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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 6, 2013 6:30am-8:31am EST

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a mess with the exchange. up north, they're saying we're not going to -- we're not going to push further if we're not certain that the subsidy is being calculated correctly, it's not right to tell people that you can sign up in the state of alaska right now. so the exchanges, we recognize are a mess. and they need to be addressed. i think we have recognized that at some point in time they will be addressed. they will be corrected. the administrator has indicated that between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. eastern standard time the exchanges are going to be down so that they can work on it, so that they can be addressing these software glitches. well, 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. eastern standard time, for those
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of us that are living on the west coast, this is about the time when the dinner dishes are done, the kids' homework is done, they're in bed. you can actually sit down at your computer and go online and try to figure out what might be the best option for you on an exchange. but we're being told that the exchange is going to be down between the time that most alaskans and certainly hawaiians that are time hours five difference instead of the four hours that alaskans are, that are not going to be able to go online and to address it there. that's one aspect of it, is where we are with the exchanges and what that's going to mean if we're still going to continue with the deadlines that have been put in place by the administration in terms of when you have to sign up by and when you may be assessed a fine or a
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penalty for failure to successfully enroll. i mentioned that on friday there were some 5,600 alaskans actually -- excuse me. 5,360 alaskans who received discontinuation notices from premiera. premiera is the largest health insurer in alaska. this represents about 60% of the folks that premiera ensures within the state in terms of its individual members. so when you think about these folks that have now received their letters this weekend, recognize that the policies that they have had for a period of time are not going to be available to them, they read in the news and they see on the
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evening news that the ability to get online and to better understand what's going on with the exchange is not available to them because the exchanges are down while they're working on them here in washington, d.c., or wherever they're working on them, and that the entities, the navigators, the enroll alaska, those that have been put out there to help them navigate this process, are effectively saying we can't enroll you right now, and we won't until there is greater assurance that the system is up and running and working, and the administrator has confirmed to us today that, well, we're working on it. but in the meantime we still have these deadlines that folks are facing. the e-mails that have been coming to my office of late,
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though, have not been concerns with the exchange themselves. what we have seen in the past few weeks has been a concern, an outcry about what people will be expected to pay for their insurance once all aspects of the affordable care act come into play. now i mentioned already, madam president, that alaska faces the second-highest premiums in the country. we're high for a lot of things, though. our energy costs are some of the highest in the nation. our transportation costs are some of the highest in the nation. our food costs are some of the highest in the nation. our health care costs are some of the highest in the nation. and now our premiums are going to be some of the highest in the nation. but we recognize that to live in
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alaska, it's expensive. so when you look at the average wages of an alaska, they're a little bit higher than you might see in other parts of the country. that's a good thing. that's going to help you pay for your transportation, for your fuel, for your food. but when we're talking about any level of subsidy, this is a concern that we're seeing around the state. the higher income levels are going to kick you out of being eligible for any level of subsidy. so we've got -- we've got alaskans that are trying to be diligent about their health care and the insurance, wanting to be able to provide for their family. and they're trying to figure out where do i go. i've got a letter here from a gentleman in fairbanks. he runs a small knife and tool shop there.
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he's indicated that he has -- he was on premiera. he got the notice that they were not going to continue his coverage. new policy with them, the least expensive that he could get was going to cost $1,260, up from $575. this is an over a 60% increase that he is going to experience. on top of that, his deductible is also going up from $5,000 to $6,300, an increase of about $2,700. got an e-mail from a woman who is in the 55-and-above age bracket, she says. she says "we make a decent income, and so we won't be eligible for the subsidies. we have looked at this." but she said that they're going to be seeing premiums of over
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$1,500 a month. she says "this is more than our mortgage. this is like taking on a second mortgage." and also in her situation, she says "my deductible has gone from $5,000 to $6,300. so deductibles are going up. premiums are escalating." and this woman says, you know, am i going to be in a situation where it's just going to be cheaper for me to pay the fines? so i started going back through the binder that i have utilized to collect the e-mails from alaskans over the past few weeks here. a woman in anchorage says that her rates are going to increase 23% from last year. a woman from tawkeetana says it is an increase of 14%, a $10,000
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deductible. but she is going up by 47%. out in wasilla this woman indicated i calculated we're expected to have an increased monthly premium of 224%. our premiums will be exceeding our mortgage by more than $300 a month. william in anchorage says that his health insurance has gone up 115%. out in anchorage, a woman is facing an increase in premiums of 45%. and again, she has indicated that she's been informed that she's not going to be eligible for any level of tax, of a subsidy. the gentleman in this e-mail, anthony out of valdez, has said
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he's looking at an 85% increase in his premiums, and that's just over, over the past four months, . he's a single guy. he's 41 years old. he says "i'm healthy. i've got money in my savings account.." but he's got a situation where he's going to be paying an 85% increase in his medical insurance premiums. and, you know, i go through these -- these aren't statistics. these are addressed to -- i know this is not about you, lisa murkowski, but about representation for the people of alaska. address this. they're asking me to help them out because they can't afford
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the affordable care act. and so i go through each of these, and whether it's the folks in petersburg who are a 25-year-old male, nonsmoker who had a $10,000 deductible, and he was paying $102 a month. now he is going to have to pay $281 with a $6,300 deductible. 35-year-old male nonsmoker paying $135 a month now has to pay $640. a 63-year-old male smoker paying $500 as of january paying $827. we go through these stories. these stories are people that we represent, whether it's tom or linda or teresa or chris or ma mark. they're saying, i thought what
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was coming our way with health care reform was reform that was going to increase my access and decrease my cost. frustration with the web site is one thing, madam president, and i am hopeful that we get on the other side of that very, very soon. the people of alaska are -- they're done holding their breath on this. they're basically saying, call me when you have it fixed. but what they're concerned about is they're going to get that call and we're going to be up against the end of the year, and they've already got their notices saying, we're not going to continue this coverage, and they're worried about, well, what happens if we do have a family medical emergency in early january and -- and this all hasn't knitted together? gi didn't get a very satisfactoy
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answer this afternoon in response to that question. i want to be able to have good answers to these people, but i am extraordinarily concerned that, as we address the issues with the web site, the issues that the people in alaska, who already face some of the highest costs for living in a stat in o, are going to be seeing increased insurance costs that will be out of their range, out of their ability to pay. and the subsidies that they would like to think would make a difference are not available to them. madam president, we have -- we have a great deal of work to do here in this congress to address health care reform, to address the driving costs that are making all of these stories that
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are coming to me and coming to all of us, saying, what are you going to do to address the concerns in my family, when i'm trying to figure out how i knit it all together? they want to know, at the end of the day, how -- how have we reformed health care? how have we made our costs lower and increased our access? i would suggest that we have p - i would suggest that we have much more work to do and i stand ready towor to work with my cols on this side of the aisle, on the other side of the aisle, in the other body. we can fight and argue about whether the web site -- the exchanges are going to work, are going to fail on their own; whether we need to push deadlines out. this is just one part of what we're talking about.
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we've got to be doing a better job when it comes to reining in the cost of health care itself, how we deal with the delivery system. we really haven't touched -- how we deal with those markets, like arks oalaska or other rural pla, because we don't have a very attractive market. it certainly would help us if we could purchase our insurance across state lines. how we work to make sure that when we have payment structures, that the incentives are in the right place so that we're not -- we're not encouraging inefficiency within a system. we have so much more that we need to be doing. and i would just encourage us, let's not lose sight of what we have to do in resolving our issues, as they reallot to -- ay
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relate to bringing down the cost of health care at the end of the day. i know m that my colleague from tennessee sheer on th is here o, and i would certainly yield to him and thaipg hi thank him fors leadership on the help committee and the very thoughtful issues that he raised this morning. thank you, madam president. mr. alexander: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. alexander: thank you, madam president. i thank the senator from alaska for her excellent remarks. i was glad i was here to see them. seshe and the senator from massachusetts and i all were at the hearing this morning where the head of the center for medicaid and medicare services talked about the health care law. i thought the senator from alaska was especially cogent in pointing out the difficulties and the differences between those who live in alaska and their inability to connect to
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the services in the new health care law. if i remember correctly, she said only three have been able to enroll, and she pointed out the differences in time. i'd like to spend a few minutes reflecting on what happened this morning and what i said to the administration's witness. i began by telling her a story, a story about 16,000 tennesseans who have insurance through something called cover tennessee, a low-cost coverage state program. obamacare is canceling their policies, those 16,000 policies. cover tennessee apparently is an example of what the president has called "bad apples," an insurance plan that washington has decided isn't good enough for you. i recently heard from one of those tennesseans whose policy will be canceled on january 1. her name is emily.
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she's 39 years of age. she has lupus. she lives in middle tennessee. "i can't keep my current plan because it does not meet the standards of coverage. this alone," she say, "is a travtravesty. with the discontinuation of cover tennessee, i have been forced to purchase a plan through the exchange. my insurance premiums alone will increase a staggering 410%. my out-of-pocket expense will increase by more than $6,000 a year, that includes subsidies. please help me understand," she writes, "how this is affordable." madam president, our health care system makes up nearly 20% of the american comirks touching th-- americaneconomy, touching f nearly every american. today obamacare is pushing that 20% of our economy in the wrong direction. as the president has said, this law is more than a web site that
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won't work. it is a law transforming our health care system in the wrong direction by increasing premiums, canceling insurance plans, destroying relationships with doctors, raising taxes, forcing people into medicaid, spending a half trillion medicare dollars on a new program instead of using the money to make medicare more solvent and encouraging employers to reduce their employees to a 30-hour workweek, and having the i.r.s. threaten to fine americans for failing to sign for insurance on a web site that doesn't work. now, the president has promised -- and this morning i went on an ipad and read from the white house web site -- it does work -- and the president says a on that web site, if you like your health care plan, you can keep it as long as you don't have to change -- you can keep
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it, and you don't have to change a thing due to the health care law. it says, if you like your health care plan, you can keep it, and you don't have to change a thing due to the health care law. but, in fact, the law cancels millions of individual policies and for millions of others employers are dropping insurance programs as they discover the added cost of obamacare. for these americans, the new promise is, if you want health care, go find it on a web site that the administration says wilsays --says won't be workingl until the end of november. only two weeks to shop for an insurance policy so you're covered next year when obamacare outlaws your policy. this administration has three and a half years to set up the web site. millions of americans will have two weeks to buy their insurance. the president put secretary
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sebelius in charge of implementing this law. i have called on her to resign because this has hurt so many americans. before the internet, r.c.a. could tell you every day how many records elvis was selling. ford could tell you every day how many cars they were selling. mcdonald's would tell you every day how many hamburgers it sold. congressman issa put on his web site notes from the obama administration war room where they're telling each other how many people are enrolling in obamacare. i asked this morning if she knew how many people are enrolling, what level of insurance they're buying, what zip code they live in. why don't you tell us. why don't you tell congress. why don't you tell the american people. she said she would tell us by the end of the month. we need to do every day, madam president. we need to know every week at
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least. wouldn't it help to know how many of these new enrollees are going into medicaid? members of congress need to know. we've appropriated at least $400 million for this web site that doesn't work. the american people need to know. they might gain confidence in the system if they could see that every day more people were signing up for this or that. i can't get over the fact that we're not being told how many are enrolled, how many are trying, what kind of insurance are they buying, where do they live. we have a right to know that. why doesn't the administration tell us that? one senator has described the nur health care law as an -- one senator has described the new health care law as an approaching train wreck. i know something about trains. my grandfather was a railroad engineer in newton, kansas, when i was a little boy. his job was to drive the steam-engine locomotive on to
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what they called a round table, turn it around, and head it in the right direction. that was the only way you could turn something that big that fast. that's what our country needs to do. we need to turn this train around. the we need to turn this law around and head it in the right direction. obamacare is the wrong direction because it expands a health care delivery system that we already knew costs too much. what is the right direction? the right direction is more choices, more competition, that lowers cost so more americans can afford to buy insurance. now, don't expect republicans to show up on this senate floor with our 3,000-page plan to move the health care delivery system in the way we think it ought to go. we don't believe in that approach. we're policy skeptics, you might say.
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we don't believe these big, comprehensive plans are wise enough to do what needs to be done. instead, we believe we should change our health care delivery system step by step. i remember during the health care debate in 2010, i counted the number of times that republicans offered on the floor, set on the floor our step-by-step plan to take the health care delivery system in a different direction. 173 times just during 2010. and here are some of the steps that we suggested, and still do suggest, that we should take to turn the train around and head it in the right direction. make medicare solvent. the trustees have said that in ten years it won't have enough money to pay hospital bills. i know plenty of tennesseans who are counting on medicare to pay their hospital bills. reform medicare advantage to compete on a level playing field
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with medicare. that would provide competition, more choices for seniors. the congressional budget office says it would save taxpayers money. make medicaid flexible. when i was goafn o governor of tennessee, medicare was 8% of the budget. today it is 26%. as a result, governors have been told by washington to spend money on medicaid that instead they would rather spend on higher education. make medicaid more flexible. perhaps we can cover more people and set our own priorities. encourage employee wellness incentives. we talk a good game in the senate about that, but the administration's regulation actually limits the ability of employers to say to employees, if you have a healthy lifestyle, your insurance will be cheaper. that insurance provided by the employer. we should repeal that
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regulation, change it, make it easier for employers to encourage that kind of behavior and offer cheaper insurance. allow small businesses to pool their resources and offer insurance together. we call that small business plans. all of these steps, by the way, are in legislative form. they're bills we have introduced. they're steps we could take today if we had enough votes to pass turning the train around and heading it in a different direction. buy insurance across state lines. if americans could look on the internet and buy insurance across state lines that suited their needs, made those choices, perhaps more americans could afford insurance. and isn't that what we want to do? change the 30-hour work week to 40 hours. both democrats and republicans support this idea. i'm not sure where it ever came
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from but it's one of the worst features of obamacare. it says -- it creates a big incentive to cause businesses to reduce the number of working hours from 40 to 30 so their employees will be part time and want affected -- and the business won't be affected by the obamacare rule. well, that creates consternation within the business. it doesn't create good relations between the employer and the employee. but think about the employee. think about the pay cut from 40 hours to 30 hours. think about the employee going out and finding another part-time job at, say, another restaurant. why not give these employees a 33% pay increase? that would be a pretty good way to get up above the so-called minimum wage and give businesses a chance to have full-time employees again. so these are all steps that would change the health care delivery system by changing its
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direction away from expanding a health care system that we know already costs too much and send it in the direction of choice and competition and finding ways to lower the cost of health care plans so more americans can afford to buy insurance. that 39-year-old tennessee woman who i talked about this morning to miss tavenner, the woman named emily, who's losing her insurance because obamacare has decided thank -- c c that thatt good enough for her. finished her story with this quote. "this is one of the biggest betrayals of our government that has ever been committed on its citizens. i beg of you to continue to fight for those like me who would only ask to be allowed to continue to have what we already enjoy -- a fair health insurance plan at a fair price. please find a way to return to
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affordable health care." one good way to do that is to put the president's words into law. if you like your health plan, you can keep it. senator johnson of wisconsin has offered that legislation. i cosponsor it, as others do. my message to emily is that i'm going to do my best to turn this train around and head our health care delivery system in the right direction so that she can buy and keep health care insurance that she can afford. i thank the president and i yield the floor, and i notice the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk the presiding officer: the clerk
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>> and now to london for prime minister's question time live from the british house of commons. every wednesday while parliament is in session, prime minister david cameron takes questions from members of the house of commons. prior to question time, the house is wrapping up other
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business. this is live coverage on c-spa c-span2. >> commitment to a feasibility study on improvements north of newcastle. i'm not aware of any such commitment across borders from the scottish government. >> if minister want to give it a clear signal that england and scotland are better together, can we have some tangible evidence before the referendum vote that the road linking them is going to be do completely? >> thank you. and can i also add my condition for the quality of services given his constituents. people know we've already announced the feasibility study
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would suggest to him that demonstrates our commitment and i am more than happy to work with them and with the scottish government. >> order. questions for the prime minister. mr. steve baker. [shouting] >> number one. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, with remember today, i'm sure the whole house will join me in remembering those who have given their lives in the service of our country. perhaps particularly with the president of the republic of korea we should remember those who fell in the conflict and all who serve many who are not coming to the end of their lives. we should again pay tribute to the heroic job our armed forces to to keep us safe. mr. speaker, this morning i had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, and in addition to my duties in this house, i shall have further such meetings later today. >> mr. speaker, i wish we pressure i'm sure we'll wish to associate ourselves to the prime
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minister. hard-working businessman facing tough decisions -- decent trade unionists and newspapers including the "daily mirror" will have seen a poll by the so-called -- [shouting] the so-called -- [inaudible] will my right honorable friend take steps to ensure that families, families and children and homes are protected? [shouting] >> well, my honorable friend makes an important point. this sort of industrial intimidation is completely unacceptable. we have seen wanted posters put through children's letterboxes. we've seen families intimidated, and we've seen people neighbors been told that they are evil.
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it is completely shocking what has happened. it is also shocking that the labour party is refusing to have a review and to stand up to len mccluskey. and let me say, they should do so. >> ed miliband. [shouting] >> let me start by joining the prime minister in recognizing the enduring importance of giving thankful remembrance on sunday to all those men and women who served our country. this is a moment to remember all those who've lost their lives and to think about their family. that's why i know members from across the house, and, indeed, people from across the country are wearing their poppies with pride this week. >> here, here. >> can the prime minister guarantee there won't be a crisis of this winter? >> we will do everything we can to make sure the nhs continues to perform in the excellent way that it does today. let me give him the latest
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figures. last week was the 27th week in a row that we met our aid in the target. the nhs is treating 1.2 million more people in a unique than it was when he was in office. but i can tell them where there will be a particular problem that i can tell in this. there will be a winter crisis in the nhs in wales where labour are in control because there's a crisis every day of the week in wales. [shouting] >> mr. speaker, the prime minister is simply wrong about the figures. if you look at what is happening coming to look at what is happening in our aid in the department and hospitals, the target has been met for 15 consecutive weeks. and the whole country will have heard, and the primers to can't guarantee that there won't be a crisis this winter that's because the already is a crisis,
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mr. speaker. that's what the president of the royal college of emergency medicine said. he said this -- i know they don't want to hear about the crisis in a&e. he said this, there are almost daily instances and most a&e departments of patients facing extended weight. the prime minister did two years ago i refuse to go back to the days when people had to wait hours on end in a&e. is broken that promise, hasn't he? >> as i said, a&e in this country is treating 1.2 million more patients now than under labour. and let me give them one simple fact. the simple fact is this -- >> order. there's simply too much noise in the chamber on both sides. i at deal to the house. i get bucket loads of letters every week from members of the public complaining about this. cut it out. it is low-grade, downmarket.
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it's not necessary. prime minister. >> let me give them one simple fact, which is today in our a&e the average waiting time is 50 minutes. when the shadow health secretary was sitting here as health secretary, the average waiting time was over 70 minutes. those are the facts. because this government didn't take the advice of -- i wouldn't listen to the health secretary. he's the man who refused to apologize for the mess. [shouting] the nhs, it is getting better under this government. >> ed miliband. >> across the medical profession they are saying there is a crisis in a&e department and with the prime minister saying crisis? what crisis? how out of touch can he be? and in the last year a million people waited more than four hours in a&e. prime minister wait times are a. delayed discharges up, and it is
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response time out. why is it happening? because of his top to we organization that nobody wanted and nobody voted for. can he tell how so many nhs managers have received a six-figure redundancy package as a result of his we organization? >> what i can tell them is there are 20,000 fewer administrative grades. [shouting] and what i can tell it is there are 5500 more doctors in our nhs. and there are 1000 more midwives in our nhs. and there are 1000 more health visitors and our nhs. and let me tell them why this is the case. his health secretary said it would be irresponsible to increase spending on the nhs. we rejected that advice. we rejected labour. we invested in our nhs and we are proud of our nhs. [shouting] >> ed miliband. >> what the health sector did
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was warned of cuts to social care and that is exactly what they did. and that is the crisis he has produced. now, here's the answer, here's the answer to the question he didn't answer. the answer is 2300 managers have received six-figure payoffs. so -- [shouting] >> order. too much noise. it better stop or this will take longer. i say to those who can't grow up, try, try. ed miliband. >> said he is giving the 45 to nurses and six-figure payoffs to managers. can he tell us how many of the people who have been let go from the nhs have actually been fired, paid off and then rehired? >> first of all we are saving 4.5 billion by reducing the number of managers in our nhs. and for the first time anyone
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reemployed has to pay back part of the money they were given. that never happened under labo labour. but we don't have to remember the labour record of the past. we can look at the labour record in wales. they've been running the welsh health service. they cut the budget by 8.5%. they haven't met a cancer target since 2008. they have a met in a unique target since 2000. the fact is he is too weak to stand up to the poor management of the nhs in wales just as his two-week to sack his health secretary. [shouting] >> ed miliband. >> and we have a prime minister too clueless to know the facts about the nhs. [shouting] >> let's give him the answer, shall we? the answer is over 2000 people have been made redundant -- it's absolutely true. a parliamentary answer from one of the health ministers.
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[shouting] 2000 people made redundant and rehired. diverting money from the frontline and this prime minister sacked nurses. the prime minister seems to think it's untrue. if he gets accidentally whether it's untrue. we know what the nhs is failing. his botched reorganization, the abolitionists of nhs direct, cuts to social care, and 6000 fewer nurses. there's only one person responsible for the a&e crisis, and that's him. [shouting] >> we have taken 20,000 administrators out of the nhs and i'm not going to take lectures from a government that saw patients -- >> order, order. order. members are shouting at the tops of the voices at the prime minister and they must stop doing so. the prime minister. >> let me give them the facts about the nhs under this government. mixed set accommodation down by 98%. 1.2 million more people treated
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in a&e. half a million more impatient. we are doing all of that and we're not following labour's advice which was to cut the nhs. that's the truth under this government. the nhs getting better. labour would have cut it and labour never stand up for the nhs. >> well, the whole country would have heard today is a prime minister complacent about the amt crisis -- a&e crisis and clueless about what is happening in the nhs. what the british people know is nhs is heading into winter with fewer nurses, a lack of senior a&e doctors and a shortage of beds. he promised he would protect the nhs but it is now clear the nhs iisn't safe in his hands. [shouting] >> once again he is just wrong on the facts. let me give them a simple fact. there are more a&e consultants working in a&e and there were five years ago. that is why we are meeting our targets in england and that is
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why labour is missing its target in wales. i'm clear my job is to stand up for the nhs and deliver a stronger nhs. when is he going to understand his job is to stand up to the bully boys of unite and show some courage? [shouting] >> mr. speaker over the past week we've heard about unite union's strategy to just mental that supply chain. what signal does the trying three -- prime minister -- [inaudible] looking to invest in britain? [shouting] >> industrial intimidation is bad for britain. it's very nearly cut off federal supplies to large part of our united kingdom. and every week the leader of the opposition comes are calling for
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an inquiry on to that, and inquired onto this but he never stopped calling public inquires but he hasn't got the guts to hold one of his own into unite. [shouting] >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. mr. speaker. people watching visit changes today will be struck that when you than 1800 people have learned there to lose their jobs neither the leader of the opposition or the country seem to raise it is thus far. i hope -- i hope that the prime minister thoughts are with the families of people who are set to lose their job. and will he confirm that he agrees with the statement that glasgow is the best place to build frigates? >> well, i do think this is a vitally important issue. that is why the defense secretary will be making a statement right after prime minister's questions. these are extreme the difficult decisions at her first thoughts should be with all those that are affected and, frankly, i was surprised the leader of the opposition didn't choose to
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raise this vitally important issue. let us be clear about what we need to do. we want our royal navy to the best and most modern ships and the best technology and that means we will go on building warships. we'll be announcing three new offshore patrol vessels, keeping that you are dizzy rather than paying it to remain idle as the last government proposed. and enforcement, yes, there will be job reduction but there are many more people involved initiative servicing and in shipbuilding so the workforce will go from 12,000, the 11,000 but no one should be any doubt of two things. under this government will have aircraft carriers, destroyers, the new frigates, submarines. and there's something else they should know. if it was an independent scotland we wouldn't have any warships at all. >> thank you, mr. speaker. as we approach remembrance sunday and looking ahead to the anniversary of first world war will he join in commending the work of the trust? will you look at how the
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government might assist the trust and it's important task of restoring and maintaining the graves of some of the nations bravest soldiers, sailors and airmen? >> i pay tribute to my right honorable friend for his support for the tory across trust and hard work he has done. i welcome any initiative that commemorates those who have given their lives in defense of our country. many graceful under the protection of the commonwealth war graves commission equipped continue to do everything we can to work with the war graves commission with the victoria cross trust to make sure we do everything that these people are probably improper remembered. >> thank you, mr. speaker. page 47 of the manifesto says, and i quote, we will stop the forced closure of a&e and maternity ward so that people of better access to local services. how is that going, prime minister? >> there are no changes to services unless they are
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supported by local gps. and that is a complete difference with what happened under labour. where top down closures of hospitals pick that isn't happening under this government. >> thank you, mr. speaker. according to unite, and i quote, it is increasingly recognized that bullying, violence and harassment is a bad interest because the primers agree that the authorities should always investigate allegations of harassment against employees and their families including women it is allegedly involving members of the trade union? >> my friend is absolutely right. they are very cities these allegations of international intimidation. they need to be properly looked at because the party office is ducking is responsive build it will have to consider what we can do to look at this. i have to say the leader of the labour party is behaving like the mayor of a sicilian town towards the mafia. they put me in and i don't want him to take me out.
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[shouting] >> thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, mr. speaker. last week i asked the question -- [inaudible] the response i got was members are, honorable members would agree was a determination of employers on employees. can't i now ask country, how many people in the past and in the government holdings -- [inaudible] >> he doesn't care. >> i don't have those figures to handle. what i can tell the honorable gentleman is where having a review in 20 hours contract and we're particularly looking at those people on zero hours
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contract who are forbidden from working for other employers. this government will look at these things but the last government that saw zero our contracts go through the roof it absently nothing about it. >> the prime minister and his chancellor close the gaping loophole left by the last government for the rich to avoid -- [inaudible] [laughter] isn't it now time, isn't now time to close the of the disgraceful loophole they left to overseas residents to buy up the best housing in london without paying capital gains tax? >> i think my honorable friend makes a very important point. it was vile, particularly mickey shorter that foreign borrowers pays down duty properly in london. that needed to happen. the shadow chancellor of course was city minister when all these things went wrong is shutting his head off as usual. it's this government that is insisted people pay their taxes that are do.
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>> thank you, mr. speaker. the prime minister is right to extend supervision and too short censored -- new ways for reoffending. but he must be aware of the growing concern that his government's current plans undermine other service. now that a criminal investigation has been opened, will he sit down with his secretary, reconsider the option and at least trial the favors by result proposal is made to see whether it works? >> first of all i welcome what the honorable gentleman says. he has huge experience in this area about the importance of making sure there is support for people as they leave prison which is the plan that would put in place but i think my result can make a big difference producing reoffending. the cruel fact is that half of all prisoners are back imprisoned within tenuous -- two
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years. it is time for a different approach. [inaudible] creating 23 jobs as a result. would my right honorable friend join me in congratulating the director on the success? >> i delighted to meet their service with my honorable friend and i've made business with them and passed to look at what is happening in the black country in terms of greater job opportunities and it is part of a picture of a country with our 1.4 million more people in private sector employment, so in spite of the predictions we would lose job there are 1 million more people in work in britain today. >> it's the duty of any government to protect the public. since the prime minister has stated deliberately to downgrade the country's anti-terror laws,
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to suspects abuse their government granted freedom to escape. the latest one -- with the prime minister admit that this decision was a hugely irresponsible mistake and believe in particular we visit the sunset clause that will lift the remaining regime under remaining suspect in january the? >> i don't accept what the right honorable chairman said. the fact is this, under the control order regime that was seven people who absconded under control orders. until orders were being endlessly hacked away at by courts so we needed to put a new system in place, a system that has the confidence of the police and the security services. of course, we will look at every single thing we can do to make sure the system is as good and robust as it can be but we should be frank in this house that what we're dealing with is people that we are not able to charge and lock up, and people many of whom would like to throw out of her country but cannot
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currently. as we have to have some sort of regime like this but we will do everything we can to make it as robust as possible. >> thank you with my right honorable friend the prime minister join in congratulating -- [inaudible] >> here, here spent they export metal products all across the world. they have contribute to the drop in youth unemployment in my constituency by 15% and over on the plum has fallen by 10% in the last three months alone. isn't is in stark contrast to the gloomy economic predictions of the party opposite and what he -- thank you. >> my honorable friend is an excellent job in standing up for the people of his party. of course, private sector blood is up by 4,502,010. the number of people claiming jobseekers allowance is down by 29,000 he's right that the party opposite predicted we would lose
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1 million jobs. the answer is a complete opposite. there are 1 million more people in our country and it's about time they apologize for prediction after prediction being wrong. >> last month, prime minister, tory counselor was -- [inaudible] subject to an arrest warrant in pakistan in connection with the brutal murder. after shaking this man's hand and having voters taken at number 10 will the gentleman with the prime minister allied to say he thinks the gentleman's return to pakistan and face of justice? >> i'm looking carefully into this case and our right to the honorable gentleman. >> may i ask the prime minister whether he is of the opinion that the intelligence services
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of some countries may be dangerously out of political control? and easy confident that he has kept fully informed of all sensitive external initiatives taken by our service is? >> i don't want to break the rule of not commenting on intelligence issues, but to answer his question directly as again, i've looked very carefully at the governors that we have in the uk for our intelligence services. the work of the intelligence commission, the work of intelligence and security committee, and the oversight particularly by the home secretary and the foreign secretary, and i think with a good system in our country. and the edges question, yes, i am fully involved in these decisions. >> thank you, mr. speaker. two years ago the prime minister quite rightly agreed -- be made
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available. and yet only months later he turned down a similar request from my constituents whose son is still missing after 22 years. will the prime minister please think again and respond possibly to my recent message to him i'm making extra resources of able to help a desperate mother search for her son? >> this has been the absolute heartbreaking case and another whole country has followed over these years. i look very carefully the letter that she wrote me. obviously, it's important the police make these decisions themselves. government should always stand by to help which is what happened in the madeleine mccann case but i will look to see what i can do. >> mr. speaker, can ask the primus to elaborate on his or her statement about the effects of the government will put in place in mediation, for the dreadful effects of 940 core jobs at be and many thousands of
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jobs in the supply chain? i'll be grateful if you could expand that further effort. >> i will expand a little but i believe the defense secretary to give a really detailed answer. what is happening is the current work force of 12,000 defense-related and shipbuilding activities will go down to 11,000. the m.o.d. will be investing 100 million pounds into the final ship servicing work and as he well knows that in many more people involved in ship servicing the and shipbuilding. and, of course, with some of the largest and best equipped warship we've ever had in our country being-based and hosted at portsmouth, the two aircraft carriers and the destroyers, that would mean a lot of work for portsmouth and for our naval base enforcement for many, many years to,. >> thank you, mr. speaker. many women face discrimination at work when they become pregnant so how will charging them 1200 quit to go through tribunal help them? before he answers and starts talking about all the trade
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unions on the side of the house of just like to make it clear i'm a trade unionist and i'm damn proud of it. [shouting] >> i think the means the people in our country who are very proud of being trade unionist but the problem is they are led so badly by -- [shouting] they are led so badly by people who seem to condone intimidating families, intimidating witnesses, and intimidating the leader of the opposition shot back that so we've come to with unite. they pick the candidate, they choose the policy, they picked a leader and then they bully him into the get what they want. [shouting] >> actually i think the question was about tribunals if memory serves me correctly. [laughter] spent no, no, no. it's a good idea to try to remove the essence of the question. >> [shouting] >> thank you very much,
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mr. speaker. [inaudible] what steps is the prime minister taking where small groups are using -- [inaudible] >> i know that my honorable friend has been campaigning very hard and relentlessly to provide them with the ground that they need to come and i commend her for the. obviously, there has been an issue with judicial reviews and these play a role. of course, knowing government to account that i share her frustration to judicial review has become something of an industry and we do need to fix that. we have taken a series of steps to try to do that. >> david winnick.
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>> a bit of flesh and a bit of courtesy. the honorable gentleman happens to not get. is perfect understandable. >> one of the objectives of the last war, the second world war was to bring about a fair society in britain. is the aware how wrong it is that the chancellor and himself to never had any form of action security should not be pursuing policy of the most hard-pressed -- stomach the people in our society, millions, many who finds it difficult to feed and clothe their children? what is happening is totally unacceptable and i find it contemptible spend what i would say to the honorable gentleman is that we have taken 2.4 million of the poorest people in our country out of income tax altogether. i have to say to him, the figure simply don't fit with the story just trying to do. the facts or inequality is at its lowest level since 1986.
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fact. applications to universituniversit ies has gone up, not down. fact. there are fewer workers households, untied answer the question, mr. speaker. it's a very direct answer. [shouting] yes. workers households down by 425,000. payday lending regulated properly for the first time, and yes, a proper consultation of zero hours contract. those are the actions that we are taking to build a more fair country. instead of complaining about them he should be backing them. [shouting] >> sir peter bone. >> thank you, mr. speaker. on the third of september i wrote to the prisons minister requesting a meeting to discuss -- stomach i received no response to that request at this week i received a letter from the prison minister showing the
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site of the prison was to be sold but i do not understand that as the prison was the third cheapest and the country to run. will the prime minister meet with me and concerned constituents to discuss the matter? >> what i will do is arrange very quickly for the honorable gentleman to have a meeting with the prison minister that he asked for so they can discuss the future of the prison state. it is important we modernize it and make sure we get good value for money for the people that we keep in prison and for the taxpayer. >> mr. speaker, the prime minister has been forcing again about 1 million extra jobs. [shouting] can he, therefore, explain why a number of people in my constituency unemployed for more than two years has risen by 350% in the last year alone? and now it's the worst in the country. nine out of 10 are in the northeast, worst in the country.
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mr. speaker, is this because it's the same old tory -- [inaudible] >> the fact is we are sitting right across the country, including in every region, more opportunities in terms of jobs, more people involved in our private sector and the claimant count coming down. in the northeast, for example, we've got the new factory that will make a real difference. we've got the expansion of nissan which is doing extremely well, but i tell except we need to do more to give our economy growing and to keep people employed into growth number of jobs. but uncertain about one thing. we won't do that if we put up, borrow, put up taxes because the fact is today, labour is the greatest risk to our recovery. [shouting] >> thank you, mr. speaker. in the prime minister confirm that any review of levies on energy bills it's the fairness of the funny processes that is the priority for the review and that the government still supports vital measures to
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insulate people from to make sure that the fuel cost can keep their house is warmer in winter? >> of course we want to see installation programs and, of course, we want to help people, particularly bondable household to keep the bills down but what we should be doing is looking at every subsidy at every levies and making sure its value for money and making sure it's not in place for a moment longer than it needed. >> thank you, mr. speaker. the chancellor of the exchequer wouldn't answer this yesterday salinity the prime minister a dry. on the so-called private sector jobs that he quotes about just how many of those are people of the zero out contracts? >> i don't have the figure for that, but the fact is there are more people at work in our economy than ever before. two-thirds of those jobs have been full-time jobs and while we're on the subject of pay, perhaps it is a good moment to recognize that labour controlled area doesn't have a living wage where it's conservatives in london doesn't.
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>> on a difficult day for uk should building isn't more important than ever that our young people, -- [inaudible] >> my honorable friend is absolutely right about this in his campaign long and hard to encourage respectful engineering and for more young people to study engineering. we are seeing a growth of young people studying engineering but it is true if you look at the skills shortage was in terms of the immigration advisory committee, there are still engine jobs on that list and that is a rebuke to our country were we need to get more young people studying math and science at school and more people studying engineering at our universities. >> last you, bankers bonuses group 91% faster than wages for
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ordinary working people despite the prime minister's assurances that this would not happen. can the prime minister tell us is he unwilling to act are just a bit useless as -- at being prime minister? >> the point the honorable lady should bear in mind is bonuses were 85% higher when the shadow chancellor was sitting in the treasury. it is this government that is making sure that people -- [shouting] >> order. i want to hear the answers. prime minister. >> that we inherited a situation where the cleaners were paying higher tax rate than hedge fund managers who work for. if you want to see someone who is useless, she should look at her own front bench. [shouting] >> order. >> you on c-span did we leave the british house of commons now as they move on to other legislative business.
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you have been watching trimesters question time aired lives wednesday at seven in eastern while parliament is in session. you can see this weeks question time again sunday night at nine eastern and pacific on c-span. >> for more information go to, click on c-span serious for prime minister's question, plus links to international news media and legislatures around the world. you can also watch recent video including are printed with other international issues. >> the senate judiciary committee holds a hearing today on the federal prison system and sentencing guidelines. witnesses will include the director of the federal bureau of prisons, charles and his. live coverage starts at 10 a.m. eastern on c-span3. also on c-span3 an examination of transportation challenges facing seniors, especially those in rural areas. their testimony from
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transportation department and since for disease control officials live at 2:15 p.m. eastern on c-span3. >> you are watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs. weekdays featuring live coverage of the u.s. senate. on weeknights watch key public policy events, and did weekend the latest nonfiction authors and books on booktv. you can see past programs and get our schedules at our website and you can join in the conversation on social media sites. >> according to the newspaper, the leaders of the house and senate agriculture committees are expecting to me privately as early as next wednesday different negotiations on the measure. now, the first meeting of the farm bill conference committee. the house and senate negotiators discuss the five year, 500,000-dollar bill for farm and food assistance programs. this is two hours 20 minutes.
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>> [inaudible conversations] >> well, good afternoon. it's been a long time in coming, but we are here and it's wonderful to have the opportunity to have all of usd s here today together. i was thinking, mr. chairman, that when you and i started, i , would've when i came into the, house we were kind of at the low end of the totem pole, theof at agriculture committee, now we both have the honors of workingo together it and it really is an of working rk with you as we bring this final farm bill home. and that's the we're all doing.
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this has been a wonderful process with our for a agricultural leaders, with ranking member peterson, with rankingoc member cochran and our first farm bill that passed the meing senate with ranking member pat roberts. ro've had a very important and i think president setting opportunity to show how tok, govern. tting we also been working together for three years in a bipartisan way to reform and streamline ths agricultural policies that work for families and farmers andicis taxpayers going back to the supercommittee. and i just have tond say one me time that we are very proud of the fact that during the ptorocs we were the only committee i came together, the leaders in a bipartisan bicameral process we were the only committee that came together,e lead basi s we have been working together ever since. so it's my honor to move on behalf of the senate that the distinguished gentleman from oklahoma, chairman frank lucas, be designated as chairman of the
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conference. if there is no objection -- there is a second. so ordered. mr. chairman. >> thank you, madan senate chairman. i think that's a good way to start the day, as a unanimous consent motion. most assuredly, you're exactly right. we're very fortunate to be at this table, to have an opportunity not only to try and move agricultural policy forward in this great nation, but to make sure that the tools are there for our farmers and ranchers, to make sure the safety net is there for farmers, ranchers, and consumers in this country and around the planet. you alluded a moment ago to the opportunity to work together with some very wonderful people at this table. rarely do you get the chance to work in this fashion as you and i have with the very people who were our mentors when we arrived
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and who are our partners now as we craft this policy together. i would just say to all my colleagues, i know that we face some daunting challenges, that we are working in a very complicated environment to craft a very technical bill that touches so many important parts of our society, of our economy, and of this country as a whole. and i know that there are many different perspectives on social policy, on agricultural production policy, but i'm confident that the spirit that's been demonstrated in achieving this point, passage of both bills out of the house and senate, committees and across the floor, that we can accomplish that. and i would be most remiss if i didn't note the special appreciation i have for my ranking member and my friend, i
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believe, colin peterson, as well as all of my friends at this table and most assuredly on the other side of this table. i take this responsibility that we have together to accomplish this important goal very seriously. i live in a part of the country where between mother nature and federal policy on two, almost three occasions in this last century, my folks saw their way of life nearly completely destroyed. i know that we cannot persuade mother nature necessarily on any given day to do things differently, but we can provide the tools that enable our producers back home to withstand both the forces of nature that perhaps they have no control over on any given day as well as
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the markets and the advance of technology and international trade and all of those things that together affect us. if the droughts in the midwest last year wasn't a clear enough reminder about the tools that are necessary when it comes to agricultural production, then most assuredly the blizzard of not many weeks ago that wreaked such havoc across the dakotas stand as a solemn reminder. and also not just on the side of the chart where we help make sure there's enough food and fiber, but on the side that reflects the struggles that many of our fellow citizens have meeting their needs every day as consumers. the nutrition title is a very important part of the national safety net and how we address all of those components most assuredly will affect the lives
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of literally millions and millions of people across the country. so i would say this to my friends all around this table. it took us years to get here, but we are here. it may take days and weeks, perhaps, to finish crafting what we'll call the 2013 farm bill in popular discussion at the coffee shops, but we can do it. we have to do it. we have a responsibility to do it. with that, let me simply say to my colleagues, let's not take years to get it done. i now recognize the distinguished gentlewoman from michigan, the honorable chairman of the senate committee on agricultural, nutrition, and forestry, for her comments. >> thank you, mr. chairman. in a congress that's too often divided, it's refreshing we're able to come together in
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agriculture, work across the aisle and accomplish real reforms. we have an incredible opportunity with this conference committee to finally get this five-year farm bill done. i agree with the chairman. working together, we will get it done. and we'll be able to demonstrate to colleagues in both chambers that we can really govern together, which i think is so important. in june the senate passed a farm bill with an overwhelmingly bipartisan majority of 66 votes. and i want to thank my ranking member, distinguished senator from mississippi, senator cochran, for his leadership and his friendship. our bill represents the biggest reforms to agricultural policy in decades. along with the house, it ends direct payments. we tighten payment limits, modernize dairy policy, stop people who aren't actively engaged in farming from getting taxpayer subsidies. the senate agrees with the house
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that our focus should be on strengthening and reforming crop insurance. we've heard from the beginning that risk management was the key priority for our farmers and our ranchers all across the country. in our bill, we flex that by expanding comp insurance to coverer more farmers and more kinds of crops. we also agree with the house that it's important to have an effective permanent livestock disaster assistance program the chairman referred to. between the droughts after last year and the early snowstorms in had the dakotas, we have seen the importance of having the disaster assistance in place. as the senate has made these reforms, one of our top priorities has been to reduce market distortions. designing agricultural policies that are risk based, market based will be a critical goal in our final negotiations. we also worked hard to make sure the senate bill would not be trade distorting while promoting
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u.s. agricultural exports that our producers all rely on. as we make this shift to risk management policies, it's very important that farmers and ranchers continue to do the things that make them the best stewards of our land and our water resources by reconnecting conservation compliance to our now-strengthened crop insurance program. we protect the future of agriculture for our children and grandchildren. we must also save fragile grasslands from destruction with the national sod saver program that protects these lands skaps and habitats while keeping management decisions with our farmers and our ranchers. the good news in the conservation title is both the senate and the house have similar reforms that will strengthen our partnerships with farmers to protect our natural resources for future generati s generations. i'm pleased to see that both the senate and the house have a strong specialty crop and
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horticulture title, supporting specialty crop, organic, and local food production because we know that 47% of the total crop value in agriculture comes from specialty crops alone. the senate bill helps create new jobs through a robust energy title. this title helps our country be more energy independent, saves farmers money and helps consumers at the pump. this is a win, win, win for rural communities and america's future. for our farmers, crop insurance is a lifeline when disaster strikes. for american families, s.n.a.p. provides a lifeline when they face family economic disasters. we worked hard in the senate, mr. chairman, as you know, to make real reforms to save money on food assistance. we cracked down on fraud and misuse to make sure that every single dollar goes to families that need it. and that's the approach we will need to take to achieve
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bipartisan support to get a final farm bill. it's also critical to note that this friday, $11 billion in cuts to families will take effect across the country. for those getting food help, and that means every child, every senior citizen, every disabled veteran, every person who's lost their job will have a more difficult time putting food on their tables. also, that $11 billion, plus the $4 billion in cuts in the senate bill, mean that accepting this senate nutrition title would result in a total of $15 billion in cuts in nutrition. the good news is the cbo projects that over 14 million people will no longer need temporary food help over the next few years because the economy's improving and they're going to be able to get back to work. while there are many areas that are similar between our two bills, there are of course other differences, one i will mention.
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one area of great concern is the provision that would override state government's constitutional authorities on a wide range of issues, including animal welfare, milk standards, labeling of artificial sweeteners and invasive pests, just to name a few. mr. chairman, i am very pleased to be here with you in this conference committee, where i am confident we can work through these difficult issues and we can come together, make tough choices, set priorities, and find common ground. there are 16 million men and women whose jobs rely on the strength of agriculture. they're counting on us to work together in good faith, get the farm bill done, and i'm confident we won't let them down. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, madan chairwoman. the chair now turns to the gentleman from minnesota, the ranking member of the house ag committee, mr. peterson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for your leadership and hard work in getting us to this point. you've done an excellent job.
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senator stabenow over in the senate, senator cochran for his good work and senator roberts in the previous congress. we've been -- so i think like everybody i'm glad to be here. i'm going to try to exert some leadership and be brief. we'll see how that goes. anyway, you know, we're hopefully at the beginning of the end of this process. you know, we first started this almost four years ago when i was chairman. i probably got started earlier than i should have. but this has been going on too long, and i think i speak for all of us in saying that it's long past time to finish this farm bill. the difference between the house and senate farm bills, they span all titles and programs, conservation, dairy, crop insurance, even permanent law. they all need to be addressed. resolving these issues obviously
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poses a challenge, but i know that our respective agriculture committee members have the background and the experience to develop sound farm bill policies. i believe that if the conference committee is left alone and allowed to do our work, we'll be able to find some middle ground and finish the farm bill. i think we've got a good group of conferees and everybody is committed to finishing the job. we've been working on this bill for so long that i think we're actually at the point where most of the staff work has been done. really, it's time for the members now to start making the compromises necessary to put this bill together so that it can be defended and clearly explained to our colleagues and the general public. it's time to put together a bill that can pass both the house and the senate and be signed by the president. so with that, i'm not going to go into all of the issues.
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i think they've been covered to some extent already. and anybody that's paying attention has heard more out of me in the last four years than they want to hear anyway, so i don't need to say it again. so i just hope that we can find the way to move forward, get these things worked out and get this resolved as soon as possible. with that, i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the chair now recognizes the ranking member of senate agricultural committee, the gentleman from mississippi, senator cochran. >> mr. chairman, i'm pleased to join our chairwoman and other members of the senate delegation in thanking you for the efforts you're making to impress us with the decor and the space that we have here in the house of representatives. it brings back a lot of good memories for me and i know the others who may have served here in the house of representatives. but we know we have a serious responsibility today, and that
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is to begin an effort to get a fair and workable farm bill reported back to our two bodies. we hope we can do that recognizing the urgency in some of these areas where questions need to be answered in order for farmers to make decisions and others who are affected by this law. so you have our commitment to try to be a positive influence in this process. we thank you for your courtesies. >> gentleman yields back. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from iowa, mr. king. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm very happy to be here today as we formally kick off the conference committee process in this 2013 farm bill. it's been a long and a sometimes bumpy road to get to this place. and i want to thank the chairs and the ranking members for their diligent work and determination to get us to this point today. chairman lucas and ranking
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member peterson have both been strong leaders throughout this process. i'm grateful to them and grateful to the members of this committee, especially grateful to the staff, for the staff, which has done so much work behind the scenes. as we begin the conference process, i hope we can work together across the aisle to resolve the many issues critical to our farmers and ranchers around the country. it's time for congress to give our producers the predictability that they deserve. we need to do that by passing a five-year farm bill as soon as possible. i'm honored to represent one of the most productive agricultural districts in america as we work towards that end. i entered into this process in 2012 with several priorities. many of them are in the underlying bill. i will be doing as much as i can to nurture this process forward for those and many other reasons. i appreciate the work that's been done on these bills, especially to maintain the role of federal crop insurance as our producers' safety net. it has become an improvement to
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become more reliable for producers and ad hoc disaster programs. we'll reduce much of the political maneuvering through crop insurance and increase the coverage and allow our producers to share the risk. another issue that's critical to iowans and americans is conservation. with direct payments eliminated, it's important that we provide incentives for farmers to continue to be good stewards of the land. it's been a lot of my life's work. i've been pleased to work with my house colleagues in putting together strong title two programs. i'll be anxious to see how this discussion plays out in this conference. one issue at the forefront of people's minds is the nutrition title. as the chair of the department operations oversight and nutrition subcommittee, i'll continue to work with my colleagues to implement reforms in the s.n.a.p. program to cut back on waste, fraud, and abuse in the program to ensure those funds are available to those who are needy. the cost of s.n.a.p. has more than doubled from 2008 to 2012,
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as have the enrollees gone from 28.2 million up to 47.7 million. i'm interested and encouraged by the news that i've heard from the chair from the senate side on this information. but finally, i'd add that an amendment that i added to the farm bill will remain one of my top priorities moving forward. it was accepted by a voice vote in both the 2012 and the 2013 markup. this amendment is found in section 11312 of hr-2642. it's a simple and straightforward amendment. i developed it on the premise of having recognize that the commerce clause in the constitution prohibits trade protection between the states. it became relevant, though, after california passed a law in 2010 that mandates that beginning 2015 no eggs be brought into or sold in the state unless they are laid by hens housed in facilities that effectively are double the infrastructure cost to our
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producers. i will go deeper into this amendment as we discuss this, but the bottom line of it is that no state should be allowed to regulate the production in other states, any state, including california, is free to regulate, even overregulate their producers but not to regulate the other 49 states. that's a topic that i'm confident we will discuss. but mr. chairman, i'm anxious to begin this process and i'm looking forward to working with my colleagues to finish our work on this bill. i went to the president's desk before the snow flies. i realize i'm a little late in some of the states but not all the states. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the chair must take note as he recognizes the next esteemed senator that this is one of a couple senators over there i learned a great deal about the conference committee work from. my first experience at seeing how it was done. chair recognizes the gentleman from vermont. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i was thinking as you were
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speaking earlier and chairman stabenow was speaking, how fortunate we are to have two of you as chairs and the two ranking members in senator cochran and congressman peterson. as senator stabenow mentioned the work with senator cochran, he and i are served together for decades. we've both been chairs or ranking members of the senate agriculture committee. we've served on seven farm bill conferences since 1981. i could show you the scars, but having people with experience like the two chairs here and the two ranking members here helps a lot. it's been 13 months since the last farm bill expired. i have farmers in rural communities in vermont telling me every day how imperative it is we overcome our differences. it's not only a farm bill, it's a trade bill, a hunger bill, a conservation bill, a reform
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bill, innovation bill, deficit reduction bill. it's also a job creation bill. we passed a bipartisan bill twice in the senate. we had -- republicans and democrats, we each had to give some, and we did it. it reforms commodity programs, ends trade distorting policy, creates jobs and saves taxpayers $24 billion. not bad. and on dairy, farmers across the country support an insurance program, but one that has to work in tandem with the mark stabilization program. i hear this from the kitchen tables to the high school gymnasiums in my -- in the farm areas, agriculture areas of my state. we've done that in the senate bill. farmers remember the dairy crisis of 2009. they know an insurance program alone is not enough. if we don't have stabilization, we're going to cost taxpayers
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hundreds of millions of additional dollars and virtually guarantee another dairy price and put people out of business. so there's a number of other things which i will put in the record. we have to have strong nutrition programs. i think of people like bob dole and george mcgovern coming together in the past to do that. as chairman of the senate judiciary committee, i believe nothing in this bill should limit the authority of the secretary to protect our farmers from deceptive business practices. and we just need this certainty we have to have in this. we can do it. you've got the leaders. you've got the men and women at this table in both parties who can do it if we really want to. i hope we will. thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for your kind words. >> gentleman yields back. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. mcintyre. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we all know the road to this farm bill conference has been long, and i know we're glad this
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day is here. i do want to thank the leadership from both the house and senate for your hard work and your consistency in bringing us to this point. the farm bill is critical to my home state of north carolina as agribusiness continues to be the number one industry as it has been since colonial days. in fact, employing approximately one out of every five north carolina -- north caroli carolinaresidents. i along forward to us moving this to a conclude, having a strong, fiscally responsible, bipartisan bill we can pass and do it as soon as possible. we're all tired of waiting. we've witnessed the harsh effects of an expired farm bill a few weeks ago with the storm that devastated the livestock industry in the midwest. this type of concern shows the importance of passing a bill and doing it soon to give certainty
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and security for our producers because we know disasters can happen any time, anywhere. rural development has always been something we've seen make a difference. 85 of the 100 counties in north carolina fall under rural economic development opportunities for these programs, and that means not only helping our farmers but it means economic development and jobs in rural america. it means the water and waste water projects that all of our county commissioners come to us to talk about, it means broadband. it means the fire, law enforcement, and emergency services that our communities need so desperately. and it means support for small business. for all those who are listening and watching, this is about economic opportunity here in the united states and making sure that our rural areas are not forgotten. i hope we'll also be able to take care of the situation with the gipsa rule. i know that's been a concern we want to stay consistent with the precedent set by congress. and we want to find a solution that modifies the country of origin labeling that satisfies
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our wto trade rules. -- while fulfilling our commitments to our trading partners. we also know that increasingly states across the country have made it harder for livestock producers to be able to sell their products all across the u.s. and the world. by limiting the types of restrictions states can place on producers from other states, the farm bill can ensure that farmers can sell their products across the u.s., stay in business, and employ folks in our rural communities. i look forward to working with all of you. i know this is time to show the nation we do know how to work together. we can make a difference. and by god's grace and your commitment to do so, we will get it done in a timely fashion. thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentleman yields back. the chair now has a particularly distinct honor and privilege of not only recognizing his
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neighbor, his original mentor, and the fellow that will always be a chairman to him, the senator from kansas, mr. roberts. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate that very much. chairman lucas and chair stabenow, ranking member cochran, ranking member peterson, all my other colleagues, it is indeed a privilege to be here with you today to begin this farm bill conference committee. we've all worked very hard to get to this point, and that's probably the understatement of my statement, and have already made significant strides, i think, in achieving necessary reforms. for example, both bills do eliminate the direct payments and our commodity and disaster programs. we have heard consistently from producers in all regions, from ann arbor, michigan, to wichita,
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kansas, that crop insurance is their number one priority. our producers are willing to put their own skin in the game to protect themselves from disaster. the full house of representatives and the senate have made the commitment through the supplemental coverage option and other provisions that crop insurance is the most responsible farm safety net for farmers and the taxpayer. however, i do have concerns with several senate provisions that unnecessarily duplicate regulation on farmers' practices and restrict our producers' coverage. for ranchers and livestock producers, i am pleased that both bills extend the disaster programs from the 2008 farm bill, including the livestock condemn anity program and the livestock 4h program. i also appreciate the house addressing several burdensome regulations that a lot of us have worked on in the senate, including pesticides, farm fuel tank storage, the lesser prairie
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chicken, god bless the lesser prairie chicken, and manned story control of origin labeling. regarding nutrition and the s.n.a.p. program, the house passed similar reforms, legislation offering to tighten federal eligibility standards and end wasteful and duplicative programs without harming benefits to those who need the most assistance. finally, i do have some significant concerns regarding two proposed commodity titles. the 2010 senate passed farm bill contained real reform. we ended federal subsidies that encouraged farmers to plant for the government, i.e. target price programs. this year's version created a new adverse market payment program, the a.m.p. program, tied to decoupled historic base acres. the house price loss coverage program, the p.o.c. program, went further backwards in my view and recoupled production to
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planted acres and sets high fixed target prices. a modern farm bill should not create planting, marketing, or international trade distortions. let me be clear. target prices should be decoupled and the government should not set prices at a level that practically guarantees profit instead of acting as a risk management tool, not to mention inviting serious problems with a wto complaint. let me assure you that the stove was hot. in closing, we are all around this table for a reason. i'm here and committed to resolving these difficult differences in order to provide certainty to our producers and a forward-thinking farm bill that's responsible to farmers, ranchers, their lenders, and consumers as well as taxpayers all across the country. thank you so much to the leadership of both committees, the producers who have participated in all of our hearings and meetings, and all the members here for working to
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advance agriculture. i'm reminded of the remarks by the distinguished chairman emeritus of the sometimes powerful house ag committee who always said, we strive to get the best possible bill and in the end result we get the best bill possible. the distinguished chairman of the house committee said, we have to do it, it is our responsibility to do it, it is my view, and also the view of our ranking member in the house, colin peterson. we're going to lose credibility if we don't get this bill done. we have to get this bill done. thank you very much. >> gentleman yields back his time. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from texas. >> well, thank you, mr. chairman. i also want to thank you for your extensive preparation you put into bringing us to this point to get a new farm bill. over the past two years, we've closely examined each of the
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programs to determine what was working and what needed reform. this process has helped us achieve a smart farm bill for producers, consumers, and taxpayers. the house bill achieves significant savings, $60 billion over ten years, which makes a genuine contribution to reforming washington's out-of-control spending. my priorities for this farm bill are simple. we need a long-term policy in place so our farmers and ranchers can make informed business decisions. we need to make a market-based policy responsive to fluctuations in production and price without dictating what reproduce. we also need an efficient program that make good use of the taxpayers' dollars. the divide between production programs and nutrition programs has been well documented over the past few months, but i think our goal for both issues is the same. to maintain a strong safety net, to help people through tough times, and to help people spring back on to their feet. in farm programs, we've moved
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away from direct payments towards programs that are grounded in the market. we've strengthened public/private partnerships and shared risk programs like crop insurance. i'm proud my crop insurance proposal has been included in both the house and senate legislation. shallow loss coverage allows producers to pool their risk and ensure themselves against the smaller losses that could over time put them out of business. we also moved to a revenue insurance program for dairy producers rather than attempting supply management. this is in line with the overall direction of the farm policy in both the house and the senate bills towards a more market-based support. so it's important to me we include that in the farm bill. i'm also hopeful that we can move away from other market distorting programs. one of the key issues of this conference must be addressed country of origin labeling, mandatory government-run labeling program is not only trade distorting but increases the cost without demonstrating any real benefits. i'm confident we can address our differences and come together and finalize an efficient market-based program to support our farmers and ranchers.
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admittedly, we are far apart in some of our goals of nutrition assistance, but why does the safety net need reform? because people are getting tangled up and stuck in it. the house addresses this by ending benefits for individuals that quite honestly don't qualify for them, allows us to save billions of dollars without cutting assistance to families that are actually in need. this isn't about weakening nutrition assistance, rather it's about making a program sustainable over the long term. this is a goal i think we can all agree on. i'm looking forward to working together on our shared goals an resolving our differences and i'm confident we can finalize a farm bill that serves the best interests of producers, consumers, and taxpayers. >> i thank the gentleman for yielding back. the chair now recognizes another esteemed gentleman that he learned much about the farm bill process from in the '02 conference, the gentleman from iowa, mr. harkin. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's a pleasure to be with you again.
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we've been through farm bills together. i might say, this is the way things ought to work. this is the way we should work. get together in conference committees and work these things out. this is my eighth farm bill that i've worked on. twice as chairman in 2002 when dick luger was the ranking member. on the house side, it was larry convest from texas and charlie stenhill. we got a farm bill in 2002. the senate was democratic. the house was republican. and we had a republican president. and we got a farm bill done. then in 2008 i was chairman an we did the 2008 farm bill. at that time, it was my good friend saxby chambliss. on the house side, of course, it was colin peterson and bob goodlatt. there was long conferences. these conferences drug on and on and on. i know you were there, mr.
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chairman, for those. but we got our work done. i take what colin peterson said earlier to heart. you know, these things are long. we get involved, but if we're left alone, we can do our job. we can reach the agreements that are needed. as you said, we have to always keep in mind when we're hammering out our agreements the farm bill won't become law unless it's passed by both houses and signed by the president. we have to keep that in mind. so again, balanced, bipartisan solutions. i'm proud of the fact we did that twice in the senate. we had a bipartisan farm bill that passed in 2012 and came back and passed again in 2013. i might also point out that in the 2008 farm bill, we had it vetoed twice and had to override the veto twice. that was all bipartisan. it was not a partisan effort at all. just a couple of thoughts on this bill. we have asked our farmers in this country to produce more and
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more and more, and they've responded. but as we produce more, we see more and more of our soil going down the rivers. it used to be when we did conservation programs, it was to pay someone to take land out of production, crp, things like that. but as we begin to ask producers to produce more, we became very much aware of the fact that we needed conservation on working lands and for our livestock producers that were producing more in terms of livestock. therefore, we have csp, the wrp, equip. they're significantly oversubscribed. twice as many seek to join the csp program as we are able to get in. so again, i hope that we'll keep our focus on the fact that we need conservation on working lands. energy title. we put the energy title first in the 2002 farm bill. we improved and strengthened it in 2008. it's critical, i believe, to maintain the $880 million in
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mandatory funding that we put in the senate. it's crucial for our rural areas, our small communities that are building their own energy systems. conservation, i mentioned on working lands, but also for lack of what everyone calls conservation compliance. the fact is the vast majority of producers already do that. so are we going to then say to the few that might be bad actors that you can still get your insurance and stuff and not do what the vast majority are already doing on their own? so i'm hopeful then that we can adopt the conservation compliance programs that we have. most farmers are doing that already themselves. they shouldn't be put in with maybe a few bad actors that are out there. the commodity programs, i echo what's been said about careful to minimize government programs on farmers' decisions on what
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they grow and how much they grow. that ought to be their decision based upon the productivity of the land and what it's suitable for and what the market demands and not what the government poses. further mo furthermore, i hope that we do not interfere with usda's good-faith actions to carry out the packers and stockyards act and the country of origin labeling. lastly, let me say about food assistance. this has been a part of our farm bill since i started on it back in the '70s. and we have always reached agreements on this. and we have periodically -- i remember a long time ago working on fraud, waste, and abuse and food stamps and changing it around and modifying it. different times call for different circumstances. but the fact is, we have a lot of low-income people out there, a lot of kids. and i'll just say this right now. you know, people say, well, there's a lot of single adults out there. they ought to be working before they could get food stamps and
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stuff like that. we learned a long time ago that there are a lot of people out there that have been deinstitutionalized that have mental health problems. they can do a little bit of work here and there, but they can't hold full-time jobs. yet, we have provided them -- we made the decision a long time ago to provide them with access to food. and then they can work part time and you can do part-time work and make some income at the same time even though you don't have a full-time job and you can still continue to get nutritinutrition supplement -- nutrition programs. there are just a lot of people out there like that. they don't qualify for disability, but they can't work full time. they fall in that gray area. if they have access to good food and nutrition, they're not crowding into our emergency rooms and things like that. i just hope that we can reach
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some reasonable agreements on the nutrition program, meet our obligations to the consumers of america, and low-income americans that have always looked at this committee, this committee, to make sure that we don't have beggars on the streets and that people have access to affordable and nutrition food in this country. i think that's the least we can do as a great country. thank you, mr. chairman. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from california, mr. costa. >> thank you very much, chairman lucas and chairwoman stabenow, ranking member cochran and ranking member peterson, our staff, and also you, senator harkin, for reminding us of some of the history of how farm bills were put together over the eight farm bills you've been a part of. when we used to have conference committees on a more regular basis. i think i speak for most of our
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colleagues here about today. it's about time. it's about time. we wanted to have this conference committee a year ago. took us a year to have a conference committee. and it's been three years in the making. it's time for us to step up to the plate and demonstrate to the american public that we're capable of working together on a bipartisan basis after all, that's why they send us here, to solve problems. we talked about the nutrition title. i believe it should and can be worked out. but rather than simply focusing our attention on just cutting the program, i think common sense reforms. i think efforts by the committee and subcommittees to go out around america and find out what's going on would be a better way to deal with this and how we improve this title. we have the pilot program in the house bill that identifies best practices for employment and training programs. i think that pilot program can be used across the country to help move those people that we
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think can be moved from dependency to independence. next it's imperative that i think we enact serious reforms to the dairy program. i represent a significant part of the king valley. it has perhaps among the largest and most diverse agriculture in america. many of you have been there. i know. i attended some of your events. it's a great part of america. i'm a third-generation farmer. been in the dairy business most of my family since we came to this country. we can no longer expect, i think, the american taxpayer to hook beyond the hook by dairy producers by maintaining the status quo, which is a law that doesn't --
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and was passed by the senate. also of great importance for many of us in california is the removal of the vague and overly broad king amendment, with all due respect, which is clearly targeted at california producers. this amendment is not only anti-california, but if you think about it, it sets up a one size fits all policy to be determined in washington. for those of you around this table that believe you're a federalist, this is anti-federalism. it basically says that we know better than the states to act on their own behalf. therefore, i think we have to deal with that amendment. as consumers increasingly turn to organic products throughout this country, i think the organic certification cost share program supports our producers
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and maintains the integrity of the industry in the united states. we need to continue to improve on that. additionally, in the 2008 farm bill, this is my second farm bill, we created some good work product for specialty crops. that's a technical term. we're talking about fruits and vegetables. we all love our fruits and vegetables. the environmental quality and incentive program known as equip and the conservation innovative grants program, these provide important tools to improve air quality and create greater water efficiencies and conservation. i support the senate version. i think it's the way we ought to go. i also want to urge my colleagues to preserve the grain inspection packers and stockyard administration language that representative mike conway and i offered and had adopted. i think that will allow the poultry and livestock producers to no longer have to worry about losing their marketing options,
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which is very important. finally, i think we need to provide funding for a study to determine -- or we are providing funding for a study to determine the impact of what has been controversial, the mandatory country of origin label. i don't think we need a study. it's not working. and it runs counter to the world trade organization, the wto, and our important trade partners both in canada and mexico who have obviously protested that program. we also, i need not remind all of us, have an agreement with canada and mexico with nafta. this issue is an important one and i think needs and should be resolved in this conference committee discussion. finally, american consumers and the people who put the food on our table, those are american farmers, ranchers and dairy producers of which my family has been a part of for three
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generations, they expect us to work together. when i go home, that's what they tell me. the goal is to produce the most cost-effective food in the world at the highest quality for american consumers and for the world. and nobody does it, nobody does it better than america's farmers, dairy men and ranchers. this legislation, as has been stated before, has had a history of bipartisanship. we should work in that spirit. we need to send signals to the marketplace that only a five-year farm bill can provide. so again, i want to strongly encourage my colleagues to leave our partisan politics at the door so we can work our differences out in this process. thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, madam chairwoman and i thank my colleagues for being a part of this conference committee. we do this so seldom. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr.
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chambliss. >> thank you, chairman. i'm pleased to be here today to begin discussions on a comprehensive, sound, five-year farm bill. it has been quite a journey over the past three years, and i know that all the conferees are here, ready to get this behind us and let's move forward. this will be my fourth and final farm bill as a member of congress. as pa former chairman and ranking member of the senate agriculture committee, i recognize how difficult it is to combine all the diverse interests into a single piece of legislation that meets the needs of all crops, regions, and rural and urban communities that the farm bill impacts. both bills before us today embody reform, streamlining and consolidation. with the biggest issue facing our country being our growing debt and deficit, i want to commend the leadership on both sides, both the house and senate ag committee chairs and ranking
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members for stepping up and doing the work necessary to find savings. while we take these essential steps, we must also do this in an equitable and fair manner. it is also important to note that this bill must not only work to protect producers in times of need, but it must responsibly serve as the nation's safety net for the nutritional well being of low-income americans. our nutrition assistance programs play a key role in ensuring that needy americans have access to the food they need to lead healthy, productive lives. however, we must take this opportunity to assess the programs to find savings while still ensuring those in the greatest need are provided a helping hand. agriculture producers face a combination of challenges such as unpredictable weather, variable input costs, and market volatility that all combine to determine profit or loss in any given year. the 2008 farm bill provided a
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strong safety net for producers and successor legislation must adhere to and honor the same commitment we made five years ago. while i understand there are different ideas about what safety net is best, i urge my colleagues to recognize that one program does not work for all crops. both bills before us attempt to provide producers with options to find what works best for them, and that is certainly a step in the right direction. importantly, congress has taken a fresh look at our commodity programs while maintaining an effective safety net that is so critical to america's farmers. we should provide options to farmers while at the same time act as responsible stewards to the taxpayer. i've had this conversation with my colleague from kansas who spoke earlier, and i'm not saying anything that he hasn't heard me say before, but frankly, when we had the debate on the senate farm bill, there
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was general concurrence that the a.m.p. program complements crop insurance and crop insurance complements the a.m.p. program. when producers don't feel that the revenue-based programs or shallow loss programs work for them, they do need to be provided an option to manage their risk. i urge my fellow conferees to remember the importance of giving producers choices. also, i would like to recognize that the upland cotton policies contained in the senate and house versions embody fundamental reform that meet our commitments in the world trade organization. legislation eliminates or changes all title one programs providing direct support to those involved in cotton production and addresses head on and remedies the criticisms central to the wto dispute with brazil. in the end, i am confident that we can balance the needs and interests between commodities and regions to reach our common goal of getting a farm bill across the finish line.
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ultimately, the reason we are here is to represent those who work the land each and every day to provide the highest quality agriculture products of anybody in the world. it's important to the farmers and ranchers of georgia as well as to farmers and ranchers all across this great nation that we uphold the strength of the safety net that american agriculture depends on in this farm bill. we have the opportunity to write a bill that is equal to their commitment to provide the highest quality food, feed, and fiber in the world. mr. chairman, i have a much lengthier statement i'd ask unanimous consent to insert in the record. with that, i look forward to working with the conferees in the weeks ahead. >> so ordered. the gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes the gentleman from alabama. >> thank you. after five long years of waiting to get to this conference committee, i am very happy we're here to now try to resolve our differences between the house


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