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tv   [untitled]    February 15, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm EST

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not clear how slashing the armed forces by over 100,000 during a time of war, shedding force structure and postponing the modernization, makes that so. the president must understand that the world has always had and will always have a leader. as america steps back, someone else will step forward. >> and so the debate continues on capitol hill. the comments of representative buck mckeon, he's a republican and chair of house armed services committee, as defense secretary panetta and general adam dempsey testifying on capitol hill about the president's budget that includes spending increases in many areas, including health care and transportation. and rather sharp cuts in military spending. this is hour two of "washington today." i'm steve sculley. thanks for being with us. we'll have more on this and a number of related stories about how defense lobbyists are lining up to try to protect certain areas of the pentagon budget.
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congressional negotiators are trying to finalize a $150 billion measure which will extend a cut in the payroll taxes through the end of this year, provide additional jobless benefits for millions of out of work americans. republicans retreating and now supporting the proposal. there is no pay for this measure which means that the proposal will go forth and likely add to the overall debt in deficit. it does cut the social security payroll tax by 2 percentage points. had congress not acted by the end of this month it would have meant an average of $40 to $50 per month for the average taxpayer. transportation bill until after next week's yegsal recess. law patients out for presidents' day. a spokesperson for the house speaker saying more time is needed to work for the 300 proposed amendments, also to find money to fund the bill. other lawmaker in this both parties saying the real reason for the delay is a lack of support. we talked about this in the last hour. it was a single bill now being split into three separate
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measures. the president beginning the day in milwaukee at the master lock plant talking about jobs coming back to the u.s. and then on to california with a series of fund-raisers. the president will raise up to $8 million in campaign fund-raisers over the next couple of days in los angeles, san francisco, and corona delmar. we're going to be focussing on the budget deficit on c-span radio and we want to hear from you. we want to find out if you think enough attention is being paid to the federal debt and deficit. right now it is approaching $16 trillion and growing. our c-span radio listener feedback line is open. 202-626-7962. the phone number is 202-626-7962. leave a message, tell us where you're calling from and we will use some of your comments on "washington today" tomorrow and friday. the question, do you think washington, president, members of congress, collectively paying enough attention to the federal
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deficit? let's begin with the ongoing debate about where to cut the deficit. the white house proposing steep cuts in pentagon spending but some sharp reaction from members of congress, including buck mckeon, chair of the armed services committee, as he questioned defense secretary leon panetta. you'll be hearing from congressman adam smith, democrat from washington state. >> given that we've got the cr hanging over us and sequestration kicking in, i, mr. secretary, talked to you about this. i put in a bill to -- this is going to be serious dealing with everything that we're talking about here today. the sequestration just takes it right over the top. and we're looking at all the news reports that we're hearing, the saber-rattling going over in iran, the new leadership in korea. i mean, i think the world is in a very serious situation. and i know a general, you told us in a meeting a couple of
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weeks ago that in your 37 years, this is the most serious you've ever seen it. so i think these are serious questions. my bill would move the -- would pay for the first year sequestration which moves it back a year. it does it with as little pain as possible through attrition. decreases the size of the federal workforce. but i'm asking you, mr. secretary, if this is something you could support, trying to fix sequestration now, instead of having all the people who would be laid off this year in preparation for next january, if it wouldn't be better to move ahead and fix that now. deal with it now. not wait for the december 31st deadline. and that would still give us then next year to work on next
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year's problems and sequestration. >> mr. chairman, as i've said time and time and time again, sequestration is a crazy process that would do untold damage to our national defense. it's a mechanism that would do, you know, just kind of mind sidside blind-sided cuts across the board and hollow out the force. so i'm prepared to work with you in every way possible to try to work on both sides to try to develop an approach that would detrigger sequestration. my hope was frankly that the super committee would take that responsibility and do that. i think that's what everybody's hope was. that didn't happen. and that really concerned me. and so whatever -- whatever we can do on both sides to try to
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develop an approach that would detrigger, sec questions strque that horrific reserve result, i'm willing to work with you on that. >> thank you very much. mr. smith. >> thank you mr. chairman. i will point out the overall budget the president submitted contained $3 trillion and 10 years' savings so if that budget would pass it would more than meet what was required for sequestration. so there was a plan put on the table. i share the remarks the sooner we resolve that overall issue, the better for all concerned, whatever that plan may wind up looking like. >> the comments of congressman buck mckeon, asking questions to defense secretary leon panetta. you heard from congressman adam smith, democrat from washington state. joining us live, jeremy herb, following us for "the hill" newspaper joining us live,
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thanks for being with us. what was your takeaway from secretary panetta? this is the second day he was on the hill trying to roll out this budget proposal that does include some rather sharp cut-backs for the military. i found it interesting on your website how k street lobbyists are lining up to obviously help the consequence industry dealing with some of these potential cuts. >> yeah, i mean, this fight is going to play out over the next year. in addition to the $487 billion cuts, there's also the $500 billion additional cuts that could come through sequestration. in some ways that's going to be the bigger fight over defense spending this year. >> what's going to happen next in terms of this political battle? does the president have the support he needs from democrats and some republicans? or could we see this looming through into the summer, into the fall, before the october 1st deadline of trying to get this budget in place? >> congressman mckeon and on the senate side senators mccain and kyl have introduced bills to undo the first years of
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sequestration. they've been quickly criticized by democrats and basically aren't going to go anywhere. most people are expecting this won't really be resolved until after the election in november. >> sequestration is such a washington word. can you explain for those not familiar? >> such, sequestration was included in the debt limit deal that was passed last august, that congress needed to come up with $1.5 trillion in deficit reducti reduction, supposed to be done through the super committee. when that failed this was included as a punitive measure. it includes $500 billion in cuts to defense spending, $500 billion in cuts to discretionary nondefense spending. >> i want to come back to this in just a moment. jeremy herb who writes for "the hill." the associated press story getting attention yesterday, you write about it today, the u.s. nuclear arsenal would be reduced by as much as 80%. also raising some eyebrows today. >> yeah, republicans were very critical of the idea that the u.s. could reduce its nuclear
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arsenal up to 80%. joint chiefs chairman dempsey at the hearing today was -- really tried to down play the significance, that it's just a preliminary study and no decisions have been made. he said one of the options is to maintain the status quo. >> this the same day we heard from iran's chief nuclear negotiator that says, yes, we're ready to resume negotiations on its nuclear program, but it also is the same day iran announcing it's made major inroads in the technology it has wind the country. >> yeah, there's a group of senators led by senator graham, who are planning a resolution they're going to introduce tomorrow. on the other side, liberal democrats along with congressman walter jones, are planning a letter urging the u.s. to look at all diplomatic options. >> you set up our next piece of sound perfectly. congressman jones among those testifying -- asking questions i should say on capitol hill. he posed questions to secretary panetta. he gets to one of the key issues when you're dealing with the
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pentagon and military spendinging. and that is, members of congress seem to like the fact that the government is reducing spending, except when it impacts contractors or companies that provide materials or products to the defense department and that means jobs in their congressional district. >> yeah, and i mean, on top of that too, one of the biggest issues in this budget proposal is brac, base realignment and closure commission. that came up again and again in the house and senate hearings. to everyone aside from ranking member smith on the house side, senator graham on the senate side, say they are 0 opposed because it amounts to bases being closed in someone's district. >> jeremy herb joining us live on the hill, thanks as always for being with us. here's more with congressman walter jones, republican from north carolina. a huge military presence in his congressional district posing questions to defense secretary panetta. >> mr. chairman, thank you very
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much. mr. secretary, i might be the only republican on the committee to say thank you for your recent decision about bringing our troops out in 2013. this has been a grant interest and concern to me. i have a marine base in my district. that's what my question will deal with. you being an elected official, served in the house, i think with my father, a few years a, go walter jones senior. you know better than any of us here, or as good as any of us, that politics is local. there's no question about it. i have cherry point marine air station in my district. also had the depot in the -- in my district. so it brings the question that mr. bartlett was asking you about the f-35, and of course at cherry point, because of the depot, the interest in the f-35b, knowing that at one point in a discussion i had a few
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months ago, there was a thought that maybe at some point in time as this f-35 becomes online and becomes a reality that there might be eight squadrons going down to cherry point. well, i realize in this very difficult budget year and none of us know what we would like to see today, might not be a possibility tomorrow. so if you would expand a little bit more on how you feel that the progress that's been made on the f-35, and knowing that you believe that we do need a strong fighter system in our country, if you would elaborate just a little bit more on that, i would appreciate it. >> thank you, congressman. you know, the only way the united states remains the strongest military power in the world is to keep developing new generation fighters that have
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the technologies and capabilities that we are going to need in the future. and i had the opportunity to go to pax river and see the development that is behind the f-35 and actually sit in there and look at the technology that's involved. i mean, we're talking about spectacular technology that would be part of this plane in terms of stealth capabilities, but also in terms of targeting capabilities. and it is -- it is the next generation fighter. it's what we're going to need. and very frankly, countries are all lined up waiting for this plane because they know how good it's going to be. and that's why we've got to keep this on track, we've got three variants, and i can't -- i can't go into defending all the decisions that were made before i became secretary. but three variants is not an easy process. it means you have to look at a lot of different questions that arise, depending on the capabilities you're trying to design in each area. but nevertheless, each of those
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is important. we need a navy plane. we need a marine plane that can lift as the stoval will. obviously we need an air force plane. so those are the key ingredients. my view is, you know, based on what i -- because i came into this pretty skeptical about where this thing was. i looked at the facts, i've looked at the testing that's gone on, i've looked at the production rates that are out there. i'm convinced that we can deal with the final problems that are there. largely software issues that we've got to face. we're producing these planes even as we speak. but they are continuing to be tested. my goal is, working with the industry, to make sure that any changes here now can be as cost-efficient as possible. that's what i worry about. i don't want big changes in the these planes because that will ramp up the costs real fast. so the real challenge right now is to keep these costs under control as we resolve the final issues involved with this plane. but i'm convinced we're going to be able to put that in place.
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>> the comments of defense secretary leon panetta, day two of three days of scheduled hearings on capitol hill as the defense secretary outlines the pentagon budget. and by the way, we are covering cabinet secretaries all week on the c-span networks and you can check it out on our website at, including as we heard earlier the transportation secretary ray lahood and cat lien sebelius. this is "washington today" on c-span radio. congressional negotiators trying to work out the final agreement of a $150 billion measure that would extend a cut in the payroll taxes over the next ten months. it would also deal with extending jobless benefits for those people still out of work. there's a story on this at "the washington post" website,, and dealing with the so-called doc fix, now final passage according to the "washington post" is expected by friday. speaker john boehner speaking to reporters earlier about this proposed agreement. >> on payroll, all along and as
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late as last week you insisted that the payroll tax extension must be paid for. so what does the about-face say? >> we were not going to allow the democrats to continue to play political games and raise taxes on working americans. and so we made a decision to bring them to the table so that the games would stop and we would get this work done. >> what does it say going forward, though? >> can you address for a moment, some members of congress as we expected don't like this deal, they are upset about some of the outcomes. what's your message to them and do you see potential for this being as much of a revolt -- >> we were not going to allow democrats to continue to play games and cause a tax increase for hard-working americans. >> what about -- >> speaker, don't you think there could be political consequences for allowing $100 billion to go to the deficit when your members were elected to decrease the deficit? >> listen, we've worked all year to cut spending.
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when you look at the results from last year you'll see $2.1 trillion worth of spending that was cut from the budget. almost all but on the discretionary side. understand here we're also going to make sure that the extension of unemployment is under a reform program and is paid for. and the so-called docs fix paid for as well. >> when you expect the house to vote on this, do you expect the house to approve the deal? >> i do expect, if the agreement comes together like i expect it will, the house should vote this week. >> do you expect the house -- >> speaker, you said if the deal comes together. are you guys still waiting -- >> i think they're trying to work out all the details. i think there's an agreement in principle but there are a lot of details that are yet to be worked out and i'm hopeful that will be wrapped up today. thanks. >> speaker of the house john boehner. again, the agreement that came forth after house republicans said they would set aside their differences trying to demand
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democrats look for a way to pay for this proposed tax cut. again, totaling about $150 billion that will extend the payroll tax cut through the end of this year. and of course that's part of the larger debate about the national debt. now at $15.3 trillion and growing. the question we're asking here at c-span radio, do you think enough attention is being paid on the federal deficit? give us a call. 202-626-7962. shivon hughes covers congress for down jones news wires. he wrote speaker boehner expected the chamber to vote this week on a payroll tax cut extension package. but that a hiccup had emerged today over how to cover the cost of extending jobless benefits. what's that hiccup? >> the hiccup has to do with how do you pay for it? negotiators thought they had a deal, they thought that auctioning off some of the
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federal spectrum combined with having federal workers contribute a little bit more to their pensions, was going to be enough. but as people started looking at it, there's some question as to whether or not the spectrum auction is going to raise as much money as people had hoped. so the question is, how do you fill in that gap? maryland, the maryland lawmakers, are really powerful players in this and a lot of people don't want federal workers, their constituents in maryland, to have to give any more so that's not a very good option for a lot of important players. there's also been a discussion about adding yet again fees that fannie mae and freddie mac would pass along to lenders every time you get a home mortgage but that's not a lot a good idea to a lot of people because housing is already struggling, and so why are you going to use that as the fix, the same thing you did last time around. so the question is, what is the way forward? as you dig a little bit deeper
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into this, spectrum also gets to be a very politicized issue because the way the bill is written could potentially determine at&t's ability to bid on a lot of the spectrum. that's intertwined with how much money the auctions raise, the way auctions are designed affects the revenues that come in. you've got a bunch of moving pieces and it's still very much a fight that has not sorted out yet. >> assuming they figure out a way to pay for it what have you heard about the length of the extension? >> the length of the extension would be until the end of the year. that's a full ten months on each of the three provisions. the extension of the payroll tax cut, the so-called doc fix which avoids a cut in medicare ream wurstments who doctors who serve medicare patients, the extended jobless benefits up until the end of the year. the jobless benefits however would not be quite as generous as they are today. >> what can you tell us about how they plan to resolve the medicare payments to doctors? how will that change?
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>> for doctors, it would be -- it would be pretty good. they're going to avoid that 27.4% cut and the agreement would extend through the end of the year. payment for medicare doctors. the issue is paying for it and they're going to pay for it by cutting into some of the obama care programs, which as plit sized issue for a lot of democrats but something that's a little hard for them to swallow. >> so as we stand here late afternoon on wednesday, any idea when they're hoping to get this resolved, and secondly, when we might see this voted on in the house and senate? >> mr. boehner implied this morning that he really wanted this voted on by friday. and senate aides have implied they want to take it up shortly after. people want to cheer this off their plates before the recess next week. for that to happen, it looks like it's going to be a very, very late night and it's not clear when we're going to see that paper. >> an update on the payroll tax cut discussions. shivon hughes with down jones
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news wires. thanks for joining us. >> you're listening to "washington today" on c-span radio. >> one freshman republican dennis ross from florida's 12th congressional district indicating he will not support this compromise being put forth by speaker of the house john boehner. we spoke with congressman ross in our last hour. >> i'm principally against it. i think it's disingenuous to the american public and hard-working taxpayers. it offers no real long-term relief. more importantly it takes $100 billion out of the social security trust fund that's already $2.5 trillion insolvent. we need to talk real tax reform. not this -- this temporary reduction in an obligation that we have to the seniors and other recipients of social security benefits. how do you get there, congressman? what are you looking for? >> what i'm looking for is a starting point, the president's debt commission. think the president's debt commission, a bipartisan
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commission, the simpson bowls commission, does an extraordinary job in laying the predicate in saying we cannot sustain ourselves on this path, we've got to look at eliminating corporate tax loopholes, simplifying the personal income tax brackets. you know, that's the tax reform that a bipartisan commission came up with, nobody seems to want to address it, everybody seems to want to ignore it, but we've got to grow the economy. in the 80 years up to this point, we've never averaged over 18% of gdp in terms of tax revenue. we've always averaged around 18% of our gdp has been what consisted of our tax revenues. right now we're at 15% of our gdp is tax revenues and we're spending at 23%. we can't keep this. the only way -- and the bad thing about it is that a temporary reduction and a payroll tax for the next ten
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months does nothing to help us get our economy stimulated, does nothing to help us reduce our def sister, does nothing to help us grow the economy. we have to grow the economy. >> our conversation with congressman dennis ross expressing frustration with the compromise on the payroll tax cut saying he would likely vote against this measure. a vote is expect the by friday. the house and senate out next week for the presidents' day recess. more on some of the issues that members of congress are dealing with in terms of the payroll tax cut and where things stand. paul ryan confronted the budget director today about what he calls the president's broken promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term. eric wassen is writing for "the hill" newspaper. the obama budget projects a deficit of $101 billion for the next fiscal year which is not less than half of the $1.4 trillion budget deficit recorded in 2009, the first year of the
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obama administration. with all the attention on greece and the apparent economic compromise but still the unrest in greece because of some steep cut-backs to try to salvage the euro for greece, congressman mike simpson, republican from idaho, asking whether or not it's a fair comparison between what we're seeing in europe, in greece in particular, potentially here in the united states. >> i'm tempted to ask you if you were drafted for this job or you volunteered but i won't go there. because it's a tough job that you have and i know that and i appreciate you being here today to present the president's budget. i'm also fascinated by this discussion we have. we get into baselines and all that kind of stuff. the american people really don't care about baselines. i do fiend it interesting that you're trying to use oco savings when there is not an account and treasury with all this money in it that we're going to save and not spend. that's the reality. as i remember, it was the bush administration that signed the status -- what was it, the
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status force agreement. and we've known we're going to be coming out of iraq for a number of years. so to count a continued effort as we have had the last several years for the next ten years, then say we're saving it, is just phoney. which a lot of this budget is, quite frankly. what the american people -- i'm just a simple guy from idaho. what the american people want to know is how much deficit are we going to add to our current deficit if we were to pass this blueprint this year, which i understand is $1.3 trillion, how much bite be at the end of the ten-year cycle, which i understand is going to be around $750 billion, what would the total deficit be at the end of a ten-year cycle if we adopted the president's spending plan, point one? point two is the point that mr. garrett made. every budget i've seen except the ones proposed by this president, previously and this
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year, never put a target out there of when we expect the budget to be balanced. and you ought to at least present a budget which says, i don't care, 50 years from now, make it some time. but tell us when, if we adopt this spending plan, when we will achieve a balanced budget and quit adding to the debt. the question i have is, does this administration really care about deficits? and debt? they talk a lot about it but their budgets don't reflect that. i also hear a lot of talk about simpson bowles, which i support, but you know what? this administration walk ad way from it. >> there's a lot of the once. let me try to respond and i will do it quickly, mr. chairman. first of all, i'm honored to be in the job and i'm honored to serve this president and honored to present this budget. on oco, i've made the points, it closes the back door. i think we all agree cbo is our
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referee -- >> what back door are you talking about? >> the deficit. the back door to more discretionary spending. second, on deficits, i don't think you want to look at this in nominal dollars. no one thinks a dollar today is worth a dollar tomorrow. i'd rather have the dollar today than tomorrow. gdp -- >> nobody cares about that, they care about the dollar amount is that you are creating in deficit spending. constituents don't say, as a percentage of gpd, what is our debt going to be in ten years? they say, how much are we spending, how much are we going in debt, are we goinging greece? this plan is greece's plan. >> let him answer. >> i think what you're seeing is declining deficits in real dollars which is the right way to look at it. you're seeing debt stabilize as a percentage of gdp. we are hardly greece. if we get on the president's plan people will continue to invest. this budget achieves significant
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savings in the ten-year window. it is a step. it's an important step. there's more work to be done. and the president has shown his leadership and his willingness to work with congress, to achieve deficit reduction, and let's start with getting this budget, the policies in this budget, enacted into law. that's a good -- we will achieve a good milestone by doing that. >> you do a great job of trying to defend it, but i tell you that this budget leads us to greece. at some point in time, we have to balance this budget. and i don't see this administration taking any steps to do that. yes, they make little savings here and little savings there and make tony comparisons against a baseline that they've created. and say that we're saving money, when we're not. i will tell you that the american -- >> we are not greece. >> i am fed up with this. we're not greece yet. >> we're not going to be greece. this budget achieves a sustainable level of debt as a


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