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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  September 9, 2014 1:00am-3:01am EDT

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us safe. >> mr. speaker, the nato summit showed how vital nato still is. i thought it was good to see playing a small role in the logistics and i welcome the prime minister's statement. as part of the security discussions did members discuss the role of foreign in our mosques. they preach in the context of understanding britain and our values. this isn't always the case with foreign imams it is believed it is time to tighten the -- >> what matters most of all is that imams are able to communicate to constituents in english and up to date with how to help young people and divert them away from these extremist preachers that they find online.
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>> thank you, mr. speaker. can i pay tribute to jim dobbin. i appreciated his expertise and shared passion for infrastructure and transport. very much welcome the news of the full commissioning of the hms prince of wales. could he take this opportunity my right honorable friend to debunk this myth that carrier force won't have the aircraft they need and confirm full commitment to the f 35 lightning 2 to provide aircraft to queen elizabeth and prince of wales. >> the point is that we will have fighters on these aircraft carriers as well as, of course, vital attack and other helicopters. there will be platforms of real power. the announcement i made about making sure both are commissioned means that at any time we will always have a
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carrier available. i think that really does strengthen the defense capabilities of the country. i chair on georgia where the prime minister referred to nato good gbeginning capacity missions. i wonder could he say something more about the enhanced partnership to put georgia along side finland and sweden and how this will help them particularly defense minister's exceptional work to marginalize armed forces. >> i think there are various elements to it. first of all, the fact that there will be a defense capability building mission in georgia is very significant and will help georgiaens modernize and build up armed forces. it is worth noting that a lot of this is being done because of the real contribution that
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georgia has done not least to the forces in afghanistan where they took on very difficult work and paid a high price for them enter in terms of casualties. one of the strongest partners nato has and i'm sure this mission will be much welcomed. >> i think it is reasonable to regard the defense budget of our country as an insurance policy for its security. and nato as a group insurance policy. but what is clear is that all nato members wish to enjoy the security that is given of membership and not always to pay the premiums. does he agree with me that now is the time to step up to the plate and increase defense spending to 2% along with nato guidelines? >> i think my honorable friend puts it in a good way. in order to support the collective security you have to pay in. the germans don't tend to sign things unless they have read the
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small print. i know chancellor merkel would look at this closely. they have to hold any decline in the defense expenditure. >> mr. speaker, can i associate myself with the remarks made about the late jim dobbin. he was my parliamentary neighbor and he was a man of faith and a man of great principle and decency. mr. speaker, in an increasingly dangerous and uncertain world does the prime minister agree our 27 allies in nato provide a better guarantee of safety and security for the british people than could be provided by the other 27 members of the european uni union? >> the point i would make to my honorable friend is there are two quite different organizations. nato is about defense and collective security. if you like we signed away a bit
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of our sovereignty to nato that we pledged to go to and defend anyone who is attacked. the core purpose is about securing our prosperity and making sure that we can trade freely with our 27 partners. >> james morris. >> would the prime minister agree that in considering defense equipment increases across nato we should give equal wait to cooperation of cyber defense and cyber attack because that is an important area of theater in the future particularly in relation to russia and other countries? >> i agree my honorable friend. you mentioned cyber defense and cyber attack. if we believe in deterants in the field of nuclear power and conventional forces we should apply the same logic to cyber warfare, too. >> thank you, mr. speaker. with regards to achieving a
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secure, stable democratic afghanistan does the prime minister agree with me that it would be helpful to have a secure democratic successful pakistan? with that being the case does the prime minister agree with me that the united kingdom would support a democratically elected government in pakistan and not those trying to derail that government taking into account recent events? >> we should be friends of a democratic pakistan. i think it is good. there has been a transition from one democratically elected government to another democratically elected government. we should be encouraging that process. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i thank my honorable friend for the work he has done in nato to ensure strategy to deal with isis. does my honorable friend agree that it is a beacon of democracy and replace religious tolerance in iraq. as well as supporting in the short term does he not agree that in the long term needs to
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continue political military and humanitarian support given its status? was there discussion in nato also about iran's capabilities? >> this meeting was spent more time on isil and ukraine and other elements rather than iranian nuclear issue. in terms of what he says about the kurdish regional authority of course we should support them and i very much admire what they have done in terms of protecting minorities and fostering democracy. i think we should be supporting them as part of trying to build a pleuristic and democratic iraq. i think it is vital that we see them as part of that country. >> both greece and turkey are members of nato and were at the
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weekend summit. was it made clear to turkey that it needs to secure border to prevent flow. was it made clear to greece that as its border is the weakest part of the front here it must secure its border against the hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants making their way into the european union trying to make their way on the ferries to our shores? >> mow my honorable friend makes points i agree turkish border issue, i discussed this with president erdahan. they're looking at a range of military security to help to that end. there is a real problem with europe's external border. greece border being one, where people are coming into europe to claim asylum. instead of claiming asylum in the first country they arrive in, which is what they out to do, they are making their way to cali to try to come to the uk.
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we need external borders secured but everyone to properly implement the rules. >> mr. vickers. >> thank you, mr. speaker. though the british people united in their opposition to terrorism, their determination to overcome it, they remain somewhat nervous about possible military involvement unless there are clear -- there is a clear link to our own security. i welcome the approach of my honorable friend particularly when he says you will approach things with a careful and methodical move to a comprehensive plan. can you assure the house you'll be equally careful and methodical to ensure the full support of the british people? >> i will try to be careful and methodical about everything i do. the point i'd make, even today to the british people, is be in no doubt about the threat so-called islamic state poses to us here in the united kingdom. we've already seen something like six planned attacks in the
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countries of the european union from isil including, of course, that appalling attack in the brussels jewish museum where innocent people were killed. that throws directly from this organization. they kidnap people. they've got ransom payments, made tens of millions from that. they have the weapons resources and oils of a state and using some of that money directly to target people in this country and across the european union. we have to be fully cognizant of that fact. there is no option to look away, to put your head in the sand, to hope that this would all go away only if you didn't get involved.
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>> you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. homeland security security committee holds a hearing on esday on local programs that equips them with military gear. you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. >> with congress back in session, here's a message from congress from one of the c-span
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student cam competition winners. >> water, it makes up 75% of our body. take water away and humanity would perish within a week. water is the most vital substance to a human body. yet it is because of us humans hat nearly 50% that lakes, estuaries are unsuitable for eyes in the u.s. we have learned to take it for granted. bottle water and flush toilets all reinforce the same idea. water is an unlimited resource. but step outside to our waterways an their diminishing condition tell as different story. water pollution kills marine life, destroys ecosystems and disrupts the food chain and animals are not the only one that suffer the negative affects. congress, in 2014, you must provide federal funding to help
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water agencies across the country. it is tainted with the negligence of our generation. >> join us wednesday during "washington journal" for the theme of the 2025 student cam documentary competition. >> now a discussion on what to expect this week in the house and senate. the wall eterson of street. this is 40 minutes. like us on fw us on twitter. like us on fw >> "washington journal" continues. host: house and senate returns, 2:00 p.m. eastern. the house on c-span on c-span2. two reporters who cover the hill on a daily basis, christina peterson -- kristina peterson of " andwall street journal,
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from "national journal," billy house. people can find this at house slative days the will be in. i heard they may not get into twelve days. guest: the aim is to get out as fast as possible. they're due for a third week, the end of september and early october, they're trying not to come back. host: their major goal is what? guest: messaging. the major goal is to keep the government running and not be blamed for a shutdown. you have to pass at least a stopgap spending bill. they have not agreed on any appropriations bills. the october 1 start of the new fiscal year will require
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mechanisms to keep the government operating. that is the and, to pass that. whether that will be a simple procedure, everybody says they hope so. things do not always turn out as people hope. host: billy house talking about messaging. the senate will take up getting to a constitutional amendment. what is that all about and what is the purpose of this though? -- this vote? guest: this is a political vote? democrats want to enable states to put restrictions on campaign finance. and that is a constitutional amendment, you need 2/3 of both chambers and three quarters of the states to approve. it is more about getting the message out. the firstpend half-hour asking viewers about their message to congress. one of those without unemployment insurance. what with the house and senate leaders say about what they are doing our jobs?
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guest: republicans on the house would say they have past 30 or so bills the senate has refused to shake up. they will take that as one of their messaging themes. guest: they will vote on them again. in new mexico last week, in a district on the border where you would think the immigration crisis was the top issue. jobs andto tell you, the minimum wage, those were two really big issues that seems to compare. host: the senate has acted on the minimum wage, the extension of unemployment? guest: yes, on both of those. they might bring them up again. senate democrats support raising the federal minimum wage and extending long-term jobless benefits. they have not been able to get enough republicans on board in joblesste to get benefits. they have not been able to get enough support in the house.
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hammering onp on these issues. they do not have the support minimum wage. republicans say that that would hurt businesses and overall reduce unemployment. host: kristina peterson and billy house to talk about congress returning today for a short session ahead of the midterm elections. join us on the phone, (202) 585-3880 four democrats. (202) 585-3881 for republicans. for independents and all others, (202) 585-3882. area code 202. on twitter, @cspanwj. the continuing resolution, the short-term spending measure. that it will be drama free. these things never wind up being drama for a. -- drama free. how long would it last and what are potential stumbling blocks for getting it through? guest: the leaders have kind of
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let it be known they are looking at a december 11-14 end run. host: a lame duck session would pick it up? guest: right. guest: -- there are members of congress who start wondering if republicans take over the senate on election day, why would we give outgoing majority leader harry reid leverage to do a new continuing resolution after that. could be discussion about whether we should extend this into the next session, past december into january. whatever party controls the senate will have the leverage to discuss the ins and outs that. the other issue is what is a clean cr? they promised a clean bill, in other words, no policy riders. there is talk that there will be things added. your definition of clean comes up to question. the reauthorization of ex-im,m
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the export import bank. also, terrorism risk insurance, that might be a longer shot. senate, terms of the let stumbling blocks for getting the continuing resolution through their? is the problem in the house? guest: it is largely in the house. if the house were to add controversial measures, you could have a ping-pong v olleying. if the house were to pass a pretty uncontroversial bill, the be quick to accept that. neither party wants to be blamed for a shutdown or anything resembling or creating that risk. chance the senate shortens their session, as we are hearing possibly from the house? with theey're on board
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here and minimum of days. the house is a little bit more anxious to get out early. sureenate is going to make the government does not shut down and get out-of-town. host: an article you wrote last street "the ostrich owall journal." what are you hearing from republican leaders in the senate? what direction with a goal in within to take control of the senate? as an they see this opportunity to prove that they can govern. they shall are to blame for the shutdown. they see this as an opportunity to show they can steer the country to the right without creating a lot of drama. republicanssenior passalking about trying to legislation that already has the
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support of some democrats -- improving keystone xl, making some changes to the health law, energy policy. you can get some democrats on board, they can pass legislation that would land on obama's desk, he might have a tougher time choosing to veto it. host: problems with the more conservative elements in the house. they would object to some of the things that senate democrats agree on with their republican colleagues? guest: absolutely. in fact, what you might see is a two-year period where little gets done. with vetoing and maybe two budget reconciliation bills. if you look at president bush's term that, weto get to might have to wait until december. one of the fascinating things, what happens if we get to november 4 and then the morning of november 5 we do not know who controls the senate.
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split, republicans ahead. notmary landrieu's race is decided until september. host: the houses back a week after the election. guest: the house can do their thing and vote on new leaders. whether anybody will want to do anything if nobody knows who controls the senate the next year, that's another question. host: a quick take on the new leaders. kevin mccarthy came in as they were gaveling out for the august recess. what is the biggest challenges that he faces? guest: same as the old challenge. it is the right wing of the party, they appreciate kevin mccarthy as a nice guy who is willing to talk to them. as we saw in the first vote whene they left town, and
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speaker boehner had to keep him here to finish the vote on the daca, they do not go along because they are buddies. they have their priorities and stick to them. host: callers waiting. baltimore, dorothy on the democrats line. caller: i wanted to talk -- i had other things to say but i have a few questions. one, about the keystone pipeline. is she talking about the keystone pipeline? will beo ideas how they making jobs, canada is not interested in making us jobs. anyway. the other thing i wanted to talk that, you all keep saying the republicans have all these jobs, nobody ever says what they are. if they had the jobs bill with infrastructure, if republicans
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and democrats could agree, why can't they agree on that? it would put millions of americans to work for real. why can't they agree on that? was the problem? host: let's go to billy house, the house is taking up this question. she mentioned infrastructure, that would seem like an area of common agreement. there there would be if were a lot of jobs bills regarding infrastructure. on the house side, and a lot of it is to cut red tape for regulations that many democrats and many other americans feel are necessary to protect workers and labor. they are described as jobs bills, their parameters are sometimes reaching. have not beenlls past, they've not even been brought to the floor of the senate. guest: that is the mantra from the house republicans, they -- 36 is a number -- host: she talked about keystone
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xl, that would be an area where the senate could sort of set the pace on that and could come to some agreement. there is some bipartisan support on keystone. the problem in the senate is that everything gets caught in this vortex of procedural politics. and the bad blood between democrats and republicans derailed a lot of stuff in the senate. doingis some support for something around keystone, but he gets caught in fights over amendments and they are not able to agree. host: marilyn, independents line. caller: good morning. can't wait for the beginning of congress. it is a lowbrow comedy about to recommence. i am a 66-year-old blue-collar guy. earning social security wages for 45 years. i cannot imagine working just 12 days out of the next 40 and earning a six-figure income.
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so predictable and lamentable, we need to hear the next speech by steve king, gomer, tea baggers lamenting everything our president wears, does, or says. real politics.n i am a child of the 1960's when people actually got arrested and got killed for civil rights and fighting against the vietnam war. we will now go to san antonio. democrat line. what would you like to see done over the next 12 days? caller: let's get something going. somenot understand why people are concerned about congress being taken over by if thecans when president vetoes, it is going to
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take a two thirds majority to override his veto on other side of congress. one more issue, we have four borders, we don't have one. i would like to see on tv the border patrol tracing and illegal russian or illegal spanish guylegal coming through canada. how come i don't see that on tv? host: on the issue of immigration, the president is delaying implementation of executive action. the headline here, immigration delay in. activists. what does this mean -- infuriates activist. what is this mean for lawmakers like representative gutierrez? does that change the political dynamic or their relationship with the president? guest: he is their lead point guard and all this, they cannot distance themselves completely. although many of them expressed
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anger in the last couple days over the president's decision to delay. largely on immigration, you are not going to see anything done, probably even in the lame-duck. it will not be tackled until a new congress, if them. i was on the border, i was where they were keeping some of these kids in the holding center. is aose areas, immigration big issue but jobs and the economy is paramount. guest: -- host: sarasota, florida, mike, republican line. caller: i'd like to ask your guest, what is the true unemployment rate? we can't extend the truth thing to immigration and to he althcare. that people are being able to
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access health care in spite of high co-pays and deductibles. what is the true unemployment rate? it is a problem in florida. host: any idea? guest: it is true that there are people who have given up looking for jobs. the straight unemployment rate does not reflect all the pain people feel in this economy. that is likely to hurt democrats, given that it is hurting president obama's approval rating. people hold democrats accountable for the weaknesses that are still there and the economy. piece, back to a the agenda. mccarthy memo on september agenda. this is in the house, and that's the ex-im bank. why are they leaving that often agenda? the agenda,t off he's a lawmaker who said he did not think it would be taken up, too much going on.
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there's a lot of pressure to do it. bank,s the export import it helps provide subsidies for foreign companies to buy american products. conservatives in the house think that is manipulating the free market. they are upset with that and they think it puts taxpayers on the hook for things it should not. however, many other republicans, as we found out over the last few weeks, have districts with companies that rely on this. so there is the clash. it expires, its current charter reauthorization is at the end of this month. i think they are going to punt it for a few days. a few weeks, if not months. lame-duck, if not forever. and come back to it later. they will do a temporary extension. guest: yeah. republicans see the senate as a prize in their sights and they do not want to do anything to create a ruckus before the election.
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the timing of the export import bank reauthorization falls squarely in that path. even conservatives who do not they arehe ex-im bank, saying for now i will be willing to do a short-term extension to get this off our plate. host: georgia, tony, independents line. i have 35 years and finally learned something. i have found the common ground i have with the republicans and the democrats. ifs is what i've learned -- congress and the president and the supreme court and the conservative republicans and conduct their business the way i would like you to conduct your business, i will be happy. that is the common ground i have found in almost every call that i have listened to over the years. it does not matter how much civics or whether i read the constitution or anything.
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or i just have got an opinion. is, conductround your business the way i want you to conduct your business, and i will be happy. that is my comment. host: thank you. memphis, tennessee, david, good morning. caller: hello. two things i wanted to ask about. legallyt, i am actually blind. i've been legally blind for years. i've always had a problem getting a job. not because i did not like to work but because of my disability. what would you do as far as helping disabled people who live on their own get jobs and make it to where they do not have to use the government for social security or any kind of disability check? that is my first question. my second question, if you guys are trying to put more jobs out here in the u.s., why don't you redirect some of the money into military? the ones that we're not sending
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out, i know they still have to be paid like everyone else. you redirect some of the money, maybe you can put some of the jobs back out here and give some of the people who are on disability or on them plummet a little bit of extra money. host: another issue that the president will address on wednesday, the issue of how the administration will respond to islamiccal militant state. the chairman of the senate intelligence committee, diane feinstein was on the sunday shows yesterday and in "usa today" saying the isis threat cannot be overstated. house and, will the senate work on any sort of measure dealing with isis? guest: there's been a lot of reluctance to send troops on the ground. people are wary of taking steps like that. at this point, members of congress are saying we want more information. this is a threat that there has not been commitment to specific
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action. now they are saying we want the white house to tell us more about what they plan to do. we read nice this is a big danger but last year there was a lot of hesitation to vote on syria, we could see a repeat of that. guest: hearing that there are resolutions brewing. is one from virginia representative frank wolf. i agree, i don't think it's going to go anywhere in the next couple weeks. the lame-duck maybe a productive one in that regard. think most members i'm not quite sure where they want to go on this and they certainly are not sure weeks before an election. were in new mexico last week. did people ask steve pederson about it? he is one guy who at one point said all i hear about from liberals is that we need to be more compassionate for these people coming over the border. he says what about the people in the middle east?
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what about the people being beheaded, why can't we be more compassionate. he thinks we should be doing something. what that is, who knows? of differentt opinions. the overriding concern is to get through the campaign. practicalof the things, i think it has been passed and the house but not the senate, defense authorization has not been taken care of. guest: that has not been passed by the senate. since it passed the house, there have been some events nationally -- there was the unrest in ferguson -- that have led some lawmakers to potentially add some new things to the senate version of the defense authorization bill. there is discussion of reviewing the defense department program that provides access military to local police department. you could see some changes they would have to hash out with the house. host: chicago heights, illinois.
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caller: hi. i'm a registered democrat. congress isme that not aware of how the american people really feel. the american people understand that republicans do not want to work with president obama. ande are republicans democrats who are suffering, who have lost unemployment benefits. my question is for christina, why is it that she sounds so that republicans are going to win in november? everyone is suffering. you guys should not be so quick to say we are going to win. we're going to take the house in the senate. a lot of people know what is going on. and they are not naïve. they see that there is so much hatred for barack obama. and they know why he cannot get
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anything done, it is because republicans hate him and they do not want to do anything for the american people. host: her article was about what if the gop gain control. is definitely the biggest question in november. i don't think anyone knows who will take the senate. elections,w republicans had a lot of momentum going in and it looks like they had a really good shot at taking the senate and democrats held on. that is a huge question mark. host: we have not talked about numbers changes in the house, what is the common -- what are people thinking? guest: i think what they are shooting for, the republicans may be a pickup or six or eight seats at best. the democrats are hoping to maintain what they have got. they know they're not going to take over the house. then the question becomes, long-term, for democrats in the
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minority, how long do you stick with minority leader nancy pelosi and the sort of stagnant number two spot they've been in? host: billy house and kristina peterson, 15 minutes of your calls. (202) 585-3880 for democrats. (202) 585-3881 for republicans. independents, (202) 585-3882. this is ida, michigan. caller: yes. i'm calling, i was a democrat became989 when clinton president. ever since clinton became president, it has been nothing but health for black people. you are shooting black kids in the back. i will be glad when the day comes when they shoot you in your back so you can see how it feels. host: ok.
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president clinton was elected in 1992. there this summer, were some events, ferguson being one of the most vivid. interesting two-seat why that lawmakers respond given that this is something but this is something that cat losed the country. reflected comments by a piece in politico. ugly summer hounds congress. you mentioned militarization of police. coming up on ing the senate side. race or the of incident in ferguson likely to in any other house or senate hearings? >> the congressional black black the house unit of
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members will make their voice known in a number of events in weeks, whether that spills to actual legislation that will move in this area. structured two weeks. i kind of doubt it. host: go ahead. uest: i heard some lawmakers having more policed to wear body cameras. seeing that translate to passes any time soon is going to be a big lift. caller: i've been calling this network for 35 years. withe ear seeing in georgia an exciting thing. i'm a businessman. got david purdue running as a businessman and a libertarian running for governor. businessman. we see a tremendous amount of business. nd i see people getting involved in politics. asking the panel. we've got people who are going a get together for -- the barbecue for david purdue running for senate. you, do you see a trend towards more business
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leaders? nd i hope the answer is yes, getting more involved in politics. host: thank you, joe. guest: i don't know if i see a trend. there are high-profile usinessmen in this year's senate campaign on the gop side. but there are a lot of lawyers who come to congress. guest: yeah, the georgia race is another one to watch. a clear majority, we might not have a decision on that race until january. adding another complication to a potential lame duck. obama was asked yesterday on the interview of "meet the press" about the retaining majority in the senate. here's some of what he had to say. elections matter, i votes matter. fact that punditry overwhelmingly felt it was going be -- >> pointing at me. a that this was going to be
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good year for the senate epublicans because the seats states that were in were tilting and significantly with significant republican majorities. democrats hold the senate, i hink that should get republicans to once again -- >> you think that sends a message? what it does is sends a message to republicans that people want to get stuff done. middle-class families. to create ladders of opportunity people, that's the agenda people reject. host: retaining that majority, democrats retain the majority, does that -- does for provide an opening
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bipartisanship? guest: i think we end up see ng a lot of what we're right now. it maybe gives the president two ore years to get some of his agenda through that maybe there's an opportunity to do something on immigration with 2016 election around the corner host: a tweet from jan who going to passing? or let the government shut down something after the election. heard of the government shutdown. any chance of that? guest: democrats would like you verge of a're on the shutdown because of something republicans are angling to do. happen.ot going to hat's pure host: bob in baltimore on our bob.blican line, go ahead, caller: i'm just calling. i wasn't sure -- i wasn't clear this continuing resolution that's coming up. but i'm guessing that means that he appropriations bill haven't been passed on either side.
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and i'm -- i'm asking that to billy first. guest: good question. house has passed i believe seven, maybe six. the senate hasn't passed a single one. and clearly they haven't agreed on any of them. appropriations bills that oversee the various parts of government, this congress has not agreed on a one of them. so that's why we need a stop -- at least a stop gap funding bill continuing resolution to keep basically funding levels are now way they through the start of the fiscal year. host: why haven't they passed senate bills. guest: comes down to the fights they keep on having. they haven't been able to bring quick nd do it in a manner. but there is a desire on the senate side both in the republicans to pass some of the spending bills before the end of the year. so you could see in the senate agreement at least on a few
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of the 12, some of the less controversial ones. because appropriators feel that if all you do is extend your funding every time their role is diminished. so even b republicans want to bills passed ese in order to get some of the priorities reflected. host: this may be above our pay grade. above mine. how do we get out of the cycle. year after year, it winds up at the end of the year congress is passing a continued resolution. has finished e much of the work that the senate this year has not. break it going to take to that? guest: a good question. a lot of people thought when atty murray, the -- in the senate budget chairman and paul ryan, the house budget chairman made this two-year agreement on that it would be simple to just -- not simple, easier to do the annual budget appropriations bills. host: we're in the first year of that agreement? guest: we're sliding to the second year.
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guest: i think this is easier. they have agreed to the overall that we're not sealing a huge dustup right now, the nk it's indicative of fact that that agreement has eased things a bit. host: made it more difficult for the agencies whether it's uman services or the pentagon to figure out what they're doing. guest: not to make steve pierce, the new representative from southern new mexico the but he's the universe, one guy who said you can't budget for your house, home, and two-month, three-month chunks. federal agencies are a lot like that. they like to do some planning. they'd like to do some longer term planning. if you have no idea what's from now, our months it could be difficult. host: next up, scott on the columbian line. hello, scott. caller: i want to take a moment to speak two points about the militarization of the police force around the country.
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host: yeah. aller: as a soldier, i've been in the army for 10 years. i want to point out one man's and perspective. in that after 13 years of war, thousands, if f not more, soldiers, veterans, etting out of the army, or the military. and being pushed out. a lot of them will go to look almost the very structured environment in which you know, pull apart the team. and i think with that it brings a way our shift in split forces are being conducted. wrong.or in ferguson -- i was a little
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unnerved by what i saw having 2006 and 2007 in mosul and again in 2009 and 2010. the second point i want to make s when we talk about the militarization of the police, i ironic if you impose the actions of the military perators overseas and around the world to detain people to bring them back for trial. odd and a bit counterintuitive for me for a law enforcement purpose around the globe. >> you have some libertarian republicans and democrats on the same page.
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that's odd bedfellows alliance. rand paul and senator elizabeth commentshoing the same they're concerned with the militarization of police. at may see some action there some point given the bipartisans to do, to do something. guest: i think when people hear some of the equipment that's going to local police some of which have 14 members, some of the heavy military equipment that even the most avid police supporter can scratch their heads. >> again, this goes back to the defense authorization, correct? they can change that policy or policy through the passage of the authorization bill. senator carl levin, the chairman of the armed services committee said they the program before the defense authorization bill comes to the senate floor. there is going to be some in the senate.
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miami, florida, chaz on the independent line. caller: we need to get back to working.ess is not we need to stop with the farce. a conspiratorial thinker. they're not doing the people's business. their job is to stay in office. more than 80% of their -- 80% of their time recent book called by two ex-senators, their names me right they're trying to stay in office. they're not doing the people's usiness, republican nor democrat or what have you. and i think it's a farce. i think that we -- i think we're complicit in making believe representing us. this is how much money do you have. can you run for office. say one more thing.
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'm -- my parents were immigrants from cuba. my father tried to run for ffice when cuba was a democracy. he said, listen, if you don't have $100,000, you simply can't run for the congress. host: how recently was that when he -- when he was told that? caller: before the revolution, about but before -- but before batista basically his coup d'etat, in of nationalism, similar to what we're feeling now. keep at people wanted to immigration low, high inflation after world war ii, they wanted to change things. that's one of the reasons why they came in and took over the government and basically defecated on the constitution. ost: cecil who is in carrie, north carolina, democrats' line. caller: hello. cecil, go ahead.
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caller: yes, i have an answer to this thing here. we've got a divided government. going to ly way it's on whetherit depends republicans gain -- gain the the senate, which will actually make the situation worse. and that's not an improvement. but i -- at this point, we're water.n the i think the country is not able operate like it ship that has less power at sea. go back to beginning on the political messaging on the republican side. messaging about the in terms of the bills that they'll bring forth. what about the democratic side? what sort of message will they try to get in floor debates, in hearings, etc.
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guest: that republicans don't care about the average person, the average worker. minimum wage, they don't care in t women, it's reflected their membership and their issues and their legislation. republicans are overly emphasizing deregulation, attacks on obama, rather than and ng your government seeing that your life is better. host: we talked about the amendment.onal later, what other senate messaging is harry reid going to his leadership team guest: they may bring up some on the y voted on minimum wage, on the hobby lobby supreme court decision. get to the really core group that they're going after. in the midterm elections, women, voters, trying to show that they really care about them. one more call. rochelle, georgia is next. john on our democrats line. caller: hello? host: hi, john, you're on the
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air. caller: yes, this is the vote -- about cans don't care regular people and all of the people need to get out and vote. word, you'll get the last john. thank you for your call. thank you for your comments. peterson of "the wall st congress and brad sherman of obama'sia an on president strategy against isis. washington journal is live every morning at 7 a.m. eastern on c-span. you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter. the senate homeland security committee held hearings today on
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federal programs that address that -- that you quit state and that equip state and local law enforcement with military style resources. >> good morning.
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i'm bob mcdonald. thank you for coming this morning. i've been looking forward to talking with all of you. this is going to be one of many media engagements going forward. i want to thank deputy secretary sloan gibson for his leadership is acting secretary and his continued work as deputy secretary and more importantly for his 40 years of friendship. sloan and i went to west point together. we lived next to each other are senior year. the leadership, integrity, ethics that he has brought to this department has been fantastic. we look forward to working together. i'm proud to be a partner with sloan for this important work. i've been on the job for just over a month. i've seen how we deliver health care at our newest hospital in las vegas, at a mobile clinic in memphis, and in outpatient clinic in charlotte.
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i watched the claims process at the reno regional benefits office. i've seen dedicated workers in memphis who make said v.a. cemetery the national shrine that it is. on friday, i watched a we care for the most vulnerable at a homeless stand down in philadelphia. i've talked to schedulers in phoenix, nurses in palo alto, medical residents in durham, north carolina. i've met with academic partners at the university of pennsylvania and the duke university of medical school. i have met union leaders, government workers, and thousands of advocates at conferences. with every group i engage, i i make this point.
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our mission is clear. it is to serve veterans. there is no higher calling than that mission. veterans are our customers. that means effectively and efficiently providing them the high-quality care and benefits that they have already earned. everywhere i have gone, i have found v.a. employees overwhelmingly dedicated to the mission. they are enthusiastic to be a part of the solution to our current challenges and they are excited that we have an opportunity to improve care to veterans in ways that did not exist before. these employees are driven by our strong v.a. institutional values. integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect, and excellence. all of that is summed up in the acronym i care. here is something i have heard
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in our employee town hall meetings. i met a woman who works in radiology and has been with the a for 10 years. -- v.a. for 10 years. she pointed out we have to make it easier for medical professionals to come and stay at the a -- v.a. bob came to v.a. as a patient. he liked it so much, he decided to come and work for us. i always ask for and want to hear honest feedback about how we can improve. whenever i talk with veterans in waiting rooms or having lunch in the canteen or when i am walking the halls or talking to them in the parking lot, my question is the same.
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how is v.a. treating you and how can we improve? in memphis, i met harry. he is a member of the vfw. his job allows him to get health care anywhere he wants, but for the past 20-30 years he has been getting an mba because it is the best -- it at v.a. because it is the best. i received enough from a veteran who lives in new jersey. he has a prosthetic leg. while visiting family in california, he went to the palo alto medical center, where the physician told him that his leg was infected. three time zones away from home, he needed a new prosthetic. the doctor explained how to soak his leg to beat the infection.
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a week later, he received the new fabricated prosthetic leg from the veterans administration in palo alto. every day in every v.a. facility, physicians take ownership of their patient needs and treat them with dignity and respect. i have talked to family members. dotty in las vegas. she told me that the local community emergency room would not take her husband when he was quite ill. they went to the v.a. emergency room and she said that v.a. saved his life. her message was simple, thank you, keep it up. i have heard patients call their nurses angels and tell me that their doctors understand their needs and give great care. i also hear that veterans are waiting too long to be seen and that is simply not acceptable. i am hearing from those who have experienced the worst of the bureaucracy.
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one veteran told me that it will still take as long as a year for v.a. to verify her dependency status for benefits, even though she has been receiving tuition assistance from v.a. one widow said she received a call to remind her veteran has been to get his flu shot and her husband had passed away months before. a family member shared that v.a. sent a letter to his father who had passed away 20 years ago and was buried by v.a.. that is why we are looking at every single thing we do. we are looking at it through the eyes of the veterans. that perspective makes every decision, every right decision, absolutely clear. i want to personally apologize to all veterans who experience
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unacceptable delays in receiving care in phoenix, arizona or across the country. i said at my confirmation hearing that i will put veterans at the center of everything we do at the v.a. i am working to right the wrongs and institute reforms to transform and modernize v.a. to better serve veterans. i'm committed to consistently fixing the problems and provide high-quality care that veterans have earned and deserve. that is how we will begin regaining veterans' and the american people's trust. we have been taking a hard look at ourselves, listening to veterans, employees, service organizations, members of congress, and our other partners. their insights have been invaluable. they are using their insights to chart our path moving forward.
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to address our immediate challenges, over the past several months, we have prioritized getting veterans off wait lists and into clinics. we have added more clinic hours. we are recruiting additional staff. we are deploying mobile medical units. we are having high-performing facilities share best crack us is to help facilities -- practices to help facilities rise to a new level. as of september 5, the veterans hospital administration has reached out to over 294,000 veterans to get them off wait lists and decrease the number of veterans on the electronic wait list by 57%. v.a. has developed the
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initiating care access. to decrease numbers on the electronic wait list longer than 30 days. we have increased community in non-v.a. care. we have made a most one million referrals for non-v.a. care. over 246,000 more than the same period in the year 2013. the 14 day access measure was removed from all employee performance plans to eliminate incentives for inappropriate scheduling. over 13,000 performance plans were amended. we are simultaneously updating our antiquated appointment scheduling system and working to acquire a comprehensive, state-of-the-art, commercial, off-the-shelf scheduling system.
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the v.a. medical center direct heirs and network direct others are creating face-to-face audits of their facilities, scheduling press is is -- scheduling practices are to be completed by the end of the month. we have conducted 3000 audits nationwide. we are restructuring vha's office of the medical inspector to better serve. we are building a more robust continuous system for measuring patient satisfaction to provide real-time, site-specific information collaborating with veteran service organizations in an effort and learning what other leading health care systems are doing to track patient access experiences. based on the valuable feedback i have received from my travels, i directed v.a. health care and benefits facilities nationwide to hold town hall meetings by the end of september to improve
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communication with and hear directly from veterans. v.a. is all about veterans. it is the only reason we exist. we need to become more focused on veteran needs and recognize and reorganize around the idea that we want every veteran in this country to think of the a as there's -- of v.a. as therirs. -- theirs. we are working hard to create an environment that welcomes critical feedback and ensures compliance with legal requirements. the client mandates commitment mandateslimate commitment to whistleblower protections to all employees. i told employees that i want every employee to criticize what
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we do, help us improve, and everybody to become a whistleblower in their own way of helping us on this road to improvement. we have established and introduced and accountability team to ensure accountability related to patient scheduling and access to care, witness -- whistleblower retaliation, and related matters that impact public trust. we will continue to work with the office of the inspector general to ensure accountability. accountability is more than just personnel actions. we must focus on sustainable accountability. i sent a note to all employees. sustainable accountability means insuring all employees understand how their daily work every single day supports our mission of caring for veterans. they have to know how their daily work ties back to our values and this mission of
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caring for veterans and it requires that their supervisor provide them daily feedback. together, they need to discuss how they can improve our work processes going forward. we want to improve our current operations so we do a better job caring for veterans. sustainable accountability requires we do a better job of training our leaders, flattening the hierarchical culture, and encouraging innovation and collaboration from the bottom. we must realistically rate the performance of employees. everybody can't possibly be rated the best. one key provision in the new law seems widely misunderstood or misinterpreted.
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it does not allow v.a. to fire senior leaders without evidence or cause nor does it guarantee that v.a.'s senior executives will be fired even if v.a. is seeking to remove them. what the new law does shorten the time a senior executive proposed for removal by v.a. has to appeal v.a.'s decision. it does not do away with the appeal process. i want to make clear, when evidence of wrongdoing is discovered, we will hold employees accountable. we will take the actions as quickly as the law and due process allows us to take. there are over 100 ongoing investigations of v.a. facilities right now by the office of the inspector general, the v.a., the fbi, the department of justice, the office of special counsel, and others.
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in each case, we will await the result and we will take the appropriate disciplinary action when all of the facts and evidence are known. we have made significant progress in recent months. there was a lot more work to do. our focus now is turning to what we intend to accomplish over the next 60 days. we call it the road to veterans day. this is our first a 90 day plan in many ways, although the time between my confirmation and veterans day is slightly more than 90 days. our purpose is to put together a plan of some quick action steps we are going to take to better serve and take care of those who have borne the battle, their families, and survivors. we are calling it the road to veterans day.
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our mission is the mission that the veterans organization has had. it comes from president lincoln's second inaugural address, when he said that we have to care for those who have borne the battle, their families, and their survivors. we have three strategies that we will be following. the first is to rebuild trust with veterans and other stakeholders. the second is to improve service delivery, focusing on veteran outcomes, access, and care. the third is to set a course for long-term excellence, looking at the department from the lens of the veterans and deciding what we need to do to reorganize to deliver better access, better care for the long-term.
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the first strategy is to rebuild trust with veterans and other stakeholders. under this strategy, we have a number of tactics. the first is to reinforce veterans affairs core values and mission and reset the culture to be consistent with them. throughout the department, we have done a leadership exercise with all employees where we talk about the mission and the core values and we have asked all employees to recommit themselves.
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that has been done. we will do this every year to make sure we don't lose sight of our mission and core values. we need to build relationships and strong lines with stakeholders. later this week, we have a breakfast that includes veteran stakeholders, veteran service organizations, military service organizations. we have been reaching out to members of congress. i met with 67 different senators, members of the house veterans affairs committee. we are trying to reach out, establish relationships, learn about what is going wrong, and figure out what we can do to improve. we want to increase transparency and we want to hold people accountable when things go wrong. we are busy working on our strategic communication plan. this media event is going to be one of many in the future. strategy two is to improve our service delivery.
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this is the crux of everything we do. it is about improving effectiveness and efficiency and focusing on veteran outcomes. we want to reset and redeploy the veterans affairs department strategic plan. it is a pretty good strategic plan, but it has not been deployed entirely. we would like every employee to be able to know what they do every single day and how it ties back to our mission and how it is consistent with our values. we are going to go through the process of that. we are going to look at each one of the strategies, make sure they are robust, make sure we have the right tactics, the right action plan. as we go through this, we are going to be looking at work that does not add value to the veterans. if we have work that does not add value to the veterans, we will stop doing it so the week
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can redeploy resources more toward the veteran. we will also be using digital technology to improve our systems. as we are able to free up people through improved digital technology, we are going to take those people and redeploy them. we want to reorganize to better align and simplify service to veterans. right now, if you go to any veterans affairs website, you will find that there are 14 different websites that require different usernames and a different password for veterans to access the v.a. that is just flat wrong. we have to make it easier to access the v.a. through one website, one username, one password. if you look at the structure of v.a., you would find we have nine different geographic maps. every part has a different geographic map, a different hierarchical structure.
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how do we reorganize the v.a. so that when the veteran looks at it, the veteran knows how to connect and how to get things done. we are too complicated from the veteran standpoint. third, we want to engage federal, state, and private sectors to partner and best capture best practices. we know we cannot do the job alone. we have to partner with members of congress, the veteran service organizations, the military service organization, state governments, private sector or's. -- sector. on many of my trips, i met with the governor's. -- state governors. we want to do what we can to partner and to learn best practices and pass along those best practices. strategy three is to set the course for the long-term, for excellence and reform.
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we want to accelerate access to care, while implementing the axis choice and accountability act of 2014. we have a team that will be meeting every other week to make sure we execute this act with excellence. we also want to assess key programs and either affirm that they are appropriate, adjust them, or eliminate them entirely in order to move resources to a different activity that we are more confident will affect veterans. here is a summary of the three strategies and the mission of the veterans affairs department. we will judge the success of all of these efforts against one single unified metric. that metric is the satisfaction
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of the veterans we are trying to serve. we should not punish veterans for having nine different geographic maps for the veterans affairs department. we should not punish them for having 14 different websites. in other words, we want to look at everything we do through the lens of the veteran. in the end, the v.a. exists to serve them, to serve veterans. whether it is those veterans i had breakfast with who told me that the v.a. care and treatment has given them the ability to climb mountains, right horses, and accomplish things they never thought possible when they were first injured. or those veterans i met when i was in phoenix, who were being scheduled for the next appointment. i'm convinced we will come out of this process better able to meet the needs of our veterans because we will be looking at
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everything we do, every service we provide, every customer interaction we have through the eyes of the veteran. thank you very much for your attention. i would be happy to take any questions that you have. yes, please. if you don't mind, would you please start with your first name. i'm bob. >> you talked about sustainable accountability. there is more to accountability than just the personal actions. when are we going to see personnel actions? we have seen the phoenix report. there is a report with problems in minneapolis. covering up, data manipulation. when should we expect to see some firing, personnel action, accountability on that side? >> you have already seen it. we have publicly announced some. we report to congress about the actions we have taken.
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i have a meeting tomorrow with congress. we proposed disciplinary action against three senior executive service employees in phoenix. at the american legion convention, we have had 30 plus actions already. we have had two scs employees resign or retire. we have three on administrative leave awaiting actions we have proposed. we have over two dozen medical professionals who are no longer working for the v.a. >> having a resignation or
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someone leaving the job is not the same as them being fired. proposed discipline is not the same as actual discipline in place. i would like to follow on. >> having run a major corporation before coming to the v.a., the procter & gamble company, arguably one of the most admired companies in the world, personnel actions require a value of respect for the individual. there is a process that needs to be followed. whether it is in private industry or whether it is in public government sector, there is a process, a due process, that needs to be followed. attorneys are involved. in the case of union members, union leadership is involved. when i say that we have proposed three actions in phoenix, that is what has happened and the processes going.
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the process is started. having said that about phoenix, right now in phoenix, we have an acting director who comes from ohio. he is off to a great start. he is doing a great job. we have an acting regional director in lisa friedman who comes from our palo alto facility, for the -- one of the best facilities we have. she is busy improving there. we are as impatient as you are while we wait for the due process. we have 100 investigations ongoing. we are not allowed to take definitive action while those investigations are going on. but we are doing all we can. >> i wanted to ask you about the phoenix ig report. because the sentence was worded
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that they could not conclusively assert that veterans died because of the delay of care that that absolves v.a. of problems. do you think that is too high of a standard of them? would it be more likely to say that there were people who died while they were in care and they are people who should have been taken care of? >> we are deeply sorry for the problems with access to care and with the timeliness of care and with the quality of care that occurred in phoenix. i don't think that any investigation could make us feel any better about that. we feel terrible about that. we have embraced the report. we cherish the feedback we have been given. we have worked on remedies for everything that they have pointed out.
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we have concurred with the report. already, three of the 25 remedies we have taken have already been actuated, executed in phoenix. we are very sorry for what happened in phoenix and we are working very hard to learn from it and pass those learnings around the entire system, so that this does not happen again. we're trying to pass the microphone around. i'm sorry, josh.
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>> was there any one issue or complaint that stood out from the conversations? >> it is a good question. the biggest take away for me from talking to employees was that we need to open up the culture. when i was going around, it seemed to me that employees thought of the hierarchy of v.a. is a pyramid. being the secretary, everybody would rise when i enter the room. everybody would call me sir. it was very formal. as a result, i got the impression that employees thought of the secretary like the ceo of the company, on the apex of the pyramid. and that the veterans were on the bottom of the pyramid. i don't like that idea. one of the things i'm trying to do is create in on higher are the coal -- hierarchical non- hierarchical
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organization where the veteran is on top. the organization we are trying to create looks like this. the veteran is on top. all of the people who worked against the veteran and work with the veteran every single day are the ones that need to support the organization. i am on the bottom. i am trying to help those people in the organization. while i'm asking you to come and my first name, i'm asking everybody in v.a. to do that. i need to create a much more open culture where every employee feels comfortable telling the secretary what is wrong in the organization and how we can improve. i have sat down with the union leadership throughout the organization. i have demanded that the union leadership be in all of my town hall meetings. i have also had in my town hall meetings veteran service
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organizations, military service organizations, members of congress, staffs of members of congress, anybody who wants to come i want to hear from. i also do my own e-mail. i don't ask someone to do my own e-mail. people know how to contact me. i have given him my cell phone number. if you saw my confirmation hearing, you will see that i gave my cell phone number for members of congress and i have asked for theirs in return. we need to open up the lines of communication in this organization and get rid of some of the hierarchy and bureaucracy. flatten the organization and focus on that veteran. we are in the process of doing that. it is all about customer service. any customer service organization does the sorts of things.
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we have got to do it here. >> what does that actually look like on the ground? you're talking what changing the hierarchy, getting rid of the hierarchical system. what does that actually look like at a v.a. facility? how do you change that on the ground and do it quickly? >> we have got to get more people with the veteran. i think it was nashville where we had 12 customer service representatives that were redcoats a when the veteran walked in the door, they could immediately who was there to help them and that person could navigate them through our system. the people at ipad so they could contact doctors nurses, whoever they needed, immediately. we have gone from 12 of those people to two.
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we have got to get people back against the veteran. we have kiosks in the waiting room. when the veteran comes in, they can tell us what they need. we are piloting a project with the health arm and the benefits arm will get together and go to little rock, arkansas and do one-stop shopping mall at one-stop. it is very simple. you look at it from the standpoint of the veteran. what do they want? do they want to have to go through bureaucracy? do they want to have 14 different usernames and passwords? do they want to worry about nine different geographic maps? do they want to worry about a hierarchy? no. they want service.
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that is what we want to provide. it is going to take time, but we are going to do it. step one sound simple, but it is every member of the organization committing themselves to the mission and the value of the organization. where we have members who have not committed themselves, then you have to question, are they really going to be able to get this done? >> are you worried about your ability to recruit and retain talented senior executives given the new provisions in the law regarding firing and the temporary ban on bonuses? >> actually, i am worried about our ability to recruit and retain talented people. i am worried. we need tens of thousands of new doctors, new nurses, new clinicians. because of the importance of
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that, last week i started a recruiting campaign. my second week i called the chancellor of duke university medical system and said, could you set up a time for me to talk to the students at duke university medical school? i went a week or so ago, i sat down, i did grand rounds. i had all the doctors and nurses there. i spoke to them about what a great place the v.a. is to work. how many of you knew that the v.a. had three nobel prize-winning scientists or doctors? how many of you knew that the v.a. had seven plasker awards? how many of you knew that the v.a. invented cutting edge technology? it was a nurse at the v.a. that came up with the idea of using the barcode that is common on
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procter & gamble products and other products to help patients get the right medicine and the right care in a hospital. how many of you knew that? how many of you knew that the v.a., the government, will repay student loans or will help you get loans or help you get into medical school, nursing school? how many of you knew we had a program for nursing? we have to do a lot of recruiting. when i was in philadelphia last week, last friday, i met with the university of pennsylvania. we have a great partnership with the medical school there. we were asking for those doctors, those nurses to come join us. i think we have an inspiring story. what i have heard from our doctors and nurses is there are no better patients than the veterans. we have to get that inspiring story out. i have asked members of congress, i have asked chairman miller of the house veterans affairs committee, chairman
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sanders to come recruiting with me. we need to get the story out. they have agreed. we are going to do this recruiting together. there is no way we can hire that many without everybody's help. >> you just said that you need tens of thousands of new doctors and nurses and clinicians. how far did the legislative package in august get you toward that? does this mean you'll have to go back to congress and ask for a lot more to get you where you need to be on that? >> no, rich, the legislative package was efficient. sloan and the team did outstanding work.
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the issue now is we have the authorization. we have the position, now we have to find the people. i was on a plane flying into phoenix and i was talking about the v.a. the individual behind me asked me if i worked for the v.a. i said i did proudly. i was wearing my button. he had retired from the air force. he was an employee of lockheed martin. he said, you have a challenge. he said, i'm retired from the air force. my daughter is a lieutenant in the air force. she goes to the medical school, the government medical school, the u.s. institute for medicine in washington, d.c. he asked her about working for the v.a. she said, haven't you been seeing what is going on in the media? why would i want to join the v.a.? i said, give me her phone number. her name is alexandra. i called her three times.
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she set up for me to go recruiting at her medical school and i think we're pretty close to convincing her that the v.a. is a great place to work. when i was in charlotte, i talked to two individuals both leaving the service. both physicians' assistants. i talked to them about coming to work for the v.a. it is a great place to work. all of you need to help me get the message out that this is a great place to work, we have the best patients in the world. we have great resource in which allows us to do the kind of research we need to do, the innovation we need to do, and be on the cutting edge of medicine for our country.
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>> when we were down in augusta and we talked to a household director down there who talked about some kind of wage freeze on medical staff and indicating that all the medical wages in the private sector are effectively 20% higher than those in v.a. and you talked about nurses who would be at v.a. for a year and then crossed the street and go to work at the teaching hospital for thousands of dollars more, is that freeze in effect and is that a problem that needs to be addressed? >> there are two issues you described. the first is that opm has evaluated some of our positions and downgraded them and they tend to be positions which are the staff positions, which are closest to the veterans. i told all of our operations that we need to take a look at those and if those people are our front-line working with the veterans every single day, we need to seek exceptions to that evaluation.
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i think we might not have done a great job of presenting the importance of those people. in any corporation, the people on the front lines serving the customer are highly valued. we are going back now and we are looking at that. we are going to take exceptions where we need them. the second point you raised is the compensation of medical personnel. i have heard this at every site i have been at. we have had it freeze for over three years. i have gone back and with the help of others we have identified all our different positions and we benched marked them with private industry. i talked to the president when we went together to the american legion convention in charlotte and we are in the process of evaluating potentially raising those salaries to a level where we can be competitive with the
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outside. it does us no good to recruit people if we cannot retain them. compensation is a part of that. i have to say too that our employees don't do this for the compensation, they do this for the calling of serving veterans. but we have to get the compensation competitive. i think i can do one more. >> i wanted to ask you how many vets currently work for the v.a.? is there currently exist or will the be a thrust to hire veterans as part of your desire to bring on more medical clinicians, particularly those from iraq and afghanistan? >> currently, we have about 340,000 people. of that, about 35% or so are veterans.
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we have a hiring preference for veterans. yes, we want to hire veterans. at palo alto, i met a young lady who was one of the top orthopedic surgeons in the country. she went to stanford medical school. her undergraduate alma mater is mine, west point. she was a few years after sloan and me. an outstanding orthopedic surgeon. we are looking for everybody with talent. there is a question over here. >> later this year, you will be awarding the contract for your replacement scheduling system. do you suspect that you might have to go back to congress for edition all funding to ensure that the entire rollout of that system? will you insist on greater controls so you know who is doing what on that scheduling system? >> we tried to put the money we needed in the act that was
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recently passed. i cannot predict the future. i think we have done a good job of that. as we work through the scheduling system, we are going to be very eager to find an off-the-shelf product that is proven effective that we will not run into executional difficulties as we move forward. we are making a number of fixes with the current system. we are not waiting for that. we're going to get that right and do that as quickly as possible. the off-the-shelf product will become very important as we move forward. i thought it was a brilliant piece of work by sloan and the team to come forward and say, we are going to take an off-the-shelf product. again, every decision through the lens of the veteran. we don't get rewarded for making a scheduling system, we get rewarded for having a veteran system -- scheduling system that works for the veterans and gets them into care.
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>> could we have your cell phone number? >> sure. 513-503-8454. >> that is wonderful. >> may, i have yours? >> sure. >> give it to vicki, please. >> we have the money. we have the breakdown in terms of the classification of people we want and how much money goes to each one. we can give it to you later. when i came in, i had heard an accusation that we had doubled the size of the headquarters staff in v.a. over the past few years.
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every accusation i hear, everything i read, i try to understand this. we did an analysis and have come to find out that the size of the headquarters staff at the v.a. is actually lower as a percentage of total then i was eight years ago and that the number one classification of people we have hired over the last eight years has been nurses. that is obviously up significantly as we have increased the footprint of who we care for around the country. we look at this very carefully. through a really microscopic lens to make sure we are hiring the right people and putting them in the right places. the size of the headquarters is actually lower as a percent of the total than it was before. it includes the fact that we have centralized some functions in the headquarters, like i.t. it is better to have one system across the department then
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balkanized i.d. systems. >> can you make that data available?ublicly >> we can share that and get you that data. yes, sir. >> speaking of headquarters staff, when you came on board in late july, you had been affirmed by the v.a. and the ig that this was a systemwide scandal and problem. when you came in, were you curious at all about whether those in the central office had any idea about these delays, these manipulations? the fact that you could already have 100 places are more that are under investigation, that this could go on without anybody in the central office having any idea? did that spark your curiosity or
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concern you or is that something you want to put behind and move on? >> i think i addressed that, didn't i? i talked about the need for more open culture. i showed you the pyramid that specifically like this, that people think of an organization and they turned it on its apex. as i analyze the organization, my sense was that the culture was too closed. there was too much hierarchy. >> i'm talking about people who were aware. >> that's why i'm telling you that they may not have been aware. i have not sat down and talk to every single individual. i have a very simple axiom. i have been doing this now for, sloan and i have been doing this in private enterprise for 40 years. organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they get. don't spend a lot of time trying to figure out the result to read
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you know what the result is. figure out why the organization was designed to get that result. what i tried to do in my description of a very closed culture, which robert neighbors in his report called a toxic culture, i tried to explain why information was not getting from the bottom to the top. what may have been the reason why. that is why i have mandated town hall meetings. it is why when i go out i meet with stakeholders. it is in the strategies i have talked about that we are going to follow in the future. we are going to be transparent. we are going to be accountable. we are going to work to get every employee involved, to get every employee who commits himself to our mission and values, every employee involved in improving care for our veterans. there is no other way to do it. the fact that that was not happening suggests we have work
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to do. but we have started to do it. thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] up, an examination of the 2014 midterm elections. then the house rules committee meets to discuss a resolution disapproving of administrative actions. democrats debate the ferguson, missouri shooting of teenager, michael brown. >> the senate homeland security meeting holds a hearing tuesday on federal program today equipped state and local law enforcement with weapons and military gear. c-span at 10:30 a.m. on 3. you can join a conversation on facebook and twitter.
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secretary andairs acting veteran affairs inspector general testified before the veteran affairs committee on tuesday on the state of the v.a. live coverage at 10:00 a.m. on >> a look at the congressional races and midterm elections. jessica taylor and mr. gonzales were guests on washington journal. this is 90 minutes. we are 58 days before the midterm elections. joining us this morning, jessica taylor from "the hill." nathan gonzales, deputy editor of "the rock bird political report." -- thesident said tony
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president sat down yesterday and was asked about immigration and the delay on immigration. here's a portion of that interview. [video clip] news is we have bipartisan support for that. house republicans refuse to do it and i said to them that if on something so common sense that you have got labor, business, evangelicals, folks across the board all ofing it, i will use the legal authority i have to act. laying the groundwork for that, jeh johnson from homeland security has presented me with inliminary, you know, ideas terms of how we can take executive action. i have determined that i want to make sure we get it right.
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>> it looks like election-year politics. >> i want to make sure that not only are the t's crossed and i's dotted, but i am being honest now, about the politics of it. this trouble with unaccompanied children that we saw a couple of weeks ago, from central america the surge of kids showing up at the border? it got a lot of attention. a lot of americans started thinking that we have got this immigration crisis on our hands. the fact of the matter is that a number of people apprehended crossing the borders, the number has plummeted over the course of the decade. it is far lower than it was 10 years ago. in terms of these unaccompanied children, we have systematically worked with the problem so that in june it dropped, in july dropped and is now below where it was last year. but that's not the impression on the minds of people.
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what i want to do is when i take executive action, i want to make sure it's sustainable. host: those were comments from the president on "meet the press" with chuck todd. this is from "the new york times." this decision is a reversal of what the president said in the rose garden earlier this year, that he would make a decision by the end of the summer." what is important to remember is that the fight for the senate and the most important house races in the republican in leaning districts. these are districts of voters already primed to have significant problems with what the president is doing overall, but also have significant concerns. in a midterm election where they can vote against the president, if he can't -- if he does something they don't like it,
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the only option is to vote against democratic candidates. i think the timing is part of that. this past week we began what would be more than 100 c-span networks. in each of them immigration came up. in north carolina with tom hillis, with kay hagan as well. it has been a bipartisan failure. for years they have talked about sealing the border, not allowing amnesty. i don't know about senator hagan. amnesty is a colossal mistake. we are not filling the border. we have failed to fill the border dating back to the reagan era. we need to get serious about that. a strong nation needs a strong border. we have to fill the border.
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the result of inaction from kay hagan in 2008 was that she was going to work to solve it but all we got was a bill that went nowhere. >> your reply? >> i think the house speaker is complaining that he has no plan. this bill is a commonsense immigration reform bill. there will be 40,000 border security agents, 700 miles of and -- of fence. making sure that these people leave the country when they are supposed to. this bill is not amnesty. as i said, it is bipartisan in nature. it is time for the house and congress to take up this legislation. >> that was the first debate between kay hagan and tom tillis . another debate scheduled for october, we will be carrying that one as well. jessica? exactly one of the democrats that did not want to see the president using this
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executive power to go ahead. she even said in this debate that she doesn't want to see this happen but what republicans are already pouncing on after the announcement yesterday is that this is election-year politics, pointing out that he will do this eventually. i don't know that this mitigates this as much as the my -- the white house would have hoped. will becutive overreach a key theme for republicans. that debate clip kay hagan says she wants to pass the bill and that republicans are stymieing this. from the redthat state democrats that are part of the bill. let's take a look at the big picture. in north carolina it is currently listed as leaning democrat. you have two complete tossup democratic seats. tom harkin in iowa. mary landrieu in louisiana.
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on the republican side you pointed out that pat roberts is the most vulnerable senator right now in this cycle. explain. we saw vulnerabilities with pat roberts after the primary facing an independent candidate, but this past week there was a lot of back-and-forth with democrats trying to drop out. looks like he will not be campaigning but his name will be on the ballot. i think that senator roberts is very vulnerable. part of the challenge is he has to get his campaign up and running the higher-level. strategists are working with him to do that. the math is a bit tricky for independents, but it is the race to watch particularly because senator mcconnell is showing that he has a small but significant lead in kentucky and roberts will be the one to watch. host: that was my next question. you have the mitch mcconnell
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but leaning republican, that is stronger than tilting. explain. mitch mcconnell has the benefit of running for reelection in kentucky. if you were in a more competitive or partisan state, he would be in trouble. his negatives are high. longtime incumbent, you don't want these things coming into 2014. so far he has been able to alisoncantly couple rhymes with obama. she has been good on the attack, but i think she has to increase her own positives and i am not sure she is there yet. a very interesting situation. one that republicans -- this was not part of their calculus. this was the home state of jerry moran, making sure that robert has the good campaign that they
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are sending in. that roberts is taking this seriously and turning around. they had a debate yesterday where he did very well and maybe gorman didn't seem ready for prime time, maybe republicans are feeling better there, but i feel that for the first time this week you saw them hitting 50% in the poll. it is still within the margin of error, and i think he is doing what he needs to do. , her biggests problem in the state is president obama. her ads try to distance herself from him, particularly on energy issues, but the campaign is very smart. they are political operators. there was also a governors debate in kansas. sam brownback as late as
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yesterday had the democratic candidates two or three points ahead in a solid republican state. is the republican governor impacting what is happening? guest: i think some of those polls are based on online polls. i think it comes under a couple of things. there has been a long-standing war and the kansas republican party for years. he kindgot into office of fueled the fire a bit by challenging some of the more rotter -- moderate republicans to get the people that he wanted and there was that basis for that. tax planed an economic that has not played out as quickly as he had hoped. that just sets a foundation for part of roberts problems. part of it is what he is doing,
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part of it is a residency issues that he should have cleared up months ago. >> speaking of, mary landrieu? her republican opponents are making the case on registration reform. saying that she lives near the sea, claim her parents home. was harder to show as out-of-state. she comes from a longtime political family. harder for them to do. host: there is a piece here from an advertisement we are still talking about 50 years later. lyndon johnson and his campaign released the daisy ad.
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it aired only once, but generated a new era in negative advertising. can i get your thoughts on that? guest: it is a good lesson. now we go through the cycles, it is part of the political game. it started 50 years ago. an ad that aired over the weekend. guest: this was an incident where mark begich was running against and sullivan. they did not