Skip to main content

tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  December 21, 2009 10:00am-12:00pm EST

10:00 am
2008. the other point that it is worth talking about, from connie's call, is that young people cared deeply about politics, a majority follow issuesok very closely and talk about it with their friends and family members online. politics means something more to this generation than it meant to my generation, which is generation x. i grew up in the 1980's, and politics just was not as relevant as it is today. çyoungçó people were empoweredy the obama campaign and they feel likeç they can make any sort of change that they are interested in. host:w3ç the harvard institutef host: the new release of the survey, we link that to our
10:01 am
website, john della volpe, thank you for being with us this morning. that will about do it for " washington journal." back to morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern. have a great day. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2009] >> c-span christmas day, a look ahead to 2010 politics, including republican congressman eric cantor, and buzzç aldrin d fellow astronauts on the legacy
10:02 am
of apollo 11, a discussion of the role a muslims in america, then a cia intelligence officer on eve of the strategy against al qaeda and afghanistan and remembering the lives of william f. buckley,ç jr., and senator d kennedy. >> just about a month left to enter c-span's 2010 student cam contest, $50,000 in prizes for middle and high school students, top prize, $5,000. it just creates a 5 to 8 minute video on one of our country's greatest strengths or challenge -- it in -- must incorporate system programming and have varying points of view. winning entries will be shown on c-span. don't wait another minute. ç>> overnight in washington, democratic changes to the health care bill passed a procedural vote 60 to 40 with the bait resuming this afternoon. more procedural votes coming up tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. eastern
10:03 am
and wednesday at 1:00 eastern. a vote on final passage expected a christmas eve. live senate coverage on our companion network, c-span2. key democratic senators had a news conference on the health careçççw3 bill coming up todaye at 1:15 p.m. eastern. we will have for you on c-span. here is the final portion of debate leading up to that overnight vote. this is just over an hour. the presiding officer: the senator will be notified. mr. alexander: i thank you, mr. president. mr. president, there may be a number of americans who are switching over from the minnesota v. carolina football game and they may be wondering what in the world is the united states senate doing coming into session at midnight on a sunday in the middle of a snowstorm and getting ready to vote at 1:00 a.m. so let me try to explain that for just a moment. the reap is that the majority leader, the democratic majority leader, who's the only one that can set our schedule, showed up
10:04 am
yesterday with a 400-page amendment. yesterday. this amendment had been written in secret for the last six weeks. the assistant democratic leader said last week on the floor he had no idea what was in it. of course, none of us on the republican side knew what was in it. so almost no one here knew what was in it. it was presented to us and then the democratic leader said, well, we're going to start voting on it and we're going to pass it before christmas. now, this is an amendment to the health care bill which when fully implemented will cost about $2.5 trillion over ten years, according to the congressional budget office, which restructures one-sixth of our economy, which affects 300 million people, which will raise taxes by about a trillion dollars when fully implemented over ten years, which will cut medicare by about a trillion dollars when fully implemented over ten years, not to make medicare more solvent, because, as we know, it's -- it's going to become insolvent, according to its trustees, by 2015.
10:05 am
but to spend on a new entitlement. and it will also shift to the states a great many expenses, so much so that our democratic governor has said it's the mother of all unfunded mandates. the governor of california has said it's the last thing we ne need. take your time, get it right. but the democratic leader and his colleagues insist that we need to bring this up in the middle of a snowstorm, write it in secret, vote on it in the middle of the night, and get it passed before christmas eve. now, why would they want to do that? well, mr. president, i think the answer is very clear. it's because they want to make sure they pass it before the american people find out what's in it. because the american people by nearly 2-1, according to the cnn poll, don't like what they've heard about the health care bi bill. and when they have to start explaining what's in it, they're afraid it will be worse and it will never pass. republicans are not the only ones who believe that we ought to stop and think about big
10:06 am
issues before we deal with it. eight democratic senators -- senator lincoln and bayh and landrieu, lieberman, mccaskill, nelson, pryor and webb -- wrote senator reid on october 6, saying, as you know, to senator reid, "americans across our country have been actively engaged in the debate on health care reform. without a doubt, reforming health care reform in america is one of the most monumental and far-reaching undertakings considered by this body in decades. we believe the public's participation in this process is critical to our overall success." i'm quoting from the eight democratic senators. and they go on to say they want to make sure that the bill is on the web site for at least 72 hours before we vote on it. mr. president, this bill was given to us yesterday, 400 pages of it we hadn't seen before. 72 hours would be tuesday. so the minimum requirement, according to the eight
10:07 am
democratic senators and all 40 republican senators, we shouldn't even think about voting on it until at least tuesday. and then one would think we would be amending it and debating it and considering it and thinking about it and trying to find out what it actually does. according to the eight democratic senators, by publicly posting the legislation and the congressional budget office scores 72 hours before it's brought to a vote in the senate and by publishing the text of amendments as they're debated, our constituents will have the opportunity to evaluate these policies. as their democratic elected representatives, it's our duty to listen and to provide them with a chance to respond to proposals that will impact their lives. yet we're presented with it in the middle of a snowstorm on saturday, we're meeting at midnight, we're voting at 1:00 a.m., we're -- it's demanding that it be passed even though most of the provisions, as the senator from maine has said, don't even begin to take effect for four more years. what's the rush, mr. president? i think the rush is that our
10:08 am
friends on the other side don't want to explain to 40 million seniors how you can cut a trillion dollars out of medicare. now, it's exactly $470 billion over the next ten years, but when fully implemented, a trillion out of medicare and spend it on a new program without reducing medicare services to 40 million seniors. the director of the congressional budget office has already that said for the 11 million seniors who are on medicare advantage that fully half their benefits will be affected. i think our friends on the other side don't want the american people to understand why the $578 billion in new taxes that are going to begin to be imposed next year, they're going to have a hard time explaining how that will create new jobs in america at a time when we have 10% unemployed. and they really don't want the american people to find out that
10:09 am
the director of the congressional budget office said that if we put those new taxes on insurance premiums, on medical devices, all al almost f them will be passed on to the consumers, and as a result, premiums will go up. there are some very strong words that have been coming from the other side about republicans saying that this bill will actually increase the cost of health care. it's not republicans who are saying that, mr. president. here's what david brooks in "the new york times" said in his analysis of the bill when he gave the reasons for it and the reasons against it this week. and came to the conclusion that if he were a senator, he'd vote against it. the second reason to oppose this bill, said mr. brooks is that -- and i quote -- "according to the chief actuary for medicare, it will cause national health care spending to increase faster." that's right, mr. president, we're going to raise taxes, cut medicare, send the big bill to the state. all for what?
10:10 am
quote -- "according to the chief actuary for medicare, it will cause national health care spending to increase faster." so if you're paying x for premiums, you're going to be paying more as a result of this bill. health care spending goes -- continues david brooks, "is already zooming past 17% of our gross domestic product to 22% and beyond." then it's going to be hard to explain to the 9 million people that the congressional budget office letter said would lose their employer insurance under this bill why that will happen. of course, it will happen because under the bill as a whole, as employers look at the mandates and the costs, many will decide not to offer health insurance and so those employees will find themselves either in medicaid, the program for low-income americans into which 15 million americans are going, a program which 50% of doctors won't see new medicaid patients.
10:11 am
it's like giving you a ticket to a bus when the bus only runs half the time. that's where many of these americans will go. or they'll go into the individual market and the individual market will have higher premiums. now, the other side says, ah, but there will be subsidies for some of you. but the premiums are going to be higher. the health care costs are going to be higher. the majority doesn't want to explain why this bill changes the bipartisan agreement not to have federal funding for abortion that's been agreed to since 1977. they don't want to take time for the american people to understand the class act, the long-term insurance act, a new entitlement, which sounds wonderful, but the democratic chairman of the budget committee described it as a ponzi scheme worthy of bernie madoff. that is because the amount of money that would be paid in -- a
10:12 am
person pays a people are july of $28.80 per yea year for five ye, and then they'll have a long-term benefit for a long time after that. mr. president, it's obvious why the majority -- thank you, mr. president. it's obvious why the majority has cooked up this amendment in secret, has introduced it in the middle of a snowstorm, has scheduled the senate to come in session at midnight, has scheduled a vote for 1:00 a.m., is insisting that it be passed before christmas -- because they don't want the american people to know what's in it. it's a deeply disappointing legislative result but our friends on the democratic side seem determined to pursue a political kamikaze mission toward a historic mistake which will be bad for the democrats, i am convinced, but, unfortunately, even much worse for our country. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. mccain: mr. president?
10:13 am
the presiding officer: the senator from arizona is recognized. mr. mccain: mr. president, as we approach in less than an hour the -- a very important vote. some have called it historic. some call it pivotal. some -- it's been given very -- various adjectives and adverbs. i think it might be appropriate to discuss for a minute or two how this all began. it all began in the presidential campaign. i don't really like to spend much time recalling it. but health care was a big issue in the presidential campaign. and on october the 8th of 200 2008, just less than a month before the election, then-candidate obama said -- and i quote -- concerning health care reform -- quote -- "i'm going to have all the negotiations around a big table. we'll have negotiations televised on c-span so that people can see who is making arguments on behalf of their constituents and who are making arguments on behalf of the drug companies" -- keep that in mind,
10:14 am
the drug companies -- "or the insurance companies." now, that was a statement made by then-senator/candidate obama. so what we have seen here -- what we have seen here is a dramatic departure. there's never been a c-span camera. there's never been a negotiation, a serious negotiation, between republicans and the other side. there has never been. i s -- i say that with the knowledge, mr. president, of someone who has negotiated many times across the aisle on many agreements. so don't stand up and say that there were serious negotiations between republicans and democrats. there never were. but there was negotiations with the special interests, with phrma, the same ones that the president said he was going to see who the american people were on the side of. clearly this administration and that side of the aisle were on the side of phrma because they
10:15 am
got a sweetheart deal of about about $100 billion that would have been saved if we had been able to reimport prescription drugs. the aarp has a sweetheart deal. there is a provision in this deal for them, plans that medigap insurance sold by aarp are exempt from tax on insurance companies. the a.m.a. signed up because of the promise of a doc fix. there was throughout this. we should have set up a tent out in front and put persian rugs out in front of it. that's the way this has been conducted. so of course then the special interests were taken care of. then we had to take care of special senators. and one deal is called we've got new words in our lexicon now -- the louisiana purchase, the cornhusker kickback. i got a new name. the florida flimflam. the one that gives the medicare advantage members in florida around the country the benefit,
10:16 am
but my constituents in medicare advantage don't. and so in answer to this -- in answer to a question today, the majority leader said, quote -- "a number of states are treated differently than other states." really? "a number of states are treated different than other states. that's what the legislation is all about. that's compromise." where is that taught? where is that taught? a number of states are treated differently than other states. that's why legislation is all -- that is what legislation is all about. that's compromise. my friends, that's not what the american people call governing. that's called exactly what the -- an opposite, a contradiction to what the president of the united states said where he says we'll have negotiations televised on c-span so that people can see who is making arguments. i see the leader from illinois over there. just a few days ago, i said what's in the bill? the senator from illinois says i don't know.
10:17 am
i'm in the dark, too. i can give him his own quote. so here we are, as the senator from tennessee said, in the middle of the night, and here we are, my friends, about to pass a bill with 60 votes. now, 60 votes represents 60% of this body, but i can assure my friends on the other side of the aisle it doesn't represent 60% of the american people! in fact, 61% of the american people, according to a cnn poll, say they want this stopped. they approve -- they disapprove of it. and i guarantee you when you go against the majority opinion of the american people, you pay a heavy price, and you should, and you should. and i'll tell you -- i tell my colleagues right now that when you -- this will be -- if it is passed and we are not going to give up after this vote, believe me. when you -- for the first time
10:18 am
in history, for the first time in history, there will be a major reform passed on a party-line basis. every reform -- and i have been part of them -- has been passed on a bipartisan basis. this will be a strict party-line basis. you know, i was thinking today about this vote, and i was thinking about the other times and other examples i have had of courage or lack of or the fact that in the face of odds that you have to stand up for what you believe in, and i thought about back when i first entered the united states naval academy at the young age of 17, and one of the first things they told us about in our learning of naval traditions was about a battle that took place early in the revolutionary war. an american ship run by a captain engaged a british ship, the mighty british navy, and the american ship was outgunned and it was outmanned, and as they came together in mortal combat,
10:19 am
the dead and dying all around and the british captain said do you surrender, and that captain, that captain john paul jones said "i have not yet begun to fight." i tell the american people we're going to go around this country, we're going to the town halls, we're going to the senior centers, we're going to the rotary clubs, we're going to carry this message. we will not do this. we will not commit generational theft on future generations of americans. we won't give them another another $2.5 trillion of debt. we won't give them an unfair policy where deals are done in back rooms, and we, we, all of us on this side of the aisle will stand up for the american people and we have just begun to fight.
10:20 am
mr. harkin: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa is recognized. mr. harkin: mr. president, you know, for the last several weeks, all we have heard from the other side is attack, attack, attack. all we have heard from the other side is no, no, no. you know, they keep talking. i just heard the senator from arizona saying that this is not a bipartisan bill, and i heard so much talk on the other side in the last several weeks about how this should be bipartisan. well, let's look at that for a second. as i see it, the republicans
10:21 am
have no bill of their own. our bill has 60 democrats, a supermajority, a supermajority. well, i guess there is a bill over there. it's the coburn-burr bill. it has seven cosponsors. that's it. that's it, nothing else. not all of the republicans are supporting it. my friends on the other side are all over the place. they can't even agree among themselves what they want to do. they have no comprehensive bill like we have come up with. so i keep hearing that we democrats are not bipartisan, but who do we deal with? just the senator from arizona, just the senator from tennessee? how about the senator from oklahoma or the senator from south carolina? well, i'm sorry. i feel sorry the republicans are
10:22 am
all split up. they have not done their own homework, to pull their own senators together for something positive. so what they have done is they have pulled together to say no, to try to kill the reform bill that we have worked so hard on all year. now, we extended a hand. now, if we had really wanted to ace out the republicans, we would have followed their lead and what they did in 2001 when they ran through that tax cut for the wealthy. they did it on reconciliation so we couldn't filibuster it, so we couldn't have any debate on it. that's what they did. that's what they did. we didn't do it that way. president obama said we want to hold the olive branch out, we want to work with republicans, so that's what we tried to do. under the leadership of senator dodd on our committee, we had numerous meetings with republicans. we had a markup session that lasted 13 days, 54 hours.
10:23 am
we accepted 161 of their amendments. and in the end, everyone on the republican side voted against it. senator baucus bent over backwards. week after week he went -- he not only went the extra mile, he went the extra hundred miles to try to get republicans to work with them on this bill. and in the end, only one republican would vote for the bill out of the committee. so that's what we have. we just have -- i'm sorry to say my friend on the other side were in total disarray. they have nothing we can agree on. well, we have something we have agreed on. 60. a supermajority that have greap greap -- that have agreed upon moving a bill forward, a pivotal point in our history in a decades-long march towards comprehensive health reform. eluded congresses and presidents going back to theodore
10:24 am
roosevelt. my friends on the other side defend the status quo. they want us to vote our fears, fear, fear. everything you hear it seems on the other side is fear, be afraid. well, it's not going to work this time because what the american people want is not fear. they want hope. they want the hope that they will have the health care that they need when they have to have it at a price that is affordable. they want to have the peace of mind and security of knowing that their children, if they have a pre-existing condition, will be covered by health insurance. they want to have the peace of mind of knowing if they lose a job, they don't lose their health insurance. the american people want the hope and the security of knowing that if they get ill, they won't be dropped by their insurance company. they want the hope and the security to know that they aren't just one illness away
10:25 am
from bankruptcy. we are the only country in the world, the only one where people can go bankrupt because they owe a medical bill. no other country would allow that to happen. we're the only one. this bill is going to stop that. people won't have to fear going bankrupt because someone in their family got a chronic illness for a disease that's going to cost a lot of money. the american people want us to move forward, and we're going to do it tonight at 1:00. we're going to move forward. we're not going to vote fears. we're going to vote hope. we're going to tell the american people that we are going to do three big things. first of all, we're going to cover 94% of americans with
10:26 am
health insurance. 94%. 31 million people out there without health insurance are going to get health insurance. secondly, we're going to crack down on the abuses of the insurance companies. no more canceling your policy just because you got sick. no more lifetime caps, which basically cause more and more people to go into bankruptcy. no more of those lifetime caps. we're going to make sure your kids can stay on their policy until they are age 26. we're going to do away with all these pre-existing condition clauses. next year for children up to age 18 and then for everyone later on after we get the exchanges set up. insurance companies will not be able to rescind your policies or drop you because you got cancer or heart disease.
10:27 am
and if you're a person, if you're out there and you have your own health insurance policy right now and you like it, you can keep it, you can keep it. but guess what this bill will do. it will lower your premiums and it will improve your coverage if you want to keep your own health insurance that you have right now. mr. president, every year about 45,000 americans die in this country because they have no health insurance. johns hopkins did a study and said that kids, children, who have no health insurance are 60% more likely to die because of hospitalizations than kids who have health insurance coverage. it's a moral disgrace. the health insurance policies of america, what we have right now, is a moral disgrace. you can talk to people from other countries, our closest allies, our closest friends that
10:28 am
share so many of our values. and when they find out about our health system, they say how can you put up with it? this is disgraceful. you're the leader of the free world. you're supposed to set the example. and what a terrible example we have set in health care. what a terrible example. we finally arrived, mr. president, at one of the most significant moments in the history of the united states senate, one of the most significant. our former chairman, senator ted kennedy, who fought all his life for national health insurance, who years ago, back in the 1960's said that health care ought to be a right, not a privilege, said that over 40 years ago, almost 50 years ago, that health care should be a
10:29 am
right and not a privilege. it was always his highest priority. it was his great dream of an america where quality, affordable health care is that right. he thought of it as a moral imperative. a more imperative. a lot of times we lose that. we hear all this debate about how much this and this and who's going to lose this and all these scare tactics. we see all these numbers and all that kind of stuff. we forget the essence of it. it is a moral imperative. we are called upon to right a great injustice, a great wrong that's been put upon the american people for far too long. it is a moral imperative that confronts us now, that we will vote on in a half an hour. we are closer than we've ever been to making ted kennedy's dream a reality.
10:30 am
a lot of people have worked very hard on this bill. i mentioned senator baucus. i mentioned senator dodd. senator reid, our leader. the amount of hours that he has spent and the days he has spent here without his family, without going home, being here all the time working. our assistant leader, senator durbin. so many people have worked so hard on this bill. we've had so much input on this. everyone has had input on this bill. our republican friends have had input on this bill. they had it in our committees. i said we accepted 161 amendments. so i guess you can say this bill has a lot of authors. but there's really only one author of this bill: senator ted kennedy. senator ted kennedy. it's his bill because it does
10:31 am
get us the start -- the start. to my friends, i say this is not the end of health care reform. it's the beginning. but we must make this beginning in order to fulfill that dream and really make health care a right, not a privilege. so in a half an hour, let's make history. the other side says fear. we say hope. the other side says no. we say yes. we say yes to progress, yes to people, yes to health care as an inalienable right of every american citizen. i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president, parliamentary inquiry. the presiding officer: the senator from texas is recognized. mr. cornyn: mr. president, earlier today senator grassley
10:32 am
raised a parliamentary inquiry on, based on rule 44 of the standing rules of the senate. as my colleagues will recall, this was a rule that the senate passed pursuant to the honest leadership and open government act of 2007. and the question had to do with whether the manager's amendment that we're getting ready to vote on complied with rule 44's earmark disclosure requirement. at the time the chair indicated the disclosure list was not submitted. at the time that was about 6:00 p.m. today. my inquiry is: is the chair aware of the disclosure list being made available as required by rule 44 now as we vote in the next 30 minutes? the presiding officer: the chair is not aware at this time whether that statement has been made. the senator from connecticut is recognized. mr. dodd: mr. president, i want to take a few closing minutes if i can. i spoke earlier this evening
10:33 am
about the importance of this moment that we all have come to appreciate, i believe, a moment that has been years in the making. going back, as all have pointed out, or most pointed out in favor of this legislation, dating back to the early part of the last century with theodore, a former republican who first advocated the notion of a national health care system in our nation. harry truman articulated in very specific terms. it was 69 years ago this month, mr. president, that mr. roosevelt identified the four freedoms. the freedom of religion, the freedom of speech, the freedom from want and the freedom from fear. it is that last freedom that franklin roosevelt talked about in december of 1941 that is deserving of our attention at these closing minutes. whatever else one may argue about the specifics of this bill it is that fear that so many of
10:34 am
our fellow citizens have over whether or not they will be confronted with a health care crisis and have the resources to address it and the ability to have a doctor, a physician, a health care provider, a hospital to provide them with that kind of help when they need it. that fear is not just for those who are without health care, even for those who have health care insurance. that fear persists. this evening, more than anything else, beyond the specifics of the legislation in front of us is our desire to address that freedom, that freedom from fear that was addressed so eloquently almost 70 years ago. so this evening we attempt anyway to begin that journey of eliminating those fears that so many of our fellow citizens have over the loss or the inability to acquire the kind of health insurance or the ability to have a doctor. so we're poised to make a monumental vote on legislation that finally makes access to quality health care a right for every american.
10:35 am
if you don't believe it's a right, it's only a privilege, i suppose you could come to a different conclusion. and there are those, i guess, who believe it is a privilege to have access to health care as an american citizen. those of us on this side of the aisle believe it is a right that you have. and as such, as a right, you ought not to be denied that right based on the economic circumstances, your gender, your ethnicity in this nation. you ought to have access to that health care as a fundamental right in our nation. obviously we need to participate, engage in responsible activities that will make sure that we contribute to the well-being of all of our nation to reduce the cost of health care. this is a comprehensive bill. it's been more than not just a year specifically on this effort, but goes back 40 or 50 years in terms of drafting and efforts have been made to achieve what we're trying to achieve this evening. at the end of the day, however, this legislation is really about freedom from fears, i said a moment ago. the bill frees americans from
10:36 am
the fear that if they lose their job they'll never find insurance coverage again. the bill frees americans from the fear that they might get sick and be unable to afford the treatment they need. and the bill frees americans from the fear that one illness, one accident could cost them everything they built -- their homes, their retirement, their life savings. in a nation, mr. president, founded on freedom and sustained by unimaginable prosperity, as i mentioned before, this bill is long overdue and critically important. no american can be free from fear when getting sick could mean going broke. this fight is older than most of us who serve in this body. our path has been illuminated by a torch lit years ago in the days of harry truman and sustained for decades by good people, republicans and democrats, the nixon administration, the clinton administration, members like john chafee who worked tirelessly trying to craft a good health care bill. you heard others talk about the
10:37 am
greets they had not acknowledging his ideas when he proposed them. we might have been able to address this issue years and years ago. so good people have tried to come up with some answers to this issue. it is with a note of sadness this evening that we're going to have a partisan vote on this matter. i wish it were otherwise. i'd like to point out that of course many others have fought and khaoepblged us to -- and challenged us to come up with these answers. but tonight this is our answer, the 60 of us who will vote to go forward with this. as senator harkin pointed out, this is hardly the final matter on this answer but it allows us to begin that process of addressing these issues in a more thoughtful and comprehensive way in the years ahead. of course no one was a better champion of all this, as senator harkin pointed out, that than or beloved colleague from massachusetts, senator ted kennedy. he understood you could never solve all of these issues in one
10:38 am
fell swaofplt it was going to take an incremental approach to get us there. while i can guarantee you if he were to read this bill there would be disappointments he'd have in it. if he could have written it on his own, he'd write it differently. i guarantee you as i stand here this evening that were he among us this evening he would urge all of us to move forward on this bill, address it, vote forward to allow this nation to begin to gap pell with this issue -- grapple with this issue that should have been solved more than 50 years ago. this evening as we come down to the final minutes of this debate, let us remind ourselves that i think history will judge us well for taking up this challenge once again and asking ourselves to give americans the opportunity to live with freedom from those fears that they have this very evening. and tonight we begin to alleviate those fears. and i urge my colleagues to support this effort. i yield the floor.
10:39 am
mr. mcconnell: stphr-pt. the presiding officer: the republican leader -- mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader is recognized. mr. mcconnell: tonight marks the culmination of a long national debate. passions have rung high, and that's appropriate. because the bill we're voting on tonight will impact the life of every american. it will shape the future of our country. it will determine whether our children can afford the nation they inherit. it is one of the most consequential votes any of us
10:40 am
will ever take, and none of us take it lightly. but make no mistake, if the people who wrote this bill were proud of it, they wouldn't be forcing this vote in the dead of night. here are just some of the deals we've noticed. $100 million for an unnamed health care facility at an unnamed university somewhere in the united states. the bill doesn't say where. and no one will even step forward to claim it. one state out of 50 -- one state out of 50 -- gets to expand medicaid at no cost to itself
10:41 am
while taxpayers in the other 49 states pick up the tab. the same senator who cut that deal secured another one that benefits a single insurance company. just one insurance company in his state. do the supporters of the bill know this? i would say to my colleagues, you think that's fair to all of your states? what about the rest of the country? the fact is a year after the debate started, few people would have imagined that this is how it would end. with a couple of cheap deals, a couple of cheap deals and a rushed vote at 1:00 in the
10:42 am
morning. but that's where we are. and americans are wondering tonight how did this happen? how did this happen? so i'd like to take a moment to explain to the american people how we got here, to explain what's happened and, yes, what's happening now. everyone in this chamber agrees that we need health care, health care reform. everybody agrees on that. the question is how? some of us have taken the view that the american people want us to tackle the cost issue, and we proposed targeted steps to do it. our friends on the other side have taken the opposite approach, and the result has been just what you'd expect. the final product is a mess.
10:43 am
a mess. and so is the process that has brought us here to vote on a bill that the american people overwhelmingly oppose. any challenge of this size and scope has always been dealt with on a bipartisan basis. the senior senator from maine made that point at the outset of the debate and reminded us all of how these issues have typically been handled throughout our history. the social security act of 1935 was approved by all by six members of the senate. the medicare act of 1965 only had 21 dissenters.
10:44 am
and the americans with disabilities act in 1990 only had eight senators who voted no. americans believe that on issues of this importance, one party should never be allowed to force its will on the other half of the nation. the proponents of this bill felt differently. in a departure from history, democratic leaders put together a bill so heavy with tax hikes, medicare cuts, and government intrusion that in the end, their biggest problem wasn't convincing republicans to support it, it was convincing the democrats. in the end, the price of passing this bill wasn't achieving the
10:45 am
reforms americans were promised. it was a blind call to make history, even if it was a historical mistake. which is exactly what this bill will be if it is@@@@@@@ @ @ @ @ the president said, on september
10:46 am
9, will slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government. my plan, the president said, would bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family. in the future." and on taxes? no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase, he said. he said he wouldn't cut medica medicare. he said people who like the plans they have wouldn't lose their coverage. and americans were promised an open and honest debate. that's what i'll do in bringing all parties together, then-senator obama said on the campaign trail.
10:47 am
not negotiating behind closed doors but bringing all parties together and broadcasting these negotiations on c-span. well, that was then. and this is now. but here's the reality. the democrat bill we're voting on tonight raises health care costs. that's not me talking, it's the administration's own budget score keeper. it raises premiums. that's not -- that's the nonpartisan congressional budget office talking. it raises taxes on tens of millions of middle-class americans, and it plunders medicare by half a trillion dollars. it forces people off the plans they have, including millions of seniors. it allows the federal governme
10:48 am
government, for the first time in our history, to use taxpayer dollars for abortions. so a president who was voted into office on a promise of change said he wanted to lower premiums. that changed. he said he wouldn't raise taxes. that changed. he said he wanted lower costs. that changed. he said he wouldn't cut medica medicare. and that changed too. and 12 months and $2.3 trillion later, lawmakers who made these same promises to their constituents are poised to vote for a bill that won't bend the cost curve, that won't make health care more affordable, and
10:49 am
that will make real reform even harder to achieve down the road. now, i understand the pressure our friends on the other side are feeling and i don't doubt úf hzúvs nzzkd
10:50 am
and they don't like lawmakers playing games with their health care to secure the votes they need to pass it. let's think about that for a moment. we know the american people are overwhelmingly opposed to this bill. yet, the people who wrote it won't get the 300 million americans whose lines would be profound affected by it as much as 72 hours to study the details. imagine that -- when we all woke up yesterday morning we still have not seen the details of the bill we were asked to vote on before we go to sleep tonight. when we woke up yesterday morning, we still hadn't seen the details of the bill we are
10:51 am
going to be asked to vote on before we go to sleep tonight. how can anybody justify this approach? particularly in the face of such widespread and intense public opposition. can all of these americans be wrong? don't their concerns count? party loyalty can be a powerful force. we all know that. but americans are asking the democrats to put party loyalty aside tonight, to put the interests of small business owners, tax payers, and seniors first. and there's good news. it's not too late. çall it takes is one, just one
10:52 am
all it takes is one. one can stop it, one can stop thatç, or everyone will own it one can stop it, for every single one will own it. my colleagues, it is not too late. >> mr. president -- >> majority leader is recognized. all over this great country of
10:53 am
ours, people are dying soon, for to sen. more and more americans will come down with the flu or even develop diabetes, suffered a stroke, dying far earlier than modern science says they should. more and more americans who contract skin cancer or have a heart condition are dying rather than being cured. pull out the medical records of these patients, an official forms will tell you they died of complications from disease -- but what it is really killing more and more americans every day are complications due to our health care system. much of our attention this year has been consumed by this health care debate. in a national study by harvard university found 45,000 times this year nearly 900 times every week, more than 120 times every day an average -- every 10
10:54 am
minutes -- and american dies as a result of not having health insurance. this country, the greatest riches the world has ever seen is the only advanced nation in -- on earth were dying because of lack of health insurance is even possible. to make matters worse, we are paying for that privilege. the price of staying healthy in america goes up, goes up, and not surprisingly, so the numbers of americans who cannot afford -- in fact, medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy in america. and there it is the second choice, way down the list, medical bills. that is why we are here. just as we have the ability to prevent these is that
10:55 am
christensen, we have the ability to provide quality health care to every american and we have the ability to treat our unhealthy health care system. that is what this historic bill does. it protects patients and consumers, lowest the cost of staying healthy, and greatly reduces our debt. this landmark legislation protect america's youngest citizens by making it illegal for insurance companies to refuse to cover a child because of pre-existing condition. mr. president, it protect america's oldest sister -- citizens by strengthening medicare and extending its life for only -- almost a decade. we are also taking the for steps to close the notorious loophole that costs seniors thousands of dollars each year for prescription drugs. these are some of the reasons why aarp, american association for the best of colored people -- i am sorry, american association for retired people,
10:56 am
not the naacp, i am sorry about that, mr. president -- this is one of the reasons they aarp is supporting its bill. contrary to what we heard by distinguished friend and republican leaders say, premiums are reduced, mr. president, by 93% of people who have insurance to have reduced premiums. this also strengthens our future by cutting our towering national deficit by as much as $1.30 trillion over the next two decades. but what my distinguished counterpart is saying is not based in fact. these aren't numbers i came up with. these numbers congressional budget came up with. $1.30 trillion. that is trillion with a tee. it cuts deficit more sharply than anything congress has done in a long, long time. it lowers cost. i talked about medicare.
10:57 am
my friend, the republican leader, said it will reshape our nation. that is why we are doing it, mr. president. we want to reshape the health care delivery system in our country. america has 750,000 bankruptcies a year, about 80% caused by health care costs. 62% of the people who have to fall poughkeepsie because of medical costs have health insurance. we are reshaping the nation, that is what we want to do. we have to do it. with this vote we are rejecting a system in which one class of people can afford to stay healthy while another cannot. it demands for the first time in american history that good health will not depend on great well -- wealth. it and now -- acknowledges
10:58 am
finally health care is a fundamental right. my friend, senator harkin, spoke about this so clearly. a human right, not just a privileged of the most fortunate. president johnson, former majority leader of the united states senate, medicare into law when he was president. with the advice, i " -- we need to see beyond the words to the people they touch. that is just as true today as it was 44 years ago when he signed that legislation. this is not about partisanship or about procedure. and everyone knows we are here at 1:00 in the morning because of my friends on the other side of the aisle. for them to say with a straight face -- and i notice some did not have a straight face -- that we are here because of us is without any foundation whatsoever. everyone knows that. this is not about politics. it is certainly not about
10:59 am
pulling. it is about people, it is about life and death in america. it is about human suffering and given the chance to relieve the suffering, we must. citizens have written to tell us they are broke because of our broken health care system. some sent letters with even worse news, news of great ellises', preventable death. judy grave that the illnesses. we have heard opponents complain about the number of pages in the bill. i prefer to think of this bill in terms of the people it will help. one named lisa, who lives in nevada -- a city below the sierra nevada mountains. she lives there with her two daughters, both an elementary school. the youngest suffers seizures and the teachers think she now has a learning disability. because of her family history, lisa, the girls mom, is in high risk of cervical cancer.
11:00 am
although she is supposed to get exams every three months, she doesn't go. she is lucky she goes once a year and most time she is not lucky. when lisa lost a job she lost her health care coverage. now both lisa and her daughter missed the tests and preventive medicine that could keep them healthy. the letter ended with a simple plea -- we want to be able to go to a doctor. a direct quote from her. that is why this bill will ensure all americans can get the preventive tests and screaming they need. i'm voting, yes, mr. president because i believe lisa and her daughter deserve to be able to go to the doctor. .
11:01 am
most kids grow out of their shoes. he does not. a lot of kids probably get a new pair a year, but he is needed a new pair of prosthetic legs every year since he was 5. unfortunately, unbelievably, his insurance company has decided it does not need those legs. that is why this bill will make it illegal for insurance companies to use pre-existing conditions as an excuse to not give you coverage. this is a big change. but is it a good change? i am voting is because i believe he deserves a set of prosthetics that fit. ken wrote for me from mesquite,
11:02 am
nev., a border town. he has chronic heart problems and parts of his feet have been amputated. he cannot go to the doctor because he makes too much to qualify for medicaid into little for private insurance. i share with the senate what he wrote me. "i am very frustrated because it seems my only hope is that i very soon. i cannot afford to stay alive. that is the end of the quote. that is what this bill will expand medicaid to cover people like ken from nevada who are caught in the middle. i am voting yes because when someone tells me his only hope is to die, that means we have to take a close look at that. i cannot look away. i cannot possibly do nothing. a man by the name of mike lives in eastern nevada. his 26-year-old son has been
11:03 am
insulin dependent in bed since he was a baby. the insurance his sentence for work will not cover his treatments. they cannot afford to buy more insurance. his and his troubles are more than just about money. they cannot afford to treat their sons diabetes, so it develop into another disease which cannot be treated either because of the money, and this disease can be fatal. this is what he wrote me two weeks ago. "i do not know what to pray for first, then i will die before my son will slide did not get the bare the burden or that i out live him so i could provide for his family when he is gone." quite a set of prayers, mr. president. this should not be a choice. in the american should have to make. it should not be a choice any father or mother should have to make. and when given a chance to help people just like mike, our
11:04 am
choice should be very easy. that is what this legislation is all about. these are hard -- heartbreaking citizens with heartbreaking stories. they're people who play by the rules and what their insurance company to also do the same. they are not alone. these tragedies do not have been only to the people in nevada. they do not happen to people to take time to write to the leaders only. these tragic events 7 to people on the east coast, the west coast, and everywhere in between. these tragedies happen to americans in small towns and big cities. these tragedies happen to citizens on the left side of the spectrum and the right side. . mike rhodes and his powerful letter about his son, again, "democrats need health care. republicans need health care. independents need health care. all americans need health care. get it done." he is right. every single senator, every one
11:05 am
of us, comes from a state where these injustices happen every single day. every single senator represents hundreds, thousands of people who have to choose between paying electricity or medical bills, between filling a prescription or just hoping for the best, between their mothers chemotherapy treatment in their daughter's college tuition. as i mentioned earlier, on average an american does from lack of health insurance every 10 minutes. that means in the short, have been speaking, our broken system has claimed least two lives. and other americans died. another american has died. two have died a preventable death, each of them. forces since this heart rendering decisions every day. tonight every senator has a choice to make as well. that choice, are you going to do all you can to avert the next
11:06 am
preventable death? i hope so. irish an aye vote. mr. president, -- i urge an aye vote. mr. president, i would advise my members that in 1984 the senate adopted resolution s480 to impose a requirement senators look from the basket on the wooden benches of the time, but i would ask that we do vote from our desks and followed the rule s480. senators vote from their desks. >> senate majority leader harry reid early this morning. following that late night debate, the senate passed the manager's amendment. it was 16-40. more procedural votes are set for tomorrow morning at approximately 7:00 p.m. -- 7:00 a.m. eastern. wednesday 1:00 p.m., a vote on final passage is scheduled for christmas eve at 7:00 p.m. eastern the date is alive health
11:07 am
care debate when the senate returns this afternoon at noon eastern on our companion network, c-span2. key democratic senators are holding a news conference on the health care bill today. among those taking part, majority leader harry reid, finance committee chair max baucus, christopher dodd, and the health committee chair, tom harkin. that will be at 1:15 p.m. eastern. also, president obama will be making an announcement about government efficiency. live coverage from the white house when it gets underway at 11:30 a.m. eastern. we will have it here for you on c-span. until then, united nations secretary-general ban ki-moon on the climate change summit in copenhagen. he discusses the group reached between the u.s. and several large developing nations. this is about 25 minutes.
11:08 am
>> good morning. it is a great pleasure to see you. i just came back yesterday afternoon after attending this conference on climate change in copenhagen. on saturday morning in copenhagen, i had a press conference with your colleagues who were attending copenhagen. today i am pleased to meet with you basically to the answers the questions of which you may have the last time i did not have much time to answer questions. i have a security council briefing at 10:00 on important african issues. first of all, let me say that the conference was a process. among the confluence of decisions that copenhagen reports in marks a step forward. first, it permits countries to
11:09 am
work to keep temperatures below two degrees celsius. it also says that they will review the commitment in the 2015 to take account of new scientific evidence. i understand that the ipcc is going to try to release their fifth assessment report in 2014. second, the report includes mediation targets developed for countries and actions by developing countries. again, this is our advance. third, countries agreed on the importance of acting to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. this means we have finally found the source of nearly one fit the global emissions into the
11:10 am
emerging climate region. fourth, we agreed to provide cover and some support to the most vulnerable to cope with climate change. fifth, backed by money and means to deliberate. we know already that $30 billion have been committed until 2010. and after that, $100 billion annually. up to 2020. i urge countries to be sure that the copenhagen green climate fund becomes fully operational as soon as possible. i urge all governments to formally sign on to the copenhagen accord by registering their support through the unfccc. the faster we have all the signatures, the more momentum we can build. decisions made in copenhagen are in large part benchmarks for
11:11 am
success that ablate down at the september 2009 summit meeting here at u.n. headquarters. admittedly, they do not yet meet the scientific allies to keep global temperature is to below 2 degrees celsius, above pre- industrial levels. but without the commitments in the copenhagen accords, we could be facing the real prospect of temperature rises of up to six degrees celsius. during the coming months, i will continue my work with world leaders to increase their level of addition. i will urge all to implement their commitments as soon as possible. and that will encourage them to directly engaged in achieving a global, a legally binding climate change treaty in 2010, hands on investment to help seal
11:12 am
the deal in copenhagen. it demonstrates the world leaders appreciate the importance of impacting climate change but they are ready to act. there were countries said -- [unintelligible] they're now at the center of global climate action. as we move forward, we will examine the lessons of the copenhagen conference. we will consider how to streamline the negotiations process. we will also look that how to look to the full context of climate change and look at negotiations substantially and institutionally. over the next year, i will establish a high level tenor on climate change to strategically address such issues. while i am is satisfied that we sealed the deal, i am aware that
11:13 am
the outcome of the copenhagen conference, including the copenhagen accord, did not go as far as many would have hoped. but it represents a beginning, is essential beginning. when the taken a step in the right direction. thank you very much. >> your assessment of the conference is quite different from many who have said it was a failure. they called it a disaster. i have two questions. first, the british prime minister has said the conference was hijacked by a number of countries. how do you respond? secondly, other critics have said that the conference was a massive blow to the u.n. framework in that it became clear that these issues would not be agreed to by consensus and only a member countries came forward with a deal which the others grudgingly and reluctantly accepted. how do you respond? >> i know there are different assessments on the outcome of this climate change conference in copenhagen.
11:14 am
basically, i believe that's overwhelming member states agree that it was a success. it was a very significant step forward to agreeing to a legally binding treaty as soon as possible. copenhagen was, in fact, about finding a way forward, to deal with a huge problem and very complex, difficult problem. thnegotiations took a long time. conditions of many member states entrenched, and it was quiet the difficult and a tough process. there was a way forward the pushes all countries to take action. it is not perfect at this time,
11:15 am
but it was very important, significant step forward. this, as i said, we have been able to achieve all the elements which we have laid down in september. and about thie second part of te question about being hijacked or the relevance of the multilateralism, i believe this accord represents almost all member states of the countries' positions. of course i understand that this is only a limited. it does not meet full satisfaction of all the countries. but we did not expect that we would be able to have this legally binding treaty satisfying all the elements and
11:16 am
to all the member states. but they think we did get what we need to make this process move on. and there were some countries who really expressed reservations, both on procedures in both the substance the matters and procedurally because of the complexity and the very slow process of negotiations. we established a small group of member states and around the 30 member states, representing of different stakeholders. first of all, china was represented. for developed countries, a small
11:17 am
island developing countries, in major biggest leading countries. there were all represented. therefore, in terms of representation, i thought there were fully representative. of course, that means the there was some level of transparency because we were not able to chile concert with all 192 member states at that time. it was difficult negotiations. on subjects that matter, there is more to be done. i am sure in the course of our negotiations, part of it is to make this globally accessible treaty formed so we will be able to add it to the copenhagen accord. >> can you tell us what role you
11:18 am
were able to personally play in facilitating the work of the 30 member states as you mentioned? and also, behind the scenes deal that president obama helped to broker? it did not have targets, so did not have other commitments concerning verification or financial help. but to what extent were you personally involved? >> i think everybody has played an important role, not necessarily myself. scores president obama has created a very important law at the last minute when the negotiation was stopped on of foreign issues like verification issues and other mediation target issues. he played a crucial important role. for me, i have been, as the
11:19 am
note, during the past years, i have been discussing this issue with world leaders, raising political awareness been trying to mobilize a critical leadership role, trying to mobilize the necessary financial and technology support for developing countries. particularly during this summit meeting as low as before this summit meeting, had been very close with the chair that this copenhagen summit meeting with the prime minister and the environmental prime minister [unintelligible] and i have been expanded my network with many world leaders,
11:20 am
a major world leaders, a major emitters, as well as the most of vulnerable countries. at the end of this negotiation was almost at the block. finally on saturday morning, there was a role in convincing those people who are having a strong reservations on in the procedural measures as well as some elements. i emphasize the we have come such a long way. we did not have any time to lose. and if we had to defer a go through another negotiations process, then we would not be able to immediately personalize this financial support and technological support.
11:21 am
this political accord has some immediate operational of sex, safe from january of next year to provide financial and technology support to most vulnerable developing countries. therefore, i understand that there are some different assessments. we should depend upon this accord so we will be able to have some legally binding treaty. >> the g-77 which is 130 members, the double- quick dribble leave this event a letter to president obama who is making an announcement of government efficiency. >> the united states senate knocked out a filibuster aimed at blocking the final vote on health care reform and scored a big victory for the american
11:22 am
people by standing it to the special interest to have prevented reform for decades and who are fiercely lobbying against it now. the senate does move us closer to reform that makes a tremendous difference for families, for seniors, for businesses, and for the country as a whole. for those who have insurance, reforming greater security and stability. no longer will people with pre- existing conditions excluded from coverage. no longer will people who are seriously ill be dropped from coverage. and no longer will families be allowed to go broke because they're forced to pay exorbitant out of pocket expenses. many people recall the enormous fights around the patient's bill of rights and never got done. well, you know what, the patients' bill of rights is embedded in this health care bill to make sure that all americans who have insurance right now are getting a fair deal from their insurance companies. small businesses and those who do not get insurance through
11:23 am
their employer will finally be able to get insurance at a price they can afford with tax credits to help. medicare will be stronger and extended by nearly a decade. seniors will give more assistance with prescription drug costs than they're getting right now. finally, these reforms will help the inexorable and unsustainable rise in health-care costs that are overwhelming anomalies, businesses, and the federal budget. the congressional budget office now reports of this bill will reduce our deficit by $132 billion over the first decade and a body as much as $1.30 trillion in the decade after that. i just want to be clear for all those who are continually are pinning about how this is somehow a big spending government bill, this cut our deficit by 130 two billion dollars the first 10 years and by over $1 trillion in the
11:24 am
second. that argument that opponents are making against this bill does not hold water. embracing this gun responsibility in washington is what ultimately leads us here today. i am pleased to be joined this morning by my secretary of veterans affairs, my budget director, peter orszag, and our special guest, last but not least, the winner of the first annual save award. that is nancy pickner of colorado. i met with her few minutes ago, and i can tell you she means business. she is a single working mother. she is a clerk with the va. she is an artist. she is an outdoorswoman, and she is an avid hunter. in fact, some where in the western united states there is an elk breathing a sigh of relief because she's here instead of where she would have been, hunting with her kids.
11:25 am
i believe her children are here. there they are right there. it is great to see you guys. nancy's daughter, she skins and guts her elk. so do not mess with her either. [laughter] we're all here for a simple reason. a time when we face not only a fiscal crisis but a host of difficult challenges as a nation. business is as usual in washington and just will not cut it. we need a government that is more you efficient, more effective, and far more fiscally responsible. when my administration walked through the door, the country faced a growing economic downturn as well as a deepening fiscal hole. washington had passed tax cuts for the wealthy and an expensive new entitlement program without paying for any of it. health-care costs continued to rise year after year. a little effort was made to cut wasteful spending.
11:26 am
as a result over the previous eight years, the national debt doubled. undoubled. in january, the deficit stood at $1.30 trillion. and we had to make the difficult decision to add to the deficit in the short term to prevent the potential collapse of our economy. as i said, and the long run, we cannot continue to spend as of deficits do not have consequence. and as a waste does not matter, as a bit harder tax dollars of the american people can be treated like monopoly money. that is what we have seen time and time again. washington has become more concerned about the next election than the next generation. it has put off hard choices. spending bill after spending bill, budget after loaded budget. government contract thing is a perfect example. since 2002 and 2008, the amount spent on government contracts more than doubled. the amount spent on and no bid,
11:27 am
noncompetitive contracts jumped by 129%. this is an inexcusable waste of money. that is why back in march i ordered federal the boards and agencies to come up with plans to save up to $40 billion a year in contract thing by 2011. and over the past six months, agency said in making cuts by looking for better deals, by ending contracts, and going to work in house. and by opening of no bid contracts to competitive bidding. and because the separate suits were brought to announce today that we are on track to meet our goals. 24 departments have identified more than $19 billion in savings for this year alone. this is only the latest example. and my very first cabinet meeting, i directed every secretary to join us and its towering the budget to find ways to make government more efficient and x#m wasteful. together with identified more than 100 programs to scale back or and completely as well as other ways to cut costs, finding
11:28 am
$17 billion in savings so far. we're also going after roughly $100 billion wasted on improper payments to contractors, organizations, and individuals. these mistakes and abuses cost taxpayers more each year than the budgets for the education and homeland security departments combined. we've done was some said was impossible, preventing wasteful spending on outdated weapons systems that even the pentagon says it does not need. i have insisted from the beginning that health care reform will not add one dime to our deficit. as a just noted, not only is and not adding to our deficit, it is actually reducing it. finally, i issued a challenge to every man and woman who works for the federal government. if you see a way government can do its job better or do the same job for less money, i wanted to know about it. that is when we started the save award, to draw on the scene of
11:29 am
government best to improve how government works. we asked federal employees to submit reform proposals based on their experiences and in a testament to the seriousness with which these folks are taking their jobs, we received more than 30,000 proposals in just three weeks. from these submissions, four finalists were selected and put it to an on-line vote. nancy is here because she won. her idea stems from her experience of the va medical center where she works. she noticed that whenever patients left the hospital, left over medications like eye drops or and tailors were just thrown away. often veterans would have to go right back to the pharmacy to refill what was discarded. so the va is paying twice. it is waist, plain and simple. thanks to nancy and to the secretary and the people of veterans affairs, they're putting a stop to it. the changes already under way. of course, her proposal was just one of many great ideas that came to us. when it already begun to
11:30 am
implement a host of suggestions made through the contest. and while promoting electronic pay stubs or scheduling social security. on line the main not be the most glamorous reforms in history, but when taken together, these small changes add up. they add up to that transformation of however the works. that is what we're going to turn the save awarded to an annual event. that is what we're holding a forum at the white house next month to get more ideas from the private sector. we will see how to use technology to reform our government for the 21st century. after years of irresponsibility, where once again take responsibility for every dollar we spend the same way families do. it is true that what i have described today will not be enough to get us out of our fiscal unmasked by itself. we face a deficit that will take tough decisions in the next year's budget and years to come to get under control. but these changes will save the
11:31 am
american people billions of dollars. they will help to put in place a government that is more efficient and effective and wastes less money and no bid contracts, cutting bureaucracy and harnessing technology, that as more fiscally responsible, and the better serves the american taxpayer. that is the government we need. that is the government i intend to implement. that is the kind of government of the american people deserve. and that is the kind of government that people like nancy are helping to build each and every day. nancy, congratulations. we're proud of you. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. thank you. we're very proud of your mom. that is great. thank you, everybody. >> president obama at the white house this morning discussing health care and economics.
11:32 am
health care, the key item on the senate's agenda today. members will return at noon eastern after approving a key vote of health care. debate will resume this afternoon with more procedural votes tomorrow morning and wednesday at 1:00 p.m. a vote of final passage expected on christmas eve as 7:00 p.m. eastern. you can see the senate on our companion network, c-span2, in about half an hour. key democratic senators holding a news conference on the health care bill today. we'll have that live at 1:15 p.m. eastern. harry reid and max baucus. chris dodd and tom harkin all taking part alive car -- 1:15 p.m. eastern here on c-span. a discussion now on the obama administration's economic policy and health care from today's "washington journal." " continues. host: joining us from new york, steve forbes, the author of "how
11:33 am
capitalism will save us" -- former ceo. you indicate in your introduction that he began writing the book in 2007 before the economic collapse. what prompted you to write a book on capitalism at that time? guest: well, there's a lot of misunderstanding about what true free markets are. how they work and what rules are needed. in that sense even though most have a favorable view, it is like the proverbial fish not knowing that it is swimming in water. we have the system but people really do not understand how works. i thought the book with a question and answer format would be useful. then the disaster came along in the along2007, so we have to
11:34 am
focus it on the fact that the whole idea of free markets and capitalism has taken a real hit. -- the whole disaster came along in 2007. the major economic disasters in the past 100 years have had disastrous government policies as the origin. host: as the crisis happened, tarp was passed another efforts were made,ok what is your overal view on how things have gone on? guest: one of the points we make in this book is that there is no party who has the virtue or lack of virtue in terms of economic policies. sometimes democrats get it right, sometimes republicans get it right. many times. both it times the crisis itself was a series of disasters from the fed and regulatory ones.
11:35 am
it made for the perfect storm. since the fall of 2008, unfortunately some of the mistakes have been perpetrated. a boring but devastating one was an accounting thing called mark to market which unnecessarily reduced capital of banks and insurance companies. it was a hearing that finally got the sec and other board to change it. it is when the stock market and financial restitutions began to give back on their feet. so far the process of the bill has not been completed. the dollar is still weak which is hurting investment. the credit system is still not making, not fully working in providing reliable credit to small, small businesses and consumers. the uncertainties out there, particularly with this massive health care bill passed --
11:36 am
uncertainty about cap and trade and other things, is hurting business investment. next year we will get economic growth, but it is like a baseball player who has been hitless who is now heading 250. host: i want to invite viewers and listeners to join the conversation. steve forbes is with us until a 30 a.m. eastern to take your calls on the economy, politics, and capitalism. you write in your book about democratic capitalism being the most moral humane system, but has the system itself had some major problems in the last couple of years? guest: well, when you have an
11:37 am
economic disaster which had its origins in massive money printing by the federal reserve, fannie and freddie guaranteeing $1.50 billion of disastrous mortgages, when the egregious behavior of those on wall street breaks the law and will be punished -- one of the things to recognize is that human nature will not change. you will always have people trying to game the system. there are laws about fraud and the like to deal with them. but would government policies create the disaster is always free markets that get the blame. in the 1970's and the fed and other banks went on a binge of money-printing and gave us a devastating decade of inflation.
11:38 am
business got the rap for it. in the great depression of the 1930's had its origins in a tariff from 1929, 1930. it destroyed the global trading system. the they put in big tax increases including one on checks. if you wrote a check in the 1930's you also have to pay a stamp tax. those kinds of things turn this into an unmitigated disaster. you need sensible rules of the road for free-market spot, but also the government to do its part in making sure that we have things like a stable currency. and the government not trying to manipulate, always with good intentions, the economy. host: first call, on the republican line. caller: good morning. i read your book.
11:39 am
it is an incredible book. we're really fired up here in georgia. we just got a speaker of the house elected a. we are trying to organize 27 million small businesses who are against higher taxes and regulation. if we get them fired up down you think that could be an incredible force? we're trying to make our home town the capital, the small business capital of the world. guest: i think businesses and the american people are getting fired up. we saw the first indications of the tea parties early this year. people instinctively understand that you do not make radical changes in one sixth of the economies without thoughtful debate and discussion. people are also upset by the massive debts ideficit spending.
11:40 am
yes, people rising up, especially small businesses. theyi] are the job creators. they will be hit hard by the changes. again, that is why we will get a recovery next year. but will be a flimsy one like the 1970's. host: here is wellington, florida. caller: hi. host: please mute. caller: sorry. yes, the problem with the free market economy is that it is not pre-market at all. the banksñiñr make $10. you put your heart-earned money into the bank. it goes at the speed of light to the federal reserve and the bank
11:41 am
gets credit for it. say, chase, and then they get fronte-weighted interest. the bankers have done nothing. you do not even need a degree to have a bankers license. it is because people cannot pay off their loans. they get no equity in their house until 25 years on the 30- year mortgage. they still pay more interest and principal. then, the use the scam that you get to deduct taxes, but if you have a 17% tax bracket you must pay one of dollars to save $17. they are behind $83. all they have to do is eliminate the front-weighted interest. you have community banks, local not for profit banks.
11:42 am
to ensure they did find a banker to do it and loan it out without the front-weighted interest. he would have a 20-year mortgage and in 10 years you have paid off after loan. host: thanks. will get steve forbes a response. guest: right now, there are several parts of your observations, in terms of the banks today because of the federal reserve having a virtually zero-rate policy which i think is a mistake -- banks have no incentive to lend money. they get it virtually free and then can buy government bonds yielding up to 3%. that is a very nice spread. that is one reason why the system is not working. another reason why the system is not fully working yet is because while the president urges banks to lend his regulators are going into banks and telling them to get more capital and tighten standards.
11:43 am
banks are getting a contradictory message. they the other one i get in trouble with their regulars by simply buying deposits and buying government bonds. if the markets were working at the banks would have to pay a true market rate for your interest. in terms of mortgages and how they work, when you say how about a 20-year mortgage were you pay half of it after 10 years -- the very careful because that would front-load the principle and would end up having to pay both principal and interest. a big jump in the first 10 years. the monthly payment would end up being higher rather than the traditional 20 or 30 year. host: the caller also talked about income-tax. are you still a proponent of the flat tax? how would it work?
11:44 am
guest: i am a believer in the flat tax. we have a 9 million-word tax cut that no one understands. money magazine years ago did a survey of the amylase-- the took a hypothetical family taxes and give it to 46 tax preparers and as for the returns. what you got back was that the 46 preparers, no two could agree on what the family owed on federal income-tax. you have thousands of dollars of difference. what i believe should be done is just to jump this monstrosity which gets riddled with special provisions, replace it with a simple single rate. i propose a 17% with generous exemptions. a family of four would pay no
11:45 am
federal income tax on the first $46,000 of income. only 17 cents on the dollar above $46,000. no tax on savings and no death taxes. on the business side for we have some of the highest taxes in the world right now, it would cut the rate from 35% down to 17%. it would get rid of bill depreciation schedules. if you buy a piece of capital economy you have to go through all kinds of accomplishments on how much you can write off. i believe that you should write it off on the year that you make it and if you have a loss carry afford towards future profits. 25 countries have done it and it has worked well wherever it has been tried. host: chicago is next. caller: how are you doing? i see steve forbes on other services and i am familiar with
11:46 am
what you are basically doing. it is two different contradictions. you have had the economy for the last 25 years and made money. you forget about those left. the object of the game is to make money, but to people like you have already bankrupt the country and want to do it again. you want to tell everybody that you know how to fix its. how could you fix it if your ideas are so plentiful -- then how did you get into this mess in the first place? guest: in terms of the last 30 years since the early 1980, the u.s. among developed countries has been the biggest job craig torres in the world. seeing a huge expansion in our standard of living. little things on the day to day basis like cell phones, ipods. longevity has gone up.
11:47 am
what open a the economy was the federal reserve. that is a government institution deciding if needed to help the economy by printing too much money. it is the equivalent of an automobile. you can have a fine vehicle, but if you don't put in enough fuel you will stall, and if you put in too much will flood the engine. the fed flooded the engine. it first went to commodities in 2004. oil, copper, gold all shot up. in the housing market it put the booming market on steroids to banks with lower lending standards. you got to the time were you did not have to make a downpayment on a mortgage. experience says that is a formula for disaster, and it was. if we get the policies right, there is no reason why we cannot resume expansion again. host: republican column next. he is from bloomington, ill..
11:48 am
caller: on the mark to market accounting you are suggesting that the financial institutions should be able to assign arbitrary values to the assets they hold. that is what got us into this mess. i cannot go to a bank and sit at my house is worth $200,000 and get a loan. my house is worth $150,000. you did not make any sense, steve. guest: this gets to an arcane, boring area. it gets to how banks and insurance companies, how you value of what they call their regulatory capital. institutions must have reserves obviously for losses and to meet future obligations as for life insurance policies. the question has always been how to value assets held for reserves for regulatory purposes? until 2007 for 70 years the
11:49 am
tradition had been that if a bank bought an asset, for example, a bond for $1,000 -- a 10-year bond, it kept it on its books $4,000 unless it sold it or it went bad. otherwise, for regulatory purposes and kept the bond on four $1,000. that was true for the great depression. marked to market becoming was done away with in 1938 because it was destroying bank capital unnecessarily. marked to market accounting does without $1,000 bond -- for regulatory purposes no longer keep it for $1,000. you marked it up or down according to what you think the market price is. when you have a downturn the banks suddenly not only has losses on its loans which reduces capital, but it must now reduced the value of its reserve capital even though the money is being paid along with the
11:50 am
principal and interest. it would be the equivalent if you were told to sell your house in the next hour. what kind of price would you get for it? you rightly say that is ridiculous. you would not get much price at all. marked to market accounting did that to banks and insurance companies and up and did 70 years worth of a sound tradition. it because the banks to panic. most of the losses are book losses, not actual cash losses. you took the equivalent of a flood and turned it into a tsunami. in march and april of this year we amended that, thanks to pressure from congress including community banks. it stopped the bleeding. we went through this in the 1930's and it was not pleasant. this is about regulatory capital.
11:51 am
if you treat it like a day trading account you will have less capital flowing. banks do not know how much capital they have. the tendency will be to collect the cash. host: a political question from twitter. how can capitalism drive while our president's policies and ideology oppose it in favor of marxism? guest: the recovery in 2010 will not have any kind of the vigor we normally would get given the rate of decline from late 2008. in the meantime, however, there are pressures you can put on your representatives. you can still try to get them to delay the healthcare bill.
11:52 am
it is amazing that no one has read this. we know that it will put a lot of new taxes on. it will turn insurance companies into utility. ask there will be big tax debates coming up next year. the will be debates about cap and trade. the more small businesses make no upset they are, the better chance we will get change. even though things are dicey now we have gone through rough periods in the past like the 1930's and 1970's. we have always emerged and gotten back on track again. host: wilmington, vt.. caller: good morning.
11:53 am
you're dealing with the effect of all the terrible things that have been done to our economy. i like to focus on what i believe is the core. our 800 military bases worldwide and expanding south america presents -- a $700 billion more funding bill that zipped through congress with no real opposition -- we have imperialists wars we regularly wage to support our industrial base. we have exported the jobs from the manufacturing base of working americans. we have plantation capitalism where few people prosper greatly. everyone else works very, very hard.
11:54 am
i have heard 7-8 to obama who i believe is doing his best to work with right-wing extremist in both parties. wars that do not and. guest: i think on the awar side, to put the money in perspective, even though we're spending a lot of money in afghanistan and iraq, if you add up all we're spending on those two wars, it is still less proportionally than what was spent in the 1980's. far less than was spent in the 1950's and 1960's. in terms of both iraq and afghanistan -- let me be careful
11:55 am
here -- on the money side, we spent in those two places is proportional" we spend every three weeks on world war ii. we were able to finance world toii with government debt that was paid at 2.5% or 3%. people then had faith in the dollar. the problem with iraq and afghanistan is the blood we're shutting of our young people. on the money side, and i want to be careful bit from supporting it from the young people on the line -- and economy of our size can easily do it. we have had far greater bertrand's in previous decades. in terms of the lives and strategies -- that is where the real debate is.
11:56 am
-- we have had far greater expenses in previous decades. host: back to your book "how capitalism will save us" -- you write that those who buy into capitalisms bad rap, who believe free markets are based on exploitation and greed to appreciate how the invisible hand work. people and a free-market are mobilized not by greed bye-bybuy self-interests. tellus the difference? guest: you mentioned adam smith's. one of his great observations is that a transaction must be mutually beneficial. both sides have to get something out of it. you go to restaurants, you want the fu, the restaurant one
11:57 am
german. it is a mutual exchange. in terms of self-interest you may want money and a big house and all that -- but the essence of free-market says that you do not sell something or get the money unless you provide something, a product or service that of the people want. -- go to restaurants and you won thefood, and the one your money. you can have your own interest in developing your own talents, but if you do not succeed -- do not succeed unless you provide something that someone else wants. you get these extraordinary webs of cooperation. host: sunnyvale, california . caller: a have been reading a
11:58 am
book he has two concepts when he's talking about the large corporations. he says there is owner capitalism and then there is management capitalism. i believe, from what i have read, that owner capitalism is what you and most people that i have talked about mean by capitalism. but what he is talking about is management capitalism where the ceo's and the upper management and perhaps management all the way down the line in fact operate the corporation is not for the owners benefit but for it the management benefit. and it seems to me that this is maybe what is actually happening, the problem is not with owner capitalism. the problem is with the management which has gotten on
11:59 am
our large institutions. is seems to me that that would explain the perverse incentives that you see up and down the line. and you might actually end up with oligarchy if you do not already have it. end up with oligarchy if we do not already have it. host: a response? guest: there is a huge difference between a large corporation employing thousands and traditional small businesses from whence they grew to be what they are. when bill gates began microsoft over 30 years ago it was only a handful of people in a garage. same thing with apple. . . when companies do not pay


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on