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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 15, 2013 11:00pm-1:01am EST

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running for positions on councils. we're pleased to lend our support in partnership with the united nations to train female volunteers as they facilitate, secure access for women at the polls. there's no question that lasting prosperity in afghanistan will take root only when women have as loud a voice as men, not only on election day, but every day. it's essential, it's the prerequisite to the future stability of afghanistan. but make no mistake, it's not enough. it's not sufficient, and won't do the job alone. that's why the united states firmly supports and will continue to support an afghan-led peace and reconciliation effort as the surest way to end the violence and bring lasting stability to afghanistan in the region.
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peace is possible possible if it respects the historic achievements that afghanistan has made over the past decade. all of those things i listed and talked about. including and above all the protection of the rights of all afghans, both men and women. as part of the outcome of any process, the taliban and other armed opposition groups have to end the violence, break ties with al qaeda, accept afghanistan's constitution, including the provisions on women's rights. those are the standards which will lead us in this effort. there can be no compromise on these points. there can be no peace without respecting the rights of all afghans and afghan women have to have a seat at the table. afghan women are at the forefront of another transition, the security transition. this is one of the most stunning
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things. you saw it in the video. the folks in uniform. unprecedented. joining the army, police, serving as judges and prosecutors and some of the most conservative parts of the country, it's an 12r0id transformation. my team recently met with a female police officer from kabul. for those who have been to afghanistan, you know there's not many female police officers and fewer of them are willing to step forward and tell their story. on the way home from work one evening, this particular police officer heard another woman screaming inside the house. and when she heard the cries, she didn't run away. she didn't call someone else to do the job. she went right up to the house, knocked down the door in order to help. police officer went inside and saw a woman inside, badly beaten on the ground. and her husband was standing
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over her. without any hesitation, not intimidated, not an ounce of fear, she pushed the husband aside and took the victim to her own house in order to record her statement and make a report. believe me -- believe me, that's courage. and it's an example that all afghans can be proud of and followed. they can be proud that their security and law enforcement forces are growing strong by the day, more capable by the day. and they can be proud the past summer the afghan national security forces took over the lead responsibility in providing security all across the country. now, as you know, we have made a commitment along with our nato partners, to continue to advise, train, and support the afghan forces beyond 2014 should
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afghans approve in the next few weeks that the bilateral security agreement. make no mistake -- bringing women into the force and supporting their safe and meaningful participation is going to be a key part of this transition. i'm pleased to report to you now that we are closer than ever to completing the task of defining our new partnership with afghanistan going well into the future. the bilateral security agreement when it is completed will help both countries to fulfill the long-standing commitments that we made through security partnership after 2014. but i want to underscore, again, that nothing, neither this agreement when completed, nor the assistance that we've provided will replace the role that the afghan people themselves will play determining the future of their country.
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afghan women are also takinge nowhere mouse risk to support afghanistan's third transition. that's the economic transition. women like hasina say yesterday are leading the charge. i met hasina in march. she started a trucking company i think about ten years ago with $500. she has now 500 truckings. of her employees, 300 are women. not so long ago, they never would have the opportunity they have today. she told me she always knew she wanted to be a businesswoman when she grew up. i asked, why? she said simply, because then i can be my own boss. that's not just an afghan trait, that's a universal aspiration.
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but afghan women like hasina are forming connections not just within afghanistan, but all across the region. her trucking company is doing a great deal of work outside of afghanistan to bring supplies and food and things and so forth into the country. what i found is that all of the afghans understand, they may be landlocked, but they're not trapped. they refuse to be trapped. afghanistan is linked with roads, railways, products. fortunes are tied to the region just as the future of the region is tied for the stability of afghanistan. we saw this the new silk road vision. secretary clinton launched in july of 2011. it's a vision we believe in. and it's a vision we're going to continue to work hard to implement. hasina knows that the benefits
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of investing in women and girls are not limited to one village, one province, or one country alone. they ripple out across the borders. you all remember the great quote of robert kennedy's about, you know, rippling and creating a huge turet that sweeps down the mightiest walls of oppression. that's what's happening. that's why investing in the training and mentoring of afghan women and entrepreneurs is so important. that's why we launched the economic women's initiative in order to link female entrepreneurs to markets in south and central asia. and that strengthens those women to have those connections to those other parts of the region. that's why we're investing in the education of afghanistan girls so they can break the cycle of poverty and become leaders and engage in a way to
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strengthen their neighbor's willingness to join them. that's the future that even here in gaspin hall today, we're all building together. that is the story i want to leave you with today. as i was flying back, my staff handed me a letter from a young afghan girl who sent me a letter that returned from the state department to study at the university university university of afghanistan. she has the same vision as leaders like hillary rodham clinton and laura bush who know that no country can succeed if it leaves half of its people behind. the phrase that hillary and i
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both heard and loved it about the bird with two wings -- can't fly without one wing. one letter stood out the me. her goal is not just to help herself, but to lift her community, her society, her country just like roya, goliliah and hassina are doing today. she said simply -- i want to be one of them. that's the power of example. that's the ripple fanning out to create the courage. think about that for a minute. she feels ownership over what she's creating in afghanistan. girls all over afghanistan, believe me, i promise you, they are saying it today. they are living that dream thanks to the courage and leadership of women themselves in afghanistan. our responsibility is clear -- we need to make sure that they
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succeed. because this is one of the benchmark moments, not just for them, but for all of us, what we care about, what we fight for, and who we are. as we move forward, just keep thinking about the young girl who wrote that letter and the inspiration that she draws from women like roya and hasina. she just wants to be one of them. making that happen is going to take every single one of us. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> now we get to the exciting part.
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inviting secretary clinton, mr. bush, all of the can't dates come up on stage so we can listen for a moment. we'll go out, set up the chairs, and the program will continue. can i invite all of you up here, please?
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well, this is not working well. thank you. secretary clinton, mrs. bush, and ambassador. you have no idea how much your work has impacted afghanistan women. it's a special honor for me to be on this stage. with my afghan role models, afghan leaders today. secretary kerr withry told you about the women of afghanistan who shows him the change that's possible in my country. like many afghan children, i saw the world through eyes of a refugee. i had dreams of my homeland. but my dreams only became a
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reality in 2002 when my family could finally return to afghanistan. returning home was not easy. we had to make many adjustments. like no car. but we were finally home. my family took advantage of our opportunities and sent me and my four sisters and brothers to school. i did well enough i became an exchange student in california. the move was not easy. i was with a cultural difference. but i learn new things. i had always believed that the young people could make a difference. but i didn't know how. back home, people either believed that you had to do something really big or nothing. i learned from my fellow american students that you could do very small things in the community, like getting to know
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your neighborhood. it doesn't look big, but in the small collective access, it makes a big difference. i went back home to car bull. i took the lessons and started mentoring other students. we thought about things that we needed to change. for example, we were tired of being harassed every time we tried to live a normal life. by going to school or going shopping. my fraends i started to go out, young men and women. sometimes people harrassed us. we organized demonstrations to make our voices heard. no one talked about these issues. we didn't even have a definition for harassment. but after the march, people
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began to talk about it. then a small gathering making a big impact. why are we telling you this? we want you to know we're not stuck in the past. our country is 60% of men and women. men are not simply victims. we see ourselves as agents of change. my story is just one story. children of afghanistan -- there are many of us. through small actionings, sacrifices, working hard to form our society in the future. but we need your help. all of you. we have raised our hand. transform our future. thank you. [ applause ]
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>> ladies and gentlemen, please remain seated. the program will resume shortly with a conversation with hillary clinton, mrs. laura bush, and ambassador miland revere. >> well, it's my pleasure as well to be able to welcome secretary clinton and mrs. bush back to georgetown and here for this conversation this morning. no one can question the commitment of either of you to this issue. i remember firsthand secretary clinton, when you were first lady, at the end of the '90s, calling the world's attention to
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the abuses that the taliban were perpetrating and how critical the afghan women were. and i remember so well, mrs. bush, when the military engagement was called by your husband after 9/11 and afghanistan. you took the president's radio address and told the world that the world of the afghan women would be important to building the future of their country. so you heard a lot this morning. we're at a cross roads. the women have made enormous progress. they are very worried that the progress may be reversed. there are important events ahead. the elections in april for president. as well as a negotiated settlement, reconciliation process. we still don't know what that would go. but to say the women are
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concerned is an understatement. they fear that they may be a bargaining chip unless the negotiated process with the taliban. what do we say particularly in the backdrop of a united states that's war weary, where we're focussed on our many challenges at home. what can we do to ensure this progress is not reversed and as secretary kerry said the strategic necessity that the women represent to a better prosperous peaceful, stable afghanistan is realized. both of you, i know, have a great deal to say on this subject. >> even as our troops draw down, start to draw down, there are many, many groups on the ground in afghanistan. and it gives us the chance now, all americans, really, the chance to support those groups.
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define the groups. you the see the latest prize winner to support her schools. leslie sweitzer is here, the fundraiser for the american university of afghanistan. maybe we may get some questions out of afghanistan from american university. you can give directly to the american university of afghanistan to make sure that girls have scholarships there. so i think as our troops leave, it's very, very important that we continue to support all of the programs that were built over the last ten years in afghanistan, including many that came from this very council, the u.s. afghan women's council. and to work with our own congressmen and women to make sure afghanistan stays in the forefront of the people do pay attention to i want. 1 i was pleased with secretary
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kerry's remarks that we were close to the bilateral support. the number one thing on the minds of the women is how can they continue to work if they don't have security. how can they continue to protect the girls that go to their schools. how can they continue to keep open the shelters for victims of domestic violence. how can they continue to encourage other women to take leadership positions in either the government or the private
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sector. so this is a very real worry. and i think we have to work with our own government, both the obama administration and secretary kerry and other leaders in the administration as well as members of congress to keep this issue on the forefront. then to coordinate as we withdraw from our coalition partners as well. i think, too, as malan has pioneered in this work of peace and security, we have to continue to make the case that all of the decades of war have ravaged their country could be for naught if we do not have a unified census of what must happen going forward. security is key. so are the elections that we
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just heard reference to. those elections will determine a piece of power that's by a fair manner by the people of afghanistan. if you look at secretary kerry's formulation, the security, the political, the economic transitional challenges facing us, we need to be committed on all three fronts in support of those women and men who realize afghanistan is so strategically located, so many opportunities to be at the real center of what happen unless the south and central asia. and that will all anticipate there's not a commitment to ensuring that half of the population gets a chance to fully participate. we have our work cut out for us
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to support these women here with us to make sure they continue to be given the attention and resources that they so richly deserve. >> just as we have the women here with us in gaston hall, there are a group of afghan women gathered in the university of afghanistan in kabul. they can hear us, they can see us, and they have sent in in advance a few questions they wanted to ask to women for whom they are immensely grateful for all that they've done for them. you can see from this question that their minds are very much on the future and what's going to happen. one question is how can we encourage development investments and preserve those
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that have been made after 2014? we all know a great deal of investing has been done in afghanistan. we want to make sure they are preserved. they want to know does it all end in 2014 or does this commitment continue? >> i know the commitment of the u.s. afghan women's council and the women here who founded programs across afghanistan that they're -- they want to continue. they will continue. i hope there will be, obviously, u.s. government participation as well. i think that's really important. and the international community as well as spent a lot of money. i hope they'll continue a lot of the programs they started.
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but i want to encourage people in afghanistan after i heard anita and her talk. i think it's important for young people in afghanistan to really start a youth movement to get the word out before the elections about how important it is to vote and how important it is for all young people, boys, girls, young men and young women, to be involved in the future of their country. they can let older people know as anita said that it's important they live in a secure and safe country, that they have a chance to build the kind of prosperous stable afghanistan they want. so i want to encourage all of the students at american university in afghanistan to develop a strategy of public relations that you can use just like you all did to protest harassment in the street. that you can use to encourage people to vote to make sure they have free and fair election so
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that afghanistan really does show the rest of the world that they can build the country they want to. have and i know that's what the young people want. >> i think that's a real opportunity. we were talking earlier in the -- in the council meeting that we need some kind of internet outreach, some kind of movement, a virtual movement to support the courageous stands that young people in afghanistan are making. and also to try to enlist the support of young people around the world, to make sure your voices are heard, even to perhaps do some crowd funding on behalf of some of the projects that are so important. with respect to the development aide, we held an international meeting in tokyo in 2012. and it was a very successful pledging meeting.
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countries that had troop troop there as well as countries with no military troops but had sent both development experts and resources. the decision was made that that community representing a great number of nations wanted to continue to support the development of afghanistan in a variety of areas. but they did want to make sure there was transparency. that there was an effort to limit if not avoid corruption, that there was a need for the government to be more open to taking advice and expertise so they can be better organized to deliver services to the afghan people. i think that is the shorthand attitude of the international community represented by
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governments and aid agencies. and i think that's important because we do want to make sure that any aid that comes in is actually delivered to people who are doing the front line work. i think, however, it would be a mistake for private funders, for ngos not to continue to try to fund the young people making a difference. how we do that is a subject we will be discussing further. because even though governments may decide that whatever standards they set are not being m met, we would urge governments not to give up too easily for the problems that governments everywhere are facing. and we would urge the private ngo civil society community that has been so helpful in many areas of afghanistan not to give
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up either. so i think milan and our students at the american university, we're going have to be very determined to continue to work together and encouraging the transfer of resources to those who have demonstrated a track record about being able to use them effectively to get results. we can't give up. i think you both are right. that as our troops come home, there will be an understandable totally human response in our country like, okay, fine. we've spent all of this money. we lost all of these brave men and women. we ran into a lot of problems. we're proud of what we accomplished but we can't continue at that rate. and we have to be prepared to make the case why we don't have a choice but to continue in some form and fashion what has worked. i think that will fall to people like us to try to make that
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argument to the congress and to the american public. [ applause ] >> no surprise that security as you just heard is on the minds of the students at the university. another question they have raised is how can they possibly raise awareness and preserve women's rights in the absence of security? >> it's very hard, it would be extremely hard. security is the paramount issue. security in and of itself for the physical well being of people. but also for the work that is being done. i would like to make a few quick points on this. i consider president karzai a
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friend. i have worked with him every since i was a senator. we've had many long conversations over the last 12 years. i know how passionate he is about afghanistan's sovereignty and unity and i admire that. and i agree as the president of the country, he must stand firm for the people of afghanistan. but i hope he reaches in the next few weeks agreement in the united states about the bilateral security of the agreement. the sticking poiblt is one we have seen before, namely that when the united states sends our young men and women to continue to provide security and in this case, to train and mentor the afghan army and police in providing security for their own people, it is an absolute
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requirement that our troops be given immunity from local arrest and prosecution. that is what we have in japan, in korea, in germany. i mean anywhere in the world where you still see american troops, that is the requirement. i understand president karzai's sensitivity to this. but i would want to ask you to remember that we could not reach an agreement in iraq and iraq is descending into a cycle of terrible violence. not that we could have stayed or for how long we could have stayed, but we never got a chance to test it because the malaki government said, no, we can't give the same immunities that are present in the gulf where we have troops and neighboring countries. so this is a big decision for the afghan government.
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if you enter into the bilateral security agreement, it doesn't mean the united states will be there in great numbers. it means we will be available to help the security forces of afghanistan to help against the continuing attacks from not only the afghantal banal but from terrorist troops across the border. i know this is a difficult decision. i'm not in any way implying that it isn't. if its's signed, we have a chance to look seriously at what we and our continuing partners in providing security can offer. if it is not signed, which means that when the american troops and the nato and international coalition leave, the afghanistans are left totally to themselves, we have a set of very serious challenges that will be difficult for us to help
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with. so this has to be thought through carefully. because security is paramount. if you cannot provide security for your people, a lot of the other good results you're hoping for simply cannot happen. so i think the next two weeks when it comes to security will be especially important and we won't know what we can do and how we can respond to the women's request for support on security until we get an answer. >> no country can function in a successful way without both security and rule of law. and that comes from within the country as well as in this case, the presence of our troops in afghanistan. so that's one of the things that the afghanis need to work on, the people of afghanistan need to make sure they start to build the civic institutions that they need to support a democracy.
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and they get the word out. and i do think young people like i said before, like anita, will make an effort to get the word out across the country. that we can succeed. afghanistan can succeed if we build our own security in a way, and our own rule of law in a way that people respect and pay attention to. >> secretary clinton, we have a question from the georgetown graduate student amanda. she has a question about the u.s. national action plan of women, peace, and security which you launched here at georgetown. she asked, the plan calls for incorporating women's efforts into the range of u.s. work and development, diplomacy, and defense. what does this mean for afghanistan? >> well, amann at a. i think that it means that we have to do all we can.
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to make the case and support the efforts with those with whom we are working to ensure women's voices are heard in the areas that you mentioned that we have to stand firmly for women's rights to participate fully in afghanistan society. that we have to continue to find ways to support the education of women, the entrepreneurship of women, the political careers of women. so that there can be these role models that we saw in the video and we saw on stage that can encourage women and men to see a vision of afghanistan that truly can move it to a new stage of its great and storied history. in doing the national action plan, and i'll give a plug to
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the national defense university which will be publishing a book of essays by a number of experts, military experts, intelligence, diplomatic experts, talking about the difference that involving womens makes. it's not just something that laura and milan and i are up here saying it would be nice if you did this. we know it works. we know in the absence of women being at peace tables, being in the negotiations, representing their views, it is less likely to succeed in terms of ending conflicts and providing security. one quick example, one of my favorites liberia, a place both laura and i have been through and one we both strongly admire. we never would have ended the horrible conflict in liberia if not for the women of liberia. they said they'd had enough.
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christian and muslim women alike joined together to make it clear to the men who were negotiating the peace agreement which they tried to negotiate seven or eight times before, they were not going home. they barred the doors and guarded the windows so the men could not escape until they reached a peace agreement. if you want to see that in action, one of my favorite documentaries is "pray the devil back to hell" is what happened in liberia. women stood up and said we're the ones who are most at risk. it is our children who are being savagely abused or killed. and the national defense university integrates into the curriculum what it means to stand up for women and peace and security, we will learn these lessons and be able to work with
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our friends and colleagues in afghanistan and to make the case over and over again that these agreements don't last if they don't represent the entire community. and you can't do that without having women's voices and participation. [ applause ] >> mrs. bush, you have made this issue a priority issue at the bush institute. you have focused on a range of investments in afghan women. and economic participation is one of those most significant. tell us a little bit about w why -- why does economic participation and the ability of women to do their work enable them to be more secure in an insecure environment and also to
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create stability in their country. >> one of the really important reasons, of course, is that if you leave half of the population out of the economy, then you're not going to have a very successful economy. so when women are included in economic life and actually afghanistan women especially are entrepreneurial. i've learned a lot of great stories, the woman who started the furniture business early on right after the taliban left kabul and became so successful as the furniture builder and furniture sales nan three men, cobblers, came to her and said, will you help us build a shoe company? she said, no, but my daughter is available to help you. so she said i'll give you a loan to start. but you have to pay me back. so now her daughter is in the shoe-making business with three men who, three cobblers who -- who wanted her help in being able to build a business. all of that is really important.
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and afghan women are working right now. and lots of different businesses all across afghanistan. it's very important to the economy of afghanistan. afghanistan also stands in the point. if they can stay stable and secure to be able to develop e tth the -- a lot of the resources they have. i want to encourage you, this is something i like to do in the bush institute. that is to be a convener with the people of afghanistan, and corporations, united states corporations to help develop what you all have in afghanistan. but not develop it for export. develop it so that you and the people of afghanistan can learn the skills to build whatever it is you have at home. so that both people are employed at home and you can make not just what you would make by
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selling your resources, but you would make what you made by selling your resources turned into the products that you build yourself. and you can build your economy in a great way. and i think once men are employed also, and young men are employed across afghanistan, then there's going to be a lot less, a lot fewer young men who will want to join the taliban. but instead, will want to work to build safe lives for themselves, safe and prosperous lives. so i think education and employment are the two keys. and, of course, we know those are the keys in our country. >> i hate to end the conversation. the clock is ticking. i don't want to leave until we can ask one more question. that is -- it's a continuation
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of some of what you both said. this room is filled with policy makers, ngo leaders, business leaders, extraordinary students. something i discovered over the last few months coming back to my alma mater. young men and women with great talent as well as faculty and administrators who care. what can we do? we heard a lot already. we'll hear a little built more. but what can each of us do to advance this agenda? and ensure that the kind of investments that have been made by the united states and the international community in the last decade can endure and don't push everything back. >> i would say first, just keep talking about it. i'm so worried that once our troops leave, no one will pay attention to afghanistan again. we can't take that risk.
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we don't want the people of afghanistan to think that because our troops are leaving, they no longer matter to us. because they do matter. and the relationships and the friendships we built with afghan women and there's the afghan women's council. through many, many opportunities that we've had to meet, really do matter to us. and i want the people of afghanistan to know that the people of the united states do support them and are with them. i remember at a conference we had shortly after we moved back to dallas at the bush institute hosted. and the opus prize winner was there. she said at the end, she said, listen, don't feel sorry for us. just be with us. that's what we need to do. we need to just stay with them. and we will.
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>> besides saying, "amen," i would love to have georgetown students talk with one another about what you can do in solidarity with the young people of afghanistan as anita reminded us, the population of young people is, what, 60%, a very high percentage. what can you do to support them through virtual context, through raising money, through exchange programs, anything that can keep the lines of communication and relationship building going. this university is already making a very significant contribution to the future debate through the institute on peace and security and through other academic and professional programs that you have.
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the more we can link up our university communities on some of these specific issues in support, for example, of the america university in kabul looking for ways to do much more in terms of exchanges that can be partnered with the bush institute or other institutions, those are lifelines. those make a tremendous difference in validating the work that is being done. and lifting up examples. it's important to tell the story to our fellow americans about what has been accomplished because there's a -- there's a sense that, you know, what did we really get for everything we did and how do we know it will last? well, we need to tell the story to the first question. here's a lot of what what we
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accomplished. compared where afghanistan was in 2001 to where they are today. and then to sort of take it to the next level by -- as laura said, talking about why this is still important for the united states. so i'm hoping in the next year, because this upcoming year is the critical year, we will have a much greater awareness and a better connection among people who know what's at stake in afghanistan from either a moral perspective, a human rights perspective, a strategic, economic, political, whichever way you enter into it, every one of those is at stake. and to think of ways you can be creative to support the women and the men who are trying to move afghanistan forward. and we will certainly the three of us be deeply involved in making that case.
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but we need a virtual army now that the real army is leaving. we need a virtual army to help us make the case and to build that awareness here in the united states and around the world. [ applause ] >> well, thank you to you both, mrs. bush, secretary clinton. thank you for all you've done. thank you for all you will surely continue to do. and thank you for being an extraordinary bipartisan face on an issue that is usually partisanship. [ applause ]
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going to go down and step down. >> thank you for being here as well. and it's a great honor to always be with secretary clinton. much of what i will describe as progress that is enabled under secretary clinton's great leadership. i want to thank you, milan, for hosting and putting this together and kathy russell who is, of course, your successor. over the last four years, i've had the privilege of visiting afghanistan on a number of times and seeing the fruits of some of our concrete partnerships that delivered extraordinary results for women. partnerships with the ministry of public health that led to the biggest single reduction in maternal mortality anywhere in the world which means tens of thousands of mothers in afghanistan are alive with their families and children as a result of our partnership. dozens of partnerships, 22,000,
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in fact, with local village councils to help build schools and encourage girls to go to school which is today enabled 3 million young afghan girls to be a part of the educational system formally in afghanistan. regardless of where we work, we know these types of partnerships are critical to the effort to advance peace, security, and prosperity. that is true in colombia as it is in kabul today. secretary clinton noted and secretary kerry emphasized that our commitment to these partnerships and to these issues, not just on behalf of the united states, on behalf of all of the international partners will absolutely continue to the future. we know we're making the single
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largest investment in afghanistan's women and girls we've made in a new program in a partnership we call promote. the purpose of promote is to appreciate a huge amount of success has already been achieved on behalf of afghanistan's women and children. we know we can continue to accelerate that progress. over the next five years, we were committed to reaching 75,000 women in afghanistan and giving them the support they need to achieve leadership roles in all parts of society, from business, academia, politics, and government. that includes helping more than 3500 women-owned businesses get loans, training, support, and connection to market locally and globally. that includes expanding the percentage of afghanistan's civil service workforce that are women from 20% of the workforce today to 30% in five years.
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this also includes starting a new scholarship fund that will open doors for women in afghanistan to attend universities at home and abroad. we're going to continue to build the institutions that will last long, long after international efforts are no longer the centerpiece of foreign aid and assistance. centers for women's studies. centers for technical training focussed on giving young women and girls a chance to learn the skills necessary to quickly me trick late to the workforce. most importantly, we'll work with our partners to ensure that the commitments made in tokyo which total more than $16 billion in aggregate development assistance to afghanistan, are seen through and delivered to
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the people of afghanistan and in particular, women and girls. i believe the most important part of that tokyo arrangement we made with our colleagues from norway and all over the world is to make 20%le of that commitment, conditioned on a set of basic activities and political leadership decisions that we know are central to peace and security, the conduct of free and open elections, the commitment to a security that's provided and under transparent rule of law, and perhaps most importantly the protection of human rights and basic opportunity for women, girls, and all parts of society. we know this is a critical moment for our partnership in afghanistan as american troops begin to come home. and withe know that the eyes of the world will be watch iing fr the perspective of the drawndown of that troop force. but we also know that it is
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precisely at this moment that we need to step up and make more visible our commitment to afghanistan women and girls. and i'm proud to be a part of the obama administration that is absolutely committed to that objective. thank you. [ applause ] >> secretary clinton. distinguished and brave women of afghanistan. friends at georgetown -- one of the greatest universities in the world. e excellent len sis, ladies and gentlemen. what we are discussing today is the puntedmental human rights and freedom shared by all human beings, the rights and freedoms that everyone, man or woman, is entitled to.
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the women of afghanistan have glimpsed the chances of a better future. many women and girls can attend school. they can go to university, vote, have jobs, and pursue professions. 1/4 of the ministers are women. several ministers are female. this is real development. in short, the rides and opportunities of afghan women have grown considerably since the end of the taliban machine in 2001. yet, there are still a long, long way to go. a recent u.n. report expressed alarm against the violence against women. we heard one of the story there is early on from secretary kerry. we see the threat and targeted killings for women working for the government and female human rights activists. we read reports on girls in
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schools, still being attacked. as activists, what my frommed said. you'd have hundreds every day in afghanistan. no a new phase in zbangs with the betroe that will. we must ensure that the hard won gains for the african-american women are not lost. hold the garment accountable. women should be allowed to participate in all parts of the economic development. this could unlock the potential in afghanistan. we know equality yields the highest returns of all development. my country, 1% of gmp is also focusing on gender equality. it is the right thing do.
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it's the right principle. but also the y50erd p yeared is impressive. more women must be included in politicings. the presidential elections in april will stake out the future direction of afghanistan and its people. 34% of woman -- women of afghanistan have already registered to vote. that's good news. but more women should run as candidates. and they need support from the garment and the media. and it must be safe for women to go to the ballot box on election day. political stability in afghanistan requires a true peace process. women must be part of this peace process. afghanistan civil society on women's organization, many of you are present here today, have a crucial role to play in this defining moment for the future
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of afghanistan. you can count on norway's continued support of your important work. we will be there next year but we will be there in 2018, 2020, we are together in making sure that all of the gains and future gains should be secured secured for the women and the people of afghanistan, thank you. [ applause ]
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essential for assuring the stability. the attention of the alliance is to continue the support to the afghan national security force. also after 2014 to a new admission. and with our afghanistan partners, we should explore how we can continue to support the building on gender and to support the recruitment and retention of women in the afghan security institution. make the work within the wider context of the international community. our constitution promoting the security agenda should be seen
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as a part of the overall efforts to help afghanistan fulfilling its own commitments. it is crucial that the international community meaning international government organizations, governments, ngos, and other parts of civil society, demonstrate a long-term commitment to afghanistan and to all of the forces for a peaceful and prosperous future for the people of afghanistan. excellent sis, ladies and gentlemen, it's an honor for me to introduce our next speaker, the ambassador. he's the permanent representative to the u.n. of the islamic republic of afghanistan and has a long standing journalist. the story is yours.
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>> thank you. excellent sis. distinguished participants, ladies and gentlemen, i as a representative of afghanistan am humbled by the strong words of commitment expressed by secretary of state's john kerry. secretary benson, former first lady laura bush, and other imminent speakers before me including norway. i'm also pleased to see the representatives of afghanistan woman present here today at this -- amazing scene of solidarity with and dedication to that advancement of the right
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of woman in afghanistan. afghanistan is a new history in the making, following the extraordinary engagement of the international community, the country is entering a new phase taking the destiny at the hands. in the mix of fears, international forces will leave.
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wars of the 1990's and the brutality of the taliban. waran women or the brunt of which shattered their lives and families and diminish them to almost nothing. fear, more than anyone else, that they will lose what has been achieved, but they have
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futurepe that a better will be felt -- built. ladies and gentlemen, the emancipation has been strong in the minds of afghanistan women since the beginning of the 20th century. women were making inroads into the modern world -- steps are being taken to strengthen the role as equal participants in building a new, democratic afghanistan. however, there remains an urgency to solidify the afghan
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woman's place in the future. the government of afghanistan cornerstonet the for advancement of women is there involvement in various parts of the country. women participated in a number of peace talks. they are candidates for provincial elections. authorities are doing their women to include the voters in elections. partscial and political of their lives are improving. it is vital that we hear -- that their voices are heard and their rule is not only symbolic but genuine. ladies and gentlemen, we have listened today to tremendous
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support for and cause for the inclusion of women in afghanistan and protection and the motion of their rights. it was an amazing debate. to senator thankful clinton's real expression of friendship with afghanistan. secretary john kerry, and other leaders of the united states are seen as, madam, real friends of our country. essential support is , thature that these goals were emphasized today, are reached and the afghan government is committed towards the advancement of women in the enshrined in our
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constitution alongside our partners. i thank you. [applause] >> tonight on c-span, the u.s. house debates policies for insurance. the 2014review of election with greg walden. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] later, former secretary of state hillary clinton and former first lady laura bush. >> on the next "washington journal," we will discuss national security j -- threats and jeh johnson. the center forth the stood -- strategic and international studies.
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that mentalw rule health must be treated in the same way as physical illness. talk about aid to the philippines and what role the u.s. should play during international crises. our guest is sharon waxman with the international rescue committee. "washington journal" is live at 7:00 a.m. on c-span. buthis weekend on c-span, -- road to the white house 2016. by congress and paul ryan had a birthday fundraiser for the iowa governor. it is live at 7:00 eastern. tv, youn two's book will hear the national book award for nonfiction at sunday
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at 1:00. and on c-span3's american history tv, go back in time to 1996 with the internet archive's way back machine. >> the house took up commerce can birdie -- commerce committee chair fred upton's bill today. it would allow companies to continue insurance policies that do not meet standards of the american health care law or in the bill passed the bill, 261- 157. now, the debate on the bill is one hour, 20 minutes. eaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, across generations presidencies are often associated with one famous utterance. ask not what your country can do for you. the only thing we have to fear, tear down this wall. and our current president will be no different. if you like your health care
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plan, you can keep it, period. for the last three years the president repeated this promise in selling his signature law, and he did so with the knowledge that it would not be met. millions of americans, including nearly a quarter after million in michigan, took the president at his word and now unexpectedly are receiving cancellation notices. they are confused, worried, and upset. today we stand with those families with the keep your health plan act. this bill is to help provide peace of mind to folks like the farmer in bangor, michigan, who just found out after purchasing his family's insurance for the last 30 years, that he will be able to keep their plan no more. and the sticker shock will be unbearable as the premiums double and their deductible jumps nearly 3,000 bucks. sadly they are not alobe. -- alone. for millions of americans it's cancellation today, sticker shock tomorrow. for the last six weeks the
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white house stood idly by ignoring the pleas of millions. as administration allies panicked, the white house went from attacking our thoughtful bill to makeping an end around congress with a universal fix. our straightforward, one-page bill that says if you like -- the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is correct. the house is not in order. mr. upton: our straightforward, one-page bill says, if you like your current coverage, you should be able to keep it. the president should heed his own advice and work with us, the congress, as the founders intended, not around the legislative process. everyone today should embrace the keep your health plan act, and our efforts to protect americans from the damage of this law should not stop there. let's keep the promise. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan reserves.
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the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. waxman: mr. speaker, i yield myself three minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for three minutes. mr. waxman: this bill is not a bill to let people keep their health insurance plans. the president took care of that issue yesterday. what this bill is another vote to repeal the affordable care act. it would take away the core protections of that law. this bill creates an entire shadow market of substandard health care plans. it will destabilize the health insurance exchanges, raise premiums, and continue to allow insurers to discriminate on the basis of pre-existing conditions. the bill takes away the core consumer protections and a part of the law. under the republican bill, insurers could cherry pick the
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best risks and destabilize the insurance market for everyone else. that's why we would have them repeal the law people would still be out of a chance to get insurance. i understand the concern of many members that individuals should be able to keep their health insurance if they like it, but there's a profound difference between providing relief for individuals whose policies have been canceled, which is what the president did yesterday, and recreating the discriminatory, inefficient insurance market that we had before health reform, which is what this bill would do. we need to have some perspective on this issue. for those currently in the individual insurance market, nearly five million people, they will be eligible for a tax credit worth an average of $5,000. over a million more people will
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be eligible for medicaid, which means additional savings. because of better coverage that protects them from crippling medical costs, millions more will lower their out-of-pocket costs. and the 25 million americans without insurance will finally get a good deal on quality coverage. no one can be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions. no one can see higher rates because they get sick. no one can see their rates go up. running up against annual coverage limits or realize too late that their plan didn't cover the key benefits that they need. this week we learned that 1.5 million people have already applied for coverage. a faster signup rate that experienced in massachusetts. even with all the technical problems we have had. in my state of california,
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nearly 400,000 people have begun applications in the first month. there will be a total of six months to sign up, this program is going to work. . these are significant signs of progress. they show us we're on our way. on our way to dramatically expanding health insurance coverage in this nation. this bill will take us backwards. i urge a no vote and i retain the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. tipton: mr. speaker, i would yield two minutes to the gentleman from oregon, mr. walden. -- mr. upton: mr. speaker, i would yield two minutes to the gentleman from oregon, mr. walden. mr. walden: i rise today for the voice of oregonians who have already received their cancellation notices. they've been told the policy that they like, that they wanted
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to keep they cannot have any longer. i was down in my district for eight straight days last week. 36 meetings, 12 counties, 2,476 miles on the road from day in the morning to late at night. i'm going to tell you, there are people like chuck and jan medford who have gone into retirement, who had health insurance, got notice that their plan is being canceled. from mitchell to ben from enterprise, to medford, all over. not only are their plans being canceled, the replacements are coming back, for example, with -- back, folks, with deductibles that are $15,000 when they were paying a couple thousand. the premiums are going up in some cases double or more. some of them may get a subsidy. a lot of them won't. and now they don't have the plan they were promised that they could keep. and another thing that's insidious that's going on below the surface, meeting after
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meeting, hours are being cut back, people are losing their jobs, they're getting less take-home pay because of obamacare. this is a problem all across america. the promise that you can keep your plan was never to be kept and they knew it and they continued to say it and it wasn't true. people are losing their plans, they're losing their coverage and they're losing access to the specialists that may save their lives. that's right. they won't be able to keep their doctors. they may. but if the doctor's out of network, there's no cap on what they will pay in terms of a deductible. so financially you take away their access to health care, the prices have gone up, the access and oh, by the way, in many cases they've lost their jobs or their hours have been cut back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired.
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the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. waxman: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. rangel, who played such an important role in drafting the affordable care act. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new york is recognized for two minutes. mr. rangel: let me thank mr. waxman, congressman waxman, for giving me this opportunity. the majority said that presidents are remembered by certain things and that this outstanding president will be remembered because he said if you have a plan and he didn't say no matter how bad it is, you can keep it. i think he will be remembered historically of being the first president in the united states of america that has told people that for the first time every american will have access to affordable health care. on the other side, history's going to record them, too. that they never said that they had any concern at all and never million n for the 30
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people that every day are waiting for this plan to go into effect. and that they would publicly acknowledge that they don't want to improve upon mistakes that may have been made, but they want to derail, to destroy and to eliminate and to repeal universal health care for americans. i say this, the president apologized yesterday and i apologized to those people without insurance today for the united states congress. if you believe that the administration has done something wrong, for god's sake, let's work together to correct it. but to just ignore the fact that 70% of americans already have good insurance and it's going to be improved, to ignore the fact that 30 million people's lives and their legacy is not -- is in jeopardy because they can't
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afford to have serious illnesses, and to believe that those that belong to the 5% that really gets caught in what we're supposed to be fixing today, i tell you that there's no evidence at all that the republican party wanted to fix anything for the uninsured of america. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i would yield one minute to the gentleman from georgia, dr. gingrey, a member of the health subcommittee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from georgia is recognized for unwp -- for one minute. mr. gingrey: mr. speaker, the gentleman from new york just said it. universal health care. single-payer system. government takeover of 1/6 of our economy. that's what they wanted from the very beginning. i rise today in support of h.r. 3350, the keep your health plan act now. the obama administration's health exchange enrollment announcement on wednesday is one of the myriad reasons we must pass this bill. frankly, these long-awaited numbers did not come as a
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surprise to us. a mere 100,000 registered for health care on the new marketplace when they anticipated 500,000. according to health and human services' report, the number does not distinguish even between those who have actually paid a premium and those who just select the plan by kicking a button on the website. mr. speaker, the number of americans who have had their health plans canceled is in the millions, exponentially higher than those who have received coverage under obamacare. this disastrous law was destined to fail from the start. we on this side of the aisle, the republicans, and indeed the american people, have known for three years that this plan is unworkable for small businesses, it's unfair for physicians and their patients and it's unaffordable for we the taxpayer, we the people. i urge my colleagues, support h.r. 3350 and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california is recognized.
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mr. waxman: mr. speaker, i yield to the top democrat on the health subcommittee of energy and commerce, the gentleman from new jersey, mr. pallone, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for three minutes. mr. waxman: two. the speaker pro tempore: or three minutes. mr. waxman: three. the speaker pro tempore: for three minutes. the gentleman from new jersey is now recognized for three minutes. mr. pallone: thank you, mr. speaker. and thank you, mr. waxman. unfortunately today's bill is a ruse. it claims to make things better but all it does is to make things terribly worse and republicans will hide behind the sound bite and be behind the nice feeling of the title. but what this bill really does is to go back to the old broken health insurance system. this is just another attempt for the g.o.p. to repeal the provisions of the affordable care act. they've made it their mission to push the a.c.a. to failure and the only consequence of this bill is just that. seriously damaging the insurance provisions of the affordable care act and the millions of americans who are expected to benefit from the improved coverage and premium and cost-sharing subsidies available through the new health insurance
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market place. now, the g.o.p. claims the bill allows people to keep their health plans, but actually it allows all policies with few benefits and sometimes higher prices to be sold to new enrollees. one of the major goals of the a.c.a. was to improve the quality of health insurance policies sold on the private market. beginning in 2014 health insurance plans can no longer deny coverage for adults with pre-existing conditions or charge those individuals more for coverage. and there are a lot of other discriminatory practices that are eliminated by the a.c.a. but we need to be open to constructive changes to make this law work, to the best of its ability. but that's not what the g.o.p. is doing today. no one believes that the republicans care about ensuring that people have health insurance. if they did, then republicans would not for purely political reasons refuse to expand medicaid with those republican governors in the states where now five million hardworking americans across 26 states will not have medicaid expansion
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because of the republican politics. mr. speaker, yesterday the president took some action to help americans who want to renew their old insurance policies. ultimately, though, i hope that those americans who want to renew those old policies will look at the quality plans available in the new affordable care act marketplace and like what they see. because in most cases they'll be able to purchase better coverage at a lower price than their original policies. so when they need care, they'll have it, not with these old policies that for the most part are not going to provide them with good health insurance. so i urge my colleagues to oppose this bill. this is just another repeal effort on the part of the republicans, they're not serious about trying to provide health insurance and this will accomplish nothing for the american people. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i would yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, chairman emeritus of the energy and commerce committee, mr. barton,
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two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from texas, mr. barton, is recognized for two minutes. mr. barrett: the surprise gentleman from texas -- mr. barton: the surprised gentleman from texas is recognized. i appreciate the chairman. i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. barton: mr. speaker, we're here today to begin the long ocess of amending, hopefully improving and if that's not possible, at some point in time repealing the affordable care act. the president, as everybody knows by now, repeatedly said that if you like your health insurance you can keep it. well, it hases been proven that even when -- well, it has been proven that even when he said it that was not true and yesterday the president admitted as much when he said, for the next year he would try to honor that promise, if only in the breach. the upton bill actually correctly honors that promise the correct way, by
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legislatively saying that insurance can continue to provide these private policies and i would assume some employer-sponsored policies, regardless of whether they meet the new minimum standards under the affordable care act. the bill does not require insurance companies to do so. but it does allow them to do so. and it is our hope, as sponsors of the bill, that many of those companies will do so and it is a reasonable expectation that millions of americans, given that choice, will actually keep the plans that they have and that they like. at some point in time, though, mr. speaker, this bill is not the end of the process, it is the beginning and we need to come back and fix the rest of the bill, the law, excuse me, or perhaps even change it or repeal it. i have a bill that i hope will be brought to the floor at some point in the near future that will make obamacare voluntary. let the henry people -- american
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people choose what parts of the law they like and if they decide they don't like some parts or all of the law, they wouldn't be compelled, mandated to continue to use some of these new policies. so, mr. speaker, i want to commend chairman upton and subcommittee chairman pitts for bringing this bill so expeditiously to the floor and i would hope that we can have a unanimous vote in support of it. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. waxman: mr. speaker, the gentleman will not get a unanimous vote. at this time i'd like to yield three minutes to the chairman of the ways and means committee, mr. levin -- to the running backing -- ranking member of the ways and means committee, soon to be chairman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan voiced for three minutes -- is recognized for three minutes. mr. levin: mr. speaker, the republicans are on a mission of destruction. nothing will satisfy them except
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that very mission. the upton bill is another weapon in that mission. what the republicans fear most of all is that the health care reform will eventually work. the upton bill is a bill to make sure that it does not work. the president has taken a step to help people keep their policies. the upton bill opens the door to anyone at all, to make sure that health care reform is not workable and that the private market cannot work. so back to the time of 50 million uninsured, so back to e time of cancellation for pre-existing conditions, so back to the time of no cap, so the alternative is bankruptcy.
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eight years ago the medicare drug program that republicans had passed got off to a rocky start. did we democrats pounce on it for political gain? no, we put the country first and helped make the program a success. the republicans are marching in the opposite direction. destroying really instead of making something work . let's work together to make it work rather than destroying what americans want, a healthy health program for all americans. yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from michigan yields back.
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the gentleman from michigan, mr. upton, is recognized. mr. upton: i yield one minute to the majority leader of the house, mr. cantor. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia, mr. cantor, is recognized for one minute. mr. cantor: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the chairman, the gentleman from michigan. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of the keep your health plan act. many americans today are worried, they are worried about their jobs, worried about saving for their children's college education, or worried about saving for their retirement. and now, mr. speaker, millions of americans are worried about coming home, opening their mailboxes to find out that their health care coverage has been taken from them because of the president's health care law. the president repeatedly said that if you like your health care plan, you could keep it. we knew this was a promise he could not keep and now it's a promise he has broken. as a result, millions of
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americans across the country are receiving cancellation . tters just like this one mr. speaker, this letter was sent to me by a constituent of mine, his name is bruno, from richmond, virginia, bruno is self-employed. and he purchases his health care plan through anthem blue cross blue shield. a few weeks ago he was shocked to receive this letter because this letter clearly reads, to meet the osama bin laden -- the requirements of the new law, your current plan can no longer be offered. purchasing a new plan could potentially cost mr. gore thousands of dollars. why should he or anyone else be forced off their plan if they want to keep it? working families across america were counting on this president could keep his promise. now they are counting on us to
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ease some of the pain that his health care law has brought on them. yesterday president obama announced that he was going to be making some unilateral changes, but the changes he proposed and the ones we are proposing in the house, have some very clear differences. the president's plan restricts coverage previously available to only those who already had it. while forcing others to rchase a plan from or another coverage that may not fit their needs. the white house doesn't even know how they are going to implement the plan they announced yesterday. this proposal we are talking about here, chairman upton's plan, aims to help americans keep their health insurance and give their neighbors a chance to buy the same plans rather than forcing them on to a
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faulty website to buy new coverage they may not like or cannot afford. under this legislation, there is no confusion. the keep your health care plan act removes the impediment in the law that restricts insurance plans from being offered. the only way to completely stop any more cancellation letters like the one mr. gore received is through a full repeal of obamacare. today, however, we have an opportunity to stand united and pass a bipartisan measure that aims to slow the growing number of americans harmed by this law. i would like to thank chairman upton for his hard work, dedication to the issue. i urge all my colleagues in the house to support this bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia yields back. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. waxman: mr. speaker, at this time i wish to yield three minutes to the dean of the
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house, the chairman emeritus of the energy and commerce committee, and longest standing member in support of universal health care coverage, the gentleman from michigan, mr. dingell. mr. dingell: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman from michigan, mr. dingell, is recognized for three minutes. mr. dingell: i express great affection and respect for my dear friend from michigan, the gentleman, mr. upton, who serves the house and his constituents well. however, this is a regrettable piece of legislation. it's nothing more than the kind of insurance policies which are being authorized by it that were sold by snake oil salesmen around this country which gave no relief, no help, no benefit to the american people. the sad situation is that this not only allows the -- some people to keep their policies, but it allows a lot of state
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salesmen to run around the country selling bad policies which undo almost all the protections which we have put in to the affordable care act. things like protections against pre-existing conditions. the fact a woman might be buying a policy she could be charged for, under this legislation or a new policy issue by some sneaky insurance company. the harsh fact of the matter is this is not a help to citizens. the president said yesterday he was going to take steps to correct the problems. if we really want to have this done properly, then that is the way to do it. let's work together to have these matters corrected properly. let us see to it that the american people get the protections that they need against against abusive
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practices and not return to them. h.r. 3350 allows new sales of bad policies which contain programs and practices borrowed by a.c.a. to new and gullible purchasers. the ones that we seek to protect. as i observed yesterday, the insurance companies feel that this is going to cause huge confusion in the market, and they do not think this legislation, average citizen, has been sold a bill which is just plainly false. he is not going to be benefited by the h.r. 3350. he is simply going to be afforded the opportunity to buy bad policies. whereas what we want to do is to see to it that if he has his
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policy he could keep it. the fact of the matter is he can keep it, and it doesn't need the legislation before us. the legislation before us simply assures that folk can run around selling bad policies under fictional and false misrepresentations to do hurt to the american people who, frankly, need protection against the abuses that the affordable care act put in place. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan, mr. upton, is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, now i yield one minute to the gentleman from louisiana, mr. scalise, a member of the energy and commerce committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from louisiana is recognized for one minute. mr. scalise: thank you, mr. speaker, for yielding and for the gentleman from michigan for bringing this bill, which i support. we all heard that promise, if you like what you have you can keep it. probably the most often repeated promise that barack obama made in his five years as president. and yet the president's finally
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acknowledging that promise will not be kept to millions of americans who are losing the good plans they like. they kept saying they didn't know this was going to happen, by the way, mr. speaker, because back in 2010 the administration had a report that said over 60% of private plans would be canceled under the president's health care law. i have seen it myself in my district. i've got chris from covington, aaron from sly deltha have gotten letters saying they are going to lose the plans they have because the president's health care law. the president's answer was it was a lousy plan. mr. speaker, it was not a lousy plan for chris or aaron or the millions of americans that are losing their plans. they liked their plan. some washington politician shouldn't be able to say, i don't think it's good enough so i'm going to take it from you, even though it's right for your family. let's put patients and doctors back in charge of these decisions. let's empower hardworking families to be the ones in control of their health care decisions, not some washington politician. i urge the passage of this bill and i yield back the balance of my time.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from louisiana yields back. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. speaker, at this time i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from illinois, ms. schakowsky. testimony mr. speaker, my mistake, i yield three. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from illinois is recognized for three minutes. ms. schakowsky: the number one cause of personal bankruptcies in this country is the cost of health care. most of those people are so-called insured. these are the policies that are being covered that people find out when they get sick that they really aren't insured. and major goal of obamacare is to protect every consumer from the worst abuses of the private health insurance industry. starting next year no consumer can be denied coverage or charged more due to a pre-existing condition. this means that 129 million
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americans will no longer have to live in fear that they could one day be unable to obtain affordable coverage needed to maintain their health or even to save their lives. the upton bill would turn back the clock. the upton bill would allow insurers to cherry pick among all health care consumers, the young, healthy, by offering nonobamacare compliant policies, leaving only the old and sick to purchase coverage in the marketplace. this is something they wanted to do and have been doing for decades. this is going to drive up premiums, and allow just the type of discrimination that obamacare absolutely ends. speaker boehner said yesterday, we have, currently, the best health care delivery system in the world. are you kidding me? with millions of people, tens of millions of people uninsured and tens of millions more with bad policies that don't cover
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this. rather than taking steps to weaken obamacare, my republican colleagues should be taking this opportunity to build on obamacare. as the president did, to fix it. last week i spoke with the director of the illinois department of insurance about some of the unreasonable rate increases my constituents have faced in the past, and their concern about the new rates being quoted in letters they receive from all from their insurers this fall. he told me he doesn't have the authority he wants to protect consumers from excessive premiums. this authority includes the ability to deny or modify any unreasonable premium. illinois isn't alone. today republicans denied us the opportunity to address this by refusing to consider legislation that would move us forward, provide rate modification authority in every state. instead choosing to move a bill that would drive up premium rates and undermine obamacare's new benefits and protections. i want to caution people,
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rather than reup with some of the policies they had, check it out. what's really covered? hospitalization, emergency room coverage? how many times can you go see your doctor? go to the marketplace. it will be fixed. and pick a plan that is going to provide you with the real coverage, the essential benefits that you need that are provided under obamacare. we want to protect you from junk plans that are out there, but we want to let you reup in plans that actually offer you the kind of coverage you want. that was essential in what the president did yesterday. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. upton: thank you, mr. speaker. at this point i yield two minutes to the republican whip, the gentleman from california, two minutes. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california is recognized for two minutes. mr. mccarthy: thank you, mr. speaker, i thank the chairman for his work in keeping the pledge to bring this bill to the floor. i rise in support of h.r. 3350, the keep your health care plan.
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from the start obamacare's been a disaster. first, the individual mandate was a bad idea before. even more dangerous now. because it's forcing people to choose health care they do not want, cannot afford, isn't right for themselves and their families. second, the president's credibility continues to crumble. as independent news sources have confirmed, that he intentionally broke his promise to every american about whether they could keep their insurance under this law. we will continue to see the shock waves of obamacare. today, it is the fact that americans cannot keep their coverage. tomorrow, it will be the staggering and unexpected cost. next month it will be about losing access to their doctor and the list continues to go. no administrative fix will undo the harm this law has caused. republicans believe that we must try and help americans who have been harmed by obamacare. that is why today we'll pass a
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bill to allow americans to continue to enroll in plans currently offered without facing the individual mandate penalty. what the american people and our constituents need is certainty. the only approach that continues to provide them certainty is the bill before us today. our bill allows americans a choice. it lets individuals keep their health care plan while giving others who currently are uninsured an escape hatch from obamacare. our bill will allow individuals, whether they are a mother of a sick child, a small business owner, or a young invincible adult to keep their current plan. the national federation of independent businesses and senior groups such as 60-plus are urging congress to fulfill its duty and pass this bill. i urge my democratic friends to join with us. many of them voted for this bill. they stated they had an intent that americans can keep their plan. today is their opportunity to keep that pledge. i yield back.
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mr. waxman: mr. speaker, at this time i yield two minutes to the gentleman from the state of washington, dr. mcdermott, who is the ranking member of the health subcommittee of ways and means. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from washington is recognized for two minutes. mr. mcdermott: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. mcdermott: mr. speaker, my mother used to say, patience is a virtue. i haven't seen so much panic on this floor since 9/11. now, the fact is that a couple of members who used to be here, jay inslee who is now governor of the state of washington, mike criedler, who is the insurance commissioner of the state of washington, have already said this. ll not implement because it is not good for the people of the state of
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washington. they've looked at it, we have worked hard to implement the affordable care act. and now we have a bill out here run no hearings whatsoever, out here, and we're told there will be no confusion. there will be nothing but confusion. you have 50 insurance commissioners around this country who are going to be suddenly given a bill after we write some rules and regulations here that require the insurance companies to sell policies to people. i can't believe what i'm hearing. i thought the republicans believed in the free enterprise system. this is socialism. this is government saying to insurance companies, you must sell a policy to somebody next year that you sold to them this year. when did we shift on the republican side to the congress telling an insurance company who they have to sell a policy to or what's in the policy?
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i only have two minutes. up the bill does not say -- mr. upton: the bill does not say must sell. mr. mcdermott: the fact is they're going to have to put the policy out there. they've been work and implementing this law for three -- they've been working and implementing this law for three years and now six weeks before it actually begins to take effect, we run in here and say, wait a minute, wait a minute, you got to start selling policies like the ones that you sold last year. do you think they didn't think through what they're doing? i mean, i don't understand the free enterprise system -- i don't understand, the free enterprise system is lions and they're eating antelopes. i urge a no vote on this because you're going to create endless confusion in this country in the insurance market. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. upton: i yield myself 15 seconds. the gentleman needs to read our bill. it doesn't say that the insurance companies must sell those policies. that may be in the senate bill, it's not in this bill.
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i would yield one minute to the vice chair of the energy and commerce committee, the gentlelady from tennessee, mrs. blackburn. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from tennessee is recognized for one minute. pleakbleak thank you, mr. speaker. i thank -- mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. speaker. i thank the chairman for the superb job he has done on bringing h.r. 3350 to the floor. and i thank him for listening to millions of americans who have been so forthright in saying, we do not want the president's health care law, it is destroying our access to the health care that we like, it is taking away our health care plans. never has there been a federal mandate who has just swept so many people aside and said, you must buy this product. some of you have asked why we're doing this. let me tell you why. we're doing it for my constituentses like caroline and lucie and cindy and wilma, all small business owners, all female heads of households who
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have written us and have said, we are being forced out, forced out of the plan that we like. we're being forced away from the doctor that we like, we're being forced to buy a product we do not like. i thank the gentleman, i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. waxman: mr. speaker, i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from california, rosa delauro. from connecticut, rosa delauro. a state that also starts with a c. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from connecticut is recognized for two minutes. ms. delauro: since this republican majority took office we have taken vote after vote after vote intended to disrupt, delay, defund or outright repeal the affordable care act. last month this house majority shut down the federal government. they threatened a catastrophic debt default in order to gut this law. now when the affordable care act
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is going into effect, are we supposed to believe that this republican majority is putting forth a good-faith effort to improve the bill? it doesn't wash and it defies imagination. this bill is designed to weaken the health care law, to roll back the clock on the reforms we worked so hard to pass. it takes us back to the unacceptable state of our health care system before we passed the affordable care act. remember the health care system was failing people. every year health costs skyrocketed. small businesses priced out of the market. employers asking for higher contributions and co-pays and dropping coverage. people with pre-existing conditions were being socked to be on their own. every year more people had no insurance whatsoever. this bill allows insurers to continue to provide substandard health insurance plans to families. even to new customers. americans on these plans will be
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denied access to preventive services with no out-of-pocket costs. it takes us back to a time when people were not guaranteed coverage for maternity, pediatric care, hospitalization, where where families faced annual caps, lifetime caps. it takes us back to a health insurance market that rejects people with pre-existing conditions. once again this republican majority is trying to put insurers back in the driver's seat. let them control the health of american families. this majority was never interested in reforming our broken health care system. they've never been interested in the affordable care act and now they are not interested as well. this is a cynical, transparently political bill. oppose it. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan is recognized. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i would yield one minute to the chairman
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of the oversight and investigation subcommittee on energy and commerce, dr. tim murphy. one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized for one minute. mr. murphy: mr. chairman, the majority is very concerned about health insurance plans and very concerned about those people who have lost their plans. when this bill was originally marked up a couple of years ago in the energy and commerce committee, repeatedly we heard from members of the other side of the aisle saying that if people liked their plan they could keep it indefinitely. this needed a fix several months ago and the president of the united states said he wants republicans and democrats to work together for a solution. we're offering to work together. and yet the president has said he would veto this. but the president offered only a partial fix. it would lead to more confusion. the question is, it will lead to class action suits against insurance companies who fail to comply with the law and many states are saying this partial fix is not sufficient. we need a legislative fix. we need a way the people can still have their option for buying their plan. and what we have to see here is this is a bigger problem for
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american families who have found that their insurance is lost and they want to be able to keep it. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from california is recognized. mr. waxman: mr. speaker, may i inquire how much time is left on both sides? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from california has 10 1/2 minutes remaining. the gentleman from michigan has 16 3/4 minutes remaining. mr. waxman: at this time i yield two minutes to the gentleman from maryland, mr. hoyer. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from maryland is ecognized for two minutes. mr. hoyer: mr. speaker, i rise in opposition to this bill. which will undermine the providing of health care at affordable prices for millions and millions and millions of americans. we said to those americans that, prior to the adoption of this act, if they had a policy they could keep it. that was accurate. now, it didn't say that the insurance companies would have to continue to offer it, which as i understand it, that side of the aisle wouldn't be for in any
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event. but the fact of the matter is, that statement was correct. now, subsequent to that, there were policies offered and insurance companies knew and policy holders should have known, because it was in the law , that they would be subject to minimum requirements. why? because as the heritage foundation said when it originally came up with this idea, everybody ought to take personal responsibility. i've heard a lot of talk on your side of the aisle, mr. speaker, about personal responsibility. i believe in that. the upton bill, as everybody knows, will skew the risk pool and encourage adverse selection. anybody who knows anything about insurance knows that if you have adverse selection, the prices for those who need insurance
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will go up very substantially while, yes, the prices for those who don't need insurance will go down. very sharply. and very frankly, if all of us knew we would never be in an automobile accident, we wouldn't have to have automobile insurance. except of course the law in almost every state requires us to have it. so that others will be protected as well. now, ladies and gentlemen, this bill is no secret. may i have 30 additional seconds? mr. waxman: i yield the gentleman an additional one minute. mr. hoyer: i thank the gentleman. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hoyer: this bill is offered by people who, according to their own rhetoric, want to repeal the affordable care act. that's a fair position. but now they are trying to do so with a trojan horse they call the upton bill. that in effect will fix what
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people are concerned about. the fact of the matter is it will not fix that problem, but what it will do is undermine the ability of millions and millions d millions of people to have health security. i would urge my colleagues to defeat this trojan horse. i would urge my colleagues to say to the american people, look, we are prepared to work together. the president has offered a compromise which will have the effect of not opening up the policies to everybody, but to those people that had a policy. that is a reasonable step to take. that is a step that perhaps we can talk together and get accomplished. but let's reject this bill and let's stand with the millions of people who want affordable, quality health care for themselves and their families
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and, mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from michigan voiced. mr. upton: mr. speaker, i would yield one minute to the gentleman from new jersey, a member of the house subcommittee on energy and commerce, mr. lance, one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from new jersey is recognized for one minute. mr. lance: thank you, mr. speaker. and i rise in strong support of chairman upton's legislation, which will provide much-needed certainty and relief for millions of americans, including 800,000 in new jersey. regarding this issue, "the new york times" editorializes this morning that the president has damaged his credibility and it is uncertain how he can earn it back, earn back the public's trust. i would suggest support of this bipartisan legislation will earn back the president's trust. this matter should be addressed legislatively and permanently and not administratively and te