Skip to main content

tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 30, 2014 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

12:00 pm
specifically, these, in our view, are not within this subset of particularly significant requirements as to which there must be immediate compliance? >> well, the question would be whether there's a compelling interest in compliance with these requirements. and i'd like to make two points in response to your honor's question. first, with respect to the issue of delay, which i think, mr. chief justice, your question first, with respect to the issue of delay, which i think, mr. chief justice, your question raised, and my friend on the other side has put a lot of weight on, i'd refer the court to the ada. i don't think anybody would doubt that the americans with disabilities act advances interest of the highest order. but when congress enacted that it put a two-year delay on the applicability of the discrimination provision. >> well, isn't that because you're talking about building ramps and things like that? >> no. no, your honor. there's an even longer delay with respect to those kinds of provisions, but it's just a basic prohibition of discrimination two-year delay, and no one would doubt there's a compelling interest here. and with title vii. my friends on the other side have said, well, this different because there's so many more people who are going to not have this coverage under the grandfathered plan.
12:01 pm
but with respect to title vii, of course, it's still the case that that employers with 15 or fewer people are not subject to that law, and that's 80% of the employers in the country. and if you run the math, that's it's at least 80% that's it's going to be somewhere between 10 million and 22 million people who are not within the coverage. no one would say that because the coverage is incomplete in that respect, that title vii enforcing title vii doesn't advance -- >> those were decisions those were decisions that congress made, right? >> yes. >> well, the grandfathering is not a decision that congress made, is it? >> well, the way in which it's implemented is a decision that the agency has made, that's true. but even with respect to the preventive services, i don't think anyone would say that there's not a compelling interest in advancing colorectal cancer screening and immunizations and the things that the preventive services provisions provide in addition to contraceptive coverage.
12:02 pm
i just think this a compelling interest under any understanding of the term. >> i just want before you get to this point, and my question reflects no point of view at all on my behalf. i just but i took mr. clement, one of his points, which i thought was an important one. he says there are some people here who strongly object to helping with abortions which include abortifacient contraceptives. everybody says, yes, they do object to that and that's sincere. so he's not saying this, but i might. but there is a compelling interest in women's health and in the health of the family, and they're not having a religious objection to taking it. and so the government has said provide it. then he says, but there is a less restrictive way, and the less restrictive way is the government pays for it. says it wouldn't cost much.
12:03 pm
you'd have to have another piece of paper that would go to the insurance company that would say, insofar as your employer has a sincere objection against paying this, the government will pay for it. now, what i want to hear, and this not coming from any point of view, i want to hear your precise answer to that kind of argument. >> yes. they did argue i will point out, for the first time at the podium this morning that a less restrictive means would be to extend the accommodation that currently exists -- >> i'm not interested in whether they made the argument sooner or later. what i want to hear from you is i want to hear and it's not you've thought about this. i want to hear your answer to that kind of argument. >> well -- >> i want to be sure you have a chance to give it. >> the answer i think there are two answers to it. assuming it's before the court and i'm going to answer your honest question directly, but i do want to make a prefatory point here, which is that under the law, under ashcroft v. aclu, for example, the burden on the
12:04 pm
government is to show that proposed less restrictive alternatives are not equally effective. if they don't propose it, we don't have a burden to refute it. having said that, we can refute it. now, there are two and there are two ways. the first is, they claim that they don't think that the accommodation is a less restrictive means, i take it because or they haven't raised it before today, because they believe that rfra would require exemptions to that too, such that if you were if you were to provide the accommodation in which the insurance company comes in and provides the contraception if the employer signs the form, they would say that that signing the form also makes them complicit in the central activity, and that therefore rfra provides an exemption there, too. and of course the test is whether the proposed alternative advances the government's interests as effectively. and if it is going to be subject
12:05 pm
to exactly the same rfra objections by exactly the same class of people asking for it, it's not going to serve the government's interest as effectively because the rfra exemption will result in no coverage there. the second point being that -- >> so don't make them sign a piece of paper. >> well, whether they sign the piece of paper or not, if they make the rfra claim there, which they have with respect to that accommodation, it will result in it being less effective in terms of accomplishing the compelling interest. in addition -- >> well, we can ask mr. clement what his position is on this. but you say they have already asserted that it would be inconsistent with rfra as they understand it to provide for a for-profit corporation, like the ones involved here, the sort of accommodation that hhs has extended to so-called religious nonprofits, perhaps with the modification that was included in our stay order in the little sisters case. have they taken a position on that? >> you'll have to ask them. i don't think they have. but they have studiously avoided
12:06 pm
arguing this as a less restrictive alternative, and i take it's because their theory at least, would lead one to the conclusion you would have to provide a rfra objection. but now the -- yes, thank you, mr. chief justice. the second point is that you're talking about a very open-ended increase in the cost to the government. now, we don't know how much that cost would be. the reason is because, since this wasn't litigated in the lower courts, there's not a record on it. so i can't tell you what that what that increased cost is going to be, but it could be quite considerable. >> you're talking about, what three or four birth controls not all of them, just those that are abortifacient. that's not terribly expensive stuff, is it? >> well, to the contrary. and two points to make about that. first, of course the one of the methods of contraception they object to here is the iud. and that is by far and away the method of contraception that is most effective, but has the
12:07 pm
highest upfront cost and creates precisely the kind of cost barrier that the preventive services provision is trying to break down. >> i thought that i was taken by your answer. i thought it was the government's position that providing coverage for the full range of contraceptives and other devices and drugs that are covered here is actually financially neutral for an insurance company, that that reduces other costs that they would incur. >> it is for the insurance company, but for the woman who is going to not get the benefit of the statute if the exemption is granted -- >> no. no. if she if she has the coverage through the insurance company but the employer has nothing to do with arranging for that. >> well, so, in other words, if they haven't raised a rfra objection to the alternative but that but as i said, you know, the logic of their position is that you would get a rfra objection. it can't be -- >> still, i want to get press this a little further, and i don't want you simply to just agree with what i'm about to say. >> don't worry.
12:08 pm
>> no, i mean i mean, after all, somebody, a taxpayer, might say, "i don't want to pay for this small war." and it would be a religious ground, and it would be very very little money, in fact, that you take from him. or the church might say, "i want a sunday morning reduction in the cost of municipal parking." and by the way, that will not only not cost the government anything, they'll make money because nobody parks there on sunday, particularly with this high a fee. now, i'm thinking of i'm trying to figure out where this case fits in that spectrum because i think the answer to the first two questions is no. and i know, so you're just going to agree, and that's what i don't want. i want to understand your thinking on that. >> on that point, i think that question plugs into our view of what the substantial burden test requires, that their view of substantial burden is if you have a sincere religious belief and there is any law with a meaningful penalty that imposes
12:09 pm
on you pressure to do something inconsistent with your belief, then you may pass the substantial burden test. i think the problem with that test as they formulate it, is that under the two hypotheticals that you just gave, justice breyer, you've got a substantial burden in those situations because if you don't pay the tax you can go to jail, for example. and so we think the substantial burden analysis has got to be more strenuous than that. it's got to incorporate principles of attenuation and proximate cause, and that when you think about this case where the requirement is to purchase insurance which enables actions by others, that you're really closer to the tax situation than to imposing a direct obligation to act. so that's how we would think about that issue. but now, with respect to -- >> mr. general verrilli, isn't that really a question of theology or moral philosophy which has been debated for by many scholars and adherents to many religions. a does something that b thinks
12:10 pm
is immoral. how close a connection does there have to be between what b does that may have some that may provide some assistance to a in order for b to be required to refrain from doing that that action. >> it's true that it's a difficult question. but it isn't -- >> it is a religious question and it's a moral question. and you want us to provide a definitive secular answer to it? >> no, but i do think the problem, justice alito, is that this court has recognized, and certainly the courts of appeals have recognized, that there is a difference. you accept the sincerity of the belief, but the court still has to make a judgment of its own about what constitutes a substantial burden, or otherwise, for example, the tax thing would be a substantial burden. or we cited a d.c. circuit case in which prisoners objected to giving dna samples and the court said -- we accept the sincerity of that belief but it's up to us to decide whether that's a actually substantial burden. in the bowen case in this court, the court accepted the sincerity of the belief that the use of the child's social security
12:11 pm
number would offend religious belief and commitments, but said they still had to make a judgment about whether that was a substantial burden. so it does have to be, with all due respect, part of the analysis. >> i still don't understand how hhs exercised its judgment to grant the exemption to nonreligious corporations if you say it was not compelled by rfra. >> i don't think -- >> then it must have been because the health care coverage was not that important. >> it didn't grant an exemption to any nonreligious organizations, justice kennedy. it granted an exemption to churches, and that was it. with respect to religious nonprofits, it constructed an accommodation, but the accommodation delivers the contraceptive coverage to the employees of the nonprofits. it just does it through an indirect means. but there is no diminution of there's no basis for questioning the government's interest with respect to that accommodation because the employees get the
12:12 pm
coverage, just as they would -- >> well, but that of course is an issue that's being hotly litigated right now, right? whether the employees can get the coverage when you're talking about the religious organizations. >> well, that's exactly why i think you can't look to that as a less restrictive -- that accommodation, extending that accommodation to for-profit corporations as a less restrictive alternative. precisely because it's being hotly litigated whether rfra will require exemptions to that, as well. >> but you're relying you're relying on it to make your point with respect to the accommodation, and then you're criticizing your friend for relying on the same thing in making his points. >> well, i think i think what justice kennedy i took justice kennedy to be asking me, mr. chief justice, was whether the government's choice to provide that accommodation reflected a judgment on the part of the government that this was something less than a compelling interest, and i don't think that inference is possible, because the government was trying to use that accommodation to ensure that the contraceptives were delivered. so, with all due respect, i don't think there is an inconsistency there. and i and i do think, if i could, with respect to the issue
12:13 pm
of whether there are exemptions that defeat a compelling interest, that i submit would be a very dangerous principle for this court to adopt in the form that my friends on the other side have offered it, because not only would you then be in a position where it would be very hard to see how title vii enforcement could be justified by compelling interest in response to a rfra objection ada enforcement, fmla enforcement, all kinds of things. and i do think -- >> title vii was passed before 1993, so it wouldn't apply rfra wouldn't apply to title vii. >> well, i think with all due respect, justice ginsburg, i think you could claim a rfra exemption from title vii. and the problem here would be that and i think one of the things that's significant about the position that my friends on the other side are taking here is that with respect to exemptions, for example, from the title vii requirement against discrimination on the basis of religion and hiring congress made a quite clear judgment to provide a very narrow exemption -- churches and
12:14 pm
religious educational institutions and religious associations, and that's it. nobody else can claim an exemption under title vii. >> except that they passed rfra after that. that made a lot of sense. but the question is they passed rfra after that. >> but i think the further question, your honor, is whether you would interpret rfra in a manner where you would essentially obliterate that carefully crafted or what congress meant to do was to obliterate that carefully crafted exemption and instead say that every for-profit corporation could make a request like that. >> well, if congress feels as strongly about this as you suggest, they can always pass an exemption, an exception to rfra, which they have done on other occasions. and they haven't done it here. >> well, with all due respect, your honor, i think you could make the same argument either way in this case, that the question here is what congress thought it was doing in 1993 and we don't think, given the long history and the fact that not only do you have no case in which a for-profit corporation ever had a successful -- >> well, we've already discussed that there is no case holding that they can't, right? >> in addition, if you look at
12:15 pm
the history of exemptions and accommodations in our legislation, state and federal legislation may extend to churches and religious nonprofits, and that's and individuals. and that's where the line has been drawn in our legislation historically. there just is nothing in our current -- >> under your view, a profit corporation could be forced in principle, there are some statutes on the books now which would prevent it, but could be forced in principle to pay for abortions. >> no. i think, as you said, the law now the law now is to the contrary. >> but your reasoning would permit that. >> well, i think that you know i don't think that that's i think it would depend on the law and it would depend on the entity. it certainly wouldn't be true, i think, for religious nonprofits. it certainly wouldn't be true for a church. >> i'm talking about a profit corporation. you say profit corporations just don't have any standing to vindicate the religious rights of their shareholders and owners. >> well, i think that if it were for a for-profit corporation and if such a law like that were
12:16 pm
enacted, then you're right under our theory that the for-profit corporation wouldn't have an ability to sue. but there is no law like that on the books. in fact, the law is the opposite. >> i'm sorry, i lost track of that. there is no law on the books that does what? >> that makes a requirement of the kind that justice kennedy hypothesized. the law is the opposite. >> well, flesh it out a little more. what there is no law on the books that does what? >> that requires for-profit corporations to provide abortions. >> what if a law like that -- >> isn't that what we are talking about in terms of their religious beliefs? one of the religious beliefs is that they have to pay for these four methods of contraception that they believe provide abortions. i thought that's what we had before us. >> it is their sincere belief and we don't question that. but i will say, and i do think this important and i say it with all respect, that that is how they that is the judgment that they make. it is not the judgment that federal law or state law reflects. federal law and state law which does which do preclude funding
12:17 pm
for abortions don't consider these particular forms of contraception to be abortion. with all due respect, i would say that i think that, you know, we've got about 2 million women who rely on the iud as a method of birth control in this country. i don't think they think they are engaged in abortion in doing that. it is their belief. it's sincere. we respect it. but it isn't a belief that we think is reflected in federal or state law or our traditions of where that line is drawn. and so and i do think that that is what makes this a difficult case. i agree. and if you disagree with our position at the threshold that corporations that even though you have a situation, and we acknowledge you can have situations, in which a tightly knit group of a small group of tightly knit individuals own and operate a corporation where there is appeal to that, to the argument that they ought to recognize a claim of exercising
12:18 pm
religion in those circumstances. the problem, i would submit, is with the implications of doing it, the implications for entanglement and making the judgments when you move past that group, the administrability problems, and the problems of inviting the kinds of claims that are predictably going to impose harms on third parties. >> what about the implications of saying that no for-profit corporation can raise any sort of free exercise claim at all and nobody associated with the for-profit corporation can raise any sort of free exercise claim at all? let me give you this example. according to the media, denmark recently prohibited kosher and halal slaughter methods because they believe that they are inhumane. now, suppose congress enacted something like that here. what would the what would a corporation that is a kosher or halal slaughterhouse do? they would simply they would have no recourse whatsoever. they couldn't even get a day in court. they couldn't raise a rfra claim. they couldn't raise a first
12:19 pm
amendment claim. >> well, i'm not sure they couldn't raise a first amendment claim, justice alito. i think if you had a targeted law like that, that targeted a specific religious practice, that i don't think it is our position that they couldn't make a free exercise claim in that circumstance and so -- >> why is that -- >> well, but you're getting away from the hypothetical. say justice alito's hypothetical was that the impetus for this was humane treatment of animals. there was no animus to religion at all, which in the church of lukumi, there was an animus to the religion. so we're taking that out of the hypothetical. >> exactly. >> right. well, i think if it were targeted only at the practices of the kosher and halal practices, then i think you would have an issue of whether it's a targeted law or not. but even if it is -- >> well, they say no animal may be slaughtered unless it's stunned first, unless the animal is rendered unconscious before it is slaughtered. >> well, i think in that circumstance, you would have, i think, an ability for customers to bring suit. i think you might recognize
12:20 pm
third party standing on behalf of the corporation on the corporations, on behalf of customers. so a suit like that could be brought. but even if you disagree with me at the threshold, even if you disagree with us with respect to the kinds of risks that we think you will be inviting if you hold that for-profit corporations can bring these claims, when you get to the compelling interest analysis, the rights of the third party employees are at center stage here. and that's i think that's the point of critical importance in thinking about this case. and i think, frankly, the point that has been just left on the sidelines by my friends on the other side. the consequence of holding here that the rfra exemption applies is not a situation like ones in which this court under the free exercise clause or under rfra have recognized exemptions in the past. those have always been situations where it's a relationship between the individual and the government and granting the exemption might result in the government not
12:21 pm
being able to enforce the law with respect to the individual but -- >> i mean, the point that justice alito was making is that take five jewish or muslim butchers and what you're saying to them is if they choose to work under the corporate form, which is viewed universally, you have to give up on that form the freedom of exercise clause that you'd otherwise have. now, looked at that way, i don't think it matters whether they call themselves a corporation or whether they call themselves individuals. i mean, i think that's the question you're being asked, and i need to know what your response is to it. >> well, i think our response is what the court said in part 3 of the lee opinion, which is that once you make a choice to go into the commercial sphere which you certainly do when you incorporate as a for-profit corporation, you are making a choice to live by the rules that govern you and your competitors in the commercial sphere. but even if you disagree with me
12:22 pm
about that, what i'd like to leave the court with, is what i think is the most important point here, is that if this exemption were granted, it will be the first time under the free exercise clause or under rfra in which this court or any court has held that an employer may take -- may be granted an exemption that extinguishes statutorily guaranteed benefits of fundamental importance. lee came to exactly the opposite conclusion with respect to social security benefits, that you -- that it was imperative that the employee's interest be protected. and that is the fundamental problem with the position that my friends on the other side raise here, that they leave the third-party employees entirely out of the equation. >> that's ok for not-for-profit corporations to do that with respect to all of their employees, and some of them are pretty big operations -- >> no. >> that's ok there? >> no, we don't think that. we don't we're not drawing a line between nonprofits and profits. >> they can make you allow them to make this religious objection, don't you?
12:23 pm
>> no. no. religious nonprofits get an accommodation in which their employees get the contraception. but we are not drawing a line between for-profit and profit. >> but they don't have to pay for it, right? >> the -- >> and you could set that up this way, that these people don't have to pay for it. >> well, as i've said a couple of times, they haven't asked for that until this morning. but the fundamental point here is that you would be extinguishing statutorily guaranteed health benefits of fundamental importance to these employees, and that is something that this court has never done. and i submit that congress can't have thought it was authorizing it when it enacted rfra in 1993. thank you. >> thank you, general. mr. clement, four minutes. >> thank you, mr. chief justice. just a few points in rebuttal. let me start with the abortion conscious clause. it's because it tells you something about where congress has drawn the line and it tells you the consequences of the government's position. historically, those conscious provisions have applied to all medical providers, including for-profit medical providers.
12:24 pm
but we learned today that as far as the government's concerned, that's just congress' judgment. if congress changes its judgment and says that a for-profit medical provider has to provide an abortion, rfra doesn't apply. that, with all due respect cannot be what congress had in mind when it passed rfra. they also suggested if a kosher market takes the trouble to incorporate itself, then it has no free exercise claims at all. now, you can go back and read the crown kosher case. i took it as common ground, that all nine justices thought that if the massachusetts law there had forced crown kosher to be open on saturday, that that would be a free exercise claim notwithstanding the incorporation. the second point i want to talk about is the least restrictive alternatives. in a colloquy with justice scalia, the solicitor general points out that yeah, well, it's a little bit different from the pre-smith law because now you have the less restrictive alternatives analysis. that's not a small difference. that's a major difference. and it's really the easiest way to rule against the government in this case. because you have a unique situation here where their policy is about a government a subsidy for a government-preferred health care
12:25 pm
item, and the question is who pays? the government paying or a third-party insurer paying is a perfectly good least restrictive alternative. >> so we go back to the start of my question, that would be essentially the same for vaccines, blood transfusions non-pork products, the government has to pay for all of the medical needs that an employer thinks or claims it has a religious exemption to? >> not necessarily, justice sotomayor. it will depend on how you -- >> because those things are more important? >> no, not because they're more -- >> it's really the amount of money -- >> important. but the easiest way to distinguish them is if the government's already provided this accommodation for religious employers. >> well, but they -- >> and with all due respect -- >> they make exemptions for vaccines, presumably, to some people on some basis, but we have a tax code that applies to everybody, but we have a million exemptions. does the creation of the
12:26 pm
exemption relieve me from paying taxes when i have a sincere religious belief that taxes are immoral? >> i think lee says that taxes are different and not all exemptions are created equal because some exemptions undermine the compelling interest. now, the reason -- >> isn't there a federal program that pays for vaccines for any children who are not covered by insurance for those vaccines? >> there is, justice alito. of course, there's also title x which provides for contraception coverage, which is another least restrictive alternative. but i do want to get on the table that it is not true, that we have not suggested that the accommodation provided to religious employers, like nonprofit hospitals, that's not something i invented at the podium. if you look at page 58 of our brief, the red brief, we specifically say that one of the least restrictive alternatives would be the most obvious least restrictive alternative is for the government to pay for their favorite contraception methods themselves. later in that paragraph, the only full paragraph on the page, we say, "and indeed, the government has attempted something like that with respect to certain objective employers objective employees employers," and we cite the federal register
12:27 pm
provision where there is the accommodation provision. >> will your clients claim that filling out the form, if you're saying they would claim an exemption like the churches have already? >> we haven't been offered that accommodation, so we haven't had to decide what kind of objection, if any, we would make to that. but it's important to recognize that as i understand that litigation, the objection is not to the fact that the insurance or the provider pays for the contraception coverage. the whole debate is about how much complicity there has to be from the employer in order to trigger that coverage. and whatever the answer is for little sisters of the poor presumably you can extend the same thing to my clients and there wouldn't be a problem with that. if i could have just one second more to say that the agency point that justice kennedy has pointed to is tremendously important, because congress spoke, it spoke in rfra. here the agency has decided that it's going to accommodate a subset of the persons protected by rfra. in a choice between what congress has provided and what
12:28 pm
the agency has done, the answer is clear. thank you, your honor. >> thank you, counsel. counsel, the case is submitted. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> the court deciding that unions that unions do not have the right to collect union dues from nonmembers. all of this handed down on the last day of the court's terms. those items are likely to be brought up during today's house briefing, which we expect to get underway in just a moment with white house spokesman josh earnest. we will have live coverage here when it starts on c-span.
12:29 pm
>> today's briefing will get underway in just a few moments. i very quickly want to announce that robert mcdonald is expected to be announced by the president this afternoon.
12:30 pm
while we wait, a discussion of the impact of the health care law on insurance plans. (202) 737-0001 --host: thanks for being with us. let me say this about health care inflation.
12:31 pm
higher health care costs means more -- that for workers their standard of living will decline. it means more difficulty in competing in an international market place. i would also say that the budget deficit is largely a problem of rising health care costs. let me also say, if we go back to where we were from 2000-10. in other words, the rate of inflation is the same and the next 10 years as it was from 2000-10, the cost of family policy in 2024 will be about $34,000 a year. it is serious business. right now, we are having historically low rates of inflation. some of this is connected with the recession, but we've got to wait and see the future. host: via formal care act, how
12:32 pm
does that address the increases in the rhenium? guest: the formal care act has a number of measures that potentially control the rate of increase in health care inflation. for example, the market structure that it has set up is one that was advocated by conservative economists for decades. basically what it is, it gives you a fixed contribution and if you were to pay more, you've got a more expensive plan, you do not have to pay more out of your own pocket. it is in contrast with our current employer-based system, which actually subsidizes and efficiency -- and i can go into more detail on that later. there are aspects of the formal care act that actually regulate -- that directly regulate the
12:33 pm
premiums that small insurance small group, and individual market. lastly and most importantly, the affordable care act adds transparency to our system, which never existed before. it makes it much easier for people to shop around. host: our guest is john gable from the university of chicago . the numbers are on the screen. we will of course also take your questions on twitter and facebook. or you can e-mail us. i want to ask you a couple of questions about a chart that we found in the "wall street journal" and the way they write
12:34 pm
about it they say this. guest: the population on the exchanges is a little sicker than traditionally in the nongroup market. a little sicker, but i think this is to be expected. when people who have not had insurance are suddenly able to buy it, the first people who will buy will be the sickest
12:35 pm
people. in fact, enrollment in the last month of the exchange had many more young people and a younger and healthier group of people. let me say something though, about -- it is a threat, no doubt. but the congressional budget office thinks that for the next year, the rate of increase in the science is only going to be about three percent. and one reason -- the rate of increase in these plans is only going to be about three percent. and one reason is that the younger population will be enrolling in the second year. host: bob in new york who is enrolled in the exchanges, go ahead. caller: i just wanted to say thanks for c-span. this is an interesting topic. you just made a comment referring to the cbo numbers
12:36 pm
which came out prior to the affordable care act which are totally off key. i just got a letter from my provider blue cross, blue shield here in new york, and i will be receiving an 18% increase in my premium next year. the reason they sent the letter is because of the aca and they have now have to report the amount of proposed changes they will do. you state is going to be an average of three percent. that is not only inaccurate, but it is just not correct your -- correct. and based off of the cbo study that was done and told obamacare would be providing or 120 $500 worth of savings. i think it is odd that you are quoting that as your resource. people will he be receiving 18% increase in their premium, not three percent. guest: bob, first of all, i understand why you are concerned. i want to say, one plan does not
12:37 pm
make an overall average. there will be plans that will go up a lot. and there will be plans that will be negative. i would suggest that you shop around and look for other plans. you can get equivalent coverage, i'm sure. the same amount of financial protection at a lower cost. with regard to the congressional budget office, i'm not basing it on the $2500. i'm basing it on the recent projections just within the last month. and i might note the congressional budget office has now twice reduced the estimate of the cost of the affordable care act. one other comment -- >> afternoon, everybody. i apologize for the scheduling switch we had him earlier today. it was my intent to be done by now, but instead we are just getting started. i do not have any announcements at the top. i will let you kick off the fireworks.
12:38 pm
>> what is your reaction to the hobby lobby ruling? >> i knew that would be your first question today. the supreme court ruled today that some can now refuse coverage for some health care -- health coverage a son views that there are known employees may not even share. they can make decisions for themselves rather than their bosses deciding for them -- president obama has said that they should be able to make decisions for themselves rather than their bosses deciding for them. as millions of women no, contraception is often vital to their well-being. we will work with congress to make sure that any women affected by this decision will still have the same coverage and vital health services as everyone else. president obama believes strongly in the freedom of religion. that is why we have taken steps to ensure that no religious
12:39 pm
institution will have to pay or provide for contraceptive coverage. we've also made accommodations for nonprofit religious organizations that object to religious contraception -- that object to contraception on religious grounds. but we believe that a company should not be able to assert their views to deny employees federally mandated coverage. we will continue to look for ways to improve americans help -- health by helping women have more not less, say over their personal health decisions that affect them and their families. >> could you talk about what options you are considering to make sure women have access to contraception you come -- contraception? >> i'm not able to speak to that right now. we are assessing practical indications there are from this decision, including what companies are covered by the supreme court decision. as you just saw, the supreme
12:40 pm
court pretty narrowly held to the decision. and there are other decisions -- institutions that are treated in different ways. we are also looking at what kind of health care plans these companies have and how many employees are affected. as we gather more information we may be able to be in a position to better consider the range of options available to the president. it is our view that congress needs to take action to solve this problem that has been created and the administration stands ready to work with them to do so. but another topic, some advocates are expressing outrage over the letter that the president sent this morning about the minors. they said it is wrong to send minors back to a violent situation in their home country. can you respond? >> i can. our concern principally right
12:41 pm
now is that we have seen gathered on this western border of the united states and alarming increase in the number of children who have traveled from central american countries to our border on the southwest. expecting to gain entry and to be welcomed into the united states. they are principally motivated by a disinformation campaign that is being propagated by criminal syndicates that are preying on vulnerable populations of people, who are living in pretty desperate situations. in some cases, they're living in communities that are wracked by violence. in other cases, they are facing pretty dire economic circumstances. and it has led to a humanitarian situation that the president is very concerned about. this it ministration will enforce the law. and what the law requires is ensuring that these children
12:42 pm
once they are attained at the border -- and that is to be clear in many cases, what is happening. children are turning themselves into the border patrol agent. and the law requires that these children be -- that there needs be met basic humanitarian needs be provided for them. what is also true that -- is that we want to search resources to businesses plagued at this problem, increasing the number of immigration judges and asylum officers and other lawyers to make sure that we can properly process these claims quickly. each child is certainly do -- is owed due process and they will get the benefit of that. at the same time, we are seeing such a large influx of children at the border that we are having a difficult time processing the large number of cases that are now getting backed up in the
12:43 pm
immigration court system. we have asked for additional resources to make sure that we can process these claims as quickly as possible. we have also asked for additional authority that can be used at the discretion of the secretary of homeland security to process the cases, if ultimately it is found that the child, or an that is here with children does not have a legal right to stay in the country. they can be returned to their home country and properly reintegrated. that means we are also working with some of these countries where the root of this problem exists. you saw a couple of weeks ago that the vice president traveled to central america and met with the leaders in honduras and guatemala and secretary kerry is traveling to the region this week as well and we will have similar commerce nations with the countries of the region. >> on that point, how much are you actually asking for?
12:44 pm
is it to glean dollars, $3 million, how much yet -- $2 million, $3 million, how much? >> that will be a question for the court. >> [inaudible] is that what you're talking about doing for this case? >> no, what we are talking about is pressing congress to take the steps to address this problem to make sure that the women who work for these companies have access to the preventative medicine that they deserve and that these nonpartisan scientists believe they should have access to. that is what we are focused on and we believe that because of the supreme court decision today, that congress should act to address the concerns of the women affected by this decision.
12:45 pm
>> with congress as divided as it is now, how likely is that to happen? >> as with a range of other things, we will consider whether there is an opportunity for the president to take some other action that could mitigate this problem as well. but again, we are still assessing the decision and it too early for me to state what kind of action would be available to the president and what kind of action he would even consider at this point. but what is clear is that there is an opportunity for congress to take the kind of steps that would mitigate this problem, and we hope they will. >> do you see this as a major impact on the obamacare health care law? some have said it is a devastating blow. >> i think it would have been a devastating blow had this same supreme court two years ago decided to declare the of for the care act unconstitutional. they did not. they upheld the formal care act sensually. -- the affordable care act sensually -- essentially.
12:46 pm
and that has given many americans access to of care. it has also put in to protect -- put into place a wide range of consumer protections, everything from ensuring that young adults up to age 46 can remain on their -- up to age 26 can or may not their parents health insurance to others. all of this has been in place. -- in put in place. this is one specific set of companies and one group of women who, when it comes to specific access to certain contraceptive services and that specific problem that has essentially been created by the supreme court. the problem is that the institute of medicine says that women should have access to these types of preventative services.
12:47 pm
but the ruling allows the bosses of these women to step in and say, well, i have a religious concern. you are not allowed to make your own decision about whether you would like to edit it for these -- from these services -- like to benefit from the services. we believe that congress should take action. >> following up on that, does the white house have a reaction to the fact that the majority was men writing the decision and in the minority you have three justices being women. the president has talked in the past about democrats being energized to vote in the midterm elections. might this case energized democrats on this issue? >> in terms of the political fallout for my will at the political analysts out there make a decision. the president does however believe that there is an important principle at stake. that women should have the freedom to make their own decisions about their health care, and that interference by their boss for whatever reason
12:48 pm
based on their religious views or just their scientific opinion, is inappropriate. one of the core goals of the affordable care act was to put freedom and that hands of families all across the country, to give them access to greater choices to quality affordable health insurance that would be in the best interest of their family. this decision today, while respected, runs counter to that principle. and the president will look to congress to put in place a solution. >> on bob and donald, the president's choice to head the v.a. this election seems to have come out of nowhere and has been greeted as unorthodox. it turns out mr. mcdonald has made contribution to republican candidates in the past. do you view that is something that might help mr. mcdonald get through the senate? because it might discourage
12:49 pm
republicans from blocking his nomination? >> mr. mcdonald was chosen because he has a -- the kind of record as a solid manager will be required as the next secretary of the department of veterans affairs to put in place the covenant that our nation has made with our men and women in uniform. that will be critical to ensuring the country lives up to the commitment to those in uniform. mr. mcdonald himself served in the military and graduated at the top of his class at west point. he served in the u.s. army for five years. and he has a credible story to tell in terms of his management record at procter & gamble. he started at the country -- company as as an entry-level employee and then rose to be the ceo. that demonstrates a lot of character and tenacity, and those we to things -- those will be two things required of the
12:50 pm
next secretary of the department of veterans affairs. one last thing, while he was at procter & gamble, doctoring ample was -- procter & gamble was widely credited with success in mentoring leaders at the middle management level. and having the kind of management style that inspires other people in the organization with leadership skills is something that is based on the problems that have been unearthed at the v.a., that will be critical to their success as well. >> someone who can go in and clean house? >> someone who has a lot of experience and has enjoyed a lot of success in managing a large company. the v.a. is a large organization that is performing very important work. there are some important changes that need to be made to ensure that important work is actually getting done. having somebody who has experience in the military has strong bipartisan support for taking the job, and has a proven
12:51 pm
track record of implement in changes in large organizations to great effect can make some -- to great effect, that makes him the right choice for this task. >> there are reports that the terrorist threat in syria may be translating to security issues for the nations air force. is that something the white house will be looking at? a lot of people are heading out traveling and have vacation plans this summer. is that something americans should be concerned about? >> i am not in a position to comment. the department of homeland security is regularly reviewing our security procedures to adapt to the threat that we face by our transportation system. and advisories are required to adequately inform the traveling public. i do not have an announcement right here at this point to make. for more information i would refer you to the department of homeland security. i will move around just a little bit.
12:52 pm
>> [indiscernible] do you find it ironic that both the united states, the russians, and iran are sending mixed messages to prime minister maliki? collects we have offered to support the iraqi government and the u.s. has provided significant assistance to the maliki government, in the form of train that is ongoing through the embassy there in iraq but also in jordan. there have also been a number of military sales from the united states to iraq to try to support the maliki regime and the iraqi government. what we have been some -- disappointed by is the fact that mr. maliki has not pursued the kind of including -- inclusive governing agenda that we think will be required to ensure
12:53 pm
long-term success in iraq. we are working closely with the maliki government, and all the political leaders in iraq. you have seen the phone calls between secretary kerry and iraqi leaders and vice president biden and iraqi leaders in pursuit of encouraging the government to pursue a more inclusive agenda. that is what we are focused on. there is one piece of military equipment that has attracted a lot of attention. a delivery of f-16s is scheduled for later this year. the u.s. is committed to living the f-16s to iraq as quickly as possible. delivery of the first two aircraft had long been scheduled for this fall pending final preparations for housing and securing the aircraft, completion of pilot training and completion of required administered of details, which the iraqi detail has said to complete. there are logistical details to be accounted for.
12:54 pm
but once the logistical concerns have been addressed, we are still committed to moving forward. >> [indiscernible] do you believe that prime minister maliki is a viable candidate right now? >> that is a decision for the iraqi people and the iraqi political leadership to decide. we are urging racks leaders -- urging iraq's leaders to them together in forming the next government. we are hoping they will act quickly so the government formation can move forward after the first session of the parliament is convene on july 1. we are urging all leaders across the spectrum to treat the situation with seriousness and begin a quick negotiation to determine than the -- the makeup of the next government. and that has to be an inclusive one.
12:55 pm
>> under the circumstances and the u.s. has committed and sent advisers -- has the president had conversations with any world leaders in terms of their commitment in-kind? in other words, they're kind of special forces advisors, etc., to going there to address this crisis? >> over the past couple weeks, you see that we have read out a number of conversations that the president has had with world leaders, some of them on ukraine, some of them on the situation in iraq, and others. i don't have any and digital details -- additional details from these conversations. but the president is interested in working in a collaborative fashion with our allies and other interested countries in the region to try to encourage the political leadership in iraq to pursue this kind of including
12:56 pm
-- inclusive governing agenda. in order to the dress the threats proposed by -- to address the threats proposed by isis in iraq. the government needs to make it clear that each system has a stake in the country's future and the country's prosperity. >> does the president hope that any of his allies friends former allies, world are presented as, will in fact be encouraged to send advisers or special forces to iraq, as the u.s. has committed? >> i'm not in a position to give this conversation any more detail. i would assume, and with a lot of confidence, that the leaders in other countries would be making a similar activation to the one of the president has made. which is, our interest in a country, or our activity in that country will be governed by what the president said to be in the best interest of american security. that will continue to be the
12:57 pm
criteria the president will use as he makes decisions about u.s. actions there, and i assume other countries leaders -- other country awesome leaders will be making similar decisions. >> [indiscernible] agree with the supreme court premise that companies have freedom of speech and companies have freedom of religion? >> as you have heard -- well as the constitutional office -- constitutional lawyer that sits in the oval office will tell you, he reserved judgment until a reading of the decision. what we have assessed so far is that there is a problem that has been exposed, which is that they are now -- there is now a group of women of indeterminate size who no longer have access to free contraceptive coverage
12:58 pm
simply because of religious views held not by them necessarily, but by their bosses . we disagree anticonstitutional lawyer -- and the constitutional lawyer in the oval office disagrees. primarily, because there is concern about the impact it could have on the health of those women. ultimately, the it -- the aca was to allow better health and greater options to those women as they seek health care. in terms of the broader legal analysis, that is something we will get to. >> the law that is applicable says -- currently, the one that is in effect now, says that a child shall not be placed in a secured facility absent a determination that the child poses a danger to itself or others. these facilities that you're
12:59 pm
proposing to build, it appears that the law says they should not be put there until they are a danger to themselves or others . is this the part of the law that the industry should want to change? >> the facilities being open are specifically to meet humanitarian needs of these children, to make sure they have a bed to sleep in, a roof over their heads, access to food, and other basic needs that any child has. that is the point of these facilities being opened at a couple of different military facilities. you have seen them support and perform the coordinating function with hhs for housing these children to make sure these needs are met. more broadly, what we are asking additional funding to do is to deploy more immigration judges, lawyers, asylum officers, to more quickly and efficiently evaluate the cases of these children.
1:00 pm
and when it is determined, after going through that legal process that these children do not have a legal basis for remaining in the country, the administration is seeking greater authority to be expressed, or a greater authority that could be used by the secretary of homeland security to resolve their case. and in many cases, that means returning them to their country where they came from. >> those children are staying in the united states and staying with either family or foster homes and they are not staying in facilities because they are not allowed to by law. are you trying to change the law itself? will you as congress to change the law that was passed? >> in terms of that specific legal request, i would refer you to dhhs. we are trying to confront a very specific problem.
1:01 pm
that is the large number of children that have appeared on the southwest corridor unaccompanied -- border unaccompanied by an adult that maybe a company by criminal element making sure their humanitarian needs are met. > can you do these things you're saying? do you want to send more of them back home or keep them in dissension -- and attention centers and have them adopted by other families? can you do that legally now? do you have to change the law? >> is my understanding that the greater authority we are seeking for the secretary of homeland security would allow us to address the rubble more directly. it would put the administration and a posture where we can work quick we process the claims come in to do a better job of determining who has a legitimate
1:02 pm
claim for remaining in this country and who doesn't. if it's determined that they do not, these children or these adults who have arrived in the southwest border with children can be returned quickly and repatriated to the country where they came from. i want to make one thing clear this happens to be a priority of border security and national security. we are talking about children largely. it's a humanitarian situation that has the potential to only get worse. that's why it's important that we follow the law in terms of meeting the basic humanitarian needs of these children but also making it clear as the president did last week that parents who
1:03 pm
may find themselves in an increasingly desperate situation in their home country, despite that desperation, should not be looking for an opportunity to put their children and the hands -- in the hands of a stranger who is likely a criminal to transport them safely to the united states. that is not a good option. it is not one that any parent should pursue. >> if many of these children are vulnerable,s is the president concerned that speeding up the process of them being removed could violate their due process? what does the it ministration plan to do about that? >> we are committed to make sure we are following due process. we are seeking to make sure we have access to more judges, more ice officials and asylum officials who can make sure that due process rights are being respected.
1:04 pm
when it comes to repatriation, one of the things we have done and this was part of the conversation that the vice president had with the leaders of the central american countries 10 days ago and will be part of the conversation with the secretary of state and the same countries will be about american resources that can be used to try to help this stem the flow of these refugees. we have ongoing partnership arrangements with law enforcement officials and military officials in these countries but we want to work with them closely to try to meet some of the knees of these communities and try to stem the flow of people from desperate situations. >> wouldn't you be sending the children back to more danger? >> we are cord knitting with these countries that we have a way to repatriate these kids and away as safe as possible. -- we are coordinating with these countries that we have a way to repatriate these kids in
1:05 pm
as safe a way as possible. i must understand that putting their child and hands of a stranger who is promising to deliver them to the united states is not at all a wise decision. >> in addition to hobby lobby there are six or seven other high-profile cases at the supreme court. how concerned is the president about the direction the supreme court is pushing the country and the law? >> that's a pretty broad generalization. i think i have been pretty clear about where our disagreement lies in the comes to this specific ruling and the problem that it creates for women employed by the country. that disagreement notwithstanding, this administration will obviously abide by the rulings of the supreme court. >> there has been a ruling last
1:06 pm
week on the abortion buffer rule. it seems that -- is the president worried about supreme court pushing judicial oversight into a general direction. >> i would not make a broad assessment like that from this podium. april, do you have a question? >> yes i do. >> you are being very attentive. i want to go to a question asked about the va. leading into the process of naming a new head of the v.a., who has the president consulted with?
1:07 pm
>> there was a commitment by this administration to reach out to all the stakeholders. i should say to a wide range of stakeholders. this was to make sure that the criteria that was being used for deciding to nominate mr. mcdonald was inclusive of the qualities that will be required in the new leadership over there. that sort of highlights the kind of credentials that mr. mcdonald is to this task. he is somebody who served bravely and our military, graduated at the top of his class at west point, served for five years in the 82nd airborne division in the united states army, and has decades of experience running a large organization, multinational company, that is headquartered in cincinnati, ohio. he brings a wealth of experience and skills to this task.
1:08 pm
determining that he is the best person for the job was based on the skills he brings and the skills that are required is something that was discussed by senior members of the white house as they conducted this search with the wide range of stake holders. >> this is an issue that has passions running the gamut. some others have names they wanted to present and they have petitions on the white house website. mr. williams also worked in the military and was in intelligence. could you give us the list of people who have presented names to him? we are hearing a lot of people out there are passionate about this issue. >> there's no question there are a lot of people passionate about this issue. there are millions of people across the country who are
1:09 pm
passioate that we live up to the promises we made to the men and women in uniform. we welcome the active interest of these people to make sure we live up to that, and. -- to that covenant. this would be part of the task that secretary or that mr. mcdonald will face when he gets that job. it will be to find ways to help every american who was interested get invested in this idea that we want to make sure we are caring for the men and women in uniform after they leave military service. >>isis has effectively declared a state. i'm sure the administration does not recognize that. i want to get the impression of the broader ambitions of isis representing territory but a way of life and ideology and whether or not it's recognized by the united states. there is something that has to
1:10 pm
be reckoned with here. is it the policy of the administration to eradicate this ambition and these people and the territory they say they now control? is that part of the conversations you have internally but also externally? >> what we have seen from isiil is a campaign of terror. gross acts of violence and repressive ideology, it poses a great threat to the future of iraq. isil is not fighting on behalf of sunnis. it is not fighting for stronger iraq. it is fighting to destroy iraq. that's why you have seen this administrator work closely with the iraq political leaders to encourage them to unite the country as they confront this
1:11 pm
existential threat. isil's name suggests they desire to form a kalifat in the region. what we would like to do is make sure that after more than a decade of sacrifice that was made by american military personnel and others who served in that region, to get the -- to give the iraqi people a chance to determine their own future and decide who should lead their country and what the country should look like. that's why it is so important for iraqi leaders to put up as governing agenda. that will -- that's what will be required to defeat isil and make sure every citizen in this country has a stake in the future. >> on the issue of unaccompanied minors, it's a procedural question. will you seek an emergency
1:12 pm
supplemental off the normal appropriations process and try to obtain the legal authority for seeking authority for the department of homeland security or work this through the appropriations process? >> there isn't an explicit proportion's request -- there is an x broke -- there is an explicit request that will come from the white house that will include funds to a compass and the tasks we have laid out. it will also include a request for additional authorities being granted to the secretary of homeland security so he can exercise greater discretion about how to more efficiently process these cases through the immigration system. >>we would like to see congress act pretty quickly on this. i would point out that members
1:13 pm
of both parties have expressed some concern about this situation. some have publicly wondered whether united states -- the white house has the resources to deal with it. now that the administration has come forth with a specific request for how we would like to deal with it at a specific request for the amount of money required to deal with it, we hope that congress will -- it's not ready but in the next couple of weeks. when we do, we hope that congress will act quickly. >> to those who might wonder what someone who spent most of his professional career and merchandising, selling soap and toiletries why would that make him well-positioned to deal with an unresponsive administration. that's the words of the white house and congressional investigators. why do those things matchup? >> the success he enjoyed at p&g
1:14 pm
is not irrelevant. the company has more than 120,000 employees and sells products in more than 180 countries and they have more than 2.5 million stores that reach 5 billion customers. there are some unwieldy challenges in the context of the p&g bureaucracy that mr. mcdonald has grappled with and he has done with success. he has risen through the company in a dramatic way. are the statements of others who know him well who seem to think he is the right person for this job -- even speaker john boehner has said he is a good man, a veteran, and a strong leader with years of experience in the private sector. senator portman pointed out he was glad to see the president rejected someone with a wealth of experience managing accomplish organization who has also had a distinguished
1:15 pm
military career as a west point graduate and army ranger. that's why senator portman says he intends to support mr. mcdonald's nomination. there is already an indication that there other members of congress who share the president's assessment of mr. mcdonald as the right man for the job. >> will the point person remain at the veterans administration? should we regard rob's presence of a there is something that will be permanent or semipermanent? >> i don't have a timeframe to share with you now. the decision to send rob to try to assess the condition of the v.a. was not intended to be a permanent appointment. you so that mr. neighbor's report was presented to the resident last week. mr. neighbors identified a pretty wide range of challenges
1:16 pm
that are facing the v.a. this is an unsparing report that singled out a lot of significant problems. there is a wide range of reforms. >> do they want him to stay there to help the new secretary? >> i anticipate at least for the time being rob will remain at the v.a. as they continue to implement the reforms that have already been suggested by outside groups. he will play a role in helping mr. mcdonald who hopefully will be confirmed rather quickly get up to speed on some of these issues and talk through with them what exactly the challenges are and what kinds of reforms might substantially address the problems they are facing. >> the president mentioned the world cup today. will you be watching the game today? >> i don't know if he will have a chance to do that but i will get that information in advance of kickoff tomorrow. >> mcdonald was in fact forced
1:17 pm
out by shareholders who felt he had not done enough to grow the company. the president is aware of that. what makes him think that he can handle with an agency -- he can handle an agency that the challenges the v.a. has. >> he led a multinational company. the challenges associated with managing a large company like that in the private sector, it certainly comparable at least to managing the difficult bureaucratic challenges posed by large government agency. >> the private sector is different because you cannot fire government workers. >> there are people that do have
1:18 pm
a good vantage point from which to judge mr. mcdonnell success at p&g and those are people who served on his board. this is from jim mcinerney chairman of the boeing company who served on the board of p&g when mr. mcdonald was ceo. he described him as an outstanding choice in a critically important position. his business acumen and his dedication and love of our nations military and veteran community make them a great choice of the toughest challenges we have the v.a. this is somebody who actually knows the business world well himself and runs a large multinational company and he had an opportunity to watch mr. mcdonald up close is he managed a large bureaucracy. he believes he is the right choice in the same way the president does. >> congressman paul said the
1:19 pm
administration took time to build a case against a terrorist instead of arresting him as quickly as he was identified and located. is that a fair criticism? >> in terms of prosecutors and m r katalla, i would check with the apartment justice. what the president said at the dance after the attack on benghazi is that he was determined to use the resources of united states government to bring to justice those who were responsible for perpetrating that violence and taking the lives of four americans who represented our interest overseas. you had seen in the successful mission to detain abu katalla and bring them to justice that the president made good on that effort. there are likely other people involved. there continues to be work ongoing to bring additional
1:20 pm
people involved in that effort to justice. >> it's taken the better part of two years to bring him to justice. >> that's a pretty good indication that the administration, this country and the president does not forget we are determined to bring to justice those who took the lives of americans. >> when you have investigations that show you what is wrong, you look to someone who can answer those problems. what was it about mcdonald in particular with private sector experience as opposed to government or military management experience that this choice was made? why the private sector? >> what the president was looking forward somebody who had significant management experience. there's an opportunity to get some good management experience in government service. but there is also ample opportunity to get that kind of experience and be exposed to
1:21 pm
dealing with large-scale bureaucratic challenges in the private sector as well. >> there are major differences between the way the public and private sector operate. >> there are in the benefit of mr. mcdonnell's that he is both kinds of experience in terms of his extensive right at sector management experience but also his experience serving in the military as someone who understands both -- how the military operates and he succeeded in the military. he graduated near the top of his class at west point and served for five years in the 82nd airborne division in the army. he is somebody even as he returns to the private sector come continued to be involved in military affairs pretty as a lifetime member of the u.s. army ranger association and the 75th ranger regiment association and a member of the association of graduates of rent west point. alongside his significant private sector complements, he is somebody who has remained engaged in supporting military
1:22 pm
families. that combination of skills and experience and interest make him the right person for the job. >> to me ask you about the challenges at the border because the president has stated a message to parents in central america, don't send your children here, it's dangerous and we will send them back. advocates for these children's have suggested the white house misunderstands that these parents have done an analysis and they believe the situation in leaving them there and the threat it posed by organized crime in those countries against their children, gives a greater threat than sending them to the border. is it fair to say that the white house has misunderstood the motivations of those parents? >> we have been pretty clear about our desire to try to address some of the problems that are making people feel increasingly desperate. there is ongoing work at the state department and other
1:23 pm
relative government agencies to work with these countries. presently this is one of mullah, el salvador -- guatemala, el salvador. this is what makes them vulnerable to the misinformation being spread by these criminal syndicates. there is an effort to try to address this problem at its root. the other thing we have seen is it's not just immigration to this country we have seen spike. their other countries in central america, those that are more stable, that are have also experienced a spike in children and adults traveling with children seeking to immigrate to those countries. this is a problem that is being felt throughout the region. that is why we are trying to work cooperatively with countries in the region to try to mitigate the vulnerability
1:24 pm
that so many of these people are feeling. >> can you answer a specific allegation made by the u.s. catholic the ships and has been echoed by other organizations that sending the children back is analogous to sending a child back into a burning will the and locking the door? >> what this a administration is doing is working with the host countries to ensure that we can repatriate these children in most humanitarian way possible. the reason we are focused on the problem is because we are concerned about the humanitarian situation that has been created. we are concerned about the well-being of these children. there is a way for us to balance the twwo imperatives. one is to enforce the law and also demonstrate the values that allow our country to stand out from so many others internationally. that's an effort we are engaged in. it's not easy but that is why we
1:25 pm
are seeking to ramp up facilities available in this country and detain in house these kids when their first apprehended along the border. it's why we are increasing the resources dedicated to these immigration courts to make sure that these children and the adults that travel with them have access to basic legal protection, that the process they go through follows the rule of law. when is determined that they do not have a legal standing to remain in this country, we're working with the host country to make sure we can find a safe and humanitarian way to repatriate them. these are complicated problems but this administration is doing exactly what you would expect as we try to balance the need to both enforce the law but also to treat people with a sick respect -- to treat people with a basic
1:26 pm
respect. >> be increasing involvement of powers like russia in iraq make it less likely that prime minister malik he will do with the u.s. wants to have an inclusive or move government. >> not necessarily. it is not in the interest of iran for there to be a sectarian strife and instability and the grotesque acts of violence and terrorism being purchased -- being perpetrated on the borders. it is the best interest of iran to have it stable border. the best way for iraq to be stable and confront the destabilizing threat posed by isil is for the political leadership in iraq to come together and unite the country in the face of that threat. by uniting the country and
1:27 pm
governing in an inclusive way, iran can have the kind of stable neighbor on their border they would like to have. >> who does the administration now see any rebels trained by the u.s. as fighting? is it still to combat president assad or is the main focus now going out to these isil forces inside syria? >> what we would like to do in the way we we describe the goal of this assistance is being provided to the moderate opposition. it's to bolster their efforts to defeat the assad regime the reason for that is because the assad regime has lost legitimacy to rule because it has perpetrated terrible acts of violence against the syrian people. by bolstering the capability and
1:28 pm
stature, the moderate elements of the syrian opposition, we can have the effect of accomplishing both goals which is enhancing their ability to defeat the a side regime and make it more difficult for extreme elements to capitalize on the and stability in a country. -- on the instability and this country. this is difficult work and that's why we work with other partners in the region to try to accomplish this. the president for some time has been concerned that the lawlessness and violence we have seen in syria does have a destabilizing, dangerous impact on the broader region. that is what we see interact right now. the way to address that in our view is too bold of the moderate opposition and provide an
1:29 pm
additional assistance and hopefully get to a place where we can reach a diplomatic or political solution that would result in a sod leaving power. and finally bring --assad leaving power and finally bring stability to that country. >> they said recently that russia has two weeks to stop doing what they were doing. on friday, you reiterated a june 30 deadline for russia to turn over border checkpoints and initiate a cease-fire and release prisoners. it is june 30 now. our sanctions ready to go forward against russia? >> we want to see a diplomatic and peaceful resolution to the crisis. we support ongoing efforts such
1:30 pm
as the president peace plan in iraq. and the high-level talks among germany, france, ukraine and russia. there are ongoing discussions about how to finally de-escalate the conflict in the ukraine. we are supportive of those efforts. we have always said that if russia does not use the influence they have in eastern ukraine for constructive purpose, we are prepared to act in concert with our allies to further isolate resident putin and russia from the international community. >> was that a hard deadline? >> the president enunciated was a desire for the member european
1:31 pm
union countries ,the ec countries,, to come together last week on their agenda for business during that meeting to further discuss the situation in ukraine and what action might be necessary among european countries to further press for the de-escalation. we remain in close touch with world leaders to talk about the situation. we remain prepared to act if necessary to further isolate russia. we have been clear about what we would like to see russia do which is to stop providing weapons and materials to separatists and to encourage those separatists to lay down their weapons and abide by the cease-fire agreement floated by president porchenko.. >> is there a concern that russia vladimir putin are doing just enough to keep europeans
1:32 pm
satisfied or at least provide them with argument against the united states who is pushing them in that direction? vladimir putin is making all the right moves but just enough of those moves to divide western allies. >> i think the way i would describe it is the way we did last week is that we welcome some of the reassuring comments that have been made by president putin. there was also some important symbolic actions that were taken, the duma, for example decided to pull back opposition to pull back participation but it russian military. these are important steps but what we are looking at most importantly our tangible actions taken by president putin and russia. we are still innocent who -- in
1:33 pm
a situation where those actions don't indicate a serious purpose when it comes to de-escalating that situation and that's what continues to leave russia at risk, facing additional steps that could further isolate them in the as national community and have a negative impact on their economy. >> you leave the impression that the deadline is like the syrian redline. >> i disagree with that. >> before you said that have a time period where they need to do those things and you said they really have not done those things. they are still at risk of sanctions that we're just talking about it but there is no deadline for when the sections were going to place? >> i think you're mixing up some different things. there are two things we have long asked the russians to do it to stop providing weapons and materials to the separatists in the -- in eastern ukraine and for russia to use their
1:34 pm
influence in eastern ukraine to encourage the separatists to abide by the cease-fire. those are two long-running things we have asked them to do. >> that they have not done yet. >> we have nothing to our satisfaction evidence that they are serious about pursuing those things. that's the source of some disappointment. it is why russia remained at risk facing additional economic costs. there are regular conversations by our president and european leaders about sanctions that we are watching the actions of the russians and we will make an assessment about whether additional sanctions are required based on the course pursued by president putin. >> what was a four-week statement meant to mean? >> it was meant to mean that there will would be additional conversation at this meeting of european allies and europe last week to discuss the way that the
1:35 pm
international community will confront president putin and russia and their destabilizing actions in ukraine. >> does not put you at risk of looking completely toothless? >> i am merely observing what happens to be the current united states policy in the policy adopted by many of our allies. we have put in place and economic costs that have been borne by russia as a result of the actions they have already perpetrated in ukraine. there are additional steps we could take if russia does not decide to take the kinds of concrete actions that are required to de-escalate the conflict. that simply our policy. it's not a threat. >> it sounds like there is always official actions we can take. but the president may not have a sense of urgency. >> if russia were to follow
1:36 pm
through on preventing weapons and material to go to the separatists and if russia were to step forward and use their influence in the ukraine to encourage the separatists to abide by the cease-fire, we would be a situation where those additional costs are less likely. >> so they don't do these things, these costs aren't exactly likely. >>it sounds like you say if they don't do the things you want them to do, there is no guarantee they will be punished. >> i think that's different than what i'm saying. if they continue to take the actions reversed them not to do, they are at risk -- that's our policy. >> [no audio] [inaudible]
1:37 pm
>> what the supreme court was ruling on was they were adjudicating a statute that was passed by the house and the senate and signed into law by the president. this was something a little bit different than what we saw from previous supreme court decisions based solely on executive actions taken by the president. the president that's the supreme court was ruling on a specific act by congress in one congress to take action to pass another law that would address this problem. you are showing some skepticism about numbers his ability to act quickly to solve common sense problems. maybe i have been saying that. as we assess the impact of this decision, we will consider whether or not there is a range
1:38 pm
of other options that don't require legislative action. >> are we looking at this for the midterms? >> i don't have a timeline to lay out. >> the israeli government announced they discovered the bodies of the three missing israelis. any quick reaction you might have? >> we obviously condemn him the strongest possible terms of violence that takes the lives of innocent civilians. i don't want to reactivate further without having a chance to take a look at those reports myself. we will get you a reaction that reflects those reports later today. thanks everybody. . [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014]
1:39 pm
>> the missing up today's white house briefing this afternoon, president obama schedule to nominate former procter & gamble ceo robert mcdonald to replace eric shiskinseki at the v.a.. robert mcdonald joint procter & gamble in 1980 and eventually became chief executive in 2009 a position he held until 2013. he is a graduate of west point and served as a captain u.s. army for five years. we will have live coverage of that personnel announcement right ear on c-span set for 4:30 p.m. eastern. former arizona to earn homeland security secretary janet napolitano now has the
1:40 pm
university of california system and we will discuss higher education with her today. it is hosted by the education commission of the state in will have live coverage starting at 2:30 p.m. eastern. tonight, a look at the rapidly growing e-cigarette industry and what actions are being taken to regulate it. we will show you portions from recent hearings. here is a look -- >> its unequivocal that you do not market to kids. here is my question -- to mr.hearley - you sell your products and cherry crush and vanilla products. cherry crush. yet your parent company has a youth smoking prevention website. it says that kids may be vulnerable to trying e-cigarette due to an abundance of fun flavors such as cherry, vanilla piña colada, and berry and you
1:41 pm
sell cigarettes and three of those flavors of how can you sit there and say you're not marketing to children? >> it's a good question. >> what's the answer? >> the average age of a cherry smoker is in the high 40's. we have found that flavors decrease the ability, the possibility of adult smokers who use e-cigs switching back -- >> why did your parent company in their youth smoking prevention website say kids may be particularly vulnerable to trying e-cigarette is due to an abundance of fun flavors such as cherry, but milla pinnacle on and you sell three of the flavors. are you marketing to children? >> no, i'm not. >> who was attracted to cherry, barry, vanilla? who is attracted to that? >> adult smokers. >> they are, that's interesting. i would like to say that even
1:42 pm
though your parent company called you out on it, >> we will have more on the e- cigarette industry along with their phone calls and tweets and facebook comments tonight on c-span. victim compensation advisor and attorney ken feinberg today announced the conversation plan -- the compensation plan of people killed or injured in car accidents related to faulty ignition switches in general motors vehicles. from earlier today, this is about one hour. >> good morning, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming this morning. my name is kenneth feinberg. i have been assigned the task of designing and administering the gm ignition compensation claims resolution protocol, the gm ignition switch compensation program. i want to spend a few minutes this morning a, an overview of the program, how we got where we are. secondly, i want to summarize
1:43 pm
the eligibility criteria. for claimants who can file a claim. third, i want to explain a bit the dollars and the compensation that is available under the program. we started drafting is protocol about two months ago at initially gm's request. we have reached out to a wide variety of individuals and institutions to get as much information as we could about what ought to be in this program. i thank general motors for their total cooperation in establishing this program, they are funding it, and they are funding it without any tap on the aggregate amount of money that will be available. gm basically has said whatever
1:44 pm
it costs to pay all eligible claims under the protocol, they will pay it. there is no ceiling on the aggregate dollars. also, gm has said under this program that anybody who already settled their claim with general motors before they knew about this cover-up or this ignition switch problem, meyrick up the release they signed and come back into this program to get additional compensation. so i've read that there are some individuals who already settled and gave up their right to sue and return for -- in return for compensation. they may now ignore that release and come into this program. they can receive additional compensation. the program will begin to
1:45 pm
receive claims on august 1 of this year, one month from now. i want to thank the deputy administrator, my colleague for over 35 years, camille byros here in the front row. she has worked with me on virtually every one of these compensation programs over the years and she will be here after the press conference to answer additional questions that individual media may have. the program will commence on august 1. it will begin to receive claims between now and august 1. we will have the claim forms the frequently asked questions the website, we are translating the claim forms into french canadian and spanish. it will be august 1 when we begin to accept claims. all claims must be postmarked no
1:46 pm
later than december 31, the end of this year. for accidents, that occurred any time up to december 31, the gm bankruptcy is no bar to filing a claim. if an individual was injured or killed which is unfortunate, and one of these accidents, before or after the bankruptcy, it doesn't matter the date of the accident. the bankruptcy will not be a barrier of any type to the filing of a claim. we will obviously have to stick around into 2015 because people will file claims, some of them late in the year, and we will need time to process the claims during 2015. if you file a claim with the fund a few points should be made about the overall program.
1:47 pm
first, the program is entirely voluntary. nobody is required to file a claim. this is a voluntary program. second, once your claim is submitted, and we deem it substantially complete, that is, it has the documents necessary we will process that claim. if it is a simple claim, we will process it within 90 days to payment. if it's a more complicated claim , which i will explain in a bit, we will process that claim with them 180 days. from the time it is substantially complete. we will work as fast as we can to get compensation, voluntarily submitted claims, out the door
1:48 pm
to eligible claimants. a few other points about the program -- any contributory negligence of the driver intoxication, speeding texting on a cell phone, etc the relevant under this program. -- irrelevant under this program. this is about general motors and ignition switches. we have no interest in evaluating any alleged contributory negligence on the part of the driver. it is totally irrelevant. we have no interest. this program is aimed at compensation for defective switches, not anything about the driver. who is eligible under this program? let's discuss eligibility.
1:49 pm
the following individuals can file under this program -- the driver, any passengers in the automobile, any pedestrian, any occupant of the second vehicle involved in the accident -- all eligible to file a claim. we are not limiting this program to just drivers of a particular vehicle. as i said, contributory negligence is not a factor here at all. now, eligibility -- there are a couple of the requisites -- up the requisites to filing a claim. first, as the protocol spells out on ages two and three, porac
1:50 pm
claim to be eligible, it must involve one of the model make in your automobiles listed in the protocol. if the automobile that was driven and was involved in an accident is not listed in the protocol that you have the claimant is ineligible. don't bother filing it. i am confident i will get many claims involving automobiles that are not listed. i will get claims from mercedes and jaguars and cadillacs. build it and they will come. you will get a great many claims. the only automobiles that are eligible to be considered are the automobiles listed in this protocol. if that automobile, that model, that year, is an automobile involved in an accident, that automobile is eligible to be
1:51 pm
considered for consideration. if the airbag deployed in the accident, you are ineligible. airbag deployment seatbelt pretension deployment means the power is on the automobile -- ineligible. it could not have been the ignition switch. i have not seen a claim yet eligible, working my way through potential claims -- i have seen many claims where the airbag did not do ploy or we don't know that it deployed, fine, eligible. if we know the airbag deployed the power is on, may have been a horrible accident but it's not the ignition switch. it must be an eligible vehicle with non-airbag
1:52 pm
deployment or uncertainty as to whether it deployed and those are the major eligibility to requisites --prerequisites to filing a claim. non-deployment, eligible vehicle, driver, passengers, pedestrians, occupants of other vehicles -- file a claim. we will evaluate the claim. we will evaluate it quickly. individuals who have suffered terribly during this whole experience deserve prompt treatment of their claim. we will do that. any individual claimant who lost a loved one or any individual claimant who suffered a catastrophic injury defined in the protocol, i will be glad to meet him privately confidentially and chat with them privately about any item or anything they would like to talk about.
1:53 pm
i am honored to do so i'm glad to do so. now, if you file a claim, the tester eligibility will be -- the test for eligibility will be -- -- was the ignition switch defect a probable cause of the accident? that is right out of the first year of law school. was the ignition switch defect in an eligible vehicle with the airbag did not deploy approximate cause also known as a substantial cause of the accident. here's the challenge -- here's the challenge -- unlike the 9/11 fund, or the bp oil spill fund, many of these accidents occurred years ago, a decade ago.
1:54 pm
what evidence, what circumstantial evidence can be produced that will demonstrate and ignition switch failure as the cause of the accident? well we have done quite a bit of homework on this. there are six, 7, 8 different examples of very valuable evidence that will help demonstrate a link between ignition switch failure and the accident. are they art -- one, the car. it is very useful obviously the automobile is still available. unfortunately, some of these automobiles, the accident took place along ago that the automobile was not around anymore. if the automobile is available that is the best evidence. we will look at the automobile
1:55 pm
and the lawyers and claimants if they can show the against this if they can show that it was the ignition switch, that's wonderful. the automobile in many cases maybe most cases will not be available. second, do we have the edr blackbox data from the car? very, very useful. that data in the automobile, if the data was captured at the time of the accident by the police or the insurance company or the claimant's lawyers, by whoever -- that edr data goes a long way in demonstrating ignition switch failure. even if you don't have a car, do you have the black box statement, very helpful? three, what does the police reports say at the time of the accident? some of these police reports arch streaming valuable as
1:56 pm
circumstantial evidence of airbag not the playing contemporary witness statements about the steering wheel locking or the antilock recs not working. witnesses interviewed at the time by the police reflected in the police report, very helpful but of information. four, the photographs of the accident. we have already learnt that photographs of the accident are enormously helpful to us in demonstrating ignition switch failure based on impact, the way the car was hit what it hits come very, very useful -- contemporary photographs of the accident scene, very useful. next, the insurance company -- what did the insurance company say it's file about that accident? what is in the insurance files.
1:57 pm
insurance companies can be rather thorough in their examination of accidents and their own expertise. what does the insurance file show? what do the medical records show from the hospital must about the condition of the innocent victim but what did the witnesses tell the doctors in the hospital and the emergency room about what happened? my car suddenly lost power/ \ my steering wheel lock, breaks did not work. what to the hospital records tells not only about the injury but about the cause of the injury. very useful. next warranty and maintenance records -- we have found that some people weeks months before the accident, took their automobile to the dealer or to an independent dealer and complained that their car was
1:58 pm
stalling. when the key hits the ignition switch fails. my car stalls and i am having trouble steering. i'm having trouble with the brakes, the antilock brakes. we would like to see as part of the submission of a claim any warranty and maintenance records that will help us in this regard. then there are some claimants some individuals, who filed lawsuits that are pending. where there were pre-child -- pretrial depositions written and written interrogatories. we had expert auto reconstruction experts filing reports. we would like to see those depositions and that information. all of these examples, and there may be others, there may be others -- we have talked to gm we have talked to plaintiff lawyers. a list of the cabresa bob
1:59 pm
hilliard and others, plaintiff lawyers, we have talked to the center for automotive safety, joan claybrook, clarence diploe - these are people we have been talking with over the last few months to try to get a better understanding on the key issue -- who is eligible to even file a claim? before you get to compensation you have to be eligible. this is all part of the eligibility determination. you will see in the protocol that if the claimant files a claim and the claim is deficient, we will not deny that claim. we will work with the claimant to try to help a claimant get other information that will cure the deficiency and the claim eligible.
2:00 pm
so, that is sort of a summary discussed on the first few pages of the protocol. that is sort of a summary of the eligibility requirements. we will work with claimants in an eligible in meeting the proximate cause standard that the admission switch caused the accident. it is a real challenge because of the age of the claims, some of them, but we will work with claims and their lawyers, who have been very helpful here, in trying to do the right thing. compensation. there are three, in the protocol summarized, categories of compensation. one, we will