately fund our mental health system so we can identify troubled individuals earlier and get them the help they need.
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we are aware the affordable care act put much more emphasis on mental health and we need to make sure that we link the work we need to do in preventing gun violence with access to appropriate mental health. the president clearly did our call or recruit with us. the plan which he unveiled on tuesday in which you have a copy in front of you here at the table in which the vice president discussed at this yesterday, includes nearly everything but call for and much more. i welcome now the attorney general of the united states and i'm assuming that he will address that in many other issues along these lines. attorney general holder served as deputy attorney general during the clinton administration asked the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia. we appreciate the leadership, which mr. holder has brought to the department.
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we've seen a renewed commitment to two justice department programs that i cannot resist mentioning. when is the top hiring grants that we all love this mayors and the burn justice assistance grant. you have, mr. attorney general, sharpen the national focus, especially among youth and how many focus our efforts to come back. i know you are an important member of the vice presidents working group and in his honor honor to have you here. [applause] >> well, good morning. i guess good afternoon. one of the two. thank you, mayor parker for those kind words. it's a pleasure for me to be here today and a privilege to be
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included what again in this quorum. and like to thank mayor michael nutter but the executive committee and staff to make this year's winter meeting such a success. a day to thank members of the social justice committee for the opportunity to take part in this important session. for more than eight decades, this organization has brought together dozens of our nation's best and brightest servants to share ideas and expertise, to discuss mutual concerns and formulate the policies solutions that are cities, communities and ultimately citizens deserve. over the years i've had the chance to attract some of the most complex public safety challenges that we all face. it's an honor to join vice president biden, administrator pistol and other leaders across the administration in continuing our work this week and adding my
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voice to this very critical dialogue for this opportunity to thank each of you for your service, your leadership and your partnership with one another, key federal state, local tribal leaders and especially with the united states department of justice. every day, american mayors stance on the frontlines of our our fight against terrorism, crime and first of the most foldable among us. your engagement is essential to protecting our citizens from harm, guarding against civil rights violations in combating guns, gang and drug fueled violence that's too many promising futures. you understand exactly what it is were up against. not only because your alarmist statistics are the news stories, but because you see it firsthand on a daily basis. most importantly you recognize, as i do -- most importantly, you
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recognize, as i do come up in a public safety challenge can be understood in isolation and none of us can make the progress we need to secure the results that are community deserves on our own. this is particularly true when it comes to gun violence, an issue that in one way or another has touched every city and every time represented here and about which many view have long been passionate. on a number of occasions the leaders in this room has joined with those of us in the justice department to support law-enforcement and strengthen anti-violence initiatives, especially as our nation has come together in the wake of last month's horrific event in newton, connecticut. you've heard from citizens and colleagues. he built a broad, bipartisan consensus on the need to protect the most vulnerable among us, our children and many of you are hoping to lead and honored the
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lessons of sandy hook elementary school and the realization that unacceptable levels of violence plague our cities and towns every day. this unspeakable tragedy, but also the individual tragedy takes place on your streets all too often an been all too often unnoticed to stand as stark reminders of our shared responsibility to address matches the epidemics of gun related crimes and the ongoing need for vigorous enforcement of our laws, but also the underlying conditions that give rise to gun violence. the overwhelming majority of gun owners have been law-abiding citizens. yet we have repeatedly seen in the most tragically so easy it can be for dangerous people to acquire and wreak havoc with deadly weapons. although there's no single solution that can bring into the senseless violence, it's incumbent upon each of us to try and it's time to consider what
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common sense steps we can take together to stabilize. this means doing everything we can to secure the tools and resources they need to keep guns out of the hands of those who are not and should not be allowed to possess them. it means taking actions to ensure that our second amendment rights are upheld that we have the means to prosecute effectively those who would use firearms to commit acts of violence and to confront even the most difficult, and during an pervasive challenges. many of you participated vice president in which he discussed the administration's effort to combat gun violence in the concrete, common sense recommendation that president obama adopted earlier this week as you know him as the mayor indicated. i worked closely. a number of my cabinet members and representatives of 200 groups of experts organizations,
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policymakers and private citizens help formulate this plan from law-enforcement leaders to firearms owners said lucius, technology experts and then safety advocates for retailers to mental health professionals, members of the clergy, victims of gun violence and members of the entertainment industry. they were wide-ranging and inclusive than the consensus that emerged was clear. i put if there's even one thing we can do to reduce this island, it even one life that can be saved, we have an obligation to try. this obligation as such are the administration to propose a range to remedy along with 23 executive actions to begin mass shootings and prevent gun violence. on wednesday, president upon the same direct is a proposal was. others require legislation that
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will be in congress and we hope will receive timely consideration. every level of the administration and the department of justice, my colleagues and i will do everything in our power to maximize with recommendations for keeping our people safe in our cities, neighborhoods and schools secured. we're not going to be able to do this alone. the fact is their ability to tackle this challenge will depend on the willingness of millions of americans in dozens of dedicated public servants like you to engage with one another, in order to make a positive difference. now we can begin by calling for an immediate, immediate congressional action. as the president indicated, congress should move swiftly to adopt legislation with background checks than a full background check conducted every time someone attempts to buy a
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gun. with this simple step, we can strengthen our ability to keep criminals and other dangerous individuals from getting access to deadly weapons. we can do so by creating today by encouraging sellers to run their transaction to the background system with the help of a licensed gun dealer. many licensed dealers throughout the country already facilitate between private individuals on a regular basis and we are encouraging more private sellers to work with licensed dealers to ensure that all sales are subject to a comprehensive background check. the effectiveness depends on the integrity of the national background check system as a whole. to date, this system has proven remarkably affect kids, enabling gun dealers to make more than 90% background check determinations and roughly 95%
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within three business days. this is also hoped the scheme than 1.5 million guns from falling into the wrong hands in the last 14 years. we can and must do better by ensuring the information in the system is complete, barriers that prevent agencies in some states are sharing records in a cave or in our laws and regulations are set as possible when it comes to identifying those who should not have access to firearms. this become the president of unchecked executive action in support of these goals. our national background check system brings accountability to sources of information that relies upon in ensuring federal enforcement agency become more uniformed in tracing guns recovered during investigations. at the same time, putting into the virtual freeze on a rigorous
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nonpartisan research into gun violence for disease control. it has directed the cdc to rescind the cause of this violence, evaluating strategies for prevention. he's taken a variety of steps to provide fun for us at the tools, training and resources that we need to prosecute and respond to that shooter situations. in addition, at the presidents direction, the administration will issue guidelines with existing laws, doc yours are in no way are heavy and threats of violence to law-enforcement. will work with communities of school district to develop plans to make our schools safe for. relevant authorities will finalize regulations within the affordable care to an creese access to mental health services for all who need them. now let me be very clear. not one of these executive
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orders contrary to what a few have said impinges upon anyone's second amendment right for his inconsistent consistent with historical use of executive power. all of this is only just the beginning. in addition to actions, the administration has called upon congress to renew legislation and high-capacity magazines, including those of recent high-profile mass shootings to protect our police by getting rid of armor piercing bullets with new assault weapons ban updated, stronger than the one and acted in 1994 to military style weapons off our streets and to consider a series of new federal laws imposing tough penalties on gun traffickers to help funnel weapons to dangerous criminals. these measures represent essential parts of any serious, comprehensive effort to eradicate gun violence and today i joined president obama, vice president bite and in countless
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americans urging congressional leaders to adapt without delay. i'm also like to require presidents called to confirm todd jones has direct. the bureau of alcohol tobacco firearms and explosives. this is a critical justice department component without a confirmed later for six years and to eliminate misguided restrictions that inquiry the atf to allow the importation of dangerous weapons simply because of their age. some have said that these changes will require tough for by members of congress. as you all know, public service is never easy and there come times when those of us who are elected or appointed positions must put the interests of those who research, who we are privileged to serve about five which might be expedient or professionally safe.
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this is one of those times. by acting within existing authorities to improve our enforcement capacity for the authority in the books, by enacting commonsense legislation to strengthen our ability to stop guns for buying into the wrong hands and the proliferation of military style weapons and high-capacity magazines, i'm confident that we can and will make significant strides in reducing violence that too often kozar headlines and communities. this administration is determined to take gun violence prevention efforts to renew travel and work eager to advance the conversation about how we can put an end to these kinds of secure about the future of all those we are privileged to serve. to the sound, in addition to implementing orders and abdicating legislative actions the president announced on wednesday, my cole


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