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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  February 25, 2010 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

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most for granted that they took for granted was destroyed, roads, airports and walter infrastructure were made useless in an instance. the 43rd civil engineering squadron arrived to put out fires and stayed to rebuild fundamental needs. the military personnel were not the only ones from north carolina who responded to the cry sess sis. civilians, first responders, individual vol fears and generous donors all helped make a difference to the people of haiti. communities of faith across the state moved to help all haitians. make buildings -- make decades of commitment to that island nation. churches and people of all faiths worked together. they fed the hungry, gave water to the thursdayity -- thirsty, sent shelter to strangers, provided clothing to the suddenly destitute, offered comfort and medical care and in the saddest charity of all is
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some helped bury the ked. in addition, the churches, synagogues, mosques and other places of prayer, the masons, the daughters of the american revolution all put out -- pulled out the stops to reach across the ocean. mr. speaker, the military support and the people, the civilian first responders are not three groups. they're all one community. these groups are interwoven threads that come together to weave a safety net of volunteers , food, comfort and shelter for the suffering in haiti. i am proud of their efforts as they work to support the needs in haiti. i'm proud to represent such an amazing tapestry of generosity and talent. in the second district of north carolina. and i'm proud -- i was proud to support this legislation and, mr. speaker, let me say tonight to all americans, i thank them
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for their help to these people in their hour of need. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. poe: request permission to address the house for five minutes, revise and extends my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. poe: mr. speaker, the administration's new budget proposal will strangle small business. but there's one small business the new budget is targeting with both barrels. the small independent mom and pop oil and gas producers. getting energy out of the ground is a tough business and it's expensive. these wildcatters hire a lot of people and risk a lot of their own money to find oil and natural gas. banks don't loan money to these people for risky propositions so a group of investors has to come together and risk their own money to drill an oil or gas well. and the federal government gives incentives for taking this risk with a tax writeoff for part of their drilling expenses because, frankly, america needs this energy.
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the removal of the tax deduction plus new taxes on all energy producers will be in the billions. but removal of tax deductions especially hurt small businesses that take the risk. 90 mothers of the --% of the wells drilled, owned and operated in this country are independent small operators. let me repeat, 90% of the wells drilled, owned and operated in this country are independent small operators. they're called the wildcatters. these independent operators go out and hire other businesses to drill oil wells. they hire geologists to help find the right place to drill for oil and natural gas. back hoe drivers clear the drilling areas, truck drivers haul equipment and make deliveries, the food service industry feeds the independent crews. and these taxes threaten the whole infrastructure that supports the independent oil and gas industry. according to the texas alliance of energy producers 88% of natural gas in texas comes from
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small independent operators. these wildcatters represent the independent spirit of this nation that has made us the greatest country in the world. the small businesses that are the backbone of this country. if we stop the tax incentives this in essence puts a new tax on these independents. it will kill off these small businesses, decrease the discovery of new oil and natural gas in our nation and it will choke off the infrastructure that promotes and provides most of america's natural gas. now my question is, why would the administration intentionally put people, including many blue collar workers, out of business? and out of work? these new taxes are punishing the little guy and when they go after the little guys they're going to have to stop the drilling. there will also be fewer refineries. natural gas is the clean burning transition fuel of the future and you have to drill a hole in the ground to get it. natural gas will be the bridge when we have something -- until
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we have something else to transition to. we can't switch to an all illusionary green energy resource that doesn't yet exist overnight. but we have 100 to 150 years of proven natural gas reserves in just our own country. you have to drill for it, it's in the ground, some of it is underwater but it's a clean energy fuel. how account administration justify subsidizing a green technology that doesn't even exist? but they won't let the small oil and gas independents deduct a part of their risk drilling for natural gas? nearly 60% of our oil imports come from other countries all over the world. and most of those countries don't like us. if we kill off the independent oil and gas industry in america, what are we going to do? try to import more oil? i probably represent more refineries than any other member of congress. if this legislation passes it
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will cost southeast texas billions of dollars in new taxes. it will hammer the refinery interests -- industry and put thousands out of work. now why would the administration target america's energy producers? why would we want to send more money to countries in the middle east? why would you want to send more money to hugo chavez? wouldn't that money be better spent on american energy provided by american companies who offer jobs here in america? so, what are we going to do right now if we drastically reduce america's energy production? if we cut our ability to deliver natural gas, are we going to just sit at home and freeze in the dark? most places except the big cities, there is no public transportation. how are people supposed to get to work? where i respect in southeast texas people drive to work. their vehicle sometimes is their car, the called a pickup truck. the energy-killing policies proposed by the administration -- are proposed by the administration this year, not 10 years from now but it's in the next budget.
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it will kill off american jobs, it will kill off productivity. it will make america more vulnerability to our enny -- vulnerable to our enemies and it will send american money overseas and it will continue to make us dependent on foreign countries for our oil. it's not a good idea to destroy america's energy industry. the government should not tax our energy industry out of business. and that's just the way it is. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. ms. woolsey of california. for what purpose does the gentleman from washington rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to take the time of ms. woolsey. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> mr. speaker, earlier today we heard some pretty imaginative accusations from my republican colleagues when they were talking about an amendment i offered to the intelligence
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authorization act. while my amendment is being removed from the manager's amendment up in the rules committee, i want to take this opportunity to clear up a few things. when president obama took office last year one of his first executive orders was to extend the army field native's guidelines on interrogation tactics. those guidelines prohibit interrogators in all federal agencies from using brutal interrogations in any circumstance. that is the law today. so to get the facts straight, brutal interrogations are illegal right now. but this executive order doesn't completely solve the problem. the president can't include criminal penalties in executive orders and current u.s. law doesn't outline what institutes a brutal interrogation. my amendment would have expanded
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on the president's executive order to clearly define what institutes a cruel, inhuman or degrade -- degrading interrogation so it's unmistakable what kinds of techniques are unacceptable. it also creates criminal penalties for those who use those kinds of interrogations and to be clear i didn't invent this concept myself. the amendment was based on the army field manual definition of acceptable and unacceptable interrogation tactics which as senator john mccain has said is effective 99.9% of the time. one of the most important things to remember about these kinds of interrogations is that they simply don't work. brutal interrogations are not an effective tool to collect information and what's worse, they actually may produce unreliable information.
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as former c.i.a. official bob bear has said, what happens when you torture people is they figure out what you want to hear and they tell you that. an endless string of studies have shown us that when people's minds or bodies are subjected to the kind of trauma these brutal interrogations entail their brains don't function properly. for example, during training exercises american special operatives, special op operate -- operating soldiers, had difficulty remembering information after they've been put through food or sleep deprivation. why are the republicans defending a tactic we know doesn't work? interrogations like those hurt our reputation abroad. the world was horrified when they saw what american soldiers were doing in abu ghraib. as former secretary of state colin powell has said, people are now starting to question whether we're following our own
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high standards. brutality like that hurts our credibility and undercuts our reputation in the global community. i'm a veteran. i wear my vietnam pin well. and proudly. i served in the navy, i'm passionate about protecting this country and keeping our soldiers safe. more than anything this amendment was designed to protect them. several soldiers have gone and done a far better job than i have in explaining why we need laws like this. retired colonel stewart harrington said that cruelty in interrogations, quote, endangerers our soldiers on the battlefield by encouraging reciprocity, closed quote. the golden rule, if you will. retired admiral john huston has said, quote, getting our interrogation policies back on track will preserve our standing to fight for humane treatment of american soldiers who are
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captured. i couldn't agree more. without clear laws that define acceptable and unacceptable interrogation practices, including criminal consequences for violating those laws, we are putting more americans at risk of being treated with the same brutality. just last week two former justice department attorneys who crafted the legal justification for the use of brutal interrogation got off scot-free. the justice department be a solved them of their wrong doing and home said they had, quote, exercised poor judgment, closed quote, and hadn't broken the law. they took advantage of a gap in our current law and provided legal cover for abuse during interrogations that we all saw on television. my amendment would have ensured this kind of legal maneuvering never happens again.
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the president said when he assumed his office -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. mcdermott: i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. jones of north carolina. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania rise? >> mr. speaker, i request unanimous consent to address the house for five minutes, revise and extends. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i rise today actually in celebration of the recognition of 100th anniversary of a great value-laden principle-driven youth organization, the boy scouts of america. it was 100 years ago this month that -- or -- that led to the formal organization of the boy scouts of america and that came from an event actually that happened across the sea in london, a businessman from
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chicago who was traveling there and on a foggy night was lost and was guided by the selfless act of a young man who stopped to not just offer directions but take the businessman, lead him where he needed to be, and at the end of that journey he offered to pay the young lad for that selfless service, that kind act. and the response was that, sir, i'm a scout and we do good turns and not for pay. that led to mr. boyce returning and partnering with individuals in this country and ultimately within the next year there was the forming of the boy scouts of america that has served this country and served the youth of this country for 100 years. scouting was described by its earlier founder, lord powell
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when he founded the scouting in england as a game with a purpose. it certainly is a purpose that's value-driven and those values are lasting to this day 100 years later in the united states of america, as citizenship and leadership and service and character that builds lives. scouting, boy scout of america today, through the boy scouting, the venture program, the scouting program, serves both boys and girls. . at troop meetings, includes three parts, duty to god, duty to country and duty to self and duty to others. my 30 years, prior to coming to this chamber, 14 months ago, served for 30 years as a scout master. and in that time, i saw what difference it made in the lives
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of kids from all walks of life. kids who came from in tact families or different circumstances. scouting made a difference in terms of putting them on the path for successful careers to become community leaders, to actually become life safers and scouts applied their skills to save lives. and as pates, members of the ampled services, firefighters, e.m.t.'s and becoming loving spouses and parents themselves. today i rise to talk about the oldest existing continuously registered boy scout council in america based in warren county, pennsylvania. founded in july, 1913. in this 100th year it is a pleasure to point out that the chief core planning council was
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the 17th council to receive a charter from the boy scouts of america. so it holds onto the disstimping shon as the oldest. originally chartered as the warren county council, it was renamed in 1954 to honor a local seneca chief. a museum features historical items including scouts from 1914 with badges sewn to their sleeves and hats. in three years, the council will celebrate 100 years of continuous scouting and is ideals. the local executive said it serves 60% of all aged youth while the national average is 20%. at any given time they have 1,000 youth involved in their program.
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i commend this council for its longevity, its service to scouting as well as other scouting programs across this nation. and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from maryland, mr. cummings. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois rise? mr. davis: i ask unanimous consent to address the house for five minutes and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. davis: thank you, mr. speaker. and i rise to pay tribute to a dear friend of mine and a friend of many of those who knew him, who passed away a few days ago and whose visitation services are being held even at this moment as i speak. and while i was not able to be at those services, i am able to take the floor and pay tribute
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to mr. james had ley, a businessman, a banker, community advocate, a civic and church leader and a friend to all of those who knew him. for most of his adult life, james hadley built business and financial enterprises in low and moderate-income disadvantaged communities. and jim worked with many, many programs and projects. business ventures and financial institutions. and while he worked with many throughout the city of chicago, i believe that which gave him the greatest sense of pride and accomplishment was the work that he did with the community bank
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of lawndale where with difficult anne glenn and others pi neared the development of a community-owned bank, which has since changed its name and now named the could haven ant bank and -- covenant. we both grew up in arkansas, not very far from each other. i from a town named parkdale and he from a town named warren. and i didn't know him at that time. but we both went to chicago. and as i got to know jim, he became a role model for me. he was seriously committed to every endeavor for which he was
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a part of. he was loyal to whatever he was engaged in. he was a great family man, dedicated to his family. had a comprehensive approach to life. and was just a pleasure to know to be around and to work with. as a matter of fact, i commend james hadley for a life well lived. take note of his many contributions and thank him for helping to make the world a better place in which to live. as a matter of fact, he served on the board of many not-for-profits. mount sinai hospital. was an active member of the carter temple theater church,
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worked with the boy scouts. worked with the male initiative in his church and was simply known as a good man to all of those who knew him. and so, mr. speaker, i extend condolences to his wife gloria, his daughter and all of the james hadley family and trust that there will be others who will come along like him who is willing to give of himself continuously for the benefit of others. james hadley, he lived a good life, well done. mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: jabt. the gentleman from south carolina, mr. inglis. the gentleman from texas, mr.
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paul. the gentleman from oregon, mr. defazio. the gentlewoman from florida, ms. ros-lehtinen. the gentlewoman from ohio, ms. kaptur. under the speaker's announced policy of january , 2009, the gentleman from texas, mr. burgess, is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader. mr. burgess: thank you, mr. speaker, for yielding. we have had quite a day here in washington, d.c., in your nation's capital tonight, 6 1/2 hour summit held at the blair house right adjacent to the white house has concluded and as the saying goes up in washington, everything's been said and everyone has said it, so it was time to go home.
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but for those who haven't had quite enough discussion about health care today, maybe we could spend a little while longer talking about some of the things we heard today and some of the things that we may be perhaps didn't hear today. one of the things i do want to stress is -- one of the things i do want to stress, we heard several times in the past several weeks that the republicans don't have ideas and in fact, that was one of the admonitions of the president on starting this summit was that the republicans didn't have ideas and he wanted to show the country that the republicans were devoid of ideas, but anything could be further from the truth. there are, if anything we saw today abundant republican ideas. some might say there are too
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many republican ideas, too many to fit in in one room. i wanted to spend a few minutes talking about some of those ideas on our side. i have a website, mr. speaker, that is devoted entirely to health care policy. it's from the congressional health care caucus. web address is and under the issues tab, i think it's the second heading is the prescription for health care reform. anyone is free to go to that site and click on the links and they will be taken to a one-page description of nine different bullet points on health care reform. in fact, there is a little segment to record comments if someone would like to leave their ideas or their thoughts on the paper or if someone thinks
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of other things that might, in fact, be included, we welcome those comments on the website. i'm going to briefly go through this list and i have got some other observations that i want to make on the summit that occurred today and we will be joined from time to time by other members of congress. and i want to give them an opportunity to speak. but under the prescriptions for health care reform, certainly everything i heard this summer was, we don't want 1,000-page bill. people didn't want a 2,000-page bill as we came back and revamped it. but what did people want congress to do on health care? there are people who have legitimate concerns, that the system is not functioning in an optimum fashion. we do have great health care here in america, but there are distributional issues. the employer-sponsored insurance
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system does work well for 60% of the population, but, in fact, there are problems for people who are outside the employer-sponsored insurance system and there are problems that all of us face with the advancing cost and complexity of health care. just running down the list, insurance reform that would include -- that would include limitations on insurance companies excluding people for pre-existing conditions and guaranteeing access to insurance. now, one of the fundamental differences on the republican and democratic approach to this is that the democrats want to have, the president wants to have a mandate, that is, you are required to buy a product, that insurance product. it's interesting because during the campaign in 2008, president obama -- presidential candidate obama moved away from mandates.
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hillary clinton was in favor of mandates. barack obama barack obama was less in favor. i did feel there was a mandate for children. we don't hear discussion about that anymore. i don't think i heard that during the debate today. but mandates really have no place in a free society. there is an argument whether or not it would be constitutional for the federal government to require someone to purchase an insurance product that they might not want. there are legislative products out there. and this is the point i want to make. this would be too taxing, there are a couple of bills that are out there. h.r. 4019, bill introduced by representative deal by georgia, h.r. 4020, a bill introduced by myself, those two bills taken in conjunction would go towards eliminating the problem of pre-existing conditions. another bill to address the tax
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fairness or tax inequities that address in this health insurance market today introduced by john shadegg, h.r. 3218, the improving health care for all americans act, that would allow the same benefits no matter where you get your insurance, whether through employer-sponsored insurance, the same benefits should accrue to the individual as would accrue to a business. medical liability reform, texas and california have taken big strides. why do i care? texas has fixed tear problem with medical liability, why would i care about that? the care for defensive medicine is significant and since the federal government is the purchaser of about 50% of all the health care in this country, the cost of defensive medicine that drive up the price of medicare and medicaid, those costs need to be brought back under control and medical
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liability reform is a way to do that. portability, allowing patients to shop for health insurance across state lines, again a bill introduced by mr. shadegg, h.r. 3217, health choice act. medical liability reform, h.r. 1468. medical justice act -- we are about to bump up against another important deadline on sunday night, and that is the expiration of the prevention of a reduction in payment to doctors who take care of medicare patients. we go through this time and time again. it is time for congress to fix the physician payment reform and h.r. 3693 would do just that. do we need to be worried about if there are going to be doctors to see us when we get sick in the future? that is a concern and that is where congress might play for a
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role. the physician workforce enhancement act, h.r. 914, people ought to be able to know what the cost is when they go to the doctor or hospital. how about a bill for transparency, the health care price transparency promotion act. prevention and wellness programs, we all agree during the hearings this summer, individuals who would come in that worked at safeway and talked about how wellness and promotion were saving them money. firms in nebraska brought in great stories about how they involved their employees in living healthier lifestyles and reaped the benefits from lowered insurance costs. . we're going to have to change the hipaa laws a little bit in order to have this type of
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legislation be passed but that's certainly within the purr view of congress and within the -- per view of congress and within the ability of congress to do that. but prevention and wellness programs, although i do not have a bill number attached to this, we had several amendments in committee and in the rules committee leading up to the passage of the democrat's bill this fall that dealt with -- democrats' bill this fall that dealt with prevention and wellness. it is written, it is not in bill form right now because it would require a simultaneous modification of the hipaa laws in order to allow that to happen. and finally i mentioned before mandates no place in a free society. this is one of the fund mem differences between the president and myself. he wants to force everyone to buy an insurance policy, he said that the only way to bring costs down, i would submit that if the -- if the insurance companies nouveau to buy their product, their prices are not likely to go down. in fact, if you're required to buy their product under the penalty of law with the airses the enforcer it is -- i.r.s. as
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the enforcer it is very likely that the cost will go up because no one wants to run afoul of the internal revenue service. and then we make insurance companies lazy. why bother to compete with a better product, why try to create a program that people actually want? you got to buy it anyway. the government's going to force you, you're going to buy my product, i don't even have to make it something that you want and i can charge you more for it. mandates make insurance companies lazy. we actually have a model for what works in this endeavor and that is when the medicare part d program rolled out, then the then administrator of the center for medicare and medicaid services, dr. mcclellan, required out of six classes of pharmaceuticals, there were six protected classes of drugs, within each class an insurance company had to offer two choices and using that as the parameter the companies did produce the plans that people wanted, the
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product -- part d has been very popular, 92% of seniors now have credible drug coverage under medicare because of the flexibility and the desirability of these programs. the cost came in way under budget and 92% to 94% of seniors are satisfied or very satisfied with their prescription drug coverage. so a program that indeed worked and the whole emphasis was to make this look more like insurance and less like an entitlement. creating problems -- products people want is a better way to go about getting meaningful change in the insurance market than giving the insurance companies the license to steal which is what a mandate would be in my opinion. i have some other observations on today's activities but i wanted to yield such time as he may consume to my good friend from pennsylvania, mr. g.t. thompson who in a former life was a former health care administrator. i know it's odd that a doctor
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and a health care administrator would get along but we do get along very well. i will yield to you such time as you may consume. mr. thompson: thank you, thank you, dr. burgess. i really appreciate what my good friend from texas is doing in terms of his leadership with the congressional health care caucus. it's refreshing in this chamber to deal with folks who have the facts and have the experience to make informed decisions when it comes to such important topics like health care. i think of all the issues that come before this chamber. there are probably a few things as intimate to our individual lives as heament care. -- health care. and to leave that -- well, actually and to observe this process over this past 14 months where bills are written by people, as i look at these bills, 1,000, 2,000, 3,000 pages which is -- has been special agendas for, you know, just misled government-run health
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care, it's apparent to me that those who are writing those bills have very low experience if any experience in health care and so it's been a real privilege to be able to work with you and under your leadership, to really look at the solutions that we need to have. now, as i traveled around and i did, my background was 28 years, nonprofit community health care, where i, in the hospitals and health systems i come out of, we work very hard to be partners with our physicians. and so what am i hearing? i'm hearing the same -- from the -- as i traveled my congressional district and i listen to folks throughout the country, you know, i haven't met anyone that says, don't -- just don't do anything. you know, the commitment is that, as i talk with folks, that they like the health system we have, can we improve it? i think there's an acknowledgment that we can do that. and i've certainly spent my professional career serving my
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patients as -- first as a therapist and a rehabilitation services manager and ultimately as a nursing home administrator and looking at four dimensions of health care that we should always continue to strive to improve. number one is cutting costs and that's just not costs for a certain segment or a certain group but cutting costs in health care for all americans which we're committed to that with the solutions you've talked about. it's about improving access, increasing access and improving quality and that decisionmaking relationship between the patient and the physician, not allowing a government or a bureaucrat to be that wedge in between. as i talk with people about health care and i've been doing that since i came to congress, that's what they're asking for. and so they like -- the people i talk to, they like the solutions, they like the bills that we've introduced as far back as last july that dealt
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with medical malpractice reform, tort reform, that drives the cost of health care up for all americans through both the premiums for medical liability insurance that has to get absorbed into the cost of doing business, those premium costs get passed along as a part of the fees. and not just the premium fees but then there's the cost of defensive medicine that occurs with extra tests that are ordered not so much maybe to serve our needs and whatever particular illness or disability we come to the doctor for but to provide a record that shows that the physician has exhausted every possible -- every possibility and so -- but it seems like -- and many the solutions you talk about where -- allowing to purchase across state lines. it fascinates me that you can go to the internet and you can go on websites, some have critters like lizards on them, and you can purchase car insurance and
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get the best value, the best product for the best cost. you make that decision as an individual. and yet we are barred from purchasing health insurance across state lines. i -- states like pennsylvania, especially rural pennsylvania where i'm from, if you have choices, you have just a couple choices. it really is just -- if you're lucky, three choices to pick from. a lot of people say, i want the insurance that you have as a member of congress. i'm quick to tell people, you know, i worked nonprofit community health care for hospitals for 30 years, my premium, i pay more today than i ever paid for health care but what i would like every american to have, certainly every constituent in my district that i have today, are just lots of choices. and with we do that by allowing -- and we do that by allowing, purchasing across state lines, more competition. that's a gd thing. competition brings costs down and raises quality. i don't care what you're purchasing, that's a principle that lasts.
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certainly a formation of association health plans and pre-existing conditions, as you've talked about. those are all just a few of the different parts of the proposals that republican members have introduced and are pending bills are right here that the speaker could elevate to the floor any moment so we could actually take an up or down vote on these. i think the american people would vote yes. i see a thumbs up from the american people as we talk about these different proposals. pre-existing conditions, that's a tough issue. but we're addressing that within the proposals we have. just because you're born with a pre-existing condition or you happen to have the misfortune to develop a disease such as breast cancer, prostate cancer and the like, doesn't mean that you shouldn't be able to afford to be able to purchase affordable health insurance. we address that in the solutions that we put forward, in the solutions that i'm so very proud of, of all of the representatives from the republican caucus who were at white house today. i thought they did an
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outstanding job of representing the american people and ideas that the american people are looking for. now you mentioned with work force issues and to me that was something think a came to congress just looking as a crisis. starting with rural america and underserved areas, underserved urban areas first, and the baby boomer generation, my generation, we're beginning to retire this in tremendous numbers. and in those areas where our physicians, our nurses, therapists, technicians are retiring, you know, whoever this payment system will get changed, if we don't proactively address those work force issues, if you don't have a physician in your community to provide services you do not have access to quality care. and so because we've been misled with these thousand, 3,000 pages, you know, the -- all the attention's been drained in the wrong direction. we're missing the bigger issues that we've been -- that frankly we've been talking about, week
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of got bills that address some of the work force issues and so it's time to get beyond the misinformation, the misdirection that my democratic colleagues have been putting together in these 1,000, 2,000-page bills and get to the business of really addressing the real health care issues. i know that -- i think i'm going to yield back at this point. mr. burgess: i thank the gentleman for his work on this these issues and always willing to be involved in these tough problems, these are complex problems. the activities today, i referred to earlier today on the radio show, as the blair house project. not to be confused with "the blair witch project." there were times it did see to be that there was -- there probably were some spells being cast. the other thing that really had to strike you in watching the
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discussion today is that there are fundamental differences, fundamental differences to the role in government, fundamental differences to the involvement in government. and you know, you can't help but be struck. here we've worked on this concept now for 13 months, the president was sworn in the 20th of january of last year, here we are at the end of february and still no bill is across the finish line. boy, i thought it would have happened much, much more quickly. in fact, had the energy that was put into the stimulus bill been put into a health care bill in all likelihood they could have passed whatever they wanted in february of last year. instead they chose to work on the stimulus first and then cap and trade and gradually, gradually, gradually their political capital bled away to where they did not have the votes necessary on their side to pass one of these bills. this is the fundamental problem
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that is happening with the president's plans and the democrats' bills in the house and the senate right now is they do not enjoy popular support. pick your number. 56, 58, 75% of the american people who do not support this 2,000-page monstrosity that literally required bribes to bring senators down to the well to pass this bill christmas eve. the american people saw that and they rejected it. they might trust us, i'm not sure that they will, but they might trust us to work on some of these individual concepts one at a time. but at the very end of the summit today the president decried incrementalist and -- incrementalism and said we have to be fwold and move forward with a large bill. why? why do we have to do that? the programs to deal with pre-existing conditions would involve risk pools to be sure, re-insurance options for states,
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yes it's going to require some federal subsidies, the congressional budget office has estimated $25 billion over 10 years, they may be a little light on that, but still we're nowhere near a number like $1 trillion which is scaring americans to death. we could provide some help in that market, the states could provide some help in that market, we could ask our partners in the insurance industry to voluntarily or by law cap their premiums at some level so that the person who was in this market did not find the cost so daunting that they just simply gave up and did not get insurance. . all ever these programs, none of these programs don't start for four years. we are in a new administration and the new administrator for
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medicare and medicaid aren't there and haven't been apointed. that is the individual who is going to be responsible for taking this 2,700 pages of legislation that we give them and turning the legislation into rules -- the federal rule-making process. that is going to be a difficult task. it is going to take four years to work through all that and impugn all the legislative intent and make the federal rules and leave the rule making period long enough so people can comment on it. that is an enormous task. it's not going to happen overnight so the people who say, my premium is going up too much, they aren't getting anything for four years. in the meantime, what if we took the approach and the approach that was talked about by senator
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mccain. what if we took the approach of, we're going to take existing risk pools that the 34 states have created and emulate the best practices of the best states and allow for re-insurance options if companies are willing to take on higher risk individuals so no individual insurance company is tasked with too much in the way of financial loss and we are going to cover this group of individuals. i heard it this summer in town hall after town hall. stop what you're doing. we don't want you to destroy the system that has been working well for 65 or 70%. we want you to concentrate on those individuals who have lost their jobs and couldn't keep up with the cobra payments and find themselves having fallen into into that category with a
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pre-existing condition. cobra was placed as a protection to help people who had employer-sponsored insurance but they lose their job. employer-sponsored insurance means the employer pays 2/3 of the premium, the employee pays one hired of the premium. when you lose your job, you can continue that insurance, but in all likelihood, your employer isn't going to pay their 2/3 any longer, because you are no longer their employee. for 18 months, you can pick up the whole premium with a small administrative charge, 102% of the premium and you can continue your insurance for 18 months and not fall into the category of uninsured. if you are being continued. that is a tall order to continue that degree of premium. what if we allowed -- what if
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you had that same insurance that your employer previously provided you, lower cost, high deductible plan and still preserved their insure built during that time so when they found employment, they would not fall into that same category again or might even decide to continue that high deductible premium and continue to have the protection of health insurance without falling into a pre-existing category. but we never really worked on those issues. we just decided we were going to do this big bill, and it was going to have mandates and public option. for four years, there's no help. for four years, taxes, medicare cuts. but the benefits don't start until year four or five or possibly even six. we don't know how long it's going to take to set ip those programs. we don't have the administrator at the center of medicaid and
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medicare services. the president has to nominate someone and the senate has to confirm. we may be months away from filling that important job. i yield back to my friend from pennsylvania. mr. thompson: i thank my good friend for yielding. you know, some of the observations -- just watching the -- the summit, i guess as it was called -- i have a question and i'll come back to that, just some observations of what i observed watching the proceedings today when i had the opportunity to tune in my office. i wasn't on the invitation list to be there. it was a pretty limited invitation. but i heard -- and i don't know which leader it was, whether it was the president or speaker, made comments there would be no
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medicare cuts involved in this. and yet, the fact is, the congressional budget director, back on december 19, just a month ago or two months ago, noted that there were medicare cuts and those medicare cuts built into this impact all areas of health care from hospitals to skilled nursing, to home health to hospice. hospice, which is a wonderful service for people who are in those final days, final stage of dying, where they have the support of compassion from health care professionals and die with dignity and that is one of many areas that medicare cuts are splated. -- slated. my responsibilities across many different settings of health care, i have to say there are a lot of reasons why commercial health insurance is expensive.
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tort reform, i would put on top of the list. but maybe even higher on the list, the federal government. the federal government pays and has underfunded the cost of health care, physician, hospital, for a medicare payment. for every dollar cost of providing care, the federal government pays 80 cents. it depends on the state. commercial health insurance pays on the average across this nation 135% of cost. and the primary reason is hospital physicians have to negotiate at that rate. if they don't, they can't make up for what the government does not pay. what are some of the other costs that i heard today that really intrigued me. the democratic leadership and the president claimed that it is going to bend the cost curve and bring the cost of health care down for everyone. yet, what we have seen is the
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administration's actual -- ackturrarl, the professionals that work for the white house have found the senate bill will not decrease health care costs. the center for medicare and medicaid services, the medicare professionals, their finding was those proposed bills are going to increase expenditures by $222 billion with a b, not cut costs but expand the cost of health care. and the president today was very up front. one of his comments was that yes, this proposal will increase premiums for the average american and american family by 10% to 13%. i thought the number one thing we were looking at was decreasing the cost of health care and making it more affordable. how do you get access to health
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care? you bring the cost down so people can afford it. so i was curious to get my good friend's opinion. this morning when i woke up and i knew this was going to occur, it just struck me as i was walking to the capitol, was this going to be a health care summit today or health care plummet? and to me, the indicator was whether the president showed up with a large white board that was blank that we could start over and do what the american people want and that would be -- that would be what today's event would be, problem solving and that's what americans are looking for or did he show up with a rather large hammer and say -- and really tried to hammer through big government, bad ideas, that the american people have and a large majority have rejected.
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i yield back to my good friend just to get your impressions -- do you think it was a health care summit today or health care plummet? mr. burgess: i was on a show earlier today referring to this six-hour exercise as a photo op. i would fall into the category of a plummet. isn't it interesting that the president said that premiums for the average family may increase 10% to 12%. instead of an apple, you are getting an orange and getting a better deal. yesterday, on our committee, we hauled in and them insurance company from california and anthem chose right now as a time to increase their premiums and they have become the whipping boy and poster child. and i will concede, i think they raised their premiums too fast
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and were tone deaf. their highest was 39%, their average was 25%. 25%, ok, that seems high, but the president has already said 12%. yes, that's ok, you get an orange instead of an apple. after all, you are good. if anthem they probably should have stayed at 12%. and could have raised their rates and all have been happy about the transaction. they joffer shot and hit an average rate of 25% and they were having to absorb the ordeal that we put people through when they come before our committee. yes, sir, go ahead. mr. thompson: i have to wonder, because i see premiums announcements and they are going up.
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and this is why we're committed to doing the right types of smart government solutions to bring the cost of health care down, bring premiums down, giving a license to attend to additional 13% increases, that is unacceptable. i have to wonder, how much of what's going on in washington and these health insurance companies and america is watching the debate here that you know, giving this approach that the democratic leadership, good friends and colleagues from the other side of the aisle are taking, how much is that driving up premiums right now, because they don't know what's coming or the premiums. there is a lot of uncertainty. we just saw not too long ago passed a credit card bill. under similar circumstances that was going to provide all kinds of limitations and impose new conditions on really what has been kind of a free-market type of process.
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and what we have seen, what i have seen is actually as a result, one of the unintended consequences is one of the interest rates before the new regulations kicked in, some of the interest rates went up as an unintended consequences of government overreaching, of government-run approach. i have to wonder if what we're seeing with some of these more recent -- like the situation you just talked about, maybe an unintended consequence of the wrong-minded direction that our democratic colleagues are taking this health care debate as a reaction by the health insurance industry. mr. burgess: it's interesting. perhaps the one thing that would provide the right impet tuesday in the competition to hold down those costs, we aren't going to do and that's the ability to buy across state lines. in the individual market, buying a policy for a family of four in
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new jersey is $10,000 a year. your state of pennsylvania, $6,000 a year. my state of texas, $5,000 a year. as long as people know what they are purchasing, i don't know see why it is reasonable to restrict someone from having a policy that may be more affordable. my insurance premiums have decreased by about 50% over the last two years, not because i'm a member of congress and i get a special deal, but i said you know what? i can no longer afford this high option p.p.o. insurance that is available for us, so i have gone into a health deductible plan with a health savings account. i like the fact that i was the one who got to choose which doctors and facilities i used. i didn't have to call 1-800 -california to get an x-ray
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approved. i made the decisions as to who i saw and when. i have gone back to that type of policy and i'm satisfied. we have improved from the old medical savings account in 1996 to the improvements that started in 2003 and continue to this day. preventive care is included as part of the benefit in a high deductible health plan because the insurance company has an interest if you have a problem that is diagnosed earl yir that it is less expensive to treat. i have chosen a plan that does not have prescription drug coverage because after we passed the prescription drug benefit in medicare this 2003, one of the unintended consequences is we changed the market so that many generic medicines are available at wal-mart at 4 and i try to
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find bargains at wal-mart or over-the-counter variety which is much cheaper than the name brand that is bought at the pharmacy and you can achieve significant savings. i'm motivated to do that because it's my money i'm spending for those come pouppeds. yes, i could have paid more for p.p.o. insurance and a nice mail order and gotten brand names, but i have found that, hey it costs a fraction what it cost a few years ago. and even before that, prylosec was available at a fraction of the cost of the 30 pills of another medicine i was taking. here's how you hold down health
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care costs. let me be the decisionmaker about that. don't tell me from a comparative if he cantiveness board, this medicine is as good as it gets. let me have some of that money back to spend myself, the premium that i pay every month, a portion of that goes into the medical savings account. every year it grows, it is tax deferred until -- if i don't spend it on health expenses, i would have to pay taxes. as long as i spend it on legitimate medical expenses, that is pre-tax dollars. so these are changes that we ought to encourage. . i was stunned to hear the democrats admit, we agree with with a lot of, but we don't do the medical savings account thing.
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that's one way to get a motivated patient, educate them about the -- about some of the options they have and oftentimes -- not often time bus almost always they'll make the right decision. i can't tell you how many times in my medical practice, if i recommended a test, a c.t. or m.r.i. or any scan and the next question from me the patient back to me was not, doctor, is it really necessary, or doctor is it safe to do this, the next question was, well, does insurance cover it. if it did, there were no more questions. go ahead and have the test. i, on the other hand work the type of policy i have, i may have hurt my knee or shoulder bad enough to get a ct scan or i may make the decision that, you know, doctor with a little ice and time, would this not perhaps resolve on its own? yeah, it could. and if it doesn't get bet for the a week we can still do the
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scan and we won't have delayed beyond a therapeutic interval so it's ok to do that. i'm happy to take that advice and not have the test. if i don't feel bet for the a week or 10 days or whatever the time is, fine. here's haw howe you bend the cost curve down you get the patient involved, put the power back in the hands of the patient, let the patient and doctor make those decisions. don't make them at the insurance company or across the street at health and human services. let the doctor and patient make those decisions. every doctor has the experience of having called a pre-approval number and have their patient denied a test or procedure or surgery and you have to go to bat for them and prove all these things. it is an enormous nuisance, i hated it every time it happened. on the other hand, in the medicare and medicaid system, they go ahead and cover that,
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but maybe three or four months from now, maybe a year from now, they call you back and say, you know, we don't think that hospitalization was actually necessary and we're going to deduct what we paid you from the next round of payments that we give you for your next round of medicare or medicaid patients. that is beyond frustrating because at that point, you may have -- you may not have at your immediate disposal the documentation that you at least would have had with a pre-approval process. neither is a good occurrence at a doctor's office, we need to come to some sort of consensus but as much as i hated the preapproval process, i see now, dealing with the large medicare and medicaid outlays why it is necessary to sometimes assess medical necessity and why it is necessary sometimes to seek that pre-approval, perhaps in our medicare system if we really are serious about
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bending the cost curve, instead of cutting doctors' payments, and that's what we do, ok, we'll pay you 20%less this year than last year, what's the practical effect of that? the doctor's costs are fixed, he's not paying less for electricity to light his office this year than last year he his office help didn't say we can all take a pay cut buzz we like work for you. that doesn't happen. the reimbursement rates go down, what is the practical effect of that? the practical effect of that is, you know, i was able to pay my bills and take something home last year, seeing 18 patients a day but this year, i've got to see 25 patients a day. if maybe i can squeeze an extra procedure or two out, maybe i should do that. i've got to make up that difference somewhere. we've got an -- gone about this the wrong way. we're ratcheting up costs yet the doctor is the one who picks
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up the pen and writes a prescription or orders hospitalization. the most expensive item in the doctor's office is the ballpoint pen because the doctor is the one making the decisions about the medical care. wouldn't a different -- a different way to look at this might be, doctor, we're not going to cut your pay, you're boing -- we're going to pay you more, we hope you'll see fewer patients and hope you'll take more care for preventive medicine along the way. it would be a phenomenal thing to look at, we haven't trismede we just cut their pay and say, whew, got that out of the way, maybe they won't remember that next year. we're going to bump up against the clock. i want to make this point we talked about the cost of insurance at the hearing we had yesterday. it is important to understand, i think, that the -- that speaker pelosi, harry reid, and
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president obama, their health proposals would not make health insurance significantly cheaper for america's families. under the bill passed by the house in november, h.r. 3962 a family of three making just under $55,000 a year and buying a plan in this new exchange that's going to be set up and created by the bill, they would have to personally contribute, after a tax credit, about $5,500 in premiums a year. additionally, this family would also pay $4,000 of out of pocket costs, exclusive of the premium, so co-pays and drugs that weren't covered. so this family would pay about $9,500 for a family of three that earns $55,000 a year in the health insurance exchange. i think it's important for people to understand that when we pass these bills and it's all settled and done that doesn't mean free insurance. it doesn't mean free health care. it means, yeah, you've got a government option here for buying insurance, but it's
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still going to cost something. it is still going to be an expensive item in that family's budget every year and we're misleading people by telling them that, hey we need to pass this bill because too many people don't have health care. true enough, the person who has no income and no job will now have access to medicaid, which they may not have had before. but the average person earning a reasonable salary is still going to find that the cost, the expense they pay for health insurance is going to be significant. here's the rub. if we pass this bill, this won't be an optional expense in their budget. they'll be required to buy this. and they'll be required to buy this and the enforcer is going to be the internal revenue service. now, mr. thompson, you brought up the ongoing purchase of insurance for automobiles that has the cute lizards and cavemen on the logos.
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people will sometimes bring up to me, why not have a mandate? after all, there's a mandate to buy car insurance in your state. what would be the matter with having a health insurance mandate. here's the key. in my state. this is a state decision that in the state of texas, people have to carry insurance if they're going to exercise the privilege of driving on the roads of the state of texas. health insurance is a different animal. for the federal government to require, not a state government but the federal government to require the purchase of health insurance is taking us in a direction of loss of liberty that none of us have encountered before. it is a new concept. so if a state wishes to exercise a mandate, which they have done in massachusetts, then that's a state decision. and that decision will either be supported or rer -- or rejected by the voters in that state. but for the federal government to create for the first time a mandate, a requirement that a person purchase a product just
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for the privilege of living in this country, again, we're going down the road of loss of freedom that, again, i don't think people really want to go there. now, you'll also hear and it's so strange to hear the comparison of we've got to have a mandate as you do -- because you do it with automobile insurance. you know what you can buy that automobile insurance online. what if, if we had our thinking right, we'd let the health insurance be available online, let the plan finders be available online. and if people think it's necessary to have a mandate, let that be a state decision. let that be a state decision of the state exchanges. right now, you have, and i don't know the precise number, 30 or 34 states whose attorneys general are drawing up legislation to prevent their states from -- or prevent their citizens in their states from being required to follow an illegal federal mandate. mr. thompson: pennsylvania being one of those, absolutely.
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mr. burgess: it shows you the type of tension we're going to celt up between the state and federal governments if we were to pick up and pass eerlt the house or senate bill and send it down to the president for his signature. i yield back to my friend from pennsylvania. mr. thompson: you've touched on so many very important issues during the course of this hour. certainly we want to come back to, when i started in health care, i mean, the patients were not part of the treatment team. everyone kind of focused their energies on the patient, the individual, the consumer, but they weren't included in health care decisions. and so much has changed and -- in three decades that today i don't know of any health care professionals that don't consider the patient themselves a very important part of the treatment team. and it's so important that individuals take that, exercise that self-responsibility and to
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be informed and to make decisions and take control of their health care. extremely important. you also talked about, you were talking about the stress on physicians. it's significant. in pennsylvania, the average age of physicians in pennsylvania is 50. many that i talk with, they look at the challenges of practicing medicine today, in pennsylvania, we have terrible medical malpractice costs. we export our physicians. we train a lot of them but export them to states like texas and you know we don't keep them. and many of the physicians i talk with that are 50 and older, they look at what they've accumulated in their lives and they look at how much they're spending each year, whether it's medical mall prk days, these additional costs and regulations come, the extra costs to put into the practice to comply with federal mandates like the hipaa law from the 1990's. they're say, why not retire now where i can retain a little bit of what i earned so i can have
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some type of future enjoyable retirement that will just contribute so much to our access issue in states like pennsylvania where citizens are not going to have access to quality care. i see that as a significant unintended consequence as a part of what my friends across the aisle were proposing and pushing at us. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from new york rise? >> mr. speaker, i send to the desk a privileged report from the committee on rules for filing under the rule. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title. the clerk: report to accompany house resolution 1113, resolution providing for further consideration of the bill h.r. 2701 to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2010 for intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the united states government. the community management account, and the central intelligence agency retirement and disability system and for other purposes.
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the speaker pro tempore: referred to the house calendar and ordered print. the gentleman from texas. -- the gentleman from texas may resume. mr. burgess: reclaiming my time. let me run through a little bit we heard right at the end of the -- of the six-hour discussion at blare house today that several of the president and i believe the speaker of the house said the time for incrementalism is past. i felt like i'd stepped back in time. i heard that same argument in 1993 and 1994 when the then clinton health care plan was before the house of representatives and i never will forget the day that mike synar, a representative from oklahoma, was down in dallas. he was talking to a group of us who were american medical association members and he was going to talk to us about this bill. many of -- many people had questions, at the time, believe it or not, i was so shy i was
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scared to say anything. but toward the end, someone asked him, wouldn't it be better to tackle some of these problems on an individual basis and not try to do all of this all at once because it did appear to be frightening people. he made a very emphatic statement that the time for incrementalism is over, we must have this bill and we must have it this year. . they didn't get the bill passed. they didn't get the bill passed. we developed the state health insurance program for children. we established medical savings accounts and we improved them with health savings accounts. we provided a prescription drug benefit for medicare and we passed the hipaa law in 1996. but there was a lot of work that
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went on in health care. medicine is an evolutionary process because the knowledge base changes over time. it is not a static event like law or physi crmp s. that's why we refer to it as an art an a science. what do the people think about doing this all at once or perhaps taking off some smaller pieces thatmight be actually doable? americans agree with republicans and want a fresh start on health care reform. cnn poll. c nmp n is not always friendly to conservative principles. 73% of americans say lawmakers should work on an entirely new bill or stop working on health care all together. this was from february 24 of
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2010. another poll, 79% of independents want congress to start work on a new bill or stop all work, again from the same time frame. so maybe it is reasonable that we start over with these small incremental changes and create -- solve some of the problems that bedevil americans right now but not turn the system on its head in order to help that smaller percentage that is having difficulty. starting overdose not mean that we don't have a bill to pass or go into a year-long gait. i outlined several bills that are already out there and already written and could be worked on, amended and come to this house voted up or down. we could pass a bill on pre-existing conditions before we go home for the easter
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recess. instead, what we may get is the senate bill being passed by the house of representatives under great duress for some members of the house of representatives and when that bill is passed, it goes down to the president for his signature and good luck undoing all of the problems that are contained within that bill. it would be far better since no help is coming anyway, it would be better to take a little time and do this correctly. the gentleman from pennsylvania brought up the problems in pennsylvania with medical liability. texas, of course, in 2003 did change the medical liability laws and passed a bill that would allow a cap on non-economic damages, a more generous cap that was passed in california under the reform act of 1975. but it has worked well over the last several years and has now
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solved a lot of the problems that we were encountering in the earlier part of this decade, just some statistics to share with you. before the reform, one in seven doctors no longer delivered babies. 49% of counties didn't have an ob-gn. since passing that reform in texas, it has really dramatically changed things. we had -- in the two years before the reform passed 99 texas counties, texas has 254 counties and 99 counties lost at least one high hive risk specialist. with the passage of proposition 12 which was a constitutional amendment to put a cap, a 125 counties added at least one high
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hiving specialist. and you can see of course there are some areas that are still leading to add specialists. one of the remarkable things about the passage of this law are the counties that didn't have an obstetrician and an emergency room doctor but now do. 10 had no obstetrician and seven, no orthopedic surgeons have at least one. charity care rendered by texas care hospitals has increaseed 24%, $600 million. and texas physicians have saved well over $500 million in liability insurance premiums. now people will argue that passing tort reform does not immediately result in lower costs. defensive medicine is learned
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behavior and over a lifetime of practicing medicine and it does take a while to walk back from that. the journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step. and texas has taken that first step. and in fact, in texas, one of our bigger problems now is licensing all of the doctors who want to move to the state, the state board of medical exercise cannot keep up with the demand. it is a good problem to have because we had many counts that were underserved. with the passage of this legislation, they live within 20 miles. that is a remarkable change even from a decade ago. one of the last things i want to bring up tonight before we leave, we talked a lot about cost and during the course of the discussion down at the blair
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house, the debate on cost was lengthy and at some times, it became contentious, but just a few points that representative paul ryan from wisconsin made today. he pointed out correctly that medicare has an unfunded liability of $38 trillion over the next 75 years. this is a huge, huge budget pitfall that is facing not just every member of congress but every american over the next 75 years. medicaid costs grow at 38%, it continues to suffocate state budgets and this bill does not control costs. mr. biden talked about if we don't bend the cost curve we're in trouble. i would submit we are in trouble because we have bent the cost
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curving but bending it in the wrong direction. i was under the impression that the time taken up by the rules committee did not accrue to us. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. burgess: i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy, mr. ellison is recognized as the designee of the majority leader. mr. ellison: i claim the time of the progressive caucus and i beg indulgence while i get my act together here a little bit.
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mr. ellison: my name is keith ellison and i'm representing the congressional progressive caucus, a body of members of congress dedicated to the very simple idea that we all do better when we all do better. the progressive caucus, a caucus made up of members of congress, men, women, whites, blacks, latinos, asians, people of various different backgrounds throughout the country, all unified under the simple idea
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that everybody counts and everybody matters, that there is no one who doesn't deserve civil rights, that everyone did he serves civil rights. that women should have a right to choose. if there is nobody who is outside the pale of our beloved community and that we stand together on economic justice, environmental justice, stand together on the idea of health care for all, stand together on the idea of real consumer protection, stand together against the idea that wall street bankers and well-to-do should have everything going their way, we think the working men and women of america should have something going our way. we do all the work around here and we are the ones who should see america operating on behalf for the american people. this is what the progressive caucus is all about. the progressive caucus is all
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about saying the consumer justice is important, health care reform is critical. war is usually the enemy of the poor and that we need to find a way to seek diplomacy and dialogue and find a better way out of the conflicts that our country finds itself in. that is what the progressive progress -- caucus is about. how could i talk tonight without talking about the health care summit. a lot of people were watching it on television. i commend president obama for having an open and transparent process. the republicans, the other side of the aisle, say we should start all over. as you can see by watching the broadcast today, there was long hours of discussion. we had many, many hearings here
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in congress on health care. we had conversation with the american people going on a year and they say scrap it? no thank you. they wish we would, but we won't. the fact is, we have had a national dialogue focusing on what it's like to have no health care coverage. facing bankrupt as health care expenses skyrocket and you are unable to meet that reality, facing a situation where you have to put your expenses, your medical expenses on a credit card, which may have gone up to 28%. these are the kind of things that concern us. and the fact is, i want to commend the president for having this discussion. i do wish, however that there was a member of the progressive caucus in a leadership in her official capacity there.
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it's true there were people from the progressive caucus there. but our leadership is representative grijalva and lynn woolsey. and other members of the progressive caucus, but none authorized to speak and i'm not happy about that. but you know what, things are seldom perfect in life. i wish we would have it that way, but it didn't. few things that are clear, one is that ideology still rules the day for americans that they continue to face health care nightmares on a daily basis and that the urgency of change is as powerful as ever and we have to move forward. there is no way that we as a congress can engage the public imagination around health care for a whole year and come up with nothing. we need to have a health care bill. this is the progressive caucus
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and i'm talking about health and i'm talking about health care and the economy today. i also want to say that as we talk about health care and the economy from the perspective of the progressive caucus that this is the progressive message for an hour. we come here every week and we speak about the critical issues facing the american people from a progressive standpoint. and that's why i want to talk about health care right now. let's start off the conversation -- let me leave this up here. today, not only was the health care summit on and not only was the same old debate laid out, democrats, progressives wanting health care reform, folks in the party opposite, not so big on reform want to keep the status quo, the fact is, the house demonstrated and signaled its
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urgent desire to see health care reform when we took up the health insurance industry fair competition act just this week. . ñ this bill stripped away a protection that was granted to insurance companies and required them to now compete. they got their -- they got their exemption from antitrust laws taken away, not enacted into law but it was passed in the house, on the house floor just this week because the idea is that health care companies don't need to be exempted from antitrust laws. they need to face those laws because we need competition when businesses compete, consumers benefit, simple as that. when businesses compete, consumers benefit. from far too long, health care industry, insurance industry,
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has played by a different set of rules. since 1945, the mccarran-ferguson act exempted businesses of insurance from antitrust laws. that's not right. we did something about it this week, at least on the house side, hoping that the body down the hall does something similar. this bill that we passed off the house floor amends the mccarran-ferguson act by repealing the antitrust exemption afforded to health insurance industries. this is something the american people want and most people didn't understand why they had an antitrust exemption in the first place. but under the bill, health insurers will no longer be shielded from being held accountable for price fixing, dividing up territories among themselves, sabotaging their competitors in order to gain monopoly power and other anti-competitive practices. if they do it and we can get it
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passed into law, they'll be held accountable. they'll be take ton court and that's what we need. removing the antitrust exemption not only enables appropriate enforcement but will give all health insurance companies healthy, competitive incentives to promote better affordability, improve quality, improve innovation and greater consumer choice as antitrust laws have done for the rest of the economy over the centuries. removing this antitrust exemption is key and it's supported by law enforcement group the national association of attorneys general, the national association of attorneys generals has consistently opposed legislation for specific industries because there's no evidence that such exemptions promote competition or serve the public interest. they do not promote the public interest. they undermine the public interest. i just want to tell everybody
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that this piece of legislation passed off the house floor signaling greater change as we are driving every day a little closer to real health care reform. and so, the health insurance industry fair competition act passed off the house floor this week, just a piece of health care reform, but an important piece. let me now turn to the larger issue of health care reform by addressing something called the public option. you know, you've heard me talking about the public option and i believe in the public option, all the public option is, is to say that, look, you know, we're going to have this system in america of private insurance that's not going to be undermined. i believe in universal single-payer health care but the president's format is to essentially reform the existing system of private health care insurance. no problem. and by the way, i'm always for private doctors.
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always for private health care providers. i just think we should pay for it through single payer which would be much more affordable for everyone. but the public option is simply a government-run program, and i don't shy away from calling it that, because medicare is government-run and the v.a. is government-run and there's nothing wrong with that. but it's an agency that could be set up by the government that would offer an insurance product for people to get health care coverage which could offer real competition to the private insurance market. now, the thing about the public option that you should know is that over 120 members of the house of representatives has said in a letter that we want that and we would like to see it make it into law. and not only that over 24 senators, or 24 senators have said that they want to vote on
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the public option as well. this is a very, very important development because the fact is, when you have 24 senators and 120 house members, that's a lot. and senator reid has said he favors the public option and clearly the public option already passed through the house once already, and so this is a great idea. it's supported by the american people. 70% of the american public likes it. the public option should be in the final bill that eventually is signed by president obama, yet the public option was talked about at the health care summit today, we're very glad about that. members of the progressive caucus went to the white house, handed out a document urging members at the summit to raise the issue about the public option. let me just say the facts about the public option. one is that poll after poll has shown that the vast majority of americans believe public option
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should be included in health care insurance reform. 57% for a strong public option in a "washington post"/abc poll this winter. if the american people want it, if it's already passed through the house, if 24 senators say they want it and the majority leaders say they want it, why can't we get a vote on it? i'm saying this is something that's a progressive idea, it's good for america, and i want to urge americans to say the public option is a good thing. congress and the president have answered the call of the american people by dealing with health care. but we've got to get a good health care bill. if we're going to use reconciliation because we can't get republican cooperation why don't we get the best deal we can get. why don't question we get a bill that's less than we could get. incrementalism has its place but if we don't have to bother about getting 60 senators in order to get around the filibuster rules, why don't we
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just go with a good bill that would really help the american people that would lower costs, that would increase affordability, that would have an option for people. it's a good idea. the fact is, the fact is that democratic health care reform plan which passed through the house and included a public option is a bill that makes a lot of sense, it covers pre-existing conditions, stops the practice of rescission, denying you health care when you need it most, stopping the bankrupting of our businesses and families when they get sick. but the public option in particular, part of the plan that passed through the house offers and introduces competition, lower costs for consumers and brings higher quality health care to millions of americans. i think americans want to see the public option in the final product and i think it's something that people should let their government know that
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they want. the fact is, currently in 34 states, 75% of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. many areas of the country are dominated by one or two private organizations. a public option would offer choice to people living in these highly concentrated markets. this means the addition of a public option would provide quality and affordable choice. the public option offers competition. again, in 34 states, 75% of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. in alabama, almost 90% of the market is controlled by just one company. that's not fair. in addition, the public option would provide competition for private insurance companies to keep them honest. it would be completely up to individuals to decide whether they want to access the public option. you don't have to use the public option. in fact, you could go to the private market if you feel there's a better deal there.
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but the public option will be there so that concentrated markets could not simply force you to buy their product. if the american congress, if the congress of the united states, is going to mandate that americans get health care insurance, we should at least say that there'll be a public option so you don't have to -- we don't force you into the arms of a monopolistic, highly concentrated market which will take advantage of you because of its advantages. i mean, it's market advantages. americans should be free to seek health care without having the fear that they could not afford it or it would inkuertens of thousands of dollars in debt. the public option offers us an advantage on costs. we know that existing public options like medicare and medicaid consist -- consistently have lower administrative costs than their private insurance counterparts. of course they do. according to the commonwealth fund, the net administrative
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costs for medicare and medicaid were 5% and 8% respectively. you can look at the top five private health insurance companies, their administrative cost were 17%. while the insurance market is controlled by fewer and fewer insurance companies in more and more states, there's little incentive to lower costs. why not? they're not in competition. but a public option would offer the competition all over the country and help americans aford health care. let me just say that we've been debating health care for a year new. -- a year now. people like me wanted a single payer health care system, i'm so proud of the over 60 members of congress who signed on to john conyers bill for single payer health care. but we compromised when we said, ok, we're not going to get that, the single payer was not given a fair chance in the house of representatives, in my opinion, but you know be that as it is, we said, ok, we'll
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compromise and do the public option. but now, the public option has been pushed to the side and as early as august of 2009, we were told the public option is off the table. off the table was what we were told. well the public option is such a good idea, such a powerful concept, that it keeps putting itself back on the table. so what it took -- when it looked like the public option was off the table again this winter, in winter we thought, ok the public option is off the table again, then we see a movement, first it was just four senators, senator bennett, senator joe brand, senator brown, and these senators came together and they wrote a letter to harry reid and said we want to vote on the public option and we're going to ask you to put it up there. then it was five, then six, got up to 24. and then there's a number of senators who said they don't want to sign a letter, that's
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their choice, but they'd vote for it if it comes before them. of course we saw two dynamic freshman member of -- members of congress, chellie pingree and jared polis, dynamic, young congresspeople offered a letter that 120 of us joined. now we've got these two -- both houses have these movement moving forward that we didn't see the public option in the president's proposal but both houses of congress are seeing movements toward it. i believe if we put that bill on the president's table with a public oopings on it, he'll sign it. he said he fivered -- favored the idea. here's his chance to prove it. the fact is, bureaucratic overhead costs coupled with multimillion dollar c.e.o. salaries equate to high costs for america's working families and a lack of competition provides no sin sentiv to -- no
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incentive to lower costs. higher quality. competition always improves quality. therefore public option will help consumers get better coverage for the same amount of money as private insurers. now there are myths about the public option. i think people ought to know that. the idea of public option being a government takeover or even a government-run program is not really the truth. the idea that a mandated health insurance is a new tax on people is also not true. what a public option really is, is that the government would help cover the high costs of insurance for americans while bringing those costs down to through -- down through competition. without health insurance reform, however, we can expect the problems that exist today will only get worse. now the public option is not a takeover of health care. that's ridiculous.
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it's not true. it would simply be one option among many. offered by the public. now, it would be administered by the government but so what. so is medicaid, more medicare and the v.a. and tricare and these are all government health care programs that people really, really like. as a matter of fact, when it comes to medicare, back in 1965, when we passed it, odge 22 republicans voted for it and now they act like they're the defenders of the program, which they're not. but the fact is, nobody's messing with it, medicare nowadays, why? because it's a popular program even though only 22 republicans voted for it in 1965 when it first passed, it is now the way we live and nobody, nobody is going to allow it to be taken away. . in 10 years the out of pocket
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costs will increase by more than 35% and as many as 65.7 million americans will be uninsured. that's intolerable in this great country. higher costs to taxpayers to cover hospital costs for the uninsured and taxpayers will have to pay health insurance premiums, at least 60% higher than premiums today. there is support for the public option, not just the house or the senate, but also doctors are in support of the public option. and organizations strongly support the public option, too. these are the american nurses association, the american cancer society, the american medical association and aarp. even hospitals, such as the national association of children's hospitals are supporting the principles of health care change and the
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public option. when the american medical association says they are for the public option, they let you know that the other people on the other side of the aisle are saying, oh, the democratic congress wants to get between you and your doctors, isn't true. it's just not the case. you need to be aware of the myths that are out there. as i said before, three courageous members of the progressive caucus went over to the white house today and offered a congressional progressive caucus' perspective and i was proud that they did that. the congressional progressive caucus did not receive an invitation but we showed up and we handed our ideas to the people who were invited and we are happy to see that both speaker pelosi and majority leader hoyer introduced the idea of the public option and we thank them for that.
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and so let me move into another area before we wrap it up tonight and what i want to talk about is the economy. now, it's important as we discuss the economy to bear in mind that we have congresswoman quite a long way, quite a long way. in fact, when the republicans were in office, they literally drove -- not literally, but figuratively drove the economy into a ditch, ran the economy into the ground. the economy shrank 5.4% in the fourth quarter of 2008. barack obama was not the president then. this was under george bush when the economy shrank 5.4% in the fourth quarter of 2008. the fact is is that the economy lost 741,000 jobs in january of 2009 alone. remember barack obama was not
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the president until january 20. this is a bush failure and of course, a republican failure. under the republicans, we erase $2.7 trillion in retirement savings. people trying to retire saw their retirement savings just shrink under the leadership of the republicans. very carey. not very nice to the seniors and more than doubling the debt in eight years. these folks shake their fingers at us like we are big spenders. look, they doubled the debt in eight years when president clinton left office, we had a surplus. they took care of that because they cut taxes for the wealthiest americans and never paid for them, which created -- and a couple of wars they didn't pay for and put us in massive debt. the worst recession since the
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great depression should be called the republican recession. now just to show you a little bit more. you know, i was talking about this idea of public debt a moment ago and we should be concerned about debt. as a progressive i'm worried about debt because interest on the debt can't be waived or put off. you have to pay it when it's due. it cuts into programs and expenditures that could help people, like helping people who are in need of medical assistance, helping our schools, firefighters and police and teachers and public safety people and all these things get squeezed when you have to pay that high debt service. but republicans lack credibility on fiscal responsibility. they don't want to spend money that help regular folks. but when it comes out to helping
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wealthy folks, i have a lot of friends who are doing well, but they don't need folks looking out for them because they got the money. but the point is, republicans lack credibility on fiscal responsibility. not that they don't spend -- they spend it on tax cuts for the very wealthy and wars. and so debt held by the public nearly doubled under the bush administration. we can look here, the year 2000, we see the red ink going up and up and up and up all the way to $.4 trillion. so the fact is when -- this is their debt. and now they want to lecture about debt and fiscal responsibility. but it rings hollow because of their history.
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let me show you this board. this is3 let me show you this board. this is a good one. democrats actually have a proven record of fiscal responsibility. democrats are good with the economy. we do a good job when we're charge. when you look at this, you'll see -- what you'll see is that during -- you'll see these budget deficits and surpluses. this is when we see the budget surplus during the clinton years is going up, it goes above zero. so we have more money. but here, the amount of money that we have is less and less and seeing ourselves greater and greater in debt. under the reagan-bush years, the debt is going up while our surplus is going down. and then you see the surplus
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going up on the blue line and then you see the dropoff when it comes to -- we have no surplus here and negative surplus also known as a deficit. democrats have responsibility. you are seeing the product of republican leadership and their fiscal irresponsibility. now, this is an important board, because right now, it's all about jobs. we need health care because it's such a big chunk of a family budget. we need to cut that down and cover everybody so health care is economic justice for people. it's important to understand that people are seeing the job losses because of the republican
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recession. democrats turn around. republicans have these job losses. now, look. we are losing jobs. all these red lines is unemployment. we're going down. monthly change. you see that. and we're going down, all the way down. just hitting it. in january of 2009, you see democrats in control and we are adding to job losses here, it's worse and worse and worse and then you see the slow but steady improvement. now, we're still not creating jobs. and this is a serious problem. you can see we're going in the right direction. you can see with democrats in there, we're doing better. so the last month bush was the president, we lost 741,000 jobs in a month. and the last month, it doesn't reflect the most recent data, we lost 22,000.
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we still lost and that's bad. but the fact is we are losing fewer and fewer and fewer and in a few months, we'll be above the line and adding jobs, which is something that is very important to point out. you know what the toughest job in the circus is? cleaning up after the elephants. republicans are trying to clean up and it's not an easy thing to do but in a short period of time, the democrats are getting it turned around. now, one of the things that helped turn things around is the recovery act. you heard these folks say, recovery act is bad. you would think that the recovery act wasn't anything good. but look at this here. g.o.p., no hypocrisy in seeking stimulus money. they say they are working on behalf of their constituents.
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the dccc, claim they are talking out of both sides of their mouth. no one republicans voted for it. they were all against it, even though it clearly put americans backs to work and stopped the bleed of jobs. but that didn't stop them from going up at ribbon cuttings and being there and just trying to show off and say, look, i didn't vote for it, but i want to benefit from it. isn't that terrible? amid mounting criticism, democrats said it is not hypocritical to vote against it and later seek money for their districts. in standing in opposition against the stimulus bill, many republicans have touted the
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benefits of that measure back in their districts according to a comprehensive list compiled by the democratic national campaign committee. the dccc claims that 91 house republicans are taking -- talking out of both sides of their mouth. former senator alan simpson and governor schwarzenegger have echoed the dccc claims. like my dad who is a republican, there are honest republicans and schwarzenegger is telling the truth. but key house republicans argue that a vote against the stimulus bill should not prevent them from writing a letter seeking grants available from the $787 billion measure. some of them do say, however, that republicans should refrain from attending photo ops. and it goes on. what's the point? the point is, they created a
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recession with their policies of tax cuts for the rich, wars they didn't pay for, tax cuts they didn't pay for, no regulation of wall street and letting things run amuck, not regulating predatory regulating and then they create this situation where the economy tanks. then when we put measures in place to bring the economy back to life, they vote against it, but then they run to take advantage of it. that's bad. now, the recovery act. c.b.o., the nonpartisan congressional budget office estimates that in the third quarter of calendar 2009, an additional $600,000 to $-- 1.6 million people were employed in the united states. in the third quarter of the calendar year 2009 additional
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600,000 to 1.6 million people were employed. that's good. the congressional budget office projects that the recovery act will increase real g.d.p. during the first half of 2010 and 1.2 to 3.8% during the second half. that is good as well. zandi who was a consultant for senator john mccain who was running for president, who is pretty conservative said i don't think it's an accident that the economy has gone out of recession and into recovery at the same time stimulus is providing its economic impact. even a conservative economist is telling them that the stimulus is working and i just wish they would agree that democrats are better for the economy. i just wish the republicans would agree with the unbiased
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evidence that democrats are better for the economy. retirement accounts recovering under the obama administration. here, we see under the bush administration the value of retirement accounts is going down. value of retirement savings accounts -- you see them, they are going down, down, down, down, dropping. and a under the obama administration, retirement accounts are up $1.8 trillion as we see them climb in the first quarter of 2009, steadily back up. more evidence that democrats are better with the economy, which is the thing that helps you put food on the table, roofover your house and retirement money in your account. . these boards just moving right through these boards here, i
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want to show you folks, this is the -- this is what's produced by the economy in any given time. in the first quarter of 2008 we had negative g.d.p. growth, popped up for a minute, but it kept going down, down, down, this is under bush. then g.d.p. growth going back up. these are projected increases. the fact is the economy, the g.d.p. is increasing, that means real goods and services produced, that means people working, that means production that means people providing services and it means food on the table, soup in the pot, that's what it means. or chicken or whatever you like. so let me say as i begin to wrap it up, the fact is, is that the economy is not back to health yet. it needs more things, i believe very strongly and the progressive caucus agrees, that we need a direct job creation
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from the government like the w.p.a. where we put people back to work, painting public buildings, working in head starts, doing valuable work that needs to be done and that these jobs can be paid and they wouldn't be just special kind of jobs, you would just -- they would be jobs that people can do and hopefully keep that job, if we can ignite the economy and keep the period of growth going. the economy is not out of the woods yet. we still have unemployment that is intol rahably high, particularly in -- intolerablely high, particularly in minority communities. we have to do something about it, no doubt about that, but we're going in the right direction and we need to improve and keep the drive alive. keep the drive alive, not turn back. i want to say to folks out, across america, you know, the fact is, is that it takes more than a couple of years get
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things straightened out after so many years of difficulty. we need young people, new americans, communities of color, working people, labor, everyone to keep their level of enthusiasm up about what the prospects for america are. to not get discouraged just because things didn't pop back into shape as soon as george bush handed over the mantle of the presidency. it's going to take a little bit of time, but things are going in the right direction. one year in, the evidence is clear that the recovery act is working to cushion the greatest economic crisis since the great depression and lay a newfoundation for economic growth according to the nonpartisan congressional budget office. the recovery act is responsible for as many as 2.4 million jobs. the analysis of the council of economic advisors also found the recovery act is responsible for about two million jobs a figure in line with estimates
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from private forecasters around the -- in the economy. even the conservative american enterprise institute is agreeing that the recovery act is helping create jobs. which no republican voted for in the stimulus package. very important to remember that. in recent -- we recently learned that our economy grew 5.7% in the fourth quarter. the largest gain in six years and something many economists say is due to the recovery act. so again, negative g.d.p. growth, meaning we were losing, the economy was shrinking when bush was the president and now it's growing. very important for people to know that. the recovery act, by the way, did cut taxes for 95% of working families. the republican, they love their tax cuts. but not for the regular working people. only for the very well-to-do.
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but the recovery act did cut taxes for about 95% of american families making work pay, which is the -- the making work pay -- tax credit, for about 110 working families in -- 110 million working families in 2009. the recovery act made small business loans through the recovery act, providing $20 billion in much-needed capital. the recovery act funded over 12,500 transportation construction projects nationwide and when 40% of all construction works -- workers are on the bench, that work is very, very welcome. these projects range from highway construction to airport improvement, of which more than 8,500 are already under way. it funded 51 sup fund sites from the national priority list and of those, 34 have already had on-site construction. the recovery act which i was proud to vote for, has done a
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lot of good for america. so as we wrap it up today, it's important just to bear in mind that health care reform is a key component and a vital component of restoring our country to economic health. we need health care reform, remember, the republicans have the house, the senate and the white house between 2000 and 2006 and they didn't do anything. -- anything to improve the health care situation for americans. the gentleman will have an hour to say whatever he wants. mr. king: will the gentleman yields to correct a fact? mr. ellison: i don't yield. no, i'm not yielding. you're going to say whatever you want later. let me keep on. 2000 to 2006, the republicans had the white house, check the facts, mr. speaker, they had
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the senate, and they had the house of representatives and they didn't do anything to help health care. mr. king: will the gentleman yield? mr. ellison: i've answered that question. i will not yield. i don't have to yield, mr. speaker. mr. king: parliamentary inquiry. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman will state his inquiry. mr. king: is it normal to -- for a member to yield to a polite request. the speaker pro tempore: it is at the discretion of the person in control. mr. king: when a member states an erroneous facts for the record, is it permissible for the -- for another member.
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the speaker pro tempore: does the gentleman have a point of order or some other cause? mr. king: i'd have a point of order if we didn't have members in bed right now. i'll concede this and yield back. mr. ellison: let me say for the third time from 2000 to 2006, the republicans had the presidency, they had the house of representatives, and the senate and they didn't do anything to help americans improve the health care situation. they didn't do a thing. they allowed premiums to increase, they allowed co-pays to increase, they loy uhed people to be denid doctor they allowed people to be denied for pre-existing conditions. they allowed the numbers of the uninsured to increase and they allowed -- they allowed a very difficult, awful situation so now we've got upwards of 45 million people who don't have health care and while
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republicans could have done something about it, they didn't -- they did not do anything about it. now in a few minutes, mr. speaker, i'm going to yield. in a few minute, i'm sure my friend from iowa will have plenty to say. but i would like, mr. speaker, that anyone listening to the sound of my voice examine the facts i laid out. they are true. the republicans could have done something to help americans address their health care crisis between 2000 and 2006 and they did not do anything. since the democrats regained the congress we passed schip, state children's health insurance program, which president bush vetoed, and we're trying to fix one mess they made with prescription drugs by filling the doughnut hole but all that program was was a boon to large pharmaceutical companies and we're trying to fix that debacle now. the fact is, is that the
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republican caucus could have helped the american people and they declined the invitation to do so. and now, while we're -- while america is embroiled in a conversation around health care reform for a year, they have come up with nothing constructive. all they want to do is deprive americans of their right to civil redress under the law, their doctors sometimes make mistakes. they call it tort reform. what it really is is denying consumers the right to redress grievances. which is an american thing to do, to try to fix these problems. we're not saying that people who abuse the legal system shouldn't have accountability, we are saying do not shut the doors when americans have a legitimate claim. which is what i think the republican caucus is in favor of. the fact is, mr. speaker, is that this hour, called the
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progressive caucus hour, is all about talking about progressive measures that have made america great. i would offer to this, mr. speaker that every single thing that has made america the wonderful, beautiful, great country that it is has been a progressive proposal. breaking away from england was progressive. throwing off a dictator was progressive. freeing people from slavery was a progressive thing to do. allowing unions to organize was a progressive step forward. civil rights was progress. women's rights was progressive. getting rid of the pohl tax was progressive -- of the poll tax was progressive. it's been conservatives every step of the way trying to block these things. america is a progressive country. america believes everybody does better when everybody does better. america believes, deep in its heart, in religious tolerance, in economic justice we believe in equality for all people, but conservatives try to hold this country back and maintain the
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status quo and have been in the way all along. tonight, mr. speaker, i'll yield back the microphone knowing full well that those following me will have plenty to add. but with that, i will yield back. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: under the speaker's announced policy of january 6, 2009, the chair recognizes the gentleman from iowa, mr. king, for 60 minutes. mr. king: thank you, mr. speaker. i appreciate being recognized finally here on the floor of the house of representatives and frankly, it's astonishing to me that a fellow member of congress has so little confidence in the thing he is says that are facts that he would refuse to yield and deal with the actual fact he is knew were before him. to make the statement that republicans did nothing on health care during those years
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of 2000 to 2006 is flat-out false, mr. speaker. it's a fact that we moved on health care we moved some significant policy and in particular, we passed the repair to the abuse of lawsuits which today, it was published by the government reform committee, actually published two days ago that the annual cost to lawsuit abuse and health care in america is $210 billion. that's over $2 trillion for the course of the bill and there isn't one dime that would be taken out of the pockets of that $2 trillion a lot of which goes to the trial lawyers that is offered by the president or the democrats and certainly not the gentleman from minnesota. now for him to stand here on the floor of the house of representatives and very much deny the very fact that is a fact of record and then refuse to politely allow for a correction of that record so you, mr. speaker, and by extension the american people have an opportunity to be honestly and truthfully
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informed is an affront to the dignity of the dialogue here on the floor of the house. and so, that's just a start on my answers. i didn't come here to provide a rebuttal for the previous hour. but the american people need to know, mr. speaker, that there is a progressive caucus here. and it's 78 members strong the last time i counted the names on the list on the website. the website was put up on a poster over here. and they're very proud of the policy they have. you can go on that website and read and learn that. one of them is a senator, the others are house members. they are the most liberal member os of the house. when you look at the history of the progressives, you'll recognize that website that now it's mr. grijalva's name in the website, was the website managed by the socialists. the democratic socialists of america, managed the website for the progressives. they put it up. they took care of it they put
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the information on. they wrote some of the language that went on there, all of it, for all i know, and carried their philosophy from the democratic socialist, that is the socialist, by the way, to the progressive website. when that linkage was uncovered, the progressives said, we'll manage our own website we don't want to put up with the criticism of our brethren the socialists. it's completely the brethren. when you read the socialist website, it says on the democratic socialist website,, mr. speaker, it says clearly on there, it starts out with, we are not communists. you know, i always had a little trouble starting -- trusting somebody who started their dialogue out with, i am not a communist, because you know behind that, there's a but. democratic socialist, the brethren of the progressives, linked together with their websites until a few years ago, you can declare they're not
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communist bus they believe in a lot of the same things communists believe in. the difference is, according to the socialist website, linked to the progressive website, proudly, by the socialists, anyway, i think proudly by the progrsive, they say, we are not communists but, the difference is the communists want to nationalize everything. communists want to have the state own all property and own all of everyone's labor and everyone exists for the state and the communists want to do central planning to manage the butcher, the baker and the candle stick maker, let alone labor. the communists are the ones who want to introduce a national health care act that's completely a single payer plan, paid for by the government. nobody has to pay for anything. and it would require that everyone working within health care in america would be a salaried employee. .
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where would i come up with that? not on the socialist website. i read that in a bill that was introduced by some of the progressives in this congress in 1981. they believed and still believe in single payer. they think that health care should be free, a right, not a privilege, not just your own health care but everybody else health insurance policy and government ought to run your health care and set up boards that would tell everything how to operate, but no one could be anything except an hourly or searled employee. if you are a brain surgeon, you get paid what they decide, not the quality or number of brain surgeries you perform. what are the democratic socialists? they aren't communists, that's what they say. they done want to nationalize
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everything. they don't want to nationalize the butcher, the baker and the candle stick maker, but when you read their website, they say we want to nationalize the national corporations in america, the for fortune 500 companies. and they can do it incrementally. and they want to nationalize the oil refinery business so they can control the energy in america and want to nationalize the utilities in america so they can control the energy in america. and this could happen incrementally and don't have to do it all at once, socialist website. and they say, we don't elect candidates on our banner and get their names on the ballot under the socialist ballot. we advance these candidates as progressives, because progressives doesn't have quite the harsh connotation of the
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hard core left, so they hide under that banner and advance the socialist aagenda averra and i wondered when i heard maxine waters say i think we should nationalize the oil refinery business. i had to catch my breath for a minute because nobody would say that in a society where i live. they don't want to nationalize the private sector. they believe in free enterprise and competition and the vitality in this robust economy that we have. but that was said. where did that come from? representative hinchey made a comment about the nationalizing of the energy industry. how does anyone have the gall to make a statement that they want to start taking over the private sector before our economy started in this downward spiral. i heard these words and i'm reading over the democratic socialist website and the echo
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is the same and i look over at the progressives of each each of those members are listed on the progressives' website and it's the same aagenda after. and then we have a candidate for president called barack obama and he has this artful way of using ambiguities so that the left can say something that they want him to say and the right doesn't hear what he wants to say. where does the president govern? he is elected on hope and change. hope and change isn't working so good. but where does the president govern? way over to the left. and i stand here on the floor of the house after the 6 1/2 hour summit today and i'm wonder erling what is it about bipartisan, what was the argument that came from the president when he heard the criticism, you aren't working in a bipartisan way. you need to reach out this
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republicans, this closing the door and locking republicans out. it's happening. it has been happening since september. they met for the first time to talk about health care in a meaningful way when democrats shut republicans out. and yes, they had guards outside the doors. they were there to provide security for the leaders, but think of the image of the the doors go clow closed behind the democrat leaders and sit in there in the smoke-filled rooms and they negotiate what they want to do to america without any ice of the -- eyes of the press inside of the room. they cook the deal. they cook it up in the speaker's house and harry reid's office and ran separate bills. and on november 7 here on a saturday, the house of representatives by the barrest
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of margins passed a bill that takes away the liberty of the american people and went over to the senate where even the 60 votes they had to have in the senate, they couldn't get the votes to pass the house version so they put together a senate version and by the barest of margins with the most repus i have of sweetheart deals put together barely the 60 votes they needed to beat the filibuster. and on christmas eve, mr. speaker, harry reid's scrooge gift to the american people was the senate version, their national health care act, complete with funding for abortion and illegals the of merry christmas, american people. they delird a christmas present with 60 votes which demonstrated
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that all the demonstrations that took place since august weren't counting very much in the minds of harry reid and the democrats in the senate. and that was christmas eve. a lot of people went home for christmas. and over christmas and new year's most of the public life goes dormant and some of the people thought that going dormant was the right thing to do and no one would pay attention and why would members of congress go out on the stump and do town hall meetings and talk about how bad the house bill and senate bill is and how unbelievablely bad it would be if they would do what one would expect them to do, appoint a conference committee to merge the two bills and resolve their differences. but the democrats didn't think that the american people would be paying attention. that's one of the reasons why they passed the bill on
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christmas eve. i wish it was late that night, i wish it was 9:00 when santa was delivering christmas presents. but that's what happened, mr. speaker. and the american people were appalled and how tone deaf how the majority was in the house of representatives and how tone deaf how they were in the united states senate and they were talking and wasn't that the american people go dormant. they see their families and go to work. and get on the phone and send out emails. and there was a national dialogue and i can tell you what happens when our family gets together and takes three or four family reunions to get us processed. but we'll meet three or four times and meet with friends and neighbors and a lot of dialogue
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going on between christmas and new year's. we talk about three things in particular. we talk about the weather and talk about religion a and we talk about the markets and we talk about politics. that's four. and politics moved up on the list. and actually sat there number one and it was at the dinner table, in the living rooms, all across america, people were talking about what was happening to our country. and while that was going on, scott brown was campaigning in massachusetts and you had people waking up in massachusetts. the polling that showed on that day on the 23 of december when the timing schedule for adjournment of the senate and the cloture vote was scheduled, on that date, scott brown was down. but not a single pundit even predicted that scott brown could be the next united states senator from massachusetts.
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that was two days before christmas. no one predicted it before christmas. it came out some days after christmas near the first of the year when the first little hints that something might be going on in massachusetts started to leak out to the rest of the world. i have every confidence that the people of meats were sitting around their dinner tables and christmas trees and talking about the same things we talk about, the weather, religion and politics. probably not the markets the same way we do. and that position was going on in massachusetts, some of the people were thinking, i had enough. some of them thought, we have our version of health care here. and it's not our job or our business to impose another version of a government-run health care on everybody else in america. some of them thought enough money had been spent, that this $700 billion in tarp and all of these companies that had been nationalized, much of it by this
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administration and the $787 billion stimulus plan that made everyone nervous to see trillions of dollars, $1.6 trillion up to $2 trillion when you look at the money that the fed has advanced. they saw that. and every increment of nationalization made people nervous, having less confidence in the decisions made by their elected representatives. as they marched down the row of the nationalization of three large investment banks and a.i.g. the insurance company and freddie mac and fannie mae and took on $5.5 trillion in contingent liabilities with freddie mac and fannie mae, for the taxpayers to take on that kind of a risk, the government turned to the car companies and the obama white house could run general motors and chrysler than
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those who are approved by the shareholders. the president fired the c.e.o. of general motors and cleeped out the board of directors and replaced all of the board of directors and replaced all of the board of directors and hired -- replaced the c.e.o. of general motors and a car czar, a 31-year-old car czar that had never made a car and never sold a car, as far as i can determine, never fixed a car, we don't even know if he owned a car and if he did, was it an american-made car or foreign car. all of this was undermining the confidence of the american people as we raced towards this political climax that after we saw socialized medicine pass in the senate on christmas eve, to be in on christmas eve doing
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something that has never been done before, trying to set a new standard of the socialization, the nationalization of our bodies, all of that going on in the american people were repulsed, that all of their voices, all they had to say, everything they weighed in hit the deafness of the leaders of this congress, mr. speaker. they went to work. they went to work in massachusetts. and they went out in into the streets and put up signs. and as i went down through massachusetts, i recall being in a certain section in boston and as i went through down that section -- a small business section of boston, window after window had scott brown signs in the vietnamese section of boston. and residential areas of boston. as i went into the call centers, i had people come up to me and
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say, i'm a union member. and my husband is a union member and we have always walked the streets for the democrats but we are here to walk for scott brown. the irresponsible overspending is at its koran taking over -- at its core and taking over, is more than they could tolerate. in that sea change from 21% down to 5% up. it was 24%, 25% turnaround that took place in an unpredicted way in massachusetts and scott brown rose forward to a victory in massachusetts and had a lead that was about the same for the last, gime going to say, the last four, five days in the race. i don't think there was more than 20 days for him to close the gap of 21 points and he will know that a lot better than me.
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but that message that came from the election of scott brown and that noise that came from massachusetts and there were a lot of people who went to help, tea party pates, people from many of the states in the union went up to see what they could do, that's where the fight was and preserve their liberty and they were committed to that cause. that election result came out and shifted the dynamics in the united states senate. scott brown promised to deliver the vote against cloture that would change the dynamics. so the president of the united states, who has not done very well in some of his endeavors, let me see, what did he do? . . he went to virginia, to engage in the governor's race in virginia, he did 0-1 in virginia he went to new jersey, did several appearances in new jersey to re-elect jon corzine in new jersey.
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chris christie won in new jersey, bob mcdonald won in virginia. he went oh-for-one in virginia, oh-for-one in new jersey. he went to copenhagen twice, once to win the olympics for chicago and another time to see if he could seek some kind of a global green agreement on climate change. now, he came out of copen hague within something they pointed to they said was a victory, but not much of anybody thought so, a mild little fig leaf of a victory. the president is oh-for-one in virginia, oh-for-one in new jersey, oh-for-two in copenhagen, a goose egg in massachusetts, now the scott heard around the world has echoed through this place and the white house, after that election, had to pull back. and they had to stop and see if they could get a lay of the land and figure out what to do.
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senator harkin said within a few days of that election that they had an agreement they'd negotiated with the house and they had an agreement that would bring reconciliation through and it's a bit convoluted and i won't explain it in detail here tonight, mr. speaker, but that was the first we heard that they were meeting behind closed doors to put together a reconciliation package. i know it had been rumored out there since september. that was the first i recall of a legislator aing is -- saying we have a teal put together. that was senator harkin from my state, the junior senator, who said that. they moved on, looking to see what they could do. in normal circumstance, you'd take the differences in the senate bill and the house bill, apoint a conference committee that would have democrats and republicans on it, yes, what would happen would be the democrats who were in the majority, nancy pe low' sand harry reid and their people would go behind closed doors,
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even with a conference committee and they would make their deal behind closed doors. they would negotiate their package behind closed doors and once they decided they could get their votes to package, their socialized medicine version of what they want to do to america's freedom today when it comes to health care, then they would have announced the conference committee, the members of the conference committee on their side would have been committed to negotiating on the package that was pregreeshteded on the republicans would appoint their conference committee and at an appointed date and time they would all file out into the room, sit in their chairs and call the conference committee to order and when they'd go through the charade of debating a different changes and they'd offer a change here, offer a change there and vote it up or down and they'd have ratified the very deal put together behind closed doors and pushed a conference committee report out here that would have gone, then, to the house and senate, one side taking it up first
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then over to the other side, last one to pass the identical piece of legislation that was negotiated behind closed doors would go to the president where he would have already prix-agreed to sign the bill he would have been in the room to, or he and his representatives, doing those negotiations. so, mr. speaker, what i put together here is a description of what actually happens in the functionality if they'd gone to the conference committee instead of this reconciliation nuclear option. but they can't want the conference committee because they would have to then put up with republican criticism, republican motions, republican efforts to fleast let the world know that there are many logical alternatives. and so they circumvented the conference committee and i believe, mr. speaker, that this is the first time in the history of this country, at least on a major bill, that the white house has stepped in to put together a negotiation that
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has, it's a de facto conference committee in the white house has replaced them, there's a de facto conference committee. they've put this together and tried to propose something. but what was interesting was the white house planned and announced they would release a bill on monday of this week. and the white house also said that any bill would have 72 hours to examine it. they called a meeting for today that was scheduled for six hour, started at 10:00 this morning and interestingly, the time that they released their document that a lot of us thought was going to be a health care bill, a third bill, a reid bill, a pelosi bill, and an obama bill, it turned out to be 12 pages or so of bullet points. all of this time and the white house can't produce a bill. but they at least filed the bullet points of what they thought should be in a bill at 10:00 on monday morning so
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exactly 72 hours before the meeting was to convene and did convene at the blare house today in this town. so they timed it to have their 72 hours as they promised, it just wasn't a bill. mr. president, the president didn't present a bill, mr. speaker. but they negotiated today and they had a discussion and it went on about 6 1/2 hours of discussion all together. when i look at the -- how do you analyze that? did anybody take anything off the table? did anybody offer anything? was there -- were there any changes, any agreement, any proposal, any amendment, any specific language or eaveb concept that was agreed to by either side? i'm hard-pressed to say there was, mr. speaker. we can perhaps get into some of those things a little bit but i have some of these pieces of data here, this is the health care fact check, it doesn't quite match my numbers but it's pretty close to what i have.
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as i watched this happen, soon as the meeting opened up, it appeared to me if ta republican would speak, the president would interrupt him. and then that individual might reclaim their time and try to speak again and the president would interrupt him again. then that individual would make a quick statement and yield the floor in which case the president would speak a democrat would speak, generally uninterrupted and then the president would take the time become and speak then a republican would speak and get interrupted again. so i thought, what is this? give me the count on this, will you? i have them here, i don't think anybody else has counted them. i've not heard that they have. 6 1/2 hours of meeting. we have president interrupting speakers 70 times. 6 1/2 hours. 70 interruptions. out of those 70 interruptions, he was rude to the democrats 20 times. interrupted them, wasn't always rude, actually. sometimes that needs to be said with republicans. you'd think it would be equal
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or proportional or be respectful about people who care about policy and know about policy. presumably, according to the white house and democrats in leadership here and in the senate this would be the first time they'd heard republican ideas because they said we didn't have any. we had plenty and they knew it but they repeated we didn't have any. you'd think if they were telling the truth when they said republicans didn't have ideas they would have leaned forward in an interested fashion and listened care think to the proposals that at least they'd like to convince the american people that it was the first time they heard such things. they'd heard it all before because we produced those bills before, introduced them all before, many of them were introduced as amendments in the markups of the bills that came through the house in the ways and means commee and the energy and commerce committee, they were voted down on a party line vote with very few exceptions. so president interrupted republicans 20 -- excuse me,
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interrupted democrats 20 times, interrupted republicans 50 times, that's 2 1/2 times more. i have here that the democrats spoke for -- president obama spoke was pun minute -- one minute short of two hours on his own. he claimed essentially a third of the talking time. the democrats, including president obama, burned not quite four hours and the republicans all together used up one hour and 50 minutes. that's at least two to one. it comes to three and a half to one or so. my numbers come to three and a half to one when i look at the time democrats spoke compared to republicans speaking. it's about, a little more than -- it's a number that originally was about 25%, it's probably a little more than that, mr. speaker. we have a number here that shows that 52% of the american people don't think they should go forward with a recoon
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silluation. now, it's one of the things that should have been a deal breaker. if the president of the united states takes a position and he wants to invite people to negotiate on health care in a bipartisan fashion and if he -- if he's -- if he's sensitive to the criticism that we haven't had negotiations on c-span and that they haven't been bipartisan, now that's what this was designed to do, send a message to the american people that the president was on c-span and they were bipartisan. well, that's all true. but the president has intimated and directly said that republicans don't have open minds that we have -- that he has already accepted our good ideas and incorporated them into the legislation that was written this past november and december. and i recall the president standing in baltimore before us when he said, i am not an
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ideologue, i am not. i am a centrist. close yet. you have to put a couple of ellipses in there but there's a context yule statement, it's a message he intended to deliver, a message he did deliver. i don't know anybody who thinks the president is not an ideologue nor do i know anyone who thinks he's a centrist. he's the most liberal president we've elected, he has the most liberal majority and it's the political center of this congress is way to the left. and i don't know when they've had a filibuster-proof majority in the united states senate that just disappeared last month, but of all the tools they had to work with to pass their agenda, the point -- to point their bony fingers at republicans and say, you are obstructionists, you're just the party of no you're standing in the way of progress, if you could just see the rationale
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for us and go with us so we had some republican votes we could actually pass this legislation and give americans socialized medicine. well, the problem is, democrats can't agree among themselves. nancy pelosi, the speaker, mr. speaker, has 40 votes to burn. that's 4-0. three dozen plus four votes to burn. she can give them all up and still pass the health care bill in their own conference and their own conference yet they point their fingers at republicans and say, you're the obstructionists, you're the party of no we're the peat of no osocialized medicine, no to taking away the liberty of our children and grandchildren and every succeeding generation in america and no to passing the debt along and the interest along to those same people. yes we say no to such things. the american people said no and they want help saying no in this congress. but it's not a function of the republicans' failure to help
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democrats with a bad idea that should be criticized if they can't agree among themselves. and could it just be they have a bad bill? could it be that the bill has been rejected by enough of the constituents of the democrats? how about the blue dogs? where are the blue dogs on this. they seem to have gone underground on me and i wonder if they haven't become grounding hes and seen their shadows instead of blue dogs who were for balanced budget and fiscal responsibility. now that they have a president of their own, it's a different situation for the blue dogs. they aren't nearly as vocal. but this idea to put together a bill that would circumvent the very -- the very trials of senate that require the 60-vote majority to break a filibuster and a vote on kilo tur is something that has been -- on clote your is something than --
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on cloture is something that many have gone forward with this. the nuclear option as it used to be called by democrats when it was contemplated by republicans, it was opposed by democrats after democrat in those years, mostly in 2005 when we needed to confirm some judges, and this is what the president said. this is the idea, by the way, senator reid said today that nobody was talking about reconciliation. huh. yes, they were. ben garden was talking about it while harry reid was talking about it but he was saying they need to go forward with reconciliation. that's been going on for some time that arkt has been going on since september. the nuclear option, as democrats call it, now they call it reconciliation, the president had an opportunity to take reconciliation/nuclear option off the table, he did not do so today. .
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we aren't going to blow this thing over the filibuster rules. the president didn't do that. must mean he's still for nuclear option, even though reid said they aren't talking about it, but they are. democrats and republicans know they are. and even though it has been rejected by then senator obama, senator schumer, senator reid, senator dodd, senator feinstein, then senator clinton and senator max baucus. they have rejected nuclear option when republicans were contemplating the same. we should know what the president says. it comes to this house and the senate and try the tactic and it will blow the place up in the
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senate and bring the people to the streets in america but i think they are going to try it because it appears to me that it's their last option. 2005, then senator obama said of reconciliation. a change in the senate rules that really, i think, would change the character of the senate forever. he often pauses for a long time and picks up and says, what i would worry about you would still have two chambers the house and the senate, but you would have simply majority absolute power on either side. no check and balance on what the president is saying and concludes with this, and that's not what the founders intended, close quote. president obama was opposed to reconciliation as a senator. it was a fill could have sal position for him presumably and now he is worrying about his
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agenda. senator schumer, who was in the discussions today said we are on the midst of a crisis. this is a reconciliation. the checks and balances which have been at the core of the republic are about to be evaporated. the checks and balances which say if you get 51% of the vote you don't get your way 100% of the time. it is a temper tantrum. they want their way every single time and change the rules, break the rules, misread the constitution so they will get their way, closed quote. senator schumer of the nuclear option that is being contemplated by the white house and the leadership in the senate and house in order to force feed socialized medicine in america. harry reid said, the right to
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extend debate is never more important than when one party controls the white house. it serves as a check on power and preserves our limited government, closed government. harry reid. what did he think, he thought they shouldn't use the nuclear option, reconciliation option because the filibuster is necessary as a check on power and on power and it preserves our limited government. now, mr. speaker, it brings me to, then senator, now vice president joe biden who said of reconciliation/nuclear option, quote, ultimately an example of the arrogance of power, it is a fundamental power grab. i play god. when the democrats take back control, we don't make the naked power grab you are doing, closed quote.
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vice president joe biden. presumably, that's a philosophical prediction that they don't do to god what republicans did. and now i have reconciliation, senator chris dodd who said, quote, i never passed a single bill that didn't have a lead co-sponsor a republican and i don't know of a single piece of legislation that has been adopted here that didn't have a republican and democrat in the lead that's because we need to sit down and work with each other. the rules of this institution have required that. that's why they exist, why i have a bicameral legislative body, why have two chambers. what were the framers thinking about? they understood, mr. president, that there is a tyranny of the majority, closed quote, senator chris dodd, speaking of
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reconciliation. now, that's a list of some of them. but i think it would be instructtive to go to senator feinstein and what she had to say of reconciliation which was, quote, the senate becomes ipso facko where the senate rules supreme and the party in power can dominate and control with absolute power, closed power, closed quote. senator feinstein and that is an accurate analysis of what is going on right now. we'll see if she'll participate and go back on her position. but then senator and now secretary of state, hillary clinton would have to be engaged in this because she happens to be secretary of state and out of this loop. but hillary clinton said, reconciliation, you have majority rule and you have the senate over here where people can slow things down, where they can debate and have something
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what is called a filibuster and deliberately designed to be so. the senate is being asked to turn itself ininside out, to ignore the precedent is to ignore the way our system has worked. the delicate balance that has kept this constitutional system going for the immediate gratification the president. hillary clinton opposed to nuclear option. last quote i have in front of me is senator balk cuss who was actively -- baucus. senator grassley who was shut out. max baucus said, quote, this is the way democracy ends, not with a bomb, but with a gavel, closed quote. that's what we're looking at, mr. speaker. but all of these people are in a position to flip around and change their positions.
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i would remind the american people that thomas jefferson once said that large initiatives should not be advanced on slender majorities. i don't know that jefferson was talking about bipartisan majorities being broader than slender, but he would have rejected the idea that very slender, exclusive party majorities are not conducive to the good future of our country. i would make another point with regard to these negotiations and discussions and that is the president of the united states has had kind words to say to some of the people we view as our enemy. one of them is ahmadinejad, who is the president of iran. and he said in his state of the union address, this is an interesting thing to come from the president. this is speaking almost directly to ahmadinejad and iran,
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standing back where your mr. speaker, to those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of defense, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist. that was the state of the union address and no doubt he is speaking to ahmadinejad, someone who has sworn to be the enemy of the united states and he defines ahmadinejad as one is to clinging to corruption. sounds a lot like what we are going through in this congress and the dissent that is taking place in this congress, no amendments allowed, shut down of the open rules process and debates process and a driving through of legislation in a partisan way. i'm going to suggest this, mr. speaker. i would appreciate it if the
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president today would offer the republicans the same thing that he offered ahmadinejad. and that would be you know, we would extend our hand if he would have unclenched his fist and meet with the president without pre-conditions but the president insisted on pre-conditions. so did ahmadinejad. the president says i don't insist on any. i offer my hand. here is a blank piece of paper, let's negotiate. but instead the president on health care said to republicans, i'm going to hang on to my obamacare bill. and i'm going to hang onto the reconciliation/nuclear option and you can figure out if you're going to blimping and concede something to us today and bring some votes over so we can claim that this is something that belongs to republicans and democrats. and when we rightfully refuse, they will pull the trigger on
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reconciliation and nuclear option and it's not because we offered an op hand but the nuclear option sets off a food fight in america that will be ugly. i have been joined by the gentleman, mr. gohmert, whom i would be happy to yield providing the speaker will yield that time as well. gome goal i appreciate my friend from -- mr. gohmert: i appreciate my friend from iowa. you heard so much information today. it was a bit mind boggling. when you think about the number of people that were in the so-called summit today and not only did they not have a copy of the bills that they were going to try to ram down america's throat, they seemed to be a little miffed when people like
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eric cantor and paul ryan had it at their fingertips to talk about. it is very discomforting, i would imagine, if you get indignant and say there is no money in any of these bills for abortion. we heard the same thing right here on this floor just within feet of where my friend from iowa was. when we heard people say there is no money in this bill for abortion. and i don't infer any evil intent or intent to deceive, but i know when people say that since clearly they have no intent to deceive, they just haven't read the bill they have come to the floor or gone to the summit to try to convince people about. it was called a summit today, summit meaning height.
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it was the height of something. we'll let the speaker figure out for us what that height was, but it was a height of something. but thement himself, i think he was within one minute of taking all that time by himself and i was certified as a mediator and went through training as an international arbitrator. i know something about coming together and mediating and when you have one side sitting here and another side sitting over here and say i'm going to be fair-handed between the time and you take more time beating up on the poor little guys over here -- got even less time among that whole group, i'm not sure how many there were on each side, but certainly over a dozen, and the one mediator takes two hours
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of the time just pushing his position, belittling the position of others and any time he's corrected since obviously he has no intent to deceive so when he makes a mistake on exactly what the facts are on trying to have someone correct it and then interrupt it as my friend points out, but you know, like we had the discussion on the floor, our friend, bart stupak, had an amendment to take out the abortion provisions that would allow federal funding for abortion. gee, why in the world would you need an amendment to take out the abortion funding if there were no abortion funding in the bill? but as i'm sure my friend from iowa knows if you went to page 110 of the house bill, there is and i have been through -- i got


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