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tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  February 23, 2011 8:00pm-11:00pm EST

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moments, democrat jim cooper thought about congress and redistricting. in an hour and a half, a town hall meeting with republican representative paul gosar from arizona's first district. after that, but that obama's comments about the situation in libya followed by israel, egypt, and middle east unrest. >> this weekend, the governors will talk about their state's economies, education, and cyber security as they gather in washington for the annual meeting of the national governor's association. we'll have live coverage through the weekend on c-span. >> tennessee representative jim cooper talking about congress and redistricting. he also talks about lobbying, fund raising, and congressional pay. this is a little less than one
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hour and a half. >> welcome. i am the director of the center. in two weeks, we will be fromming barbara harmerman ucla. it is my great pleasure to welcome back to the law school, congressman jim cooper. congressman cooper is from tennessee's fifth congressional district. he graduated from this law school in 1980. he received a degree from oxford in politics and economics.
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in 1982 at the age of 28, he was elected to a version of the district in tennessee that al gore had represented did -- had represented. in 1984 after al gore became vice president, cooper ran for the u.s. senate. 1994 was not a fantastic year for republicans. in tennessee the republicans had both seats of the senate and the governorship. that was for the second time since reconstruction. he ran a private business in nashville. in 2002 he returned to the fifth
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congressional district as a democrat and has been reelected comparably each time cents. -- each time since. he is listed as the 65th most senior member of congress. that is actually a bit misleading. if you base it on when he first went to congress, all but 22 members of congress has seen congress from the perspective he has seen. he is the youngest of those 23 by far. that experience gives him the perspective on congress the that i think is essential to understand the institution, its weaknesses, and how to restore it to its potential. elena kagan first introduced me
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to jim cooper while talking about how to make congress work again. he spent many hours with me and educated me about the institution and its potential. i am very happy he has since it -- he has accepted my invitation to share his thoughts on how to make the institution work better. i am also happy that he has announced another side to this question. buddy roehmer will deliver his views on the same question. please join with me in welcoming congressman jim cooper. [applause]
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>> thank you so much. i am honor to be back on campus. yvette page me when the greatest problem as i have ever received. -- you have paid me the greatest compliment i have ever received. former senator howard baker once said that there are three things you could not possibly understand -- the holy ghost, the middle east, and a palace rep. most people do not understand the house fully, but most people do think it is badly broken. i am had been in congress off and on for almost 30 years. i have seen the decline.
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it is not the decline that worries me. what worries me is that we as the world was the only superpower cannot afford a breakdown donaldo. -- break down the nile. it worries me -- break down now. our great strength has always been our ability to bounce back. our great strength is resilience. as winston churchill once said, "america can always be counted on to do the right thing after she has exhausted all the alternatives." [laughter] you are about to hear a very fundamental critique on congress. i will focus on the house more so than the senate. forgive me for speaking in a short set this -- short
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sentences, but there is a lot to cover. do not get too depressed. there is still time for a cure. not much time, but enough. first, i see a congress that is willfully blind to most of our nation bawdry problems. the true national debt is very -- is a much larger than the published numbers. congress has exempted itself from the accounting rules. i am a rare leader in pointing out this problem. not even the wall street journal uses the right numbers on a frequent basis. these are the approval numbers. no group in america supports this real actual accounting for america.
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not even the press that's fiscal commission. second, the core business of the federal government today is insurance. huge programs like social security, medicare, medicaid, and government subsidies for private health insurance. people systematically refuse to understand these programs. it is common to hear the phrase, "i want the government to keep their hands off my medicare." these programs are so large they's research spending, agriculture -- there is no congressional committee on it and churns -- on
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insurance. no focused expertise on insurance. tax incentives or another area. they dwarf appropriations. congress even holds hearings on its annual $1.30 trillion drain on our nation bawdry revenues. never has -- on our nation's revenues. never has our country been in need of tax reform. these are not sacred commitments or even government promises. what they are are scheduled benefits that we note we do not know how to find. until we fix this disconnect, these vital programs are in jeopardy. this could make the tea party movement look like a [unintelligible] the sooner we stabilize these
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programs, the more likely we can save them. it will be painful, but we should be thankful that we still have time. wall street, moody's, standard and poor's and give us one or two more years. congress refuses to use the right tools. we do not know what is in our toolbox. the craft of legislating, a screwdriver problem needs a screwdriver solution, but all wrench. nisei eeds a we use wrenches because they are popular that year. health care tax credits waste to out of every $3. i sometimes wish we had
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competency testing for congress. finally, congress has grown spoiled while presidents have refused to veto much legislation. george w. bush the to fewer bills than any president since thomas jefferson. every president since richard nixon has said budget decision power and used it hundreds of times except for our last two presidents. president obama in his first base to congress call for an end to earmarking and the next day his democratic congress gave him 8500 year marks and he did nothing about it. i was thankful in the state of the union message he said he would be to future year marks. how did congress do it this way? why did you not know more about
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it? when tip o'neill was speaker of the house just over 20 years ago, congress was very different. it was in perfect to be sure, but functional. tip o'neill believed he was speaker of the whole house. he did not want democrats to win every vote. he wanted the house of representatives to work. he criticized president reagan during the day and drank beer with them at night. he was proud of committee chairmen. members were expected to vote their convert -- their conscience. it was the job of the majority leader to corral enough democratic votes and at the job for the minority leader to defeat that majority. people could disagree about being disagreeable. you're considered a loyal list
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if you supported your party's position 70% of the time. members knew what they were voting on because an elite group of staffers wrote memos before every vote. republicans and trusted the democratic study group so much that they subscribe to its services. members or four or five days a week in washington, d.c., where their families easily lived. members knew each other's names and often those of their spouses and children. casework is part of the legislative portfolio. on the house floor, the so- called "king of the hill r
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ule" allow members to choose between competing solutions for national problems. the solution was the most big one at even if a previous approval -- proposal had received a majority of votes. this rule allowed limited legislative freedom, but made it much harder to predict how members would vote. you never contributed to your colleague's campaigns except in an emergency. in fact it was considered an insult. campaigns could cost as much as several hundred thousand dollars but only if the race was hotly contested. political parties did not charge you dues. it was their job to help you. the chair of the democratic campaign committee work in a modest room near a page
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dormitory blocks from the capital. congress has deteriorated badly since this era. when newt gingrich became speaker in 1995, the centralized power and politicize it. committee chairmen were emasculated. gingrich wanted republicans to win every boat. he waged total war on the clinton white house, even temporarily shutting down the government in an effort to get his way. the next speaker continued gingrich's approach when he invaded he listened to republicans -- the majority of the majority. congress polarized rapidly with
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scores climbing to 95% + levels. information services -- sources like the democratic study group were banned. talking points were used so everybody could stay on message. members were told exactly how to vote. gingrich reportedly said at the time that the first step in a revolution was to silence the television stations. king of the hill betting was ended. we now had steam roller votes where you had a yes or no vote at the end of a debate. alternatives were allowed to be considered only with the approval of party doctrine. members could choose between being a team player or trader. gingrich ordered freshmen republicans not to move their homes to washington so that they
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could campaign full-time back home. everyone belonged to the tuesday-thursday club that tip o'neill had criticized as lazy. members became strangers to each other, making it easier for them to fight. the cost of campaigns escalated to the millions. dialing for dollars at party call centers just off campus, parties started requiring their members pay dues. the minimal level was $100,000, but it could escalate to $2 million. this allows you to remain in good standing. colleagues began demanding contributions from each other, sometimes just to pay the party dues. the new job of congress became telemarketing.
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the heads of the party campaign committees sitting at their picks up offices in the capital itself because they're being groomed for party leadership. the democrats took back control of congress in 2007. democratic leaders, sadly, it tragically, did not even try to return to the policies of tip o'neill. we blew our chance to go back to the future. instead democrats adopted most of the bad habits of being rich and of the notorious tom delay. the democrats here remain who can remember the o'neill era. wheat settled for "lord of the plots appear "some people said it was impossible to give back -- "lord of the flies."
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some people said it was impossible to go back. the truth is that the gingrich model worked if you are only interested in controlling congress. most speakers will listen to opinionated rank-and-file members. it is better to keep them both in the dark. it is also easier if they can just follow the party line without thinking. this system is certainly efficient. what is lost is the hallmarks of congress -- open debate, independent decision making, putting the interests of the nation first. it will be interesting to see which model speaker john boehner follows or if he appreciates the difference. today members of the newly elected 112th congress of the
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united states of america where just one ander. two members missed the swearing in while attending a fund- raiser. the first floor -- the first floor action was reading the constitution allowed. -- aloud. not long after, a beloved colleague was almost assassinated. committee assignments have been distributed, they have voted or peeling health reform -- repealing help reform. everyone is rigged -- regretting the upcoming vote for raising the debt ceiling. no one knows if democrats will join them. aside from our own personal safety, members are preoccupied
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with two issues -- redistricting and fund-raising. the important issues of the day -- the deficit, health care, military spending -- are largely secondary. members are feeling pinched because of the height washington and the cause other colleagues prepaying their party dues. by coincidence, some of them got excellent committee assignments. congress today is really three campaigns for money -- normal campaign fund raising, raising money to pay their party leaders, and now with the citizens united decision, appealing to donors. the media does a much better job on reporting on how you get into congress. citizens united will be the determining factor.
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many members are in nearly panic's about their districts disappearing in just a few months. they love their district. an old tennessee legislator says there are two things you once -- you do not mention -- my wife and my district, and not necessarily in that order. every member of congress represents the same number of people -- about 700,000. some districts are losing seats, some are gaining, some are remaining the same. democrats and republicans love it gerrymandering. there are 91 politically balanced districts in america. some think that is too many. each party is working hard to make fewer competitive sees for itself and for the other party as well. how convenient. computer technology helps them
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etch tiny lines on large maps that help them divide neighborhoods, houses, and even [unintelligible] in order to find a bipartisan majorities. politicians know a whole lot about their voting habits. the secret ballot is almost gone. because of that, you need a gps device to find out who your >> rep is. -- who your representative is. it is not only a secret election, but eight reverse election. regular voters do not get a chance to vote, only politicians. you do not use them, they choose you. some are excluded from their
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state legislators on redistricting. they will basically control the outcome for at least a decade if not for generations. gerrymandering foster's extremism both on the left and on the right. it is a lot easier to get elected again highly democratic or highly republican districts. once selected, extremists only have to worry about future primaries, not general elections. newly elected extremists are vulnerable only to someone more extreme. states with party registration lawless have successfully out what participation in primary elections by independence and party members. it is about alienating those in another party. this week i filed a bill with 19
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co-sponsors in an effort to put some sunlight in the redistricting process to allow the public to speak. this is our last chance to solve this problem. regarding citizens united, mixing money and politics has always been awkward. everyone knows that professional athletes are not allowed to accept money, but it is perfectly legal in progress. barney frank said the current election laws the sense that every congressman is perfect in gratitude. the current law floods the system with money. good luck with that theory. last year the average member of congress raised about $1.60
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million for a job whose salary of the pace one-tenth as much. the top 10 raised $8.50 million each. the top 10 senate races were $36 million each. new members -- it is probably the most expensive piece of jewelry in the world. some raise the money by themselves. others were flooded by last- minute, allegedly independent money. television ads suddenly appeared, sort of like a calvary arriving in the nick of time. the citizens united decision allowed corporations to campaign for the first time in our history. these new troops have boosted election spending by $300 million. this is only the beginning. the sky is the one that wants
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these political mercenaries or allow it. my objection to citizens united is the following -- allowing corporations and to -- to act as of persons under the law, to have free speech rights that puts american citizens at a disadvantage. a better name for citizens united is corporations united. these are business robots. the court is even considering giving corporations privacy and due process rights. what is next? voting rights for corporations and unions? the court kept the century old all and made a felony that any corporate conservation -- corporate contribution suddenly
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turned in direct expenditures and turned everything around the felony into a celebration of free speech. this is like allowing college students to sleep in the same bed ever attending they will not have sex. everyone except five justices in the court finds the distinction ridiculous. you do not need to contact a campaign to find out what it needs, especially in the final days of the campaign. hardly anyone reads the fine print on these commercials. people do notice the quality of the advertisements. citizens united donors can afford the best. almost all advertisements today put independent expenditure into them. the candidates benefiting from
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this camper and they have nothing to do with the attacks. they wash their hands of the matter. citizens united has the potential of multiplied the money involved in american politics. no matter how expensive you think they are today, they will be more with corporate america. oftentimes there is less return on their investments. corporations spend millions of dollars on politics and sometimes get billions of dollars in tax breaks. that seems to be going ratio of these days. citizens united allows attacks by a largely unknown groups. you may never knew that that citizens united calvary or
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whether it was a native americans, a guerrilla warriors, the aliens. citizens united does not fit in the script you are familiar with or could imagine. do not out of the federal election commission forcing timely disclosure. it is notoriously flatfooted, attended, and we need. half of citizens united spending is anonymous. the percentage is likely to grow. citizens united could reduce the role for washington lobbyists by using -- fort washington lobbyist. why use a middleman when you can buy direct? this may seem like a good idea. things could be worse. today's lobbyists are relatively identifiable. they spent a relatively small amount of money -- millions, not billions. they are less selfish that their
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bosses realize. i am not saying lobbyist advocate new government. citizens united -- stateless ad agencies are aimed at down by a satellite or cable -- messages without ever talking to a voter or elected official. ironically, the chore for citizens united may well be the corporations themselves. this would be a welcome reprieve. otherwise, there would have to be an amendment to the constitution or we would have to change it justices. wanted the new freedom the court gave them. will they be able to resist the temptation of using them? for a few years, most companies will be unfamiliar and uncomfortable with electioneering. meanwhile, a few corporate
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fanatics can damage the image of citizens united, causing a backlash in the core's decision. which will come first, corporations are learning how to campaign or business retaliation? we can only hope it is the latter. in conclusion, the trouble with congress today is that we get the government we paid for, and we are paying for the wrong government. taxpayers today hire mediocre talent. candace think they have to duck fundamental issues to get elected. it perpetuates this status quo. it is almost unthinkable to think up paying congress for results. real leadership, however, means expanding the scope of discussion and making it happen. members are accustomed to
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blaming others for failure. they are so good at the blame game, they excel at it. the first objections for merit pay will likely come from congressmen themselves. they are afraid of making less money than other colleagues. it is this fear that motivates people to be a better. why not pay members of congress for performance? surely there is a way to measure and reward quality legislation. universities and think tanks could help us devise a system. many other professions, after all, have been facing such pressures for years. why not congress? what if congress were paid on commission to cut spending or to repeal obsolete wallace? you would never have to worry about deficits again.
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congress should already be doing these things. you cannot make donkeys and elephants move faster. here is another thought experiment -- what a congressman could only raise money for real people to live in their district, not outside interest? that would put a premium on residency, but it would also give a local taxpayers more influence. it is very simple -- we need talent -- we need carrots, and they need to be put in the right place. we need better people to run for office. we need them to focus on the most important issues. we need fewer, better wallace, not the polls. what is ironic is the lessons of
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micro economics. they are well known outside of congress, but i known within it. notice that china, for example, practices state capitalism, but our congress refuses to use market principles to govern itself. you probably should not be surprised and congress is not even true to itself by supporting parliamentary behavior. it is only the start of a real fix for congress. congress has long been developing more generous funding sources than taxpayers. contribution limits or double for political action committees. campaigns had been financed. citizens united has put the special interest on steroids. special interests have also been
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finding second careers and supplemental retirement for congressman says many of them want to become a washington lobbyist was the league office. the average tenure of a house member is cannot years, just long enough to collect a government pension and start looking for better work. this revolving door has met for a long time that congress has been little more than a former team for k street. it could become a wholly owned subsidiary. do not expect too much of congress. i would hate to see you disappointed or disillusioned. congress will never be more than a sausage factory. but it can be a better sausage factory if we get the incentives right and if more good people volunteer to serve or at least help those who do.
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volunteers have been channeled into campaigns for government service. what if all schools like this one started "lawyers for america" to help reform progress? i never understood why students what to spend a lifetime studying law written by c students. it should be the other way around. we should never lose faith in america's ability to bounce back from adversity. the fact we know congress is broken should give us a hope. the body politic is starting to heal itself. the worst shape we are endin, more likely we are to be proud of our recovery. someone said recently, "we saw a white male judge murdered on his
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way to meet a democratic female member of congress." the usa by a 22-year-old mexican, day college student. all this was eulogized by our african-american president. only in america. only in america. thank you. [applause] >> that was extraordinary. your work is not finished, jim. i will identify a question.
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the microphone will be in the right place so the question can start right away. >> thank you very much. my question is whether you think of citizens united was an intended or unintended effect of something else? the reason for the question is corporate america was doing very well for a long time. why take the rest that this kind of political change in control and power might evolve rather than leave things as they work? >> i believe all of the justices
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are good people. i also know from experience that if you are confronted with a situation you can explain, it can be either a conspiracy or a screw up -- 99% of the time it is a screw up. it takes too much time and effort to control. conspiracy theories are popular. they are almost impossible to prove. this is a mistake america should get back to correcting. >> thank you 48 fantastic speech, congressmen. you talked about how congress has become a parliamentary system. political scientist say that not parliamentary systems or unstable. congress should have the freedom to vote their congress. as an average citizen, it seems
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more problematic. the one vote most people care about the most -- the president is incapable of putting forth his "individual platform. can you explain more about why you think a non parliamentary system is so valuable? >> excellent question. i know political scientist or all been involved with parliament. we essentially have the worst of both worlds. we a parliamentary aspects, but we do not have the accountability of the prime minister. we can blame everybody else forever and not get anything done. i also worry about polarization of the country. i think we are better than this. it is time for americans to listen and enjoy a full body get
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rich debate. i think we will get better outcomes. this robot voting does not ennoble america. >> jim, thank you. it was terrific. i am in straight by your idea of pay for performance. as somebody who has spent a lot of time studying the legal profession, there has been a move to pay for performance. it has been a complicated move, as you probably know. many people have argued that move is responsible for swapping some of the other values weeknight what lawyers do have. in the context of congress it is particularly complex because at two things -- who is to decide
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what the standards of performance or and who is evaluating? if you were in charge, i would put you in charge of evaluating. the second is a matter of product. it is complex to measure the individual product. could he say a few more words about that. >> the professor and i are friends and classmates. in response to your question, let the debate began. there will always be thousands of reasons not to do something. we know congress is broken today. show me a better way to fix it. most people in the audience automatically react when we say to pay a commission. i would be the first to a admit that it may be too much of an
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economic determinate. many people are wonderful people who work in bad systems. with smart people like you and think tanks around the country, certainly we are smart enough to put the carrot in the right place. >> thank you, congressman. could you talk a little bit more about how you personally navigate the pressure to raise money and those who try to give you money to achieve their own ends? >> i am aderholt fund-raiser. i try to spend most of my time on what i was elected to do it -- quality legislation. i am a dying species. when i first became a congressman, it was a very disciplined and wonderful congressman from kentucky.
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he had perfect posture. he did the right thing every day. he was completely honest. he never raised more than $500 for a campaign. he would post a sign in a cafe in bowling green, kentucky, when he was up for reelection. in the big money machine, money has always been the milk of politics. when nancy pelosi was asked why she should be the democratic leader after the terrible defeat in 2010, she says she raised the democratic party $200 million as if that were in answer to the question. money will always have its place, but we have got to focus on other quality issues as well. our quality measures are suffering. >> this is a fascinating talk as everybody else has said. we are indebted to you for it.
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i have a comment as much as a question. it has to do with your reliance on market to market metaphors as a solution to the problem. how would you respond to this alternative vision? the problem is that there are some things that should not be subject to the market. rather than looking at markets, we should be looking somehow for some sort of moralized approach that drives markets. if we are in the economic determinate noted that you described? then it do we not have what economists would call a collective action problem?
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it might be in everybody's * if things change. those are people that may not be able to get a coalition of large enough to effect a change. i think the worst thing you suggest is the path of despair rather than a hope? do we need to look for another avenue of hope? >> the professor is another friend and classmate. this is why he is the professor and i am not. [laughter] he is really, really smart. to effect any change in politics, you have to use the language that is understood. right now people think they understand market economics. i would be the first to agree with you. sometimes markets are treated in
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an area they never should have gone. sometimes we fail to introduce market behavior. far be it for me to imagine market economics to a tenured professor. i use a basketball analogy. we need a hard fought game on the court and win the al ballot lines and referees. the better the referees and the foul lines, the better the game. it is a combination of market incentives and fierce competitive behavior. i think this is the debate. once we visualize the debate, it is a government problem. most people i work with do not know how to recognize the screwdriver problem. few if any people have suggested -- we have to try
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something new. if you have a better idea, i am open to it. >> we have a question right here. >> i do not expect you to be a mind reader, but you had been in congress since 1994. of those members, how many of them would probably agree with you if they heard you today? how many would vigorously disagree? how many of them would not even understand the problems that you outlined? >> i value my relationships all the help very much, but i never tried to climb the ladder. if you're a terrible fund raiser, you do not have a chance to climb the ladder. those people who run for congress are good people. they risk a lot to serve.
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they enjoy a lot of perks. most are good people. we will always be a mirror of the american people. you'll find the same number of rascals and snakes in congress as you do in the general public. somehow, the public elects people to "drain the swamp," but this what keeps clearing up. someone said we needed more mediocre justices of the supreme court said the mediocre people of america could be represented. [laughter] it is a government of the people, for the people, and by the people. i hope this speech is not a career limiting move. it is approaching the edge of the envelope. most of my colleagues prefer
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"clubbing it." but sometimes you get tired of waiting for change. i think a lot of people thought more change would be happening after the 2008 election. we find out the president is not omnipotent. he does not get a halo. the question is, the big the fight on your honeymoon? he chose not to do that. it does not matter what the reason is, do not pick a fight on your honeymoon. now that the honeymoon is over, he needs to do something to help the institution and help the country. >> thank you, mr. congressman, for a stimulating presentation. i am a political scientist. i prefer the congress of lyndon
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johnson, tip o'neill, or howard baker. you are giving this presentation in 2011. if you're giving it was noted years ago in 1911, it would have had some of similar tones. if you would have been railing against a powerful speaker, joseph cannon. all the other hand, if you had given this presentation 50 years ago in 1961, he would have been going again sam rayburn to prevailed in a vote to expand the house rules committee. that gives you the bracket of the extremes. i wonder how one square that circle. these are extreme forms of legislative organization. >> thank you for the question. i know it is frustrating for profs because we never get it
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right. i think it is the saving grace of our democracy. our government is like an antique grandfather clock. the giant pendulum is allowed to swing back and forth. it does two things. it provides energy and gives us something to watch. [laughter] democracy is a spectator sport. we want the people to be involved. congress today is becoming a channel on reality dvd. -- reality tv. there is a messiness in democracies. there are two things in never want to see it being made. that messiness is sometimes hard for a rational academic to appreciate. it has worked better than any other system.
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you are exactly right about the way the pendulum swings in history. i do not know what it was light when a to years ago, i am just try to make it better today. >> i was hoping you could say a few words about health care reform. i am concerned that my profession will be the anchor that drags down the economy. people are saying you can't have everything, you do not have to do everything, you -- -- it will not cost you a penny. is there any way we can make it better? >> thank you for asking about health care reform. there is someone is sitting in this audience who is truly a national treasure. he worked with me for a short while, but he has transcended anything i could ever do.
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read his essay in last week's new yorker. it was awesome. [laughter] his piece on the cost conundrum literally shaped and transform the health care debate. the kubic complex things in simple terms that helps regular people understand what is really going on. this is the subject. itt said it on this at vanderbilt. medical students need to learn about this system. you have a terrific regional expert whose current book, medicine" is good.king you should read it.
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we can and will make the system work better. >> i want to press you a little on hal realistically -- on how realistically you can press a campaign to accomplish what you want to accomplish. what makes your remarks so powerful is that you are in congress and you are speaking from knowledge about what it used to be like and what it is like now. i am a little despaired when you talk about a think tank providing answers. how much are you working to try to create coalitions within congress? it must be that there are a lot of people who feel the frustrations you do about not being able to do the work he
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went to congress to do. >> i wish you had been a classmate. i have learned a lot from you about a lot of issues. the key to american politics is that you have to be optimistic. things are never as bad as they seem. it was something americans appreciated from reagan. you cannot build morale without being positive. there are ways to help people understand. we have elections and they should be competency test. they should be rewards or punishments for good or bad behavior. right now the public is not given the tools to understand it is a good legislative or or not. i am a liberal democrat but a
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fiscal conservative. it is difficult to say which of those is good or bad for america. we all must departed from fact. fox and msnbc cannot cover the same events on the same day. somehow we ought to get beyond this. the recent financial reform convention was unable to agree. that is stunning. it reminds me that the center cannot hold. we have to really be careful. even though we were pessimistic .n the '20s there are opportunities.
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i think the key is to persuade the average rotarian back home that civic club votes are the backbone of america. you can't reach these folks. -- you can reach these folks. it can work again if we let it. there are powerful outside forces. people should not be discouraged. >> thank you very much, congressman. i thought your comments were very poignant. what you did not address -- you addressed that the congress is broken. no one puts forth drastic solutions. the kitchen table that obama
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says people are sitting around and discussing -- the issue is expenditures. the government is like running a business. we have got to raise revenue and there are other ways for raising yet, evaluated tax -- do not call it a tax. a fee. pair of shoes -- things along those lines, where do people stand up and say enough with 10 years and poor quality of education? we are at the bottom of the pit. how do we climb out of that well? where does a congressman or senator stand up and say, a, b,
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c, and b, and literally either get the money, since corporations or there are some good people who will fund that, go on television and say here are the solutions. it is painful. you are in the icu or very close to it. where is that? >> the limiting factor on an open discussion of ideas in american politics is the fear of the 32nd attack act. somebody can take something out of context and appear like a jerk. excellent examples of what we can be doing. the president's fiscal commission did an outstanding report. it got 11 votes. it needed 14. both house and democrats and republicans torpedo the report.
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either could have forced a congressional vote on that, of or down, and for a congressional alternative. we have not had it. progress is being made, but we need to be informed enough to know about these reports and how valuable they are. we have a terrible problem. i know accounting is boring. i hated taking accounting for lawyers here in moscow. -- here in law school. if you do not manager it, you do not deserve to manage it. -- if you do not measure it, you do not deserve to manage it. when "the wall street journal" or no interest group will help us, you have to look for outside help for the backbones.
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we need backbones. >> i understand your profession requires you to be optimistic. [laughter] i would like to put together the incentives you have put forth here. there are two dimensions we can talk about. one is the incentives that members face. he repeated my favorite line about congress becoming a firm team for k street. you people going into congress. you have people graduating from law school here and going into wall street. they have an income dream, because of their talents and their family, they assume there
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will be moving into a place where they can exercise their influence in a way that makes the problem you describe much worse. you talk about tinkering with incentives. are you talking about congressman k? on the other side, but we put together other elements you described. congress is eager to minimize the number of tossup seats or increase the number of safe seats. talking to the extreme makes it easier to raise money. if you really want to raise money, you have to be talking loudly and sharply to the base and the base includes the extremes. then there's the whole rhetoric of the active politician which becomes more polarized. that is a way to raise money.
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the thing about raising money in the campaigns is that it can be driving the discourse and to extremes. what is the real solution to that? i assume you think that public funding -- the house just voted yesterday to eliminate it. >> first, larry, i appreciate you devoting so much of your political career to informing our institutions. this is a curious subject smart people have difficulty grasping it. i son said that physics is easy and that politics is hard. [laughter] politically, it is impossible to bring up public financing.
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but there are surely better ways to do this. i am suggesting that we change congressional pay. you have to have a direct incentive. i don't necessarily think we need a pay increase at all. i am not advocating a paris for all of congress. but the only differentiation in pay today is that the speaker it gets paid a little bit more, maybe the majority leaders, but everybody else gets paid the same. the senators that it paid -- california make the same that i do. that is an unusual position. there has to be obvious benchmark for doing it. the few times this has been suggested in the past, they pay you to show up. if you miss those, the doctor pay. that is a little simplistic. -- they docked your pay. that is a little simplistic. there has to be a way to be
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fiscally responsible in this country. you have to change the way commerce packages votes. district voting maybe -- the way congress packages boats. district voting maybe -- discreet voting may be the key. it is easy to hide in congress. there's a point worth noting. the senate was supposed to be a group of statesmen. but now, with more secure house seats, anyone in america can be a house member. senators have to raise money like crazy. multimillionaires do not seek
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house jobs. so we are relatively protected. these are fundamental and understanding the system. henry adams had it tried almost a hundred years ago. the purpose of a political party is the systematic organization of hatreds. fear and anger motivate people, sadly, more than ever. how do we overcome that? another key inside is from c k chesterton appeared he said that the purpose of the local party was to keep on making mistakes. the purpose of the conservative party is to refuse to correct those mistakes. [laughter] that is more the dueling-ism in politics, more than anything i have ever seen. the mechanism, we can improve its workings.
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i am optimistic, not just because i have to be, but everybody in americanologists this simple overwhelming fact -- we live in the greatest nation on earth. we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. >> one more question. i am sorry. one second, sir. >> president truman appointed me chief counsel of the committees to investigate lobbying activities. we prepared 10 volumes about -- of our investigations which are available in the library.
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since then, there have been lobbyistsgistered live th allowed in washington. do you have any comments as to what improvements should be made to the series of lobbying acts that were made following further investigations. >> i appreciate your pioneering work on this issue. it is remarkable that there recognized the problem in previous administrations. we look at that now as an innocent age. there are now 33 lobbyists in washington for every elected official. some estimates to give up as high as sick -- as high as 60. one group is paid for by
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taxpayers. the other group is before by a largely volunteer contributions, by corporations or cherries. -- by corporations or churches or charities. you do not have to come to washington because i come home to see you. but they want to come to washington because they want to get a little break and get a nice meal and stay in a hotel room. this is a curious system that has developed over the years. there is a need for this, perhaps economic and cultural. sometimes, the lobbyists is a curious thing. i fight with the mold time. the only thing they'll like less than an uninformed member is a lobbyist. i think if we had more informed members, that might curb little
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bit the public's need to feed the system and allow obvious success in getting out there want. this thing that they are equal delaying interest and it does not matter where the money gone , where the money goes, it is not right. -- where the money goes, it is right. >> in one of the recommendations made, that lobbyists give up the practice of raising money for members of congress, do you think that would be a significant change? >> it is an interesting idea. money is so tricky. there are so many subterranean pathways.
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i do not know how you would monitor or police that. is a little bit like the citizens united distinction. how do you know when your currying favor with -- with a citizens united member? you're likely to be on their favored less, but you're never invited. and you wonder who's making the thinking for the corporation. is it somebody who really knows the issue or are they getting a memo that tells them that republicans are good and that all democrats are bad. we're kind of between the two political parties. we are essentially loowithout a home. that is a dangerous place to be in politics. as jim hightower won said, "their only two things to see in the middle of the road, yellow lines and dead armadillos." [laughter] in my area, it is more debt
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possums. you'll have one thing to protect. -- you only have one flight to protect and we have to fight to protect. toyou only have one flanke protect and we have two flanks to protect. everything has been done down in this generation. time magazine and newsweek did not used to be like "people." even the national journal which costs thousands of dollars a year to subscribe to has been dumped down. in the information age, we're facing an information shortage. we're discovering that more and more people are not wanting information. it is so painful. we want to reproduce our own voices. that makes a particularly tricky. >> i have a question about
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political rhetoric and language. i was struck listening to the state of the union speech several days ago by how nationalistic was. that is part it -- partly built into the occasion, but there's something more than that going on. in your comments and something that you have responded to in the questions, the insistence on american exceptional as some, your final comments "only in america of" were very moving. i am not sure how true it is. the president of france is the son of a hangar area. the head of the labor party is the son of a well known marxist immigrant -- belgian marxist immigrant. is it necessary in american political left to keep insisting that we are the greatest nation on earth, to keep insisting on
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our exceptional as some? it seems to me that there are real hazards in doing so and there may be some real advantages and pointing out our commonalities with people in other countries and the commonalities of the problems that we face. >> on this issue, we will have to disagree. the average american really does not want to travel abroad for vacation. they do not want to learn a foreign language. and really does not care a whole lot about the rest of the world. perhaps they should be faulted for that, but that is the way they feel. i am fairly international. i tried to focus on these issues. i know a few languages. i tried to do a little better than that, but it is a challenge. remember when the house of representatives renamed french fries "free of fries?" there are only two portraits in the house chamber. the first one is george washington. who is the other one? nobody seems to know who is.
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it is the marquis de lafayette. he financed the revolution. it is convenient to forget that. we have multiple challenges. in general, we are the only superpower, and disputed. i think it is a good thing. i think america has done more to promote wealth iand than any other nation. -- wealth than any other nation. we need to keep on learning our history and looking at the dark corners of it as well as the bright shining cities on a hill. every country will be proud of itself. we are not talking about empire. we do not have a vast cultural and economic influence around the world. but we are the most altruistic.
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i think that is a good thing. it should be celebrated. it should be appreciated. when i look at the glass, it is half full, not half empty. >> what advice would you give to a law student who is considering a career as a congressional staffer? >> apply for a job in my office. [laughter] we need to attract good talent to the hill. young people run our government. that is one of a fabulous things. it is the most upwardly mobile thing you can do. i news digest stephanopoulos when he was -- i knew george stephanopoulos when he was 25 years old. many folks have excelled because this is a non-hierarchical profession. if you show balance and ability, especially if you can write, if you can think, my god, your
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precious. so please do not be discouraged. it is not the coolest thing. but we need folks there, too. too many people have vilified public service. we need to bring that its greatness. >> i am understand there are major differences in the political system in the u.s. and other countries. i also understand that it is unpalatable to talk publicly about what we may learn from other countries. but are you having conversations with legislators, with colleagues in other nations about doing things that might be helpful in this system, while
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a local trading the notions of public service or more pragmatic solutions? >> i appreciate your interest in international comparisons. we certainly can learn from them. to be honest with you, this is something that our academic front will have to help us with. having worked a lot in health care, the only helpful working in health care -- i apologize if you're one of the authors of one of the other books -- the only one i have seen is the book called "healing of america." he kept it simple. he had a bum shoulder. he took it to 10 different countries. who did the best job? that is a real lack description you can understand and it makes a difference. it helps people understand that, guess what, if you think you hit the british system, we already have it in the va. if you think you hit the canadian system. -- canadian system, we already have it.
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is called medicare. if you think you hate -- go down a line -- the german system, we already have it in our employer- sponsored insurance system. if you do not like the indian system, cash-pay, we are have it. there are underlying similarities with you and your mind to think. but this is hazardous territory. a lot of folks say that i want to vacation in florida. i do not want to go to france. that is the mind set. those people are not very nice when you go there. in florida, you can do this. this is america. and as we expand the franchise, we have to realize who the bosses are and americans are the bosses. >> and i am the boss of this event. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> is critically important that the house move the cr to avoid a government shutdown. >> we all have a responsibility to make sure that there is no government shut down. >> with concerns of a possible government shut down, find out what the government did when it shut down in 1979. it is washington your way. >> in just a few moments, a town hall meeting with paul glosser from arizona's first district. in a little bit less than an hour and half, president obama's comments on the situation in libya, followed by a discussion about israel and
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the middle east peace process. after that, we will read your representative jim cooper's speech on congress and redistricting. the u.s. conference of mayors meeting in washington this week. we will talk with two of them tomorrow morning. our guests are anthony fox, the mayor of charlotte, n.c., and net cornet, mayor of oklahoma city. we will discuss foreclosures and the housing market. and we will focus on how states are dealing with prison costs with mike thompson. "washington journal" is live on c-span every day at 7:00 a.m. eastern. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] >> abraham lincoln and is the unique contemporary perspective
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on the president. now, while supplies last, the publishers are offering the hardcover edition of abraham lincoln for the special price of $5 plus shipping and handling. go to c-span got our/books. be sure to use the promo code " lincoln." >> this weekend, on american history tv, programs on the civil war, including the use of espionage between the north and south and its effect on the war's outcome and the role of women providing care for soldiers and maintain the home front. and you will get the behind-the- scenes look at general forced china trip. for the complete we can schedule, due to /history. >> now paul auster's town hall
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meeting from earlier this month. his series of public meetings since the first week of february were the first to arizona, following the shooting of congresswomen get real difference. due to difficulties, we are unable to show you the last few minutes of this hour and half event. >> present arms.
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m >> in the name and a the father and the sun -- we give you thank you for this country called america. we just ask that you give insight and wisdom to those we have elected to represent us. we ask that they open their hearts and minds to your leading into your spirit. be with those first responders to protect us here at home and the military around the world as a stand for freedom. be with us now as we go into
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these proceedings. all these things, we ask in your name, amen. it gives me great pleasure to introduce to you america's favorite sheriff. [applause] >> thank you. i do not know about favorite, but you're welcome to take a sseat. thank you for being here. we are seeing freedom at work. we have a town hall here by our new congressman. i wanted to welcome our gossar.smen paul goes ar paul gossar.
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been back and forth throughout the county and his congressional district, district 1, this entire past year. this is where coming back here literally within his first month in office is what our democracy is all about, literally holding more town halls in the first 30 days than the fire congressmen -- the prior congressman held in his last two years in congress. whether we agree with the congressmen are not, he is our representative. he needs to hear from us. one of his priorities is to come out here and listen to what we have to say. we cannot ask for more than that. i want to be -- i was able to give him a sheriff's hat and welcome you to pinellas county. >> i always wanted to be share. [laughter]
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-- to be sheriff. [laughter] [applause] >> thank you, folks. thank you very much. and thank you for upholding the constitution, your first liberty, your first right, your first amendment, coming here and being able to talk. three weeks ago, congresswoman difference was assembling you to partaken talking about --, -- wasresswoman gifford tess assembly to partake in talking. if we could take just a quick moment and pause just to think and reflect on what that means to all of us please.
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>> thank you. folks, i believe in trust. and trust is a series of promises to be kept. and that is what we're all about. facing congress is at the lowest it has ever been. what we had in the election is to instill in that figure in including us in making the decisions of everyday life, things that are very personal to us. so i told you i was coming home and i am. mission accomplished here. and we will call this your first house call. and the week -- the reason i want to put that out is that
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there is something special about having a health care provider being are rep. just like a patient of mine, when you come into my office, the first thing i have to do is listen. if we are not listening, we cannot raise our voice the concerns of our constituents. so the first thing i will do is listen. i gather all of my washington, d.c. staff and i brought them here. we have had a series of town halls throughout this district. five in five nights. it is overwhelming what we have been able to get, the passion, the ideas, the dialogue and listening to you. that is what it is all about. because the solutions come from here. they are your solutions. we see over and over where the solutions by the federal government of one-size-fits-all this not work. we will all have to continue to make the difference right here.
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so let me tell you some of the other promises but will join was going to keep. number one, i told you that i was going to go back and repeal obamacare. and i did. [applause] i also said, do we need health care reform? absolutely. and we voted to remanded back to discussions on how we do that and how we benefit people and how we dowland you into that creative process so the government does not stand between you and your health care? we also voted that there are three things that the bill has to apply to in order for them to be passed now. number one, we are -- where in the constitution doesn't give you the privilege to do that bill? giving -- getting back to our founding principles. second, does it create jobs? we can cut all we want. but if you do not create jobs, we will not get out of the financial mess we are in.
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last but not least, where do we make a more nimble government that encourage you, that works with you instead of dictates to you. -- to you? once again, here ago. we have also voted to try to minimize the cutting process so we can show you the rewards. we cut our budget. we did that across congress. we also made sure that we would cut the paper trail of laws, so that we did not have to post them -- to my paper, but custom on the internet. that has saved us $35 million. we also voted to stick with the public funding of presidential campaigns. again, we have another 1600 -- $16 million in cuts. we will have to go even further.
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we have a continuing resolution have to start the cutting process, making sure that we live within our means. congress is no different than you and i when we do our budget. what we bring in, we spend. and we cannot incumbered our future generations with the drain that we have allowed to go further. we also have to make sure that we're starting to get our country back on line and that is getting jobs created. one of the first things we're starting to do is see where we can get the government red tape out of the way. so some of the things that we are looking at this hour committee assignments. i think the two committees that i was placed on are very important to this district. the first one is natural resources. we are filled with natural from top to bottom,
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in this district. we see where we have been restricted. there are three sub committees on which i was placed in natural resources. the first one is native american affairs. the second one is energy and mineral resources. and last but not least, there's water and power. all of those played in small in district 1 our daily one -- all those play a small role in what we do in district 1 in our daily lives. government oversight exposes what part of loss or regulatory burdens are wrong where we can make some changes. hopefully, we can use it to experiment on the solutions that we can come up with for the future. the table right now. one of the subcommittees' those
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placed on, the first one is how agency's work and how they're built within and how the communities and the state's. that is right up my alley. the second one is homeland security and foreign office. once again, right up our alley. last but not least, there is the subcommittee on health, d.c., archives, and the senses. i will be the vice chair. i will be holding the gavel much of the time when we talk about health. i told you i do not like what the government did on our health care reform. we need health care reform. it is my job to make sure we're going in a direction that health care is affordable, personal, and patient-paid. i think we're in the chip for have to do. there's only one ingredient missing and that is you. besought in the election
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process. now we have to carry that momentum. all hands on deck. that is where we have to go. i said we would do some listening. so i wanted your team, my team, our washington office to come here and be introduced to you. what i want to do is let them introduce themselves to you so you can put a face to a name. these are your team. these are the people you will call and i want to start with my chief of staff, and work our way down. >> rob robinson. i am chief of staff, but i am also the district director. this is one of the ways that all promise to cut the budget. so i am doing two jobs. i will be in the district and awful lot. arizona. my son graduate from school here in arizona. and i will be here for your
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questions. >> hi, everybody. i am the legislative director. we review policy and the laws and advise the congressman. i went to law school down the road in tucson. and i am very happy to be here. >> hi, everyone can. i am stephanie ferguson. i will be working on issues ranging from from health care -- from house care to tribal issues and so on. this is the last event on a five-day tour of the first district. i have learned an awful lot from you and other members of our community. a think this tour has been really instrumental in helping us do what the congressman has asked, which is helping build solutions from the bottom up. that requires input from all of you. i met a great many wonderful
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people here. i am looking for to meeting some of you overnight. thank you for your hospitality. >> my name is germy herald. i am one of the congressman's political systems. i will be handling natural resources and immigration policy. i work for another member of congress for three years. i have a little bit of experience dealing with some of the issues that you are facing a year. it has been a great 10 days going through arizona. it seems that time has flown by. i look forward to working on some of the issues that are phasing your community. please do not hesitate to give as a walk -- a call in washington, d.c. we will be in touch with you soon. thank you. >> hello, everybody. i am anthony smith. i will be on the congressman's arizona team. i live here in arizona.
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zero rolesdoing two for the congressman. i will be the legislative assistant. i will look at the local issues that affect arizona's first district. i will also be working as his business liaison, reaching out to the business community at the chambers, find out what is working for you, what is not working for you, how do we get through the red tape and put people back to work. i will be here to answer any questions. hi, everyone. my name is penny pugh. i am the social services director in the district, working with all of you one-on- one and trying to solve all your problems that you might have paid through the federal red tape. we have plenty of it. i am the fifth generation arizonan. i know the issues and the district. i have been here a long time. i look for to meeting with the to you afterwards. >> hello, everyone.
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my name is rachel ihoaha. i am here in the congressional office. be helping with any issues you have with federal agencies and moving those issues through the system. i look forward to meeting all of you. >> hello, everyone. my name is stephanie zimmermann. i work on the congressman's communication. please check out his website. he is also on twitter, which is -- his goal is to get his message to you. you can e-mail him by going to his website. you can get news that real time on twitter and his facebook page. we want to make sure you get the news that is important to you and so that you know where he is on the issues. stay tune then let us know if
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you have any questions. >> thank you. one of the things that i thought that government was about was customer service. that is where i came from, competition, but customer service. profs service is rewarded. that is what we have to do. the reward is the american dream, in the america we grew up in. first, we have to come up with some big issues, like health care, the welfare of our country, and what it will take is a personal commitment by each one of us. the america that i believe we were raised in had personal accountability and personal responsibility. those are the principles that we all have to undertake. but we also have to be involved. who are you not to sit by and not give us your idea. you may be the one to give us that opportunity. customer service and communication, hoping that we would put our website up, one of the ideas i had is, number one,
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let's bring the ideas out. i am calling it idea ranch. it is seeking an issue, putting it out there in the forefront, and starting a dialogue with you. if there is an issue you want to take up, be my guess. that is how we should start to look at it. if you are like me, all of a sudden, his idea comes out and it starts me to think began a little differently. that's how we come up with some solutions. but all we can do is take those solutions and the amount them -- and put them out them -- but the mouth there for everyone. the second part, you will know when you open it. what you will hear is a pig swill. we're broke. that is my whole point. you have to hands holding that began squeezing it. when it swims, out comes some money and it goes into a bank. the whole point is to find the
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system that does not work. show us, be specific about how it is, why does not work, what it will cost us and what it will save us. then also give us a solution. does it need to be abandoned totally? or does it need more to help us on the community level and main street america? if you have another idea, we would love to hear it. but those are two opportunities that we want to start driving. it is inexpensive. it is real time. technology allows us to be in real time in our diverse districts. do not tell me you can i get this done. that is not the america i know. every time we had a series of problems, this -- the america i know always rose to the occasion and got the job done. this is our turn. and i think, if you look at it in a positive light, we will get something done.
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so i will end with that. and i want to talk with you and have a listening session, listen to your questions. hopefully i have some answers. hopefully i can give you some direction on where we are going. we have some big decisions coming year. we have a continuing resolution coming about. we are broke. we also have a debt ceiling have to have a discussion about. that is coming here shortly. this is an issue that we all can partake in. this is an issue that applies to every single one of us. so, folks, thank you so very much. it has been humbling to see the up for new people coming from all the worst parts of this district, from flagstaff to press get to navajo nation to show low to superior. it has been unbelievable. stay engaged. it matters. it really does matter. let's show them that the first district is the district that shows us the way out of
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recession and its american shining again. thank you very much and let's hear your questions. >> state your name. i like to be personal. >> my name is personal. i would like to talk about foreign aid. you spoke about several things where you're saving money. and you call that small amounts. i think their big amounts. >> thank you. but so much foreign aid is going to countries that do not even like us. and it never gets to the people or where we intended to get. it just goes to corrupt government officials. it seems like that would be a big place to save money. there people in this country, there are people in this district who could use some of that money.
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why do they never mention for an aide when they talk about -- why did they never mention foreign-aid when they talk about cutting. they want to cut my social security and medicare when they talk about cutting. but they do not want to cut foreign aid. >> 30% of this class has no legislative experience. but they have experience and the have wisdom. we have a rancher from south dakota. we have a pizza maker from downtown illinois. we have the banker, a private community banker and they all got involved because they saw the america they grew up in falling apart. their idea is that everything is on the table. nothing will be left until we look at everything across the
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table. but remember, all we can do is what we can do from the house. we still have to have the senate golan and the administration. that is when you get involved. i will ask you to keep the pressure on. you found me. how all the members of congress and the senate and the administration. your voices need to be heard and you need to be directed along those lines. yes, foreign aid will be looked at like everything else on the budget. you're welcome. and thank you for all of your volunteer work. >> i have two questions. >> hi, rape. -- hi, ray. about the cold weather? [laughter] god is doing this for some kind of reasoni.
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>> based on your personal experience, can you explain to me the efficacy and the wisdom of continuing the bia? >> great question. thank you very much. first of all, on another side about the weather, we were at - 23 yesterday. and there was no wind, folks. house tried to get my staff to stick to their town on the flagpole. it did not work. [laughter] these are things we have to look at and we have to have that dialogue with our native american friends. i told you what trust is in my definition. it is promises kept. what part of the trust does the bia give to the native americans? that is a discussion we need to have with them, not at them.
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all of these things, all these agencies, all of these ways of doing business cannot work anymore, folks. i think we realized that. business can continue as usual. so everything is on the table. be inclusive in those decisions and not exclusive. let's make sure that everybody is on the table that are affected by those agencies so we can be thorough about how we correct and read designate this america that we will have in our future. ok? i am following the lizard. yes, sir. >> my name is gregory shuler. under governmental root affairs -- government affairs, can you put a stop to the bureaucracy's going around congress, putting out laws like the epa and others, that we do not elect those people. i do not believe they should
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have any business putting out any type of law that does not go through the congress. >> thank you for a great question. that is wonderful. let me ask you a question and tell you where we went. i am that person that, when i have been involved i'll whisper is my hand and go why? there is a whole bunch more freshmen asking the same question. they say, you know, is there a way that congress should have some authority over the rulemaking in the agencies? and this is the answer was? yes. but you have never used it. so not only can congress have the ability to build those laws, but have agency's answer back for it. i wonder if that is what you will start to see. i also believe that, when we do laws, we have to have a sunset
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clause. they sometimes lose their application or they may have to be tweaked. there's no reason why a law has to sit on the books for forever. we should demand that those agencies answer that for their behavior. if i am asking you for personal accountability and responsibility, so should the agency. >> my name is phil rodriguez. i'm here representing my wife who is down with the flu. she wanted me to ask about the constitutional convention. she has been hearing stuff about it and she wanted more information. she read somewhere that you were the list of persons we would have to ask. >> maybe i'm too close to.
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tell your wife first of all to get better. ok? one of the things we can look at is that we have to look up a framework of what we have going on right now. there are a lot of things can do differently with the constitution. the first thing we're starting to look at now is looking at the constitution and how it applies to bills. we have taken the first set at looking at the new bills coming through. i am sure we will look at that hand look at the applicant it -- the applicability of laws. we have to try to resurrect what we have already. that is where i want to start. there is no tomorrow. the financial debt we see right now, $14 trillion, so when i talk to you over here about $35 million, i felt bad because we were talking about trillions. i am still trying to count those zeros. my take is less try to work with the reforms we have right now because we have a great start in this last election.
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now have to carry the ball through. >> congressman, thank you for coming. for decades, seniors like myself have stood in front of politicians like you and said that if you do not give me a free till, you'll not get my vote. that has to come to a screeching halt. also, thank you very much. [laughter] i am do a free till just because i got old. there is one old codger in your constituency who says that my country owes me nothing and i owe my country everything. [applause] what never m. payne -- whatever pain you in the ghandi you have done so so that my daughters
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cannot afford their future. whenever you have to do to me to get that burden off of them, i ask you to do it. thank you, harold. [applause] >> folks, once again, trust, a series of promises kept. one of the things we saw in the previous congresses that they raided the cookie jar. it is not fair what has transpired here. it is not. i wish i could have a -- have an answer for you to find that money tree. i have been looking. i have gone through the dumpsters trying to find that money. but what we have to do is hold up some of our promise that we did to seniors. a lot of people are banking on that. at the same time, we have to take our youth and not make them indentured servants. i do not have all the right answers for how we have to progress on this. i have some ideas. but that is also where you have to come to the table.
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make it so we're all in or we're all out. i am tired of the federal government making winners and losers. that is what we have been doing, making winners and losers. the way i was taught about america is that i have the right, the ability to succeed or fail. yes, succeed or fail. and if i fail, i have the ability to pull myself up by my bootstraps and succeed again. that is what america is all about. and this is where we are at. once again, this is a dialogue. i do not have all the answers. i am just like you. i spent 25 years next to my patients getting health care. i think i am pretty good -- i think i am and up -- i am a pretty good authority on health care. and did better include you. but that is what we have to do. i want to uphold that promise
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made by previous congresses who also caused you to have some distrust and rightly so. they stole the money from you. we need to have that dialogue. i believe in the exceptional is some of you, the american people, and you're achieving what we have to have happen in this country right now. yes, ma'am. >> my name is nancy hopkins. i know rand paul is proposing a balanced budget amendment and i was just wanting to know your opinion and what you think as far as washington and how they will receive that and what the polls would be on that for them. >> we have to have a balanced budget. but there also has to be some caveat in there so there is some benchmarks. you can take an equation and
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skew it for a balanced budget. you have to tie to mainstream america. a balanced budget has to have a caveat that ties it to us so it cannot be spewed out of whack. i think we have been down the process. what does that mean? first, our financial house is still out of order. right now, we are paying over 40 cents to the dollar right now just going to debt service. and you are lucky, folks. you are absolutely on that number. because if we get the inflation that should normally occur right now, we cannot pay our bills. so this is the first part. this is where the freshmen are uncomfortable and so are other members of congress. we cannot keep spending. we have -- there has to be concrete ways of cutting that will be on the table like benchmark, just like you and me. that is where we have to go. and it has to be bipartisan. it has to be across the aisle.
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and it has to include the administration. so thank you very much. yes, ma'am. >> my name is barbara manning. i am a compared -- a committee person in precinct 27. the republican senate has indicated they will propose a health care plan. i wonder if the house has a plan ready that they will submit. if so, does it carry in any of the suggestions by paul ryan, our congressman from wisconsin who wrote the path to recovery? have you been considering his suggestions? >> thank you very much. one of the things we did immediately was repealed the law of obamacare. we also remitted committees
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immediately about how to resurrect it. there are some pieces in the legislation that a lot of people like. there can be some cornerstones. we are all talking about that. we should be mixing all this i did better on the table. this to fix have the individual market place? if we are all competing on the same front, shouldn't they do the same thing on a competitive match here? -- matter? i wanted them to succeed on an individual way and not on a monopoly. when we have a personal plan, it
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helps us. it is the first breakdown of portability. once again, you know what is best for you. you should be making the decisions. it is a direct relationship between you and them that. it should not be between you and your provider. those are already on going. to ask about the resolution. i was wondering if you could give us some optimism. is it wise for us to keep doing it?
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i want to know where we are. i have asked for time to meet all the players. it goes like this. it would make other problems down the line. if you spend time at the front end during a wry comedy will move fast. -- front end, i do will move fast. there are other programs in the senate. we want to make sure we do not compromise resolution's for that project with what is going to happen. we want to make sure they have
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the incentive to stay alone. we were around nine. i was very impressed. @ positive the time to sit down. we had a wonderful discussion. once again, i do not think he felt that either. it will be tremendous. we should be there. it is priority number one.
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>> how were you? >> i am wondering, where you stand on the issue of education? i know it is reducing its. the current level is 5500 per year. it really does help low-income students. i believe it is a big equalizer. i wonder where you stand? i am begging you not to balance it. >> thank you very much. can we agree that the one-size- fits-all -- that is exactly what i heard -- one size does not fit all.
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it is part of the solution process. it is going to the bureaucratic aspect. it is not have to have the ability to have flexibility. to do you need accountability? yes. how about if you took that money and allow part of that to go to the teachers and students? that is why we need the help. that is an opportunity that we have right now.
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>> you are right about one size does not fit all. the thing that will be acting this area is a designation that we do not want, the designation of being an area for ducks. this is arizona. we are being compared to spaces that receive 50 inches of rainfall a year. it is going to have some really serious consequences. we are forced to comply with preventative measures. we really need to be looking at fema and the impact fee man has on certain properties. i spent a great deal of is -- a
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great deal of time working with these companies. it is a pretty arbitrary steady. they are wondering if they want to be here. >> this is the same thing i heard. one size does not fit all. we are going to dictate to you what is going on inside of working with you. isn't it about time? i remember we did not have an epa. i remember when they came back. we were into them.
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they had practical implications. they were helping the situation. now we have a disconnect. people were educated. this is where we have to start. we can move them in and tell us how they were communicating. it is not just limited to air quality. it is in the foreign services. they put energy in it.
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once again, i was disappointed. everything should be on the table. it is time that they demanded it. they should be answering to you paid in you control the purse strings. it is fast. you are not one to get any money. we have than spending time with everyone listening. i wanted to get back to you.
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>> living impose 9/11, i believe that we need to do something about the security of our country. one of orchitis main goals is to do the economics. the united states says that we can absorb 9/11. i completely disagree. we spend so much money on our security. al qaeda it is raining. -- al qaeda is winning. we need to secure the borders. we have the numbers to prove it. people have said that they have been coming through this for
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years. they control a sector. i know you know what i am talking about. two weeks ago, there was an attack by a border patrol agent. people were praising marchers. if we have another 9/11, i do not think we can absorb it. if we do not secure our borders, and the democrats want to have amnesty i believe that we secure our borders first.
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let's secure our borders first. he gave 2.9 million citizens to other countries. the democrats ran the house. they never held up their side of the bargain. they never secure their borders. if we want to come to the meadow, but secure the border first. then let's talk about immigration reform. thank you. i'm going to go to three cases. one thing we did once or meetings. we had to group sessions. we have an orientation about this very hour where you had to go into were your friends. the second one was an early
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december. we were starting to look at policies. we have a policy on terrorism and hot spots around the world that were of considerable interest. most of us can pick them out. if we had to pick, most would say iran. we had egypt on our radar site. that was exempt. when the answer became mexico. the gentleman talked about this. there is an acknowledgement that we have the problem. we have homeland security. we have a federal government that does not want to do their job.
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do in commerce. they pick winners and losers. they do not exist. thank god we are pushing that issue forward to the supreme court. our forefathers gave us this. we have an executive branch, and judicial branch -- we have to bring that legislative part there. once again, we can do everything we can from the house. the rational person will say that i am a numbers guy. you give me some numbers and i can give you an equation. you have one that keeps going.
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we have to get them to come to the table to do that. i suspect it'll go to the supreme court. i hope they have to enforce that. last but not least, i hope they work with people on the ground. we know a few things. we have talented people up and down. we have those who been doing this over and over again. how can our border agents not go
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through this? excuse me? i thought this was america. there is the other discussion. that is the discussion. we have an effort across the board. i've had delegations come across the country that say we would like to sponsor delegation. it is about time the federal government dropped losses. [applause] >> i am not here to talk about education. [laughter] i am concerned about the budget. it is way out of control.
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i want to compliment ian on the first -- on the first 35 million. with the approval levels being so law, it seems that people in congress are refusing any raises i think congress needs to have the same health service as everybody else. the second thing that wanted bring up their dipping into the trust accounts and all they put
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it in is and i owe you. that is a real concern. we can go to jail for that kind of operation. it seems that the block boss needs to be stopped. i just leave that as food for thought. craigslist talk about healthcare. -- >> lets talk about healthcare. i would refuse it. and slightly above the american family. that cost me $1,400 in help savings account. the federal is a little over 300. i guarantee you i will make an example of that about what main street america is going through.
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we live just like you. that is what our job was. no law should be passed with exemption including congress. it is about time that we start learning what the laws are packing. maybe we could -- would put some restrictions on them. what we have done is the ponzi scheme. people that create ponzi schemes go to jail. we have personal accountability. where is that for our federal government? where is up for our regulators? it has been circulating more and more. bureaucratseen a fired for not making a decision. i am not making a decision.
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the problem is that i am one person. we have about 150 people here. everybody has to take that personal responsibility. we are allowed our liberties and our freedoms. out of sight, out of mind. it is going to be difficult. it cannot happen overnight. we have to dig in and dig out. a shovel is the mantra for the gay men and women. it is a pile that they are surrounded by. they are beyond that point.
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we have to start looking at what we do. we are making winners and losers. if you look at the banking schemes and the scandals of the oil spill, wasn't it a problem of the private sector? absolutely. the other part was government oversight. they were asleep at the bill. a lot to the downside was because of the federal government. when i was as the question who do you feel most from any foreign country, and. the folks i ran against said china. i said the enemy is me. it is us.
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make government accountable. keep my food to the fire. i am fine. i know how cold it gets. keep on the pressure. >> i am the county director pour the project. yesterday we had meetings. i learned -- since she spoke about the navajo generating station -- it is 336 miles that brings the allocation of colorado river water into the canals. most of the water and up in that
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county. it is very important for our arms and cities. one thing i learned as the epa -- rules and regulate its common. one of the roles they are trying to make is based on their quality and bayard this ability. yet, there is no baseline. they do not have a baseline reading. we got everybody out of there. they are returning to all of its natural glory. there is no baseline reading.
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i would like to see, where is the baseline. but was already here before the epa came in. if we all left, i'm pretty sure there would be best. are we looking at what the base line is? we have to look at baseline ratings. this is right down the money. i should be able to take the same parameters and hand it to
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somebody else with the same results. that is where we were missing out. the road and maybe five or six journals. kenyan that people were trying to make sure -- he knew people were trying to make sure the best interest. now there is well over 35. talk about power. you have to look at the title. who paid for go see a it. we have been talking about the health care bill and how much it will save. and keeps going against the
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congressional budget office. it has no sides appeared to make sure you are fair. but me ask you this question. why wasn't the doctor part of the bill? if you put garbage in, you will get garbage out. if you put quality in, make sure you put all the information in. that is what is happening. you have to keep everybody accountable. it starts with you. you are holding the agencies accountable. to have a golden opportunity.
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the greatest disarray is a great opportunity for change. and there is no money, a great time to correct it. use the facilities of congress to bring those reservations to the front and allow the american people to speak on them paint let's start cleaning up our house. we will have to do them in a fast order. >> i am from precinct 27. our rich uncle harry reid declared today that the democrats will not get any budget or reduce federal
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spending in 2011. how are you going to vote on raising the national debt level? >> thank you. great question. what do you think i'm going to do? do you know what? this is a recurring theme over on the new members of the house. there is a concrete timetable. perfectly clear. you will find out that eric cantor went to talk with congressman boehner.
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the president made this following comment. the no, elections have consequences. think about that. sears the thing about that. my job is on the house. i take care of what i need in the house. i will take care of whatever pressure i can. we also needed to raise the debt ceiling. you all have senators running for reelection. most of them are democrats. i would be careful on how my leadership speaks.
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well we have been told is that you have to raise the debt ceiling. all the financial markets are going to fall. the sky is falling. maybe it will. maybe it won't. let me put it back to you. tell me what the currency has done for you and what the federal government has done for you. please tell me what all the systems have done for you. this is a time to have that adult conversation. i am reminded that i am an adult. that adult moment is now. i challenge century to come to the table.
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documenting cut when they are going to happen. that is the only way the debt selling one not be lifted. >> educating our children has always been a local issue. it is handled bleakley -- it is handled locally. i have been thinking for quite some time now that i do not remember when we turned to educating our children over to the federal government. you talk about one size and not fit all. can you remember when we did that? i do not.
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thank you. all these things have occurred over time. we had kids to raise. that you became involved in politics or politics will be in new. our governor is talking about ideas. i saw my family the rail bit. you can do this. you can do this. you are exactly right. the gamma but it does not know how to educate our children. -- the government a budget does not know how to educate our children. the relationship is just about
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money. i do not have to tell you that. i have a wonderful education from a small rodent town. at the end of my sophomore year, i ran out and massive finances. i saw the superintendent reach out to the private sector. i got to work with the fish. i understand a lot of biology. when i went to college, the instructors did not know how to run the equipment, i did. do not tell me we cannot get that from a public institution. i have seen it. i'm the first 10 kits. i saw it all the way along the line. this is part of the equation we
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are forgetting about. you cannot put a teacher in the situation where they have to feed a child or do behavior modification. cannot do a teacher making sure they have to do the homework.
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chrysler beginning. how are you? -- >> good evening. how are you? we really beat up the epa. thank you everybody. those are all things i have been preaching for about two years now. it is a classic example of the administration picking winners and losers. we have an air quality control director who has decided to get rid of agriculture. i do not know if he has his own garden or the gross his own cotton for his shares, but it is a sad deal. i can go on about that with their staff. it is so important. >> what do you do as a family?
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the duracell. it is a real crucial issue. i think it covers multiple states. i like to talk about the economy. i know it is difficult for the government to have anything to do with sparing on business. there is an awfully large projects that has come to the county. is there any insight to that and you could share with us? >> you are right. there are few things the government do except for one, get out of the way. >> we can cut all the programs we want. but if we do not have businesses producing, we cannot get out of
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the pool. you are dead on. with the road, it is something we are looking at. i hope we can keep that in arizona. i hope we can creative about keeping it in the county. we can look at that aspect. the person living in south carolina and north carolina came through the county. why do we focus on this effort? i person dissenting opinions. my family were railroaders. it is a major conduit.
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we can keep the project right here. i hope we come to the table to work together. it can be an asset and not a deterrent. if we are not going to agree, it is going somewhere else. >> of the answer all the things? i'm sorry. >> just to touch on education, i have been on the school board for years. arizona is a leader in the country as far as charter schools and letting the parents make the decision what is best
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for their child. [applause] if you were to just touch base, specifically will you support the opportunity for the program? it might come up in the near future. >> i believe in competition. it works. i need to base my practice of making you happy and that you value the services. if we can have competition in our schools, we have it. you got me. the ultimate product is the student. we have to make sure those parameters are carried through. you see that is a project that speaker boehner is passionate about.
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no bill carries it back. we have to see that reenter dues. >> just a you know, we will read every bill. we will not say anything about the bill until we read it. hold on one second. the beauty is in the details. >> welcome back. >> thank you. the administration is holding all these corporations and companies accountable for equality except for one.
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g e. they have given them an exemption. i would like you to comment on that. the predecessor did something i thought was remarkable, she cut her staff by $200,000. i know you had a small staff. why can we have the rest of congress do the same thing? >> we did cut our budget across the board. it is over to $1,000. we are the 10th largest district in the country. we are diverse. i had to buy a new car because all my cars and over 180,000 miles on them. the federal government cannot make winners and losers. you are right.
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what will we do with the bill? all of you have passes. i got a great legislation included us all. here is our legislation. this echoes across the board. it is not limited to our oversight there. we have got to get the government under control. >> i have a problem that i am looking at. i've been trying to resolve this for over 12 years.
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i purchased my finance home in 1984. it to a six months after the ronald reagan administration drew a line through sections 5 02 of the 1949 housing act that has sealed the interest-rate at 4%. i am paying 11.8% interest on my mortgage. i cannot by law refinance my house through the program. the last letters that the respondents had the audacity to say that i should be grateful that i am paying only 11.80% interest. most of the mortgages that they financed in that year were
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between 12.99% and 14.75% interest. the program that they have set up is that we can go through this and mortgage it through a bank. that sounds really good on paper. i tried going through that process. i owe over $23,000 on my phone. no bank will lend that much back to me. most of these houses, and this is thousands that are mortgaged i literally paid over $100,000. there were too. in my life when i was built.
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they have not told me how they figure it. you can get the subsidies wiped out. to get the mortgage from the bank, and they can do the remodeling. we have to borrow 23,000 and the 20,000 subsidy. that is way too much in the bank. they will say no. poor people have to be financed through the usda. if they cannot do it for a bank. >> you are exactly right. i cannot speak for senator mccain. we have a problem. i have been approached by the
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small banks. last year they had to more audits coming here. in december, they have money to loan. you are not alone. i need to alkaline the issues. we want to make sure we are thankful for you.
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>> if anyone had the usda home, and it was financed in the 1980's. >> we need to have an example. this is my neighbor to doors down. this was six months before i did. chanel then all the paperwork. she did not process. but was not in her name. her pipe burst last night and she had the whole ceiling collapsed. she is uninsured. she could not get the papers because usda will not process them in 1.5 years.
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>> i agree with you. this is brought unusual. we had the fire last year. we forbade private industries from going in defending it. we defended everything in not allowing that to occur. it is a habit. there is something about that mountain. over time, he can read it. and does something a little funky. it turns to a crystal.
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it is 45 degrees and ankle. right after that happened, it was raised. guess what happened? with 800 to 100,000 house it -- to 1000 houses affected by sand bags. we have a problem. you are ready to buy a hundred to 1000 homes. that is what they call a government that is non responsible to the people they need to be serving. we need to learn the lesson to bring back accountability.
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thank you for sharing that company. >> it due to technical problems, we are unable to shade the last payment of this event. you can see it in its entirety at >> they moved here to avoid a government shutdown. >> we have a responsibility to make sure there is no government shutdown. >> but concerns about a possible government shut down, see what was said when the federal government did shutdown in 1995 online at the c-span video library. >> the comment on the situation in libya.
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in about an hour, and jim cooper talks about congress and redistricting. later we will be aired the town hall meeting with paul gosar from arizona is first sister. we have several live events to tell you about. former arkansas governor might cut the be will be at the national press club to talk about his new book -- mike, the be -- huckabbe will be at the national press club to talk about his new book. we look at how political unrest is affecting relations among the arab states. at 430 eastern, we will join nasa television for the launch of space shuttle discovery, the last scheduled a mission. the discovery has traveled
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nearly 400 million miles already. we will have live coverage throughout the weekend. >> it is washington today on c- span radio. every weekday we will take you to capitol hill and anywhere in this is happening. we will also tell what experts and journalists as he put the events. you can listen in the washington and baltimore area. he can launch a nationwide on channel 132.
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it is like a c-span podcast. >> president obama says the bloodshed in libya is unacceptable. he spoke for a few minutes wednesday afternoon. >> secretary clinton and i concluded a meeting that focused on the situation in libya. my national security team has been working around the clock to monitor the situation to coordinate with our international partners about a way forward. we are doing everything we can to protect american citizens. that is my highest priority. the state department is
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assisting those. all americans to give thanks to the heroic work that is being done by the men and women serving in our embassies in and around the world. the united states has maintained a set of core principles which guide our approach. these principles apply to the situation in libya. we strongly condemn the use of violence in libya. the american people extend our deepest condolences to families and loved ones to all who have been killed and injured.
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violated every standard and normal decency. the violence must start. -- stop. the united states supports the universal right. they could have the right of free speech. they cannot be denied to pilots for suppression. it is imperative that the nations and people with one voice -- that has been our focus. it condemns the violence in libya. the same message has been
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delivered by the european union. voices are being raised together. the support the rights of the libyan people. it supports the full range of options. we will coordinate with our allies. like all governments, the libyan government has irresponsibility to refrain from violence. it respects the rights of its people. it must be held accountable for its failure to meet those responsibilities.
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isn't that simply a concern of the united states? they are intensifying the confrontations with allies and partners about the situation in libya. pat as secretary clinton to travel to geneva where they will convene with the human rights council. they will hold consultations with their counterparts throughout the region and ensure that we join with the international community.
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and how they can support the peaceful transition to democracy in tunisia and egypt. this change is not represent the work of the united states are in need for policy. it represents the aspirations of people who are seeking a better life. it is the basic admiration that is driving this change. they are standing up for freedom and justice.
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thank you. >> in the wake of political developments in egypt, it is continuing the middle east unrest. the middle east into a host of the discussion which is a little less than an hour and a half. i'm with the middle east. thank you for joining us today. these are the challenges and opportunities for peace. i want to thank the foundation for middle east peace. the middle east is there by the points. points.


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