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tv   U.S. House of Representatives  CSPAN  October 27, 2011 5:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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this will be a key focus when i go to istanbul next week to meet with regional foreign regional foreign ministers. for our part, we are working on a new government. in 2011, we had three washington-led rounds of discussions with the state department's leading an interagency team, including dod, usaid, and the noc. these discussions resulted in a tax that is about 95% agreed to including democratic institution building, a human rights, and long-term reforms. among other things, we envision establishing and afghanistan- united states bilateral commission and associated implementation mechanism to help our focus remains on what needs to be done during the transition process. ambassador crocker and general
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allen are still working through some of the security corp. issues with president karzai. the negotiation is ongoing. although we do not expect this to take the form of a treaty or require advice and consent of the senate, we will consult with you on where we are in this process, and i will ensure that anyone who wishes to get a full briefing will get one, and we will very much welcome your views. we anticipate having a transition that does in killed -- include security components not only from the united states but also from nato, commitments that were made at lisbon summit. finally, the third track is building. building what? building capacity and opportunity in afghanistan, pakistan, and across the region. this is part of a clear right
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strategy rooted in a lesson we have learned over and over again are around the world. lasting security and stability go hand in hand with greater economic opportunity. people need a realistic hope for a better life, better job, a chance to provide for their families. it is critical to our broader efforts that civilian assistance continues in afghanistan and pakistan, and i thank the congressman for raising that. i will also be very clear that we have had to move rapidly and cheaply to strengthen oversight and improve effectiveness, and i will be happy to answer questions about that. early next week, i will be sending you a comprehensive status update on our civilian assistance, detailing our plans to shift from short-term stabilization to long-term development. as the transition proceeds and coalition combat forces leave afghanistan, they need to be realistic hopes for development.
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we are achieving agricultural feasibility and greater exploitation in a way that benefits people of natural resources, increasing exports and strengthening the financial sector. i really want to underscore the point that the congressman made, which is really that we want to move from aid to trade. we cannot do that if we cannot get legislation which will lower tariffs on pakistani and afghan products and the enterprise fund, which will not require taxpayer dollars. this is what we did in central and eastern europe, and it was a big help in convincing people that the free market was a way to go. finally, we are pursuing a broader long-term vision for regional economic integration. it is not just an economic plan.
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it talks about how we can get these countries that have so many problems with each other to begin cooperating. to that end, i am pleased by the progress that india and pakistan are making on the commercial front and the progress in implementing the transit trade agreement between afghanistan and pakistan. those are our talks, and we are on all of them simultaneously. we believe that the best place we can be in moving forward, and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you so much. i will yield myself some time for the question. first to say that i am gravely concerned about the safety of the residents in iraq. many members, including the ranking member and i, have sought the administration pose a commitment to securing their protection, giving the iraqi government's repeated failure to comply with its international human rights obligations to the residents, and in light of
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president obama's announcements of the final withdrawal of american troops from iraq, we need to be confident that our administration is being gauged with the government of iraq, the united nations high commission of refugees, and others to ensure the welfare of camp residents and to resolve their long-term security goals. my question deals with my native homeland of cuba, although in recent weeks, i feel the need to carry my papers with me to find out when it is that i actually got to the united states. madam secretary, your administration has remained in opposition to many of the world's tyrants, to your credit, yet, the u.s. continues to engage the cuban regime. in march, you stated that gaddafi should leave power. in june, you said the solid should move out of the way. in july, you stated that assad not indispensable and we have nothing invested in remaining in power. in stark contrast, this
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administration continues to increase the cuban regime and provide the castro brothers a live line in the form of increased travel opportunities, supporting their offshore oil drilling aspirations. two weeks ago, undersecretary sherman confirmed that the department had recently met with cuban regime officials to discuss the sad case of alan gross. media reports stated the state department officials were willing to offer concessions such as allowing convicted cuban spies to return to cuba or taking a cue ball off the state sponsor of terrorism list in order to obtain the release of mr. gross. united states should not be negotiating with a state sponsor of terrorism, so i ask you -- why is there a double standard with the castro regime? thank you. >> thank you so much for those questions. let me start on cuba, and then i will go back to camp ashcroft and our concerns about it.
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our position has been the same for more than 50 years. we think fidel castro should go. that is the unfortunate commitment that we have put forth over many years. unfortunately, he does not seem to be going anywhere. we do worry greatly about the activities of the cuban government and we have strongly supported the desire of the cuban people to freely determine their own future. it is our view that we should help those who are trying to work toward positive change. so we do support a wide variety of activities on the island. we interact with a broad cross- section of individuals and groups in cuban society, and we provide humanitarian assistance, including food, over-the-counter medicines, and so much more. we think that that is a
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necessary kind of double approach. we want democracy for cuba. we have always supported democracy for cuba. we have tried to encourage changes and reform, but at the same time, we are going to keep working with individuals. >> have we met with cuban officials? >> u.s. officials regularly meet with their cuban counterparts, as i know you are aware, because we have a lot of areas of mutual concern. we have drug trafficking. we have immigration. we have all kinds of issues. our main objective for the last two years has to ensure alan gross' unconditional release. at no one has the u.s. government been willing to give unilateral concessions to the castro regime or to ease sanctions as a means to secure his release, but i will _ -- we think it is a gross violation of his human rights and a
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humanitarian of use that he has not been returned to his family, and we would like to see that happen as soon as possible. with respect to camp-trough, which we deeply are concerned about, we know that there is an ongoing and very legitimate expression of concern. we have elicited assurances from the government of iraq that it will treat residents humanely, that it will not transfer of residents to a country they may have reason to fear, and we are pushing very hard to get the united nations high commission on refugees to work with the governments. >> ranking member on africa global health and human rights. >> thank you very much.
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let me commend you, madam secretary, for the outstanding job you are doing. the recent five-country trip -- they only talk about to debut, but i know you have touched down in three others -- is amazing. your trip to libya where the president had really ask the europeans and data to lead and that we would come in and help out was a very successful strategy. certainly commend the administration for living up to the agreement that president bush made when he said that our troops should be out of iraq at the end of this year. i congratulate our government for living up to that promise to have our troops back in america by the holidays, and the iraqi people want them out. the american people want them out, and i think they should be out. i certainly support what the administration has done in south sudan. i happen to be at the celebration of the new country, but i would hope we would give them all the support for the
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south sudanese people and that we continue to watch the door for -- darfur continue to support the government in somalia. we need to make that work. and also to urge the kenyans to assist, as they are doing now, to try to eradicate terrorists who are coming into kenya and destabilizing the area. i also commend the president for the 100 troops going to the central african republic and to uganda, to train residents in trying to eliminate joseph coney, who this house passed legislation saying we should go out -- bipartisan support -- many of my colleagues on the other side have been just as passionate about the fact that he needs to be eliminated, needs to be captured or taken out because for 25 years, he has
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wreaked havoc on people with horrendous acts -- the horrendous acts he has done is just unconscionable. the time is past that he should be taken off the face of this earth. let me just then quickly get what you hear about afghanistan and pakistan. i almost forgot. your strategy in afghanistan has been based on the belief that developing afghanistan's economy and institutions will win over the populations that support the afghan government, even after international forces drawdown. some analysts are concerned that the afghan economy may enter a steep depression as international military involvement in afghanistan winds down over the next few years. what steps has the u.s. taken to make sure that this does not happen? i know you did mention the new
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central asia/south asia trading hub that we are trying to create in afghanistan. will there be job training programs and community development so that that can overtake the military action? >> thank you very much, congressman, and banks, as always, for highlighting the important issues and security concerns coming out of africa. i thank you for that, and i join with the congressman in saluting the life of former congressman howard will be, why had the privilege of working with in the 1990's and as secretary of state. with respect to the sustainability of the afghan economy, you are right to raise the issue that when this enormous amount of international money that has been used inside afghanistan begins to diminish, that raises questions about
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sustainability. there are three quick answers i would give you. one, we are working to strengthen the capacity of the afghan government itself at both the national and local level. because we think it is important to try to help them understand fundamentals like planning and budgeting. usaid is currently developing a set of measurements about sustainability and applying them to all our programs. second, we are working on necessary reforms right now. a quick example -- the afghan power company -- they have to learn how to effectively collect revenue. they have to learn how to cover the cost of their operations, and we are also working with the ministry of public works and because the international community has built roads, but they have to learn how to maintain them, and that means collecting tolls or other tariffs.
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we are also working to make sure that we are coordinating with other donors. there are many big donations that come from infrastructure and training, and we're going to make sure we are all on the same page. >> you so much. mr. burton, the chairman of the subcommittee on europe and eurasia -- sank you so much. -- >> thank you so much. >> there's a lot of congressmen and congresswomen concerned that unilateral action being taken by the administration in a military faction -- fashion. mournsmorn's gaddafi -- gaddafi been the scene, but we believe congress should be involved. that was a long duration the cost $3 billion of taxpayer money. i think the administration ought
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to be aware that there is a lot of concern among democrats and republicans that unilateral action is being taken without any consultation with congress. let me just talk about a couple of things and ask a question. in 1979, we supported either tacitly or directly, the removal of the shock -- shah the i toll impose -- ayatollah imposed sharia law. and people who were sympathetic with the u.s. were lined up and killed. tunisia have said they will have shariah law. the interim government of libya has said the same. one of the things that bothers people is if you are an enemy combatants and defeated, your wife can be raped, and it is all
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right. i understand there are women who are being raped right now by the people that won the war because the people who supported gaddafi had wives, and they thought that that was proper punishment. shariah la somethingw that is anathema to most americans. in egypt, the muslim brotherhood has taken on a larger and larger responsibility, and some believe they will end up running the country. higher northern tier of africa may very well be under shariah la as wellw ran. i am concerned and i hope my colleagues are that we could be facing another iran not only in iran but also in libya and tunisia, egypt, and who knows about syria? i would like to know what the administration plans to do to make sure that we do not have a radical government taking over those places.
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i know you were just there in libya. i watched on television your remarks. i understand the position of the administration. but i tell you, it worries me, not only from a security standpoint -- we still get almost 1/3 of our energy from that part of the world. if we do not make sure that we did not have radical islamist government in that region, we could have a big problem like we have with iran. with that, i will be happy to hear your comments. then a congressman, i think that you have raised many different aspects of a question that is yet to be answered, and that is -- what does democracy mean? what is the likely outcome of these changes? and we know from our very long history, far back beyond 1979, the revolutions are unpredictable phenomena.
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sometimes it works out well. many times, it goes through really messy transitions, and it ends up in a place we certainly do not think represents democracy as we define it. the united states is deeply engaged in and committed to working with these new leaders, many of whom have never been involved in politics before, to make it absolutely clear that there must be a renouncing of violence and military capacity if you are to be part of a democratically elected government, that there needs to be a respect for human rights, for women's rights, for the fundamental freedoms of speech and religion and all the rest that we hold so dear. sitting here today, i think a lot of the leaders are saying the right things, and some are saying things that do give pause to us, but i will assure you
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that we're going to do all that we can within our power to basically try to influence outcomes. but the historic winds sweeping the middle east and north africa were not our making. they were in many instances not even predicted. but they are going to have consequences first and foremost for the people of those countries, and then for the rest of the world. >> thank you, madam secretary. thank you, mr. burton. >> i certainly want to personally welcome you, madam secretary, and want to commend you for the outstanding leadership that you have demonstrated not only in your capacity as the president was a chief negotiator, but just about everything that goes on in the world. thank you for the services you have given to our country.
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i deeply appreciate the opportunities i have had in dialoguing with you. some of the issues that are important to the needs of our country. just one question -- maybe i am being simplistic in trying to understand a little further about the challenges that are before us as far as pakistan and afghanistan is concerned -- there are 12 million pashtuns afghanistan. seems to me there is really no such thing as an afghan because there are so many different tribes that make up the country of afghanistan. right on the borderline of pakistan, there are 7 million pashtuns funds, we end up with 720,000 taliban that we are going after trying to straighten out ways and, hopefully, in the
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process of trying to negotiate them, we have 100,000 troops right now in afghanistan, i guess with the purpose of going after the 27,000 taliban and costing us about $120 billion a year. are we still committed to 2014? given the amount of problems we have faced with this. >> yes, that is the commitment, and it is a mutually agreed upon commitment. that is our commitment, and as you know, we have begun to transition security responsibility to the afghan forces and a number of areas. there will be more announced shortly by the afghan government. we have a plan that our military leadership is implementing to continue to advise and support
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as afghans take the lead, but to move away from any kind of ongoing, responsibility by american or nato troops. them in the second question, like the colleague, our chairwoman, i am deeply concerned by the events that transpired in indonesia, where by the indonesian military police forces have arrested hundreds of unarmed harmless civilians, who apparently had a meeting. the congress said that they met, and among those arrested is a dear friend, a traditional leader. this gentleman would not even heard a fly. he is a traditional leader. out of sheer frustration, people have been waiting for the indonesian government for well
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over 10 years. they were supposed to be given special autonomy status. the indonesian government has not done anything really to pursue and to promote this. i suspect our frustration, they simply wanted to declare independence. now the indonesian government is accusing them of treason. like i said, in that the gentlemen. he is an elderly person, a traditional leader. would not even heard a fly. i would really appreciate madam secretary if the administration would pursue this earnestly with the indonesian government. i realize this is an internal matter, but it does have a lot of serious international implications in terms of military forces and how the indonesian government is securing the spirit i wanted to
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ask for your assistance in working together to make sure that the traditional leader and others who have been arrested are properly given their due process of law. >> congressman, we will certainly follow up on that and consult with you about it. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you. >> mr. turner is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. thank you, madam secretary. i recently returned from afghanistan and met with military and state people. there is a contrast between the optimism, at least that the military expressed, in achieving their goal in the next 30 months. which i think, minimally, is to fourth base of operations. -- is to thwart base of
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operations. state department seemed less optimistic in establishing a legal system and a rule of law, and i would be interested in hearing what you think of this, whether the cultural divide between what we expect from the afghanis and what is really practical can be -- that can be closed within at least a reasonable time. certainly, 30 months is going to be very difficult. thank you. >> thank you very much, congressman, and thank you for going on that trip. i think it is important, and i hope you agree to see these situations firsthand and talk with people, so we appreciate your trick.
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i think that the civilian presence in afghanistan, which has been tripled in the last two years in response to what were clear deficiencies of attention in the prior years has made a lot of progress, but it is a complicated undertaking. i think that those with whom you spoke were being very candid with you, that it is something that is quite challenging. as i said in the beginning, we have made a lot of progress. we think that progress has made a difference. but you have got to remember that afghans have had a lot of experience fighting, but not a lot of experience in putting together what we consider a modern government, and certainly, very little experience in what we're hoping to see the move toward, which is a sustainable democratic
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government. the progress is challenging, but it is continuing, and that is why it is important that we negotiate this strategic partner -- partnership documents so we have an ongoing relationship. there is no sensible way to compare any two nations because they are each unique, but we do have some experience. after the fall of the soviet union, the people living in those totalitarian states have little or no experience unless they were quite elderly, in what a functioning democratic government even look like, what a trade union look like, what kinds of human rights should be expected. i think it is quite an accomplishment for the people of those countries over the last 20-plus years to have made the progress that they have made. we are starting on a very different level in afghanistan. there is no real experience. they went from a monarchy that
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was a very loosely governing presence in much of the country to a succession, first invasion by the soviet union, and the installation of a puppet regime, to the warlord-ism.. this is a country that has been through so much. i would add that even though there are different ethnic groups or different tribal and clan groups, they do consider themselves afghans. they do not have any doubt in their minds about that, but how they work out the modes of cooperation are still to be determined. we are entering this with, i think, the right dose of humility. i think in the beginning, maybe
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we did not have enough of that. we did not know how difficult it would be to make the transition, but we are making progress, and we're going to stay with it. on the civilian side, we will be with it after 2014? >> thank you. >> well played, mr. turner, the junior man on the totem pole. stuck around and got to ask the secretary questions. mr. berman, the old guy, is recognized. [laughter] >> young at heart. madam secretary, the administration has made it clear that the war in afghanistan can only end through a political settlement. you have been quite candid that you would not support any agreement that gives of the hard-won rights of the afghan people. the red line's you previously mentioned a side, given the taliban's brutal history and
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that the movement is so ideologically driven, what makes you think, for example, they would either change course on ideology? how we get them to change the way they see the world? >> congressman, i am not sure that all of them would. i am very realistic about that. we have had somewhere in the order of 2500 fighters officially reintegrate. in other words, we have registration of them. we know they have done it. of those, there seems to be both a weariness with fighting and a recognition that the path that the taliban had been on was not the right path. this is part of the testing process that we have to be engaged in. i think that the hard reality is that until we really put it to
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them in some kind of afghan-led negotiation, nobody will be able to gauge that. we have followed some intelligence threads, which suggests there is a debate going on about, for example, letting girls go to school, which is something back with seem to me would be absolutely a condition. so i think you are asking the right question. i am just not yet at the stage of how this is unfolding to be able to tell you -- are our chances 50/50, 40/60 -- we just do not know yet. >> in the stand. i am going to get into an issue that has concerned me. it is a sensitive issue, and i had to miss your testimony because of all politics is
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local. had to do this issue in the aviation subcommittee of transportation infrastructure, but last march, in accordance of section 203 of the enhanced partnership with pakistan act, you certify that pakistan was continuing to cooperate with the united states in efforts to dismantle supplier networks, that it has demonstrated a sustained commitment and is making significant efforts towards combating terrorist groups. given at roland's recent statement, the discovery of osama bin laden in pakistan -- given at malmo and's resisted e, -- given admiral mullen's testimony, i wonder if you have regrets about making the certification, and is there anything on your recent trip or anything else that has gone on in the last few weeks that makes
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you feel optimistic that the purposes we are trying to achieve in the certification requirement we can move forward on? >> congressman, the certification that i signed with regards to pakistan's role in combating terrorist groups, as you know, was mandated by legislation from the preceding fiscal year. at the time, they beat -- at the time i made the certification, a closely consider the requirements on the statute and consider that on balance, pakistan met the legal threshold. one of the challenges is that there are a number of factors here. there was no doubt that pakistan had entered the fight against terrorists and have made sacrifices for that fight. there was certainly a continuing
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intelligence cooperation, particularly focused on the al qaeda operatives, that was proven to be helpful. >> can i ask for an additional minute just to finish the answer to this question? >> no, i am sorry. >> i will be happy to provide you additional written material about that because i know what a serious question is, and i have to do this on an annual basis, and i also would point out that in the last six months, we have had great success in taking out al qaeda leadership, and we have to weigh all of these factors. >> mr. smith is recognized. >> i thank my distinguished chairman for recognizing me. let me ask a couple of questions. 10 years after the taliban, not a single public christian church remains in afghanistan.
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he w. christian afghan citizens almost certainly would have lost their lives had there not been a huge intervention, and we were part of that. i know you were part of that. my question would be -- what are we doing to ensure that christians and other minority religions are not subjected to an increase repression? the international u.s. commission said that the situation for christians "worsens" in the last few years. we see the same in pakistan. we know that pakistan's minister for minority affairs was assassinated, a terrible loss. he was opposing the blasphemy laws in pakistan, and we know that other faiths, including the induce -- it has been reported by the human rights commission of pakistan that 20 to 25 hindu girls are abducted and converted to islam every month. i just chaired a hearing about
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caustic christian girls, a three-hour hearing focused on -- and the chairman and it was at that hearing. it was living that we now see in egypt that young teenage girls are abducted in their teenage years -- 12, 13, 14 years old, and then they are forced into islam. then they are sold or given in marriage at age 18 to an islamic men. there is even a very aesthetic expression that they are islami sizing the womb all but collision,. of a kidnapping. i have not heard anything from the administration on that. perhaps you want to speak to that. but the deteriorating situation on religious freedom, and that is, as we all know, a fundamental tenet of human rights, and it is getting worse. finally, i want to associate my remarks about the double standard with regard to cuba.
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fidel castro is really given, i think, a large pass for his egregious human rights abuses in a way that is similar to what happens with whom gentile -- hu jintao 8 dinner. , i would ask, please pick up the phone and call the foreign minister of china and ask where is he? next week, i am chairing an emergency commission. there have been rumors and reports. we do not know if they are true. he may have been beaten to death. as you recall, he is the blind activist lawyer. i know you know all about him. he has stood up for women who are being coerced into forced abortions and forced sterilizations. he took on their case, and the
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iron fist of the chinese dictatorship has ever since years in prison and now under house arrest, and now we hear he may have been beaten to death. we do not know, but please call the foreign minister on that. >> congressman, i share not only your concerns, but your outrage over what we're seeing happening. we will follow up on your request to china. specifically on the question of persecution, obviously, what we are seeing is deeply distressing. it is not only against christians or hindus, but it is also against different sects of muslims. there are discriminated against and persecuted and their adherents brutally treated. this is one of our biggest problems in the world right now.
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there needs to be a greater acceptance of religious tolerance and in so many places, there is no history of religious tolerance. i am searching for ways to be effective. one of the things that we have tried very hard to do is to work with a number of countries including muslim majority countries to begin to change the dialogue from something they wanted to call religious defamation, which would be a legal rationale for persecuting people who spoke out about their own religion or criticize someone else's, to a broad acceptance that there needs to be an equation between freedom of speech and freedom of religion. we are trying to many different approaches -- >> thank you, madam secretary, and i thank mr. smith. mr. sherman is recognized.
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>> thank you for coming before us. i hear you had a busy schedule. and i missed your opening statement for the same reason as the ranking member. all politics is local and our district our coal located. my first question or matter relates to the sind province of pakistan. you may just want to respond for the record because that is not one of the hot issues, but they have been influenced by the sudanese train of islam. they have moderate values harmonious with american ideals, and i would hope that we would do all we could for their role area that is suffering from this year's floods, which are on top of last year's floods, and that you would speak to the
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pakistanis. you have so many issues to cover with them, but one is the disappearances of activists in southern pakistan. in this committee room, we dealt with the authorization bill. it may never become law, but it does reflect whatever wisdom there is on this side of the room. and we took a look at the voice of america, which has a budget of $750 million. i believe it was unanimous to direct the voice of america to spend at least $1.5 million of that. we are talking about a small amount of money. broadcasting in the language. further research indicates that the best way to reach the people would be a.m. or medium wave broadcasts originating from the
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uae. we already broadcast into pakistan, but the language is spoken by far more people. while it may be the language of preference by islamabad, the language spoken in the homes in southern pakistan is cindy. i do not know if you have a comment on that or would just want to take that under advisement. >> i think that is a very useful suggestion, and i will get back to you for the record. >> many of us saw this at about camp ashraf featuring a 14-year- old girl who faces extermination. we face a tough circumstance in that we are withdrawing from iraq. in the past, there have been --
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some would say massacres. at least terrible instances in which tens of people have been killed. there are press reports that the iraqi officials say not to worry about it too much and after all, the folks are on the u.s. terrorist list. what are we doing to assure that when we leave iraq, we will not see the massacre of 3400 people at can ashraf and how is it going on with the any case should be on the terrorist list? >> on those points in particular, in accordance with the d.c. circuit 2010 ruling, the state department is reviewing the designation. there will be a decision. it has to be done expeditiously,
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but thoroughly, and we hope to have such a decision in the future. i would add that the current designation does not pose a bar to the resettlement, and the humanitarian situation in our opinion is also not related to the designation. i think it is also important to recognize that we need to do as much as we can to move as many people out of the camps -- out of the camp before the end of the year, and we are trying to do that. we are working primarily through the united nations and certainly with both the residents of ashraf and the government of iraq to try to put in place a very rapid assessment of
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individuals, and we have urged the eu and other countries to favorably consider resettling of any residents granted refugee status because we want to shrink the numbers as best we can. >> thank you, madam secretary. thank you, mr. sherman. >> you can see all that hearing leading off our primetime tonight at 8:00 eastern on c- span. on c-span2, kenneth feinberg talks about the implementation of the compensation fund and continues struggles in louisiana. homeland secretary-general of peloton of discusses u.s. immigration policy and enforcement. all of those events tonight on the c-span tv networks. tomorrow on "washington journal ," john mica on some of the ways
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he thinks the joint deficit reduction committee can reduce spending. then, former democratic national committee chairman howard dean looks ahead to the 2010 election and what he believes president obama's strategy should be. after that, cynthia clark of the usda's national agriculture statistics and bob young of the american farm bureau talking about farming in the u.s. and policies talking about the future of farming. getting under way at 7:00 a.m. eastern on friday here on c- span. >> spent this weekend in knoxville, tennessee, with "book tv" and "american history tv"
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and look behind the scenes. on "book tv" four acres of decomposing remains. dr. william bass on a real-life see a side. also, a look at "roots" author alex haley. and on cassette in american history tv" a visit to sequoia birthplace museum. the director explains how in indian silversmith successfully created a system of writing for the cherokee language. also, a visit to the secret city. oak ridge national laboratory historian steve still on the lap was a part in the development of the atomic bomb. and -- is knox build a true southern city? a historian on its history and future, saturday at 11 a.m. and sunday on 6:00 p.m. eastern. watch throughout the weekend.
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>> i do not want every story to be 1800 words. >> last month, jill abramson became the first woman to hold the post of executive editor at the "new york times." she believes it is more irreplaceable it than ever but also envisions a few changes. >> there's a certain lack of discipline sometimes. a point is repeated too many signs -- too many times in a story or there are three quotations making a point where one would do. i would like to see a variety of story lines. >> she will discuss her career, her new book, and the future of the "times" sunday night on c- span "q and 8." >> earlier today, the white house press secretary is the -- said the economic is not good enough and urged the president to act on the president's jobs plan.
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this is 50 minutes. >> all right. we are here every night. [laughter] ladies and gentlemen, welcome to your daily briefing. it is nice to be back here, although not quite as nice as traveling around the country as we did the first three days of this week, as those of you who joined us know. very successful trip with the president was able to make announcements on some of the executive actions he can take, things he can do to move this economy forward, assist students with their student debt, with their loans, and homeowners who are struggling with refinancing their homes. i do not have any announcements to make, so i will go straight to questions. >> thanks. two today. on the statement we just got from the president about the
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european deal. does the white house feel this agreement, if implemented, is enough to prevent countries around the world from sinking into recession? >> we have said in the president has said -- secretary geiger as well -- that we believe the europeans have the capacity to deal with this challenge. we welcome the decisions that were made last night by the european union, which lay a political foundation for a comprehensive conclusive solution, the kind of solution we have been urging them to make, and we will -- we look forward to the full development and implementation of that plan, and we will continue to work with our counterparts. this is an important, obviously, part of the world. with very important impact on the american economy. we look forward to working with our counterparts. we look forward to the full and
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rapid implementation of that plan. we all need to work individually and collectively as nations and allies and partners to take the necessary measures to sustain the global recovery and to put our people back to work. >> in terms of the fear of recession across the globe, how significant do you think this is? >> i do not want to predict into the future, but it is clearly important that your take these actions. it has been important and obvious for a number of months that this is a challenge that needed to be addressed, and we have been working with our counterparts as they have dealt with this, and the decisions made last night were very important. as they lay the foundation for the kind of decisive, conclusive representative -- resolution to these challenges that need to happen.
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>> the super committee, said it -- the supercommittee, senate democrats put out a plan. is that the kind of thing the president could endorse? >> i do not have a specific comment about a plan which i do not think has been put out, but it has been talked about. what we believe is this -- the committee needs to act. it has been assigned a goal by the congress through the budget control act. it was signed into law by the president. the president has put forward a plan that represents the sort of balanced approach that he believes is essential to address in our mid and long-term deficit challenge and that challenge. he hopes that the congress will take that up. then move forward in a way that ensures that everybody gets a
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fair shake, a share in both the prosperity and in the burden here as we deal with our long- term deficit and debt. what i think i can say broadly speaking is that what is not the right answer is to rule out entirely, to take off the table revenues because there is no credible account or assessment of the kind of action that we need to take that does not include a balanced approach, that does not include revenues. to say the burden here should be borne entirely by the middle class and by those struggling in america while the wealthiest among us have to contribute nothing is simply out of sync, not just with the president's view, not just with the view democrats, independents and republicans everywhere except in washington. the president, as i said, has put forward a plan, and he looks
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forward to the super committee and congress in general as taking action. >> one of the last lenses that late november deadline last piece because it would not kick in until 2013. in effect, the funds could evaporate this fall and nothing will happen. does the white house view that deadline as lacking? >> this is something that congress has assigned to itself, and they need to act on it. the trigger mechanism that you talk about it, the sequestration is order is for a reason -- as onerous for a reason and creates the kind of pressure on congress to act that is necessary. again, the president's view is clear.
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the president has put forward a detailed proposal that makes clear where he thinks congress ought to go, makes clear that a balanced approach is the way to go, which reflects the approach that the american people believe we ought to take. i do not want to get into too much detail about the negotiations at the committee level or at the congressional level. president clearly believes that there is not a lot of complexity or confusion about what needs to be done. it requires tough choices, but it requires tough choices by all sides. if there is a willingness to approach this with a view towards balance, then it should not be that difficult. >> the president has repeatedly said that there are headwinds that come from the eurozone debt crisis. does this deal diminished that
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risk? could it derail the recovery entirely? >> we need to do everything we can hear in the united states to grow the economy and create jobs. that is the principal focus that the president has. it is what he has been talking about an acting on consistently and what you will continue to see him talk about and act on. we need to control the things that we can control. as far as you're goes, we have been working with our counterparts as they address that challenge and making clear that we believe that it is significant and needs to be dealt with. and we are certainly encouraged by the important decisions that were made and look forward to working with the europeans as they take conclusive action to deal with it. as i said before, this is a very
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vital part of the world economically. it has an impact on the global economy and directly on the american economy. >> there are experts saying it could take weeks if not months to fully implement. >> we will work with our counterparts to help them move forward towards rapid and complete implementation. let me just move around in the back. >> thank you. a couple of interesting points i wanted to ask you about. the first was americans care very much about international implementation when they go in the country -- international participation when they go in a
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country like afghanistan. they need to care about when they plan to get out. my question, i guess, is do you plan to make any reports to the united nations to make sure that the job is done before you leave afghanistan? >> i think we have been very clear about what the president's policy is an strategy is in afghanistan. he laid it out in great detail. as i think he has proven with regard to iraq, with regard to afghanistan, with regard to going after the senior leadership in al qaeda, he says what he is going to do and he does it. so he will keep his commitments, and those commitments include the drawdown of the surge forces in afghanistan that is happening now, and the continued drawdown that will by the end of 2014 and allow for the transfer of
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security leads to afghan security forces. that has all been very transparent and will continue to be as we move forward. >> will we be >> lawyer be assured of the float in afghanistan -- >> will we be assured of the flow in afghanistan? >> what i can say more broadly is that we're working toward a situation in afghanistan where the afghan security forces can, with increasing capability, take over the security in their country. about timeline takes us through the end of 2014. i think security can be construed broadly. as you saw in iraq, there was a gradual seating of -- ceding of security forces and that was over a sustained a time frame
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and very successful, we believe. while every country is different and the circumstances are different and the timeline is different, we anticipate that we will be able to keep the schedule outlined by the president, and keep the commitments -- keep our commitments. >> has the president seen the footage from oakland this week, the violence between the protesters and the police? is there concern from the white house and the president of that protests will lead to violence in the coming months? >> i do not know if he has seen that specific footage. he is aware of the general, and there are televisions are around here and when we travel. as the president has said, we understand the frustrations that
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have led to these demonstrations. there is a lot of concern out there about a sluggish economy, the need for it to grow faster, the fact that our unemployment rate is much too high. there is also a lot of concern about the perception that wall street, at large, active in a way that helped to purse -- precipitated the worst economic crisis we have seen since the great depression. and now, after we have signed into law reforms that would both protect american consumers in their dealings with financial institutions, and ensure that the kinds of reckless actions that were taken could not be taken again, we see a lot of effort in congress and with republicans and lobbyists with wall street to try to undo those reforms. to stop the confirmation of our
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nominee to head the consumer financial protection board, at the consumer watchdog. as to the violence, we obviously believe and insist that everyone behave in a lawful manner, even as they are expressing justifiably their frustrations. >> to follow on that, obviously, the most graphic images we have seen have come from oakland, but there are many cities where the leaders are frustrated by the movement, not because of violence, but the persistent nature of it and how it disrupts business and that kind of thing. there is a lot of talk of cracking down, rest, that kind of thing. does the president -- arrests, that kind of thing. does the president think that merits discussion? >> i have not discussed that
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with the president. i will go back and say that we understand the frustrations being expressed cannot specifically with regard to -- expressed, specifically with regard to main street and wall street operating by the same set of rules, and a general frustration with the need for jobs. economic growth creates opportunity for middle-class americans. and certainly, we have all along and noble tradition of free expression and free speech in this country. it is also important that laws are upheld and obeid. but that is a -- and obeted, but that is a broad view. i have not had that specific discussion with the president.
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without getting into specific decisions by me is about is, city councils, mayors, i would say there is a long and noble tradition of free expression and free speech in the united states. >> the letter was written expressing concerns about what they call the family penalty provision of the health care law, provisions that exclude children from coverage with subsidized coverage. is the white house reviewing this part of the health care law, looking at ways to tweak it? >> i do not have an answer, i confess. i have heard vaguely about this, but i have not looked into it. maybe hhs can help you more, but i do not have a response. >> speaker boehner gave an interview to laura ingram in which he expressed -- he said,
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the idea you are going to go round congress is almost laughable. in terms of the executive action. [unintelligible] to make sure the president is not exceeding his authority. >> first of all, the president is operating well within the bounds of his authority, and in a way that is consistent with the kinds of executive actions that presidents have taken in previous administrations, president of both parties. i would respectfully suggest to the speaker that perhaps he should and the house should focus on what the american people are insisting that washington in general focus on, the need to grow the economy and create jobs. i think yesterday, the house, and hence the demand that action be taken on jobs and the economy -- in the midst of the
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demand that action be taken on jobs and the economy to pass a bill that would issue a commemorative coins for baseball hall of fame. it passed overwhelmingly. and i think they are pretty much done for the week in a couple of hours. the president has put forward a jobs plan filled with measures that have enjoyed bipartisan support in the past, paid for in a way that is supported broadly by the american people, by democrats, independents and republicans everywhere except in progress. i believe congress should act on that. the with regard to executive action, we have made it clear that we do not believe for a moment that they are a substitute for legislative action. what they represent is the president's absolute commitment to doing everything he can within his authority to assist the american people as they deal with this difficult economy, whether it is students and helping them consolidate and
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reduce their debt burden, helping homeowners who are struggling and under water with their mortgages by paying their bills, helping them to refinance their home so they can take advantage of these historic low loan rates on mortgages. he will do everything he can and will continue to take up the cause through executive action, even as he says the congress, "pass this bill, passed the elements of this bill, do things that grow the economy and create jobs." >> two things. one, the majority of the house of representatives, they have passed anywhere from 15 to 20 bills that will have an effect on job growth, bills that will now be taken up in the senate. you oppose some that the regulate -- that deregulate,
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but you pope -- do you oppose the others? >> those that help with job performance in the economy, like freighter trip -- free trade agreement and others, those are those bills that the president has signed into law. and today, i believe the house did pass it provision, the so- called 3% for government contractors provision, today. and it is part of the recovery act. if it gets through the entire congress, it would remove from the provisional blogger something that -- provision of law something that was passed previously. the president has been for this repeal and would look forward to signing it. he is working cooperatively with republicans on the things they agree on. rather than take my assessment of what their jobs proposals are, look at what independent
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economists say about their plans. there is no one out there who will say -- they may say they aren't good policy ideas in these proposed -- are good policy ideas in these proposals, medium and long term, but there are very few ideas that have any measurable positive impact in the near term on job creation and economic growth. that is not just me saying that. outside economic analysts are as well. boosting aggregate demand, to landau, to get theell economy back to work, they are not doing this. you have got to do all of it. >> your bill keeps coming up, first as a whole, and then invite size chunks, and then it keeps failing. >> it is being blocked in unison
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by republicans. >> democrats are not blocking it? >> with 95% to 97% of democrats voting for it. >> [unintelligible] >> that is what the republicans say. 2% of 5% -- 2% to 5% of democrats have voted against this. 100% of republicans in lockstep have voted to block it. if we did not have the senate rules that pertain out where everything, even if it is naming a post office and that we need a filibuster-proof majority, we could name things broadly into law, but they are blocked by the republicans.
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the president has said quite explicitly that his number one priority was not to create jobs, not to assist the american people, not to grow the economy, but to do everything he could to ensure that -- the speaker of the house has said quite explicitly that is number one party was not to create jobs, not to assist the american people, not to grow the economy, but to do everything he can to assure the president is not reelected. you have seen the data. they are out of sync with the democrats, independents, republicans, americans who want washington to act, want washington to take active measures to grow the economy and get people back to work, and want them to pay for it in a way that this president has put forward. >> are you saying that the president has decided there's no
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way to work with the republicans? >> absolutely not. >> and therefore, it is necessary for him to take his campaign into places where he will get support? >> i know this sticks in your craw, but the president believes very strongly that republicans will not take action because he asks them to. that has been established over these nearly three years. he also believes that republicans in congress will take action if their constituents demand they do it. that is why he is out in the country talking about the need to pass the jobs that, and why he is taking the actions he is taking without congress, because we cannot wait for congress to act, whether it is student loans mortgages, org wha
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reforming no fiat -- no child left behind, or lessening regulations for doctors and hospitals. you have heard him out there. we are being quite transparent. if he is calling on the american people to call on congress to do the things the american people say they want done. >> perhaps you will allow the pit -- the places he chooses to make this case to have some bearing on the reelection. >> he is going to places that are blue and purple and red making his case. he will continue making his case to state of all colors. >> do you know when the president last spoke to the speaker? >> barack to find it for you. -- i will have to find it for you. we publicly discussed it. >> [unintelligible]
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sam, onot sure, again, -- the conversation i'm aware of is the one that we read from here. this is the one where the president called to thank the speaker for his work in getting the free trade agreement passed. and yes, i believe the speaker brought up the fact that they had put forward proposals, that they have labeled jobs proposals and we made the point that economists disagree with the job creation potential in the near term. mr. henry? >> following up on that phone call, the president is traveling around the country. you seem to believe there is bipartisan support. >> it is not a statement of opinion. it is a statement of fact if you
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believe the data. >> you have that data in hand? why doesn't the president called the speaker of the year after weeks and back up -- of back and forth and say, ok, let's get this done. >> because there is no complexity of getting it done. congress just need to act. congress will not even take up the provisions of the american people. >> why not say, stop taking of the bills about coins? >> -- about baseball coins? >> the american public believes the president and others need to pull up in a room together -- >> [unintelligible] >> i disagree. i think the speaker would say they passed the 3% withholding provision, which is something that was part of the jobs act and the president supports. republicans supported free trade agreement. patton reform, we will be
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passing it to the senate, and hopefully if they see the light in the house, an opportunity to vote on those. we remain hopeful and we hope that congress will act where it has acted. >> there was an interview with george stephanopoulos in which he said that the american people are not better off than they were a few years ago. does that suggest to you that things are turning around? >> 2.5% growth may be better than the previous quarter, but not good enough, absolutely not good enough. we all speak enough frequently with that -- with the economist to know that 2.5% growth, while is positive it is not enough to significantly affect employment. we need to take action to ensure
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the economy grows faster, and to ensure that more people are on the job and get back to work. the fact is, without the american jobs act, if congress does not pass any provision within the american jobs act, the economic prognosis for next year is growth that is too slow to bring down unemployment. maybe some in congress think that is okay. we know that the american people, left, right, and center do not think that is okay. that is why the president believes so strongly that we have to pass the jobs act, because outside economists say it would add up to 2% to our gdp. add that 2% to what might happen otherwise and you could get economic growth that could bring down the unemployment rate. is there any higher priority? >> [unintelligible]
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>> they have 51. >> for cloture. >> we did not get further because the republicans blocked it. >> there were not a majority of senators for the jobs bill. >> first, it did not get that far. had it gone that far, we are absolutely confident -- look, if the majority of the u.s. senate would support the american jobs act, they would do it because the majority of the american public supports it. >> in 2008, voters saw fit to make john bain of the speaker of the house. >> 2010, you mean. >> yes. they did not pass the jobs bill as one piece of legislation. they did not even vote on it. what gives the president the right to pass the american jobs
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out by executive action? >> executive action are not -- is not pieces of the american jobs that. the things he is doing administratively through executive powers are things he can do, the things i do not require legislative action. -- that do not require legislative action. >> what took him so long? >> he has been exercising executive authority throughout his presidency to help the economy, help americans. the fact is that it is getting more prominence now because of the obvious this function of the congress, the obstruction in the face of what is clearly the number one priority of the american people. i have spoken even from this podium as i have had this job about the actions he has taken.
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prior to the actions on monday, the actions he took to provide forbearance for the unemployed to stay in their homes longer. these are actions he is taking without congress to help americans deal with their debt, deal with their mortgages cannot and to -- mortgages, and through a variety of other measures he has taken and will take. >> the new chief of staff came here, i guess, six or seven months ago. he walked with the president into the chamber of commerce in order to mend fences and demonstrate he was an jacqueline business -- unshackling business. six months later, the occupy wall street crowd walked out of. they were not there to support their efforts. there were there to lay siege to
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the place. wallhe goals of occupiy do thes late counter -- goals of occupy wall street late counter -- lay counter to what is going on with business? >> as i pointed out in my recitations of actions he has taken administratively prior to this most recent several announcements, we have, through regulatory relief, initiated action that will save more than $1 billion for hospitals and doctors, announced by hhs. i would also -- again, just starting with a purse park, i
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would also point out that -- with the first part, i would also point out that in the last couple of days what you might hear from some folks is that president obama has actually issued fewer regulations than president bush, 43 at this stage in his presidency. and the overall "burton" of regulations is -- "burden" of regulations is less than that of president bush. having said that, it is his obligation and goal to lift the middle class. and the demonstrations you are seeing are proof of the frustrations of the american middle class, frustrations that he understands. they are frustrated with economic growth that is too slow and unemployment that is too high. above all else, his priority is
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to address those problems. >> one of the most important issues facing organized labor this days is issue #2 on the ballot in ohio. it comes up november 8. a yes vote would affirm john k. kauich's an -- john k. savidg plan to -- a yes vote would affirm the governor of ohio's plan to dismantle collective bargaining rights. does the president agree with that? >> you heard about this same thing earlier this year with regard to wisconsin. >> does that mean no on issue
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no. 2? >> again, it is a fair analysis, but i do not want to get ahead of that. >> does the town of the statement that you put out about -- the tone of the statement that you put out about this resolution of this economic crisis reflect the tone of what the president will say to the g-20 meeting next week? retief. >> with regard to the rapid implementation -- >> yes. >> with regard to the implementation, have he and congress had any progress on his efforts or theirs? what kind of position will he be in to lecture the europeans or ask them to take specific actions that he thinks are right? >> there's no question, peter, that it is not that it has not
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been done. that is why you have seen the president talks so passionately about the need to take action on economic growth and jobs and the need to deal with the medium and long-term fiscal challenges. that is why he has put forward proposals for the short-term and medium-term and long-term. i would take issue with the idea that we were -- we have not succeeded at all with regard to some of these issues. the fact 3 -- the recovery act prevented a second great depression, and it did lead to the cessation of an economic contraction and led to growth, albeit too slow, and has led to private-sector jobs being created. again, not enough, but some progress. also, working with this congress, the president has -- mostly through the budget
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control act -- has taken actions to cut costs, cut spending, and deal with the budget deficit. the president put forward a plan that is far bolder of the minimal requirement that the super committee is operating under. message to the europeans, and probably to all of the members of the g-20 is that we need to work collectively together to ensure that we sustain and continued the global economic recovery and to put our people back to work. >> to what extent does he go there with any kind of position of strength given the gridlock here? >> again, while there is gridlock on jobs, we remain hopeful that will change and there is gridlock so far on the current super committee, but
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those deadlines have not yet come to pass. we believe there's the possibility that congress will act and take a balanced approach to long-term and medium-term debt reduction. he carries with him to france the fact that we are pushing on congress to deal with these matters. and he comes as the leader of the largest economy in the world and a great friend and ally of many nations. i think we have a significant role to play at the g get -- g- 20. >> does he feel like the plan has enough details? >> work needs to be done. these are important decisions that need to be made. >> do you have a good sense of what was agreed to in europe? are you hungry for more details? >> i think we are satisfied with the fact that we have good
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communication with our friends and allies and partners in europe, but i would suggest you ask the treasury department about more detailed communication that might be going on. >> i was in harry reid office yesterday and he said they have no indication from the republicans on the infrastructure bill. they receive no one did -- and no indication that they would be in favor of it. it could bet demos, passed on executive orders. are these votes symbolic? >> i will go back to some of what i said before. these are provisions broadly and specifically with regard to infrastructure that republicans have traditionally supported, broadly. republicans that voted against it will have to explain to their constituents why they used to be
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for it and now they are against it. and are they against it because they do not want millionaires and billionaires to pay a bit more to put people back to work? it is a tough argument to make. the president does not believe that simply by asking republicans to do this that they will do it. he understands that will not be the case. what he does hope and believe is that senators and members of the house will hear enough from their constituents and get enough pressure from their constituents that uniform resistance will break down. we remain helpful -- hopeful. we are about a week away from a vote on infrastructure, and maybe the outlook would change. -- will change. after all, we will get the 51. if republicans see the light and decide that it is actually worth
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asking millionaires and billionaires to pay a bit more to put a restructured -- construction workers back on the job and build highways and bridges, which is a good thing in and of itself, but also creates the foundation that we need for further economic growth in the 21st century, then maybe we will get to 60 and pass that measure. then we move on to the next one. and hopefully, republicans will agree to something. there is no more urgent priority. i confess, i was a bit surprised to hear from some republicans -- not in congress, but some republicans -- that they do not support the extension of a payroll tax cut. there are four protecting tax cuts for millionaires -- raising taxes on millionaires, but they are for sustainable growth?
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[unintelligible] >> we need to take action to further boost growth and job creation because what is happening out is not enough. i know enough about economics and of the 2.5% -- to know that to 2.5% is not enough to put enough people back to work. we need more than 2 per front -- 2.5% growth. >> today, the house came out with an international tax reform proposal and some say it would create jobs at home. others say it would encourage multinationals to ship jobs overseas. >> i am not familiar -- you say
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it is a bill put forward? >> yes. >> i will have to look at that. i do not have a reaction to it yet. >> syria, very quickly, has the president met with ambassador ford? >> i do not know of any plans. obviously, the president was out of town the last three days. >> quickly come on iran, secretary clinton said in a broadcast this week that there seems to be a move toward a military takeover in iran. is that a description that the president would comfortably used to describe the political situation in tehran? >> rather than adopt that language, i would simply say that the leadership in iran is hypocritical with regard to the
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arab spring, and has consistently taken actions that do not suggest that they will fulfill their international obligations. and we are very mindful of that. >> i want to clarify something. [unintelligible] do you all believe there is evidence that going out there and providing pressure from the outside in is showing some results? gregg's yes, i think so. -- >> yes, i think so. there have been polls that demonstrate that. i think another call shows how out of sync republicans are -- another poll shows how out of sync republicans are in washington. it showed a 9% approval rating
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for congress. i know republicans are fond of the no. 9, but this cannot be the kind of number they want. [laughter] at some point, we certainly hope that the pressure that is mounting out there will be filled by members of congress who seem to be content to deal with commemorative coins for hall of fame baseball players, which is something i support, but not a head of jobs or the economy. -- but not in front of creating jobs or the economy. but yes, we believe there is progress being made. >> what is the risk to those republicans if they are ignoring what you believe it is very evident? >> they have to answer to their constituents. they are here because they were elected to serve the people in their districts and states.
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again, you only have to look at what those people are saying all around the country to know that there is great dissatisfaction with the functionality of congress, with the failure of congress to address the concerns that the american people have. and that kind of pressure from the grass roots up is the kind that usually gets congress to act. hopefully, it will be so this time. jobs.'s talk about the typical american is concerned about their own job security. right now, it is perfectly legal to fire someone for being gay in 29 states. thus the administration see this problem as part of the larger jobs issue? >> you mentioned what the president has endorsed.
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he has said that the lgbt -- lgbt community should absolutely not be discriminated against, with regard to jobs or anything else. but there is a broader problem that affects all americans, that is, 9.1% and employment and 2.5% gdp growth, which is good -- unemployment and 2.5% gdp growth, which is good, but not good enough. >> why wasn't this issue addressed in the american jobs active? >> vehement -- the president is out there making the case about jobs broadly every day, much to the annoyance of some folks in congress. but he will keep doing it. he will keep doing it unless and until every american who is looking for a job gets one. if that does not happen, then
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you will hear him continue to talk about it. >> can you describe how the president gets his information movement?occupiey are there people designated to stay on top of it, to talk to people associated with it? >> that last part, not that i'm aware of. the president gets his information about it through you. there is substantial coverage about it. the president, sorry to the folks in the front row, does not watch a lot of television news, but he does read a lot of news. [laughter] he is old school that way. he is very current on those developments.
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but there is no organized or mechanized way that those issues are brought to him, because they are right there in front of him when he reads the newspaper or watches it on his ipad or catches it in the oval office. >> how are you keeping up with the silber committee? -- the super committee? >> the president has considerations that he has put forward for the super committee to consider. this is a congressional committee mandated by an act of congress, with a target set by congress, a target that the president would far exceed, but he encourages them to look at his proposals because he believes they will represent the
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kind of approach that will deal with the problems in the medium and long term, and also the kind of approach that is broadly supported by the american people. but it is balanced and fair. >> [unintelligible] >> communications with congress in general, but mrs. izhak committee that has no executive -- and this is a committee that has no executive branch sitting. but they're obviously engaged in trying to reach an agreement that will at least meet the targets set by the legislation. and we hope they will exceed in a balanced way. thank you all very much. it had a great rest of the day. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2011]
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>> starting at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span, secretary of state hillary clinton testifies on future u.s. strategy on afghanistan and pakistan. on c-span2, kenneth feinberg talks about the implementation of the pp compensation fund. -- the bp compensation fund. and on c-span3, home and security secretary janet nepalitano talks about immigration policy and security -- , and security. >> every weekend on a "american history tv," the people and events that document the country. .here'll be a panel discussion
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look for the complete we can schedule at or for the schedule in your in box, click the c-span alert button. this week on c-span2, general mcvet -- general westmoreland lead euna states army forces during be a bomb. adis killing of the unraveling of the auto industry
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>> earlier today, the house approved two bills dealing with the federal tax code. one repeals a 3% government federal withholding on contractor payments from the government. it passed. there is a measure that effectively pays for that but also passed. here is a look at that debate now. it runs 45 minutes. y consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. camp: i'm pleased to come to the floor today and share my time with one of our committee's newest members, representative diane black. in taking the lead she's taken steps to save the taxpayers $13 billion. i'm happy to support her and this legislation. h.r. 2576 modifies the income definition for determining eligibility for exchange subs days, medicaid, and the
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children's health insurance program. the legislation conforms the definition of income in the democrats' health care law to the standards used by other federal low-income programs such as food stamps and public housing. by aligning this definition with other federal subsidy programs, the legislation ensures that taxpayer funds will not be used to encontrol middle class individuals into medicaid, which is an adduce of the program's mission, to provide targeted assistance to those who are in most need of help. one of the most encouraging outcomes of representative black's legislation is it has garnered bipartisan support, including the support of president obama. in its statement of administration policy, the obama administration affirms its support for passage and goes so far to say that, i quote, the administration looks forward to working with the house to ensuring the bill achieves the intended result, end quote. today i urge my colleagues to vote yes on h.r. 2576. i encourage our colleagues in
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the senate to quickly follow suit. i ask unanimous consent that mrs. black be designated to control the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: i now yield as much time as he shall consume to a very distinguished member of our committee, mr. crowley, from the state of new york. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. crowley: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank my friend from michigan and the ranking member of the committee on ways and means for yielding me this time. mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to this bill. as we look at this redefinition of terms under the affordable care act, let me take a minute or two or three and go to the facts on the health care law as it exists today. some people on the other side of the aisle and in the media continue to refer to this provision that we are talking about today as a glitch. as we learned from the
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nonpartisan joint committee on tax from the markup of this bill on the ways and means committee, this provision was not a glitch. again the other side will make the report that this was a glitch in the law. it was not a glitch. it was written into the law deliberately. and anyone who actually read the bill would have known that. this language was deliberately put into the health care law to expand affordable health insurance. and will particularly help early retirees between the ages of 62 and 64, as well as americans on disability. but again for those of us who support this law and support the passage of this law, we have not -- we have heard a lot of distortion, a lot of falsehoods, and outright lies about what is in this bill. that is why i encourage all my
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colleagues, democrats and republicans, especially those of you who are new to congress who were not here when the bill was passed, to read the bill. i think if you did so you'd like a lot about what is in the bill. there are no death panels in this bill. no government takeover of health care in this bill. and bureaucrats will not be in the operating room with your surgeon. these are all falsehoods spread about the law. and again people who read the law know that these claims simply are not true. but here is what is in the law. i think we need to be reminded. no longer will insurance companies be able to decide whether or not you or your family deserve care based on cost or profit making. no, these decisions will be made by doctors and patients.
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that's no glitch. children can no longer be denied coverage on their parents' private health insurance because of a pre-existing condition like asthma, which is very prevalent in my district in the bronx. this was no glitch. children can stay on their parents' private health insurance until the age of 26 which has led to over one million more young adults being covered this year. it's no glitch. no mandates on any employer with under 50 employees, none. zero. no mandating, to any employers with under 50 employees. also deliberate by the writers of this bill. prescription drugs for seniors are being made more affordable and this year seniors get deep discounts on their brand name drugs if they call into the
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prescription drug coverage gap. a black hole that seniors fall into if they need more than a few thousand dollars worth of medications annually, which millions of our seniors do. it was no glitch. no glitch. and finally, something else in this bill. people will know if they read it. young families with private health insurance can no longer be denied coverage or care under the disgusting term known as lifetime limits. if a young mother gives birth to a severely ill child, no lifetime limits. if the practice of telling young parents that not only is their newborn severely ill, but that their private insurance company won't pay for anymore hospitalization care because it's too costly, that's over. that's no glitch. those parents will be able to get their sick child the care that he or she needs without
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selling their home, without declaring bankruptcy, and without having to fight their health insurance company tooth and nail to provide for their child. rather, they could focus on their child's well-being. it's no glitch. it's in the law. democrats put it there deliberately. what i can't understand is why my republican colleagues will continue to work to rip away health care from private insurance to medicare and medicaid. but they refuse to even acknowledge that they themselves benefit from taxpayer funded health care in this congress. i have a bill that would require every member of congress to publicly disclose if they are receiving the taxpayer subsidized health care benefits that's provided to all federal government employees, including members of congress.
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my bill has not been brought up for a debate or vote yet. even though it's a simple bill to make more information available to the american people about the benefits that we in congress enjoy. finally, i want to address another serious issue about this bill and how it could affect tens of millions of middle class americans. during the committee debate on this bill, it was certified by the nonpartisan joint committee on tax and social security benefits. generally are not -- the benefits are generally not added back in determining one's modified adjusted gross income for other benefits that they receive such as i.r.a. contributions, student loan interests, and adoption tax benefits. but we are changing that definition today for consideration of who can obtain tax credits to purchase private
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health insurance. i argued and no one corrected me during that debate that this bill could be the republican's first step on a slippery slope to limit middle class americans' ability to claim certain deductions for retirement security, college tuition expenses, and even adoptive assistance. yes, the first step on the republican plan to raise taxes on working class families. and this morning my fears are being proven correct. right now the oversight committee is discussing a report they wrote, questions to tax cuts provided to working families to afford health insurance in the affordable care act. they don't argue that the tax cuts are too limited or too weak. they actually argue that the tax cuts are too generous to working families. and that for too many americans, too many americans will benefit from tax cuts that will make obtaining private health insurance cheaper. the oversight committee report
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states that the health care law will, quote, take millions of people off the tax rolls, unquote. and let me continue for the report that said, americans receiving these tax cuts in the health care law will have their taxes reduced and i quote, will no longer pay the cost of government by contributing federal income taxes. end quote. what that means is because the tax cuts in the law will lower taxes for people so they could afford health insurance. amazing how tax cuts for millionaires are sacrosanct. but tax cuts for working people so they can get affordable health care coverage, so the kids can see a doctor, are somehow evil. the hypocrisy with respect to health care and medicare for our constituents, and then the lies about the affordable health care and let's not pass this bill.
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i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady from tennessee. mrs. black: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield the customary one minute to the gentleman from virginia, the majority leader cantor. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. cantor: i thank the speaker and i thank the gentlelady. mr. speaker, it is clear that many businesses across this country are feeling the ill effect of the regulatory and tax burdens placed upon them by continued policies coming out of washington and this administration. small businesses in particular, the backbone of our economy, face a cloud of uncertainty. this uncertainty prevents entrepreneurs from taking a risk, from starting a business, and from creating jobs. but, mr. speaker, house republicans want to work with our colleagues across the aisle, and we want to help empower these small business men and
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women to once again begin the engine that drives our economy. this is the focus of the house republican plan for america's job creators, mr. speaker. this is about jobs. there are some who repeatedly claim that they want to vote on a jobs bill. well, we passed one yesterday on a bipartisan basis. and today we'll have another chance. and we will pass another. currently the house has passed 16 bills focused on job creation that are sitting idly in the u.s. senate. mr. speaker, the president has traveled the country telling americans, quote, we can't wait to pass some job bills. well, we aren't waiting. we continue to pass job bills. perhaps it's time for the president to deliver the we can't wait message to the other
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body in the capitol. today the house will take another step in solving our jobs crisis by repealing the 3% withholding rule. under this rule, federal, state, and many local governments will be required to withhold 3% of all government payments made to contractors and suppliers. the impact of this rule will be huge accounting burdens on governments and potentially harmful cash flow disruptions for suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors. those are dollars, mr. speaker, that could otherwise be used to grow a business or hire more workers. the cost of this law would then be felt by state and local governments, universities, like virginia commonwealth university, that told me it is an unreasonable burden on an institution of higher education. it is an unreasonable burden on heavy equipment dealers and other businesses across the country. compliance costs would move
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capital that could otherwise be used to hire additional workers to the government. many of my fellow virginians in the county which i live will be severely impacted. for example, if this law had been in effect in 2000 and 2010 in the counties i live an estimated $15 million would not have reached small businesses that are already operating within small margins of profit. . mr. speaker, this is not the time to be adding additional costs to job creators. my county manager stated that the effect of this law may also be harmful to the economy with a significant amount of money being directed to the federal government instead of to businesses that will potentially use those funds to create jobs and grow their business. by passing another bill, another jobs bill, house republicans are helping companies cope with this era of
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uncertainty. this is another bipartisan and commonsense solution to support the small business men and women of our economy so that they can support and begin to regenerate our ailing economy. in this past week, mr. speaker, we passed a long-awaited free trade agreements, the veterans opportunity to work act, and next week we'll help entrepreneurs access capital with the access to capital job creators act. the president says we can't wait. we agree. it's time to get america working again, and we call upon the senate not only to act on this jobs bill but the other 16 that currently sit idly in the senate, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: yes, i yield to the gentleman.
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mr. crowley: i just want to recognize for the record that the majority leader did not challenge my point, if this bill passes that it will in fact increase taxes on the middle class. i yield back to the gentleman from michigan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from tennessee. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. >> and i'm here to speak on my bill, h.r. 2576, which will save $13 billion by ensuring that medicaid dollars will go to those most in need. mrs. black: it created a new income formula that determines eligibility for government subsidized health insurance. the modified adjusted gross income, or commonly node as modified adjusted gross income, deviated from other federal assistance programs failing to include social security benefits as income. let me repeat that. the new income formula for
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medicaid, championship and enchanged subsidies -- chip and eng changed subsidies deviated from other federal assistance programs. supplemental security income, supplemental nutrition assistance programs, also known as food stamps, temporary assistance for needy families, and public housing all include, all include the social security benefit as income. congress didn't know that then, but we know now that the affordable care act had the unintended consequence of allowing a couple with close to $60,000 in income to qualify to receive medicaid benefits. let me put it in more stark terms. changing the income formula could result in individuals whose incomes are up to 400% of the federal poverty level receiving medicaid. this is unacceptable, and i very strongly believe that it is our duty to ensure that the
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very scarce medicaid resources are there for the most in need. it is incorrect to assert that this legislation unfairly targets widows, survivors or the disabled. this is the equivalent of asserting that the public housing or the snap unfairly target widows, survivors or disabled simply because when accounting for resources these programs consider the source of income. the health care laws daveiation from the typical -- daveation from the typical method -- deviation from the typical method of those who don't meet the standard of low income. a couple who both earns social security benefits and have a total income of $22,000 a year would have a higher income than a couple earning $58,000 a year for the purpose of determining
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eligibility for federal subsidies in the exchange. i am not the only one who thinks so. at the july 14 budget committee hearing, i asked richard foster, the c.m.s. chief actuary, about the income eligibility issue and he said, and i quote, i don't generally comment on the pros and cons of policy but that just doesn't make sense. end quote. foster had previously compared the magi glitch to allowing middle class income americans to qualify for food stamps. additionally, richard sorian, who is the h.h.s. assistant secretary for public ahairs, conceded that, i quote, as a matter of law, some middle income americans may be receiving coverage through medicaid which is meant to serve only the neediest americans, closed quote. so primarily my bill is about
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fairness. we must accurately account for poverty in federal assistance programs. my commonsense, bipartisan solution has a companion bill in the senate sponsored by health committee ranking member mike enzi, and h.r. 2576 passed out of ways and means with bipartisan support. as has already been supported, president obama recognized the problem on page 41 which he explicitly opposes the entire amount of medicare benefits being included in the definition of income. mr. speaker, we must bring medicaid back into line with other federal assistance programs and limit improper payments to those who should not receive medicare benefits. thank you and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time is reserved. the gentleman from michigan.
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mr. levin: i yield to the gentleman from new york. mr. crowley: thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. crowley: i thank you, mr. speaker. will the gentlelady yield? will she answer questions? mrs. black: under your time. mr. crowley: you suggested this change in magi as it pertains to tax credits that are eligible to the middle class under the affordable care act, is that correct? mrs. black: that is correct. mr. crowley: are you going to make the same suggestion that we change the adjusted gross income for eligibility for the purposes of i.r.a. contributions? mrs. black: sir, we're talking about social benefits. mr. crowley: we're talking about tax credits for health care, you don't want to make certain individuals eligible for those tax credits, is that correct? your attempt here is to not
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make certain people who under the affordable care act today would be eligible for certain tax credits uneligible, is that correct? mrs. black: as the bill proposes, this would put into alignment with other federal assistance programs. that is the intent of the bill. mr. crowley: you can answer your way but it's a simple question. would your bill, if passed today, deny people who under the affordable care act today that can receive tax credits, would they be denied those tax credits if your bill would to have passed? mrs. black: i have answered your question. mr. crowley: would you then suggest that we now do that for other areas of the code, not pertaining to the lower class or the poor in this country? i'm not suggesting we do that. i'm talking specifically of the middle class, should we extend that logic or maybe enhance your bill to include i.r.a.
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contributions, student a lot interest and adoption tax credits which are focused on the middle class. -- the middle class? we are not talking about the poor. we are talking about individuals who are struggling to survive right now in this economy, struggling to put food on the table, pay for their student loans or their children's student loans, put away money for retirement and maybe have the opportunity for the first time in their lives to afford health insurance. and under your bill, you would take those credits away. are you suggesting that we take them away? it's a slippery slope. you start here. let's look at the tax code. we'll change major portions then. what about the i.r.a. contributions that that person would be making? what about the student a lot interest, the adoption tax credits, should we also limit their ability to take advantage of those provisions in the law?
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the silence is deafening. i take back -- i will -- we take my time, mr. speaker. the silence is deafening because the reality is, mr. speaker, this is a slippery slope. you take away opportunities for the middle class to afford health insurance under the affordable care act by windling away at it. it's -- windling away at it. it's the middle class who are hurt here. we are not talking about the poor. we are not talking about the least amongst us. we are talking about the middle class which under the affordable care act would be able to afford insurance for the first time, and this legislation, this legislation, i can't even say as well-intentioned as it may be, it is not well-intentioned. this is not about this bill that is well-intentioned. it is simply to take away a provision that this congress and our president made
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available for the first time in people's lives, they want to take it away from the middle class. let's put everything else aside. that's what we're doing today. and i'm suggesting that maybe this is the first step, that maybe the next step will be limiting the ability of individuals to put away money for retirement in their i.r.a. limiting the availability of students -- the parents to pay for a college education and lastly and probably most egregious the adoption tax credits, taking them away. i mean, that's where this is going. i thank my colleague from michigan, once again, for yielding me the time and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the time is reserved. the gentlelady from tennessee. mrs. black: thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. black: it is difficult to recognize the argument on this when we have bipartisan
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support. once again, i want to read the statement of administrative policy that came out on october 25 from the executive office of the president and it reads -- the administration supports passage of h.r. 2576 which would change the calculation of modified adjusted gross income as defined in section 1401 of the affordable care act to include both taxable and nontaxable social security. beginning in 2014, this income definition will be used to determine financial eligibility for medicaid and state children's health insurance program and for premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions available through the affordable insurance exchange. the administration looks forward to working with the house to ensure the bill achieves the intended results. i think that speaks for itself. i yield back the balance of -- i reserve my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time is reserved.
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the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: does the majority have additional speakers? so i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan has reserved. the gentlelady from tennessee. mrs. black: thank you, mr. speaker. and i yield as much time as he may consume to the gentleman from texas, mr. herger -- excuse me -- the gentleman from california, mr. herger. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. herger: i applaud my good friend from tennessee for her leadership. this should not be a difficult question. even the president supports this. i believe the medicaid expansion and premium subsidies in last year's health care overhaul are wasteful and should be repealed, but even for those who support these policies, there's no reason to ignore an entire category of income. under current law, a person with $30,000 in social security
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benefits and $20,000 in other income would get a much larger health insurance subsidy than a person who earns $50,000 in wages. that makes no sense, and it's a disincentive to work. let's treat everyone fairly and vote for this bill. i yield back the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. mr. levin: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan, his time is reserved. the gentlelady from tennessee. mrs. black: thank you, mr. speaker, and i yield as much time that he may consume to the gentleman from texas, mr. brady, a member of the ways and means committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas is recognized. mr. brady: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank congresswoman black for her leadership on this very commonsense issue, so common sense the time where it seems like democrats and republicans and the president in washington rarely agree on
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anything, we agree on this, on closing this loophole in the president's health care plan that really should never have been there in the first place. we got good news last week when the president rescinded another big flaw in the president's health care plan when he gave up on the class act. it was a plan for nursing home care and later care for elderly that was financed in a way that even senate democrats labeled it a ponzi scheme. thankfully that's been repealed. today we're here to repeal another loophole and really nonsincecal part of the president's health care plan that would allow couples who make more than the national average in income, $64,000 a year, today under the law they can qualify for medicaid. that's a program for the very poor in america. that's a program we don't have enough money for as it is, and at a time when 25 million people are out of work, can't find a full-time job, those
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hard-earned tax dollars should go to those who can't afford anything rather than those who make more than $5,000 a month to make ends meet. it seems to me that a couple making four times the poverty level shouldn't drawdown the dollars you and i pay to help those needy in america, which is growing every day. i say to the gentleman from new york, who is passionate about this issue, and i appreciate his passion, but this isn't about young kids paying off college student loans, this isn't about a couple struggling to make ends meet. this is about making sure couples making as much as $64,000 a year don't use the money that we reserve for our poorest in america. . i appreciate mr. crowley's effort on this. this is not about taxes millionaires and billionaires. let me yield, i'm sorry, let me
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yield for a moment. mr. crowley: i appreciate and in friendship. the gentleman's a fair member on the other side of the aisle. we work well together on other issues. you make a point about $64,000 a year as being -- i won't say wealthy, but you are suggesting that maybe on $64,000 a year that people living a little bit on the high life -- will the gentleman continue to yield? >> maybe we could continue this conversation off the floor. mr. crowley: in my district in queens new york, in the bronx, $64,000 don't get you far. it just doesn't. >> well, those who are making $20,000 a year, it goes even less far. it seems to me -- mr. brady: we have had great discussions about this. but again, medicaid, for those -- should for those who are very
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poor. this loophole's being closed. thankfully the president agrees with us. the senate democrats and republicans join with us to close this loophole. that has to tell you that this is a loophole that republicans and democrats, the white house, all agree needs to be closed. and again i thank congresswoman black for her leadership on this commonsense issue. i urge support. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: is the majority ready to close? mrs. black: we are ready to close. mr. levin: i yield to the gentleman from new york and then i'll close and then you'll close. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. crowley: i thank the gentleman from michigan once again. it's been said on the floor once again, this bill has bipartisan support. i don't doubt that it probably will at the end of the day. but somehow that's the magic formula for doing the right thing. i would suggest there are many things that were done on this floor that enjoy bipartisan
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support. the iraq war unfortunately had bipartisan support. i was one of those who supported it. i think maybe today would suggest maybe that wasn't the right thing to do. just as an example. the point i was making with the gentleman, my friend from texas, on the floor, about this magic number of $63,000 or $64,000 as being a wonderful income. not if you live in queens or the bronx. you are barely making it. i'm not talking about people who are destitute. i'm not talking about people who are suffering. we know they exist. many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would like to do away with the medicaid system. many of my colleagues would like to do away with the medicare system. i'm not suggesting you are talking about this in the bill. what i am suggesting, though, is that you think that people making $63,000 or $64,000 are living high on the hog. they're not. not in my district they're not. and they can barely afford their
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homes. they can barely afford to send their children to school. they can barely afford to put food on the table and many of them cannot even afford ownership of a health insurance policy to take care of their children. let alone themselves. and that's what i'm talking about. giving people that opportunity. i don't care if the president is going to sign this bill. it doesn't make it right. it doesn't make it right. we should not be degrading. we should not be degrading hardworking americans, middle class americans, who are trying to do the best for their families. this bill never should have gotten out of committee and it shouldn't be on the floor in the matter that it is. with that i yield back the balance of my time to the gentleman from michigan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: so we are ready to close? i yield myself the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. levin: how much time is that? the speaker pro tempore: the
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gentleman has 14 1/2 minutes. mr. levin: i won't use that. first of all i'm glad the majority leader came to the floor to talk about jobs. this set of bills is not a jobs bill. to call it that is a pure smokescreen. i quoted mark zandi before. i don't think it's meaningful in terms of jobs. it's more trying to clean up something that needs cleaning up. that's the 3%. he's called upon the senate to act. to act on bills that would essentially allow mercury to continue to be accessible. and other bills that are called a jobs bill, deregulation where it's necessary to regulate is a jobs bill?
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and he called again on the senate to act. we haven't had a single hearing here in the house on the president's jobs bill. not a single hearing. he has proposed to cut the payroll tax cut in half for 98% of the businesses. a complete payroll tax holiday for workers. extending 100% expensing. not a single hearing on that. preventing up to 280,000 teacher layoffs. not a single hearing on that. don't call on the senate. the majority leader should call on the house himself and the committees to hold hearings on these bills. the infrastructure bill, a bipartisan national infrastructure bank, nothing a
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single hearing. then unemployment insurance he ended this year. the next month a million people will lose their unemployment benefits if we don't act and extend the federal program. and a million and a half by mid february. so i call upon the house to act. $4,000 tax credit to employers for hiring long-term unemployed. not a single hearing. no action. i suggest to the majority they not look to the other body but look to themselves. i'm glad he came here. now, i want to say just a word about the bill right before us. mr. crowley has suggested that we look at the facts and i think we should.
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before we vote i think all of us want to know what we are voting on. and essentially this revision of the adjusted gross income provision in terms of potential impact on health care according to the joint tax committee and the c.b.o., will likely have this effect. i want everybody to understand it. between 500,000 and a million individuals will no longer be eligible for medicaid. that's their estimate. there are those who no longer eligible for medicaid. about 500,000 will be eligible for tax credits unless th republicans ever succeeded in
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atg em but of that additional number between 500,000 and a million, about 500,000 people as a result if this bill becomes law will likely lose their health coverage all together unless they had available to them insurance through their employer. that's the estimate of the joint tax committee. we are talking about vulnerable populations here. we are talking about early retirees. and we are talking about the disabled. and we need to understand those facts as presented by the joint tax committee and by c.b.o. the second problem here is that essentially we are using a
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provision relating to health to address a problem and it is a problem for the government and the business community in the 3% provision which we should repeal. but we should understand the implications. the ways and means committee has traditionally said, don't do it that way. and let's also remember that we are going to have before us a provision relating to physician reimbursement and we are going to have to find the funds to pay for it. and essentially what would be done now is to use up a provision that impacts health and lose the possibility of using it in terms of physician reimbursement. and the last point i want to make is, we tried to present an alternative, an alternative within business taxation, it
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relates to the taxation on oil and the gas industry. mr. blumenauer earlier talked about things that were kind of done in the dark of night. and this provision, the %, if it wasn't the dark of night, it wasn't fully in the daylight. but the oil and gas provision in section 199 was added, indeed, in the dark of night. and it provided some relief to the oil and gas industry in a bill that related to manufacturing. when oil and gas did not fall within that purview. and it was essentially put in in the dark of night, and it would be much preferable to address that issue and pay for the bill
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that needs to pass rather than essentially starting on a path that mr. crowley has described, and according to c.b.o. and the joint tax committee, is likely to lead to a half a million people having no health coverage at all. everybody should understand that price. and everybody can make up their own mind. but they should understand what's involved here. this is not a technical change. it isn't a glitch. it is a tax definition, by the way, as mr. crowley has pointed out, also applies to other areas where i think we need to be very careful in terms of its application. so those are the facts. and everybody can make up their own mind. but let's not pretend this is a
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jobs bill when the majority here essentially had a deaf ear to bringing up the jobs bill presented by the president. and let us not pretend that this will have no impact on health insurance and health coverage for lots of people who are the early retirees and the disabled. the early retirees and the disabled. these by and large are not wealthy people. and there are examples given that are true in the extreme. but for the mainstream in this country, the early retirees and the disabled, they are not on the fringes in terms of income, in terms of wealth. these are the facts and i hope
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everybody as they come to vote on this bill, this second bill, will look at the facts and make up their own mind. . i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from tennessee. mrs. black: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. black: can i ask how much time i have left? thank you, mr. speaker. i also ask -- request unanimous consent to include the statement of administrative policy in the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mrs. black: thank you, mr. speaker. this bipartisan solution would bring medicaid back into line with other federal assistance programs and ensure that the program is there for those in most need. furthermore, according to the c.b.o. and the joint tax committee estimates, this bill would save taxpayers approximately $13 billion over 10 years and considering our $14 trillion in national debt,
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closing this loophole as soon as possible is a good policy on a number of levels. i am delighted that both the president and other members across the aisle support this is half an hour of. mr. speaker -- mr. camp: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. camp: i rise in strong support of h.r. 674. while this legislation has 269
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co-sponsors, i'd like to acknowledge the leaders on the bill -- ways and means health committee chairman, wally herger, and our democrat ways and means colleague, congressman earl blumenauer. in addition to the advocates, we have 25 members of the ways and means committee supporting this legislation, a clear signal of the strong bipartisan support for repeal of this 3% withholding rule. . this provision like many efforts to increase federal revenue and tax compliance is lined with paperwork, complexity, and cost, all of the things that hinder rather than help promote a climate for job creation. by considering and passing this bipartisan bill, we will unlock new opportunities for hiring. job creators have told us just that and that's why this legislation has the support of a diverse coalition of more than 170 groups, including the government withholding relief coalition. like those job creators, others recognize the need for repeal.
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including president obama. in the statement of administration policy in support of h.r. 674, the administration noted that, and i quote, the effect of the repeal of t withholding requirement would be to avoid a decrease in cash flow to these contractors which would allow them to retain these funds and use them to create jobs and pay suppliers, end quote. mr. speaker, i couldn't agree more. supporting the repeal of the 3% withholding law is a demonstration that washington can work together with a strong bipartisan vote we can reduce the uncertainty facing america's job creators and we can free up valuable resource businesses -- resources businesses can use for hiring. i ask my colleagues to vote yes on h.r. 674 and urge the senate to swiftly take up and pass this legislation. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to have the gentleman from california, mr. herger, control the remainder of our time. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman from michigan.
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mr. lev: i yield such time as i shall consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. levin: i rise in support of this bill. it should have happened earlier. i think most of us if not all of us agree that this provision should be repealed. it is not nearly targeted and it would indeed impose significant and costly burns on federal, state, andocal governments. i think we should all remind ourselves it was passed some years ago and it was, i think, misguided when it was enacted in 2006 whe we in the minority here did not control the congress. indeed, the ways and means committee when we were in the majority approved a repeal of
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the provision in 2009 and the congress ultimately delayed its effective date. i do want to comment on the title of this bill that refers to job creation, and it should be noted that this is really not going to address the need for creation of jobs in ourountry. we have been hereow nine months. there is still neffort by the majority he in the house to bring up any meaningful job legislation. and when the president brings up proposals to create jobs, they are thwarted by the majority here and by the republicans in the senate. so let's support this bill but not pretend that it will create jobs. and in this respect i refer to a
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recent statement by mark zandi, the chief economist for moody's analytics, who said this about this bill. i don't think it's meaningful in terms of jobs. it's more trying to clean up something that needs cleaning up, end of quote. and indeed this needs to be cleaned up and therefore we need to pass it. let me also comment and we'll talk about this later on the second bill, the pay for. i went before the rules committee to ask that there be consideration of a different pay for. what we'll be considering later, and i just want everybody to understand the facts and each can judge on his own or her own how they'll vote, that the impact of the pay-for that came through the ways and means committee majority could cause
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up to 500,000 individuals to lose health care coverage. i offered an amendment in the rules committee that would have offset the cost of a business tax provision by closing a loopho on the business side that's properly enjoyed by oil and gas industry -- improperly enjoyed by oil and gas industry giants and unfortunately my amendment was ruled out of orde we'll talk about that lat. we are now on this bill. i urge its support. let's not pretend it's a job creation bill. let's get busy here on bills that will, indeed, help to promote jobs in the private sectorf the united states of america. as our president has proposed and he has pleaded that there be consideration by the house and the senate only to be responded to with deaf ears.
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i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time is reserved. the gentleman from california. mr. herger: thank you, mr. speaker. i i yield myself such time as i may consume. i rise in strong support of h.r. 674, the 3% withholding repeal and job creation act. the american people have repeatedly called on congress to work together in a bipartisan way to encourage job creation. that's exactly what we are doing here today. h.r. 674 repeals a tax that requires government agencies at all levels, federal, state, and local to withhold 3% of all payment for goods and services beginning at the end of next year. this will affect everyone from manufacturers, to road builders, to physicians who treat seniors on medicare. many of these businesses operate
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on margins of less than 3%, meaning that this provision will harm their cash flow and effectively force them to give the federal government a no interest loan. even though it doesn't go into effect for another year, the 3% withholding tax is holding back job cation right now. coming from a small business background, i can attest that businesses look several years ahead when they are deciding how to invest. this week the associated general contractors of america released a survey finding that nearly half of all construction firms would be forced to hire fewer workers if the 3% withholding tax takes effect. as one a.g.c. member put it, quote, the way the economy is now we are very lucky to make 3% profit. this could put us out of
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business along with other 300-plus employees, close quote. now is the time to eliminate the barriers that are standing in the way of jobs for american workers. h.r. 674 has the support of businesses, state and local governments, and 269 bipartisan co-sponsors in the house of representatives, as well as the obama administration. mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record a letter from the government withholding relief coalition signed by more than 150 businesses, health care, education, and local government groups supporting passage of this legislation. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. herger: with th, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time is reserved. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: i yield now as much time as he shall consume to mr. blumenauer who is a lead sponsor of this bill.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from oregon is recognized. mr. blumenauer: thank you. i appreciate your courtesy, mr. levin, as i appreciate e opportunity to work with my friend, mr. herger, no moving this bill forward. -- on moving this bill forward. it was only a couple months ago we were having a press conference in the triangle with a bipartisan group of members of congress, representativesrom some of the coalition members that my friend, mr. herger, referenced, to be able to focus on the need to repeal this legislation. mr. speaker, i think it is important to mark this critical step today. it will pass on the floor of the house in a strong bipartisan vote. reaffirming the bipartisan cooperation that got us to this point. i think that this is an example of what potentially we could do because a number of the members
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of the coalition that mr. herger referenced and that he's entering into the record are likese people who have a vision about how congress and the federal government could help rebuild and new america. the contractors, the engineers, the architects that we have heard from would also like us to step up in a bipartisan manner to deal with that. the references to people who are dealing with health care. we are facing -- we still face sort of a health care crisis in this country. we may be able to deal with much of it with health care reform bill, but many of the provisions that are embedded in law now have their core as bipartisan ideas, and i hope the same bipartisan spirit could help us accelerate bipartisan reforms so that the american public benefits in the health arena as well. you're going to hear a little spirited exchange in the floor of theouse about how we pay for this legislation.
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because ihas a c.b.o. score that's attached to it that suggests that this will raise revenue. well, i have two observations that i think are important to note dealing with pay for. first and foremost, the sad fact is that this bill actually would cost more to implement than it would ever raise for the federal government. but we have a quirk in our scoring ruleswhere they cedit revenue, they don't deal with the cost of compliance. and this complicated piece of legislation were it ever enacted would require the department of defense, the general services administration, up and down the federal government, there would be mechanisms to try and impose on it. it wouldn't just cost contractors, hospitals, state
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and local government. it would actually cost the federal government far more than we would collect. i think one estimate was for the department of defense, it would be $17 billion, which would dwarf what would be collected. and we need, mr. speaker, as we move forward, to do a better job of thinking about this -- the scoring rules. it's not c.b.o.'s fault, but that's how we play the game. and i find it troubling. it also, i think, speaks to -- volumes about how we operate in the legislative proces this was passed in 2005, kind of dropped in in sort of a backroom negotiations. it was never part of regular order. there was no hearing before our ways and means committee to talk about this, because the elements that have been documented in our committee and on the floor about the unworkibility of this would
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never have survived a regular legislative process. well, i'm pleased that the democratic side has at least tried to delay and to try and fix this. i'm pleased that we have worked with mr. herger in a bipartisan fashion to bring this legislation forward. and i think mr. camp and mr. levin are committed to regular order. we have been having, i think, some very productive discussions on major issues. i hope we can keep this commitment to regular order to be able to make sure we don't have something like this in the future that has massive unintended consequences. mr. speaker, this is an idea that never should have been advanced in this form. it's been a long road to try and correct it, but today we are making an important step towards that correction. but i would add a note of caution.
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the same spirit of cooperation and focus that has gotten us to this point with what will be an overwhelming vote, i hope it's unanimous, we need to keep going so that this isn't a casualty of the back and forth process between the house and the senate. the senate played a large role in giving us this in the first place. we need to make sure that it is not caught up in th larger dramas that occur around here where we can keep our eye on the ball and we can fix it. and i do want to say just one brief word about the pay-for. as i say it's illusory because it would cost far more than we'd ever collect, but we have deal with the scoring rules as they are. there are two proposals, one would tighten some eligibility for the health care reform, the other would take away some unnecessary tax benefits to
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large oil companies that long ago ceased to have any impact on oil exploration or reducing price. . while i actually think that the pay-for from our side of the aisle dealing with theil tax adjustment is superior, i think as a practical matter we are going to have to do both of these in the months ahead if we're going to deal with our budget problems, reducing expendites. so i am hopeful that we don't allow the debate over the pafor to obscure the need to move forward, and as a practical matter, we have big challenges ahead to get our deficit under control. and i think frankly that both of these are items that we should enact it into w, will
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be enacted into law. while there will be a spirited discussion and i respect people on both sides and i think they will be making good points, i hope it doesn't get in the way of the big picture. i appreciate the gentleman from michigan permitting me to speak on this, his leadership in this, salute my friend, mr. herger. i hope we can mark this step today for what it is but keep our eye focused on how we deal with these larger issues going forward so we're not back in this situation in the future. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. the gentleman from california. mr. herger: mr. speaker, i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. herger: and i want to thank my good friend from oregon, mr. blumenauer, for your support for the lead co-sponsor on the other side of the aisle. thank you very much. i'd like to take a moment to read a few of the comments that the ways and means committee received from businesses and
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organizations across the country demonstrating while repealing 3% withholding tax is critical to laying a stable foundation for job creation. buffalo ply, incorporated, of boulder, colorado, writes, we are a 20-year-old small business that sells high-volume medical equipment at a low margin with a very significant part of our sales going to the federal, state and local government. the 3% withholding tax will exceed our company tax viability which will destroy cash flow and ultimately hinder our ability to grow the business and add new employees. closed quote. ian frost, principal and founder of e.e.e. consulting in virginia says, quote, if enacted the rule would mean the withholding of approximately $130,000 of revenue, using our
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projected 2011 revenue. this 3% withholding would essentially be a loan to the government for the year until our taxes are filed. worse still, it might require our company to secure a loan to lp us cover operating expenses aa time when cash in the bank is limited. the withholding could limit our ability to make payroll each month and limit our use of profits to give bonuses to our employees, expand our business and hire new employees. $130,000 each year would deplete our cash reserves by about 30%. closed quote. the university of illinois notes, quote, this will add expenses at a time when our university, like many others around the country, is facing reduced state support. we would have no choice but to pass these expenses on to our
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students, many of whom are also struggling to make ends meet, closed quote. the american medical association states, quote, in repealing the 3% withholding provision altogether, h.r. 674 will help medicare beneficiaries maintain access to care while assisting government agencies, physicians and other health care providers avoid sstantial implementation costs that will outweigh the benefits. closed quote. and i'd like to add that at a time whenany of us are concerned about fixing the s.g.r. that threatens massive cuts to physicians participating in medicare and a loss of access to physician services for many seniors, the last thing we want to do is add yet another potential cut to physicians' payments.
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again, this is a few of the dozens or hundreds of letters and testimonials that the committee received from businesses across the country. we need to pass h.r. 674 and repeal this harmful tax today. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time is reserved. the gentleman om michigan. mr. levin: i now yield as much time as he shall consume, a most active member of our committee, mr. pascrell from new jersey. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized. mr. pascrell: i come to the floor today to support h.r. 674 which will repeal a burden on government contractors, particularly small businesses. i oppose the enactment of the 3% withholding when a republican congress and a republican administration enacted it. of course, i knew it would hurt the economic engines of our economy. the repeal of this requirement
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will free up small businesses' cash flow, increasing their ability to add jobs and to bid on new projects. this is only a very smallart of a jobs plan that could help to ruce unemployment. the majority, the infrastructure bank or funding for our first responders and teachers, they did not support. so i imagine that's not very important, those items. the majority has decided to promote their false 15 bills that attacks clean air, safe water and consumer safety. be prepared, america, to eat poison. not only do independent economists think that these bills do not create jobs, a
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recent report found that the so-called economically stifling regulatory atmosphere is not as bad as they say. the report says this -- the obama's white hse has approved fewer regulations than george w. push at this point -- bush at is point in their nures. and the cost of those rules haven't reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under president bush's father, president bush i. you would never think that by listening to the propaganda on the other side of the aisle. we've overregulated, supposedly, and we've spent -- cost businesses to spend so much on these regulations when again when we look at the facts, this is not true. eat your words. even former reagan treasury
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official, bruce bartlett, quoted "the wall street journal" saying the main reason u.s. companies are reluctant to step up hiring is scant demand. rather than the uncertainty over government policies. so you can grow as many horns as you want around the president and onto the president. once again, look at the facts and the statistics. more regulations at this point when fmer president bush was the president, bush ii. it is ironic that the majority's adjusting health reform to pay for this legislation. you condemn the health act and then you take the money from the health act to pay for this act. that is a ponzi scheme if i ever heard one. the majority already voted to
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repeal health reform. yet, to pay for this legislation, which is a separate piece of legislation, health reform must be in place for 10 years. how do they do that? they get rid of the health care act. well, they're trying to, anyway, and they use the dime for the first 10 years to pay for the first bill. how do y do that? i'm anxious to see how you do this. just as their 2012 budget was paid for by health reform sangs -- we've discussed this in the budget committee -- this bill is again paid for by the health reform which they want to annihilate. if the majority is against the health reform bill, perhaps they should stop making their agenda so dependent upon it. while i support h.r. 674, we cannot pat ourselves on the back and claim victory, that
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this is a victory for jobs. congress must do much more. thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california. mr. herger: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from minnesota, mr. paulson, a distinguished member of the ways and means committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from minnesota is recognized for two minutes. mr. paulsen: mr. speaker, i rise in favor of h.r. 674, a bill that would repeal this 3% withholding rule for private contractors including hospitals that accept medicare and medicaid payments and even those who provide lunches for schools. this is a bill where republicans and democrats are working together as esident obama singled out this provision as burdensome to our nation's job creators. he proposed delaying this rule. you know, the fact that this rule continues to be delayed, has not been implemented since first created in 2005, shows
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how truly a bad idea it is. can he should not delay it. we should repeal it immediately. i've spoken with many small businesses in my district that have been -- that will be negative impactly by this law because the profit margin for many of these coanies that have government contracts is right around 3%. one minnesota company, valley paving, says withholding 3% -- the new 3% withholding law would be catastrophic on their balance sheets mean covering costs, paying bills and just covering operating costs would be a challenge. and as they point out, during these hard economic times, withholding more money from small businesses like themselves that they most likely will not be able to update their equipment, not grow as fast and not hire more people. mr. speaker, this goes against everything that washington should be doing, giving our employers certainty to create more jobs. this law needs to be repealed. another contractor in my district, hard drives, incorporated, pointed out the federal government does not need to be playing banker with
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our earned income. this law may sound like a good idea on paper but this will be disastrous. implementing it for the department of defense alone is estimated to cost about $17 billion over five years. and here's the irony, mr. speaker. the program is going to -- is forecast to bring in a lite over $11 billion across the whole spectrumf government, so the program is going to cost more to implemt than it will take in. i strongly support this commonsense approach and bipartisan support to adopt this. i ask for support. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan. mr. levin: i don't know if the majority has any further speakers. mr. herger: i'm prepared to close. mr. levin: all right, i'll close. mr. herger: happy to reserve. mr. levin: i support this legislion. it should not have been passed
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in the first place. it was not vetted effectively by the then majority. it's time we support this bill. i yield back. thspeaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from california. mr. herger: i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. herger: and i request unanimous consent to enter into the record a letter from the president and executive office of the president. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. herger: in this letter from the president, the administration- just to que from it -- the administration supports passage of h.r. 674 which would repeal a 3% withholding on certain payments made to provide contractors by federal, state and local government entities. the effect of the repeal of the withholding requirement would
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to avoid a decrease in crash flow to these contractors which would allow them to retain these funds and use them to create jobs and pay suppliers. mr. speaker, jobs are the number one priority of the american people and jobs should be the number one priority of this congress. many initiatives that are built as, quote, creating jobs, are controversial. this is not. we're repealing a tax that hurts small businesses, and that will cost the government more to implement than it collects. thiss a win-win-win for businesses, workers, local public services and taxpayers. i urge all members to vote to repeal the 3% withholding tax and create new jobs
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>> that debate is there. they have a measure that effectively paid for that repealed by overturning a provision to expand eligibility including medicaid and subsidies to purchase health insurance. that bill was members return next tuesday for legislative work. watch the house live up here on c-span. >> tomorrow on "washington journal," the transportation and chairman on some ways he things the deficit reduction committee can reduce spending. howard dean looks ahead at the 2012 elections. after that, cynthia clark of the usda national


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