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tv   Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  July 24, 2013 8:00pm-1:01am EDT

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if what we want is a part-time economy, let's barrel ahead with obamacare. america deserves much better than america deserves much better. we deserve to create good-paying full-time jobs by the small businesses in this country that are waiting to show economic growth. e have got to remove this lead weight. i thank the gentleman from georgia for yielding the time. and i yield back. mr. gingrey: i thank the gentleman for yielding. before i yield to the gentleman from kentucky, i want you to look at this first poster, because a lot of what the gentleman from maryland, mr. speaker, was speaking about in regard to costs, shows it pretty simply here. and the change in the costs per employee, because of the health
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care law, if you have 49 employees as we talked about, there is no increase in the cost because you e, don't have to provide the overnment mandated expensive coverage, so there is no coverage. that's why they keep the employee rate at 49 and don't hire the extra employees. if you are at 50, though, and you are under the mandate. the increase is $800 per employee. if you are at 75 employees, the increase is 1 -- $1,200 per employee. 150, en $1,400 and then $1,600 per employee. that's why so many of these small businesses are right there, my colleagues at 49, with
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no increase, because no job growth or employees that are hired at 29 hours a week trying to support yourself, much less a family at 29 hours a week. i yield to the gentleman from kentucky, mr. guthrie. mr. guthrie: i appreciate you being part of the doctor's caucus. i'm not a doctor but i preert the opportunity to talk about the health care bill and as much as this has been organized and so we can be here to talk about a topic that is critical to the american people and that is the crushing mandates in obamacare. last week, the house considered two bills to relieve the american people of these mandates. it would give large employers a reprieve from compliance with obamacare's mandate until 2015 and the fairness for american families act would grant individuals until 2015 to comply
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with the law's individual mandate. this is a train wreck. it has been quoted as a train wreck. the administration has clearly realized its employer mandate will hinder businesses in their ability to grow. few weeks ago, announced their decision to announce the implementation of this bill. i come from a small business manufacturing background. and i believe i understand the complexities that employers face while providing health insurance. employers' hours and cut them from existing plans onto the exchange. i'm glad the administration is paying attention to the disastrous consequences of this law. it is disappointing that they expect families and small business owners to comply with the crushing mandates while they give big businesses a break. improving access to health care
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and making it more affordable should be the goal and the outcome. i will continue to fight for full repeal of this law. but in the interim, i'm glad the house moved to stop the crushing mandates. -- implementation of the crushing mandates. mr. gingrey: although the gentleman is not a member of the house g.o.p. caucus, i think we might take a vote here on the house floor, the co-chair of the house g.o.p. house doctors' caucus and i recognize him in a second. he and i are co-chairs. mr. guthrie, we may make you an honorary member. we appreciate your input. clearly, mr. speaker, the issue, it's not just about doctor-patient relationship, but
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the reason we are giving this presentation tonight and the leadership has asked us to talk about this issue, the members of the house g.o.p. doctors caucus includes medical doctors, i think about 16 of us, it ncludes dentists, includes a psychologist, a hospital administrator, formerly, advanced practice nurses, bachelor of science nurses. people in the health care space that know of what they speak. and in that regard, i can't think of anybody, mr. speaker, who knows this issue better than my co-chairman of the house g.o.p. doctors caucus and fellow -gyn physician, dr. phil roe from tennessee. mr. roe: i would like to talk
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about what dr. harris talked about a minute ago and i would like to explain how we got to where we are to our viewers. what dr. harris didn't say in the small group market in new york that in 1992, there were 1.2 million people who got their insurance through the small group market. , the that point in time governor, cuomo at that time, initiated no pre-existing conditions in the small group market, community rating. and community rating for those who don't know what that means, that means your sickest customer can't be charged more than three times than what a well person is. they aren't actually paying the cost of their care, someone else is paying that cost. and guaranteed issue means you can't be turned down. so what happened to that market? within 10 years, that market all
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but evaporated in new york. 120,000, it dropped by 90%. today in a state with almost 20 million people, there are 31,000 people, that's .0016 or so percent that people get that insurance through that market. not only did they basically ruin that market, it's now one of the most expensive in the united states. and only way it's going to come down is for those premiums to be subsidized by young healthy people. as dr. harris said, three young children, jut got out of college and starting families, and can't afford for something they aren't paying for. it is important to understand how we got there and why we think this won't happen again. let's go back, dr. gingrey, mr. speaker, to how we got here. basically, the health care
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debate started because health care needed reform in this country. and the reason it needed reform is we had costs going up more than inflation. no question that was occurring and we had a group of our people in this country who work every day that are uninsured. we had people with pre-existing conditions that couldn't get health insurance. maybe a woman who developed breast cancer and dropped out of the job market. no argument from us that we needed to have health care reform. so what did we have? we had a doctors caucus that had nine physicians and not one of us was asked one thing about this health care bill. i brought 31 years of experience to the house floor, an experience with health care reform in tennessee and tried to reform our medicaid program. so how is this supposed to work? we are going spoke expand
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coverage to people. what was the president's promise, mr. speaker? the promise was if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. if you like your health insurance coverage, you can keep it. and we are going to make the costs go down. what is the reality? people are losing their doctors. the cost has gone up dramatically as dr. harris has pointed out and let me point out what sectors involve who in health insurance. it is complicated. in erisa-approved plan if you work for a company that provides coverage, that coverage is for 60% of people, 160,000 people work for that. in my practice, we had 400-plus employees in my medical practice that are covered. that covers 60% of the people in this country. and sadly in the first last
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first, five years, the percentage of people who are employed in the work force, that number has gone down to 58%, instead of going up. number two, medicare, number three, medicaid. all of this entire debate -- and remember, pre-existing conditions are not an issue in that group of people. and we are looking at over 80%. so this 2,700-paged bill had to do with less than 20% of the population. we could have done something much is impler and less expensive and easier to explain. we are going to spend an hour in trying to break this down where the average person can understand it and understand how it affects me and my family and i'm going to share some of those things with you. i chair the subcommittee on health, employment and pensions and i have held three hearings
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around the country. i held one in indiana, and one in pennsylvania and one in north carolina. and what happened, we had businesses come in there. remember that the market that wasn't functioning was a small group market and the individual market. let me explain how the individual market works. when i left my practice five years ago to run for congress after 31 years. i left the practice, had group insurance covered under erisa. i left that and i then went on the individual market. because i'm treated differently tax-wise, the day before, i had a tax deductible health plan. the next day i could buy that plan. but guess what, it was much more expensive because it wasn't tax deductible. and individuals find themselves. so those are the people we are trying to help. what's happened to them? in our state, dr. harris spoke
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about several states. i spoke to our insurance commissioner just recently and in the individual market, someone out there who is a young person going out to get insurance, just finished college and we will talk about the under 26ers in a little bit, those rates are going up between 45% and 75% in my state. and small group market, small businesses go out and select their insurance, 50% to 55%. does that sound like rates are going down? and this story is all over country state after state after state. i wanted this plan to work, because we did need health care refoorm but needed patient-centered, market-driven. and put the decision not in bureaucrats' hands but in doctors and patients' and
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family's hands. the obamacare plan started this way. how do we fund this plan? they knew it was going to be expensive because of all the tax subsidies, so where did the money come from? >> $700 billion grab, from medicare, a plan that is already underfunded, mr. speaker. we have a plan now in medicare, where for every dollar placed in that plan -- and i'm on medicare as dr. gingrey is, every dollar we spend, it gets $3 out. we have 10,000 people a day entering medicare age. every year we will have three million people who turn 65 years of age. we have an underfunded medicare 30 and the next 10 years, million to 36 million plan that we are taking $700 billion out
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of. how do we control that cost, mr. speaker? we passed that part of the bill called the independent payment advisory board. wow. what is that? i think that is the most egregious parts of this entire health care plan. and interesting little thing. you have 15 unelected bureaucrats, approved by the a six-year ted to term, accountable to no one. the courts can't do anything about it. we have to have 60 votes in the senate to overturn what they do or agree with what they do and you couldn't get the senate, 60 people to agree that the sun is coming up in the east. don't worry about them worrying about their health care. what can they do? and this board is now supposed to be a pointed this year and have a budget, which we tried to cut the funding for, because i
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think i said it's the most egregious part of this plan. they can withhold and cut providers. when you cut providers, doctors, hospitals and medical providers, they will refuse to see those patients. it says in the bill you cannot ration care. there is a very good article in the "new england journal of medicine, that reviewed the independent advisory board and looked back over the past 25 years. mr. speaker, 21, and this analysis of the independent payment advisory board wasn't for it or against it but analyzing the effects of it and a look back over the past 25 years, 21 of those 25 years, cuts would have occurred, and we all know, dr. gingrey and i know, mr. speaker, we know our colleagues have been prevented
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by cuts by the action of this body right here in the sustainable growth rate in medicare. . . mr. gingrey: he's bringing up a subject that's so important. this ipab, independent payment advisory board, that dr. roe was talking about, 15 bureaucrats will -- none of them have been appointed yet. not one. nada. and the law says that if the or tary doesn't appoint these 15 are not appointed, and yes, they are going to make about $175,000 a year, then she, it's a she right now, the secretary of health and human services, or whomever in the future, they don't have to have that board. one individual bureaucrat can , really e cuts
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rationing cuts is what it is. and i yield back to my colleague. mr. roe: i thank the gentleman for pulling that out. one single person, that may not be secretary sebelius, but it will put the power in one person and take the power away from this body right here, which is why we have a bipartisan bill to overturn this and reclaim the power that the people gave us which is we are accountable to the people and right now, when you make those cuts, we would not have any way, almost no way to fix that. i think that's a great point and i appreciate, mr. speaker, dr. gingrey pointeding that out. so we have that pint -- pointing that out. so we have that board. number two, 21 new taxes to pay for this bill. one of them, a medical device tax. let me assure you, as a physician, i have -- i've been the recipient, as have my patients have been, from all the incredible improvements in surgery. i watched it start from its
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learned my first procedure when i was a captain in 1974 in the military. after having returned from korea. learned how to use a laproscope. i watched all this wonderful new equipment occurred where we're dol doing absolutely marv -- where we're doing absolutely marvelous things, minimally invasive to patients. there will be taxes on that new innovation. what i'm fearful of, in my state the single biggest export we have are medical devices, that this will be pushed offshore and the thing that we have been the shining star in the world is medical innovation. there's no question about it. and we do not want to lose that. so we've got 21 new taxes and they're taxes on health care plans, taxes -- the mandates are taxes, so we have the taxes. obamacare works because of a three-legged stool, mr. speaker. and this is how it works. it works because of medicaid expansion, that's over half of
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the new people there, a plan that already is under siege in most states in the union, number two, the individual mandate which is -- that's what i'm getting around to, the mandates cur because we have to have young, healthy people -- occur because we have to have young, healthy people subsidizing others to make the individual market. and number three, the mandate on business. and last week when the treasury in a blog, not an announcement from the white house, just a blog came out and said that, hey, we're not going to have the businessman date for a year. and i applaud the president for that. i think -- this is not something i disagree with. the disagreement is it's the law of the land. i don't see how you can unilaterally decide i'm going to enforce this part of the law because i can't make it work right now. or the individual mandate and we speaker t week, as the knows, and i believe the speaker supported, both of the bills that mr. guthrie talked about. i'll now yield back to my friend. mr. gingrey: i thank the
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gentleman. reclaiming for just a second. well, sunday i guess it was, on the sunday morning "meet the press", and that's what this next poster shows, yesterday on nbc's "meet the press," senate majority leader harry reid, the democrat majority leader from nevada, proclaimed that, and this is a quote, obamacare has been wonderful for america, end quote. well, let's just take a look at some of the headlines from this past week at just how wonderful it has been. investors business daily says, obamacare mandate delay: employers keep job cuts. for many workers, the one-year delay in obamacare's employer mandate was too little, too late. "reuters" says, analysis, obamacare struggles to meet
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make-or-break deadline and this is a quote from "reuters." with time running out, the united states officials are struggling to cope with the task of launching the new online health insurance exchanges at the heart of president barack obama's signature health reforms by an october 1 deadline. time d magazine, obamacare delay increases costs and complications. the obama administration's recent announcement that the affordable care act's employer mandate will kick in a year late could ripple beyond the brief extension, increasing costs and complicating implementation of ther vital parts of the law. then cnn monday says this, -- c thmbings -- cnn money says this, delaying the obamacare employer mandate has simply put off rules businesses already had adjusted
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-- had started to adjust to. i mean, and that's the reality here, mr. speaker. and my colleague from tennessee knows it. i think my colleagues on the democratic side of the aisle know it. and that's why in my opening remarks, mr. speaker, i mentioned that, hey, you know, is it really the employers, smault business men and women that were knocking on the white house deal saying, oh, you know, we can't meet these reporting requirements, please help us do something? or was it some of my democratic friends, whether in this chamber or the other body saying, know, 2014's going to be kind of a tough year for us, having to defend this train wreck. i think that's what the senator from montana said, of course he's going to retire rather than face the music, can't say that i blame him. that's what's going on here.
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and people, you know, people are not dumb. i think they can read between the lines. so, we'll continue, and i hope my colleague can stay a while longer. if not, i'll -- i'd like to yield back to him at this point. mr. roe: i thank the gentleman for yielding and i want to -- you always hear, mr. speaker, that republicans have no ideas for health care. well, we had plenty of ideas, they just weren't heard. we had 80 amendments to this bill. none dish want the people to hear this, to show you how frustrating this process has been now that we're looking at this almost incomprehensible bill, is that we had 80 amendments, 80 amendments to the affordable care act taken to the rules committee. i think i had 10. not one, not one amendment was ruled in order. not one. dr. harris was here a moment ago and talked about the price of an
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individual insurance policy in the state of new york and then he talked about the price of an insurance policy in delaware and illinois. think about if a person in new york, an employer, a person in a small business, an individual there, hey, i'd like to buy my plan in illinois. if i could buy it across state lines, i could save myself a lot of money. and i can guarantee you that the price in new york state would come down or people would buy those plans somewhere else. that's why empowering the free market system will help and work in health care. let me go to the real world, mr. speaker, and dr. gingrey. let me go to the concord, north carolina. two months ago. i held a field hearing there. i want to introduce you to a business owner there, mr. horn, who has a textile manufacturing business and he has 350 employees and if you're in the textile business, you're a
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pretty dog-gone good businessman, if you're in business today, as difficult as that is. yes, he provided 80% of all the health care costs for his employees. they covered 20%. he covers all preventative services, everything. if you need a colonoscopy, if you need a mammogram, he covers all of that. in addition to, that he has a health nurse on -- in addition to that, he has a health nurse on his business there to help if you have issues there, so he has a prevention and wellness program. he's done everything right. so what exactly does he get for this? what he gets for this, when the fiscal cliff bill was passed, is because of the way his company is set up, he got an increase in his personal tax rate, he got that. number two, he got a $63 per employee, not per policy, but per employee or per person, i should say, which will cost him tens of thousands of dollars and
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guess what that money goes to do? t goes to indemocratnyify -- indemnify insurance companies so they will be induced to provide this insurance on the exchange and they won't lose money. mr. horn gets absolutely nothing. so what will he have to do? he'll either have to cut his salaries, he'll have to cut the benefits or he won't hire someone or he won't be able to make needed investments. let's go to my hometown of johnson city, tennessee, where i was mayor before i came here. my political job there was being mayor of our local community. i just talked to our city manager not long ago and we're going to get a bill, and our -- in our community of 60,000 people $177,000 of which we get absolutely nothing. because it's on the self-insured market. and anybody who's self-insured, and a lot of major businesses -- i talked to one who's going to get a $25 million -- and i won't mention who it is, it's a major
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company, everyone in this room will know who it is, they write a $25 million check. that could be to hire new employees, it could be to grow their business. it's a globally competitive company that has to compete around the world. let me introduce another person here. sonny's barbeque. and that's a north carolina famous restaurant in the charlotte area. and we had the field hearing ver there and we sampled sonny's barbeque the night before the field hearing. it was great. and what that company is doing is they found out that 70%, since the recession, 70% of people changed their eating out habits by reducing or even eliminating dining out and increasing menu prices which is what they'll tell you to do. just up your price. well, people quit coming. when people quit coming for your restaurant, you go out of business. and what they're finding out is
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that they have had to cut, as mr. speaker, as dr. gingrey clearly pointed out, they're looking at cutting their employees' hours to 29. or under so that many full-time employees will now be part-time employees. so they'll go under that threshold of 49. the community colonel where we held the hearing -- college where we held the hearing made a very eloquent statement that they were going to have to not allow adjunct faculty and what many community colleges do, about 65% of their faculty are full-time but the others are people in the community, maybe, mr. speaker, maybe like dr. gingrey who would teach a health class or a class on whatever issue would be his specialty. well, now because of what the i.r.s. has said, you can only teach three classes or you hit the 29-hour threshold. well, how does that happen? well, for every hour you're in the classroom, they count two hours outside the classroom. that's called -- i think that's
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called the cambridge hour. so you can only teach three classes. it will mean, in their community college, that they won't be able to offer certain classes on time, it will delay students getting out, the state of virginia has 7,000 part-time workers that they're going to be sure that stay under that 29-hour -- and they make it a little more individual. someone that i know in my district works for a chain restaurant, mr. speaker. divorced woman who works full-time. she relies on tips, relies on her 40 hours a week. she has a health insurance policy. she's going to lose her health insurance policy and they're going to cut her hours to 29 which means that for every month she loses an entire week of wages. so she now has got to go find a second job to pay her bills, mr. speaker. and i can go on and on with examples like this that have --
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i've heard in my own testimony and just yesterday we had testimony on the mandate, certainly the businesses appreciate the year of reprieve. we voted here on the house floor in a bipartisan manner, mr. speaker, i might add, that we voted to also take individuals, my goodness, here's a person out here who just graduated from college and has got their first job and we're requiring them now, taxing them if they don't buy this insurance, and let me point out how quickly the young people will figure this out. i did something rather unique, as dr. gingrey did and i heard here on the house floor, we should pass the bill and then read it and find out what's in it. well, guess what? i did just the opposite. i read the bill and found out some things and i went back and checked to be sure i was correct on this. but here's what happens if you don't pay the penalty. let's say you're a young individual out there and you say, look, i just can't afford $400 or $300 a month out of my paycheck.
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i've got student loans and other things to pay for, i'm trying to get into my first apartment. the penalty is this, it's $95 for the first year. ok, so what account i.r.s. do to collect that money? they can't garnish your wages. they can't do that. there is no civil or criminal penalty. so there's nothing they have to come after you. the only thing they can do is if you have overpaid your taxes or if you have a refundable credit coming in like an earned income tax credit, child tax credit, they can withhold your refunds. that's the only recourse they have. why is it going to collapse? these young people are going to pay the $95, not the $200 or $300. pay the one-time penalty. if the i.r.s. can figure out how to collect it. if you don't have these healthy young people paying in, it
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doesn't work. i yield back. mr. gingrey: i have one last poster that i wanted to point out. it's a little complicated and try to make it as simple as i can. but basically let's start right here with the employer. and under in a in this diagram, fewer than 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalents and no employer penalty for not offering a health insurance benefit. -- and the most agriegeyouse egregious situation, 50 or more full-time employees and the employer decides not to offer coverage, if a tax credit is obtained by at least one of those full-time employees in an
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exchange, then the annual penalty to that employer is $2,000 for the year, not just r that one, but every single employee that he or she employs. it could be hundreds, it could be thousands. mr. roe: above 30. mr. gingrey: they get a break for 30, yes. you know, again, we just have a little bit of time left, and i wanted to point out some things to you, colleagues. and i want to call this obamacare shot and chaser. bear with me just a little bit, because this is interesting and cute at the same time. obamacare has been a train wreck since its inception. 3 1/2 , 2010, almost
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years ago. the democrats passed it to see what's in it and now families, taxpayers and job creators, they are paying one steep heck of a price. between the skyrocketing costs, unsustainable and wasteful programs and job-strangling policies, a majority of lawicans disapprove of this and disapprove of it today. on top of that, implementation of obamacare has become a full-fledged disaster as we are pointing out this evening. and some of its biggest supporters agree with us. newsaw the slide where the media not the news media publications that are considered particularly conservative. as for the president, well, he just can't seem to make up his mind. president obama on the employer
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mandate. he was against it in 2009 before he was for it in 2010. after signing the mandate into law, the administration announced earlier this month, it would delay the employer requirement for one year. when the house of representatives acted last week to really make it constitutional, because it wasn't, he didn't have the right to do that. but when we voted to allow him to do that, the same white house issued a veto threat on the bill, same thing that we had done to make it legal. he is going to veto it. the shot, we have heard concerns about the complexity of the employer mandate requirement and need for more time to implement them effectively. we have listened to your feedback and we are taking action. the administration is announcing july 2, by the way, that it will
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provide an additional year before the mandatory employer mandate and insurer reporting requirements begin. the chaser, that was the bill at we passed, h.r. 2667, employer mandate delay is unnecessary. these are the words of the administration. enacting this legislation would undermine key elements of the health law and that was stated july 17 by the white house veto threat. president obama on the individual mandate -- because this was the other bill that we passed last week -- president obama's repeated flip-flops on the individual mandate are well documented. he pledged support for it in 2007 on the campaign trail to a group of union workers. when his health care plan was released months later, the individual mandate was noticebly
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absent. he went on to attack his presidential primary opponents for supporting the requirement, only to change his mind once again shortly thereafter. you know, i could go on and on, but i think we have made our point here tonight and maybe we could yield back a little time. i'm going to yield back to my colleague and then yield back to me for closing. but, mr. speaker, colleagues on both sides of the aisle, we're here to get it right. you know, the politics -- i have always said this and i trouble believe it -- the politics will take care of itself. the people will decide. we don't need term limits. they term-limit us. let's get the policy right. d 2,700-paged bill crammed down the throats of the american
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people, has never worked. it never has worked and never will work. we are taking pains to explain and make sure that anybody within ear shout understands, colleagues, that we are sincere about this. it's not partisan. we need to get rid of this law and we need to replace it with something that truly will affect those changes that dr. roe was talking about in regard to the cost of health care and the accessibility. we didn't talk about accessibility, about whether or not there will be any doctors there who see these patients. i yield back. mr. roe: i thank the gentleman for yielding and people ask me about things in the bill that i like. you can't write things in the bill that are not positive. we need to look at the positive
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things we agree to. is this objection -- i think the approval rating for obamacare is 35%. is this objection, are just republicans out there? let me read to you a little bit here. this came up in testimony yesterday at my subcommittee hearing. the letter was james p. hoffa, general president of international brotherhood of team steers. and donald d. taylor, president of a union airport, gaming and textile workers and i quote, and this is to then speaker pelosi, now minority leader, when you and the president sought our support for the affordable care act, you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now we can keep them. sadly that promise is under
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threat. perverse incentives are creating nightmare scenarios. numerous employers have begun to cut workers' hours to avoid this obligation and many of them are doing so openly. the impact is fewer hours means less pay and losing our current health benefits. and this is president of three major unions. so it's not just republicans, mr. speaker, and dr. gingrey, it's the public beginning to focus on this now because this bill is becoming the law of the land and i wish it had worked as smooth as it could be. it is not. and it is not because it is not doing what it promised which is the single most important thing. cut the cost of care. more of us could afford to have it. i yield back to my friend and
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colleague, dr. gingrey. mr. gingrey: i thank all of the members of the house g.o.p. doctors caucus who participated tonight. if i tried to add up the number of years of clinical experience in our group of about 21 members of the republican side of the aisle in this caucus, it would probably be 600-plus years. so we really do know of what we speak. we don't have every answer but we know what we speak and we want to get it right. and that's what this is all about. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. nder the speaker's announced licy of january 3, 2013, mr. pocan is recognized. mr. pocan: and tonight the
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progressive congressional caucus would like to talk about voting rights and how important that is to this country and every single person in our country. last week, both the senate and house judiciary committees have held hearings on the voting rights act and what steps we need to take forward to protect the right to vote in this country. there is potentially no right that is more important, no issue that is more important to this country we should consider than our right to vote. it should be our moist fundamental right. the right that preserves all other liberties that americans hold dear. when aspiring americans take the citizenship test, they say what is the most important right granted to u.s. citizens? and the correct answer? the right to vote. it should be the primary concern of our democracy. so you think that if the question asked, what our most important right is, and the answer is, the right to vote
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would be something that's enshrined in our u.s. constitution, you would think there is explicitly a right to vote. i certainly thought that, but you would be wrong. it is startling to think at first. you think it is against everything you have been taught and against the principles the country has been built on. within our constitution, there is no explicit right to vote. and we have to remember when our constitution was originally ratified, the right to vote was specifically not guaranteed. in fact, it was an incredibly restrictive law, only white, male property owners above the age of 21 could vote. that was less than 20% of the country's population at the time. many of our founders specifically did not want to expand the franchise of voting, believing most in society were unqualified for the privilege. in fact john adams famously
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wrote and i will quote, it is dangerous to open so fruitful a source of controversy and altercation as would be opened as attempting to open the qualifications of voters. there will be no end of it, unquote. mr. speaker, since that time, our nation's attitudes towards voting has changed slowly but very progressively. but the fact that we have needed constitutional amendments prohibiting discrimination based on race, gender and age shows that we possess no guaranteed right to vote in our constitution. meanwhile these accomplishments have been accompanied by a myriad of tactics, laws and strategies meant to suppress the vote, literacy tests, poll taxes, grandfather clauses, voter intimidation. these targets of discriminatory efforts have changed as well. our first literacy tests were
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adopt the to keep irish catholics from voting and a wide array of efforts to keep african-americans from going to the polls. the bills introduced to restrict the right to vote are less obvious and lawmakers -- but these are nonetheless discriminatory. we have seen burdensome regulations, requirements and reduced early voting opportunities which are critical for low-income americans who cannot take off work on election day. african-americans and latinos in particular have utilized early voting days in very high numbers. . . disallowing student i.d.'s to stricter residency requirements, to limited polling locations on campuses, voter i.d.'s and
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burdensome registration requirements often made it harder for senior citizens also to be able to vote. in wisconsin, when we've had these issues before us, many senior citizens no longer carry that driver's license because they no longer drive. and yet that's one of the very things that they may need to go vote with a photo i.d. i myself didn't realize the full extent of the attack on our right to vote until voter i.d. laws were actually introduced in my home state of wisconsin. as is often the case with voter i.d. laws, republicans justified a photo i.d. requirement as way to counter voter fraud in our state. well, mr. speaker, the fact of the matter is this crisis of voter fraud is a fraud in and of itself. as the brennan center for justice points out, you are more likely to be killed by lightning than you are to commit voter fraud in your lifetime. to be killed by lightning is more common than voter fraud in
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this country. now, in wisconsin we're very proud, we're one of the top three states for voter participation. maine, minnesota and wisconsin. and we're known for our clean and effective elections. our chief election officer found that since the year 2000, in statewide elections, the state has seen about 20 instances of voter fraud out of more than six million votes cast. most of those instances of voter fraud involved felons who were ineligible to vote but voted. a problem that doesn't get fixed by a photo i.d. so, why did the wisconsin legislature believe we needed to combat against voter fraud? what does it mean when you have a cure in search of a disease? well, in my experience there's usually an alterior moltive and in the case of restrictive voter laws, the design is to suppress the vote. to encourage lower voter turnout in the hopes of influencing
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elections. in other words, it's about elected officials trying to pick their voters rather than the voters picking their elected officials. now in wisconsin we're very fortunate because our state constitution specifically guarantees the right to vote. and because of this provision, the suppressive voting laws that have been introduced in our state have largely been blocked by the courts. but what i didn't realize is that while wisconsin had a strong amendment that protected our right to vote, our u.s. constitution does not. unfortunately without a guaranteed federal right to vote, you'll continue to see the types of disenfranchising efforts that have been a plague on our modern society. mr. speaker, that takes us to today. and last month's supreme court decision that struck down section 4 of the voting rights act. section 4 was the act's preclearance formula. the formula that determined which states and counties needed
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to get federal approval before they make voting law changes. the court ruled that the formula was outdated and thus unconstitutional. now, i think the court may have forget -- forgot that when we re-authorized the voting rights act, overwhelmingly just in 2006 we had 390 supporters in the house of representatives and a unanimous 98-0 vote in the senate. clearly there was strong support in the legislative body for the voting rights act that was now turned aside by the supreme court. either way, what we know for certain is that before the ink was even dry on the supreme court decision, state legislatures began to act. of the nine states that were fully covered by the voting rights act, six have already started to move on legislation that would restrict the right to vote. let me just read you a couple quotes from a couple of these states. texas, this was really quick,
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this is the headline, that was quick. texas moves forward with voter i.d. law an supreme court ruling. that's from the "national journal" on june 25. the texas law requires voters to show photo identification to vote, a measure that was blocked by the justice department, arguing the law would discriminate against racial minorities. at the time, attorney generic holder called the law a poll tax. and that's where texas went as soon as that supreme court decision happened. in mississippi, the headline, mississippi's secretary of state moves to enforce new voter i.d. law. new voter i.d. law may seem innocuous but more than one out of 10 of every eligible voters do not have a government-issued i.d. clearly making it harder for people to vote in the state of mississippi. and finally, just another example is the state of north carolina.
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the headline, senate republicans unveil stricter north carolina voter i.d. bill. again, according to the article from "the charlotte observer," republican lawmakers are emboldinned in their effort to push a photo -- emboldinned in their effort to push a photo identification requirement. the ruling means the bill would no longer need justice department approval before it comes -- before it becomes law. so we're seeing in state after state after state that was protected by the voter rights act, that states now are trying to change those laws and make it harder for people to have that ability to go out and vote. now, i happen to agree with the court that the formula was outdated. as i previously detailed, it doesn't reflect the current attempts to restrict the right to vote. in fact, it underestimates them. let's look at it this way. under the voting rights act, nine entire states and certain counties and six others
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recovered. but just this year already, more than 80 revictive voting laws in 31 states have been introduced. and given my experience in wisconsin, and what i'm seeing in states across the country, i knew that we had to take action at the national level. so, i got together with congressman keith ellison from minnesota and we worked with fair vote to work on a right to vote amendment to the u.s. constitution that would guarantee an affirmative right to vote for every single american. our amendment is a simple -- as simple as it is necessary. it said that every american citizen possesses the fundamental right to vote in any public election where they reside and congress has the power to protect this right. this amendment would create an important change from current policy. no more would americans have to prove that their right to vote has been infringed. if you live in a state right now, you have to proof that that
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state, in changing voting laws, has somehow infringed your ability to vote. in order to have a success. instead, you under our constitutional amendment, the burden of proof would go to the states and the states would have to demonstrate that any new law they have put in place would not burden any of their citizens' ability to have a right to vote. now, our vote is the great equalizer in this country. my brother and i have one thing in common with the koch brothers. we each come with one single vote. the average person in the world, you may not have billions of dollars, but the one thing that you have in common is you each have one single vote. now, i understand that ratifying the constitution is not an easy task. but on this measure it's a deeply important one. we can and we must build the grassroots movement needed to
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ensure our most fundamental right is not subject to the partisan whims of state legislatures. i am holding in my hand pages and pages of people across the country who support a national right to vote constitutional amendment. over 28,000 people have signed petitions that are circulated by .s. action and pccc bold progressives that have got signatures saying we need to make our constitution work for every single american, let every single person has that right to vote. and this is 28,000 names right here of people who support this most fundamental right. mr. speaker, at the end of the day, the right to vote is not a republican right or a democratic right, it's an american right. and the recent voting rights decision demonstrates anything,
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it's that we need to do everything we can to help protect that right. mr. speaker, with that i would like to yield back the balance of my time but i would like to reinforce the congressional progressive caucus is going to do everything that we can to make sure that every american has the right to vote and that a right to vote amendment to the constitution is the most sure, most effective way to get that done. so, mr. speaker, with that i would like to yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from wisconsin yields back. under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2013, the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, for 30 minutes. mr. collins: thank you, mr. speaker. i appreciate that. it's good to be here at the end of the day in which there's been a lot of excitement here on the floor. a lot of voting going on. a lot of debate which is what we're up here for. and one of the things that i have committed to, as we talked about a little bit last week, is pointing out some things that
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may fall under the radar but actually mat ar great deal to the people of not only the ninth district but to the people of the united states and up here we can get many times lost in what i'll call the big-picture items or the latest of what's hot, so to speak. tonight i want to talk about our local pharmacist. for me that is -- i have a little pharmacist i go to, we have several, but one of the main one i go to is woody's pharmacy. kevin woody. i go in there and i know that when i ask him about the drugs for myself, for my wife, my kids, he gives me answers, he helps me, he knows what goes on. and we got pharmacists in all kinds of settings that do that every day for folks, but our local pharmacies and especially our community pharmacies are right now under attack. i want to talk tonight and i'm going to be joined hopefully here in a little bit with the gentleman from pennsylvania to talk about the challenges facing independent community
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pharmacies. see, local pharmacists play a vital role in america's neighborhoods and communities, particularly in more rural areas of northeast georgia. they provide unparalleled guidance and assistance and resources for families, including my own. i'm committed to protecting access to independent and community pharmacists and helping to level the playing field through an fectsive and robust oversight of the pharmacy benefit managers or p.b.m.'s. it's a tough enough task to survive in this economy and the overregulation by the administration is only making it more difficult. i'm committed to working with my colleagues, particularly the gentleman from pennsylvania, to promote legislation that would provide consumers with greater choice of pharmacies, require fair standards for p.b.m. pharmacies, support access to diabetes testing supplies, protect traditional pharmacy compounding and ensure that our military families can enjoy the many benefits that community pharmacies provide. in many cases, independent community pharmacists have the dead -- have dedicated their career to providing quality, patient care.
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however, they have been continually -- continuously cut by unfair reimbursements, overbearing audits and a take it or leave it approach to contracts. over the next 30 minutes, i look forward to discussing the challenges facing independent and community pharmacists and the important role they play in the lives of many of our constituents. although we cannot sufficiently cover these issues in the next half hour, i hope this will be the first of many conversations on this floor about an important topic. and this is what i mean about ideas and topics that may not bring the headlines, they may not bring the stories on the opening of the evening news, but they affect us daily in our lives and they're often overlooked. we deal many times on this floor, how do we deal with and whales the cost of regulation and how they are affecting our everyday lives thrks one of the areas, especially that's affecting right now. it's affecting how they do business. as one community pharmacist told me recently, that if something doesn't change soon, that in my area of northeast georgia, which has a vibrant community
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pharmacy, along with p.b.m. pharmacies and others, that would in 10 years, there may not be a community pharmacist level in northeast georgia. that's a scary thought, mr. speaker. when you think about that for a second, when you look at an industry that many of us grow up, you know, you can have stories on going back to when many pharmacists had soda fans and just a full-service placey where you could go and even my pharmacist today still has the scoops of i.c.e. cream. one of the ways my kids want to come with me to the store is they say, i'll go with you because i want a scoop of ice cream. it's a family place, it's something that i think brings back a sense of americana. but it also hits at the very idea of what we'll just take as good, old-fashioned entrepreneurship. businesses that mean something to our community. that also provide a service that is invaluable. and right now i think those are under attack and those are the things that just concern me and when we look at that possibility
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of our -- of the pharmacist told me, he said that there possibly may not even be community pharmacists in our area within the next 10 years, that really struck my attention and it's made me, before i was even elected, begin to look at what are the problems and how can we ddress those as we go along? i can give examples and i bet everyone here on both sides of the aisle could talk about the pharmacist wherever they work, one of the things we can count on with a community farm sirks my parents grow older, we have questions about their medicine, i know we can call our pharmacist and i know many of us, maybe even you, mr. speaker have the person to talk to about the drugses and issues that keep us helly. one thing they do is provide preventtive care that keeps us from getting into long-term health problems that drive up
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health care costs and really from my perspective, the tragedy of obamacare is let's get back to the very roots of medicine and as the doctors were speaking earlier tonight on the floor it's on the how we can do preventive medicine and make sewer the health of our constituents are taken care of, community pharmacists do just that. one of the channels facing our local pharmacists relates to diabetic testing supplies and the competitive bidding process. earlier this year, i wrote the comptroller general expressing concern about the impact that medicare competitive bidding process will have on patient access to diabetic tethsing supplies. seniors in northeast georgia and across the state rely on their ability to get their testing supplies from local pharmacists and many have written to me to say that applying bidding to these -- could limit their access to these supplies. in rural communities, a
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community pharmacist may be the only available option for seniors. their local pharmacist helps them use their test strips and meters and provides much needed guidance in managing their disease. a 72% reduction in reimbursement to these farm was announced january 30, 2013. this is a reduction in the reimbursement that took effect on july 1 of thiser yoosm here's the feedback georgians have given about the reimbursement reduction is having on their quality of life. we've heard, i've had difficulty finding a new provider mitigating circumstance product of choice was unavailable, i've been forced to change providers. the quality of my care and service is poor. my costs have increased. i've experienced poor communications from c.m.s. i'm confused about the changes. independent community pharmacists typically sell
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diabetic testing supplies to provide a service, not to make munch even before the reduction of reimbursement rates the profit margins on these supplies were low. now pharmacists have to choose between keeping their businesses open or giving their customers the supplies they need. this isn't a choice they should be forced to make. this is another example of a business that is fighting against the world so to speak to stay in business and to employ those three or four or five or up to 10 or 15 people that take care of the people in ur communities, mr. speaker. this is something smg we need to take care of. when you hear the feedback from folks calling our office and writing our office and calling their pharmacist saying i'm having difficulty finding a new provider, i can't make sense of this and there's quality -- and their quality an service are poorer, we need to take a look at what's going on. another pressing issue from the local pharmacist is the lack of oversight and transparency when
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it comes to benefit managers. p.b.m.'s are one of the least egulated seg s of the marks. now supporting strong p.b.m. transparency requirements is key to delivering real savings to patients. unloo -- unlike my local pharmacists and those across the nation p.b.m.'s don't have a real relationship with patients. it is not uncommon for them to creditly retain from most manufacturer's payment rerks baits, discounts and other fees instofede passing savings on to patients. p.b.m.'s have been known to switch plan members from low to manipulate gs and generic prices. at the end of the day the data points to the fact that p.b.m. marketing is broken. when we talk about problems we need to relate toyota what people can understand. i can understand it through my family but also through my
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paraphernalia who was talked about how their drugs have been changed ar they've been given short notice of changes or they get there from their doctor who give theams prescription to take to their pharmacy after the problem because they're not going to be certified because there's been a change in the last little bit in what drug the coverage will make and the p.b.m.'s have had a large part in that. what i believe is their conduct is anti-competitive and anti-consumer and independent community pharmacists are left vulnerable to their market power. but there are solutions to this problem. for example, allowing the small er to collectively negotiate will help level the playing field. the threat of anti-trust liability and the status quo prevents these negotiations. i believe an antitrust exemption is appropriate. it is with that that i'm proud to be an original co-spon or of what is known the protecting our hometown independent
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pharmacists act of 2013 which i believe achieves this goal. the author of this bill, mr. moreno, and i had several conversations discussing his examples and what brought him to an understanding of what is going on with our community pharmacists and the problems that have developed here. i want to applaud and one they have things i want to do is take out and highlight members who have brought forward pieces of legislation that i believe matter to our constituents and they matter to the american people. this is a conservative piece of legislation that brings forward and highlights a problem with our community pharmacists who are reliable businessmen in their communities and by doing so and taking that part, mr. moreno has helped bring forth a piece of legislation that i am glad to support and look forward to moving forward hopefully through the committee process and hope onto this floor and sign into law. understand, there's a lot of discussion that needs to be had here an p.b.m.'s share their fair share of blame an there's a lot of problems in this
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situation. and it is something we need to discuss. because it matters to the people back home. it matters to those very essence of health and health care which we come down to this well and talk about all the time. we talk about costs, we talk about the problems, this is an area where i believe we can continue to move forward. you see there's also another pressing matter facing independent community pharmacist particularly in northeast georgia that is abusive audit tactics. i believe like many americans that pharmacy audits should be focused on uncovering actual fraud and i a buse. audits play an important role in ensuring high quality patient care and services. unfortunately, p.b.m.'s are leveraging their power, they're singling out expensive drugs and using errors to recoup significant maments -- amounts of money not to return to medicare but to line their own pockets. this is what -- i'm going to use an example that i had a few
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month ago, i had a number of pharmacists from their low -- from my local pharmacists all over northeast georgia come in and met with me, i sent out a note because i'd been hearing about this from my local pharmacist and i said come talk to me about what you're experiencing. like a lot of times, mr. speaker, maybe you've done a similar thing, you expect three or four people show up. in my conference room i had a full house. pharmacists who left and drove, some as many as two hours to come to that office to sit down and talk about the problems they were facing. what that told me in thed my tholve day was the issues and problems that they have were more important to them than spending time finding somebody to cover their shop so they could talk about this because it's affecting the quality of their existence. now as we look at this, they began to give me examples, for example, let's say your local pharmacist fills a $500
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prescription for you that you called in over the phone or had called in from the doctor's office. the pharmacist dispenses the correct drug, in the correct amount and provided instructions for taking the drug. do we have a problem at this point? i don't think system of the right drug, the right am, right container, right label, everything is there of what your doctor wanted you to have. but if the pharmacist makes a mistake in his personal records, instead of checking the called in over the phone box he checks the faxed in box, a p.b.m. could then during their audit of the pharmacy find the mistake and then take back the entire $500, not just the co-pay, and not just the profit the pharmacy received, they take back the entire cost of the drug. now i've said before, there are a lot of things that make me scratch my head. this is one of them. it's one thing to come in and
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be audited. it's one thing to find a mistake in which there's a clerical error. and there's -- there needs to be some correction to that clerical error. but let me go back and remind you, it was dispensed properly in the correct amount with the correct drug with the correct directions on there but however on the paperwork on how the call came in, how they took the prescription down, they were audited and dinged for that and they were not just dinged for the amount of their co-pay or their profit even, they were digged for the entire amount of the drug. what's really interesting is i've had several pharmacists say it is interesting to them that when they're audited it's not the je for the irks that are audited it is the brand names that seem to be audited. the higher cost drugs find their way theent audit lists. i think that's interesting. because what happens is if one mistake comes, you're talking
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about a major cost. for these pharmacists. this is not something they can continue to eat. they can appeal it and go through the process but it is something over and over they don't get to appeal it and hold the money, they have to send the money in and then appeal. does that sound fair? i don't think so. what we've got to do is look at this problem in its entirety. the p.b.m. could pocket the entire cost of a correctly dispensed drug even what the pharmacist paid wholesale this leaves me baffled. obviously auditing measures should be in place but for transparency and accountability not to financially pemize one's competitors. oh, by the way, some of the p.b.m.'s are involved in the competitors to the local pharmacy which is they audit. just a small reminder. you know, i could stand here all evening and tell you story after story about the unfair and almost unbelievable
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auditing practice that my local independent folks have had to deal with. one told me about how they had been audited three times that career and were preparing their fourth. mr. speaker, you know when he told me that? march. he had been audited three times, getting ready for a fourth and it was january, february, march. this seems to be a problem. nterestingly enough, the audits don't focus on generic drug, they look at administrative error on high-priced drugs this comes as no surprise. we know the p.b.m.'s are looking to take money, line their prockets -- pockets and don't care for patients they don't sponsor baseball teams, they don't participate in chili cookoffs, patients take a back seat to profit margins.
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in the status quo after a pharmacy a audited, the money goes to the p.b.m. the penalties that you get go to you. again, does there seem to be an inent isive -- ensentiv problem here? you're dealing with high cost drugs, mising the generic, looking for clerical every on correctly dispensed drugs. the patient never had a problem. but yet the pharmacist was dinged. you know, i'm committed to working with my colleagues to make sure that medicare is getting its fair share of funds back. there is one word we hear a great deal on this floor, no matter this edebate topic, it is bound to come up at least once, that word is transparency. there are few areas in which this concept is more important. transparency saves money an helps marks work better. it helps it work as it was intended to work. transparency allows plans and payers, including large
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corporations and government to confirm a p.b.m. is providing the service it was designed to do, to secure low drug costs. now remember in this world of regulation, and for those who know me and my short time up here in washington, this is one of the issues i have focused like a laser on in regulation. tomorrow morning, i encourage members if they're not busy, they want to come to a regulatory reform caucus breakfast, come see us, we'll have breakfast for them and we're going to cuss the effects of regulatory reform and why this matter. many times, we in elected office talk about regulatory reform and why it matters and it's going to make sense. i believe tonight we've shown how it affects local community pharmacists. and that's something that needs to be looked at. but again, what was the p.b.m. supposed to do? they were supposed to secure low drug costs. they were supposed to secure a better way for medicare savings.
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this is not what's happening. unfortunately, under today's policy, the plan's sponsor has no way to verify they're sharing manufacturer rebates or is negotiating the lowest possible cost for specific drugs. recent dayity indicates the exact opposite is occurring. for example, tricare anticipates savings of $1.6 billion by negotiating its own drug prices and rebates for its nine million beneficiaries rather than going through a p.b.m. let me state that one more time, mr. speaker. tricare anticipates saving $1.67 billion by negotiating its own drug prices and rebates for its nine million beneficiaries rather than going through a p.b.m. i happened to be on the foor for the last couple of days and in that chair listen to discussions on our d.o.d. propings and the struggles we're having with our funding for our vital services of our defenses, don't you think this is something that we can pour not only in defense but other
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areas as well? i believe it is. texas can switch to a p.b.m. contract. this is no chump change. y time draws to a close, the challenges facing independent and community pharmacist are great, but the important roles they play are greater. it is where we can look forward to solutions that matter. i did not come to washington, d.c. simply to watch things happen and to wonder why. i came to be part of the solution. like you, mr. speaker, we are part of the freshman class believing that this is the place that people look for to make this country continually the greatest country on earth. and the way they do that is look at commonsense legislation. they look at commonsense
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solutions that affect them every day. for many, many people. and especially in my home of northeast georgia. place.harmacies is a they are the places where senior citizens come and as i have watched many times the pharmacies where i go to, my own or not, it is the pharmacies where i watched the other day, where i went in and a sweet little senior citizen -- i pastored for 11 years and my first church, that's all that was there, i was 28 years old and for me it was something i learned a great deal from. when i watched this sweet little old lady, she asked kevin about some issues she was having with her drugs and trying to figure out what was going on and he
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explained to her, this is not what is happening, this is what you need to do and the medicine you need to take. pharmacists across this country -- this has nothing to do with them individually. whether they work in large or small shops. community stores to large box stores are dedicated professionals who do a wonderful job. they work hard in helping their customers. they work hard at helping those that have come in between. and when they deal in this kind of environment, we make sure that the local pharmacies are the ones that have a chance to continue to grow and prosper in their communities. when we have our community pharmacies operating as they should, we are going to be able to continue the process of making sure that our communities have the pharmacies that they can depend on and also a
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transparency that comes with dealing with these p.b.m.'s and the auditing practices, which have been really tearing apart our pharmacies and community pharmacies as a whole. i go back to that one statement my local pharmacist said to me nd he was explaining that if this doesn't change, our pharmacists will be out of business. there won't be any pharmacies left in the community world. for northeast georgia, that will be a tragedy. i see my friend from . nnsylvania >> mr. speaker, today independent pharmacists are increasing number of
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challenges that threaten their very livelihood. these are the independent mom and pop pharmacies that all americans have come to know and to love. they are the neighborhood staple that you have come to rely on. they are where you can go for basic medical advice and where new parents can have their hild's prescriptions filled. mr. marino: they fill over 200 prescriptions every day. provide immunization, durable medical equipment, diabetes training and other vital services. unfortunately, these independent pharmacies are vulnerable and having to lay off workers at an alarming rate. as more independent pharmacies are forced to close their doors, i'm increasingly concerned about the impact that this will have on american families, especially
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those in rural areas like in my district of northeast pennsylvania. not only does their closure jeopardize the local drug supply, but it also has dangerous consequences for the surrounding areas, medical providers. dangerous consequences for the surrounding area's medical providers. one of the biggest dangers is the pharmacy benefit management industry or p.b.m. p.b.m.'s power has become concentrated into the hands of a few enabling them to dominate. independent pharmacies are at a competitive disadvantage that prevents them from providing their customers with vital prescriptions at a reasonable cost. i have heard from a number of pharmacists that p.b.m.'s have incredible market power over
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independent pharmacists. the political power of only a handful of companies has enabled to grow their competition which has expected to intensify if obamacare is fully implemented. i, along with my colleague to my right, and judy chu of california introduced 1188, the preserving our hometown independent pharmacies act of 2013. this bipartisan commonsense legislation provides a limited exemption for independent community pharmacists from antitrust laws. my bill would level the playing field by enabling the mom and pop farpsis to work together to negotiate better contract terms from the large drug companies. the unchecked practice of p.b.m.'s have gone on for too long and time we passed h.r.
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1188 to stop these harmful practices. and i yield back. mr. collins: as our time draws to a close tonight, i'm pleased we can begin these conversations. that's what i want to have with the american people, bringing out and highlighting legislation and the work that i believe that is being done here because i believe there are great things that can happen when we pull together and find the things that matter to main street. and when we do that, congressman marineo and others as we pull forward, are bringing ideas to the forefront that help and build our economy and talk about those jobs and keep those jobs in the community and provide a great public service. when we are looking at the health care situation and elderly population, our pharmacies need to make sure that our health and well-being are taken care of in a kind and compassion nature way. the challenges are great but the important role that they play in
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our towns and states are greater still. and i thank the gentleman from pennsylvania for his leadership and i thank him for joining me here tonight and being a part of discussing real answers of why the conservative agenda is important to america because it matters to the main street and real people on every day life situations and with that, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. under the speaker's announced policy of january 3, 2013, the bachmann, nizes mrs. or 30 minutes. mrs. bachmann: thank you and thank you to the constitution, the declaration of independence and to the rules of this body that allows for members to come
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down this well in the most important place where free speech is allowed and i'm grateful for that opportunity to be here tonight. and one subject that i would like to focus on this evening is the issue that is being taken up here in washington, d.c. and has gotten recent attention in recent weeks certainly with the bill that came through the united states senate and that is the bill that granted amnesty to illegal aliens. that bill passed through the united states senate. unfortunately that bill does not about the main problem that we deal with in immigration and that is border security. 27 years ago, ronald reagan made a deal with the american people, mr. speaker, he said we are going to have a one-time deal and deal with immigration right now. sounds like familiar rhetoric we are getting today. we are going to deal with this issue once and for all and take this issue off the table and president reagan said we are going to secure the borders and
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make that happen but we are going to grant amnesty to the illegal aliens that are here in the united states. he estimated about one million illegal aliens would be here in the united states. once the bill was passed the american people found out it wasn't a million illegal aliens but 3.6 million illegal aliens that were granted amnesty status. once that status was granted, they had a policy of dealing with chain migration and that urned into 15 million were allowed to come into the united states as immigrants. we are all immigrants. i'm an immigrant. i imagine you are an immigrant. we are descended from immigrants. we are not here bashing. we love immigrants. but what we do love also is the rule of law.
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we believe in the rule of law. that's what this chamber is. in fact this chamber, mr. speaker, is surrounded, there are medallions above every door in this chamber and those have the faces of lawmakers over the time recorded human history. silloch one of these is a uhette and they are good rules and good society and in this chamber, many of the american people may not know, our motto in god we trust is written above the stand where you are standing today just above the american flag and just opposite of in god we trust is a lawmaker. unique among all of the lawmakers in this chamber. that lawmaker is moses. moses faces the speaker. and you'll note, mr. speaker,
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that moses is the only lawmaker that has a full face. and why would that be? why would moses be given a status different than all of the other lawmakers in this chamber? mr. speaker i believe it is for this reason, i believe it is because the great injuryist blackstone, blackstone wrote that english common law and all of law in england is based upon the foundation bedrock of the ten commandments as given through moses and moses the most important law giver, because all of the law you see, all of the subsequent lawmakers down throughout the recorded anals of is given by moses and
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all of law and descends from there. why that history of lesson? i'm talking about law and the law giver while we are in the middle of talking about immigration? because right now, mr. speaker, the senate bill and the proposed house bill, so-called the dream premised upon the condition that people who came into the united states by breaking the law would receive an unparalleled benefit much more so than the benefit of those who come into america legally. how many people come into america legally? it's shocking. a million people a year, mr. speaker, are allowed into the united states legally. they go through the process and they become american citizens and we applaud and i have been
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to naturalization ceremonies proudly welcoming individuals in. i was in a cab here, a man was pakistan was thrilled to be an american citizen and i said i'm grateful that you here and grateful that you came into our nation legally. welcome. we're happy you're here. i married a family of immigrants. my in-laws came here through the legal process. why is this important? we as a nation of laws must observe those laws. and now we are looking at changing that status by rewarding people who broke laws and putting them ahead of the line in front of people who stood by the law and did everything they could to follow the law to become legal citizens.
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if you look at the nations of the world if you look at the numb of people in every single nation in the world, and the united states is not the most populated country, there are more people in china an the united states yet the united states is such a generous group of people, we allow more legal immigration in one year than the rest of the world, every country of the world combined, we allow more legal immigrants. a million people a year. yet we still have four million people on a waiting list doing everything right, trying to come into the country legally system of why, i ask, mr. speaker, would we put to the front of the line lawbreakers, people who decided, we're not going to pay attention to the law, to the law givers of history, to moses, who gave the original 10 commandments. we're going to break this law in this body where law is made, we're going to break this law
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and for some reason this body would choose to benefit those who broke our laws? i say no. because the real problem with immigration, mr. speaker, is that we need to keep it legal and make it legal. that's why our very first consideration and only consideration should be complete border security first. border security for america first. why? because amnesty for illegal aliens is incredibly expensive. the estimate, mr. speaker, is $6 trillion of additional debt for our children. $6 trillion. in redistribution of wealth with amnesty for illegal aliens. nearly half of that number, mr. speaker, shockingly, would be for retirement benefits for illegal aliens. so while you and i and millions of americans have been working and paying in over the decades
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to social security and to medicare, while we've been paying in and while people who are baby boomers like myself are just about at that time to draw down on our social security and our medicare benefits, now we would open the door wide, we would benefit and grant citizenship to immigrants and grant access to social security, medicare, obamacare, medicaid, 0 different means tested programs. why would we do this? because we have we have an abundance of money overflowing from our treasury and don't know what to do with it? just in -- i don't think system of just in my brief time in congress we've doubled the national debt. full on amnesty with no means of deportation ever work no border security ever, that's the bill coming out of the senate whafment is the house of
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representatives loobing to take up. it's a different bill. it's called the dreamers bill. and we're all told that what we need to do is get behind this effort to reward instant legalization status to children of illegal aliens. i want to put this on the floor for the american people. the children of illegal ail general -- aliens very well may make up the largest subset of illegal aliens in the united states. but we need to recognize this isn't amnesty, this about feeling sorry for wids or dealing with people who through no fault of their own are here illegally. we're talking about millions of vims who would be given instantaneous legal status but it isn't just the children, mr. speaker. because they would be given amnesty, they would immediately have the right to apply and it would be granted for their arents to have legal status.
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legal, permanent status. so we aren't just talking about millions of kids, mr. speaker. we're talking about all their parents too. so take all of the kids and then double the number for their biological parents and then if there is a waiting period, let's say five years, until they get their full legal status, then the parents can apply for legal status for their parents. and it goes from there. very likely what we will see is a family reunification, chain migration and rather than tens of millions of illegal aliens, some have estimated as much as over 100 million additional illegal aliens would be given amnesty in addition to the general troice of every year. now why is this important? again, because we hate immigrants? absolutely, 1,000% no, that's
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not draw. number one rule of law, we need to observe the law. number two, dealing with our debt and with the costs, it costs a fortune to have illegal immigration. but here's the third reason. it's because we will never solve this problem. you see, all we will have done, mr. speaker, is made sure that we will increase this problem and we will have it with us forever because we will have ongoing, perpetual amnesty. i would like to ask to join me right now, my fellow colleague, representative steve king from iowa, who has been essentially the leading voice on this issue in congress, talking about making sure that we the american people recognize what we're going into. you see, we had the obamacare bill, former speaker nancy pelosi said we had to read the bill to know what was in it. it's a travesty. it's bankrupting america. also with the so-called dreamer act which let's face it, it is
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three quarts of the cost of the terrible fake border security bill in the senate. you've got a terrible full-on amnesty bill in the senate, mr. speaker, the dreamers bill takes you three quarters of the way to the full-on amnesty bill. so when you take these two bills and put them in conference committee, you can have either 100% amnesty or you could have 75% amnesty. when you split the difference on that, where are you? you've you got amnesty. that's problem, mr. speaker. it's a big no border security but it's a total authentic nearly 100% amnesty. and i'd like to add -- ask representative steve king to speak to that now. i yield to the gentleman. the ing: i thank gentlelady for yielding and i appreciate the delivery you make and the understanding driving this issue. if a few of us don't stand up and drive this issue and remind
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mr. speaker that the american people observe what we do here and they are thoughtful, they're intelligent, they're analytical, and they understand the history of this country and they don't want to have somebody feed them a line, they want to know the squared away truth. that's why i dig down into a bill like s 744, the gang of eight's bill in the sthath and take it apart and analyze it and put it back together and come to this conclusion. from the beginning i called it the always is always was, always will be amnesty act. the reason i say that is because you'd have to just kind of have a little bit of license with your grammar but if you is in america you get to stay if you was in america you get an invitation to come back, and if you ever get here you always will be able to stay here. the always is, always was and always will be amnesty act. if that doesn't trip your bib lick call trigger, i'll say it
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in this way, it is perpetual and retroactive amnesty act. which means it goes on forever and it also invites the people who have been deported in the past, says, we didn't mean it. if we -- we deported you in the past it was by a mistake we department realize because our president hadn't been elected and he hadn't decided he was going to rilet his constitutional oath and dwant this executive edict that legalizes people that are here. i remind you, mr. speaker that we had 400,000 people that were adjews kated for removal in this country and the president issued an order and used our precious resources to go back and comb through the records again and that directive said, look at they will on an individual basis. the reason they do that is because they claim they have prosecutorial discretion. if they deal with individuals they cannot enforce the law but if they have to put it into classes of people they know they don't have prosecutorial discretion from a legal point.
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so they used resources to comb through those 400,000 names of people to find ways that they could waive the application of the law. that's amnesty by executive edict and it's using resources, didn't matter if they were young or old, if they hadn't committed a felony and been caught at it or didn't commit three caught at these mysterious misdemeanors, they were going to get the application of the law which was removal, they were waiting for their final removal order so the president believed he had the constitutional authority to grant this amnesty. that was precursor to the balance of the morton memo the dream act like this executive edict for the dream act. it sets up four cat gophers people, generally young people but now we see that according to the gang of eight's bill, age up to 35. if you -- up to age 35 if you want to attest you came to america before your 16th birthday or your 18th birthday
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depending on which policy you want to take, it wasn't your fault, it was your parents' position. reminds me of a long shirt tail relation who found himself in jail on christmas eve and his father decide he would bail him out and bring him home for christmas, christmas eve, christmas day, christmas dinner and take him back to the jail where he belonged again. when his father showed up, this, let me say this, this uncooperative son was so resentful he said to his father, it's not my fault, dad, it's your fault because you controlled everything, you controled my genes and you controlled my environment, i didn't control either one. i'm a product of nature and nurture and you are the one that produced the nature and nurture therefore it's your fault i'm in jail. i can tell you what his father said, you can stay in jail if you think it's not your responsibility and think it over. well i heard this new theory come in the committee here just yesterday, i guess it was, that
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if young people don't -- young people can't form intent. i wondered about that. that was a bit of a new theory for me. we do prosecute intent in this clint -- mrs. bachmann: would the gentleman yield? mr. king: i'd be happy to. ms. balk minnesota: mr. speaker, representative king has stated that in the committee, they were told that young people could not form intent. my question would be under the proposed dream act that we have looked at so far, we're looking at age 35 being considered an age, from zero to 35, these people would be given automatic amnesty from being an illegal alien and of course we know their parents would immediately be able to come in as legal permanent residents as well. my question would be, do we consider that you are not legally capable of forming an intent when you're age 35? i yield back. .
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mr. king spoth i thank the gentlelady for yielding. which is my point, we know that yuck people can form intent, that's why we discipline them at a young age. and 2-year-olds get a little discipline because they have intent. 3-year-olds have more intent, get a little more discipline. by the time they're 7 or 8, they are actually disciplined. i think that's an argument that moves us off the target and regardless of whether they have intent when they're 1 day old, one-year-old, 10 years old, whenever that time comes when they become of age, and they realize they're unlawfully present in the united states, the law requires they remove themselves. it's ju the law. and so we expect them to accept this responsibility whether it was the intent that they had when they came in or the intent they have to stay tomorrow. and if we don't do that, then we've absolved a whole class of ople from a responsibility
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and rewarded them with the objective of their crime. if we destroy the rule of law, an essential pillar of american exceptionalism, we couldn't be a great nation without the rule of law if we destroy that even in the narrower version of immigration or the narrower version of the dream kids, then it expands into all people who are here illegally pause age is only the difference and you cannot draw a line and then you have expanded the amnesty throughout all immigration and you've destroyed rule of law and if we can't restore it in this time, since we've been struggling to do so since the 1986 amnesty act, we could not restore the rule of law with regard to immigration or -- for all time and we could therefore then not control immigration in this country any longer, only by trying to keep people out by barriers in the borders but then if we couldn't -- but we couldn't then enforce the law against anybody who got in. can you imagine turning over the immigration law in the
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united states to everybody but those who are in america? if you're not in america you get to decide immigration law, if you're in america you don't get to decide immigration law. that's what we're doling with. the gentlelady from minnesota. mrs. bachmann: one thing i wanted to mention as well, speaking with thoiven experts, robert rector from the heritage foundation, we asked him, what's the average age of the average illegal immigrant into the united states, he said it's age 34. so isn't it a coincidence, mr. speaker, that legislation that's being proposed is to grant amnesty to anyone age 35 or below and again they would instantaneously be table apply for legal permanent residence for their paraphernalias and it would be granted, automatically system of we are talking not about a tiny subset, we're talking about a tremendously huge subset. here's the other identifying feature that mr. rector has said. the average age being about age
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34, the average education level being something less than 10th grathe grade, that's not to make fun of anyone that they don't have the education level, but i'm talking about the impact now, not on the illegal immigrants, i'm talking about the impact on the american people. who are senior citizens, citizens who are in the working age population and people the burden of all of the debt that is being handed to them right now. when an individual comes into this country and have less than education, the statistics bear it out, mr. speaker, according to heritage foundation, that those individuals over the course of their lifetime are revenue consumers. in other words, they take more out of the united states treasury than they pay in. so if we allow the dream act,
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which is three-fourths of the y amnesty, which is backdoor amnesty for all practical purposes. if we allow that, we are bringing into this country tens of millions individuals who would be taking out of the treasury at the worst possible time. when we have pensions and health care and education to pay for. fire protection and the estimate is that we are looking at over subsidy,year in annual direct payout for the average illegal alien that is coming into the united states. now they do pay taxes. they may pay $10,000, but they are a net minus, cost to the treasury about $10,000. why is this important? we are talking about people. we are.
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we are talking about the american people, american senior citizens who worked their whole life for their social security and medicare and who are nervous about the fact that we are going into bankruptcy and we are talking about people all right. we are talking about the american worker. 22 million of whom can't find full-time employment and james offa from the teamster's union and he said, mr. speaker, what is wrong with you, we work hard, now the new norm is a 30-hour work week and no benefits package. where are the jobs, where are the wages, benefit packages. are they going to illegal aliens that we are making legal or we thinking about the workers of this country and for the people that we are about to hand the baton to, the next generation.
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i yield to the gentleman from iowa. mr. king: i think that we have some intelligent and responsible members of congress that probably haven't contemplated something i'm about to say. i hear them say they are ok with increasing the work force especially in the low-skilled categories because they believe agriculture needs laborers and food processing needs laborers. i hear that, too. but here are the facts. the double-digit unemployment, the highest unemployment levels that we have are in the lowest skilled jobs. when you go into double-digit unemployment and the lowest skilled people are in oversupply, you have to believe it is a commodity and it is determined by supply and demand in the marketplace. if you have an oversupply of people who are willing to work in underskilled jobs, the wages go down and get suppressed.
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in the packing plant in the town where i was born, people that worked in the packing plant perhaps 25 or 30 years ago made equivalent to the salary of a college educated teacher working in the same town and could pay for a modest home. those children would have the opportunity to go to college if they chose and live a happy life y punching the clock and cashing the check. today, people working in the same plant are making half of what the teachers are making and the teachers aren't overpaid. that's what we are dealing with. when you see what happens -- and the difference is, the people that used to work in that plant, they aren't there. but people have been recruited from foreign countries and put into the work force and have been an oversupply that they have driven the wages down, supply and demand. why we have an oversupply of people who are willing to do low or unskilled work, why would we go out and legalize another 11
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or 22 or 33 million people. why would a nation do that? why would a nation have people working age not in the work force decide we aren't going to let them go to work and let them collect and import tens of millions of people to do this work and realize you have a double liability here because people working on the lower skilled jobs can't sustain themselves in this society with the wages they are getting because they are suppressed by oversupply. and on the other side, people are drawing down from the public treasury and we are paying them not to work. we have a double liability here instead of a double asset. and i spent my life in the trucking business and we say we want to pay low both ways. we want to pay low both ways. i yield back. mrs. bachmann: mr. speaker, i wanted to add, i don't think we
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can underscore enough the fact when we are looking at the dream act, we are talking about a small group of people. this is a large group of people and we are talking about amnesty. three-quarters of the way of amnesty. the senate bill is 100% amnesty for all illegal aliens in the united states. the dream act is three-fourths of the way towards full amnesty. it isn't just children. we are talking about 35 years old, and we are talking about them having an an immediate ability to make their parents legal. the $6 trillion cost is pretty close with the dream act as well. and realize politically what happens here. e are look ink at 100% amnesty with three-quarters of the way in conference committee, are we going to have anything less than
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full on 100% amnesty and no border security. i yield back. mr. king: i think the gentlelady has described it accurately and we need to be careful about what get vehicles get sent over that could be turned into a conference report. we have an assurance that there is not going to be such a thing and there are things that could surprise us. i ask people, paint for me the path through which enforcement legislation could get to the president's desk without amnesty attached. and even if it got to the president's desk with the best enforcement model, the amnesty attached, the president would sign it and wouldn't enforce the law. he would just grant the amnesty. i had a statement that i made that i would like to introduce into the record and i ask unanimous consent to do that, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: without
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objection. mr. king: and i want to say i appreciate the gentlelady coming down here and leading on this event tonight and taking such a strong voice. and we have a great country still. and we can be a greater country yet, but we must re-anchor and e-establish ourselves to the american exceptionalism. i yield back. mrs. bachmann: i thank the gentleman from iowa. he is putting in the pillars of american exceptionalism. we are concerned about the american people first, american jobs first. american wages first and american benefits first. a study came out from harvard that said illegal aliens have contributed to a loss of $1,300. let's not drive that number any further. i'm grateful we had this opportunity to discuss this with
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the american people this evening. yield back. the chair: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from minnesota seek recognition? mrs. bachmann: i make a motion to adjourn. the chair: those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted.
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statement from tracy martin, father of trayvon martin. you can see the entire event online. here is some of what he said. >> i would like to thank the members of congress for having me here today. it is certainly an honor and a pleasure. lot.definitely means a
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first of all, i would like to take this time to let everyone know some of the things that they really didn't know about trayvon. all, when we talk about one of the greatest gifts that a man can receive from a woman, i think that greatest gift would be a son. just to have your son's life taken away from you, when you to become anim upstanding citizen of this country, it is heart wrenching. that is something that you can never get over. trayvon was my hero. he saved my life. not to be there in his time of need, it is troublesome. not to be able to save my son's life.
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slandered andme , i think it is real important as a father my message to the world is that we will not let the verdict some up who trayvon was. i vowed to do everything in my power not to give up the fight for him. and only the fight for trayvon, but fight for so many other young black and brown boys of this country. the point that president obama made, 35 years ago that this could have been him, was so important to the american people. obviously, the most influential man on the planet is weighing in
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from an american perspective. just to have a president united states comment on our situation, -- it is touched on moment the common such as the .resident made it sparks the conversation in every household. the conversation is, what can we do as parents, what can we do is man, what can we do as fathers? what can we do with mentors, what can we do to stop this from happening to your child? i think that is what a conversation -- where the conversation begin. and a lot of our energy that we channel, we have taken the negative energy that has been throughout this whole process and we are trying to turn it
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into a positive. and let the people would tell you nothing positive can come out of death -- a lots of people will tell you that nothing positive can come out of death. i disagree wholeheartedly. tomorrow ase can do a nation, as a people to stop someone else from being killed. it is certainly a negative -- it is certainly a positive. that is why we're putting our energy into the trayvon martin foundation. it is here for advocating against senseless crime, senseless gun violence. we're are going to have mentoring programs. we want to try to educate our communities on the flawed -- florida laws that we need to understand how they apply to ourselves.
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many positive things that will come out of this incident. that is why we are here. we want congress, the members of congress to hear we are the voice for trayvon. do --is nothing we can't can do to bring trayvon back. if there's something we can do as a foundation to help other families from going through this, then we are here. >> thank you. i offer this evening clarifies and confirms the scope of two programs that mr. snowden illegally exposed while sitting in a hotel room in communist china. 702, no u.s. citizen in the u.s. can be targeted. i say again, no u.s. person to be targeted in any way by the united states government. while their other authorities,
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the u.s. person may be subject to an investigation, the u.s. government may not do so under section 702. that is this amendment. the second part of the minute clarify section 215 him and known as the section 50105 said. 501 of fisa. that is no record of the actual conversation of the content that is recorded or collected by the national aid agency -- national agency. the nsa has not been acting outside of its authority. it is carefully designed with program layers of oversight on all three bridges of government. this is precisely where our government ought to operate. with input from article one, and article two. and article three of the united
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states constitution. to discuss the legal balance. be misleading the american people into thinking the nsa has been acting illegally. there is no program the night sits government that is is carefully monitored as they program this amendment attempts to clarify. to the extent that some in this chamber wish to review or provide more protections, we should proceed through debated legislative process, so the implications for security are clearly understood. i reserve the balance of my time. >> the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from indiana rise question the >> to claim the posing time. >> i rise to claim the time.
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>> is the judgment oppose? opposed to the amendment. >> does the gentleman from new york? >> i claim time opposition. >> i had a feeling. the gentleman from indiana is recognized to claim the time in opposition. >> as a work in progress, i'll recommend the gentleman from new york for 1.5 minutes. >> you mechanize for 1.5 minutes. the gentleman is recognized for 1.5 minutes. >> this is offered as an alternate to the minute we will offer next. it is not. this minute restates the existing ban on the intentional
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targeting of the night sits prisons. it's has the obama administration ban on click in the conference of the communications of u.s. persons under section 715. i agree with this prohibition. the other thing to do with the current misuse of section 215 to engage in the suspicious collection of telephone records. it includes call information, all incoming phone numbers, and called a ration. not the content. therefore, this minute would have no impact whatsoever on this misuse of section 215. metadata reveals highly personal information, including when and how one calls the doctor, a journalist, or a local tea party affiliates. i tracing the pattern of calls, the government can take details associations and
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activities. congress never authorized this type of unchecked surveillance of our citizens. it is this problem, that we need to fix right now. the minute restores the required relationship between the collection of records, and persons being investigated. the minute means this is not -- this amendment does not fix the problem with 215. the mm it does. it is imperative that we also vote in favor of the men because this amendment, doing no harm, has not solve the problems that withess has a truculent in the respect of the misuse of 215 of the patriot act in a. >> the job from candace.
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-- the gentleman from kansas. >> the gentleman reserves. >> from indiana? >> i would be happy to yield time to the , who makefrom texas an inquiry as to how much time he would like to consume. >> the gentleman from texas is recommend for three minutes. >> i think the gentleman from indiana from yielding. intel's focus on what concerns most americans, and the clarifies what is and is not happening. sometimes it is a challenge for those on the intelligence committee to talk openly about the safeguards and some of these programs. this amendment helps make it
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clear and reassures americans about some of the things they may have read or heard that has occurred within nsa. this meant is not an overreaction to increase the danger that americans face from terrorism around the world. the nsandment says that cannot acquire information for the purpose of targeting americans, and it says clearly monitor nsa my night the content of the communication of the americans. i think the key point that members need to know is that there are multiple layers of safeguards to make sure these programs operate in the way that the fisa court has laid them out to operate. -- intelligence committee even if somebody actually punches a to honor key work, we get a report about that.
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members of the intelligence committee can sit next to analysts and what they are doing. it is not just the intelligence committee it is the fisa court. they have oversight. the same sorts of reports predicting change the guidelines that operates under. in addition to that, there are internal spector general monitoring of these. you get every branch of government involved in making sure that we safeguard -- the safeguards in place. those same safeguards will be in place to make sure that the provisions of the gentleman's amendment are followed as well. some would do away with these programs. no mother safeguards are good for them. they never say what was -- what would replace them. they would just have them go away.
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-- have made a crucial contribution to that success. it seems to me we would be full hearty to toss them away as some would want to do. i think this amendment strikes the right approach. i also believe that the wall street journal mix a good point when it says the last thing congress should do is kill a program in a rush to honor the reckless claims of mr. snowden and his apologist. >> the time is expired. as the gentleman from indiana wish any time?
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the gentleman from kansas is recognized. >> the gentleman is working as for three minutes. >> thank you. thet, i rise in support of pompeo amendment. this amendment reaffirms in america, privacy and security must coexist together. this minute states that in no uncertain terms, the government can not use section 72 of the foreign intelligence act to target americans for surveillance. it makes the intent of congress very clear. i believe the amendment makes a powerful statement that n.s.a. cannot target americans or listen to their phone calls. however, i do understand the
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concerns of the american people and of congress when it comes to these programs. on the house intelligence committee, we are reviewing potential ways to change the fisa act that will provide the intelligence community with the tools it needs to keep our country safe while also protecting privacy and civil liberties. we are committed to having this important discussion. however, i do have concerns about the amendment we will debate next. it is an on-off switch of section 215 of the patriot act and will have an impact and our country will be more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. a planned attack on the new york city subway system was stopped because of section 215. but the amash amendment passes this authority, and it will end it.
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this amendment goss too far too fast on the wrong lemmingstive vehicle. we need to debate the scope of this program and we are, but this is an extreme knee-jerk reaction to the situation. this program has been authorized and re-authorized by congress and receives extensive oversight by the intelligence committee and it is a vital tool to protect our nation. remember, 9/11 happened in part because we failed to connect the dots. one of the critical tools we now have and use to connect those dots is section 215 of the patriot act. remember, this is just phone records, just phone numbers, no conversations. i respectfully urge a no vote on the amash amendment and yes vote on the pompeo amendment. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from indiana is recognized. mr. visclosky: i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from california. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. lofgren: i urge a no vote on the amendment.
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why? because it restates current law and current law has been interpreted by the administration in a way that is frankly contrary to the intent of the crafters of the patriot act. section 215 of the patriot act says that you can obtain information that is relevant to a national security investigation. now what's happened since congress enacted that provision? it's a low bar, but under the n.s.a.'s spreppings, it's no bar at all, because as has been widely reported, they are collecting the information about every phone call made by every american. clearly, that is not relevant to a terrorist investigation. i think it's important to note that business records that are the subject of 215 include a lot of sensitive information.
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what are business records? phone records? internet records? credit card records? medical records? are these things that we would voluntary give up to the government? no. they are incredibly sensitive and that's why they are being sought. i do think it is important to note that the amendment that will follow after this one doesn't end the ability of the government to pursue terrorism. we are all for that. it merely requires that the government adhere to the law, which requires that there be relevant to a terrorist investigation. i do think -- i certainly do not challenge the motivation of the gentleman who has offered this amendment, but i do think that if you think this provides a remedy, then you're wrong. this provides a if anything leaf. we should vote against it. and i hope we will move onto the
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amash amendment and solve the problem today. and i thank the gentleman, and i yield back. the chair: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from kansas. mr. pompeo: i reserve. mr. visclosky: i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from kansas is recognized. mr. pompeo: i would like to correct a couple of things. it is not a if anything leaf but things to clarify about what section 215 authorizes and section 702 authorizes. it is intended to make crystal clear the boundaries of these two important national security programs. these laws have been in place and interpreted by multiple administrations in the same way. there has been no change in this law when this president came into office and we should continue to support these programs regardless who is the commander in chief of the united states. i would ask my colleagues to support this amendment. and i yield back the balance of
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my time. the chair: the gentleman has yielded his time. therefore, all time on this debate has creased. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from kansas. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. >> i ask for the yeas and nays. the chair: does the gentleman request a recorded vote? >> yes, sir. the chair: the gentleman requests a recorded vote. pursuantcl further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from kansas will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 100 printed in house report 11-170.
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for what purpose does the gentleman from michigan seek recognition? mr. amash: i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 100 printed in house report 113-170 offered by mr. amash of michigan. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 312, the gentleman from michigan, mr. amash, and a member opposed will each control 7 1/2 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from michigan. mr. amash: i yield myself one minute. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. amash: we are here today for a very simple reason, to defend the fourth amendment, to defend the privacy of each and every american. as director of national intelligence has made clear, the government collects the phone records without suspicion of every single american in the united states. my amendment makes a simple but important change.
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it limits the government's collection of those records -- of the records to those records that pertain to a person who is the subject of an investigation pursuant to section 215. opponents of this amendment will use the same tactics that every government throughout history has used to justify its violation of rights. fear. they'll tell you the government must violate the rights of the american people to protect us against those who hate our freedoms. they will tell you there is no privacy in documents that are stored with a third party. tell that to the american people. tell that to our constituents back home. we are here to answer one question for the people we represent.are youdo we oppose the suspicionless collection of every american's phone records? the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman reserves. who seeks recognition?
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. >> the gentleman from michigan is recognized. >> thank you pretty american people certainly have legitimate concerns. they should be addressed. we should have time and education on what actually happens in the particular program of which we speak. i will give you my word that fall, we will work to find additional privacy protections with this program that has no e-
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mails, no phone calls, no names, and no addresses. 14 federal judges have said yes, this comports with the constitution. 1979 casearound the of affirmed the underpinnings of the legality of this case. 800. 14 judges are wrong, 800 cases are wrong. the legislators on both intelligence committees are all wrong. why is it that people of both atties look at this program, a time when our nation is under siege, by those individuals who want to bring violence to the shores of the united states. those who know it best to support the program because he spent as much time on this to get it right. to make sure the oversight is right. no other program, no other program has the legislature and the judicial branch doing
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oversight of a program like this. if we had this and other agencies, we would not have problems. it about who we are in this body. have 12 years gone by, and her memories faded so badly we have forgotten what happened on september 11? it does not stop so-called spying and other things it has been alleged to do. that is not what is happening. it is my surveillance bill. it is not monitoring. it does not do any of those things. it happened after september 11 we didn't know, passing this mimic takes us back to september 10. after it we said there is a seam, a gap. overseas,terrorist living amongst us in the united states commonly missed it. it. we didn't have this capability. it? if we had caught it is not a what if.
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it is not theoretical. 54 times, this and the other program stopped and thwarted terrorist attacks here and in europe. saving realize. this is real. it will have a real consequence. this is hard. think of the people who came here before us in this great body. madison, lincoln, kennedy served here. the issues they dealt with, and the politics of moving america forward. the mandate of this house that we must provide for the general defense of the united states, the go those challenges. they go those challenges that they met. are we so small that we can only look at our facebook likes today? are we going to stand up and find harmony lives we can save? let's get back to the big politics of the protecting america. reject this amendment. let's do this right. >> the gentleman from florida
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reserves. >> i reserved. >> i yield 50 seconds to the gentleman from michigan. >> he is recognized for one minute. >> i think the gentleman from yielding to me. ladies and gentlemen of the house, this amendment will not stop the proper use of the patriot act, and pfizer a authorities- fis to conduct intelligence investigation. all this is attending -- attending to do is to curtail the ongoing dragnet collection and storage of the personal records of innocent americans. nsa, andot defund the will continue to allow them to conduct full-fledged surveillance, as long as it
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remains to an actual investigation. i joined together on this bipartisan amendment demonstrating our joint commitment to ensuring that our fight against terrorism, and espionage follows the rules of law. but the clear intent of the statutes passed by this congress. ironed my colleagues on both sides of the aisle -- i urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to adopt this. >> the gentleman from michigan is reserved. the good from florida is recognized. -- the gentleman from florida is recognized. -- am happy to recognize hishe gentlelady from recognize. >> thank you madam speaker. this is a very important issue that we are taking up today. i the number one duty of the darrell government is the safety
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of the american people of our constituents, and our own skins. we have known all too well national security is a real and present danger. it is something we have to take quite seriously. we cannot deal and false narratives. a false narrative has emerged that the federal government is taking in the content of american phone calls. it is not true. it is not happening. a false narrative as a merge of the federal government is taking in the content of the american people's e-mails. it is not true. it is not happening. we need to deal in facts. the facts are real. the facts are these. the only people who have benefited from the revelation of classified information by someone who works for this government, who intentionally and authorized declassified some of the most sensitive national security information that we
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have, the only result is that those who are engaged in islamic jihad jihad will have been benefited. those that we say to protect will not reconsider this. there is more information contained in the phone book that sits at home on your kitchen us inr about each one of the information that is in the national security database we are talking about today. your name, your address, it is in the phone book. your name, your address, is not in this national security at a base. no other nation in the world has the advantage that the united states of has on national security. no other nation. we would agree to handcuff ourselves, and our allies and by restricting ourselves. let it not be. let us not deal in false narratives. let us deal in facts that will
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keep the american people safe. when you look at envelope, when i letter is put in the mail, is there a privacy right as to what has been written on that envelope? no, there isn't. what is contained in that envelope predicted that before the minute right. israel right to the record you call someone on a certain date? no there isn't. it is a record. there is a for the minute right to what is in the phone call. let us in reality, not in else narratives. i yield back. >> the time is expired to read the judgment from florida reserves. the gentleman from michigan is recognize. to theeld one minute gentleman from wisconsin. >> he recommends for one minute. >> thank you very much, madam chair. i rise in strong support of the
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amendment. i do so as the person who has a principal author of the patriot act in 2001, who got that law through quickly after 9/11, and who supported and managed the 2006 reauthorization. let me make this perfectly clear. unlike what we have heard from speakers on the other side of this issue, this amendment does not stop the collection of data under section 215. the people who are subject to an investigation of an authorized terrorist plot. what it does do is prevent the collection of people who are not subject to an investigation. relevance is required in any type of a grand jury subpoena, or a criminal collection of data for a criminal trial. that, andfar beyond
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with the nsa is doing pretty time has come to stop it. the way we stop it is to approve this amendment. >> the settlements time has expired. the gentleman from michigan is reserved. is gentleman from florida recognize. >> i continue to reserve. >> he continues to reserve pretty gentleman from michigan is recognize. >> the development colorado is recognize for 30 seconds. >> -- the gentleman from colorado is recognize for 30 seconds. >> many americans fundamental liberties in our country and constitutional rights. in addition, it has ruined and ,urt our reputation abroad threatening trade reputation with allies, threatening andican jobs as a result
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putting in danger the cooperative insurance relationship to need to fight the war on terror. the responsible thing to do, let's pass this amendment and toe a practical approach show our liberties and securities are consistent for america. i yield back the rest of my time. time hasntleman's expired. the general from michigan? continue to reserve. >> i yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from carolina. >> the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. beyond that.estion the balancing is done by people we do not elect. admitted lying to this body in the hearing. that is wrong. we should be doing the balancing. we were elected to do that and we'd need to pass this amendment so we can do the balancing, not
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folks who are not elected and we do not know. >> the gentleman yield back. >> i reserve the balance of my time. >> the gentleman from florida is recognized. >> i continue to reserve. >> the gentleman from florida reserve. >> may i are how much time remains? >> yes. 3.5 minutes remaining. >> i yield 30 seconds to the gentlewoman from california. >> 30 seconds. i want to talk about the oversight. to think that congress has substantial oversight of this program is incorrect.
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i agree when we wrote the patriot act, and i would ask unanimous consent to place in the record a letter to remove him from the department of justice that justice that basically says, because 300 inquiries were made, the records of every single american became relevant. >> your time has expired. the request will be considered. the gentleman from michigan? >> i yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from texas. >> the gentleman from texas is recognized for 30 seconds. toi ask unanimous consent revise and expand. this is not about how sincere the nsa people are in implementing this technique. it is not about how careful they are. it is whether they have the onht to collect the data every phone call for every
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american every day. the patriot act it not specifically authorized, section 215 talked about tangible things relevant to an authorized security investigation. the nsa's interpretation, relevant means all data all the time. that is wrong. searches and seizures shall not be violated and no warrants shall be issued. but by probable cause, particularly describing the place to be searched, those who choose to trade liberty for security will find they have neither. i yield back. >> i yield 30 seconds to the gentleman from texas.
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>> recognized for 30 seconds. >> particular and specific about the place to be searched. no judge would ever sign a general search warrant like the british did, allowing the police to search every house on the block, much less everybody's phone number -- phone records. the government has gone too far. no more dragnet operations. a specific law based on probable cause, or stay out of our lives here it that is the way it is. [applause] >> the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york is recognized for 30 seconds. >> this amendment stops the government from section 215 to engage in the collection of all
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of our personal telephone records. congress did not grant them the authority for any subsequent search of the data. this amendment restores the diamond relevant to an authorized terrorist investigation. it restores the minimal relevant standards but ignored by excessive administrations. they cannot operate above or beyond the law as they operate in this respect. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of the amendment. >> the time has expired. the gentleman from michigan. the gentleman from virginia is recognized for 30 seconds. , that is of assistance what we are looking at. the founding fathers found that. but they are doing violates the fourth amendment. we took an oath to hold -- uphold the constitution. a secret agency deals with a ofret word and members
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congress are limited to their actions to the actions of that committee but we are supposed to trust them. we have got a job to do. i yield back and we vote yes. class the gentleman's time has expired. >> may i inquire how much time remains? >> 45 seconds remaining. the gentleman from florida has two minutes remaining. >> i yield 30 seconds to the gentlelady from hawaii. >> the gentlelady is recognized for 30 seconds. >> thank you. countless men and women from my state and all across the country uniforms withe their lives on the line to protect our freedoms and liberties. i cannot, in good conscience, vote to take a single dollar from the pockets of hard-working taxpayers across the country to pay for programs that would infringe on the very liberties and freedoms our troops have fought and died for. ben franklin said, they -- they who give up essential liberties
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to have a little bit of safety deserve neither. >> i yield myself as much time as i may consume. >> 15 seconds. >> we are here to answer one question for the people we represent. ofwe oppose the collection every american's phone records? when you have the chance to stand up for america's privacy, did you? please support the amendment and a poem -- oppose the right of our constituents. >> the time has expired. the german from florida? two minutes for closing argument to the gentleman from arkansas. >> the gentleman from arkansas is recognized for two minutes. >> thank you. i write to strongly urge opposition to the amendment. this program has stopped dozens
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of terrorist attacks. does not limit the program and does not modify or's constrain the program. it ends the program. it blows it up. some of you have heard the analogy that if you want to have search for a needle and a haystack, you have to have a haystack. this blows away the entire haystack. you will not have this program if the amendment passes. all you havespite already heard. the program is constitutional under the supreme court president. -- precedent. this program is approved by large majorities of this body on the statute text they approve, not secret intense. overseen by article three duchess -- judges.
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byis executed primarily military officers, not generals, but the majors and the kernels who have been fighting and bleeding for the country for 12 years. what is it? an excelhing more than spreadsheet with five columns. date, time, the duration. five columns. billions of rows. cannotn a locked box and be searched unless you have pacific suspicion of a number being used by a terrorist. go into the they database and write a search for what the under the supreme court president. number has been calling. why do you need it? verizon, at&t, other companies, will not keep this data.
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so intelligence professionals could search it so they can roll up another bad guy because you only have a few arrow -- hours to stop a terrorist. we are at war. you may not like that truth. it is the truth. we are at war. do not take this tool away from us. [applause] >> the question is, on the amendment offered by the gentleman from michigan, those in favor, say i. opposed, say no. in the opinion of the chair opp. in the opinion of the chair, the no proxies have it. further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from michigan will be class afterea reporting -- postponed. >> the house preclude -- approved a defense bill. thursday includes a bill related to the disposal -- live coverage of the houses here on c-span.
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in a few moments, president obama on jobs and the economy. in a little more than an hour, and rational republican leaders talk about the speech by the president. after that, class after reporting a word on closing a guantanamo bay detention facility. several live events to tell you about tomorrow. beginning on the form with the health insurance -- affordable care act. that is just after 8:00 a.m. eastern. a sees and three at 11 a.m., security committee continues -- considers a nomination to the director of homeland security. director of homeland security. later, on c-span3, a senate energy and national research committee focuses on water infrastructure. witnesses include representative at the interior parliament.
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>> the first lady becomes the chief conquered -- confidant. she is the only one of the world you can trust. he unloads to her and talks to her. they have all done that. they are all strong women they accompanied usually a strong man to where he was. i would say their main role is confidant to the president eric >> our original series examines public and private lives of these women. watch the encore presentation of "first ladies." weeknights in august at 9:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> president obama said wednesday the keys to restoring the middle class are jobs.
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this is a little more than an hour. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] president barack obama: hello, galesburg! [cheers and applause] well, it's good to be home in illinois. [cheers and applause] it is good to be back. [cheers and applause] it's good to be back. thank you. thank you so much, everybody. [cheers and applause] thank you so much. thank you. thank you. [cheers and applause] thank you so much. thank you. everybody have a seat. have a seat. well, it is good to be back. i want to -- i want to, first of all, thank knox college -- [cheers and applause] -- i -- i want to thank knox college and your president, teresa amott,
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for having me here today. give teresa a big round of applause. [cheers and applause] i want to thank your congresswoman, cheri bustos, who's here. [cheers and applause] where's cheri? there she is. we've got governor quinn here. [cheers and applause] i'm told we've got -- your lieutenant governor, sheila simon, is here. [cheers and applause] there she is.
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attorney general lisa madigan is here. [cheers and applause] i see -- i see a bunch of my former colleagues, some -- some folks who i haven't seen in years and i'm looking forward to saying hi to. one in particular i've got to mention. one of favorites from the illinois senate, john sullivan, is in the house. [cheers and applause] yeah, john -- john was one of my earliest supporters when i was running for the u.s. senate, and it came in really handy because he's got like 10 brothers, and his wife -- and sisters, and his wife's got 10 brothers and sisters. [laughter] so -- so they've got this entire precinct just in their family. [laughter] and they all look like john, the brothers do, so you know, he doesn't have to go to every event. he can just send one of his brothers out. [laughter] it is good to see them. dick durbin couldn't make it
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today, but he sends his best. and we love dick. [cheers and applause] he is doing a great job. and we've got one of my favorite neighbors, the senator from missouri claire mccaskill, in the house, because we're going to missouri later this afternoon. [cheers and applause] so -- and all of you are here, and it's great to see you. [cheers and applause] and i hope i hope everybody's having a wonderful summer. the weather is perfect. whoever was in charge of that, good job. [laughter]
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so eight years ago, i came here to deliver the commencement address for the class of 2005. now, things were a little different back then. for example, i had no gray hair. [laughter] or a motorcade. [laughter] didn't even have a prompter. in fact, there was a problem in terms of printing out the speech because the printer didn't work here and we had to drive it in from somewhere. [laughter] but it was my first big speech as your newest senator. and on the way here i was telling cheri and claire about how important this area was -- one of the areas that i spent the most time in outside of chicago and how much it represented what's best in america and folks who are willing to work hard and do right by their families. and i came here to talk about what a changing economy was doing to the middle class and what we as a country needed to do to give every american a chance to get ahead in the 21st century. see, i had just spent a year traveling the state and listening to your stories of proud maytag workers losing their jobs when the plant moved down to mexico -- [applause] -- a lot of folks here remember that -- of teachers whose salaries weren't keeping up with the rising cost of groceries -- [applause] -- of young people who had the drive and the energy but not the money to afford a college education. [cheers and applause]
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so these were stories of families who had worked hard, believed in the american dream, but they felt like the odds were increasingly stacked against them. and they were right. things had changed. in the period after world war ii, a growing middle class was the engine of our prosperity.
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whether you owned a company or swept its floors or worked anywhere in between, this country offered you a basic bargain, a sense that your hard work would be rewarded with fair wages and decent benefits, the chance to buy a home, to save for retirement and -- and most of all, a chance to hand down a better life for your kids. but over time that engine began to stall, and a lot of folks here saw it. that bargain began to fray. technology made some jobs obsolete. global competition sends a lot of jobs overseas. it became harder for unions to fight for the middle class. washington doled out bigger tax cuts to the very wealthy and
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smaller minimum wage increases for the working poor. and so what happened was that -- [applause] -- the -- the link between higher productivity and people's wages and salaries was broken. used to be that as companies did better, as profits went higher, workers also got a better deal. and that started changing. so the income of the top 1 percent nearly quadrupled from 1979 to 2007, but the typical family's incomes barely budged. and towards the end of those three decades, a housing bubble,
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credit cards, a churning financial sector was keeping the economy artificially juiced up, so sometimes it papered over some of these long-term trends. but by the time i took office in 2009 as your president, we all know the bubble had burst. and it cost millions of americans their jobs and their homes and their savings. and i know a lot of folks in this area were hurt pretty bad. and the decadeslong erosion that had been taking place, the erosion of middle-class security, was suddenly laid bare for everybody to see. now, today, five years after the start of that great recession, america has fought its way back. we've fought our way back. [cheers and applause] together we saved the auto industry, took on a broken health care system.
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[cheers and applause] we invested in new american technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil. we doubled wind and solar power. [cheers and applause] together we put in place tough new rules on big banks and protections to crack down on the worst practices of mortgage lenders and credit card companies. [applause] we changed a tax code too skewed in favor of the wealthiest at the expense of working families.
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so we changed that. we locked in tax cuts for 98 percent of americans, and we asked those at the top to pay a little bit more. [applause] so you add it all up, and over the past 40 months our businesses have created 7.2 million new jobs. this year we're off to our strongest private sector job growth since 1999. and because we bet on this country, suddenly foreign companies are too. right now more -- more of honda's cars are made in america than anyplace else on earth. [applause] yeah. airbus, the -- the european aircraft company -- they're building new planes in alabama. [applause] then american companies like ford are replacing outsourcing with insourcing. they're bringing jobs back home. [cheers and applause]
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we sell more products made in america to the rest of the world than ever before. we now produce more natural gas than any country on earth. we're about to produce more of our own oil than we buy from abroad for the first time in nearly 20 years. [applause] the cost of health care is growing at its slowest rate in 50 years. [cheers and applause] and our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years. [cheers and applause] so thanks to the grit and resilience and determination of the american people, of folks like you, we've been able to clear away the rubble from the financial crisis.
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we've started to lay a new foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth. and you know, it's happening in our own personal lives as well, right? a lot of us tightened our belts, shed debt, maybe cut up a couple of credit cards, refocused on those things that really matter. as a country, we've recovered faster and gone further than most other advanced nations in the world, with new american revolutions in -- in energy and technology and manufacturing and health care. we're actually poised to reverse the forces that battered the middle class for so long and start building an economy where everyone who works hard can get ahead. but -- and here's the big "but" i'm here to tell you today that we're not there yet. we all know that. we're not there yet. we've got more work to do. even though our businesses are
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creating new jobs and have broken record profits, nearly all the income gains of the past 10 years have continued to flow to the top 1 percent. the average ceo has gotten a raise of nearly 40 percent since 2009. the average american earns less than he or she did in 1999. and companies continue to hold back on hiring those who've been out of work for some time. today more students are earning their degree, but soaring costs saddle them with unsustainable debt. health care costs are slowing down, but a lot of working families haven't seen any of those savings yet. the stock market rebound helped a lot of families get back much of what they had lost in their 401[k]s, but millions of americans still have no idea how they're going to be able to
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retire. so in many ways, the trends that i spoke about here in 2005, eight years ago, the trend of a winner-take-all economy where a few are doing better and better and better while everybody else just treads water -- those trends have been made worse by the recession. and that's a problem. this growing inequality not just of result, inequality of
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opportunity, this growing inequality -- it's not just morally wrong -- it's bad economics because when middle- class families have less to spend, guess what? businesses have fewer consumers. when wealth concentrates at the very top, it can inflate unstable bubbles that threaten the economy. when the rungs on the ladder of opportunity grow farther and farther apart, it undermines the very essence of america, that idea that if you -- if you work hard, you can make it here. and that's why reversing these trends has to be washington's highest priority. [applause] it has to be washington's highest priority. it's certainly my highest priority. [applause] unfortunately, over the past couple of years in particular, washington hasn't just ignored this problem. too often, washington's made things worse. [applause] and i have to say that, you know
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because i'm looking around the room -- i've got some friends here not just who are democrats i've got some friends here who are republicans and who worked [applause] -- you know, i worked with in the state legislature, and they did great work. but right now, what we've got in washington -- we've seen a sizable group of republican lawmakers suggest that they wouldn't vote to pay the very bills that congress rang up. and that fiasco harmed a fragile
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recovery in 2011, and we can't afford to repeat that. then, rather than reduce our deficits with a scalpel, by cutting out programs we don't need, fixing ones that we do need that maybe are in need of a reform -- making government more efficient -- instead of doing that, we've got folks who have insisted on leaving in place a meat cleaver called the sequester that's cost jobs. it's harmed growth, it's hurt our military, it's gutted investments in education and science and medical research. [applause] almost every credible economist
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will tell you it's been a huge drag on this recovery, and it means that we're underinvesting in the things that this country needs to make it a magnet for good jobs. then over the last six months, this gridlock's gotten worse. i didn't think that was possible. [laughter] the good news is a growing number of republican senators are looking to join their democratic counterparts and try to get things done in the senate. so that's good news. [applause] for example, they worked together on an immigration bill that economists say will boost our economy by more than a trillion dollars, strengthen border security, make the system work. but you've got a faction of republicans in the house who won't even give that bill a vote, and that same group gutted a farm bill that america's farmers depend on but also america's most vulnerable children depend on. audience member: boo! [scattered applause.] president obama: and if you ask some of these folks, some of these folks mostly in the house, about their economic agenda, how it is that they'll strengthen the middle class, they'll shift the topic to out-of-control government spending, despite the fact that we've cut the deficit by nearly half as a share of the economy since i took office. it's harmed growth, it's hurt [cheers and applause]
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or they'll talk about government assistance for the poor, despite the fact that they've already cut early education for vulnerable kids, they've already cut insurance for people who've lost their jobs through no fault of their own. or they'll bring up "obamacare" this is tried and true -- despite the fact that our businesses have created nearly twice as many jobs in this recovery as businesses had at the same point in the last recovery, when there was no "obamacare." [applause] so -- audience member: my daughter has insurance now.
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president obama: i appreciate that. [cheers and applause] that's what that's about. that's what this is about. that's -- that's what we've been fighting for. but with this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, washington's taken its eye off the ball. and i'm here to say this needs to stop. [applause] this needs to stop. [cheers and applause] audience member: [inaudible] -- boehner. president obama: this moment does not require short-term thinking. it does not require having the same old stale debates. our focus has to be on the basic economic issues that the matter most to you -- the people we represent. [applause] that's what we have to spend our time on and our energy on and our focus on. and as washington prepares to enter another budget debate, the stakes for our middle class and everybody who's fighting to get into the middle class could not be higher.
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the countries that are passive in the face of a global economy those countries will lose the competition for good jobs. they will lose the competition for high living standards. that's why america has to make the investments necessary to promote long-term growth and shared prosperity, rebuilding our manufacturing base, educating our workforce, upgrading our transportation systems -- [cheers and applause] -- upgrading our information networks. that's what we need to be talking about. that's what washington needs to
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be focused on. and that's why over the next several weeks in towns across this country, i will be engaging the american people in this debate. [cheers and applause] i'll lay out my ideas for how we build on the cornerstones of what it means to be middle-class in america and what it takes to work your way into the middle class in america -- job security with good wages and durable industries, a good education, a home to call your own, affordable health care when you get sick, a secure retirement even if you're not rich -- [cheers and applause] -- reducing poverty, reducing inequality, growing opportunity. that's what we need. [cheers and applause]
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that's what we need. that's what we need right now. [cheers and applause] that's what we need to be focused on. now -- now, some of these ideas i've talked about before. some of the ideas i offer will be new. some will require congress. some i will pursue on my own. [cheers and applause] some ideas will benefit folks right away. some will take years to fully implement. but the key is to break through the tendency in washington to just bounce from crisis to crisis. what we need is not a three-
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month plan, or even a three-year plan. we need a long-term american strategy based on steady, persistent effort to reverse the forces that have conspired against the middle class for decades. [applause] that has to be our project. [cheers and applause] now, of course we'll keep pressing on other key priorities. i want to get this immigration bill done. we still need to work on reducing gun violence. [cheers and applause] we've -- we've got to -- we've got to continue to end the war in afghanistan, rebalance our fight against al-qaida. [cheers and applause] we need to combat climate change. we've got to stand up for civil rights. we've got to stand up for women's rights. [cheers and applause]
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so all -- all those issues are
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important, and we'll be fighting on every one of those issues. but if we don't have a growing, thriving middle class, then we won't have the resources to solve a lot of these problems. we don't have the resolve, the optimism, sense of unity that we need to solve many of these other issues. now, in this effort, i will look to work with republicans as well as democrats wherever i can. and i -- i sincerely believe that there are members of both parties who understand this moment, understand what's at stake, and i will welcome ideas from anybody across the political spectrum. but i will not allow gridlock or inaction or willful indifference to get in our way. [cheers and applause] that means whatever executive authority i have to help the middle class, i'll use it. [cheers and applause] where i can't act on my own and congress isn't cooperating, i'll pick up the phone, i'll call ceos, i'll call philanthropists, i'll call college presidents, i'll call labor leaders, i'll call anybody who can help and enlist them in our efforts -- [cheers and applause] -- because the choices that we, the people, make right now will determine whether or not every american has a fighting chance in the 21st century. and it'll -- it'll lay the foundation for our children's future, our grandchildren's future for all americans.
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so let me give you a quick preview of what i'll be fighting for and why. the first cornerstone of a strong, growing middle class has to be, as i said before, an economy that generates more good jobs and durable, growing industries. that's how this area was built. that's how america prospered, because anybody who was willing to work -- they could go out there, and they could find themselves a job, and they could build a life for themselves and their family. now, over the past four years, for the first time since the 1990s, the number of american manufacturing jobs has actually gone up instead of down. that's the good news. [cheers and applause] but we -- we can do more. so i'm going to push new initiatives to help more
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manufacturers bring more jobs back to the united states. we're going to continue to focus [applause] -- on strategies to -- to make sure our tax code rewards companies that are not shipping jobs overseas but creating jobs right here in the united states of america. [applause] we want to make sure that we're going to create strategies to make sure that good jobs in wind and solar and natural gas that are lowering costs and at the same time reducing dangerous carbon pollution happen right here in the united states. [cheers and applause] and -- and something that sherri [sp] and i were talking about on the way over here -- i'm going to be pushing to open more manufacturing innovation institutes that turn regions left behind by global
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competition into global centers of cutting-edge jobs. so let's tell the world that america is open for business. [cheers and applause] i know there is an old site right here in galesburg, over on monmouth boulevard. let's -- let's put some folks to work. [cheers and applause] tomorrow i'll also visit the port of jacksonville, florida, to offer new ideas for doing what america has always done best, which is building things. you know, pat and i were talking before i came backstage, pat quinn. he was talking about how i came over the don moffitt bridge, you know, the -- [cheers and applause] --
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but -- but we've got to -- work to do all across the country. we've got ports that aren't ready for the new supertankers that are going to begin passing through the new panama canal in two years' time. if we don't get that done, those tankers are going to do someplace else. we've got more than a hundred thousand bridges that are old enough to qualify for medicare. [laughter and applause] businesses depend on our transportation systems, on our
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power grids, on our communications networks, and rebuilding them creates good- paying jobs right now that can't be outsourced. [applause] and -- and -- and by the way, this didn't -- this isn't a democratic idea. you know, republicans built a lot of stuff. this is the land of lincoln. he -- lincoln was all about building stuff. [cheers and applause] first republican president. and yet, as a share of our economy, we invest less in our infrastructure than we did two decades ago. and that's inefficient at a time when it's as cheap as it's been since the 1950s to build things. it's inexcusable at a time when
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so many of the workers who build stuff for a living are sitting at home waiting for a call. the longer we put this off, the more expensive it will be, and the less competitive we will be. businesses of tomorrow will not locate near old roads and outdated ports. they'll relocate to places with high-speed internet and high- tech schools and systems that move air and auto traffic faster and, not to mention, will get parents home quicker from work because we'll be eliminating some of these traffic jams. and we can watch all of that happen in other countries and start falling behind, or we can choose to make it happen right here in the united states. [cheers and applause] in an age when jobs know no borders, companies are also going to seek out the countries that boast the most talented citizens, and they'll reward folks who've had the skills and the talents they need -- they'll reward those folks with good pay. you know, the days when the wages for a worker with a high school degree could keep pace with earnings of somebody who got some sort of higher education -- those days are over. everybody here knows that. there are a whole bunch of folks where whose dads or grandpas,
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you know, worked at a plant, might -- didn't need a high school education. you could just go there -- if you were willing to work hard, you might be able to get two jobs. and you could support your family, have a vacation, own your home. but technology and global competition -- they're not going away. those old days aren't coming back. so we can either throw up our hands and resign ourselves to diminishing living standards, or we can do what america has always done, which is adapt and pull together and fight back and win. that's what we have to do. [cheers and applause] and that brings me to the second cornerstone of the strong middle class -- and everybody here knows it -- an education that prepares our children and our workers for the global competition that they're going to face. [cheers and applause] family, have a vacation, own your home. but technology and global competition -- they're not going away.
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and if you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs in the 21st century. [applause] if we don't make this investment, we're going to put our kids, our workers and our country at a competitive disadvantage for decades. so we have to begin in the earliest years, and that's why i'm going to keep pushing to make high-quality preschool available for every four- year- old in america -- [cheers and applause] -- not just because we know it works for our kids, but because it provides a vital support system for working parents. and i'm going to take action in the education area to spur
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innovation that don't require congress. [applause] so today, for example, as we speak -- as we speak, federal agencies are moving on my plan to connect 99 percent of america's students to high-speed internet over the next five years. [applause] we're making that happen right now. we've already begun meeting with business leaders and tech entrepreneurs and innovative educators to identify the best ideas for redesigning our high schools so that they teach the skills required for a high-tech economy. audience member: right. president obama: and we're also going to keep pushing new efforts to train workers for changing jobs. so here in galesburg, for example, a lot of the workers that were laid off at maytag chose to enroll in retraining programs like the one at carl sandburg college. [cheers and applause] and -- and while it didn't pay
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off for everyone, all lot of the folks who were retrained found jobs that suited them even better and paid even more than the ones they had lost. and that's why i've asked congress to start a community college to career initiative, so that workers can earn the skills that high- tech jobs demand without leaving their hometown. and i'm going to challenge ceos [applause] -- i'm going to challenge ceos from some of america's best companies to hire more americans who've got what it takes to fill that job opening but have been laid off so long nobody's giving their resume an honest look. audience member: [inaudible] president obama: true -- that too. i'm also going to use the power of my office over the next few months to highlight a topic that's straining the budgets of just about every american family, and that's the soaring cost of higher education. [cheers and applause]
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everybody's touched by this, including your president, who had a whole bunch of loans he had to pay off. [laughter] three years ago i worked with democrats to reform the student loan system so that taxpayer dollars stopped padding the pockets of big banks and instead helped more kids afford college. [cheers and applause] then i capped loan repayments at 10 percent of monthly incomes for responsible borrowers so that if -- if somebody graduated and they decide to take a teaching job, for example, that didn't pay a lot of money, they knew that they were never going to pay more than 10 percent of their income, and they could afford to go into a profession that they loved. that's in place right now. and this week we're working with both parties -- [applause] -- this week we're working with both parties to reverse the
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doubling of student loan rates that happened a few weeks ago because of congressional inaction. [cheers and applause] so this is all a good start, but it isn't enough.
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families and taxpayers can't just keep paying more and more and more into an undisciplined system where costs just keep on going up and up and up. we'll never have enough loan money, we'll never have enough grant money to keep up with costs that are going up five, six, seven percent a year. we've got to get more out of what we pay for. now, some colleges are testing new approaches to shorten the path to a degree or blending teaching with online learning to help students master material and earn credits in less time. and some states are testing new ways to fund college based not just on how many students enroll but how many of them graduate, how well do they do. so this afternoon i'll visit the university of central missouri to highlight their efforts to deliver more bang for the buck to their students. and in the coming months, i will lay out an aggressive strategy to shake up the system, tackle rising costs and improve value for middle-class students and their families. it is critical that we make sure that college is affordable for every single american who's willing to work for it. [cheers, sustained applause]
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now -- so you got a good job. you get a good education. those have always been the key stepping stones into the middle class. but a home of your own has always been the clearest expression of middle- class security. for most families, that's your biggest asset. for most families, that's where, you know, your life's work has been invested. and that changed during the crisis when we saw millions of middle-class families experience their home values plummeting. the good news is over the past four years we've helped more responsible homeowners stay in their homes, and today sales are up and prices are up and fewer americans see their homes underwater. but we're not done yet. the key now is to encourage homeownership that isn't based on unrealistic bubbles but instead is based on a solid foundation, where buyers and lenders play by the same set of rules, rules that are clear and transparent and fair.
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so already i've asked congress to pass a really good bipartisan idea, one that was championed, by the way, by mitt romney's economic adviser. and this is the idea to give every homeowner the chance to refinance their mortgage while rates are still low so they can save thousands of dollars a year. [cheers and applause] it would be like a tax cut for families who can refinance. and i'm also acting on my own to cut red tape for responsible families who want to get a mortgage, but the bank's saying no. we'll work with both parties to turn the page on fannie mae and freddie mac and build a housing finance system that's rock-solid for future generations. so we've got more work to do to strengthen homeownership in this country.
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but along with homeownership, the fourth cornerstone of what it means to be middle-class in this country is a secure retirement. and -- [cheers and applause] -- i hear from too many people across the country, face to face or in letters that they send me, that they feel as if retirement is just receding from their grasp. it's getting farther and farther away. they -- they can't see it. now, today a rising stock market has millions of retirement balances going up, and some of the losses that had taken place during the financial crisis have been recovered. but we still live with an upside-down system where those at the top, folks like me, get generous tax incentives to save while tens of millions of hardworking americans who are struggling -- they get none of
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those breaks at all. audience member: right. president obama: so as we work to reform our tax code -- [scattered applause] -- we should find new ways to make it easier for workers to put away money and free middle- class families from the fear that they won't be able to retire. [cheers and applause]
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and if congress is looking for a bipartisan place to get started, i should just say, they don't have to look far -- we mentioned immigration reform before, the economist show that immigration reform makes undocumented workers pay their full fare -- share of taxes, and that actually shores up the social security system for years. so we should get that done. [cheers and applause] good job, good education for your kids, home of your own, secure retirement. fifth, i'm going to keep focusing on health care, because middle-class families and small business owners -- [applause] -- deserve the security of knowing that neither an accident or an illness is going to threaten the dreams that you've worked a lifetime to build. as we speak, we're well on our way to fully implementing the affordable care act. [cheers and applause] and if congress is looking for a bipartisan place to get started, i should just say, they don't have to look far -- we mentioned immigration reform before, the we're going to implement it. now, if you're one of the 85 percent of americans who already have health insurance, either through the job or medicare or medicaid, you don't have to do anything, but you do have new benefits and better protections than you did before. you may not know it, but you do free checkups, mammograms, discounted medicines if you're on medicare. that's what the affordable care
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act means. you're already getting a better deal. no lifetime limits. if you don't have health insurance, then starting on october 1st, private plans will actually compete for your business. and you'll be able to comparison shop online. there will be a marketplace online, just like you'd buy a flat screen tv or plane tickets or anything else you're doing online. and you'll be able to buy an insurance package that fits your budget and is right for you. and if you're one of the up to half of all americans who've been sick or have a pre-existing condition -- if you look at this auditorium, about half of you probably have a pre-existing condition that insurance companies could use to not give you insurance if you lost your job or lost your insurance. well, this law means that beginning january 1st, insurance companies will finally have to cover you and charge you the same rates as everybody else, even if you have a pre-existing condition. [cheers and applause]
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that's what it does. now -- [applause continuing]. look, i know -- because i've been living it -- [chuckles] -- that there are folks out there who are actively working to make this law fail. i may -- and i don't always understand exactly what their logic is here, why they think giving insurance to folks who don't have it and making folks with insurance a little more secure -- why they think that's a bad thing. but despite the politically motivated misinformation campaign, the states that have committed themselves to making this law work are finding that competition and choice are actually pushing costs down. so just last week, new york announced that premiums for consumers who buy their
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insurance in these online marketplaces will be at least 50 percent lower than what they're paying today. [applause] fifty percent lower. so folks' premiums in the individual market will drop by 50 percent. and for them and for the millions of americans who've been able to cover their sick kids for the first time, like this gentleman who just said his daughter's got health insurance, or have been able to cover their employees more cheaply, or are able to have their kids who are younger than -- who are 25 or 26 stay on their parents' plan -- [applause] -- for all those folks -- for all those folks, you'll have the security of knowing that everything you've worked hard for is no longer one illness
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away from being wiped out. [applause] now, finally, as we work to strengthen these cornerstones of middle-class security -- good job with decent wages and benefits, a good education, retirementr own, security, health care security -- i'm going to make the case for why we've got to rebuild ladders of opportunity for all those americans who haven't quite made it yet, who are working hard but are still suffering poverty wages -- [applause] -- who are struggling to get full-time work. there are a lot of folks who are still struggling out here, too many people in poverty. you know, here in america, we've never guaranteed success.
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that's not what we do. more than some other countries, we expect people to be self- reliant. nobody's going to do something for you. [applause] we've tolerated a little more inequality for the sake of a more dynamic, more adaptable economy. that's all for the good. but that idea has always been combined with a commitment to equality of opportunity, to upward mobility -- the idea that no matter how poor you started, if you're willing to work hard and discipline yourself and defer gratification, you can make it too. that's the american idea. [applause] unfortunately, opportunities upward mobility in america have gotten harder to find over the past 30 years, and that's a betrayal of the american idea. and that's why we have to do a
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lot more to give every american the chance to work their way into the middle class. now, the best defense against all of these forces -- global competition, economic polarization, is the strength of the community. so we need to -- we need a new push to rebuild run-down neighborhoods. we need new partnerships -- [applause] -- we need new partnerships with some of the hardest-hit towns in america to get them back on their feet. [applause] and because no one who works full-time in america should have to live in poverty, i am going to keep making the case that we need to raise the minimum wage, because it's lower right now than it was when ronald reagan took office. [cheers and applause] it's time for the minimum wage to go up. [cheers and applause] we're not a people who allow
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chance of birth to decide life's biggest winners or losers. and after years in which we've seen how easy it can be for any of us to fall on hard times, folks in galesburg, folks in the quad cities, you know there are good people who work hard -- sometimes they get a bad break. gets leaves, somebody sick, somebody loses a home. we've seen it in our family and our friends and our neighbors. we've seen it happen, and that means we cannot turn our backs when bad breaks hit any of our fellow citizens. bargainjobs, a better for the middle class and the folks who are working to get into the middle class, an economy that grows from the middle out, not the top down -- [applause] -- that's where i will focus my
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energies. [cheers and applause] that's where i'll focus my energies not just for the next few months but for the remainder of my presidency. these are the plans that i'll lay out across this country. but i won't be able to do it alone, so i'm going to be calling on all of us to take up this cause. we'll need our businesses, who are some of the best in the world, to pressure congress to invest in our future. and i'll be asking our businesses to set an example by providing decent wages and salaries to their own employees. and i'm going to highlight the ones -- [applause] -- that do just that. you know, there are companies like -- like costco, which pays good wages and offers good benefits -- [cheers and applause] -- companies like -- you know, there are companies like the
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container store that -- that prides itself on training its employees and -- and on employee satisfaction, because these companies prove that it's not just good for the employees -- it's good for their businesses to treat workers well. it's good for america. [applause] so i'm going to be -- i'm going to be calling on the private sector to step up. i will be saying to democrats, we've got to question some of our old assumptions. we've got to be willing to redesign or get rid of programs that don't work as well as they should. [applause] we've got to be willing to -- we've got to embrace changes to cherished priorities so that they work better in this new age. we can't just -- democrats can't just stand pat and just defend whatever government's doing. if we believe that government can give the middle class a fair shot in this new century --
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and i believe that -- we've got an obligation to prove it. and that means that we've got to be open to new ways of doing things. and we'll need republican -- [audio break] -- congress to set aside short- term politics and work with me to find common ground. [cheers and applause] now -- you know, it's interesting. in the run-up to this speech, a lot of reporters say, well, you know, mr. president, these are all good ideas, but some of them, you've said before, some of them sound great, but you can't get those through congress -- republicans won't agree with you. and i say, look, the fact is there are republicans in congress right now who privately agree with me on a lot
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of the ideas i'll be proposing. i know because they've said so. but they worry they'll face swift political retaliation for cooperating with me. now, there are others who will dismiss every idea i put forward -- [laughter] -- either because they're playing to their most strident supporters or, in some cases, because sincerely they have a fundamentally different vision for america -- one that says inequality is both inevitable and just -- one that says an unfettered free market without any restraints inevitably produces the best outcomes, regardless of the pain and uncertainty imposed on ordinary families. and government's the problem and we should just shrink it as -- as small as we can. theseher case, i say to members of congress -- i'm laying out my ideas to give the
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middle class a better shot. so now it's time for you to lay out your ideas. [applause] againstt just be something. you got to be for something. [cheers and applause] even if you think i've done everything wrong, the trends i just talked about were happening well before i took office. so it's not enough for you to just oppose me. you got to be for something. what are your ideas? if you're willing to work with me to strengthen american manufacturing and rebuild this country's infrastructure, let's go. if you've got better ideas to bring down the cost of college for working families, let's
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hear them. havee -- if you think you a better plan for making sure that every american has the security of quality, affordable health care, then stop taking meaningless repeal votes and share your concrete ideas with the country. [cheers and applause] repealing "obamacare" and cutting spending is not an economic plan. it's not.
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a you're serious about balanced long-term fiscal plan that replaces the mindless cuts currently in place, or if you're interested in tax reform that closes corporate loopholes and gives working families a better deal, i'm ready to work. [applause] but you should know that i will not accept deals that don't meet the basic test of strengthening the prospects of hardworking families. this is the agenda we have to be working on. [cheers and applause] we've come a long way since i first took office. [applause] you know, as a country -- as a country, we're older and wiser. butn't know if i'm wiser, i'm certainly older. [laughter]
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and, you know, as long as congress doesn't manufacture another crisis -- as long as we don't shut down the government just because i'm for keeping it open -- [laughter] -- as long as we -- as long as we don't risk a u.s. default over paying bills that we've already racked up, something that we've never done -- we can probably muddle along without taking bold action. if we stand pat and we don't do any of the things i talked about, our economy will grow, although slower than it should. new businesses will form, and the unemployment rate will probably tick down a little bit. just by virtue of our size and our natural resources, and most of all because of the talent of our people, america will remain a world power, and the majority of us will figure out how to get
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by. ouryou know, if that's choice, if we just stand by and do nothing in the face of immense change, understand that -- that part of our character will be lost. our founding precept about wide-open opportunity, each generation doing better than the last, that will be a myth, not reality. the position of the middle class will erode further. inequality will continue to increase. money's power will distort our politics even more. social tensions will rise as various groups fight to hold on to what they have, or start blaming somebody else for why their position isn't improving. optimismundamental
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that's always propelled us forward will give way to cynicism or nostalgia. and that's not the vision i have for this country. it's not the vision you have for this country. that's not the america we know. that's not the vision we should be settling for. that's not a vision we should be passing onto our children. i have now run my last campaign. i do not intend to wait until the next campaign or the next president before tackling the issues that matter. i care about one thing and one thing only, and that's how to use every minute -- [applause] -- the only thing i care about is how to use every minute of the remaining 1,276 days of my term to make this country work for working americans again.
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[cheers and applause] that's all i care about. i don't have another election. because i'll tell you, galesburg, that's where i believe america needs to go. i believe that's where the american people want to go. and it may seem hard today, but if we're willing to take a few bold steps, if washington will just shake off its complacency and set aside the kind of slash-and-burn partisanship that we've just seen for way too long, if we just make some common-sense decisions, our economy will be stronger a year from now. it'll be stronger five years from now. it'll be stronger 10 years from
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now. [applause] if we focus on what matters, then more americans will know the pride of that first paycheck. more americans will have the satisfaction of flipping the sign to "open" on their own business. more americans will have the joy of -- of, you know, scratching the height of their kid on that door of their brand new home. [applause] and -- and -- and -- and in the end, isn't that what makes us special? it's not the ability to generate incredible wealth for the few, it's our ability to give everybody a chance to pursue their own true measure of happiness. [applause] we haven't just wanted success for ourselves -- we want it for our neighbors, too. that's why -- [cheers and applause]
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-- i mean, when we think about our own communities, we're -- we're not a mean people. we're not a selfish people. we're not a people that just looks out for number one. why should our politics reflect those kinds of values? that's why we don't call it john's dream or susie's dream or barack's dream or pat's dream. we call it the american dream. and that's what makes this country special, the idea that no matter who you are or what you look like or where you come from or who you love, you can make it if you try. [applause] that's what we're fighting for. [cheers and applause] so, yes, congress is tough right now. but that's not going to stop me. we're going to do everything we can wherever we can, with or without congress, to make things happen.
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we're going to -- we're going to take -- go on the road and talk to you. and you'll have ideas, and we want to see which ones we can -- we can implement. but we're going to focus on this thing that matters. you know, one of america's greatest writers, carl sandburg, born right here in galesburg over a century ago -- [applause] -- he saw the railroads bring the world to the prairie, and then the prairie send out its bounty to the world. newhe saw the advent of industries, new technologies. and he watched populations shift. he saw fortunes made and lost. and he saw how change could be painful, how a new age could unsettle long-held customs and ways of life. but he had that frontier optimism, and so he saw
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something more on the horizon. and he wrote, i speak of new cities and new people. the past is a bucket of ashes. yesterday is a wind gone down, a sun dropped in the west. there is only an ocean of tomorrows -- a sky of tomorrows. well, america, we've made it through the worst of yesterday's winds. we just have to have the courage to keep moving forward. we've got to set our eyes on the horizon. we will find an ocean of tomorrows. we will find a sky of tomorrows for the american people and for this great country that we love. so thank you, god bless you, and god bless the united states of america. [cheers and applause]
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♪ [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
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>> before he spoke in illinois,
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republicans in congress were critical of the president. over the next 20 minutes, you will hear from senators as well as the house speaker john boehner. >> republicans have a plan for growth and jobs and we welcome the president's ideas. the white house is not expected to say anything new in the new proposals. the president himself says he doesn't think he will change any minds. he probably got the answer, it .ill accomplish nothing
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he should have approved a keystone pipeline that have bipartisan support in congress. and he ought to stop threatening to shut down the government unless we raise taxes. americans are not asking where are the speeches, they are asking, where the jobs? you, mr. president. i wanted to come to the floor to follow the remarks of our republican leader on the president's give it to the economy. the numbers tell the story. the federal government has increased the federal debt by $1.60 trillion, raised taxes by $518 trillion, and imposed
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billion worth of new regulations. in other words, his party controlled all branches of the legislative and executive branch. he got virtually everything he wanted. wanted a government takeover of america's health care system. wanted extensive new regulations for the financial industry and he got that, too. through the oppose environmental protection agency radical regulations and that is what he got. until the voters spoke in november of 2010, our friends on the other side of the i/o
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control the white house, the house of representatives under speaker pelosi and the united states at that. they got virtually everything that was the great experiment. america's unemployment rate hit 10% for the first time since the early 1980's. for 43ayed above 8% straight months. many americans have simply given up looking for work. the bureau of labor statistics publishes something they called the labor participation rate. or centage of people in the work force is the it has been for more than -- the percentage of people in the workforce is the
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lowest it has been for more than 40 years. we have been experiencing the weakest economic recovery and of longest period unemployment since the great depression in the 1930s. even by the president's own measuring stick, his own standards, his record has been a huge disappointment. toce his repetitive pivots the economy time and time again particularly at a time when his administration is having to answer hard questions about various scandals. say welcome, mr. president. let's talk about the economy. list talk about what works and what doesn't. i think we know now what does not work. it is another government program that raises taxes and increases regulations and creates uncertainty on the job creators we are depending upon to put america back to work. as a washington post
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correspondent noted, the president promised one million new manufacturing jobs by the of 2016. the factor unemployment has fallen. jobs toward that goal. there is some good news. i was on the floor yesterday and bragging about that economic growth in my state. we are taking advantage of the innovation and the technology in the energy production business. we are seeing a huge movement back on shore to the u.s. a lot of manufacturing because of low -- the low price of natural gas. the president does not seem to recognize the benefits of producing our own domestic natural energy and what that would mean in terms of bringing jobs back on shore and creating more manufacturing jobs.
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the president has promised to increase net take-home pay and expand the middle class. you may recall on the healthcare bill he said it would reduce .ealth care premiums why $2500 he proved to be wrong. the cost has gone up $2400. we know from department statistics that medium earnings from your can families has fallen by 4% -- that american medium earnings have fallen by 4%. obamacare is not working out the way they had hoped. i was on the floor a few days ago with a letter from three who said that basically it is turning out to be a disaster. it is hurting their own members.
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these are people who were for obamacare, saying it is not turn out the way they had hoped. administration itself is acknowledging this by saying that employee mandate, that is the requirement for people who have 50 people or more, that it is stifling job creation and prompting many companies to take full-time jobs and turn them into part-time jobs. between march and june, the number of americans working part-time jumped from 7.6 million two 8.2 million. -- to 8.2 million. i think the obama administration saw that and it them a little bit, as it should. in response finds to obamacare that 74% of small businesses are going to reduce hours and reduce worker
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or replace full-time employees with part-time employees. so, i'm not suggesting those of us who did not vote for obamacare should be rejoicing in this development. i think it is a sad moment. finding outs are that their hopes and dreams and wishes for this government takeover is not turning out the way that it should. this is not a time for anyone to spike the ball or rejoice in the failure of this program. this is a time for us to work together to say, ok. people opposed obamacare. they ended up you write in their predictions. there were those who supported obamacare -- they ended up being right and the predictions. are those who supported obamacare, but it did not work out. what do we do next? failureto prevent the
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of this health care takeover by the federal government hurting the people it was supposed to help. this is an opportunity to work together to do that. we need to do something different. someone set a long time ago that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. it is not going to happen. we need to do something different. we need to do something different in terms of delivering access to quality health care and making it affordable. instead of more tax increases and temporary tax gimmicks, we need fundamental tax reform. this is something both parties agree upon. the president said he believes we need to do revenue neutral or per tax reform. thelowest rate broadens pace and gives us a revenue system that is more conducive to strong and economic growth. oftead of having people
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politics picked winners and losers in the economy or pick what part of the law to enforce need toh parts to -- we dismantle what is left of obamacare and replace it with sensible alternatives that will lower costs and improve access to quality and not interfere with the important dr.-patient relationship. that has beeng spoken eloquently many times. we need to expand energy production. a step of adopting energy policies that hampered job creation, we need to adopt policies that help promote jobs such as improving the keystone -- approving the keystone pipeline from canada and not trying to overregulated something like fracking. washington people act like this
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horizontal drilling in this fracking process is something new. we have been doing this in texas for 60 years. it has been regulated why the oil and gas regulators in our state. it protected the water supply and benefited job creation and economic growth for a long time. i understand it is hard for those of us who were wrong about the predictions for many of these policies to say it did not work out the way we had planned. we're not relishing in the failure of these policies, but we need to work together and get outside of ideological comfort zones and address the problem. we have chronic high unemployment. our young people are graduating from college and cannot find jobs. they know they will be burdened by the debt that we continue to rack up. our economy is bouncing along at the bottom.
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i'm afraid we continue with the policies of the last four years, we will create lost generation of young americans who cannot find good, full-time jobs. us, on either sides, none of us want that to happen. it is time we did something about it. i yield the floor. the senator from wyoming is recognized. thank you. later today, president obama is scheduled to give the first of a series of speeches about the economy. he is pivoting one more italian to turn his attention -- he is pivoting one more time to turn to the millions of americans. asay one more time because reporter wrote this morning this is about the 10th time the president has pivoted to the economy. a white house adviser said on sunday the president is going to be speaking about what it means
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to be middle class in america. i hope that president obama will talk about how his own policies have harmed and continue to harm the middle class in america. i hope people talk about the harm that his health care law has done to working families. i hope the president will start talking about these things. the american people have been talking about them for a long time. i hear it every time i go home to wyoming. i go home every weekend. , ichever county i'm in continue to hear about this. now we are hearing it from union were his biggest supporters. the head of three major union letters put out a letter warned of of the damage the health care law is doing to the middle class. they wrote the unintended
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areequences of the aca severe. severe, they say. it is creating nightmares scenarios. perverse incentives are creating nightmare scenarios. that is what the laws of supporters are saying. they rode the health care law will shatter not only our hard- earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the american middle class. if the president wants to talk about what it means to be middle class in america, he needs to explain his policies are destroying the backbone of the middle class. that is what the union leaders are saying. , just like the rest of us, are not good for america.
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the number of people in june working part-time when they want to work full-time sword. -- soared. more than 8.2 million working part-time jobs as they cannot find a full-time work they seek or their hours have been cut back. the white house has conceded the law has a problem for employers when they said they needed relief from the mess of the law has created. that is why the obama administrative -- administrative decided to delay the so-called mandate. under the law, every company with more than 50 employees, they will have to offer expensive government mandated health insurance. year delay on one- this extremely unpopular and damage and washington mandate. bad they cannot deal
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with that in 2014, it will still be that in 2015. those regulations concerned families that hear from in wyoming. not just wyoming. the washington post, frontpage, health law unintended impacts on part-timers. the front page. law --sident health care producedd a pay cut -- a pay cut. a professor at a community college managed to assemble a hefty or slow despite his official status as a part-time employee. , the state of virginia, his employer, not some slashedbut the state,
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his hours this spring to avoid a january 1 requirement that all largeime workers for employees be offered health insurance. the law defines full-time as 30 hours per week or more. this is not a business worried about bottom lines. this is the state of virginia. virginia situation provides a good lens on why. the state is more than 37,000 part-time, hourly wage employees . with with as many as 10,000 of those part-time people working more than 30 hours a week. 30 hours is the key number. all coverage for those workers , an important part of our economy, park rangers, adjunct professors would have been expensive.
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state officials say costing as much as $110 million per year. , says all about the money the director of the state of virginia's department of human resource management. health laws unintended impact on part-timers. hurting the middle class. another thing middle-class americans are worried about are the health insurance premiums. they have a right to worry. in a headline last week -- obama boasts of health care savings, but costs are likely to rise for many. the article went on to say experts predict that the premium on individual plans will increase in most states because of the new consumer protections the sweeping legislation requires. consumer protections is just the white house's way of saying more red tape.
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that includes all of the newly required services that people have to happen the washington mandated, washington approved health insurance. all of the healthcare services people have to pay for in advance whether they need them or not or want them and whether they will use them. those requirements are a big part of the reason and another reason the health insurance costs are still going up. even the washington democrats promised that the health care law would have the opposite effect. it is happening all across the country. indiana the latest to announce premiums will go up next year and not down. the state insurance department -- the state insurance department, they said average rates for people buying individual plans will go up 72%. that announcement follows increases in ohio, maryland, idaho, kentucky.
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one state after another, rates for next year are being announced and they are much higher than they were before the president health care law went into effect. when president obama stands up to give his speech today and over the next few weeks, he should tell his audience the truth about what is happening to their rates and why. you should also talk to middle- class americans about what might happen for access to family doctors under his health care law. remember when he said if you like your doctor you can keep your dr.? that isn't the unions wrote about in the letter. it is a promise that ain't the president is not going to keep -- that is something about unions wrote about in the letter. it is a promise that the president may not be able to keep. this comes from the website that the department has set up to answer questions that people have been asking about the health care law.
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the departments website says if you get your coverage through the government's new marketplace, you may be able to keep your current provider. "may be able to keep your doctor." that is a long way from when the president promised and use the word "guarantee" you will be able to keep your dr.. it is that kind of backpedaling and broken promises that union leaders worry about and has them worried and job creators were read and middle-class americans across this country concerned. job creators were read and middle-class americans across this country concerned. regulations on power plants. on top of the excessive red tape the administration has put in place that makes it harder and much more expensive for america to produce american energy.
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last week i introduced a bill to block president obama from going around tongass to implement his national energy tax the regulations -- around congress to implement his national energy tax relations. red tape that increases energy bills and decreases economic opportunities. the president promised that he cared about hard-working, middle-class families. afters policies, one another, are hurting those families. it is making their lives difficult. president obama needs to stop the washington spin and tell the truth about his health care law and other failed policies. he needs to come back to washington and put aside his tired old rhetoric and work with the republicans to do the right thing for the american people. that means coming up with a replacement health care plan to
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give people what they're asking for all along -- the care they need from a doctor that they choose at a lower cost. thank you. i yield the floor. >> the senate passed a student loan bill. democrats and independents and one republican. bill.t the it would return that rates back to a lower rate. moments, a hearing opposing the guantánamo bay detention facility. in less than two hours, house members consider amendments to the future of the nsa surveillance programs. after that, we will re-air president obama speech on jobs and the economy.
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on the next "washington journal" we will be joined by republican arshasentative vern -- m blackburn. she will talk about jobs and the economy. we will also speak with a maryland democrat, senator ben cardin. we'll talk about the economy and negotiations in the senate and the healthcare law. "washington journal" is live on c-span every day at 7 a.m. eastern. i think the korean war helped the south koreans to unify themselves in a way that wasth . down,he communists came it was real.
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--ot of the south koreans that sort of solidified their sense of nationalism identity. is possible the south would have disintegrated on its own. >> 60 years after north korean troops crossed. she looks at a war that never really ended. sunday night at 9 p.m. on "afterwords" on c-span 2 on book tv. hearing on the guantánamo bay detention facility. this hearing discusses human rights and civil rights. it is a little less than two hours.
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[gavel] good afternoon. this hearing is a subcommittee for the civil rights and human rights will come to order. by ranking member will be here briefly. today's hearing is entitled closing guantanamo, the national fiscal, and human rights implications. we are pleased to have a large -- ence that thank you to those who are here and those following the hearing on twitter and facebook using #close --tag there are so much interest in today's hearing that we have
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moved to a larger room to accommodate everyone. anyone who cannot get a seat is welcome to go to the overflow room for a live video feed. i will begin by providing some opening remarks. i will turn to senator ted cruz and senator leahy for opening statements before we turn to witnesses. it has been more than 11 years since the bush administration established a detention center at guantanamo bay. i spoke on the senate floor more than 65 times about the need to close this prison. i never imagined that in 2013 not only would guantanamo still be open, a sum would be are doing to keep it open indefinitely. the reality is every day it remains open, guantanamo prison weakens our alliances and inspires enemies and calls into question our commitment to human rights. our most senior national
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security and military leaders have called for the closure of guantanamo. listen to retired air force major matthew alexander. he led the interrogation to track down the leader of al qaeda in iraq. here is what the general said -- i have listened time and again to foreign fighters and sunni iraq east state that the number one reason they decided to pick up arms and join al qaeda were the abuses and authorize torture and abuse at guantanamo bay. it is no exaggeration, the major said, to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detaining abuse. in addition to the national security cause him every day that guantanamo remains open, we are wasting taxpayers dollars.
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i received information from the department of defense yesterday. guantanamo bay clause for fiscal ofr 2012 was millions dollars. for fiscal year 2013, estimated for hundred $54 million. . million. do the math. we're are spending $2.7 million per year for each a detainee held at guantanamo bay. what does it cost to put a prisoner and keep them in the safest and most secure prison in america? against $2.7r million. this would be fiscally irresponsible wearing ordinary economic times. it is even worse when the department of defense is struggling with the impacts of sequestration coming including the furloughs and cutbacks and training for troops. every day soldiers and sailors serving at guantanamo are doing
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a magnificent job under difficult circumstances. i went to the southern command in miami. i met with the man in charge with this responsibility. they are saddened with this assignment. they are doing what they are supposed to do. at great risk and i great separation from their family and personal challenges, they are excepting this assignment. they look to us as to whether the assignment still make sense. every day at guantanamo, dozens of detainees are being worse to practice the american medical association and international red cross condemn and that a toeral judge recently found be painful and humiliating and degrading. made 23ama asked in his national security speech -- president obama asked in his may 23 national security speech, is this who we are? to leavemerica we want
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our children? our our sense of justice is stronger than that. it is worth taking a moment to recall the history of guantanamo bay. after september 11, the bush a mishmash and decided to bash bush commission should decided to set up an offshore prison at guantanamo in order to ebay the requirements -- in order to evade the requirements of our constitution. memofice of legal counsel said that guantanamo was the legal equivalent of outer space. it is a perfect place to escape the law. others even within the bush administration disagree. then the secretary of state objected. he said disregarding the a centurys, reversed of u.s. policy and practice and undermine the protections of the own troops.our
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it will undermine public support among critical allies, and making military cooperation difficult to sustain. the defense secretary approved the abuse interrogation techniques at guantanamo. the horrible image that is emerged are sered into our emory t some of the most outrageous techniques. guantanamo became a controversy. just as sandra day oh conner wrote a state of war is not a blank check for a president. by 2006, even president bush said he wanted to close guantanamo. in 2008 the presidential candidates of both major
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parties supported closing guantanamo. president obama issued an order prohibiting torture for all gan tan mow detain knees. i'll be the first toage knowledge the administration could be doing more to close guantanamo. we met last week to discuss what they are doing under existing law to transfer deteenees out of guantanamo. but the president's authority has been limited by congress. we have facted restrictions on transfers clugs a ban on transfers from guantanamo that make it very difficult if not impeable to close the facility. it's time to lift those restrictions and move forward with shutting guantanamo. we can transfer most of the dee teenees safely to foreign countries and bring the others to the united states where they can be tried in court.
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since 9/11 nearly 500 terrorists have been twide and convicted in our federal courts and are now being safely held in federal prissens. no one has ever escaped from a federal super max prison or military prison. in contrast only six individuals have been convicted by military commissions. two have been overturn bdty courts. today nearly 12 years after 9/11, the architects of the 9/11 attacks are still awaiting trial in guantanamo. i discussed with the deputy attorney general in the bush administration and no, ma'am nigh for f.b.i. director this whole case. here is what he told me. quote we have about a 20 year track record in handling al qaeda cases in federal courts. the federal courts and prosecutors are effective in accomplishing two goals in
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every one of these situations. ,getting information and incap dating terrorists. some may argue we can't close guantanamo because of the risk in terrorist activities. but even in our federal prisons the asivety rate is far higher than guantanamo. recidivism includes hundreds of deteenees transferred under the bush administration when the standards were much more lax. no one is saying it is risk -- the hey will not number two official in al qaeda da who was recently killed in a drone strike. the bottom shrine our snarble security and military leaders have concluded that the risk of
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keeping guantanamo open far out weighs the risk of closing it. it's time to end this sad chapter of her history. eleven years is far too long. we need to close guantanamo. i would now recognize the ranking member. >> thank you mr. chairman. president obama tells us the war on or the error is over, that al qaeda has been decimated and that we can now take a holiday from the long difficult task of combating radical islamic terrorism. i don't believe the facts justify that rosey assessment. five years ago the president campaigned on closing guantanamo. and yet guantanamo remains open as a detention facility for
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those deemed to be the most dangerous terrorist that have been app hended. and to date, the administration's position seems to be to continue apologizing for the existence of guantanamo, to continue apologizing for our detaining terrorists and standing up to defend ourselves but to do nothing affirmatively to address the problem. in particular, if guantanamo is closed, it raises the fundamental question of where these terrorists will be sent. utopian embrace a fiction that they will be sent
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to their home nations and and ow lay down their arms embrace a global view of peace. i don't think that utopian fiction has any basis in reality. we have seen whether it was in boston or benghazi or fort hood that radical terrorism remains a real and live threat. now i have significant concerns about the obama administration's overbroad incursions into the civil rights of law abiding americans. but at the same time, i have concerns about their unwillingness or inability to connect the dots and to prevent violent acts of terrorism. and until we are presented with
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a good viable strategy for what to do with terrorists who would work night and day to murder innocent americans, i have a hard time seeing how it is responsible to shut down our detention facilities and send these individuals home where they almost surely would be released and almost surely would return to threaten and kill more americans. that's a question i hope this panel sheds some light on, how we can responsibly proceed in protecting the national security of this country, protecting the men and women of this country who expect as the first responsibility of the federal government that we will keep the nation secure. i look forward to the testimony today on that question. >> thank you.
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>> i do want to thank senator durbin for having this hearing. i think it's long past time we take action into an unfortunate chapter in our nation's history. you can do that and still fight terrorism as it threatens us. it's nice to make up quotes and pretend the president took a holiday from terrorism but he never said any such thing. i do know that for over a decade the indefinite detention of prisoners at guantanamo has contradicted our most basic principle of justice. by itself it has harmed our national security. i think it's shameful we're still debating this issue. as long as we keep this detention center open at guantanamo, it continues to
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serve as a recruiting tool for terrorists just as the hotographs have shown. ountries have choinsed championed the rule of law in human law of rights to not strap prisoners down and feed them against their will. we condemn states when they do this and we should and we should not tolerate the same thing in our country. as senator durbin points out at a time in sequestration to be spending as much as $2.7 in ion for a prisoner guantanamo. we could hold these people for
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far less as our super max prisons if that is the issue. how can we talk about all the things we have to take out of our budget because things that actually benefit americans and yet we can spend this kind of a fortune down there and talk about spending hundreds of millions of dollars more to overhaul the compound. that's what has been requested. we have seen precious manpower and money squandered on this lang failed experiment instead of being directed to important national security missions at home and abroad. this waste has to end. further more, the military commission system for trying these detainees is not working. the tiny handful that have been prosecuted there as compared to the hundreds in our federal
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courts, we've seen federal coufert over turn convictions at guantanamo. even the lead military prosecutor at guantanamo acknowledged this. the same charges could be pursued in federal courts where they have a strong track record of obtaining long prison sentences against those who want to do us harm. why are we afraid to use the best federal court system we've ever seen? probably the best court system in the world and we act like we're afraid to use it. we convicted nearly 500 suspects in these federal courts. he status quo at guantanamo is tenable.
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t is expensive and inefficient period i can review board begin reviewing reports. i'm glad to see that common sense provisions were included in this year's national authorization ability which should be reported by the armed services committee but it will help. i look forward to working with members of congress to bring this about. a witness is waiting mr. chairman. >> thank you for being here and thank you for the support you've given to this subcommittee. we want to welcome one of the fellow members of the senate judicial committee. she's welcome to participate.
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you can come down the line if you like and is it -- >> a little later. >> senator diane fine sign the. >> thank you for allowing me to is it with your subcommittee. as you mentioned i was at guantanamo about a month ago with john mccain and the president's chief of staff. we've been looking at the figures of cost and apparently they are much higher than we thought. , the new costs are correct facility is he $554 .1 million in 2013. per hat is $2.67 million deteenee. i want to point out to keep a prisoner in maximum security in
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ur federal system is $78 thousand,000. of his is a massive waste money. there were 166 in345eu9s that most of which had been there for a decade or more. most with no hope, no trial, no charge. these 166 detainees are slated for trial while 46 others will be held without trial until the war against terror is over, whenever that may be. 86 of them, more than half have been cleared for transfer by either the bush or the obama administration. nonetheless they remain in dismal conditions and legal limbo. by the end of president obama's second term, the majority of guantanamo detainees there today will be held without
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trial for almost 15 years. i would submit that this is not the american way. and i would submit that guantanamo has been a recruiting tool for terrorists. it makes a myth out of our legal system and it really ought to be closed. we saw the hopelessness, we saw when we were there 70 detainees were undergoing a hunger strike. twice a day american military personnel restrained the detainee in a chair by his arms, torso and feet. a tube is inserted through the knows and into the stomach and for some this has been going on for five months twice a day. i'm very pleased have you some medical testimony here today and i look forward to hearing it. but this large scale force
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feeding and this behavior is a form of protest. it's not an attempt at suicide. i believe it violates international norms and medical ethics. and at guantanamo it happens day after day and week after week. so i find this unacceptable. i believe the facility should be closed. i believe all of these people can be transferred to high security facilities in this country. and that that is the proper thifpk to do. so i thank you for this opportunity. >> thank you. >> i want to get to the witnesses but i do want to thank you chairman durbin for holding this hearing. i've been around long enough to go through several stages on guantanamo. there was the stage where it was the worst of the worst and they were too dangerous to release. then the bush administration
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released a huge chunk of them then said we're down to the worst of the worst. then released another chunk of them. then there are 86 slated for release and we haven't been able to find places for them to go. we were fed a bill of goods about who was there and how dangerous they were. they've been released or slated for release and in my time on the intelligence committee we heard over and over again from our national security officials about the value of guantanamo as a recruiting tool for our enemies. this is a timely hearing and i'm grateful to the leadership of the chairman of our judicial committee and chairman fine sign the thank you. >> as custom of the committee to swear in the witnesses and i'd ask the first panel to please rise.
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>> do affirm the testimony you're about to give will be the truth, the whole truth so help you god? >> let the record reflect all the witnesses on this panel answered in the affirmative. i ask consent to interest into the record a statement from michael leonard who served in the marine corps for 30 years. he led the first force at guantanamo. he couldn't be here today but want to make sure his views are in the record. we'll circulate his statement to the committee. he details in his statement he tried to comply with the geneva conventions and bring in the red cross to inspect this facility. he was rebuked. we squandered the good will of the world after we attacked by were attacked by our actions in guantanamo. our decision to keep guantanamo
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open has helped our enemies because it validated every negative perception of the united states. we can't transfer detainees to a secure facility in the united states is ludicrous. we're pleased to be joined by major general paul eaton. he's a senior advisor to the national security network. he retired after more than 30 years in the united states army. in 2003 and 2004 he served in iraq as the commanding general of the coalition assistance training team. he commanded the army's infantry center and chief of infantry for the army. he errand a master's degree in political science. thank you for your service. previous proceed. you have five minutes and your entire statement will be made part of the record. >> thank you very much.
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ranking member and members of the subcommittee thank you for inviting me here to share my guantanamo sing the bay detention center. my biggest challenge when i created the iraqi armed forces was to over come the impact on society in iraq. we worked hard to develop the moral component. we drilled daily the notion of slan control of the military. military justice, prisoner management and battlefield discipline. we stressed atability. the day it hit the press, my senior advisor and air force general under sa dam retired came into my office and said general you cannot understand how badly this is going to play on the arab street.
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we lost the moral high ground. investigation by tony a great american hero found that torture implemented at guantanamo was exported to iraq. men who had served in guantanamo during techniques re deployed to iraq to get interrogations. not my words. borrowed from testimony. it was one reason i'm convinced we have to close down this detention center. you can't buff quan tan mow to shine again after the since of the past. improvements in detainee treatment will not change the belief in the mind of our allies and enemies that baun guantanamo is a significant problem in general in the u.s.
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military in particular. the argument that the guantanamo facility represents a valuable intelligence tool is wrong. the shelf life of intelligence has and particularly the people who have the intelligence is very short. the argument that guantanamo facility is necessary to hold dangerous men is wrong. our super max prissens do this quite well. we have a great many am lies created for many reasons. my team in iraq was composed of nine nations military and slan. in late night discussions our guantanamo problem would come up from time to time. some of our closest allies refuse to send us detainees because of guantanamo and we're losing intelligence opportunities every time this happens. releasing any individual guantanamo detainee does not
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change our national security posture. to this soldier the fear based argument to keep guantanamo open is hard to understand. it brought to the u.s. for prosecution, incarceration the detainees who pose no threat to our national security. the'6" men who have been cleared for transfer should be transferred. we must find lawful dispositions for all law of war detainees as we have done in every conflict. further, guantanamo places are soldiers in nation at risk not only because it makes america look hypocrite cal as we promote the rule of law but because it makes the detainees look like the warriors they are not. our leaders in iraq would pose the question did we create more terrorists today than we managed to take off the street? guantanamo is a terrorist creating institution and is a
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direct facilitate or the in filling out the ranks of al qaeda and other terror organizations tha would attack our country and interest. guantanamo is a combat power generator for the enemy. we as a nation are strongest when we up hold the constitution, the bill of rights, the geneva conventions and other laws and treaties to which we subscribe. we are weakest when we stray from the rule of law. we have an opportunity to close guantanamo now as we wind down combat operations in afghanistan. there is no national security reason to keep guantanamo open. in the words of one of my colleagues, they don't win unless they change us. and we've got to resist that attempt at change. thank you very much. >> general streevepbs served in the u.s. army as a officer for
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28 years before retiring. psychiatrist with an active practice. general is a professor at the university of health seasons sciences in the military edical department. the general served as senior advisor to the department of defense on issues relating to care and support of service members and their families. thank you for your service to and please proceed. >> thank you. i appreciate the opportunity to testify today. as you said i'm board certified in general psychiatry and child and addless nt psychiatry. i have experience in research
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and teesming. retired general. medical centers and medical regions. the federal courts and the office of the military commissions have qualified me as a psychiatric and medical expert. i have had multiple interviews with detainees, attorneys and spent nearly three months in guantanamo over the past four and a half years. i currently provide consultation and expert testimony as needed on current oar former detainees. i have reviewed files of nearly 50. the treatment of hunger strikers at guantanamo compromises the core ethical values of our medical profession. the a.m.a. has long endorsed the principle that every competent patient has the right to refuse medical intervention. the world medical association
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and red cross have determined force feeding through the use of restraints is not only an ethical violation but violates .rticle three of the geneva it destroys the trust essential for all crin cal treatment including medical issues unrelated to force feeding. it uses force against detainees. at guantanamo physicians and rses have become part of the command apparatus to break the nger strikes using force and denail of privileges. the plain truth is force feeding violates ethics. and nothing claimed in the name of defending our country can justify cruel and degrading treatment of another man or woman.
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the detention facilities at guantanamo i did minute sh america's standing and put at question our true values. the underlying issues that contribute to the hunger strike must be addressed including the confinement that were put in place this year. it leaves thism presentation that the detainees are highly trained soldiers eager to get back on the battlefield. most do not fit the picture. they peal in comparison to olent prisoners accused of crimes i have seen evaluated in this country. if any detainee has committed a crime i think they should be prosecuted and punished accordingly. most of these detainees have not been charged. the oh progressive conditions undermine our national security objectives. force feeding must end.
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it is unethical and a front to human dignity. form of cruel and degrading treatment. my recommendations include first the underlying conditions must be resolved including expeditious release. second detainees should not be punished for engaging in hunger strikes. third all directives, orders and protocols provide that helt profession 23458s act as add juncts must be rescinded. trust in the medical staff by detainees has been so deeply compromised. independent doctors and nurses should be brought in. fourth the aging detainees require more complicated medical care. the regular rotation of clinical staff impedes continuity of care, diagnosis and treatment. it places dedicated and professional military
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clinicians in untenable circumstances of providing suboptimal treatment to an increasingly ill population. it is not fair to the doctors, nurses or detainees. thank you for the privilege of speaking to you. >> we'll hear from our next he is the host of secure freedom radio, a syndicated radio program and in the 19 80 policies served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy and deputy assistant secretary for nuclear forces and arms control policy. he received a bachelor's degree from georgetown and a masters in

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