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tv   Today in Washington  CSPAN  May 5, 2011 2:00am-6:00am EDT

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we welcome you being here, in your testimony now. >> thank you, senator lieberman, senator collins. i have a statement that asked be included in the record. >> without objection. >> we are discussing a topic that is on everyone's mind, before moving on to the principal topic of the hearing. back with the entire world. i want to join new and joining the men and 11 who played such an important role in bringing him to justice.
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this does not and our counter- terrorism efforts. we must remain vigilant regarding dress up to the united states voiced by al qaeda affiliates or al qaeda-like affiliate's as well as the threats posed by homegrown, violent extremists. our security posture, which always includes a number of measures both seen and unseen, will continue to protect the american people from the evolving threats we face. we have taken a number of actions specifically in response to sunday's events. these include issuing advisories to law-enforcement entities. we have been reviewing all open cases of potential al qaeda operatives possibly in the united states in conjunction with the fbi. we are identifying any new trading rules of the should be instituted based on incoming intelligence. we are continuing to strengthen our recurrent studies for a
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visa, asylum, and other benefit applicants and recipients in cooperation with the intelligence community. studies for a visa, asylum, and other benefit applicants and recipients in cooperation with the intelligence community. we are putting officers at our airports. we are providing additional information to all air carriers. as younow, we have recently substituted for the old color code, which was commonly viewed as obsolete -- a new system known as the national terrorism advisory system to more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats. right now, we do not have any specific or credible intelligence that would lead us to issue an alert under this new system.
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realizing that under the new system the baseline is already elevated. in other words, the baseline assams a continuing and evolving terrorist threat -- a sense a continuing and evolving terrorist threat against the -- assumes an ongoing and continuing terrorist threat against the united states. we will issue an alert if we get intelligence that wants it under the new advisory system. to move on to the main topic up- to-date's hearing, i am glad to have an opportunity to speak about the southwest border. gather i will now be speaking also about the northern border. unprecedented resources have been dedicated over the past 2.5 years and that has resulted in significant progress being made. i also want to discuss the metrics used to gauge the
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success. the administration has dedicated a historic level ofesources to securing the southwest border in terms of manpower and in terms of infrastructure. we have increased the size of the border patrol to more than twice the size it was in 2004. i now have a quarter of all the personnel in the southwest border region -- more than ever. we did all but 3 miles of the pants and called for by congress. for the first time, unmanned aerial aircraft's capability covered the entire southwest border from california to texas providing aerial surveillance to personnel on the
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ground. they are being supplemented by critical security improvements at the northern border including additional agents, technology, and infrastructure as well as strong, serious, and strategic enforcement of immigration laws in the interior of the united states. as someone who has lived most of her life in border states and has worked with public officials are dealing with water-related issues since 1993, i can say from personal experience that the steps that haveeen taken constitute the most comprensive and dedicated effort to strengthen border security that we have ever deployed. of the past two years, seizures of contraband has risen in all categories -- drugs, illegal weapons, illegal cash. illegal immigration attempts, as measured by apprehension of illegal aliens, has decreased
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by 36% in two years. they are less than one-third what they were at their peak. fbi crime statistics demonstrate that the crime rates in border communities have their work -- have remained steady o drop in recent years, continuing a decade-long trend. i am not the only one, senator collins, who has state that the border is safer now than it ever has been. the border city mayors themselves have said that and are concerned that the misperception on this side of the border is interfering with their ability to attract jobs and economic development to their own regions. i must also say, i am perplexed why the union which represents some of our border patrol agents do not report the success that the border patrol has achieved
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over the past 2.5 years. i can onlyay that -- like i say, i am perplex. i will not go into that any further. the significant improvements would not have been possible without the bipartisan support of this cgress, particularly, -- particularly the money passed last summer. i thank you for your continued support. nonetheless, we still face challenges. this is not a victory lap. we must continue to build upon the progress we have made. we remain deeply concerned about the drug cartel violence taking place in mexico. we know these organizations are seeking to undermine the rule of law, especially in northern mexico, and we must guard against any spillover effects in the united states.
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well our efforts have led to progress in every significant metric we currently have, we must focus on new ways to comprehensively measure results along the border. ultimately the success of our efforts must be measured in terms of overall security and quality of life along the entire border region. i had directed u.s. customs and border proction to develop a new index to comprehsively measured security along the southwest border and the quality of life in the region. as part of this process, we are convening independent, third party representatives to evaluate any such index. in developing these border metrics, it is important to keep in mind our ultimate goal, which is to make border security more secure and provide a basis for economic prosperity.
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that is like a new border security index will not only take into account traditional measures such as apprehensions and contraband seizures, but we will also incorporate indicators of the act of illegal cross- border activity on the quality of life in the border regions. these include factors like traffic agents -- traffic accidents involving illegal immigrants, and passed on property values and other measures of economic activity that can be impacted by illegal immigration. because defining success at the rder is critical to how we move forward, our definition of success must meet several guidelines. it must be based on reliable numbers. it must tell the complete, transparent story.
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it mus include the priorities of the border committees themselves. i look forward to working with this committee on this important issue. there are a number of other things i can't say -- i can say in response to the numbers of the gao submitted. suffice it to say, however, that many of those g ltatistics -- g.a.o. statistics are not complete with respect to the efforts that have been undertaken. i will adjust that a little bit in the "q&a". thank you again for the opportunity to testify thank you ain for the opportunity to present the case before the security -- to present the case for border
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security in the united states. >> i appreciate the comments you made about the state of readiness of the department post bin laden's death. a few quick questions i hope will illustrate the seamless of our counter-terrorism efforts. i presume that, for instance, we know that the navy seals took an enormous amount of data from the compound in pakistan. i assume that as this material is gone over, anything related to haleh security will be shared immediately with your department. -- homeland security will be shared immediately with your department. >> it is being shared. quite good. a lot to highlight what i believe i heard you say. although you have not raised the
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national threat advisory system alert -- you are right. it is important to put out that cents these changes put into the system lt week have us always at a state of alert. the judgment you make in changing that would -- would be to raise that to an elevated state of alert and then to end and in that state of alert. >> we have a counter-terrorism advisory board comprised of all the members of the intelligence community to are constantly reviewing intelligence coming in as it relates to the homeland. they analyze it for whether a threat is either elevated or is so specific and credible that it actually reveals an eminent threat. at that point, an advisory would be issued. we would tell people as my
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facts as we can. it tells them what they can do to protect themselves or their families. it tells them what they can do to help us with regard to the threat. for example, we may be looking for certain types of vehicles or other things. it tells them where they can go to get continuously updated information. rather than the colors, which did not communicate any information. this is designed to communicate information. >> if you do not have specific or credible evidence and have not read -- have not elevated, does not mean the department has not taken additional steps cents bin laden was killed. you indicated that there was increased security at the airports. i do not know if you mentioned
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at seaports, but i would imagine that is included. is that correct? >> that is correct. we have also, at airports in particular, we have taken additional efforts at our borders. as i mentioned, we are also going back and reviewing all of the pre-existing intelligence with respect to open files against the united stes. >> i appreciate that. we are reassuredo know that some of the materials that were seized at bin laden's compound are already being shared with the department. my impression that bin laden himself continued to be focused on attacks on the united states of america, on our homeland -- it may be that the information gathered by the seals from his compound could hopefully prevent
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such attacks. let me focus on now on the direct question that we originally were going to handle, which is border security. we are operating in a political context. i mean that in terms of the body politic. we are dealing with how we can form a consensus to both improve the security at our borders -- but as we said, the equation that people have articulated that our immigration system is broken, but we are never going to have a no support for immigration reform until we can say that our border is secured. i want to deal with that part of it first. the security fence act of 2006 required that the department of haleh security achieve operational control of the border -- department of homeland security achieve operational
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control of t border. any unlawful entries into the united states -- >> at a recent colloquium, you all agreed that total operational control over our border is effectively an unreachable goal, that we are never going to be able to fully seal off the bordefrom all illegal activity. if that is correct, and i suspect it is correct i think we have to ask ourselves, and i am going to ask you now, what is an achievable goal in terms of securing our border? i ask that both because we have a responsibility to secure our border, but also because, hopefully, it will help us
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decide what level of border security we need to achieve before we can go on to deal with the problem of immigration reform. >> mr. chairman, i think two things. one is that is why we have gone back. operationa control is an archaic term. that was testified to by some of the other witnesses you have had in this area. it is a limited tm. it makes for sound bite, but it does not reflect the reality of what is happening at the border. but the fact of the matter is that we need a more quantitative and qualitative way to reflect what actually is occurring at the border. that is what i have directed someone to prepare. but also, mr. chairman, there is a linkage between immigration reform and the border. they are interrelated. the notion of this kind of sequencing does not reflect the
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reality that with immigration reform, some of the underlying laws involving visas, temporary workers, those sorts of things -- if you deal with the legal immigration system, that also has an impact on what is in the illegal immigration system. this is a not that we must untie, looking at all these things together. >> i take it from what you are saying, as an example, we may be able to reduce the flow of illegal immigrants by altering immigration laws. for ss, per -- providing for temporary workers visas or raising the temporary cap on visas allow for people coming into the country. >> indeed. an example would be for
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agricultural worker bees is, but there are many others as well. >> thank y for the announcement you have de this morning. i think it is significant. you have directed customs and at border protection to come up with a new index, a new metric for measuring or security. they will bring in outside experts to consult with them. i think that will really help to inform the debates and allow us to set some goals that are achievable, and also create a foundation for moving on to the related question of immigration reform. >> thank you, mr. chairman. we are moving as quickly as possible on this. it is a bit of an onion tpeel when you actually look at it. one of the things we want to
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know, for example, how many people have been deterred or prevented from crossing illegally by the measures we are taking? it is very difficult in all areas, but especially here to measure a deterrent number to get the denominator. we have to have other factors we looked at before we can reasonably say and reasonably extrapolate that we now have a safe and secure border region that also facilitates the flow of legal commerce and trade and tourism. >> thank you, very -- thank you very much. senar collins. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me start with the border security issue. you made a comment that you were expected to talk about the southwest border, but wanted to talk about the northern border.
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title of this hearing is securing the borders. our witness letter made very clear we were thinking about the entire border. >> i am ready to do that. >> i do not want you to have a misleading impression. let me just start with the december gao report that looked at a number of issues. it was in this report that the gao quotes dhs as reporting that the terrort threat of the northern border is hired giving -- given the broad expanse of area with limited law- enforcement present. the gao also went on to say that dhs reports networks of illicit criminal activity between the
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two countries. the vast majority of trade and travel between the u.s. and canada obviously is legitimate. we do nowant to impede that legitimate travel and trade, but that is one reason i am such a reporter of the operation stone garden. it allows for joint operations that are a multiplier for the federal government as well as helping state, county, and local law enforcement. i truly do not undstand in light of d.h.s. own assessment that the terrorist threat is higher on the northern border and that there is significant criminal activity. why is the administration year after year trying to restrict
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operation style garden to just the southern border? >> if i might discuss the measures that are ongoing at the northern border that are not captured in the december gao report. the northern borr is different from the southwest border in the sense that you have some big urban areas where a lot of traffic goes back and forth and then you have a huge expansion of farm land as has been testified to. our design for the northern border is different than from the southwest border. our strategy is different as well. it is mu more technology dependent. are adding more systems up there that can detect low flying aircraft. also, our partnership with canada has evolved over the past
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months so that we have the prime minister and president obama themselves announcing a joint vision for a perimeter involving canada and the united states and greater cooperation with canadian law enforcement on both sides of the border. that is going extraordinarily well. for example, we are looking at being able to integrate their own radar feeds into our system as well. with respect to stone garden, there are some stone bargain moneys that have been allocated to the northern border. but in terms of looking at where the need is greatest -- i only get so much -- measured by what the local law enforcement is asked to do, the overtime, the
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maintenance of vehicles, those sorts of things, stone -- i will acknowledge that the priorities have gone to the southwest border and probably will continue to do so. >> i understand the premise that the southwest border is why we have so many more border agents, but this is a program thats not an expensive program that allows you to do more than you otherwise could. it is d.h.s. own findings that warn about the trorist threats from the north. in my remaining time, let me switch to a different issue. that is the security program. i've been watching this program for many years. since 2002 when it was first established. the fact is, we are n making
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much progress. the ice personnel have only been deployed to 19 of the 57 highest risk state department post around the world. this program is an example of one where we can stop people from getting vis in the first place. it is an example of the kind of coordination you have advocated and it helped advance across department lines and that this committee has always promoted. but, to me, it is very disappointing that the president's budget request is unchanged from last year for this program. are you going to be able to cover more of these high risk post with that budget? >> one of the things we were asked to do is to see if there are current functions that we
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could continue to performr even an large if we could figure out another way to dohem. the visa security program, as you acknowledge, requires an agreement with the state department. i will acknowledge there have been some issues there. i think we are working our way through them. the other thing i asked i asked to do is to figure out a way we could do the same doubl checked service on a visa remotely by using some of the i e-systems we have in place. i believe this year we will be able to do that and expand our visa eyes and ears in that fashion. >> thank you. >> thank you very much, senator collins. the next senator will be senator tester. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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it is always good to see you, madam secretary. i also very much appreciate the statement you made earlier today when we were talking about bin laden -- this is not a victory lap, this is about getting a job done and moving forward. it is about some very difficult decisions that were made. you were part of that and you need to be credited for that and i thank you. the other thing i wanted to talk about real quick -- the ranking member talked about this a lot -- is stone garden. i do not want to dwell on it a lot, but i do want to simply refresh on what you just said. there would be stone garden grants available to the northern border? >> there is sti money available, senator, but they are
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not in the same amount. >> i understand that. when we are talking about stone gard and limited amounts of money, where you able to take into account as the director, as the head honcho, the potential money that the stone garden money could save to expand that program? are you able to do that within your budget? >> if yes. that is an analysis we are using for all of our funding. i would say, senator, that one of the things we've been doing over the past weeks is looking at the budget agreement for 2011 which cut a lot of the grant funding that we had for anti- terrorism and looking at how we priorize. how do we make sure money is going to where it can be best used to eliminate risk?
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we will do the same for stone garden. >> would it be fair to say, or at least can i get your reassurance -- when 2012 comes around, there will be dollars to be able tdevelop partnerships with local law enforcement agencies of the northern border. >> it is fair to say that there will be dollars available, but the whole universe of grants if you add them up is less than last year. >> yes. we may not be able to help with that. i was pleased that d.h.s. announced a round of grants in a demonstration program. it is important for people to communicate. as we move forward, is d.h.s. looking to expand upon their
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ogram? >> we have a different funding for an opera ability. the answer is yes. i would also say that this is an area where the northern border is a particular issue because of large amounts of world territory that has to be covered. -- rural territory that has to be covered. we have ways to deal with the urban areas of the country, but the rural areas are more difficult. >> you talked about harper and obama having a meeting and a int vision -- is there anything being able to dine to
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share information on visa overstays in that regard? >> that is something we had discussed. there is nothing concrete at this point. i have met with my white house counterpart several times about this. let me get to a point where gm said only 3% goes to the set overstays. that is only looking at one account. the fact of the matter is, a lot of our programs capture a visa overstays. secure community picks up individuals that had been arrested. the 3% is not really an accurate reflection. >> i understand that. it is difficult, but i will tell you that folds, in illegal -- , in legally and refused to go
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home. anything we can do to help you in that regard to remind them to head back is incredibly important. i recently called for an investigation against a university that manipulates immigration laws to bring people in. it is a backdoor. are you aware of these schools? as theresident taken any steps to remedy that? >> yes. we have been a initiative on the sham university issue. we have dealt with several of them. absolutely. >> thank you for that. i appreciate the work about allowing planes to land with fewer passengers.
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the director of the airport is going to be coming to town and meeting with the commissioner and other senior folks, and i hope that will be a productive meeting. i don't ask this as a question, bu just appreciate your efforts in working together to solve the problem. i think it is a big problem, from my perspective, and it can be handled at year-end giving guidance to focus on the ground. >> we will work with the great lls airport authority. if they want to lend additional passengers, they have to do additional things at e facility. >> i think it can be worked out. >> we will t, absolutely. >> you talked about an elevated state of alert, which is what we are on now, correct?
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>> we are always on that, yes. >> was increasedfter the events of sunday? >> i know, we did not issue a separate advisory, exct that we began immediately putting out intelligence products to state and local law enforcement, transportation authorities, and the like said that if they wanted to take any individual actions, they could do so. >> i had to fly into minneapolis sunday night to get here earlier than i normally would through montana, and it seemed to me that tsa was in a more elevated state. i saw people walking around in places that i never noticed them before, the lines were much longer. at the thought the job being done with security was more thorough. did they do that on their own, did you give them instruction?
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>> that is correct, senator, we increased resources for a few days until we could see with the intel outcome was. >> very good. we very much appreciate your leadership and it is good to have you in front of the committee. >> thank you. >> thank you, m chairman, madame secretary, welme back. i wanted to pick up on the increased threat level. i want to understand why we are not increasing the threat level. that sounds like we will only increase if there is a specific threat? >> if there is a specific credible intelligence of a threat, yes, an advisory will go out. it can be elevated or eminent. the thought behind this, this was the product of a bipartisan committee shoulcommission.
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there we a number of experts on the commission. the idea is instead of just putting out a color, give people information. an advisory itself, if we elevate it, maybe it restricted to a particular transportation sector or a particular area of the country. they are designed to expire on the road in two weeks so we cannot continually at advisory upon advisory, with the fact that nobody pays attention and more. >> but if you increase the threat level, that implies rtain actions are being taken, correct? >> there woul be certain actions taken with increased threat levels, yes. generalizedwas a increase in the threat level, it uld be in reaction to the suessful capturing, killing of
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osama bin laden, correct? i don't quite understand why it we would not be increasing the threat level, at least f a short time. >> this is an ongoing evaluation. at the time of the capture of bin laden, as of yesterday, there was no specific credible threat, specific retaliation, other than generalized there may be something that happens. in that general sense, we already ask people to help if they see something, to say something. we already have police department's looking at suspicious activity, we are have resources deployed at areas that have been of particular interest, historically, like aviation. that already happens. the advisory system is if we need to elevate a particular area, a particular sector of the country, that goes out and we
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provide as many facts as we can and we provide what we want people to do, how they can help the government, and how they can stay informed. if you go to, there is a template for the advisory system and a briefing on how it works. i think people i still making that adjustment. >> last time you were before the committee, i was trying to determine what we need to do to secure the border, and if it was a problem with resources, what it would cost to secure the border. your answer was that we ve enough resources. taking off from that,o you have in your mind at multiple step process? what are your priorities in terms of resources, what steps are you going to take to get the border secured? >> they will be different
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between the southern and northern borders. they are different areas to secure. it is a combination of manpower, technology, and infrastructure. we're constantly looking at a number of measures to adjudicate whether we are getting results from the instments we are making. when you ask if we have enough resources, i realize and we all realize that we are in an era of depleted resources. i have to figure this out, recognizing in all likelihood there is not another $600 million that will come my way for the borders. how we make best use of what we have. we insist on accountability, producing results, and now i am assisting that the cdp develop a better way to measure those results. >> i am confused. do you have enough resources or
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don't you? >> i believe, senator, with the resources we have and the resources the president has requested, which is to sustain the record level of resources at the border -- we have never had this kind of level of resources. the key is not more, a sustainment. -- the key is not more, it is sustainment. we will be able to continue our efforts of securing the border. the question and the challenge for the committee will be, and for the senate, making sure that we have a fy 2012 budget from which to work. if we have a continuing resolution, we will have a problem. >> there is an awful lot of numbers, a lot of data. turning that into real information, is the concept that we will have an overall single
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number index? will that be by region, for the entire country? what is the threat assessment and securing the border kind of index? >> i am waiting for acp. they are in this process, to come back to me. i believe it is conceivable that we would have two different indices, for the nor and south, because they are different. the index m be a range, which would refct overall efforts at the border. what i know for sure, looking at apprehensions' alone does not cut it. using operational control also does not cut it. we need something more qualitative and quantitative that you can use allocating resources and we can use as well. >> the southern border, there is a vast difference in level of
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success, and would you not want to have a different indexes? >> we anticipate sector by sector. there is a big difference between the yuma sector, in which there is a lot of military land, and the tucson sector, which is the busiest and the one where we're putting the most resources. even in one state, we see a difference. that is why i think any kind of index would probably have to reflect the range. >> ok, thank you. >> thank you very much, senator. just to come back to the threat level, and we are all getting accustomed to the new system -- although i think it is an improvement -- and a circumstance -- let me put it this way, we are always on alert.
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the question is, do we raise it to elevate it? right now, after bin laden was killed, it is elevated, but there is no specific and credible evidence of a threat, but you have taken additional steps. just for clarification, when you go to elevated, if you did, does it mean the government is taking additional steps or that you are calling on the citizenry to be more alert, or both? >> both, and it also corresponds to the additional efforts by state unless local responders as well. in instituting the new system, one of the things we did was work of a lot with police departments around the country as to what elevated would mean. we're always at a state of alert. we are always calling of the citizens, and it is every easy
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to remember slogan, " you see something, say something." our actions are predicated on the fact we are always on alert. i will also say that the decision to raise or not to raise is based on recommendations from the counter-terrorism advisory board, which is comprised of all of the intel community and is constantly reviewing what is coming in. right now, given the material obtained from the compound, they are meeting at least once daily to go through everything to advise me if we should raise it. >> that is really important, both a clarification, but i come back to the fact that our system is really working seamlessly now so that you are getting real time information from the material seized at bin laden's
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compound in pakistan and you are evaluating it every day to determine whether you see anything in that information that would lead you to raise the threat level? >> more precisely, the counterterrorism advisory board is receiving that. other information as well. it constantly comes in. they're constantly analyzing it. but they are meeting, instead of meeting sporadically, they are meeting regularly in an ongoing fashion in relation to what happened on sunday. and if they advise me that, secretary, this is what we have, and we think this means that you should elevate the alert system that are exists, then i will act. at the o.k., that is very good to hear. i think the system isorking as we would want it to. that may go to the visa overstay
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question, issued by gao. i know that you have taken issue with one segment, the accuracy, the clarity of the information. the most troubling part, the rert said the u.s. visa program has a backlog of 1.6 million potential overstays that were identified, but which have yet to be processed. let me ask you to talk about that. to the best of your knowledge, is that accurate? and how are the potential overstays identified under the current system? >> let me, if i might, explain what is happening and what we are doing to improve the system. >> sure. >> these that overstays are another form of illegal immigration. once you orstay, your and the
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country illegally, and you have broken the law. just as we do with people who have crossed the border, and with a visa overstays, we appropriate enough money to remove about 400,000 people per year from the country. that is probably a small percentage of those who are in the country illegally, total. >> and that 400,000 is specifically on the overstays? >> no, total. >> if you really look at what it costs to remove somebody in the country illegally, we get enough money between ourselves and the justice department to remove about 400,000 people. so we set priorities. who are the ones we really want to get? we want to get those who fall within our guidelines for been possible national-security threats. that is number 1. number 2, we want to remove
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those who are fighting criminal law, -- who are violating criminal law, in addition to the immigration laws, and we want to third deal with those who are fugitives. and then at the border, this is not so much a removal process, but deal more effectively with those we pick up right at the border who are gaming the system: back-and-forth. -- who are gaming the system going back and forth. when we get a visa overstay, and there are systems now that revealed to us that somebody has not -- is a possible overstay, the first thing we look at is who of this fall within our guidelines of being a possible national security threat. i don't want to say in a non classified setting what those guidelines are, but all of those individuals, 100% of those individuals are set to another -- are sent to another unit
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within ice to be vetted and found. >> under the curre system, what is the typical way that you find out, the department finds out that somebody has overstayed their visas? >> it can be a number of ways. one is if we have no record e of exit. this all started because of air, not land crossings but air. we can now matched or no match about 80%. 89%, 90%. the question is the remaining 10%. if they fall within our national security guidelines, 100% of that category would go into the ice unit to be found and
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investigated. the second category are those who have filed a criminal law, or a danger to public safety, -- who are a danger to public safety, and we do a similar process. there we are identifying those who are in the country illegally to are also in jail. >> what can we do and what can we do to help you reduce the backlog of those who are identified as potential overstays, but not processed? and also, of course, to more effectively identify people either prior to coming and who seem to be coming in with the attention of overstaying and do better at finding the people? this is a larger question, but if you take the 40% number, and
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you take the lower number that we hear of estimates of the legal immigrants and the country, 10 million, that means 4 million people are here because they came and illegally and overstayed their visas, and as y said, once you overstay your vis you are as the leg as somebody who illegally crossed the border. if somebody hires you, that is illegal. how can we deal, a better deal with this part of the legal immigration problem? >> -- how can we better deal with this part of the legal immigration problem? >>e have to set priorities. we get enough money to remove 400,000. now we have too from 400,000 to 4 million. that is why setting prosecution priorities is key. the plain fact of the matter is
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most of the visa overstays are here illegally, but they are being drawn because they can work here. that is why border security and emigration reforms are so connected, because the plain factf the matter is a number of these individuals if they could get a different kind of visa or longer visa tied to implement, he would not put them in that 4 million category. >> i think that is fair. i just have one more question. who are the people, but do we know, who are more likely to overstay their visas and become illegal immigrants? are they coming from different parts of the world, it even though their motivations may be similar? to work here or rejoin family or the like?
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>> that is a question i don't know the answer to. you are asking if the demographics are different. >> exactly. we assume that most of the illegal immigrants are coming across the southwest, coming in illegally. they have come across the southwest border, and probably a lot of reasons for that. the interest in coming over is greater, by f, then the number of legal fees that bring them and. >> the other thing -- it is by far greater than the number of legal visas that bring them in. >> the other thing is they're coming and for employment or they are related to somebody who has come into work. all of the systems are designed to really deal with the interior enforcement issues would help.
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e-verify helps. all of these things get put together. increasing theenalties on employers who consistently higher a legal labor -- who consistently hire illegal labor and adjusting the cases would be helpful. then you are dealing with the demand pool of illegal immigration. as well as the supply. >> thank you. senator collins? >> madam secretary, i want to return to the issue of the threat level. as i listened to my colleagues questions about that and i thought about the comments of the director of the national counterterrorism center, that we can expect the temps to retaliate -- that we can expect
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the temps toetaliate, i am wondering why we did not raise the threat level? it seems to me that until a further assessment is done of the intelligence, including a full exploitation of the materials and data seized at the compound at which osama bin laden was living that it would be prudent to increase the threat level, not to the highest level, but it has been revamped and a way that i believe makes sense, but to acknowledge that we are in a situation where we are at risk. i am curious why, given the comments, the public comments, given that we have yet to do a
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full exploitation of the materials from the compound, and given the fact that we are still doing an assessment of the reaction to osama bin laden's death, we are not taking timmy would be a prudent step of increasing the threat level. it -- we are not taking, to me, what would be it. instead of increasing the threat level. >> we are providing additional intel products to the law- enforcement communityn the private sector so they can take whatever actions they deemed prudent. we are constantly evaluating whether we should issue a special advisory and they are part of the group that makes that recommendation. on an ongoing basis, it may come to the point thawe say in this area, and for this, we will
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issue an elevated alert. but i think we wt to be careful. we don't want to say because we suspect, reasonably so, at some point there may be retaliation, that we go ahead and make the nation on an alert status without more information than we currently have. that cld change. the cnge tonight, it could change tomorrow, but the whole idea of the system is to say we are always on alert. the threat of terrorism is always with us. we're never going to be without it, even with the death of bin laden. have other members of al qaeda, we have aqap, aqim, and that does not even count the homegrowns that we are concerned abt from the lawn will stand point. that does not mean under the new criteria that we issue an
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elevated threat now. as intel comes in, as things are digested, and that is happening on a real-time basis, that may well be adjusted. but i think for the nation to keep paying attention to these alerts, we want to make sure they are tied to something that is specific. >> i appreciate your explanation of the process. from my perspective, it still seems. to temporarily, at least, eleve the threat level -- from my perspective, it seems prudent to temporarily at least elevate the threat level. you just mentioned the lone wolf attack, andhat is an issue this committee h devoted countless hearings to the past few years. as far as the fort hood investigation and report, we
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called upon the administration to create a strategy to ensure a unity of efforts among federal departments and agencies, and the development of a specific strategy to counter radicalization within our country. if you look at the plots over the past two years, they have domestic plots by people inspired by out qaeda, but not, in most cases, directly linked to out qaeda. -- not directly linked to al qaeda. i would appreciate an update on this federal strategies to counter domestic radicalization and ensure a coordinated effort. >> yes, we have looked at what we do to prevent somebody who
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has been radicalized successfully carrying out an act of violence. we have concluded the best way for us to intervene is to support through grants and other programs local police, neighborhood policing strategies that we reach out to theommunity, in the same way that we dealt with gang violence during the crack epidemic, or we focused on police on the streets that intimately knew the neighborhoods and the neighborhood's new them and the information was flowing because there was underlying trust. out of that, we said that we have to have a curriculum that focuses on the tactics, the techniques, the behaviors that indicate that somebody has become radicalized to the point of violence. working with police across the country, we have developed a curriculum.
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we have baited tested it already at fltse, and there is a training module that can be used at home city did not have to travel to fletse. we continue to look for other ways, but we really focus on what is allow local law, and power in local law enforcement to prevent a lone wolf from being successful. >> thank you. i was very pleased to hear you mentioned the "see something, say something" campaign. the chairman and i have worked so hard to get that through when it came to the transportation sector, and without the chairman's willingness to stand up against many on the other side of the aisle, we never would have.
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i hope that means that you will endorse the broader bill that the chairman and i have introduced which would provide immunity from civil lawsuits to individuals who in good faith report suspicious activities to the authorities. it would not be protected if it was not in good faith, because right now the law that we wrote only applies to the transportation sector. >> i would be happy to look at that, senator. >> thank you. >> i only supported senator collins' proposal because it happens to be right. [laughter] to beat a dead horse, but let me take one more stab at this. the purpose of an advisory is to signal that something has
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changed. if we are always on the same constant level of alert, that degrades over time. >> if i might, that wathe problem with the color codes. we were always at orange and nobody paid attention. the purpose of the advisory, in my view, is to communicate facts and information so people know what to do. if we elevate the advisory, it will be accompanied by informatn. what are the facts we can disclose, what people could do to protect themselves and their families, where people go to get updated information, howeople can help us help them. we're always on alert. that is the elevated base. but now we will be providing additional facts based on intel we received that tells people what to do. >> okay, let's talk about the threat of terrorism intersecting border security. i read some relatively alarming
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statistics concerning apprehensions at the border. can you talk about the stats? >> we're looking at that right now. one of the tngs we have seen it is an increase in the category of other than mexican, o.m., illegal immigrant apprehensions. in one of the texas sectors, it has gone as high as one in three recently. many are from east india, the countrof india, and we are trying to get to the bottom of what is the trafficking route. what is e demand, what is happening there. and in this setting, i would just prefer to say that we have seen that trend over the past few months and we have devoted some additional resources to that trend and we're trying to get to the bottom of that. >> have we increased our alert
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level in light of recent events? >> no. >> do you think we should? >> senator, if i am advised by the advisory board on the intel side thate should, i will do that. >> ok, did make a trip down to the tucson corridor, down by the border, and you talked about man power and infrastructure. obviously, we want to protect the border and we put a lot of resources and the border patrol, but i'm mad little concerned about customs and border protection agents. we're building a lot of infrastructure in dallas. even with the current of the structure, i am concerned about the staffing levels there. can you speak about the staffing levels? >> the supplemental that was passed provid fo several hundred more port officers to use on those additional lanes
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and so forth. they are in the process of being deployed right now. that is another reason why am concerned about our fiscal year 2012 budget. the president has asked those addional port officers beat annualized, that they become part of the base, and that is necessary because we need legal trade it to move, we need to wait times to be shortened. we have been investing in major improvements and enlargements on some of theseorts, and that leaves more lanes to cover. we want to keep some of them open more hours, that means more coverage. right now, we're watching that carefully. we have been hiring on the port officers side. we want to analyze that. >> i want to say i was impressed with the professionalism and dedication. it was comforting. >> that is great. it is a tough job.
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>> ias impressed. i was intrigued by senator lieberman's, it's about smart integration policy. could you speak to what your concept of that wod be and how that would affect our a legal immigration problem? >> -- how that would affect our illegal immigration problem? >> one of the drawls is the demand for illegal labor. the current sanctions don't give us a great deterrent on the investigation and prosecution side. i think this need to be looked at, as well as the elements that we're forced to demonstrate, that justice is forced to demonstrate. i think we should be looking at the different types of the visas that are offered and look at streamlining and enlarging the visa categories that we have, particularly on the temporary visa side. then we have to have some way to
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parse the population that is alreadyn the country illegally, given we are only given the resources to remove about 400,000 people per year and we want to focus on those or security threats, criminals, fugitives, those kinds of priorities. once we fill those priorities, there are still millions of people left. what are we supposed to do? that is where the tough part comes sen. i believe the presidentould support a program to get those people out of the shadows, identified, and for those who are there, if they can earn their way to citizenship by paying a fine, getting behind people who are attempting to use the system it legally, figure out a way to do that.
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that has been the hardest part of the issue because that is viewed as amnesty. >> let me go back to the process of securing the border. i assume the first that is measuring. >> that is an initial step, yes. >> what is the next that? >>- what is the next step? >> i think we need to concurrently blooking at the intersection between interior immigration enforcement and what going on and immigration generally and what is happening at the border. the border is only one part of the oblem. we need to be looking at the intersection of that and the border metric at the same time. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator johnson. senator mccain has just arrived. he was not able to be here
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because senate intelligence and home services were meeting with averell today. -- were meeting what admiral today. we will be asking for another briefing from adam role which oversaw -- from that role which oversaw the actions on sunday. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i apologize madame secretary, i was at this briefing. i apologize for being late. madam secretary, am interested in your comments about the hardest part and the tngs we need to do. we have introduced legislation which we believe would be sufficient measures to secure ou borders. we have never had on your part
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or the part of the administration serious sit down negotiations on this issue. now, i understand the president's view on immigration reform and yours, but as i have set up on numerous occasions, have seen this before. i saw it in 1986, when we gave amnesty to 2 million people and said we would secure the borders and we have not. when there are still 171,000 people apprehended in one year crossing our tucson border, in the view of most observers, that is not a secure border. do you have a plan that can do that? and sometimes, my friends from other parts of the country and other people think that maybe senator kyl and i and a lot of our constituents, particularly in the southern part of arizona, are a bit intransigent.
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i received a briefing, two briefings that there are between 100-200 spotters on mountains in southern arizona inside the borders of the united states of america, spotting for drug ctels, and get the drugs to phoenix. then they distribute that. phoenix is the drug distribution center for the nation, with the exception of some parts of the state of texas. now, i do not think that is an acceptable situation. perhaps you do. that was not my assessment, that was the assessment given toe, 100-200 spotters sitting on mountains inside the state of arizona, guiding the drug cartels as they bring drugs to phoenix and distribute them throughout the country. that, at least to the
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constituents i talk to of mine, is not an acceptable situation. and the and enact i still do in an act ind, -- still cannot understand, i ask, how important is the will of the national guard. "indispensable." that is the words they use. then we are supposed to believe the administration is serious about securing our borders. well, i don't think so. so i would hope that, one, we could understand that wheany state has 100-200 spotters, members of drug cartels inside their borders, guiding drug
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cartels as they bring drugs to phoenix, ariz., and distribute them through the nation, with the exceptioof some parts of texas, but that is not a situation that i should expect my constituents to tolerate. so i guess it is more of a statement that i would seek your response the border is not secure. the euna sector is secure, -- the umana sector is secure, but there are other areas. we saw a film about three nights before. vehicles with flaing lights, right next to the border, right next to the fence, left turn, stop, she is a law that -- some bullets, and some of those fly
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across the border. and these mass graves are something that has shocked the naon. all that has to do with drugs that are moving into the united states of america. iagain, i would hope that we could have some serious conversations rather than at meetings with various interested groups and see if we cannot sit down and take the necessary measures that are clearly, and our view, that could assure the citizens of our country at the border there is a reasonable level of security and maybe me forward in order to achieve that. i would be interested in your response >> thank you, senator, and your constituency used to be mine. i have spent a lot of my life on the border-related issues and i
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think we share a lot of the same values and goals. let me take on four of the poin you have made and provide some information. at first, with respect to the national guard, they have not been withdrawn. they are at the current force levels that have always been, the administration has not made a final decision about whether to continue to deploy them. one of the issues is who pays for the guard. i have asked our appropriators twice to allow us to reprogram funds to pay for the guard and continued to pay for the guard at the border. that reprogramming has been denied. this committee may want to look at that issue. it would be very helpful for sustaining the presence ofhe guard. again, i asked our appropriators, and it was denied last year. we would not renew that request.
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on the 10-point plan, many of those things we have been doing. there is a fiscal cost to it. i think your own numbers show it to be over $4 billion. the issue is whether some of the atoms there are the most cost-effective way to reach the common goals that we share. i am going to have that discussion with you and work with you on that. on the spotters, i speak as the former chair in arizona, the former u.s. attorney and attorney-general, i know the valley very well. i have asked the border patrol, because i have been down there myself several times in the past few months, where are the spotters i keep hearing about? the answer i receive is dark are
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a couple of hundred tops from which espada could act -- a receive is there are a couple hundred tops from which espada could act, but they're not there. we are deploying our technology in that area to allow us to pick out more of the individuals involved in the drug trade than we already are. i would be interested in seeing if we could clarify that particular point. last, on the number of illegals coming across the tucson secr, i agree, i don't like that number, either. it is dramatically down from what it was. it is down 35% from where it was when i started as secretary, but we're going to continue to put resources into that sector until we drive that number down even further. the part of this hearing that he
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missed, and that will be happy to set up a private meeting with you about, is developing a real border metric that takes into account apprehensions, typical crime stats, and other measures that give us a better overall sense of what is happening at the border. i think there is a general consensus that the apprehension number coming in and of itself, is not a complete measurement. >> well, thank y,nd i am fascinated by your comment that they could not tell you where the spotters are at. they probably cannot tell you exactly where they are because otherwise they would get them, but the fact is it that is factually correct. look, it is crazy format -- well, they are there and everybodynows they are there. it for you and your staff to deny they are there is sort of symptomatic to me of the recognition or appreciation of
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the oblems that exist along our border. >> senator, with respect, there is no one who has spent more time working on this error is an issue that i have ov the past few years -- - >> there is no one who has spent more time on this arizona issue than i have, madam secretary, and from sheriff's up to the u.s. attorney, there are between 100-200 spotters sitting on mountains in arizona. for you to dispute that is a big problem you have between yourself and them. and that needs to be clarified. if that is not true, that is fine with me, but it happens to be true and it is a huge problem, and it also happens to be that phoenix ariz., in their view and others view it is the distribion center for drugs around this country.
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maybe you want to deny that, but the fact is that it is, and so, again, if you want to change the matrix, change the matrix, but on t ground in arizona, on the border, we see people still living in an environment that they're not living secure lives. we had witnesses before this commite testified to exactly that, ranchers and shares of the counties along the border. to gll, if we're going into this, senator -- >> see, you may not trust the word of the sheriffs, and that is fine. but we in arizona trust them because they are the elected law enforcement officia that are there dealing with these issues every single day. again, the facts on the ground,
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and i know the facts on the ground, and i agree, there have been improvements, and i am grateful for those improvements, but i would argue they have not kept up with the escalation of violence on the other side of the border. and i go back to my orinal point at i made at the beginning of my comments. i think that it wou be at least once for the administration to sit down with us at the border states, not just arizona, but new mexico, texas,alifornia, and see if there ia way to work out a way get our border secured. and maybe then it would be some benefit to all of our constituents. please respond. >> well, senator, look, the she was a lot more complicated. you cannot just -- the issue is
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a lot more complicated. in my judgment,hat we need to do at the border is exactly what we are doing, and more so. it is more manpower, or technology, more infrastructure. it is adding air cover, which we now have across arizona that we did not have before. it is also related to interior enforcement. it is the ability to identify who is in our jails in our country illegally, and being able to remove those. the ability to have consequences for all who cross illegally, that is important, i grant you that. the yum sector may not be the best way to achieve that, but that is a discussion we ought to have. i look forward to sitting down with you, going through the plan. we have some options i would want you to consider, as i mentioned to you before.
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your challenge to me last meeting was what is a border metric. you ask me that question. i said, look, we need to create a metric that makes sense and measures all of these things, and we can include, and probably will, all of the drug activity and so forth. i must say, however, let's not get into a debate because some sheriffs say it is betr and some say it is not. we have to look at the entire border and create a safe and secure border region. it said that the damage trade and travel can use it. it -- so that safe and secure trade d travel can take place. we have some differences on how we measure and get theire. >> i look forward to sitting
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down with you on this issue before the election season gets too polarizing, because i think it is portant. i think we are on the right track, and i clearly stated there have been improvements, but i think we have more to go. would you indulge me one other comment? >> sure. >> >> and subject, i continue to get complaints from people about this physical pat down. we ought t really kind of work on some type of technology that that would not be necessary for our inspectors to go through. it is very invasive, and i have heard l of the reasons for it, but it seems to me in a country like ours we could develop some type of technology that could make something like that unnecessary. some people feel its really embarrassing and humiliating, and i certainly understand their
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complaints. >> senator, i understand them as well, and i receive them as well. three things. one, we are working on research and technology. the research cycle is not an mediate cycle, but we are working with national lab and others on better technology. two, i have asked ann tsa is moving to a more risk-based approach on how we screen. part of that will lead to the third point, which is that we want to enlarge a traveler program, where they have a biometric card, like we use with pilots, and we're looking at ways to scale that up. >> thank you, madam secretary, and i am looking forward to continuing our spirited dialogue. am i enjoy that, too.
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-- >> i enjoy that, too. >> i want to thank both of you for the exchange. you both agree that things are better along the border and you both agree they are not good enough, and i think your announcement today that you have directed cbp to develop a new index for judging and reaching conclusions of whether the border is secure and how to make it more secure is very important. beyond your official announcement, in typical napolitano style, he said, and i paraphrase, the existing system of judging what security by the number of apprehensions "does not cut it," and the existing definition of operational control at the border doesot cut it, either. i agree with you, and i think
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you have the opportunity now to develop a new standard of border security that is much me accurate and effective and can be a basis for a meeting of minds between people from different perspectives, both on the question of border security and a related question of immigration reform, and i urge you forward. i hope you will engage senator mccain and other members of congress, and the governorsfor that matter, from the border states, and if you have room in any of those meetings for a guy from connecticut, i would be honored to be invited. >> we will work on that, senator. >> this is a really important question, and it ties directly to other important questions of immigration reform that senator
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mccain has raised. we still, in my opinion, have a chance in this session to try to achieve some significant improvement of border security and at smart immigtion reform. and i hope we try every opportunity to do that. the two of you are critical and that, and i think you both. >> as joe biden would say, from your lips, to god's ears. madam secretary, thank you for your commitment and hard work. we're focusing on deficit reduction and cutting spending, looking at raising taxes, i focus more on it a third d fourth idea, and it the third is
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increasing growth, smart investments that cabe commercialized with research and development and create products and innovations we can sell around the world. my other focus is on creating a culture of thrift in the federal government that would replace a culture of what some might say spendthrift. i like to say that everything i do i know i can do better. i think the same is true of most of us. i think we need to look in every nook and cranny of the federal government, to ask the question of discretionary or entitlement, is there a better way to get results or maybe it better results for nomuch more money. in the spirit of that thought, i like to ask about the department of homeland security secure border initiative.
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it was created to bolster the southern border, with a variety of high-tech technologies, physical infrastructure, and border enforcement officers. the program was designed to secure 700 miles of the southern border by i think the year 2005, at a cost of close to $900 million. i think this included the new metal fists -- the new metal fencing and various surveillance technologies. i am told of the 700 promised miles of various surveillance equipment, we have deployed it 50 or so miles of the anticipated 700, at a price of about $750 million. at leasthis is what i have been told perry i understand
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that you have frozen that program, the secure border initiative, to try to identify and more cost-effective way forward. i want you to discuss with us how we can get a better bang from t taxpayer's pocket and what we ought to do going forward. >> the so-called sbi-net program i froze. it was presumed to death one fixed technology to use across the border at tremendous cost. we stopped aone small sector, and we have done it is said let's purchase off the shelf mobile technologies that are available now that we can equip oupeople with now
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you will have different types of geography, different populations, and so forth. every sector has to develop their technology plan for how they will use the funds freed up by not investing in the system. i cast for the technology plan from arizona because it had the greatest need. we are making those procurements now and then we are movingver the course of the year. >> how will you measure success? >> it is the question that has dominated the hearing today. a number of ways, one of which is apprehensions of individuals and drug traffickers. one is the ability toncrease, to be a force multiplier so that we are able once we spot somebody to immediately go out and pick them up. those are the kinds of things
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that would be added to the max. >> ok. about every day, we see more violence along the border with mexico. i think we are partly to blame for that. it is the exchange of drugs for a balanced -- guns. i was down there a little over a year ago. in california and i talked to a number of the folks who were working down there at. we are having patrol agents being shot at more frequently, patrolling some of the harshest terrains on our continent. i think it is a new trend, which
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is that agents being killed by drug-traffickers and by cartel members. it is also beginning to become less safe for americans traveling to some of these cities across the border. in your opinion, could you describe for us your assessment of the escalating violence along the border? has this violence officially spilled over into the united states? >> the states of northern mexico have been experiencing a serious increase in violent crimes, especial homicides, over the last several years related to the determination by the president to take on the cartels. cartel on cartel violence as they fight over limited territory.
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it has resulted -- it has spread to other states. when i say a safe and secure border region, that border on our side, we have about 7 million people live along the border, we have a much higher number that live in mexico along the border. we are really working with mexico. we met with their leadership last friday. our men and women in the border patrol have very dangerous work and were supporting them, making sure they are well- equipped and well trained. you have given us the resources to help do that and that is very, very important break while we have had isolated incidences
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of violence from northern mexico, if you take a step back and look at everything, the police reports, the numbers, they did not indicate that we have a plague of spillover violence. >> thank you. can i ask you for one more minute? would you take a man and to give me some good takeaways from what you -- would take a minute to give me some good takeaways? >> a summation of your argument. >> it is a great job. >> would you say that is the greatest job you've had so fa >> i would say that i have always had great jobs. >> so have the rest of us.
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>> we talked about osama b laden and we have current and seamless exchange of intel right now and if i am so advised, i will raise the advisory level, but i've not been so biased. -- have not been so advised. we have different strategies at both borders, but they continue to be works in progrs. we cannot deal with border serity without dealing with interior enforcement and immigration reform. they are related. >> good. thank you so much. >> thank you, senator prate madam secretary, thank you for your testimony. my confidence in you continues to rise. >> thank you. >> i will keep the record of the
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hearing opened for 15 days for additional questions and statements. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> i ask you to join me in making our vote unanimous for my friend, your friend, our friend, debbie wasserman schultz. [applause] >> all right.
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thank you so much. this concludes the nom nation and seconding speeches for congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz and we are ready to move for a vote. did you say who dat? sorry. wrong crowd. a motion to us is spend the rules and elect congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz by ack makings. is there a second? all those in favor say aye. all of those opposed. all of those opposed. between those of us and the members of the phone, that sounded pretty unanimous to me. ladies and gentlemen, fellow democrats, please help me give a big welcome to the new chair of
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the democratic national committee, congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz. [applause] ok. [applause] >> as i said earlier, we have a lot of work to do between now and november 2012, to make sure that we support our president and all that he is doing to fight for americans all across our great nation. before i pass this gavel to congresswoman debbie wasserman
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schultz, i have a special guest on the telephone who would like to echo our sentiments today. i understand that president barack obama would like to also congratulate congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz. [applause] >> it is exciting to join all of you on this thrilling day as you elect a new leader for our great party. let me start by thanking my dear friend, donna, for her outstanding service. [applause] we could not have been in better hands during the transition and i know she is going to continue to champion our grassroots. of course it is wonderful to be able to congratulate debbie wasserman schultz. she takes the gavel and leads us towards a future of pros parity.
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i'm reminded of something that michelle said, if you need something important done, give it to a busy woman. so thank you all for confirming my selection of debbie as the new chair. i'm absolutely positive she is the right person for the moment. not only because she has unbelievable energy but she also embodies the core values that we cherish as americans. she believes our government has a responsibility to promote economic equality for everybody. she believes kids should get an education. she believes we don't turn our backs on neighbors when they
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fall on hard times. she has been a great friend to me. she has worked to protect social security, protect medicare, make sure our responders get the support they need. during her personal struggle with breast cancer, she barely missed a beat as she kept working for constituents, introduced legislation to educate young women about the risks of cancer and early screening. she stays focused. she accomplishes her goals. she knows to handle adversity with grace and strength and knows how to be a true citizen of our great nation. i am absolutely positive she is going to be doing a great, great job. i'm going to be counting on her and all of you in the next few years. we have accomplished a lot
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together but everybody knows we have a lot more to do. i know debbie feels the same way. our economy is getting better but there are still too many americans out of work. we have to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and bring gas prices down. small business is starting to come back but they are still struggling. we're going to have to shrink our deficit but do it in a way that is responsible. we have to get immigration reform done and education reform done. this is a challenging time but there is nobody i would rather have out there talking to voters or organizing our party and carrying the banner of democrat than owl of you who are in the room and -- all of you who are in the room, in particular, debbie wasserman schultz. thanks for supporting debbie and thanks for the hard work you have been doing over the last couple of years. i know we're going to have a tough 18 more months but i'm confident we're going to get
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this thing done. congratulations. [applause] >> madam chair, it is with great honor and pleasure that i pass the torch, the gavel to you and to fellow democrats, i present to you our chairwoman, debbie wasserman schultz. [applause] >> i believe, excuse me. hold on. this is what happens when you turn 51. you're not there yet, but -- oh, i see. ladies and gentlemen, please turn your attention, we have a short video that we would like
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you all to see and then i present to you madam chairwoman debbie wasserman schultz. thank you. >> you know my parents raised me to believe in america a little girl could grow up to be anything she wanted to be. even chair to have democratic national committee. >> congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz. >> madam chairman, please give it up for congresswoman debbie wasserman schultz. >> i ran for congress because i really believe that one person can make a difference. i represent south florida for almost 18 years. i have been in the statehouse and state senate and now in the united states house of representatives.
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i'm the youngest chair in quite a while. the first woman to be nominated by a president. it sends a really strong message to women. that we matter. democrats have a different vision for our country than republicans do. democrats have been pushing hard for president barack obama to create jobs, turn the economy around, ensure that we can have the best education system in america. that we can make sure that we have quality affordable healthcare. that you don't have to choose, make the choices that you were talking about, between eating and -- blessed the day that you got into office. >> i have the opportunity to work hard every single day from now until election day to re-elect barack obama president of the united states. hold on the the majority of the u.s. senate.
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we have brought them the change that was promised and we're going to bring even more. we are moving in the right direction. i'm going to have a chance to go all over the country and talk about democrat's priorities as it relates to women and working families. i'm a mom with three young kids. why i get up and do what i do every single day trying to make sure that i can work hard to give my children the best life possible. so now as d.n.c. chair, i'll be able to help transform america into the country that i want for my children. everybody should have a chance to achieve the american dream. thank you so much. any time you get a call from the president of the united states asking you to step up and help do your part, it is an incredible offer. i'm so psyched that the coach
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put me in. >> thank you. thank you. thank you. and now -- [applause] debbie, i want to thank you in advance for the democratic national committee for the effort you will put in and put forth for our party over the next two years as we embark on our journey to reelect our president and to elect democrats from the bottom up. i present our new national chairwoman debbie wasserman schultz. [applause]
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>> thank you very much. thank you so much. thank you all so much for your unwavering support. ray, alejandra, joyce and steve, you each managed to capture a part of who i am and why i firmly believe in the future of this great nation and democratic party. [applause] thank you for always being there for democrats. you have blades so many trails including interim chair. i remember the first time i saw donna on tv. i told her this the other day. the first time i saw her on tv for al gore and how proud i was to see a woman running his campaign. how proud i was of her.
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as we transfer this gavel this afternoon, there is no doubt in my mind that women will be smiling down on us today. [applause] so please join me in thanking the phenomenal dana brazile for her un-- donna brazile for her unwavering support of our party. [applause] thank you so much. thank you, donna. thank you. i must also recognize the leadership and service of the next senator from the commonwealth of the state of virginia, tim kaine. [applause] tim served us as chairman for the past two years with dignity and discipline. he is leaving us a party that is as strong as ever.
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i want to recognize and thank the florida democratic delegation for their strong and unwavering support of me, and i want to thank my colleagues in the house democratic caucus as well. i also thank and acknowledge my family, my congressional staff, a fabulous staff at the democratic national committee. my family, my parents, god, i could never get through this without you. my children, rebecca, jake and shelby and particularly my husband steve, all of whom are here with me today. they made major sacrifices so i can do a job i love so much. i'm truly fortunate to have such a wonderful and close family. [applause] my congress a.m. staff works tirelessly on my behalf.
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they are a committed and passionate group of public servants and i appreciate and value all that they do. and for the dedicated staff that keeps our party running and winning, you have been there for me as vice chair and made my transition to the d.n.c. easy and pulled off another successful d.n.c. meeting. thank you. thank you. i truly, truly look forward to working even more closely with all of you and i do want to ask all of us to keep patrick's family in our thoughts and prayers. he has been a tireless advocate for democrats and h has i told in the wilderness for democrats. i'm looking forward to working with him sidely side to help reelect president obama as president of the united states. of course i am so honored to have been nominated for this
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position by the president and thrilled that he called in. that was such a nice surprise. i'm humbled beyond words for your vote of confidence. to have been asked by president obama to lead our party is really an undescribable feeling. you have heard a lot about me today. my first decision to run for office. most of the florida delegation went through that race with me. i was 25 years old when i first ran for the florida house of representatives. now i believe that i was ready to serve but you remember the good old boys in our democratic club had other plans. let's just put it that way. they patted me on the head and they told me i was too young and told me that i needed to wait my turn. well, that just strengthened my resolve. i was derled to prove them wrong. -- determined to prover them wrong. i spent every single day rain or shine knocking on the doors of my would-be constituented and
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before that race was over, i had knock on 25,000 doors. [applause] now remember, this is florida we're talking about. in the summer. my husband was so concerned about how much weight i was losing that he started sending me out the door every morning with a chocolate milk shake just to make sure that i would come back at the end of the day. i was involved in a six-way primary competition that was fierce and my opponents were well funded but i was not deterred. because i knew that even though i didn't have a lot of money, no one was going to outwork me. [applause] thank you. thank you. now i won that primary with 53% of the vote. [applause] thank you. and i went on the win the general election with 64% of the vote and at the age of 26, i became the youngest woman ever elected to the florida legislature.
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thank you. [applause] and that race taught in me two things. first, there is no substitute for good, old fashioned hard work. second, don't take no for an answer. plazz applause i will work every single day like i did in that first race to re-elect our president, win back the house, senate and on my watch, we will not be outworked. [applause] thank you. thank you. thank you. ours is the oldest and most successful political party in the history of the world, but our success as a party isn't measured in political wins and losses. our success of the party isn't just an electoral scorecard. our success will be measured on how we improve the quament of life for -- quality of life for americans and make sure everyone
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has a shot at the american dream. that's what i want for my children and that's what you want for your children and that's what every person wants for themselves and their families. it would be a great thing if your nation was free of prejudice and inequality. of course no ideal land works. no longer are women proicted voting. no longer to african-americans have to sit on the back of the bus and are forced into segregated schools and now no longer are gay and lesbians prohibited from serving in our armed forces. [applause] thank you. but all of these things took a lot of hard work, and as great as our country is, we have much further to go. we know that. that is the great thing about america. our founding fathers intended that we the people would determine how america was
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governed, so it is our job with every passing year, to do everything we can to shape a more perfect union. to me, that is what being a democrat is all about. just down the road from where we are today on the banks of the tidal basin sits a memorial for one of our country's greatest presidents, franklin delano roosevelt. engraved in that are words that inspire us still. the test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much. it is whether we provide enough to those who have too little. try telling that to my colleagues from the other side of the aisle. they fought the deficit with tax cuts for the wealthy. they plan to eliminate medicare as we know and protect tax subsidies for oil companies. it is hard to understand how they could be so out of step
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with americans' priorities. as democrats, we know that government can't solve all of our problems. far from it, but we also recognize that we are all in this together. simply put, a country of the people by the people and for the people cannot, by definition, make progress without the success of its people. thank you. [applause] thank you. now, as democrats, we know a little about yes we can. but republicans seem to be stuck on no we can't. as democrats, we know that we can work together to care for those who can't care for themselves, that we can reduce historic and institutional barriers that have prevented many from achieving their dreams or reaching their full potential. that we can care for their seniors after they spent a lifetime of caring for us. we can be sure that the quality of our health doesn't depend on the size of our bank accounts.
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we can be globally competitive. as democrats, we don't believe in giving people a free ride, but we also don't believe that people who are facing tough times through no fault of their own should simply be left behind the other party has a very different approach. one that has failed america over and over again. one that says if all the benefits are showered to those at the top, the wealthiest among us with prosper and somehow it will trickle down amongst the rest of us. we know better. the other side is powerful and well-funded. we know that too. that's why this election is so important to future of our country and our party and that's why i'm so excited to be leading our party at this critical time in our nation's history because by securing a second term for president barack obama, not only do we have an opportunity to
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continue delivering for the american people. [applause] thank you. thank you. many have asked what are our priorities as a party for the next two years? they can be boiled down to the following. first, we will support the president's agenda and protect the progress that we have made. we must trumpet president obama's agenda from the rooftop and make sure our friends and neighbors and everyone from our community sees that president obama and democrats are delivering on the change that is making america stronger. we have come so far but if left to their own devices, republicans will repeal healthcare reform, student loan reform and put insurance companies in charge of our healthcare and crash our economy again. they would turn back the clock on all the progress that we have made and our children and parents and neighbors would suffer. so every time they attempt to
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roll back these important gains, we must stop them. we must call them out. we are going to run on our accomplishments and we are not going to allow republicans to undo or distort them. [applause] thank you. thank you. next -- next we will invest in the strongest campaign and the best oirgsing ever to give president obama a second -- organization ever to give president obama a second interpret. [applause] thank you. this is going to be the toughest campaign in the history of america. republicans are going to throw everything they have at us. fortunately, our everything is better. [applause] and the d.n.c. isn't going to do this alone. we have an incredible campaign team at work in chicago. we have organizers willing to knock on doors until they drop. we have porers willing to turn their pockets inside out for the president and our candidates up and down the ballot. we will bring all of those
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resources to bear and all of those people that support our president to support a historic national effort. we're going to support the 50-state strategy. [applause] thank you. thank you. next, we will support our candidates, our state parties and the constituent institutions of the democratic party. our success over the past decade in expanding the mass, winning tough places in tough races at the local, state and federal levels is in no small part a result of the 50-state strategy. i heard that from you all across the un. a strategy pioneered by chairman dean, adopted and expanded by the obama campaign in 2008 and continued by chairman kane over the past two years. the support has been vital to
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our success and its chair support for the 50-state strategy, the candidates and committees among my highest priority. thank you. thank you. [applause] thank you. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. make no mistake about it. we will explore every nook and cranny of this country in seeking support for the president and for democratic candidates and finally we will hold republicans accountable. [applause] we will. all across america. all across america. democrats are working hard to create jobs and boost economic recovery, invest in our children's education and further the causes of justice and equality. all the while, special interests and the republican allies are working to stall or reverse our
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progress. that's why we must expose the stark differences between democrats who are fighting for the middle class. this is nothing new. in 1946, ellenor roosevelt told the new york state democratic party an event a lot like this one and what to expect from the g.o.p. she said never forget that the republican party is the party that looks backward. we have come too far to turn back the progress that democrats have made. so let's remember, it was democrats who ended the great depression. democrat who is established social security. democrats who created medicare. democrats who protected the rights of workers to organize. democrat who is cleaned our air and our water. democrats who have defended our right to organize and mobilize protest and pibt for the rights and freedoms that we enjoy today p. thank you. [applause] and it was democrats who finally made healthcare a right, not a
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privilege. [applause] thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you. and so much of that progress was thanks to all of your advocacies working hard in the trenches every single day and for all of those advances, we can say yes, we did. yes, we did. when we let our core principles guide us, when we work hard, democrats are an unstoppable force, aren't we? it is our job to remind our fell neighbors that it is democrats who stand up for them. it is democrat who is invest in jobs today and tomorrow a and that democrats represent their interests and we must remind them that it is democrat who is care for the health and welfare of our people and the planet. today i'm asking you to make a
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pledge. pledge that you will make no charge -- let no charge go unanswered. pledge that you will let no man or woman bear false witness against the democrats and pledge that you'll let no voter cast a ballot for a republican simply because they don't know what democrats have done for them or what republicans have done to them. [applause] i want you. i want you to tell others why you a democrat and why your friends and neighbors should vote with you. in other words, democrats. we have made so much progress but we can make even more by showing america that it is to increase the opportunity for prosperity for everyone. there is so much at stake in this upcoming election and we can't afford to let the republican party take us backward. we worked so hard to get here and win for the american people so that we could stabilize the economy and put americans back
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to work and deliver on long-term promises like healthcare reform. we worked too heart hard to give it right back. this is no time to be complacent and sit on the sidelines. we cannot afford and the country cannot afford to go backwards. i know this is a priority for us so let's make it happen. are you ready democrats? are you ready to make history once again? let's go. let's do it. let's work hard. because we must win. the stakes are simply too high. thank you. thank you. plazz applause thank you. thank you. and thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you. thank you. and since you all have made a pledge, here is my pledge to you. as chair, i will continue to
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strengthen every aspect of our party's operations just as i did in my first race for elected office, i will make sure that no one outworks the democratic party. i'm going to do this job in the best way that i know how with all the energy that i have. i want to see our candidates elected and our ideas implemented because i've got three beautiful young children who are the future of america. [applause] thank you. and steve and i want them to grow up in a country where all things remain possible. where the american spirit continues to thrive and where the american dream is within reach for everyone. there is no problem that we face here in america or around the world that will not yield to human efforts, to cooperations, to hard work or perseverance. our challenges have always summoned best in america and as we have throughout our history, we will make the world better than it is today. we will do this together by
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re-electing barack obama president of the united states of america. thank you all for your support. thank you so much. we're ready to work hard. on to victory in 2012. thank you very much. [applause] thank you. thank you. thank you. >> on c-span this morning, the house debates a bill about strict borgs funding. then "washington journal" followed by live coverage of the house as they consider offshore oil drilling bills. >> she is thinking about running for president. which is weird because i hear she was born in canada. [laughter]
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yes, michelle, this is how it starts. >> with more than six million views, video of president obama's appearance at the white house correspondence dinner is our most watched youtube video. watch it again online at our youtube channel, >> c-span's comprehensive resource on congress has new features to make it easier to find information about elected officials, video of every house and senate session and the progress of new bills and votes. take a look at the congressional chronicle at >> the house yesterday passed a bill that would extend a ban on federal funding for borgs procedures and go further to prevent what the supporters call
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an indirect funding to abortions and eliminate tax advantages. here is the floor debate on the bill. it is an hour and 25 minutes. mr gentleman from new jersey, leadership over the years on this issue. many members and the american people have strong feelings about the subject of abortion, but one thing is clear, federal funding of abortion will lead to more abortions. f example, in 2009, there the congreional budget office has estimated that the federal government would pay as many as 675,000 abortions each year without the hyde amount and other provision that is prevent federal funding of abortion. the american people do not want
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federally funded abortions. a zock bye poll found that 77% of americans feel that federal funds should never pay for abortions or should pay only to save the life of the mother. that is the policy of the hyde amendment which h.r. 3 would enact into law. h.r. 3 does not ban abortion. it also does not restrict abortions or abortion coverage in health care plans as long as those abortions or plans use only private or state funds. this legislation ples no additional legal restrictions on abortions. it simply protects taxpayers from having to fund or subsidize something they morally oppose. h.r. 3 also is necessary to fix the recent health care law. absolutely nothing in that law prevents the federal funding of abortions under the programs it creates. neither congress nor the administration should take the
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view that they know better than the american people what is good for them. congress should pass h.r. 3 to codify the long-standing ban on the federal funding of abortions. i reserve the balae of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. conyers: thank you, madam speaker. i yield myself three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. conyers: members of the house, the problem with this bill is that it reaches far beyond federal funding and that it subjects women to profound government intrusion, that it restricts women's access to health care, a that it targets small businesses for
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disparate treatment under the tax code. and that's why i have more than a dozen organizations ranging from the american nurses association to the ywca, all opposed to this legislation. in addition, this bill will punish women for their private health care decisions and will bject them to profound government intrusion. so this is not a democratic versus republican issue. it's a very important personal decision. now, the goal of this bill, and
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i'd like to suggest it from the outset of this discussion, is to make it impossible to obtain abortion serces even when paid for with purely private, nonfederal funds. and if there's anyone that has a different view about this, i hope it gets expressed this afternoon. and finally, h.r. 3 subjects small business to disparate treatment under the tax laws. and as one who supports small business and worke in this country, that alone would turn my support against this measure. madam speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: madam speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from wisconsin, mr.
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sensenbrenner, former chairman of the judiciary committee, and the current chairman of the crime subcommittee of the judiciary. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from wisconsin is recognized. mr. sensenbrenner: thank you. madam speaker, today we are presented with an opportunity to take giant step toward protecting the unborn. for almost 35 years restrictions on the use of federal funds for abortion have been enacted separately and haveeen contained in annually renewed congressional temporary funding restrictions, regulations, and executive orders. such policies have sought to ensure that american taxpayer does not fund the destruction of innocent human life through abortion. thlegislation on the floor today will end the need for nurous separate abortion funding policies. finally put into place a permanent ban on any u.s. government financial support for abortion. each yr the abortion industry has allocated millions of tax dollars to advance its agenda. last year alone the plaed parenthood federation of america collected more than 360
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million taxpayer funded dollars. because all money is functionible when taxpayers pay an organization like planned parenthood, millions of dollars, we cannot help but empower and prote all of that organization's activities. tax-paying americans are fed up. they are tired of their hard earned money being spent on supporting and promoting the abortion industry. under h.r. 3, federal funds will be prohibited for elective abortion coverage through any program in the u.s. department of health and human services. the legislation prevents funding for abortion as a method of family planning overseas, prohibits funding for elective abortion coverage for federal employees, and prevents taxpayer funding abortions in washington, d.c. importantly h.r. 3 would also protect the conscious drin health care providers from being forced by the government to participate in abortions. the conscience clause is
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critically needed in order to protect health care providers who do not want to take part in the abortion business. without it, people could be forced to participate in something they strongly believe to be morally wrong. these hospitals could lose funding and be forced to close. it's time to end taxpayer funded abortions. i strongly support this important and needed approach to preserve and promote the sanctity of life. my time has expired. the speaker pro tempore: who wishes to be recognized? the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: madam speaker, i would like now yield to the former chairman of the subcomttee on the constituon, gerry nadler of new york, three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for three minutes. mr. nadler: i thank the gentleman. madam speaker, this bill has nothing to do with creating jobs, reducing our deficitters or bolstering our economy.
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it addresses e fictitious claim that legislation is needed to prevent federal funding of abortion services. this bill has been falsely advertised as a mere codification of existing law prohibiting federal funding abortion. i have always opposed th unfair restrictions on federal funding for perfectly legal health care procedure, but this bill goes far beyond prohibiting federal funding. the real purpose and effect of this bill is to eliminate private health care choices for women by imposing significant tax penaltieses on families and small business when is they use their own money to pay for health insurance or medical care. this tax penalty is intended to drive insurance companies into dropping abortion servicesrom existing private health care policies that women and families now have and rely upon. the republicans claim a tax credit, this bill claims a tax credit or deduction is a form of government funding. it follows the tax deductible charitable contributions to a church, synagogue, our other institutions are also government funding. a position my republican
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colleagues have never taken and that if taken would prohibit tax dedungses for -- deductions for charitable contributions to religious organizations because they would be violations of the establishment clause of the first amendment. you cat have it both ways. either tax exemptions or deductions or credits for private spending or governmentp funder or they are not. if they are not, this bill makes no sense. if they are, then tax deductible private contribuons to religious institutio prohibited by the constitution. the power to tax is the power toestroy. and here the taxing power is being used to destroy the right of every american to make private health care decisions free from government interference. this bill is an unprecedented attack on the use of private funds to make private health care choices and is part of the new house majority's broader and disturbing attack on women's access to health care. after two years of hearing my republican colleagues complain that government should not meddle in the private insurance market or private health care choices, i am astounded by this legislation which is so
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obviously designed to do just that. it seems many republicans believe in freedom provided no one uses that freedom people find objectionable. there's also a provision in the bill that might allow a health care provider or institution to refuse to provide an abortion to a woman whose life depends on that abortion. they could let her die in the emergency room and the government would be powerless to do anything. if the government insisted the hospital not let the woman die, the bill would allow the hospital to sue the government and in the case of a state or locality strip the community of that funding. despite the fact that republicans made a big show of taking out language relating -- limiting rape to forcible rape, the committee report now says that the bill still excludes victims of statutory rape in order to close the, quote, loophole. that's right, young women who have been sexualize victimized is a loophole. disgusting. a vote for this bill is a vote for tax increase on wome
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families, and small businesses. it's a vote for taking away the existing health insurance women and families now have and pay for with their own funds. to refuse care over the obligation to provide lifesaving care. it deserves to be defeated. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from arizona, mr. franks, who is the chairman of the constitutional subcommittee of the judiciary committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from arizo is recognized for two minutes. mr. franks: i thank the gentleman. madam speaker, it is said that a government is what it spends. this bill is really about whether the role of america's government is to fund a practice that takes the lives of over one million unborn american babies every year. despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of americans, even some of those who consider themselves pro-choice, strongly object to their taxpayer dollars being used to pay for abortions. in 1973, madam speaker, the united states supreme court said the unborn child was not a person under the constitution. and we have since witnessed the
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tragic deaths of over 50 million innocent little baby boys and girls who dd without the protection we in this chamber should have give them. some of this was carried out with taxpayer dollars before the hyde amement and other such laws were in place. and taxpayer funding of abortion could recommence in the future under obamacare. so before we vote on this bill it is important for members to ask themselves the real question. does abortion take the life of a child? if it does not, then this is simply a budgetary issue. but if abortion really does kill a little baby, then those of us sitting here in these chambers of freedom are presiding over the greatest human genocide in the history of humanity. some of it may be financed in the future, madam speaker, with taxpayer dollars over which we will have had direct control. madam speaker, our founding fathers believed there were certain self-evident truths worth holdinon to. the greatest of thos in their
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mind was the transcendent meaning of this gift of god called human life. our constitution says no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. the care of human life and its happiness and not its destruction is the chief and only object of good government. madam speaker, protecting the lives and constitutional rights of our fellow americans is why we are all here. and forcing taxpayers to pay for the indiscriminate killing of helpless little baby americans is not good government and it should be ended once and for all. the speaker o tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york. michigan, i'm sorry. mr. conyers: madam speaker, i'm pleased to recognize the distinguished member of the judiciary committee, dr. judy chu, of california, for one minu. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. ms. chu: imagine what life
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would be like for women under h.r. 3. imagine you are pregnant and then diagnosed with breast cancer. your doctor says that chemotherapy could save your life but will permanently harm the baby. the diagnosis is devastating. but to add to your grief because of h.r. 3 an abortion will not be cvered by your private health insurance. you must pay out of pocket even though it is necessary to save your life. imagine i.r.s. agents as abortion cops. under h.r. 3 you couldn't deduct an abortion as a medical expense unless it were the result of rape or incest, even though you are using your own money and even though you can deduct every other medical procedure. imagine the i.r.s. knocking at your door demanding receipts and grilling you about your rape. th bill forces women to live their lives as if america was big brother washington bureaucrats dictate the personal private health indecision of american families. stop these attacks on women,
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oppose h.r. 3. the speaker pro tempe: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: i yield one minute to the gentleman from virginia, mr. goodlatte, who is the chairman of the intellectual property scommittee of the judiciary committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized for one minute. mr. goodlatte: i thank the chairman for yielding. madam speaker, as the co-sponsor i rise today in support of h.r. 3, the no taxpayer funding for abortion act. itch long believed that the right to life is one we must vigorously protect and i have co-sponsored many bills to do that, including the right to life act last congress. while there are many divergent views on this topic, one thing they most agree on is that it is wholly improper for the federal government to use taxpayers' hard-earned dollars to fund abortions. this is a moral issue of the highens importance to many taxpayers and to force them to fund these activities is completely unacceptable. for many americans, taxpayer funded abortions would constitute an extreme violation of conscience that should not
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be sanctioned by this congress. i urge my colleagues to support h.r. 3 and i want to thank the gentleman from new jersey, mr. smith, and the gentleman from texas, mr. smith, for first introducing and then advancing this legislation. . i yield back. mr. conyers: madam speaker, i am proud to yield to lynn woolsey of california, a strong progressive in this congress, one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from california is recognized for one minute. ms. woolsey: thank you, madam speaker, and thank you, mr. chairman. madam speaker, for the last 18 years as a member of this body i've listened to republicans go on and on about keeping government out of the health care system. that and taking away the voice of women actually puts the government between that woman and her most private health care decisions and is the
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biggest, the most intrusive govement of all. i thought my republican friends hated taxes, but apparently they hate reproductive freedom and women's rights even more, because this bill would raise taxes on small businesses that provide their employees with health plans that include abortion coverage. and in one of its most egregious provisions, this bill could lead to i.r.s. audits of women who seek abortion care after they had been -- a sexual assault. absolutely unconscionable. vo no on h.r. 3. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: madam speaker, i yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordan, who is a member of the judiciary committee and also chairman of the republican study committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. jordan: i thank the gentlelady and thank the chairman of the judiciary committee. look, fe is precious, life is
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sacred, and government should protect that basic fact. we don't get our -- this -- it's not some grant from government. it a gift from god. our founders understood that when they talked about the creator giving us this inalienable right. and the fact we live in the greatest nation in history and the tax dollars are used to destroy the life of unborn -- the lives of the unborn children is wrong. this bill is consistent with the great nation founded on the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. i urge a yes vote on the legislation. the speaker pro tempore: t gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: i yield to the gentleman from ohio, mr. braley, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from ohio is recognized for wo minutes. mr. braley: i thank th gentleman for yielding and i
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thank the speaker for recognizing me. if you remember only one thing about this bill, remember this -- it's a solution in search of a problem. the simple truth is that there are no taxpayer dollars being used to pay for abortions. none. zero. nada. don't be fooled by this bill. it isn't about funding. it's about preventing women from being able to access comprehensive health care. that's what this bill is about. the debate is about whether politicians sitting in congress should dictate the personal, private medical decisions of the american people. it aims to impose intrusive government rules on personal medical decisions. the bill supporterson't want abortion, any abortion to be legal in the united states, and so they are adding as many bureaucratic rules as they can come up with.
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this bill would not allow an exception for rape and incest for women in the military and military dependence. think about that. military studies and news reports suggest that the rate of sexual assault in the military is unconscionably high. cbs news reported that 1-3 military women experience sexual assault during their career in the service. 1-3. this is outrageous, and yet under this bill those brave women who took an oath to defend and support the constitution of this country and put their lives on the line every day, if they are sexually assaulted by a peer and become pregnant would not have an opportunity to get an abortion under this rule. that's what we're talking about today, and that is the contrast
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between these two philosophies of the role of government and the personal, private medical decisions of women, and tt is why i ask my colleagues to reject this bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: madam speaker, i yield one minute to the gentlewom ohio, mrs. schmidt. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from ohio is recognized for one minute. s. schmidt: thank you. i want to thank chris smith for this bill. ladies and gentlemen, all this bill does is ending taxpayer funding of public abortion. h.r. 3 is to update long standing hyde amendment and ply it to programs that are fundamentally funded and replace the patchwork system into permanent law. it takes the hyde amendment, the helms amendment, the hyde-weldon amendment as well as others and makes them permanent. that's what the bill does. h.r. 3 enjoys great bipartisan
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support and had over 227 co-sponsors. so support of this bill is in the public's hands. a cnn oll recently taken last month said 61 of the respondents do not want their tax dollars used to pay for abortion and that's what this bill does. it ends the public funding of abortion. there is a host of other polls tt clearly states the same thing. the hyde amendment is in current law, but it simply -- needs to be broadened for all the things we do here in congress. i ask my colleagues to vote on this very important bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan. mr. conyers: madam speaker, i am proud to yield to the former chair of the congressional black caucus, the gentlelady from california, barbara lee, one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from california is recognized for one minute. ms. lee: thank you very much, and i want to thank our ranking member for his leadership and for leading for so many years on so many important issues.
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madam speaker, here we go again. instead on working on creating jobs and jump-starting the economy, we are debating another cynical and divisive attempt to strip away the rights of women. republicans continue to perpetrate their war on wen while millions of people around the country are desperate, mind you, for jobto help provide for their families. let me remind you, current law already bans federal funds being used for abortions. that is a fact, even though i personally think we should get rid of that ban. what's next? are we going to block transportation funding because it might be used to build a hospital -- road to hospitals that might be performing abortions? come on. that's a cynical ploy on the majority's side. and this bill specifically attacks low-income women in the district of columbia by permanently prohibiting the district from spending its
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purely local funds on abortions for low-income women. may i have an additional 30 seconds? 30 seconds, thank you very much. these women in the district have already begun to feel the terrible effects of the writer passed in the c.r. it's ideologically driven and it's dangerous. so let's reject this bill and this attack and this dangerous war on women, especially low-income women. vote no on h.r. 3. thank you again. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas. mr. smith: madam speaker, i yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from indiana, mr. pence, the vice chair of the constitution subcommittee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from indiana is recognized for a minute and a half. mr. pence: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks, madam speaker. the speaker pro tempore: yes, without objection. mr. pence: i thank the gentleman for yielding, and i rise in strong support of h.r. 3, the to taxpayer funding for abortion act. i believe that ending an innocent life is moralally
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wrong but i believe it's moralally wrong to take the funds of taxpayers and use it to fund a procedure that they find morally offensive. over 30 years the patchwork of policies have denied federal funding for abortion in america, but todaythat exto the yeoman's work of congressman smith of new jersey and congressman dan lipinski, we're bringing a strong and codified message that the american people don't want to allow public funding of abortion at the federal level, and i strongly support it. the man who first brought this idea before the congress was the late henry hyde. i had the privilege of serving with him. his eloquence cannot be matched but it can be peted. henry said, quote, i believe nothing in this world of wonders is more beautiful than the innocence of a child a that little, almost born infant struggling to live as a member


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