tv U.S. Senate CSPAN February 4, 2011 9:00am-12:00pm EST
proper resourcing with able to provide -- be able to provide adequate security? i think that is one of the important questions, yes, senator. >> yeah. we could do it better. we could provide -- we could do the belt and suspenders approach. i understand the level of continuing to provide even more, and i would support and appreciate the fact that you pointed out that you feel the military can do it better. you should feel that way, and we should all feel that way. it's not about better, it's about adequate and protecting our presence in iraq as well. now, i think the -- let's get it on the table. mr. ambassador, you said they haven't asked for any continuing presence at the present time. and this is a tough question because you don't have a crystal ball. do you expect that they will ask for maybe some continuing
military presence after the expiration date? >> it's a possibility, do you expect it? >> again, my crystal ball doesn't reach that far, senator. i expect them to want to talk more with us about their security needs, how these security needs can be met. this is a country with security forces right thousand of some 650,000. they have, basically, beaten an insurgency, and they're doing well against a continued but still relatively small compared to the past terrorist threat. ..
>> we are already preparing to provide that help. police training, fm less funding and all that sort of thing. the multitude of security and military assistance of various forms that are required particularly to turn them into a foundational conventional defense force which they need legal will require a good deal of help. how that help is construed and whether it can fall into the program we have set out after 2012 requires something more is something they haven't come and talked to as about.
>> this would constitute conditions on the ground at the time. is that fair? >> that will drive their decisions on talking to us about this. >> in terms of turning over equipment, of have always been concerned about the fact that be don't want to be the kind of military that is bought and paid for by a foreign country. on the other hand as we transfer equipment, are we finding ways for them to pay for the cost of that equipment either at the current time or with some future arrangement for them to pay us back with that equipment rather than simply providing and leaving it free of charge? >> some of the equipment will infect be paid for. it depends on the category of equipment but the answer to your
question is yes. >> some time ago we entered an agreement with them, they were having trouble acquiring equipment because of their own internal inadequacy and procedures. we actually acquired it on their behalf with their money. my hope is we will be as careful with the taxpayers's dollars and transfer of equipment as we should be, recognizing we are paying for a great deal of the war in iraq. it is a tremendous impact on our budget. it is not the driving force as to whether we continue to do what we think is right but it is a factor and i hope everyone will be focused on that as we create this transition. can you assure me, both of you, that got out of the goodness of
our hearts but recognizing the importance to doing this in a sound economic way that we will try to recover as much of the costs in the transfer as possible? ambassador? >> we have been pressing them to increase and they have. they spend $8 billion a year on their security forces. that has been going up. the percentage of how much they put into their equipment externally and how much we put into it has been rising in their favor and will continue to do so. this is not a long-term program we are envisioning. >> in addition to that, they have $13 billion or so in all three sales cases that we are working with them. not only are they investing in their own future but we're playing a large part of that in our equipment as well. >> this will be the third leg of
that to recover our costs as they make that transfer consistent with where the trend is and we ought to make sure this is part of that trend. >> thank you, mr. chairman. if i could clarify something. the percentage that iraq is paying is rising in their favor. >> they are paying more. >> they are paying more of the weapons systems that have been flowing in to them, percentage of total cost they pay for has been rising consistently. >> when you say rising in their favor, rising in our favor not their favor. >> exactly. [inaudible] >> thank you very much. i want to again commend both
ambassador jeffrey and general austin for your distinguished service and thank our men and women for their sacrifice and progress we have made in iraq and their state department counterparts and the important work that you do. i want to ask the ambassador can you think of another circumstance where the state department has had the security responsibility? you said we have at least 5500 contractors, perhaps another thousand security personnel where you have had that type of security responsibility with success in transitioning from a military security basis to that much security responsibility? >> back in 2004/2005 when i was here before we provided all of our own security for our operations throughout iraq.
it was significant. the state department provide security for all our partners -- personnel in pakistan. and 4 other circumstances, unfortunate analogy but i was involved in the transition on the military side. we turned over to the embassy and saigon tremendous equipment delivery and security mission in february of 1973. >> i believe you testified that when you were in iraq previously that it was rock and roll in terms of what you were dealing with. one of the concerns is we don't want to put our personnel in that position again where the circumstances under which they are working and i am sure you share that concern as well, what circumstances do you anticipate that you may recommend to your superiors that we approach the iraqi government and ask for an extension of the 2011 deadline?
>> let me put it differently. the assumptions i have made that we -- i would go beyond adequate. we can do security uncomfortable with putting people out there based upon the continuation of the current security trends. attacks down 90% from the high point with the iraqi security forces on the job. they still have areas that need to be improved and that exposes their weaknesses and the inner security, most of the time they fend off most of the threats particularly the tactical military threats and we have to worry more about snipers and that kind of thing as opposed to platoons size ambushes. if that were to change. if the iraqi security forces could no longer controlled areas where we are moving i would be in a different circumstance and i would have to consider options
at that time. there are many options. but again, unlike to wait until those circumstances arise and i don't expect them to rise at this point. >> with that many contractors you are currently relying on people probably relying on additional contractors as the transition is made are you confident there is sufficient oversight to address waste, fraud and abuse with taxpayer dollars that are obviously funding those contractors? >> any large program, this is already a large program, requires oversight, requires people on the ground, representatives who follow up. we have a very active program at the embassy where under constant supervision by the chairman, special inspector for iraq, our
own inspector general, military inspectors general from their side and our own control -- internal controls and deputy assistant, ambassador peter bogey watches over that. >> question about our forces in kuwait. they are offering logistical support in iraq and afghanistan. do you anticipate any enhanced force presence in kuwait to ensure in case there is an emergency in iraq either iranian aggression or some other form where security is in iraq? >> positioning of forces in kuwait really falls in the domain of the central command commander, general mass and the
commander she has 4 board on the ground, general west. i would not want to speculate that we would increase the amount of forces. that is not part of the plan. as we look ahead here. >> thank you very much. >> ambassador jeffrey, general austin, thank you. all the people working with you during this transitional period as we climb a out of a whole that we dug eight years ago in the view of many people including myself having come from an enormous strategic
blunder. we were worried and were saying so at the time that this endeavor would harm the country's economy, that it would blow the top off of the price of oil. i recall congress has voted to go to war in iraq where it was $24 a barrel and went to $143 a barrel. today it is $142. we were concerned this activity would empower rather than contain iran, that it would encourage greater activity for al qaeda san had not been active to any degree before. it had the potential to destabilize the region. most importantly there were concerns and i shared them and wrote about them before the invasion that this invasion of iraq would create the temptation
or the possibility of a long-term occupation by the united states in a part of the world where we quite frankly should not be an occupying power. this last point has been the underlying premise of a number of questions that were raised about what is going to happen to the military presence in iraq in the immediate future. i have read the strategic framework agreement. they are not airtight in terms of the requirement for the united states military withdrawal. there were people on this committee and in the senate who have argued the united states should remain in iraq in the same sense that it has remained in korea, as a projection force. some arguments were made to the we should be there another 50
years. there really are two different questions when it comes down to whether our military should remain in iraq. the first is whether they are needed in domestic terms which is what a lot of the discussion has centered on today. the second one and most important one is beyond this transition period, are we discussing the notion of providing basis -- bases in iraq as a projection force that could be used externally from iraq in a situation the other than the domestic concerns you are talking about? have you had any discussions?
>> to the back to 2008 i was involved in the negotiation of these agreements when i worked in the national security council. the iraqis made it clear in black-and-white in the agreement somewhere between articles 24 to 27 that we are not to have permanent bases. we are not to use our presence in iraq to project power of any sort or in any way out side of iraq. that was the explicit understanding that the administration at the highest levels and i was present when this went into the agreement. as we move forward from 2008 to 200011, the iraqi security forces and general stability of the country. we have highs in '91 and lows of a few hundreds of thousands, so
that securing iraq, making it a peaceful place that wasn't requiring these kinds of military commitments, large or medium-sized, is a great security benefit in and of itself. to finish the fight if you will we think we are close by the end of the year. there will be -- is not our intention at all. >> let me clarify something or get a clarification from you. there has been a lot of discussion this week and in the previous hearing for formulations on this as well that iraq is not at present capable of security against an
external threat. we are keeping military forces in iraq, to the formula. >> i am not going to keep under the current agreement. we will not keep military forces in iraq after 2011. what we will do given the fact that iraq does not have a conventional defense, external defense capability, it is just beginning to develop and the focus has been on internal security. we are going to continue our training and equipment program which would be quite extensive about fms programs that they purchased for battle tanks and armored personnel carriers, 155 mm self propelled howitzers, aircraft systems and other systems they can develop.
we will be helping them do this in a broad and extensive way. at this point not with combat troops on the ground. >> in any capacity as opposed to -- >> that is the plan exactly. >> just so i understand. it has been some time since i read this strategic framework agreement but i can provide it for the record. there was loose language in the sense, a further agreement being possible if the iraqi government decided it needed help beyond a period of time. >> the first agreement, the security agreement, there is an article that says either side can ask to extend or terminate. in the strategic framework agreement there is a section on
security, section iii. section x states that additional agreements within the framework of the strategic framework agreement can be set up to do one of the many purposes of the strategic framework agreement. it could be culture or energy or security. >> just to clarify the point before my time is up. it is your understanding that as of the end of 11, the formal commitment of the united states has ground forces perce will end and the transition would be into advisory roles as we have been discussing. is that correct? >> it is our plan to have a security relationship quite possibly and follow-on agreement under article x to talk about
how we would do the advisory and training function but it would be an advisory and training function under title xxii of the security system organization as opposed to a combat commander. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. senator udall. >> i want to associate myself with his initial remarks. the senator brings a set of impressions and analysis to decisions leading up to the invasion of iraq. i served in the house at the time and i asked many of the same questions. the chairman as well is deeply involved in those considerations. at great peril do we forget those lessons in the long run. good morning to both of you. welcome. thank you again for the
hospitality that you provided to senator whitehouse and myself when we were with you in october. senator austin, thank you for your in-depth military options and the way your service personnel showed us the country. ambassador jeffrey, your hard work paid off. we were privy with your meetings with political leaders across the system in iraq and your analogy of mixing bitter tea with sugar so everyone can drink out of the same pot in the end prevailed. congratulations for those successes and the establishment of a government. i also acknowledge the partnership you have. i think it models the partnership ambassador ryan crocker and general david petraeus have preceding you and the joint this we have in our
efforts is key to the successes we want to have. i know the immense challenge in front of us we are discussing today. as you explained the success of the transition will be dependent on a number of factors many of which have little or no control over. we are engaged in your leadership people still very important. if i might specifically move to a long bar, the progress in roddy was significant. you say that aqi will black support. any conditions you can imagine public support would again increase like we saw in those tough days? >> i will offer my thoughts first.
i don't think so. the people don't want what a cute brings to the country. they have a look at that while back and a couple years ago. they wanted something different. so aq does not enjoy the support of the people. i don't see them returning to the prominence -- prominence to the degree that they were a while back. people have seen better times. they want different things. they want a greater sense of security in the country and a don't see it i don't see it returning. >> i agree. >> the image you continued to
share with the iraqi leadership of bitter tea sweetened. part of the ruling coalition government, sadr returned to iran after a triumphant return to iraq earlier this year. any significance to those developments? >> as a general rule, it is good that at this time in iraq is not just our assessment from the outside but the assessment of the iraqis that an inclusive government that brings the more problematic political actors is a good thing to allow inside the government and coalition and parliament people to work out compromises and move forward. in that sense iraqis believe including some that are quite suspicious of the sadrist that
it is a good thing. many iraqis i talk to are quite pleased that their role in government is not particularly large. i think that i will just stop there. >> moving to another point in the conversation including senator nelson's question about the transfer of equipment, admissions from the dod to the state department, we all know there will be bumps in the road it as the transition continues. can you help us understand if there is more we can do in congress to expedite this transition? i was also in addition given in my notes the eventual likelihood that it has to be a certain likelihood that there will be a similar transition in afghanistan. do you see the need for a set of a uthority to guide such
transition? >> is not a question of authorities at this time. it is funding. we need the funding. as we talked earlier this will be a substantial part of the state department budget but a very small part of what we had been paying a year before the overall from the federal budget for iraq and we hope people will focus on that ladder point rather than a big chunk of the state department budget. >> although the number 17,000 employees so large it is a significant decrease from what was 85,000 personnel on the ground at one point in iraq. is that accurate?
correct me. >> the military presence, i will leave that to general austin but as many times, 15 to 20,000 range we are looking at the personal i remember working lunch we had with your team we were drawn down quite significantly. the overall footprint in the country will be a dramatic decrease of weight more than 90% from its highest point. >> when we were operating as a coalition force we have upwards of 160,000 total people in the country. we drew down 100,000 or so when the u.s. began to provide the majority of the assistance and most recently as you know we have drawn down to 50,000.
that is a pretty significant transition overtime. back to your question on authorities, we do need additional authority to fund the renovation and construction associated with the stand-up of the office of security corp. and we would like to look forward to working with congress to be able to obtain those authorities. >> thank you for your service. we will look to see you in country later this year. >> senator mansion? >> to mr. jefferies and senator austin, thank you for your appearance. being new to be said i would like to thank you and the defense department for bringing us up to speed as quickly as you can. i will start with you, general
austin. as a person who comes from west virginia, we thank you for your service. 9/11, the attack on 9/11, at that time we knew that al qaeda was our enemy and that was our direction of force if you will. to have you identified as our enemy today that we are fighting in the middle east whether it is afghanistan or iraq and what is the strength of the force of that enemy? ..
>> we've taken off a number of their senior leaders off of the battlefield over time. we have reduced their capability to finance themselves, and we continue to place pressure on al qaeda. >> what's a number? sir, just for my information as far as -- will be their number of strength? is a 10,000? 5000? 100,000? >> i will take that record for the -- take that question for the record because i want to make sure i impacted. it's several thousand but serving a 10,000. >> okay. >> and again, their inability to do what we saw them in the past is somewhat diminished. having said that, they do have
the capability to conduct high profile types and we've seen it most recently here during the celebration here as we saw shia pilgrims march down towards kabbalah. we expected that al qaeda would try to attack some of the pilgrims, and they did. there are also other sunni insurgent elements that are in the environment, like grt for example. their focus is currently on the u.s. forces. again, we believe that if we are no longer there then they will turn and focus on the government. turn two shia extremist elements, there are three major elements that we focus on, on a daily basis. the first is hezbollah. and the number for hezbollah as a couple of thousand.
and then a couple thousand. and then the promised paper grade, that element has been associated with sadr. each of the elements have their own focus. the shia extremist for example, our primary focus on us. there's no question in my mind that again if we're no longer there they would turn its focus on the government of iraq. >> and again, trying to get a handle on this, the amount of forces that we have in the middle east right now is at what level? the amount, 100,000? >> in the entire middle east? >> iraq, afghanistan. >> i think there are about 98,000 troops in afghanistan. and as you know, our current
footprint in iraq is less than 50,000 are a little bit above 47,000 currently. >> so we will list 150,000 we have identified not that many enemies. >> right. and, of course, we are forces in other parts of the middle east as well. >> i'm just saying it makes it, for those of us who don't have the military experience, and testing such a technology military might, we have such a presence with such a few enemies identified. >> understand the question, senator. i would say when you look at the numbers, i think it could be misleading to just compare numbers of friendly forces, to numbers of enemy forces. you've got to take into account the type of operations, the type
of warfare that you're conducting. and the types of things that we're doing in both iraq and afghanistan are very, very difficult operation. currently in iraq we're focused primarily on advising, training and assisting and equipping the iraqi security forces. we are partnering with them in conducting counterterrorist operations, and again we shifted our fortune -- our forces back onto the first of september. >> what changes do you see different from the soviet war and the war that we're fighting? >> i would defer to dave petraeus and his leadership to really provide those comments. >> i'm saying they had overwhelming forces and superiority, same as we have overwhelming voices and superiority in comparison, correct? >> there have been a number of attempts to compare what the soviets did to what we are doing in afghanistan, and some people would draw parallels, and others
not. again, i think we're taking a different approach to what we're doing there in terms of protecting the people and working with the people. so it's very difficult to draw direct -- to make a direct comparison from the soviets to us. >> ambassador jeffrey come if i may, there's been a tremendous amount of resources that the american people have invested into the war in the middle east, especially iraq and afghanistan. tremendous amount of resources. i've heard that afghanistan and iraq, resources could be extracted, and also in the oil development, in the oil fields in iraq. it's hard, as does west virginia's, but for americans to understand. is there a return on that for us or any showing of that? or we are all in with nothing in return? >> senator, it's a good
question, and it's a question that is both above my pay grade and it's a question that every single citizen needs to look at. the logic of what we've been doing since world war ii and almost everything i've been involving for the last 40 years flows from that, is that if we can maintain in a national security freedom of trade, promote democracy, we won't ever have to go through something like what we went through in the first half of the last century. world war i, world war ii, the advent of the nuclear threat. and in the long run while it is in direct, that brings tremendous benefits to the american people and to the rest of the world. it's not a zero-sum game. it's not that we benefit like rome benefited at the expense of many of the people on the periphery. everybody benefits together. the system is stable and we're able to deal with the threats to it. what we're doing in the middle
east is dealing with one of the threats to the system that's been in place for the last 60 years. >> a sickly we get as a country, and our general fund, if you will, it's no return at all on the investment we're making. that will be turned over to the private sector? >> as i said, senator, as a nation we benefit tremendously from international security and not having to spend 15 to 20% of our gdp on the military. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have other questions. i will submit. >> senator blumenthal. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and i want to join in thanking both of you and the men and women who serve with you for your service and safer particularly to you, general austin, many of your soldiers and others who serve in our military are from connecticut, and have been to iraq not just once but twice,
and some three times into his of service that i would guess that very rarely in our countries history have so many individuals born so much of the burden, so few of the total number of people who live in this country, our citizens, born so much of the burden militarily for this country. and to you, ambassador, my thanks on behalf of connecticut and our country to the members of the foreign service who are in, not only in iraq but other dangerous places in the world, we have only today to look at today's headlines to see how dangerous those places are two civilians as well as military. and i want to focus my questions on an area that hasn't been covered, and perhaps would seem to be outside this committee's jurisdiction. but i think are very relevant to the transition you've been describing.
the economic progress of iraq, which in the long run, maybe even in the short run, will make possible its funding for the continued protection of its own citizens. and perhaps, ambassador, if you could give us your analysis of the progress that has been made economically, the prognosis for iraq, making further progress and thereby funding some of the activities we have been described today. >> certainly, senator. very briefly, iraq has a population of about in country 27, 28 million people. it has per capita income of roughly $3000 per person. this puts it on roughly the level of the republic of congo, so it is a very, very poor country today. this is the result of what is naturally a rich country, not just in all but agriculture,
educated population. this is a result of just horrific leadership by saddam hussein and some of his predecessors over decades and repeated wars and internal turmoil. the bulk of the economy over two-thirds is in the oil extraction. right now they are improving things through the help of international oil companies that were brought in about a year and a half ago that are doing well, and we anticipate that oil production totally will be up perhaps as high as 2.6, to 2.6, to put 8 million barrels. that's roughly equivalent to a little bit more than kuwait or the uae, and a little less than iran or by the end of the year with exports well over 2 million barrels a day. that's their main foreign exchange earner. the non-our economy is growing at a rate of about six to 8%.
the problem, senator, is, and thus over time that will begin to deal with the unemployment problem, but right now with 18% unemployed which is very high and obvious he has a security dimension as well because next to unemployment there is an even higher level of underemployment, particularly of young men that is very worrisome to us and it's one of the targets of one of the programs were done through usaid, through the military and cerp program as such. in terms of oil as i said, the iraqis have had considerable success with the international oil companies, and increasing up to 10% of the output of these fields. and this could go up as high as six to 8 million barrels a day, some people see even higher, putting it almost in the range of saudi arabia. however, there are major, major breaks on such developments. first of all as the
infrastructure, the fact that they will be slowed down in terms of continuing to export their additional production because they have to repair the offshore terminals. that won't be complete to the end of this year at best. they wouldn't have before them major improvements to the internal storage tank and pipeline infrastructure that gets the oil from the fields to the terminals. they will have to repair the northern pipeline that goes to turkey if they want to get that over 700,000 barrels and potential quite about that. so that will take them an awful lot of their oil earnings will have to be put back into repairing the infrastructure in order to run the pump, if you will. likewise, the oil companies on cost contracts basically and they're starting to recover their costs. so much of the increase production profits, if you will, going to go to covering the cost of the oil companies rather than
improving the iraqi budget. so it's going to be a number of years before we see a significant impact on the iraqi budget of these increases. nonetheless, the very economic activity associate with that, and the general slow improvement in the economy augurs well for the next five years if we can get over the remaining security and economic problems. >> at what point do you envision that the iraqis themselves would take over a greater share of funding their own security? >> they are right now funding a vast majority of their security. $8 billion the year, our program is about $1.5 billion. i think was asked for in the program, and we have about $1 million police training program. so right now it is 2.5 million plus the cost of u.s. military. but within a few years our programs will basically terminate and they will be on their own and we think they're in a position where they can
continue at that level. >> and what is the current level of security the iraqi oil fields and the production and output facilities? >> the security of them is provided both by iraqi forces, again, the outer perimeter. it is provided, the inner perimeter such as security companies themselves. they just like us hire private security contractors to do the job. there are many of them operating in the private sector. but also there's over watch by general austin's people in the south to coordinate closely with the oil companies and with the iraqi security forces in terms of intelligence sharing and a predicate of those of the iraqi forces. you basically have three separate levels of security. >> thank you very much. and again, my thanks to both of you for your service to the country. thank you. >> thank you, senator blumenthal. it will have a round two for those of you who want to ask questions. i just have a few.
general austin, you were reluctant to speculate as to what you recommendation would be if they were a request from the iraqi government for any military support beyond the december date. my question is the following, it relates to that question, but it's a question which is asking your personal and professional military view, from a military perspective as to whether or not you agree with the current policy of the administration to remove all u.s. military forces from iraq by the end of this year? >> senator, i -- the agreement that i think that we are referring to is between our
country and the government of iraq, and that agreement says that unless i request is placed, is made by the iraqis to extend the agreement, or a request for assistance is made, then our mandate is to reposition, read posture of forces. and so we're on track to do that. now, i think certainly if the iraqis decided that they want to -- they need further assistance and a request is made to our government, and i think, secretary gates has been clear, he said that certainly we would consider that. that that policy is in the domain of our leadership. i really would not like to speculate. >> i'm not asking you to speculate as to what would happen if there's a request. i am asking for your personal,
professional military view on whether or not you believe that we have the correct policy now, which is to remove all of our troops, combat troops, from iraq by the end of this year. >> i think -- >> that is a question which you are obligated to answer under the commitment that you have made to this committee and under our rules. >> right. thank you, senator. as i said earlier, id believe that ambassador jeffrey and his team can provide adequate security for their elements that they will have remaining. i do believe also that it can be provided better with the help of u.s. forces. i also believe that, as i stated
earlier, that the iraqi security forces will have gaps in their capabilities to defend themselves in the future. and so, certainly if they request, and our government agrees to provide assistance, then i think, than serving i think that is absolutely the right thing to do. >> you say is always true our troops can provide better security, and i think as a military man that is understandable. but that's not my question, whether we can provide better security than contractors can provide. my question is, what is your personal and professional military view as to whether or not we, our policy is correct, to remove all of our forces as provided for in that agreement by the end of this year? if you disagree with that policy, you better say so right
now. >> my personal opinion is, again, i think the iraqis will require further assistance. >> military combat assistance on the ground after the end of this year? >> assistance to develop their capabilities. >> that could be training, that could be equipment? >> that would be training, equipment. and, of course, -- >> i'm not asking you beyond that. >> i am asking you whether or not our decision, president bush's decision to implemented by agreement to remove all of our ground forces by the end of this year is the right decision for us to make. or do you believe it's wrong and we should offer to get our troops whether or not we get a request? that we need to keep our troops there whether or not we get a request. >> i think we should only offer to provide assistance if requested by the iraqi -- by
iraqi government, senator. >> and do you know what that recommendation would be right now the? >> it would be based upon the things that they requested, assistance for, or with. if that's training other counterterrorist forces, if that's too combined arms training come if that's training or assistance with logistical support, whatever it is, it would be my responsibility to look at what's being asked for and what we agree to do. and then provide an assessment to my leadership on what that would require in terms of forces. >> yeah, i'm going to ask that question again for the record because i think it's incumbent upon you to give us an answer to the question that i asked. and i will ask you for your, of you for the record, and you can decide whether or not to respond to that question that i ask you.
okay? >> yes, sir spirit there's another unresolved issue, which is the future of the group that is at camp ashraf, which is an iranian dissident group. and ambassador, i want to know whether or not you believe that the government of iraq has the obligation to provide adequate protection for these people, and whether or not they are doing it and whether you are confident if they are providing adequate protection that they will continue to do so after december the? >> first of all, mr. chairman, they do have obligations both under international law and any specific written agreement with us from 2008 to both provide adequate humanitarian protection and care of these people, and not to force them to go to a country where they could legitimately expect to be
mistreated. the iraqis generally are providing adequate security and protection for these people. we have had a number of unfortunate incidences. we are on this. the united nations, and we go up there every week. we are in constant contact with the iraqis. and we talked to them about this all the time. >> how confident are you that they're going to provide protection after december's? >> i absolutely think that they will continue to provide -- i mean, there are no u.s. forces there, senator, and i don't think whether we are present or after we're gone that will change their position. the international community has certain basic expectations of all minutes of the international community, and one of them is to not mistreat people who are in these conditions. >> can you give us a confidence level?
are you very confident that he'll provide protection? >> i am confident on the scale of not confident to very confident. i am confident. spent on a scale of -- >> as i said, confident would be one level below very confident. >> gadget. on the question of violence against religious minorities, as you know, we met with leaders of the iraqi christian community. they are very concerned. you two are very concerned it will -- i believe as well. give us your assessment of the situation, but also whether or not iraqis are training units that are comprised of these religious minorities who can be deployed to the area's where they come from, and what their respective communities reside in order to provide security. can you give us an answer to both of those questions?
>> yes, sir. i would take the last question first. the prime minister has directed that 500 iraqi christians be hired and incorporated into the mo i, minister of interior, to provide additional assistance in protecting the christian neighborhoods your spirit and villages and communities? >> that's right, senator. and so these 500 will be really employed across the country from moles will and into and other places. and that hiring process is taking place. initially there was some applicants that were above the age limit, and the prime minister has come back and offered an age where for those applicants, but we expect to see
them on board in about a week or so. >> ambassador? >> senator, on my list of things that make me optimistic, i would say that the reaction across the board in iraq to the attack on the church on the 31st of october is one of those things that make me feel best about the future of iraq in terms of an inclusive society that can deal with violence, can deal with diversity. everybody across the board has been magnificent, and outreach. they have followed that up with concrete actions. we have seen, unfortunately, a number of major attacks, particularly by al qaeda since that time, but no major attack by al qaeda has been conducted successfully on a christian facility. and al qaeda would like to do more, that their christian facilities are getting a lot of protection. but it's also the sincerity and
depth of the reaction of people from all religious groups in iraq to this. the christians really are considered a part of the community by all of the other communities in iraq. and that's a good model for people in other places. >> well, i hope that -- there may be good intent they're also having to deal with some people there who are very ill intent, malicious intent and you have to put resources in their to implement their intent to carry out what you say is their beliefs, that there is a history there of tolerance and participation by the christian community, that the leadership you believe of iraq wants to protect. and they need to put resources in order to carry out that intent, because of a threat that existed there. we will stand adjourned.
>> because of the extraordinary use of the filibuster, the ability of our government to legislate act to address the critical problems is severely jeopardized. isn't to that senator byrd says forceful confrontation to the threat of a filibuster is undoubtedly the antidote to the malady? and senator byrd did not want us can't bring. >> the filibuster remains in tact but there are a few new rules in the senate. find out what they are and watch the debate with c-span congressional chronicles with timelines and transcripts of every house and senate session, congressional chronicle at
c-span.org/congress. >> and the u.s. senate gavels in momentarily to wrap up their work week. they spent much of the work working on the faa reauthorization bill amendments penny but they were lucky to those and votes on those until early next week. they did pass yesterday an amendment that would make it a crime to point lasers that airplanes. general speeches today. morning business as the senate comes in live on c-span2. the chaplain: let us pray. almighty god, strengthen the desire of our senators to serve you. may they join you in bringing peace, justice, and order to our nation and world. confirm the wisdom of their
service in the joy they receive from doing your will. lord, fill them with your spirit so that they can discover creative ways to meet the challenges of our time. give them courage to change their minds when it is needed in order to travel along a more productive path. let integrity be the hallmark of their characters. we pray in you your holy name, . the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states
of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., february 4, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable mark begich, a senator from the state of alaska, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following leader remarks, the senate will proceed to a period of morning business much senators permitted to allowed to speak up to 10 minutes each this morning. we made significant progress on the f.a.a. authorization bill this week and we'll make more progress next week. the finance committee's going to report out a bill on --
amendment legislation on tuesday, funding for this most important piece of legislation. we hope to complete action on this bill early in the week of the 14th. today i will continue to work with the republican leader on an agreement to vote on monday on the confirmation of several executive nominations. there will be no roll call votes during today's session of the senate. mr. president, there are three bills at the desk due for a second reading. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the bills en bloc. the clerk: s. 289, a bill to extend expiring provisions of the u.s.a. patriot improvement and reauthorization act of 2005 and so forth and for other purposes. s. 290, a bill to extend the sunset of certain provisions of the u.s.a. patriot act and for other purposes. s. 291, a bill to repeal the sunset provisions in the u.s.a. patriot improvement and reauthorization act of 2005 and so forth.
mr. reid: mr. president, i would object to any further proceedings with respect to each of these three bills. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bills will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: note the b absence ofa quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: c-span2.
perspective on egypt. as you sit and watch this water your concerns for u.s. interests in that region? >> actually, egypt has been a linchpin in our policy toward israel. that is my major concern. of course, we do not want to see what happened in iran three decades ago happened in egypt. it is clear to me that president mubarak is on his way out. the question is who is going to replace him. this may happen today. it would be a member of the military, someone who is in charge of this vast military establishment that conols 40% of the gross domestic product of
egypt. in that case, i think it would be a stabilizing transition period to the extent there is a group that takes over including the islamic brotherhood, then we have real trouble. and i think we have yet to see what is going to happen there. but i dknow this. egypt is right next door to israel. they signed the camp david accords back in 1978. since that time, they have en a reliable partner in helping us make the case that israel has the right to exist. and the entire arab world should not be at war with israel. that has been an important stabilizing factor in the region. host: this is in the new york times this morning --
is it appropriate or a missed opportunity? guest: for gop candidates? i think its to their credit that they have not played politics with this. this is a time for extreme prudence and caution. we have one president at a time and one secretary of state at a time. congress has an opportunity to weigh in. we certainly have the power of the person with this $1.5 billion in aid that has gone to egypt year after year since camp david. but most of it comes back to the united states in the form of military manufacturing. but the president and his administration are the principal agencies that conduct foreign policy. frankly, as a matter of what is
doing in the national interest, it is probably best not to inject presidential politics in this. host: the senate resolution on the transition of power -- what good does that do? guest: i wonder myself. there was very little debate as people who watch closely know. basically, the chairman of the foreign relations comttee and senator john mccain put it to get their -- put it together and basically got it blessed by their leadership. i daresay most members did not even have a chance to read it in its entirety. i think it expresses the general sense on capitol hill that we realize a transition is on its way and it needs to be done quickly and in an orderly
fashion. and the people of egypt are entitled to a democratically elected government. basically, it struck the general principles but in terms of making news or taking a position, i think the significant part of was that the transition should beg almost immediately and not wait until the end of president mubak's term. i think you could say that. host: the center will be with us for a half hour. -- the senator will be with us for a half-hour. he is ready to take your calls. let me move to the budget. the house is taking the lead as it does on budget issues.
yesterday, the new budget chairman's first line of budget cutting. depending upon perhaps the editorial point of view of the paper, that had lined varied very differently about whether this is an achievement to find savings or whether or not it meets the promises made it -- here we are, during the election campaign. here is the new york times -- and, in front of the wall street journal -- i want to talk to you about the sentiment among republicans on capitol hill in both chamber. guest: i think the story there is that it is a new direction whether it is an inadequate for step or not can be debatable. the significant thing is that this is a new day and we are not
talking about new stimulus spending projects. new appropriations to be sent to states to help them out of their financial hardships. this is a new budget chairman, and theeplican minority in the senate feel this way also, that our searching for ways to cut the budget and expenditures. it is the direction that is an about face. the new direction is the bigger story there. host: will they find enough like-minded democrats? guest: i hope so. we will see. that is why we have votes. i think repealing the obama health care bill would be a long-term savings. that is why we had a vote yesterday or earlier this week.
it would take in 60 votes. it would have been an amendment, a rather strange amendment to the reauthorization bill. it was an opening salvo. we will be seeing if we can take our 47 republicans in the senate a get four or five democrats to move us in the direction of actually cutting the budget. the first task is going to be on the continuing resolution, which is next month. i think it says a lot that this new majority in the house of representatives is not simply saying for the rest of this fiscal year we are simply going to ratify the appropriation levels that we have already had. basically, what we are saying is no, even this, the continuation
of the status quo is not acceptable. we are going to cut on that level. it is difficult to do as chairman ryan probably demonstrated yesterday, but i think the cuts e going to come. in many respects, it is not going to be a lot of fun. we have to look at the bigger picture, and that is with a $14 trillion debt. and our country really risks economic ruin. things have gone so far out of hand,e are going to have to do some painful and difficult things and make some adult decisions. host: let's get to our calls, beginning wit canto ohio. you aren align with the senator. caller: thank you for taking my
call. senator, i have a comment and a question for you. by all accounts, this movement in egypt was started by anonymous students using modern electronic devices -- facebook, what ever. i think tha obama's speech in june 2009 at cairo university steered the students up. i also think that every american media outlet -- the journalists over there, i believe the israelis called it professional and narcissism. i include you a part of the government. what if president mubarak called
for obama to step down because he has a lot of opposition in this country? guest: the ller was not very good on the sound, but i think he has a point. internationally, people look to the united states for broad principles, and we certainly ought to be standing for freedom and democracy at the same time we are approaching -- at the same te we are promoting stability what would we care in the united states if foreign head of state suggested how we handd our domestic policy? i think we have to be careful in that respect and how we are seen as dictating what people in a sovereign country should do. we have to be cautious of how that is received by the various factions over there.
the caller makes a good point. it was " this is bonnie who is a republican. host: this is bonnie who is a republican. caller: at the news media is feedg the fire over there. how can our governments think they have a right to tell other countries to put in power? our government is taking away more and more of our powers, like health care, what we have to eat, what kind of cars. so we are no better than they are, yet we want to tell them what they want to do. what do you think of that? guest: that is a follow up point. i guess we have a point of bipartisanship between our first twoallers. of course, the caller has some very real concerns about domestic policies and they are
well taken. i think i will let it go at that. it is a fact that the united states is a leader on the world stage. to a great extent, they look to us. it is also a fact that the american taxpayers, as a way of being a part of a process to move towards middle east peace, the american taxpayers have paid $1.5 billion a year or the equivalent for quite some time. so, we do have interest over there. i think it is important that we express our opinions. oftentimes, the united states has been able to move in and preside over very difficult issues and provide a forum for
getting them straightened out. i hope that is what we are doing rather than sending the signal that we know what is best for local governments. host: this is robert, an independent. caller: good morning. i see a lot of parallels with this stuff over in egypt and ople here in this country. a lot of people over here -- i think it is going back to when george bush was put into office not by the majority of people because they voted for -- [unintelligible] i think a lot of people in this country feel lik-- use a few minutes ago that the administrati has to deal with this.
since the first of the year, it look like the republican should be involved with this. they just want to drop it on the democrats now. i would think that you would be a little more sympathetic for everybody in the country instead of just republicans and democrats. thank you. guest: we do have a vested interest over there. we have a strong ally in israel. we would like to see israel have an opportunity to survive and have their own country over there and live in a peaceful middle east. it is -- and again, we have spent our own tax payer dollars to try to accomplish that. the point i was making about epublicans' sort of not
politicizing this issue is that it is a very, very volatile oil situation -- a volatile situation. extreme prudence should be used. for that rean, i would think that observersnd american voters such as you would be pleased that presidential candidates are not coming in and making a political issue out of this. host: th the front page in "usa today," -- i put this on the table not so much to respond to this, but just to talk about your goals
and what your attitude is with the concerned about the budget and what you want to do for mandatary service people and their families. what is the right program for people making sacrifices? guest: let me clarify. i am continuing on the armed services committee. i have had an extra duty with foreign relations for the last two years, but i am continuing. i am also a member of the veterans affairs committee. we are very concerned about our veterans. actually, i had a golstar mom in my office yesterday. her son had been killed in combat in iraq. basically, she did not come there with an agenda with the cold start mothers' organization, but she did want to communicate to me that as we
make budget cuts we do not need to disadvantage our troops and their families. i think that is a legitimate concern. i think everything need toe on the table. there are expenditures in the pentagon, perha that are not directly related to what we are doing in iraq and in afghanistan and not directly related to taking care of our troops and their families. i think we can make cuts there but we have to be careful. i have not seen that article about foreclosures. i would have to say that it is disturbing to hear that. perhaps, there is a solution, but overall, it may be a function of the housing market and the fact that potential buyers cannot get credit and
come in and buy the homes that military people are offerg for sale. we will need to look further into the details, but it is a disturbing headline. host: as you look for ways to trim the budget, -- >guest: that is the reason i am encouraged by the determination to have a legitimate oversight. oftentimes, we are so busy talking about legislation being offered and working out the details of a new bill or a new resolution or a new appropriation that we fail to take the time to exercise our role as a function of how our money is being spent alrdy, all programs are working already. so, of course, a real
aggressive republican congressman from california has been made the chairman of the oversight committee in the house of rresentatives. i know the speaker has said this is not going to be "gotcha" investigations, putting people on the spot, but it is going to be oversight in to help our programs are working. i think every program including veterans health and all the various functions of the pentagon and including entitlement programs should be the subject of various thorough oversight, and think the american people may be pleased when we are able to weed out some programs that are not getting the results that we hoped for. host: this is greg who is a democrat. caller: good morning.
i have spent some time in egypt. one thing that we have to be aware of is you have an elite political class in egypt that request unanimous consent that a quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each. a senator: thank you, mr. president. i would like to speak this morning in support of amendment 32. lovmr. hoeven: this amendment introduces new language into the federal aviation administration authorization bill. it is offered by senator ensign, senator conrad, and myself. it calls for the f.a.a. to develop a process to integrate unmanned aerial systems,
unmanned aerial vehicles and remotely piloted aircraft into the national airspace system. we've all seen on television and read in the media about the remarkable role that unmanned aerial vehicles and remotely piloted aircraft are playing overseas in the security of our nation in the war on terror. they achieved military objectives without putting our men and women in uniform in harm's way. unmanned aerial systems will continue to play that vital role in our nation's security abroad, but they're also poised to play a big role here at home in other important areas as well. areas likennancing our ability to patrol our borders and secure vital infrastructure, fight crime, detect wildfires, provide valuable crop data for our farmers and respond to
emergencies like floods and fires. i can give you a practical and personal example of their value. two years ago when my home state, along with our neighbor to the east, minnesota, was battling flooding in the red river valley and many of you throughout the country saw this on television. predator aircraft are on loan from customs and border patrol gave us realtime data on ice jams and overland flooding and made a difference in helping us to fight those floods and protect our citizens. that vital information enabled both states to deploy resources in a timely and efficient manner and made a real difference for the people of north dakota and minnesota and throughout the region. just a few years ago that would have been the stuff of science fiction, a vision of the future. but today it's reality and we can do much, much more.
in fact, unmanned aerial systems are about just that, they're about the future of aviation technology in america and i'm proud to say this our state of north dakota is playing an important role in that endeavor. the grand forks air force base in northeastern north dakota is already home to predator b aircraft that fly missions for customs an border protection and will soon be home to the global hawk as well. right now overseas predator missions are operated by our north dakota air guard in fargo, north dakota. the grand forks air force base is also partnered with the state's unmanned aircraft system center of excellence an u.n.d., the university of north dakota school of aerospace. these programs provide access to state of the art training and technologies for the base. our center of excellence --
center of excellence operates up to nine unmanned aircraft and is in the process of installing u.a.s. simulators and training programs to prepare a generation of young pilots for this rapidly growing field. the program is designed to combine the visionary thinking of researchers with the practical energy of entrepreneurs and businesses. in fact, the commercial applications of unmanned aircraft in the -- and the opportunities for america's aviation industry are enormous. u.a.b. spending will more than double over the next decade from current worldwide u.a.v. expenditures of $4.9 billion annually to $11.5 billion annually. totaling just over $80 billion for the next 10 years. according to the 2010 market study. here and abroad our nation has ledded way in this breakthrough technology. -- led the way in this breakthrough technology.
but we need to do more. we need to seize the opportunity and this amendment provides our opportunity to not only maintain, but build on that leadership position. this amendment will authorize the f.a.a. to setup pilot projects in the united states. it will develop a plan for these aircraft to fly safely either concurrently or in layered air zones in our nation's skies. we need them to develop air traffic requirements as well as certification and flight standards for unmanned aerial systems to fly in the national airspace. we're already flying u.a.v.'s in airspace all over the world. now we need to open the skies for them right here at home to make our nation more secure, our community safer, our economy more dynamic and create jobs and opportunity throughout our country. if we -- if we don't, you can be sure that other nations will.
the goal is to make u.a.v.'s with all of their remarkable capabilities a fully functioning, fully empowered component of america's aviation system. mr. president, american industry and ingenuity can continue to lead the way. they can continue to lead the way forward in the world of aviation, but we must provide the environment that enables our aviation industry to do it right here at home. this amendment will help us do just that. i strongly urge support for this amendment. thank you. at this point, mr. president, i will yield the floor and i also suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
continues.gton journal" host: we welcome back to the table at the chairman of the senate energy committee, senator jeff bingaman. how real are those concerns? guest: we had a hearing yesterday and several eerts talking about it. the consensus was there is no immediate threat to oil transiton in each iegypt or
in egypt. i think of the concerns are understandable. anytime there is a major geopolitical problem, you see fluctuations in the price of oil. i do not think we are going to see a disruption in oil in that part of the world. host: even before the crisis, weak or hearing stories about we could be seeing $4 a gallon gas prices. what is causing that? guest: the consensus is tha it is primarily the rapid increase in purchases and in demand from emerging countries primarily. and there is not a great deal of increase of demand in the midst its or from europe, china, india, these countries continue to grow and buy more automobiles. the demand for oil keeps going
up in those countries. host: we heard the president speak about renewable energy in the state of the union address. you were asked to come meet with him this week about energy policy. what can you tell us about that meeting? guest: we talk about some of the issues he discussed in his state of the union speech. he talked about we should have a goal of producing at least 80% of electricity that we consume here in the country from renewable sources and from other clean sources. he specified nuclear power, clean coal, and natural gas. he talked about thaand how we need to do a lot of consultation to see if we can come up with an agreement of how that might be done or what legislation would be inappropriate to try to implement that.
we talked about his other goal which he talked about in his speech of having 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. of course, that is an ambitious goal. i think he recognized that and everybody ee does as well. it is certainly a worthy goal and one that i am anxious to try to find ways to help us achieve. host: as the point person for energy policy, what do you want to, with this debate with? guest: i am not sure what is achievable yet. we have not had enough time to consult. what i would like to see us do is get a bipartisan consensus on legislation in each of these various are. we can do much more in this country on energy efficiency. that is also efficiency in buildings. the president spoke about that
yesterday in his trip to pennsylvania about his desire to see us do more, in courage building efficiency. appliances, equipment, manufacturing, and all those areas i think most experts say we are not near as efficient in our use of energy as for example the japanese a and ma of our europeanllies. there is a lot that can be done there. there is a law that can be done the production side. we have to be sure that the proper regulations are in place so we do not have another oil spill down in the gulf of mexico. we still need to pass legislation to implement some of the recommendations. host: on nuclear power, how do you address concerns about storage and proliferation? guest: i think the record of
safe in nuclear power plants in this country is pretty good and for several decades. we obviously need to keep a focus on that. i think we have a good record there. proliferation issues, we need to be continued to be worried about. we have to be worried that it is not become much more widespread in these countries that are particularly volatile and hostile to us. i thinkhe nuclear non- proliferation treaty has been our best defense in that regard. we need to t to keep that alive. the president has committed to continue to do what we have talked about doing as part of that treaty, which is to keep bringing down the u.s. arsenal with nuclear weapons. host: [unintelligible]
guest: the president appointed a blue-ribbon commission on that to try to come up with a plan since the administration does not support with going ahead with yaca mountain. they have tried to withdraw the application to do that. so, i think we do need good experts, scientific advice, as to what is a good plan b. should we look for another permanent repository? if so, where should it be? should we plan on interim storage for a long period of time in some perhaps regional location? what is the right answer? i think we do not have the answer yet. i hope the blue ribbon commission will give us some recommendations. host: i am wondering how you
feel about ethanol policy, given some of the facts we have learned about what it is doing overall to add to the carbon issues with transportation, food price effects. are you supportive of an ethanol policy? guest: m.i.a. supported to begin to reduce the amount of subsidy provided to ethanol. we tried in this last lame-duck session -- we try to get an agreement to go ahead and reduce the amount of that subsidy varies significantly, i think about 20% reduction, and then phase it further down in the coming yea. i think that is the right way to go. i do not think we can justify maintaining the current 45 cents per gallon subsidy that we
provide to ethanol. we also of course need to keep every effort going to develop this biofuel where we are not dependent upon corn as the feedstock for the biofuel that we are using. host: what are you driving these days? guest: i am driving a toyota pre yes. i have been really glad to not have to pay so much for gasoline. host: eagle river, wisconsin, ron is a democrat. caller: good morning. when it is congress going to be honest with the american people? you meioned clean coal. clean coal is a lie. nuclear is way too expenve and takes way to long to develop.
oil is in charge of washington until the last drop is gone, sir. why are we not developing biodiesel fuel in this country? it can be made from any kind of vegetable oil or even any kind of hemp seed oil. it is weigh less corrosive than ethanol. i have a 2007 diesel fuel truck. as i get 23.8 on the highway. that is better than anyasoline truck. host: thank-you, ron. guest: i agree that we need to promote the development of zero biodiesel fuel. i agree with some of the other points about the high price of
building a new nuclear power plant. there is no question that it is extremely expensive these days. i think we need to get to a point where utilities can choose between various, clean forms of energy on the basis of economics. that is what i think we would try to. on clean coal, i think there is the technology to go ahead and do carbon captured storage, to take the carbon that comes from al and sequester it underground. that has not been proven at scale. we have not been able to demonstrate that would be the solution to our coal plants, but i think there is such a thing as clean coal. at least it has been
demonstrated that it can be done in some cases. whether we can do it more broadly, that is what we are trying to determine. host: ap bulletin -- would you like to react? guest: 36,000 is a disappointing number. obviously, the expectations that i heard was that it would be substantially more than 100,000 jobs, private sector jobs, that people would expect would of been created in january. so that is a disappointment. the other figure, the unemployment figure -- it is always nice to see unemployment coming down, but until we get more explanation of how exactly that figure was arrived at,
sometimes that reflects more how many people quit looking for work than it does actual number of folks getting a job. host: what is the situation with unemployment in new mexico? guest: we are modestly better than the country as a whole. i think the unemployment in our state is about 8.5% host: why are you doing better? guest: we have a lot of public- sector employment in new mexico. we have four military bases. we have a couple of large energy laboratories. we have a lot of folks whose jobs are public sector. therefore, as the a economy reduces -- as the economy reduces, their jobs are more
stable. host: i am wondering where you see the compromise between republicans and democrats especially in the senate over the need for to cut? guest: i am not sure where the compromise will end up being. i think my own position would be that we should heed the advice that chairman ben bernanke has been giving us, and that is we need to put in place a long-term plan with some teeth in it to begin to bring down the deficit, both by spending reductions and revenue increases. we should not be doing that immediately. we should not be slamming on the press with this economy right now. i think these jobs figures would reinforce that perspective. we need to create over 100,000
jobs each month in this country in oer to meet the folks that are coming into the workforce for the first time, to meet the needs for jobs for those folks. if we are only creating 36,000, obviously, the economy is still anemic. we need to be sure we do not make it more anemic by cutting back on spending dramatically and precipitously. host: of the next call is from old town, maryland. philip is a republican. good morning. caller: i wanted to remind the senator that almost every time -- i could not get on at 8:30. almost every time that jobs and so forth is brought up, we talk about social security, having to cut that, social security and
medicare. since 1935 when social security was first instituted, the congress of the united states has borrowed no less than $9 trillion from that fund. i would like to suggest that they pay it back as needed to keep social security and medicare secure, not cut it in any way, shape, or form. they said they were borrowing money. they did never -- they nev said they were stealing money. please consider this. guest: i think the caller makes a good point. social security is not contributing to the deficit at this point. we are using revenue from social security, being paid into social security, to meet other needs of the government. i think his point is well taken, that in order to get social
security on a footing where it can be projected to be solvent for 75 years, which think the administration would like to see, and many experts would like to see, i think some adjustments could be made. that does not mean you have to change benefits or reduce benefits. host: a tweet asks -- i do not think u.s. energy policy gets into the question of where the technology that we are using to produce and use energy is coming from. i think, myself, as a matter of national economic policy, we ought to try to promote and give preference to u.s. manufacturing of these products. there is a very serious threat
that we have, especially as we are talking more and more about how we have to cut back onhis and that, there is a real threat that the chinese are investing so much in this area of developing clean eney technologies, whether it is wind turbines, photovoltaic cells as we begin to use those technologies, we will find the only ones available or the foren-manufactured products. host: our guest sits on the finance committee, the house committee, and joint economic committee. what is your major goal for this year? guest: since i do chair the energy committee, i would say a major goal would be to try to get an energy bill out of our
committee, either a large comprehensive energy bill that deals with the various energy challenges we have over a series of bills that deals with those challenges. and then try to get that passed on the senate floor. i think that would be an accomplishment. we have to do it in a way that we can persuade the house that this is something they should agree on. host: this weekend, we will begin recognitions of ronald 100th anniversary of his birth. we will be covering some of the defense. usa today has a list of them occurring across the country. what do you think of the reagan legacy is? guest: well, i am sure i am out
of sync with your viewers on this. and i remember when i arrived in washington in january 1983, we were beginning to run significant deficits at that time. i think the remainder of president reagan's term continued us on that path. i think -- of course, it was a very much anti-government at the time. that was the message, that government was the problem, not the solution. host: is that a different message from fenty party this year? guest: no, i think it is -- is that a different message from the tea party this year? guest: had the same time government was being denounced,
deficits were going up and spending was growing ugoing up. i do not tnk we came out of that piod in good fiscal shape. unfortunately, we are now very much back in the sense that we have enormous deficits now and we have to come to grips with it. host: a viewer wtes in -- guest: the general sentiment during the reagan administration, there was not a very enlightened energy policy. i do not think those numbers are
exactly right. we asked that question, what is the dependent -- what percentage of our oil comes from overseas today? it was, i think, 50%. i think 55%, in that range. another interesting point that came out yesterday, the high water mark as far as a percentage of oil that comes from overseas was reached in 2005 according to these experts. we are now in a period where that is declining and we hope it will continue to decline. host: one of the debates i heard from one of the witnesses is that it is a global marketplace for all other things. we bring sweaters from china and alike. these witnesses made the point that independence and should not necessarily be a goal. what is your view about the
independence question? guest: my own view is we do not need to have total independence but we need to dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign oil for national security reasons. oil is not like sweaters in the sense that oil has a dramatic impact on the economy overall. the price of oil goes up, we are dependent upon foreign oil. there are disruptions in the supply of oil -- all that can have a devastating effect on our economy. we have seen that many times. i hope we do not see it again. host: clinton, missouri, larry is an independent. color " good morning. sir, i have two questions for you -- caller: good morning. how can the democratic people in
healthgress and in thvote in care, which would destroy the united states? they are already in trouble. you are going to give them some more. and my second comment is we need to get a cap and trade put to bed, take it out of our lives. also, you cannot solve the problems by taxing them. if you can answer those two questions realistically, you tell me how you can consciously, both for a health-care bill that is going to destroy every state in the united states, every state -- not just one, but all.
what you are doing is putting the money back to the straits -- back to the states who is already in trouble by putting this out bridges health care bill in our laps. i am 72 years old and have always paid for my health care. i will continue to do so. when you put strings on us, you are asking for trouble. that is all i have to say. gues i disagree with a caller on the issue of health care bill. i think the health care bill is a major step forward for the country and for the american people. as far as the bird and it puts on states, -- as far as the bird in it puts on states, i do not see a major burden. as it becomes a fully phased in, in my state of new mexico, i
think the federalovernment is going to pick up any additional costs on medicaid 100%. for several years, and then that will be reduced to 94% by so, i don't think it is an undue andship on the state's there is an awful lot of improvements in health care a and heal care delivery system that would result. on cap and trade, there is no discussion i have heard here in congress about trying to pass cap and trade legislation. that was a subject that was tried in the last congress. i don't know of any effort in the house of representatives or the senate to pass cap and trade legislation. host: saw lake city, utah. sandy, democrats' line. caller: here in utah we have
more natural gas than oil in the middle east but i don't see any rush to create pipelines for the natural gas. there is also colorado, wyoming, neat -- new york, and other states. if you think that's egypt is an isolated incident, that is only the beginning. there will be several disruptions to oil. we need the -- -- emergency funds to create the pipelines but think of all of the jobs there are. until we get the pipelines, something needs to be done about the speculation on walstreet driving the food prices up and the oil prices up. tunisia, algera, jordan, egypt all began with a high prices of food. guest: first, on the issue of natural gas, i agree we've got
enormous supply of natural gas in this country. one of the great things we have going for us as far as energy resources -- unfortunately the price of natural gas is now very low. it is not on fortunate for consumers but unfortunate in terms of trying to encourage additional production of natural gas. i think producers of natul gas or folks interested in building pipelines look at the price of natural gas and say it does not make sense for us to do this at this point. we need to find ways to use natural gas as a substitute for oil, in transportation, and i think we are trying to do that with truck fleets of the various kinds. there is also a push for more e of natural gas for electricity generation, which i
think makes all the sense of the world, particularly economic sense for utilities these days. host: michigan is our next caller. this is ellen, republan. you are on the air. caller: thank you. just wanted to make the comment about the cap and trade. it does not get -- need to get past any more because the epa has gone around making all the rules which need -- leads me to e other comments, the rolling blackouts in texas. epa is coming in and shutting down energy power. but yet and they have the energy to keep the super bowl going. what will you tell us about the free-trade, where energy plants are being shut down here and why china is able to come in here and start them up. china is starting power plants up, two a week, while we are
being closed down two a week or five a week. can you answer that, plee? j., -- guest: i don't know of us to shut down power plant's two a week. i know the epa has regulations that they are developing which will result in the retirement and shutting down of some of the old power plants in this country that have the worst conditions, greenhouse gas emissions, and other pollutants that result from them. that is over a period of quite a few years. i am also not aware of any action the epa has taken that has pointed to a possible cause or the rolling blackouts that she referred to in texas. i think that has much more too with the weather then it does
with the epa. host: richmond, virginia. hank is a democrat. caller: good morning. how are you? good. a question that sort of father meet. i worked for some years as an aircraft mechanic and inspector and back in world war ii, they came up with a synthetic oil. i did not know why we do not use that in automobiles more? we use it in some cars now, but i understand it only takes one filter to change the whole system over. why don't we mandate all cars manufactured or shipped in this country must use synthetic oil? it would save tremendous amount of money and no reason why we can't or shouldn't use it? if aircraft use it, automobiles. it would also help with emissions. guest: i am not sure i could be totally responsive. my understanding is syn fuels generally, oils and synthetic
fuels of many kds, it is still expensive to produce tho so we do not have an ample supply of any of that. it is probably not economic to develop one. we do think we have had a push to have all cars coming into the market, all cars and trucks coming into the market, being flex fuel, meaning they could use biofuels or regular gasoline. that is a go thing to do and it can be done relatively cheaply. as we use more and more biofuels, one of the reasons why we have been able to reduce our imports of foreign oil so much has been increased use of biofuels in the transportation section -- sector. ho: last question for you -- this week two developments in health care. we have a couple of calls about. one was the senate vote, failed,
57 supporting a -- health care, and the amendment by senator weicker. and they fedal judge that ruled that federal health care plan unconstitutional. i am wondering what you think the state of the health-care law is going to bei with these legislative and legal court challenges to it? >> legislatively, i don't think the votes are there in the senate to do any kind of repeal of the health care bill. as i say, i support the health care legislation, so i am glad to see that. as far as the courts are concerned, there are challenges. we've got two judges who said it was fine and two judges who have said it is unconstitutional and one judge said in some respects it is unconstitutional and another said it is totally unconstitional.
the numbers came in that we only added in the u.s. economy 36,000 new jobs. the "wall street journal" lead is economy adds few jobs. in this difficult matter. some say maybe the weather had something to do with it. "the washington post" report noted that the job qeegz were far fewer than the economists had predicted. 36,000 might sound pretty good, at least not bad, but in truth it's not good. mr. bernanke, the chairman of the federal reserve, testified before our budget committee that
the economy needs to produce about 150,000 jobs a month, add that many to stay even. and we really need to be adding, he said, about 250,000 a month to begin to reduce unemployment in a significant way. so the numbers are mixed. some people saw some good numbers in them. the surveys showed a drop in unemployment which was not a bad report, but this hard number of actual jobs was pretty troubling, i think. i would just say a few things that i believe are important and need to be understood. this congress passed a stimulus package that was supposed to keep unemployment from going above 8%. it went to 9.6%. it's dropped some since then,
but it's still extraordinarily high. we passed that package and it didn't stop unemployment from rising. it was based on a keynesian concept of government taxing -- really, government borrowing money to spend into the economy on the theory that government can create jobs. not long before the vote, gary becket, the nobel prize-winning economist from chicago wrote an op-ed, and in it he said he had examined the proposal and that it was far too ineffective in creating jobs and economic growth. he warned that it would not be effective. he warned that the growth factor was below one, it should be above one. he said maybe .7, and that this, in his opinion, was not a good investment of $900 billion, the
largest expenditure in american history at a single time. nothing has been like it. every penny of it was borrowed. we didn't have that money. we decided to borrow the money in an attempt to stimulate the economy. now, i know many heard it said and president repeated that this was a new infrastructure problem -- program, that we were going to fix our crumbling infrastructure, we were going to create american jobs and make our highways and bridges safer and better. well, that was not accurate. that was an inaccurate statement. it became clear before the bill passed, i remember pointing it out as did others that only 4% of the $900 billion went to unemployment -- went to bridges
and highways, 4%. this was not a bridge project. it was an aid to social programs, state aid, billions and billions of dollars. it created no real growth and productivity improvements in the united states economy. and so it hasn't done what we want. i hate, you know, just to be an i told you so, but i say that because when you take take $900 billion and you borrow the money and if you're borrowing it at what? the current interest rate is a little blow 4% but are projected to go up and we have no plans to pay this money down, no mechanism in place to actually pay this debt down, it will be on our books for the indefinite future, maybe forever, we'll pay about $36 billion a year in interest. every year now when we come to do our budget, we have got a
figure that first we have got to pay $36 billion for the interest on that money that we borrowed that was supposed to stimulate the economy that didn't stimulate the economy. and $40 billion, at least a couple of years ago, is what the federal highway budget is. so in a -- we passed a bill that will tax us through interest payments every year, an amount equal to what we have been spending on highway, federal highway programs, just to give an example of how much money money $36 billion is. so it was, as bill gross, the guru behind the pimco bond fund, i guess the largest financial investment firm in the country -- in the world, he said that emphasis in america and
some other nations has been on consumption, not effectively enough on growth, which is sort of what mr. gary becker, professor becker said, and federal reserve chairman, mr. bernanke, said now recently and i will repeat it. there are going to be several years before we get to a normal job growth situation, a normal unemployment rate in our country. even though the unemployment rate seems to have dropped, i think it is important to note that a number of the people dropping off the unemployment rolls are dropping off because they have given up in looking for work. they -- they have gotten discouraged and they are no longer going down to the unemployment office and registering and looking for work, and that's not good. a healthy, vibrant, growing
economy looks to be bringing more people into the work force and that affects and can make the unemployment rate look better than it really is. there was an article in "baron's financial magazine" recently that noted that as of december, the number of hours being worked by employees had not gone up, and they were saying all these numbers -- we have gotten optimistic a bit here, but we have got to be honest with ourselves, all the numbers aren't good. and we make a little progress and we're happy for that, but all the numbers aren't good. the number of hours worked were not up, and the comment is normally if unemployment goes down and businesses hire more workers, they will show average hours worked going up, and it was in the low 30's, which -- and it wasn't going up.
so they said maybe that's a signal that some optimists may be too optimistic because of that. they also noted that wages were basically flat. just a minor increase in wages, whereas things like the price of gasoline, which we are so thankful alaska is producing a lot for us, prices for gasoline and food is going up. cotton prices, soybean prices, foreign prices are at record levels. this will translate into rising costs, so if your wage are flat and you -- the number of people working is flat and your costs are rising, then this isn't good for the economy. it's really not growth, the kind of growth we want to see. so if government can't borrow
money and create real employment of a sustained nature, what should government do? mr. gross recently in a "barron's" roundtable said this pumping of money in as we're doing it today has had some benefit, but it's a sugar high. it won't last. you can't keep it up. don't we all know that? don't we all know that this is a blowing a balloon, this is a sugar high that we can't continue? what could we do? are there things we can do? is it hopeless? should we do nothing? i don't think so. i think there are a number of things, and i would just mention them at this moment that i absolutely believe that we could do that would create jobs for people who are hurting this very
moment who are unemployed, and it could really help them have a new and better life, and it would not cost the united states treasury anything. and i believe these actions are significant. first, we need to take actions that have the tendency and create mechanisms that will bring down energy costs. energy is a hidden tax. a hidden tax -- energy -- rising energy costs are taxed on our current income. you get nothing more for it. you -- you get the same number of gallons, the same assets you got before, you just have to pay more of it. so you don't have money for your family, your rent, your automobile payment, you just get less of it and we need to produce more of it at home for two reasons, one, it helps contain the growing cost of --
of fuel, which is a secret thief of the american citizens' income and, second, it creates american jobs. wouldn't we rather have thousands of more jobs in alabama producing oil offshore or in alaska producing oil in alaska than sending our money to venezuela, nigeria, saudi arabia, creating jobs there? it would both be -- it would be an additional supply source that helps bring down the cost and it would create american jobs and it would keep that american wealth at home. it would keep that wealth at home. 60% of the oil we -- we're putting in -- using to buy -- make gasoline that goes into our automobiles is imported. that wealth is going abroad. it's not good. so we need to take actions that
will produce american energy at the lowest possible cost. yes, it needs to be safely produced of we saw the accident on the gulf coast. i've been on those beaches, and thank goodness they're cleaned up now, but it was a mess. everybody was worried and it hammered our gulf coast tourism industry and fishing industry for months. although fishing is coming back now and i think tourism will be back. but it was an unnecessary disaster and it can be prevented and steps have been taken to ensure it doesn't happen again. we can do that. i like the boon pickens plan. we discovered how to drill down into the ground and then turn that drill bit horizontal and go through shale rock to produce huge amounts of natural gas.
natural gas burns about 40% cleaner than gasoline or diesel fuel. it produces -- it can produce energy, it even can be converted and can be used for vehicles. so it's all american. it's energy produced here in america. and we have to have americans to drill the wells, to move the natural gas, to process it and do all the things that goes into that. instead of importing oil from venezuela. this makes sense. this is not a theoretical vision for an energy program. the energy department has now projected that we have maybe 200 years of natural -- natural gas. twice what we projected just a few years ago because of new, improved way to drill. we should be doing more of that. it creates american jobs.
it would provide a new energy source that hasn't been there before. it could create -- be used for electricity. natural gas prices are low. pretty spicingly low -- surprisingly low, actually compared to other sources of energy. we can use it in vehicles, particularly larger trucks, city buss, and vehicles like that, but it would take an infrastructure capabilities to be able to travel around the country and be able to get it for -- for our truckers. but the city buses, the garbage trucks and things like that can be done all over america, now we reduce our imports, create jobs here, create wealth in america, not be sending it abroad. now, i know the president has said, and we're going to have to
confront this and talk about it. he has said we're going to create dream jobs through solar and biofuels and that sort of thing. and there's been some hope for that, but, really, it hasn't gone nearly as well in the united states as we had hoped. one big plant that had millions of dollars in massachusetts put into it has gone bankrupt. china is undercutting prices and producing prices -- things that were supposed to be american jobs is not going so well, frankly. it's just not going so well. and after -- have to give this cautionary tale. no nation in the world committed more to dream jobs and this idea that you could create jobs in the energy sector by doing more windmills and solar and biofuels than spain. and spain has just had a
terrible time. spain had the highest unemployment rate in europe. they drove up the price of their energy, it adversely impacted the whole economy of spain. they created some jobs in some of these new programs, but one study said they lost i think 2 1/2 jobs for every one created. now, i wish this weren't so. i wish we could just have a plan to invest in solar panels or corn ethanol and it would just create lots of jobs and create energy at a competitive cost, but it produces these energy sources at much higher costs. someone has to pay for them. and businesses have to pay are for them. and they can't hire as many people. and they can't make widgets in alabama and sell them abroad if the energy price goes up 20%, 30,%, 40%, 50% as a result of
these policies. you can't do it. there is no free lunch here. i -- i think we need to see what happened in -- in spain. i had a group of paperworkers, union members yesterday. i knew a couple of them from the past at pulp and paper mills where i grew up in the country in alabama, and they are worried that the enviromental protection agency's regulations, this boiler mack, among others, there are lots of them, but the one hammering the boiler industry is the boiler mack, they convert waste wood product at the paper mills, they burn it and create steam and energy that reduces their demand on the grid from
the power companies that create it through coal and natural gas. so it's a renewable source, but they're requiring now millions of dollars into new boilers. and i was at a saw mill in alabama in a rural area, good people. they export half of what they produce in -- in this lumber. they have a real fine lumber quality that they export, and -- and they say this boiler mack can hammer them so hard that they may not be able to continue in business and it -- what would that do? all the people that go out in the woods and harvest timber, those who bring it in, those who work at the mill to saw it and plain it and produce it are damaged. you'd have less competition within the united states for wood products and less production of it so price might go up.
-- price might go up for the consumer. so this is not a good plan. this regulation went too far. it's got to be repealed. but there are a lot of them like that that are driving up costs that could be eliminated at no cost to the government, reduce the number of bureaucrats that are out there enforcing it and allow the industry to be more productive. there's lots of that out there. a regulation that gets passed, sometimes that regulation might be beneficial to a narrow sector, but often it gets applied to 10 times -- 100 times as many companies and businesses that -- that -- that -- that is necessary -- than is necessary or beneficial and they have an extra cost reducing their productivity for no good benefit
whatsoever. all wasteful regulations need to be eliminated. the president is finally, i think, understood that. he's made some statement about it. but we need to be sure that it happens and it happens quick because we've got people unemployed today as a direct result of excessive regulation. a lot of people may not realize that our corporate taxes, once japan reduces theirs, as they plan to do, will be the highest corporate tax of any developed nation in the world. this is not a healthy place to be. in the airports, you learn a lot in the airports. a businessman started talking to me about this. we got on the plane, i had an opened seat, i asked him to sit by me. very impressive. c.e.o. for a north american division of an international
corporation. they were going to produce a product in their company that would be sold in the united states and worldwide that would be energy efficient, a chemical product that they wanted to produce. it would be about 200 employees. this is the story he told me. and he was so frustrated about it this is a very intelligent, sophisticated man. he said they had the best price. these big companies, if you're going to make a new product, they ask every plant in their system who can build it the best, the cheapest? and the one that wins the competition gets the process. he had won the competition. 200 new jobs to the alabama plant until he got a call from the european headquarters. they said, you haven't considered the taxes. well, what about that said, oh,
you've got to consider taxes, that's the cost of doing business. you know, you've got to refigure it and do the taxes. and the united states lost. it's going to be -- this process is going to be built in another country that has lower taxes. the idea that you can raise taxes on corporations and not have an impact on the competitiveness of those corporations is ultimately false, of course. we just have to take a minute or two to think about it. of course that's damaging to our competitiveness. and we compete worldwide. not just between -- within the united states, but produces -- producers can move to mexico, they can move to canada. by the way, our corporate tax rate is 34%. canada is talking about -- they've already reduced theirs to the low 20's. they're talking about going to 16.5%. i guess my colleague from alaska
saw -- this plant wants to choose between building a plant in alaska and building one in canada, building one in new york or building one in canada. and they add up the numbers and you have to pay substantially more tax in the united states. that could be the tipping point to make the difference in where that plant is built. so it's not that we're trying to help corporations by proposing that the taxes be reduced. it's that we're becoming uncompetitive. you know, ireland's been -- had a financial crisis. their banking system reached a real crisis, but a number of years ago they reduced their corporate tax rate to the lowest in europe and had an economic boon. and this boon didn't have anything to do with the financial crisis. and when the europeans said, we're going to have to bail out your banks -- help you bail out your banks, we want you to raise
some revenue. they said, we'll do some taxes among our budget cuts, but we're not going to raise our corporate tax. they refused because they said it was helping them economically. and i really believe we need to do that so canada's reducing theirs, ireland's reducing theirs, the u.k., the brits are reducing theirs. i think they're going to the mid-20's and we're at 34. i know there's an idea that you can eliminate the loopholes and bring down the overall rate to the high 20's in the united states and this will be the equivalent of a tax cut. i really don't believe it is. because i believe all you've done is maybe create a little bit more efficient and simpler tax, which is not bad, but it hadn't gotten the economic tax burden of american businesses who are trying to compete in the world marketplace.
what else could we do to create jobs? eliminate the health care bill. i know people are dug in on this. they don't want to talk about it. and it was passed by one single vote. had scott brown been elected two weeks sooner, the bill wouldn't have passed, wouldn't be law today. but it is law. what does the congressional budget office say about its impact on jobs in america? c.b.o. says that it costs .5% on job creation, and that's 700,000 jobs, according to mr. douglas holtz-eakin who was former c.b.o. chairman -- he was a director who wrote a paper about it.
700,000 jobs are going to be lost as a result of the health care bill. actually, i believe it's quite a bit larger than that. that's the congressional budget office numbers. i visited with small business people in phoenix city, alabama, and jasper, alabama, 15, 20 in each, and they told me that it was going to cause them to reduce employment, the health care bill would. there is no doubt about it. one man said i have got ten fast food restaurants, 200 employees. it will -- i believe i'm heading to a reduction of 70 workers. if it's a reduction of ten workers, it's too many. if it's a reduction of five. we need growth in jobs, not reduction in jobs. the health care bill is killing jobs. the congressional budget office director is hired by the
congress. mr. elmendorf who does that is -- was selected by the democratic majority. i like him, i think he's an honest man. he said it will cost jobs in america to continue the health care bill. i think it's going to be far more significant than he suggests. one of the things i asked the witnesses at the budget committee hearing yesterday was these temporary extensions of tax rates, are they detrimental, would the economy be better with permanent rates, and they said yes, every one of them. liberal and conservative said this uncertainty is not good for economic growth and job creation in america. congress get together, and that's going to take a bipartisan effort to try to get the tax rates permanent, and all of us are going to have to work at it. permanent tax rates would clearly be representful. i believe the president is going to have to help us in congress
to reduce the surging deficit spending that is on -- well on the path to doubling the entire debt of america in five years and tripling it in ten. i know people think that's not true but it is. the entire debt of america is -- we're in the third year, going into the third year of a five-year trend to double the debt, and it will triple again in five more years. i know the president announced that he would freeze a small portion of our spending, discretionary spending at his current 2010 levels which were surged in the last two years, double-digit increases. it would freeze it at that level. that is very small and will not alter the path we are on to doubling the debt in five years and tripling it in ten. it will not alter that. that's how small of an impact
that proposal would have. so we have got to get together here in congress and wrestle with it. we really need some leadership. and if we could get the cloud of debt and fear that's out there among a lot of americans on the street and a fear among a lot of the world's best financial minds who move money around in huge amounts, they are afraid, too. the only people that don't seem to be quite sufficiently grasping this is our washington bureaucracy. i think the congress is beginning to get it. i think congress is thinking. i believe the washington establishment is still sort of in denial, that they think we can just somehow make a few token changes in what we do and everything is going to be okay. it won't. i'm just saying how do we create jobs now, take some real firm steps, and the world says wow,
the united states has gone off an unsustainable path to a path that could lead for prosperity and growth and we're willing to invest in the country again. let me mention one more thing. this has been a matter that has been talked about. but we have a border that's still wide open and lawless. thousands, millions of people are coming in illegally, still, and they're taking jobs from american citizens. we arrested 500,000 people at the border, 600,000 people at the border last year. how many more got by? we just added 36,000 jobs this month and some think that was a good number. it's below what we have to add,
that we have that many illegal people come into the country and seeking work and taking jobs from american citizens, providing competitive employment that drive down wages. we have got one of the things you do in a time of high unemployment, you reduce guest worker programs and you reduce illegal immigration. it's just an added incentive to do what ought to be done anyway. so mr. bernanke testified before our budget committee a couple of weeks ago that we are treading water. we need 150,000 jobs added every month to stay even and to change the dynamic of high unemployment, we take -- we need at least 250 a month. we have had that coming out of
previous recessions. we're just not seeing it in this one. i believe the 36,000 job creation, even if that number is somewhat low because of bad weather, is not a good sign. it's below what the experts projected, and i believe we can say now with great confidence that the federal government's attempts to borrow money, which we pay interest on for as long as we'll live on this earth, to pump into the economy as a cherm stimulus, a sugar high, is not effective, it's not working. we have to do the kinds of things i just mentioned and a lot more, that would actually create productivity, make our businesses more competitive, and therefore allow them to compete against foreign competition, create growth, jobs, exports,
reduce our exports of oil and gas that are helping driving up energy costs and moving jobs out of the country, moving american wealth out of the country. if you do those kinds of things, we can make real progress. i really think we can. and we need help from the administration. i believe the american people are open to these kind of ideas. i think the idea that this is not a popular plan, because, whoa, you're talking about cutting taxes on corporations. nobody wants to do, they don't believe that, the american people won't support that. but i think the american people understand. we can't tax our corporations more than they are doing in canada, 34% to 16% and expect to win competition for jobs and business. we have got to make some of those changes, even if we have to raise taxes somewhere else,
if we raise taxes that are killing jobs and try to make our tax policy further growth and prosperity, not austerity. austerity is necessary now because of our progress lig -- profligate habits and the situation we find ourselves in. but it's not the future if we do the right thing. this country could compete. if we take on good policies in an effective way. mr. president, i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: >> "washington journal"
continues. ton journal" host: let me introduce our final guest, stephen rose, a georgetown university, senior economist for the center on education and the work force a we are pleased to have them back at the table. i want to read the details of the ap story on the unemployment rate which is hard to interpret i want to see if you helped us understand it.
what does that all mean to you? guest: first of all, there are two separate surveys. the two main numbers come from different surveys. one as a survey of employers, anthat is the 36,000 number. normally we consider that a stronger number for the total because it is kind of like administrative survey and employers obviously know how many are on their payro. the unemployment number comes from a survey of people, the census population survey. that is only about 180,000 people. we ask individuals are they looking and we do a lot of follow-up questions on at. basically what you have is an unemployment