tv U.S. Senate CSPAN June 14, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT
the presiding officer: has every member voted? does any member wish to change his or her vote in the nomination is confirmed. under the previous order, the the question is on the salas nomination. if there is no further debate, all knows in favor say aye. all those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have t the ayes do have it. the nomination is confidence. the majority leader. mr. reid: notwithstanding the previous order, i ask unanimous consent -- has the bill been reported, mr. president? the presiding officer: and the president will be immediately notified of the senate's actions and the senate -- the majority leader? mr. reid: mr. president, notwithstanding the previous order, i ask unanimous consent that there be five minutes of
debate equally divided and controlled between the proponents and opponents of the coburn amendment number 436 as modified prior to a cloture vote on the coburn amendment. the presiding officer: is there objection? mr. reid: and, mr. president -- the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. reid: and, mr. president, that would be for debate only. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: that debate would come after the recess. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate stands in recess until 2:15 p.m. recess: >> members can attend their weekly party lunch meetings. when senator return at 2:15 eastern they will work on economic development bill and vote eliminating the tax credit for ethanol refiners and tariffs on imported
>> coming up this afternoon on c-span3, live coverage as the senate transportation committee looks into rail security. transportation security administration head john pistol along with amtrak police chief, john o'conner. that begins at 2:30 p.m. eastern. the "national press club" awards the ford presidentialal. live coverage 1:00 p.m. eastern on the presentation and comments after the award by former national security adviser brent scowcroft on u.s. foreign policy that gets underway at 1:00 p.m. eastern.
>> again former national security adviser brent scowcroft coming up talking about u.s. foreign policy until then your phone calls from this morning's "washington journal.". >> host: we'll start with the union leaders website. unionleader.com and their headline about last night's debate. gop candidates blast obama but avoid attacking each other. then "the boston globe" has a similar headline this morning. their is, gop debaters target obama, not romney. that is the "boston globe" this morning. a few jabs over the massachusetts health care as well. the telegraph out of new hampshire says the gop seven
target obama at last night's debate. we want to hear from republicans only. what did you think about last night's debate? who do you think is the frontrunner? how did all the candidates do? there were seven there. some talking about there were two missing, jon huntsman, former governor of utah and sarah palin as well. this is the "miami herald". campaign 2012 revs up is their headline. president obama kicks off with miami fund-raisers. will florida give him enough votes as well as campaign cash to win in 2012? also this morning. baltimore sun. gop tar hopefuls target obama. a poll released mon monday showing rom my ahead of form alaska governor sarah palin who has not entered the race. 24% of the republicans polled would support romney for the nomination and 20%
chose palin. says in the story that utah governor jon huntsman is expected to formally declare his candidacy soon but skipped the debate. we'll go to hank in detroit, michigan. hank, what did you think of last night's debate? >> caller: thank you for "washington journal." i really enjoy joy this program. i just didn't like it. i don't know, just so dull, you know. i was nodding most of the time because i expected some discussions about jobs. you know, that was the republicans, you know that was our theme before the election, where are the jobs? where are the jobs? and i think to hear more about security. we're fighting a war over there and, in libya and we haven't had a single casualty. i thought they would hit on those things. i don't think the right questions were asked and they didn't do anything for me. i don't think it did anything for the american people. there was nothing that was
helpful in terms of jobs programs or any of that stuff and here all of the comments about the lincoln, barack obama, one-term president, that didn't, it didn't appeal to me. i thought we should have been talking about jobs and national security and some of the important issues. i think it was just a, it was just nothing really are. >> host: hank, there was one question asked at the beginning of the candidates about jobs. did you hear any good responses from the candidates on that issue? >> caller: no. that's what was so dispointing. every time, there were intelligent questions but the answers didn't, you know, pawlenty was kept asking a question, you've got the man beside you that you know, you maligned in the news and in sunday news and he is right next to you, what do you have to say? he seemed scared. i thought any minute he would just run offstage and
try to hide, you know. i just didn't get it. there was no action. i think they got, they have got to do something if they hold another format like that. they have to have some excitement. >> host: who surprised you last night? >> caller: well, i, to be honest there was only one person that surprised me and that was michele bachmann, you know. she seemed pretty well-rehearsed but, you know, seems like now running for president is just a money game anyway. they all run. gingrich runs forever. romney runs forever and they collect our money and, you know, it's like a game they're playing, you know. >> host: hank, we'll leave it there. i want to show our viewers what you were talking about last night. tim pawlenty was asked about what he called owe bomb any care on sunday. >> issue from a reporter
what are the similarities between the two. i cited president obama's own words that he looked to massachusetts as a blueprint or a guide when he designed obama care. >> you said you were asked a question which is fair enough but you chose those words. one of my questions is why would you choose those words maybe in the comfort after sunday show studio? you're rival is standing right there. if it was obmney-care on "fox news sunday" why is it not to the person standing there. >> president obama looked to massachusetts he said it is a blueprint. using the term obamey care that he designed the obama care on the massachusetts health care plan. >> host: political insiders poll about last night's debate saying they governor the nod to romney and bachman. former massachusetts governor mitt romney was the winner of first major presidential debate according to a survey of
republicans and campaign consultants and part strategists. the poll was conducted tonight. representative michele bachmann has had a good evening. biggest winner, a slight majority of republican insiders picked romney. roughly one-third of the democratic insiders concurred. want to show you what mitt romney had to say about the >> we can't afford more federal spending. secondly it raises $500 billion in taxes. we didn't raise taxes in massachusetts. third, obama care takes $500 billion out of medicare and funds obama care. we of course didn't do that. and finally ours was a state plan, a state solution. and if people like it in our state they can change it. that is the nature of why states are the right place for this type of
responsibility. >> host: indian, selene, what did you think of last night's debate? >> caller: i thought it was the same thing. i agree with the gentleman that called the first time. it was same ol' thing. there were no questions, i mean there were no answers but to what they have always said. there were no, i mean, they didn't say anything how they were going to produce jobs or, anything with the taxes as far as with the, with the oil companies or, they didn't say anything, i don't remember if they asked anything about medicare. >> host: they did did talk about medicare last night. >> caller: they didn't, did they? >> host: they did. >> caller: they did? i guess i missed that part. other than that i didn't see any difference in anything they have already said and then michele bachmann saying
he is, we're going to make him a one-time president. i'm so tired of hearing the same old things but nobody, they say, that we're going to make it better but i don't hear anybody say how we're going to, they suggest what we're going to do as far as jobs or whatever. >> host: all right, john in st. mary's county, maryland. >> caller: hello? >> host: good morning, you're on the air. >> caller: yes. what i want to say is, i'm a republican. i always voted republican but these guys up here didn't have know so solution to know problem. they're all grandstanding. all they want to do is, we're going to have a deficit, no question, no matter who is in there but what they're doing, is just who gets to the spend the money. they're not for the country. they're out for little groups to settle. the average working person will not advance under them.
not saying that they advanced that much under obama but definitely not them. >> host: okay. we'll go to valerie in sturgis, michigan. you're up next. >> caller: hi. i loved the debates last night. i thought they were great. either these people were not listening or, they just weren't taking -- paying attention because i heard them sayment on jobs. they talk about, the jobs come from the private sectors. it is not the government who creates the jobs. government can't create jobs. they can create jobs in the public sector but they can't create them in the private sector which is where the backbone of the country is. we're the ones that have done the work out here. they need to bring it back to, like michele bachmann said, they need to bring it back, as far as bringing taxes down on employers. taking away all the regulations that they put on
their backs. they can't hire people under those circumstances. they said a lot about jobs. if the people had been listening they would have heard that. >> host: valerie, who stood out to you? >> caller: oh, that is a hard question. i thought they were all good. i liked mitt romney. i thought i was going to go for him but i really, really liked michele bachmann because i thought when she first came out she presented herself really well to the country. she told them all that she is a tax litigator. you know, she started her own business. she has had 23 foster children and five kids of her own. thee's -- she's right there as far as everything goes. as far as repealing obamacare, yeah, we've got to do that. >> host: okay, what concerns you about michele bachmann being the candidate, the nominee? >> caller: what concerns me? >> host: yes. do you have any concerns? >> caller: not really. i don't think, she has been up there for what, six years
now i think. this will be her sixth year in washington. so she is pretty well familiar with the establishment in washington. so i really don't have any concerns. i like her a lot. i like, you know, i like them all and it will be a hard decision. but for right now, i really thought that she came out front and center and you know, she gave a lot of information. i got a lot of information out of her anyway, okay. what about the candidates, possible candidates that weren't there, jon huntsman, sarah palin? >> caller: i think sarah palin is qualified to be president. there's no doubt in my mind about that she has been governor. she did well for her state. the people in the state of alaska love her. there has got to be a reason for that. you know. they don't just, but the media tears her up but i don't listen to what media says anymore because media doesn't come out and tell the truth about things anyway. >> host: okay. listen to what ron paul had
to say on the economy. >> first thing is, we have trillions of dollars, at least over a trillion dollars of u.s. money made overseas but stays over there because if they bring it home it gets taxed. if you want to, we need the fed to quit printing money. if you want capital you have to entice those individuals to repatriate their money and take taxes off. set up a financial system, deregulate, detax to invite people to go back to work again. but as long as we run a program of deliberately weakening our currency, our jobs will go overseas and that is what has happened for a good many years, especially in the last decade. >> host: we'll go next to kim in fredricksburg, west virgina, last night's debate, what do you think? >> caller: i thought it was awesome. totally impressed. love romney, love michele bachmann. the first two callers that called in, i don't know what they're talking about. they talked about reducing
the corporate tax rate. getting rid of the lo of regulation that's choking off the economy. i thought that they did wonderful. one problem that i will say, it was the format of the debate. they didn't have long enough to elaborate on the answers. they couldn't go into a lot of detail. >> host: do you think that the debate, i mean, the point, i guess from the moderator's perspective, they wanted to be able to ask them as many questions as possible. do you think less questions, more time for answers? >> yes, absolutely. because he would no sooner ask them a question and you could hear him, you couldn't see him but you could hear him go, uh-huh, within five seconds trying to cut them off. >> host: right. >> caller: he was trying to cram too much in. i would have liked a little bit more substance in their answers. not their fault. allow more time. >> host: all right. our coverage of campaign 2012 continues on this
network. we have a new website coming out this week, launching our site for politics. a new homepage for our campaign 2012, road to the white house coverage includes the latest c-span events from the campaign trail including speeches, "washington journal" interviews and campaign appearances and candidate interviews as well. bio fgs information and links to c-span library. twitter feed and facebook messages from the candidates and political reporters and links to c-span partners in the early primary/caucus states. c-span.org/campaign2012. michael in honolulu, you're next. >> caller: i liked mitt romney and i liked michele bachmann and i like ron paul. the republican party is starting to pull together now. we're starting to get real answers on the economy number one. and i think romney is a strongest candidate.
i do think that republicans are going to have to pull together and realize that we need a single-payer health insurance. i'm a conservative, but winston churchill after the election of 1946 copped out and said he should have, he should have got behind national health. and we all have to. that means raising our taxes but eventually it will be like, it will be like romney kiar in massachusetts -- romney-care in massachusetts. that is down the line. our country is bankrupt. i think the republicans have the answers. we saw it last night in the debate. we have sparkling candidates. >> host: michael what did you make of newt gingrich's performance last night? >> caller: he has too much -- i like newt. he is an erudite, very smart professor but he has too
much baggage. i think newt should give it up. >> host: he was asked last night about his comments on paul ryan's plan and medicare. here's what he had to say. >> first of all, there was a very narrow question which said, should republicans impose an unpopular bill on the american people? now i supported the ryan budget as a general proposal. i actually wrote a newsletter supporting the ryan budget and those words were taken totally out of the context. i'm happy to repeat them. if you're dealing with something as big as medicare and you can't have a conversation with the country where the country thinks what you're doing is the right thing you better slow down. remember we all got mad at obama because he ran over us when we said don't do it. >> host: we're talking about last night's debate with republicans only this morning. we'll continue taking your phone calls. let me show you other headlines of things happening here today in d.c. hear is the "wall street journal" debt talks at crucial stage. the deficit reduction talks led by vice president joe biden face their biggest
test starting tuesday when the group gives three days of politically-sensitive discussions including a proposal for a government spending cap bitterly opposed by the white house. the aim of crafting the beginnings of a deal by july 1st. the panel got off to a slow start in may under a cloud of skepticism. it includes, the group includes eric cantor, majority leader, republican of virginia as well as chris van hollen, democrat of maryland, ranging budget committee member. senators daniel inouye and max baucus and jim clyburn and vice president biden leading those talks. more on "the wall street journal" if you're interested in that. also this morning, obama is pressing to create one million jobs. that's a headline from his event yesterday. plans include training and cutting red tape. up to 100,000 new engineers. about that event, this is the headline in the "washington post." their take on it. for u.s. jobs council a foreign focus. says five of the biggest company's on obama's jobs
council, ge, citigroup, intel, proctor & gamble and dupont rely on foreign revenue for majority of their sales. a shift that occurred just in the past several years for most of these firms. as other country's economies recovers more quickly these corporations have taken advantage, earnings at ge were up 77% in the latest quarter. intel is enjoying record profits. and then also this morning, something you will hear about today, probably is the story about congressman anthony weiner and whether or not he should resign . .abouy over congressman anthony wiener.
>> here in washington for the 24th annual gerald r. ford presidential journalism award for distinguished reporting on the presidency and national defense. after the awards ceremony, former national security advisor brent scowcroft will deliver remarks on u.s. foreign policy. this is live coverage here on c-span2. >> we are the world's leading organization for journalists committed to the profession's future for programming events such as this. we're also working to foster a free press worldwide. for more information about the national press club, please visit our website at www.press.org and to donate to programs offered to the public through our national journalism library website there
www.press.org/library. so on behalf of our members worldwide, i'd like to welcome our speakers as well as those of you attending today's event. our head table include guests of the speaker as well as working journalists who are also club members so if you hear applause in your audience we would like to note that members of the general public are attending so it's not necessarily evidence of a lack of journalistic interesting si which we are here to celebrate by the way. i'd also like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences. our luncheons are also featured and our member produced weekly podcast from the weekly press club available for free at itunes download. you can go to twitter using the hash tag pound npc lunch. after our guest speech conclude we'll have q & a and i'll ask as many questions as time permits. now, it's time to introduce our head table guests and i'd ask each of you to stand up briefly as your name is announced so we'll begin from your right. richard salmon is a senior associate editor of the
kiplinger washington editors and a former president of the national press club. jane hampton-cook is a book author and presidential historian. donna winewand is a reporter for "usa today" and she's also a former president of the national press club and ann roosevelt is deputy editor of defense daily. steven foma white house reporter from the mcclatchy newspapers and the presidential foundation journalism award winner for coverage of presidency. joe calvaruso presidential of the gerald ford foundation and we'll keep over the podium. melissa charbeno and skip over the president and ken delcky who helped arrange today's luncheon. thank you for your work, ken. and the son of president ford and one of our guest speakers today. shane harris is a writer of the
washingtonian magazine and he is the presidential foundation journalism award winner for coverage of national defense. viola ganger is a defense policy reporter for bloomberg news and mark sands is editor for air force magazine and he's a new member of the national press club and please now give them your round of applause. [applause] >> the national press club is once again honored to host the your r. ford presidential foundation for presentation of its annual awards for outstanding reporting on the presidency and national defense. it just so happens that our club has enjoyed a long association with the 38th president of the united states and the foundation which carries on his legacy. gerald ford spoke at this podium a record 18 times. appearing before, during and after his presidency. this is one example of how he enjoyed a cordial but
appropriate relationship with the press. it is a tribute that you at the luncheon today have personal recollections of his brief but historic presidency and his long public service. he has many loyal friends and associates which says a great deal about the kind of person that he was. we also send special greetings today out to former first lady betty ford who we trust is viewing this event via c-span at rancho mirage california. those who knew president ford admired his dedication to the free and unfettered press even when the press was not covered to him. and a distinguished member of our club said that ford was the only president he knew who genuinely liked reporters. apparently the others just faked it. [laughter] >> former secretary of state henry kissinger, a member of the ford presidential foundation board of trustees has known a few presidents over the years during his long career.
he once told us that gerald ford was probably the most normal person ever to assume the office perhaps because he did not seek that office in the first place. the awards being presented today were established to further president ford's support for a free press and the vital role that it plays in forming our presidency and democracy. steven ford one of the president's sons and chair of the gerald ford foundation will make this year's awards presentation assisted by joe, executive director of the foundation. mr. ford? [applause] >> well, it is an honor to be here. i want to thank the national press club and the ford presidential foundation. we have some of our trustees here today. carla hill, jim canon, ron hill -- i saw red. he was over there. a fine group of trustees and i
want to thank them. i want to thank the panel of judges that selected our winners. and i had a chance to read all the articles. we got some great, great winners here today. so, general, i want to thank you. thanks for coming and being our speaker. i have to tell you i was a young kid when dad was president. i was 18 years old and i used to go back and forth between the main residence and the oval office. i always told dad we got pretty good government housing. [laughter] >> i can remember going back that there was a lot of business going on in the corridors of that white house, but one of the friendliest people to the kids, the members of the family, general scowcroft, you always stopped. you always talked. you always asked how our day was going and we appreciated that as young people. and it was a long time ago now, wasn't it? [laughter] >> you know, we heard a little bit -- dad had a special relationship with the press. he loved the press. and he told all of us, you know,
you shouldn't go into politics if you have thin skin. he listened to what was written about him and what was said about him. he appreciated the job they performed. i can remember sitting at the dinner table and dad talking about why a good democracy works so well and it is because it had an educated public. and the press played such a role in educating the citizens of the country and make that democracy work. and he felt very strongly about that. i have to laugh because one of the articles written -- steve was talking about the bubble around the presidency and obama today, you know, ours was back in 1974. and it was a different world. there's no doubt about it. and when -- when we got to the white house -- well, the relationship of the press was different too. i remember when dad was vice president, we used to go to vail, colorado, in the wintertime. and mom and dad had bought a
small condominium there and we skied when he was a congressman and when he became vice president dad still wanted to do that and so we would go out and our first christmas in veil, colorado, after he became president -- i mean, vice president, there was a young photographer, a guy name david kennerly a guy who worked for "time" magazine. many of you know him. david showed up in vail, colorado, for "time" magazine at christmas without a hotel reservation. [laughter] >> right? that's something david would do thinking that was a bright idea that he was going to find a hotel room at christmas in vail, colorado. and somehow dad found out david didn't have a bed to sleep in. and think about this. this is 1973. dad invited david to come stay with us for the holidays. he slept on our couch, literally, in our condominium in vail, colorado. i remember waking up, dad, who's the guy on the couch.
that's the pulitzer prize reporter david kennerly but i don't think you would see that sort of thing happening today in the way the world is today. dad -- we were talking at the reception. i was saying -- dad encouraged us kids and taught us kids to be readers and readers of newspapers. and i can tell you what our breakfast was like every morning growing up as a kid in high school. came down and it was very quiet. everybody grabbed a section of the newspaper and you studied, you read in the morning you. might grab sports, and check the boxed scores so you could debate that night but breakfast was very quiet because you wanted to absorb your facts and figures so you would have a good debate that night and you could defend your position. that was how dad looked at it. and even up -- before we passed away, 93 years old. the image of him walking over to his office. he always had five, six, seven, eight newspapers under his arm that he was going to read that day. he read four or five journals.
and, you know, he always had the "new york times" and the "wall street journal," "l.a. times" and "washington post." and the last paper he read every day, i think, spoke great volumes about who he was. he read the grand rapids press. his local newspaper where he had been a congressman for 25 years. and he used to say to us, steve, policy and laws are at the federal level are made in washington. but you have to read your local newspaper to find out if they get down to the people and really work on the local news -- on the local level. and that was the importance, he thought, of the local press was he could find out whether the policies that he worked on, whether in the capitol, the white house or the executive branch or in congress got down to the local level in grand rapids, michigan, and served the people. so newspapers and the press were very important to him.
and just have the judging panel -- we got some of the judging panel here today. and i want to thank them for being judges for us. we have two categories. the presidency in defense and our defense panel -- we've got deborah van olstol, eric peterson, david olive, terrence scowcroft, rob holzer and michael champness. and we could just give them a round of applause. [applause] >> for the presidency, our fine trustee jim canon who was a great public servant himself, he chairs this committee and these awards and he's for the presidency awards and he's over that. we got jim mcconnal and professor mark lazell and hal bruner who couldn't be here today. so give them a round of
applause. [applause] >> we'll hand out the awards in just a second. i was reading the stories on the bubble around the presidency and the white house. again, it reminds you how different it was. when dad became president he'd been vice president. we lived in a little house across the river here in alexandria, virginia. there was no vice president's mansion or anything like that. we lived in the suburbs. dad commuted to the office every day and when he assumed the presidency on that day in august, 1974, the helicopter left with nixon and we went in. dad got sworn into office and we took the picture in the oval office and the interesting thing -- we didn't get to move into the white house. [laughter] >> i thought you got a chance to move in the white house. but, you know, nixon had left so quickly so unexpectedly when he resigned that they weren't able to pack up all their belongings and so it took six, seven days. so that night after dad took the oath of office, we went back to our little three bedroom house in alexandria, virginia, and,
gosh, i will never forget my mother standing over the stove that night cooking and she said, gerry, she said something's wrong here. [laughter] >> you just became president of the united states and i'm still cooking. [laughter] >> the bubble around the president's life back in 1974 was a little different than it is today. well, let me hand out these citations and awards and we'll get on to our keynote speaker, general scowcroft. our first award here is reporting on the presidency. this is gourd r. ford distinguished prize reporting on the presidency in 2010. steve tomer. let me read the citation. the judges for the presidency have selected steve touma as the winner of the 24th annual gerald r. ford prize for distinguished reporting on the presidency.
steve touma demonstrates a clear understanding that not the first year but the second year in office for a new president is more accurate measure of his leadership, his management of the complexities of the federal executive office, his exercise of constitutional powers, his ways of communicating to the american people and his standing in the public mind. touma not only met the important criteria of timeliness in, clarity and presentation, insight and concise writing but he also made excellent use of expert sources to provide a layer of analysis that stood out among his competition. his writing is clear, based on solid facts enlightened with engaging inventiveness. in every respect the judges found touma's reporting in 2010 outstanding. we have a citation here that i would like to give you. and we also have a check. cr
>> congratulations. thank you very much. we have a quick picture here. [applause] >> thank you, steve ford and i were talking before the lunch about how much things have changed. as he noted i wrote extensively about the bubble and the bubble around the white house. a lot of things have changed. i want to talk for a moment that changed with that and the exchanges relationship with the press. his father had a far different relationship with the united states press corps than a lot of presidents or politicians have had. the white house has increasingly and this is not just through this incumbent but everyone since is trying to bypass us using all the new technology at their disposal, digital media, their own video, their own
photographers try to tell their story directly to the people and bypass the press. at the same time, the technology is changing what we do. we see these very short bursts of information, tweets, a few characters, just quick internet hits. yet, i think the presidency is worth a lot more exploration than that and continues to be a vital and important thing for us to do to tell what the insiders are doing and thinking but also to run that by outside experts, by the people who studied the presidency and then put it through the critical eye of a journalist. for that, and on behalf of all of us who covered the white house, i thank the ford foundation for honoring this kind of work and especially for me and my colleagues at mcclatchy, i thank you for honoring us this year. thank you. [applause] >> our second award is the gerald r. ford journalism prize distinguished reporting on
national defense in 2010. our winner is shane harris. the judges for national defense have selected shane harris of the washingtonian as winner of the 24th annual gerald r. ford prize for distinguished reporting on national defense. the judges felt that the body of work submitted by mr. harris showcased some of the most important cross-cutting challenges of our times. often writing about issues with which the nation is still coming to grips. his story on the laws of war raced important questions about standards of warfare in an age of new technology. the judges noted that his article anticipated issues that are today being raised in the conflict in libya. in hacking the bad guys he highlighted america's struggle to cope with a new type of ware fair that would impact the nation's security as well as its economic competitiveness. his gripping tale of waste and delay highlighted a decade's
long struggle to purchase a new generation of fuel tanker. noting that today's tanker pilots are flying airplanes first flown by their grandfathers and the pilots who will fly the next generation of tanker haven't been born yet. his article on the national counterterrorism center described a nation's struggle to manage the information needed to prevent future terrorist attacks. the judges were particularly impressed by mr. harris' ability to illuminate complex policy issues while maintaining a fair and balanced approach on topics that are often highly polarized. shane, if you'd like to come up, we would like to present you with this award. and a check. >> thank you very much. [applause]
>> thank you very much for this honor. this is truly in our profession one of the highest honors we can receive. and it's just a thrill to be standing up here and to be included in such terrific company. previous winners, many of whom i've had the great pleasure to work with over the years. i did not get to this point alone and i want to take a moment to really thank the editors and the publishers i had the benefit of working with for the past 10 years. i had the rare opportunity in this day and age to work at magazines that continue to devote tremendous resources and support to long-form journalism, to narrative, to investigative reporting, to the kinds of stories that take weeks, sometimes months to really bring to light. and if it were not for that kind of support, i would not have the resources and the time to do this work and i wouldn't be standing here. just briefly, at "national journal" i want to thank david
bradley, john fox sullivan who i don't think who could be here today, charlie green and my former editor, patrick paxton who is the ombudsman at the "washington post." he was a partner with me for five years in reporting so many of these stories. and it was just a constant companion and advocate so thank you. and now my new home at washingtonian, i want to thank cathy murrah williams our president and publisher and my very dear friend and now my boss garrett graph who was charted an ambitious course for our publication and asked me if i would like to come over and write really big good magazine stories and have that be my full-time job. i said that's great and i'm really glad that job still exists. [laughter] >> so thank you very much for setting a high standard for all of us being there and supporting. so i share this award with all of you. thank you very much. [applause]
>> we have -- this is a new thing we're doing this year and our panel on defense asked that we do this. and it's kind of an honorable mention for a group that really stood out and this year we want to just recognize them and stand up. gerald r. ford journalism prize distinguished reporting on national defense in 2010, a special mention, the judges for the national defense have selected andrew tillman and brendan mcgarry staff writers for the military times as special mention for the 24th annual gerald r. ford prize for distinguished reporting on national defense. and i know one of them is in the room here. i don't know if brandon -- if you could guys could stand up, we'll give you a round of applause. [applause] >> thank you very much. mark?
>> thank you, steve. and congratulations for this year's winners. our guest speaker served with president ford as national security advisor. has been a trusted advisor to presidents stretching from richard nixon to barack obama. he's a graduate of west point and earned his ph.d. at columbia university. brent scowcroft is willing to publicly oppose presidential policies with which he strongly disagrees. although he served as chairman of the foreign intelligence advisory board for president george w. bush, he openly opposed the president's plans to invade iraq in 2003. he predicted the u.s. would be seen as an occupying power in an hostile environment. he served as military assistant to president nixon, deputy assistant for national security affairs for presidents nixon and ford. and national security advisor for ford and george h.w. bush. during his long association with republican administrations, he was also tapped by president
elect obama to help select his national security team. as an academic as well as an international business consultant. he has served on numerous advisory councils involving military and national security issues. so we look forward to hearing his unique perspective and ability to provide us with a timely overview of the difficult foreign policy challenges facing our nation today. ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm national press club welcome to general brent scowcroft. [applause] >> thank you very much, mark. steve, it's very nice to be with you today and it's great to see this nice turnout. i'm a little surprised since i said everything i know last year. [laughter] >> on the other hand, since my
remarks were first listed as brent scowcroft to criticize obama foreign policy challenges at the national press club, maybe that's why you're all here. [laughter] >> no red meat, i hesitate to say. i'd like to congratulate steven thomma and shane harris. since my daughter was one of the judges for shane, i am well aware how distinguished their writing really is. i want to follow, despite what press club -- i want to follow steve's comments with just a few about -- about president ford before i talk about foreign policy challenges.
a few of the things that president ford felt strongly about relative to our current situation now. it's not being dramatic to say that the current political debate especially here in washington is acrimonious. you know, it's been acrimonious before. as a matter of fact, when president ford came to office, he not only had around his neck a bitter debate about vietnam but also the first reservation of a president so he really understood that sort of thing. [laughter] >> but his personality was such that a little over two years later, we have largely have forgotten what he did for us in the short time he was president to heal the wounds of the
country. but one other thing president ford was, was an -- i would call him an apostle of cooperation and compromise. and those two words, i think, some in washington now refuse even to use as being denigrating from what they're supposed to do. president ford would have been shocked by that. that those characteristics, cooperation and compromise, was what made this country work. indeed, what it was based on. our constitution is not a model for efficient government. it's a model to protect the individual against a government that tries to overstep itself.
and it does that by setting up checks and balances everywhere. so it's easy to keep something from happening. to make it happen, you have to compromise. you have to cooperate. you have to work together. and gerald ford knew that. i used to watch him when confronted with a new and complex problem. he'd sit there and he'd dissect the problem. what are the elements that are absolutely crucial to making it a success? what are the elements that we can give to others who have different perspectives so that we end up all moving forward, maybe not 100% but 60% but 70%. and the last element i'd like to talk about was ford in his pride in the federal civil service or
federal bureaucracy. and we've had a number of presidents in recent years throw rocks at washington and the bureaucracy as a bunch of self-serving diplomats who couldn't get a job anywhere or bureaucrats couldn't get a job anywhere else. our government is only as good as the people who work there. and i think we ought to be cheering them rather than pretending that they are people who couldn't get a job anywhere else. anyway, i think following on what steve said, president ford was somebody we could certainly use right now. now let me turn to my -- to my assigned task -- well, let me say one other thing, in terms of
compromise, the constitution itself is -- the basics of our system are fundamentally compromised. how did we deal with giant states like new york and virginia and itty bitty states like rhode island and delaware? we set up a senate where each state, big, small, with two representatives. and we set up a house where each stated representative proportional to their population. if that's not compromise, i don't know what it is. that's what we're built on and that's where we should go. now, let me focus -- how am i doing? [laughter] >> for a few minutes on some of the security challenges we face. a few minutes and i can't
possibly cover all of the challenges we face and don't really want to. but let me begin with sort of a backdrop about what's going on in the world, a backdrop against which these challenges are being played out. we're sort of living through what i would call a discontinuity of history. a change in historical patterns from one sort of system to another. our present system, the nation state system, was really formalized in the treaty in 1453. it set up the nation state as the independent sovereign unit of which the international community would be made.
and that replaced the feudal period when there were some monarchies, there were some individual power-holders, if it was religion, all different kinds, sovereignty was obscure. the west failian system reached probably i -- westphalian ended with the two world wars. and now we're entering a new period and for lack of a better word, let me call it the era of globalization and that's an overworked word in many respects, but it is true and it is happening. and what globalization is doing is reducing the freedom of action of the nation state and eroding the borders of the nation state because more and more of the problems that we all have to deal with, whether it's
financial movements, whether it's health, whether it's climate change, whether it's information technology -- all of these things require reaching across borders to cooperate to solve problems and that is changing the nature of what our system is. i like to compare it with the period 250 years ago of industrialization which really created the modern nation state because to harness these great corporations that we're building all this economic power, the nation stated to be more powerful. globalization is having the same effect but in the opposite direction. as industrialization empowered the nation state, globalization is eroding the power of the nation state. and -- two points, well, let me
just -- the financial crisis of 2008 certainly demonstrated to us that we have a single world economy. the reaction to the crisis also demonstrated we don't have a single way to solve the problem. we fell back on the nation state system and sort of haphearted g20 to try to deal with it. the other thing which illustrates it which get me into the current situation is what we endearingly call the arab spring. this is an explosion of people, popular sentiment, which sprang really from the self-imlation of a fruit peddler in tunisia who was humiliated by the police.
now, this is something new. and it goes to the heart of globalization. because for most of mankind's existence, the average person didn't know much about anything that was going on beyond his village or maybe the next village. he lived like his father did. he expected his children to live like -- history was on timeless, seamless continuity. now, virtually everyone in the world is within earshot of radio, eyesight of television and they're politicized by it. they see what's happening outside. and they see, why am i not like that? how can they say this about my country? and they're energized about it. and that's what happened throughout the region. and not only the region, around the world. look at the chinese's reaction.
one of acute concern that it could reach china. so that's the first thing. the second thing is, when you do have discontent, one of the hardest thing to do is to register that discontent by going out, demonstrating in the streets. because to organize a demonstration, you had to go around and get people -- tell them what to do and this, that and the other so you were a target for the police. not anymore. you push a button on twitter, push a button on -- whatever the others are. [laughter] >> and million people immediately hear you say turn out at thayer square at 10:00 in the morning. it's immediate and that's what we're seeing. this presents enormous
complication for policy-making. first of all, it is a challenge since it covers the whole region of the world acutely. between what i would call our interests and our values. our interests are in what value we have in a relationship that helps the united states and its problems. our values are innate sympathy for democracy, for modernization, for those kinds of things. but fundamentally, democracy. and those are underchallenge and how do you -- how do you decide which ones we would -- should pursue? and we've done a little bit of both. and it makes it very, very difficult, not that foreign policy always has to be
consistent but it creates problems for us, almost whatever we do. and in addition, each one of the countries affected by the arab spring has its own individual set of problems. they're not all the same. and some of what we call semi repressive dictatorships in the region. are what they are partly to suppress the kind of internal struggles and divisions that otherwise would tear the country apart. so it's been a very difficult time for us. and the president has been criticized from both sides about doing too much, about doing too little. and the outcome is not yet in sight. but i think we should be cautious about interpreting what's going on in these
countries as the upsurge of an innate instinct for democracy. i think the urge is more basically, as it was for the fruit peddler, for dignity than for democracy as we know it. democracy represents -- a government is a very complicated notion. and to feel that filled 100,000 peoples breasts in tahrir square in cairo. so i think it's fair to say the difficult job is really ahead of us. how do you take what has happened and model it so that it moves in a productive rather than a destructive direction? we've taken first steps in what
i would call a cornerstone country of the middle east. that is egypt, the most populace country, and certainly at the epicenter of what happened, and that is we are now pushing hard for an economic program for egypt because if we cannot rescue egypt for the chaos in which its fallen economically, tourism is nonexistent in egypt now. remittances from egyptians working abroad are down to virtually zero. foreign direct investment has just about zeroed out. egypt is in desperate economic shape. what do you think will happen if the economy collapses to any hope for a system which will broaden participation? different countries have different problems.
libya is a case of really almost entirely our values. what interests do we have in libya? a million and a half barrels a day easily compensated for. gadhafi is the guy everybody loves to hate. and there's certainly a split in libya. it's not a new split. east libya and west libya have a history of tribal antagonism. take another extreme, syria. syria is a very complicated country. where our interests are intense not only a syrian relationship to israel, syria's relationship to lebanon, syria's relationship to hezbollah and hamas. intense interest but what about
syria? syria is run by a tiny minority of the shiite form of islam. but syria as a whole is a majority sunni country. it also has a tradition over the last 40 or so years of secularism being run by the baathist party. so if bashard against overthrown, who replaces him? is it a step forward or backwards? it's hard to say. yemen is a very different case. yemen is a very tribal society. before president sala managed to consolidate, there was a north lebanon and south lebanon. i mean, yemen. we supported southern yemen.
so each one of these situations is different and complicated. let me move on just very quickly. i've already talked 15 minutes, just for a little bit about afghanistan and pakistan. and i think you cannot discuss them separately. we have a huge dilemma with growing pressure now. osama bin laden's dead. we have terrible budget pressures on defense and so on. it's time to cut our losses. well, it may be. but we should also worry about cutting our gains. it has been a difficult struggle in afghanistan. we have changed strategies at least once. we now are in a telling year
where the surge in troops is beginning to show. we are beginning to reach out to afghanistan's neighbors, the chinese, the russians, the iranians, to see if there is some help here. we don't need an afghanistan this is a highly centralized efficient state. we simply need an afghanistan that is not a breeding ground for attacks on outside civilization. it is a very difficult issue for the president, who i think very skillfully maneuvered his first declaration, we're going to start drawing down in july of this year to pushing it
gradually off to 2014. so i'm mildly optimistic there. there's other things i would have talked about if i were not to be dragged off the stage. [laughter] >> would be a little bit about china, north korea, russia, iran. but i understand we have a few moments for questions and i'll be happy to deal with any of those the questioners are interested in. thank you very much for your attention. [applause] >> if you'll let me just scoot up -- >> yes. >> people are eager to tap your intellectual vast resources and actually give you a chance to hydrate. [laughter] >> i like that. >> so we're glad to have that opportunity. there's several questions that
seized immediately on the topics you were talking about on the issue of the nation state whether we should be in the business of helping build that. one person asked, can the u.s. continue to proclaim support for democracy while also backing repressive regimes like that in saudi arabia? >> well, that's been one of the president's real problems. there are few countries where our interests have -- a few countries in the region where our interests are stronger than in saudi arabia. and yet saudi arabia is -- is its own -- has its own uniqueness. it is an alliance between the saudi family and the tribal wars of the arab peninsula there. with the wahhabi religious branch of islam that the wahhabi religious would bless the saudis
to be the governance of the region in return for which the monarchy would support wahhabism. and that's really how saudi arabia got started today. when king abdullah was crowned prince, he had a reputation of being a modernizer. and when he came in, he started a consultative council which could easily have been the birth place of a legislature. he did a lot on education and he also made some changes on the succession from being the prerogative of the monarch to a royal family sort of counsel. that has not gone very far recently. but what do we do about saudi arabia? or the other monarchies?
they did not suffer so much in the arab spring. partly because of their wealth, their noneconomic deprivation which added to some of the others like in libya or in tunisia and egypt in particular. so these are the kinds of problems we need to deal with. it's not just saudi arabia. it's bahrain. bahrain is run by a sunni monarchy with a strong majority of shias for their citizenship. so each one of these countries has its own particular problem. and we need to say, you know, there's not necessarily one size fits all and we're not trying to impose an american solution. what we want is to help all of these countries to the extent we can work their way through their
problems to the benefit of everyone. >> a questioner asked what do you think about the expanded use of predator drones to attack suspected terrorists and what restrictions should be applied to those? >> well, i mentioned strategy changes in afghanistan. and what we've had is a debate going back and forth between a strategy of counterterrorism and counterinsurgency. and the counterterrorism strategy is, you find a bad guy; you take him out. if you happen to kill some civilians, it's too bad, but it's collateral damage. in counterinsurgency, you say, no. you have to build confidence in your security mission. and in the local security around you so that you have -- so that you develop stability.
so if you see the bad guy and he's surrounded by civilians, you don't take him out because you do more damage to your strategy by taking out the civilians than you get in a strategy and we've gone back and forth a little bit on that. and some people say, we've gone too far in one direction or another. i think right now we have it about right. but it's a judgment. >> that's what we're here for. how would you define victory in afghanistan and how sharp do you think the drawdown of troops should be? >> well, if you look back at the days of afghanistan, if there ever were, when the king sort of presided and everybody nodded to the king and then they went about and did their own business, tribal groups, ethnic groups, so on and so forth. that's the kind of afghanistan
we could be very comfortable with. and so could most of afghanistan's neighbors. it is the punitive change of afghanistan into the training place for al-qaeda to attack the trade towers which transformed the whole thing. so we don't need to recreate afghanistan. all we need is some assurance that the old, very informal structure can sustain itself. >> you said you'd like to talk about china. here's a question, you referenced china's concern about the arab uprising. what is the risk facing beijing and by extension the u.s. relationship with it? >> well, i think -- i would venture to say the most successful american foreign policy in the last 50 years or
so has been our china policy because starting with richard nixon from a position of total hostility between the two powers, we've gone through, i think, eight presidents now, of both parties, some of them starting out with some pretty harsh views about china, and they've all come to the conclusion that broadening and deepening our relationship with china is in the national interest of the united states. and we have made enormous progress. now, there have been some rough spots recently. and i think for understandable reasons. the chinese have always -- especially in economic matters, international finance, have tended to defer to the united states as being the world experts. well, who was it that screwed up in 2008?
it was the united states. the chinese think, we don't have to pay attention to you and there was a certain amount of hubris that went with that. and they began to make some changes which were at the very least irritating. i think what we have to remember is that we and the chinese are about as different as any two people could be. in terms of our history, our culture, our religions, everything. we, for example, backed myron marks, live in the world of a nation state system. the chinese still mentally live in the world of the central kingdom. we think anybody can be an american. anybody. the chinese -- if you're not chinese, you cannot become chinese. the central kingdom is not just one sovereign state.
it's the center of everything. so until 200 years ago when the nation state came in and raped china in the eyes of the chinese, so we have very different outlooks, but there isn't anything that i see that makes us enemies. we will have differences of opinions, we have different perspectives and the chinese are grappling with an economic system which has been very, very successful and a political system which has not evolve very significantly so they have a lot of problems. we need to help them to the extent solve them. >> we'll bring it back home for the next question, the last serious question perhaps, and that is two questions getting to the fact that it seems as if a presidential campaign season is already upon us given the fact that debates are now being held.
so the questioner asks and i'll sort of lump these together. what are the thoughts on the state of the republican party. any predictions on the nomination so far out and the other questioner says with a current roster of presidential candidates have relatively national security experience, how do you see the state of national security should one of them be elected? >> i'm not politically sophisticated but i'm not stupid. [laughter] [applause] >> i guess the folks here were hoping that you might take the debate, nevertheless. [laughter] >> which u.s. president best anticipated his foreign -- or rather, best articulated his foreign policy to the american people? >> oh, that's a tough one. that's a tough one.
i don't know. our presidents have done pretty well but it gets harder as our reason for some of the things we do get more complex and obscure. and, you know, harry truman had a pretty easy job with the koran war because it was -- it was pretty obvious. but, of course, so did bush 43 in going into iraq, which was in retrospect not so obvious. i think that we in this country have sometimes a tendency to get frustrated with the complexities of diplomacy and think, why don't we just cut through this drivel with a little force and we'll clean everything up.
one of the problems with that is, when you use force, it inevitably changes the whole context of the world in which you use it. and it creates its own imperative, and so when you've used force, you're no longer facing the world where you thought force was the thing to use. and i think we need to be more aware of that. you know, if we were not in afghanistan right now, we certainly wouldn't be talking about going in. so these are the kinds of things we need to be more thoughtful about. >> we're almost out of time but before we ask the last question, a couple of housekeeping matters to take care of. i'd like to remind you about some of our upcoming luncheon speakers. on june 24th, the outgoing chairman of the fdic, sheila bair will reflect on her tenure on a tumultuous time.
actor gary sinise will announce the formation of his foundation a charity dedicated for raising funds supporting the military and on the first of july, nasa administrator charles bolden will speak, a week before the final scheduled space shuttle launch. and secondly, but not least important, we'd like to present you with a token of our appreciation and that is the traditional npc coffee mug. [applause] >> thank you. >> and now i'd like to ask the last question and typically -- if you'll just stay up here for a moment, general. >> i tried. [laughter] >> typically, i like to end on something of a brain teaser or something like that. but given the fact that we're here to celebrate the legacy of president ford, i just wonder if you could close with perhaps one of your favorite stories, one of your most cherished memories
about him that you might be able to share with our audience, whether it's a humorous story or something you found endearing about president ford. >> well, one of the things that i had most fun with but most difficult coping with was his golf swing. [laughter] >> he was -- well, first of all, president ford was a really very good athlete. he had this reputation of stumbling. and every time he stumbled in the few times i'd seen him it was in front of a press camera. [laughter] >> but he was -- he was a big man. he was a strong man. and he had a powerful golf swing. but he had no idea where the ball was going to go. [laughter] >> so every time he was out playing golf, there would be people lining the fairway to much with a the president play golf, and, boy, he hit a lot of people. [laughter] >> how about a round of applause for our speaker today. [applause]
>> that's one thing they don't have to worry about a congressional country club with the u.s. open. thank you all for coming today. i'd like to thank our national press club staff including our library and broadcast center for organizing today's event and finally a reminder that you can find more information about the national press club on our website. and if you'd like to get a copy of today's program, please check that out at www.press.org. thank you. and we're adjourned. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> wrapping up here at the national press club, the associated press reporting this afternoon that the senate arms services committee has approached leon panetta to be the nation's next pentagon chief. the panel unanimously approved the nomination today by voice vote. the full senate is expected to move quickly on the nomination. he is currently the cia director and he replaced defense
secretary robert gates who is retiring on june 30th after 4.5 years in the post. >> you're watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs weekdays featuring live coverage of the u.s. senate, on weeknights watch key public policy events and every weekend the latest nonfiction authors and books on booktv. you can see past programs and get our schedules at our websites. and you can join in the conversation on social media sites. >> well, the u.s. senate meets at 2:15 eastern for a vote over an amendment to eliminate tax credits for ethanol refiners and eliminate tariffs on imported ethanol. an amendment is one of several towards an economic amendment bill. we'll have live coverage when senators return in about 15 minutes here on c-span2. this afternoon on c-span3, live coverage as the senate transportation committee looks into rail security.
>> host: i want to welcome you back to the "washington journal" table. let me begin with a vote that you recently took. you're one of 20 republicans to voted yes to remove troops from libya from liberal dennis kucinich from ohio and then an amendment to remove troop withdrawal from afghanistan also sponsored by a liberal congressman from massachusetts. why? >> guest: it's great policy to remove troops. if we're going to use american military might and there is no clear and present danger to the united states then the president should be coming to the united states congress for authorization. so you take the case of libya, this is a civil war, north africa, quite frankly, we should not be using our military force there the way that we are. and if the president wants to make the case that we should, then he should come to the united states congress for that authorization. for him to stand up before the world and say that he got authorization from the united nations, it's offensive to a lot
of us. and as it relates to afghanistan, it's the longest war in the history of america. i consider myself very much a hawkish person but we should not be participating in this nation-building exercise that we are. we need to focus on counterterrorism which is bigger and broader than just the confines of afghanistan. and so i've argued for pretty much the last two years now that, mr. president, it's time to bring the troops home and i think the president has failed to define victory in afghanistan. of course, we need to fight terrorism. of course, we want to make sure there's no safe haven but 100,000 people of our troops in afghanistan. i just -- i just think it's too much. >> host: and the cost? >> guest: a million dollars per person per year to have these people overseas. so in just afghanistan, we'll spend about $2 billion a week, more than $100 billion in the 12-month period. we can't sustain that. i think americans will pay any price to secure our homeland, but there is no clear and
present danger in afghanistan to the united states of america. and i think we have to re-examine what it is we're doing. >> host: "the washington post" differs and here is their editorial published june 11th. they said progress is fragile and reversal. nato must keep an ongoing taliban offensive. it must expand its military clearing operations from the south to di >> host: it goes on to say its advocates to remove osama bin laden and taliban make larger
actions necessary. the afghan government and army are a lost cause or that the u.s. can no longer afford the 2 billion being fought on the war. that argument is particularly shortsighted. the margin of billions that might be gained will have no significant impact on the deficit problem measured in trillions. while the loss of afghanistan with extremist forces impose huge costs on the united states. >> guest: we're already paying some huge costs. it is a clear and present danger to the united states of america and they pose a clear and present danger to the afghan government. that is contrary to the national intelligence estimate that was completed in 2009. so the fundamental flaw that there's some sort of threat to our homeland that these people are going to somehow be attacking, you know, kansas, for instance. there is no doubt that country is on a very difficult path. and the problem that i have is the current karzai government is a corrupt government. and we are propping up a government that we know is
fundamentally flawed. that we know is corrupt. and will not ultimately solve the problem. and so at some point the afghan people have to come up and take care of their own. now, i'm not saying that we'll have zero troops there. but 100,000 people patrolling those borders. we are in a nation-building exercise that is going to be 40, 50 plus years in duration. i don't think we can sustain that nor do i think that's the proper role of what the united states should be participating in. so i take exception with the "washington post" even though we may buy the newspaper every once a while. >> host: the "christian science monitor" says the common denominator in assessments is that the military needs more time. the new troops technically have not been in place for long, commanders universally point out -- >> guest: it was. they've been longer than 10 years and this is the longest war in the history of united states of america. and my argument is the troops have been very -- >> host: the surge troops. >> guest: the troops that were there. that's why in 2009 when the intelligence estimate came out and leon panetta, the head of
the cia came on a program and said there were less than 50, 50 al-qaeda in the entire country. let's give some credit to the men and women who had been there for the last 10 years. they have been successful. >> host: so are you refusing to listen to the commanders on the ground? >> guest: no, i think we're getting conflicting reports. a lot of the commanders on the ground say we should be bringing our troops home. the former commandant journal of the marine corps came out and said he believes in these hunter/killer teams much like i say we need to have counterterrorism efforts going on there. and not just afghanistan but all around the world. and not be participating in this nation-building. i think if you walk around the streets of the united states of america and ask people, what are we doing in afghanistan, well, we're, you know, fighting terrorism. but you challenge those same people and challenge the president, what does victory look like? when do we get to that point? victory to me is bringing the troops home and i don't think we should be baffled by that. it's certainly not putting our tails between our legs because that's what we're supposed to be doing. it's the longest war in the
history of the united states of america. >> host: front page of the "washington post" said this story that we showed our viewers earlier, cia will direct yemen drones. it says to fight counterterrorism effort to root out al-qaeda in that country that the cia will take this over. what do you make of that? >> guest: well, we have to have the very best intelligence both human and electron scombrielect. and when we do, then we need to act upon it much like we did with osama bin laden. it made us all proud. we took out one of the world's greatest terrorists and he's dead and that's great. it's very satisfying. that fight is global in its nature and we're going to have to be very vigilant. at the same time, we can't give up every security and every liberty and nor can we put troops in every corner of afghanistan or some other country. we're going to have to be very targeted in what we do. >> host: less by reports on the daily beast that on -- by july 15th president obama will unveil a plan to reduce forces in afghanistan by upwards of 30,000 but to withdraw them slowly
under military guidance over 10 to 18 months. was that something that you can't get behind? >> guest: potentially. i don't think congress should micromanage and say that it should be 25,000 as opposed to 30,000. congress, that is clearly not our role. if it's moving in that trajectory i think that is the right way to do it. you have to do these things slowly. you can't do these in a matter of days or a month. we recognize that. we want everybody to be as safe and secure as possible. >> host: you sit in the government security and chairman for national security issues. i want to show you this and our viewers. something that we saw in the papers. iraqi billions possibly stolen. it says almost 7 billion of iraqi oil money dedicated to the country's reconstruction. the u.s. official responsible for auditing the funds as said as washington perseveres with attempts to track down the missing billions. have you heard about this? >> guest: the i.g. has actually done a great effort there. we have billions and billions of
dollars missing and unaccounted for in several different pockets. it's quite scary actually to think about how much money has maybe walked out the door. no accountability. and i see this as an ongoing problem. i think this is one of the challenges for the administration is to show and demonstrate the accountability, not only for our foreign aid money but also what we were doing in iraq and afghanistan. you look at the kabul bank situation there's some great pieces written in the new yorker as well as the "new york times" about the kabul bank situation and how we did banking through there and yet there are billions of dollars that we don't know where they are. and so really big worries about those types of things and investigations that will continue in the coming months. >> host: will you hold investigations? >> guest: oh, yeah, we've got a lot of people working on these types of things right now. some great work done by the i.g.'s, the investigator generals there not only within the different agencies themselves but also a special investigator general that is moving forward on it. >> host: who do you think stole it?
do you know when you're looking into this? >> guest: i don't think there was the accountability. i just don't. >> host: how does 7 billion disappear? >> guest: well, that's the question. i mean, that's the ultimate question. that's why i think treasury and some others have to come forward and say how do these things happen? because we systematically turned over money. we're in a very difficult, you know, situation and very volatile parts of the world. we also have a banking or a flow of money, these groups that allow money to move in a way that's much more difficult for us to track. and so they are on top of it but, unfortunately, they didn't have these sort of controls in place when they started. and now we're talking about literally billions and billions and billions. and there's nothing more infuriating to have this money unaccountable. >> host: tell our viewers what would surprise them being there on the ground, what would surprise them the way the country works that may lead to this sort of thing?
>> guest: particularly, when you get into baghdad, it is literally a cement wall. everywhere you go there are cement walls around. they have not come back to the way of life that is going to be ongoing and sustainable. i think one of the biggest challenges that we face is that transition on january 1st where we will have pulled out almost all of our troops. there will probably still be about 4,000 but they make that transition from the department of defense over to the state department. and they listed -- the state department, 14 core functions that the military normally does. and said that only 7 of those are they now able to do. but, for instance, if rocket fire is being taken upon that embassy, they said in the testimony in one of my committee hearings, they're not going to fire back. that's a little bit scary particularly if you're one of those people sitting in the embassy. they're going to then rely upon the iraqis to take care of it. that's a huge monumental change where they've been and we're going to still be spending a massive, massive amount of money. and a lot of people -- we'll have something like -- i think
the number is 17,000 people that will still be there in-country, state department, and then a whole lot of contractors. i may be off a few thousand in that number but it's roughly in that few thousand dollars range. >> host: we have anna who's a democrat in texas. go ahead, anna. >> caller: yes. i have two problems. i lost one nephew in 2005 in iraq. before he died, he said, remember why they were there. i have another niece who's a contract worker in afghanistan. you're there because of the contracts that haliburton and all those contractors that they have over there. she lost her job in shreveport and she was relocated in afghanistan. and within three days, my niece shipped off to afghanistan to
build schools there. mom and daughter, her mother is the contract worker. mom and daughter will both be there. tell the truth to the american people the reason you're there. >> host: we'll leave it there, anna. and get a response. >> guest: first of all, thank you for your service and sacrifice. there's a lot of people like you who sent off their loved ones off to work to serving as a contract -- >> leaving this "washington journal" segment at this point. you can see "washington journal" every morning at 7:00 eastern on c-span. the u.s. senate is gaveling in on senator coburn's bill. later, senator marco rubio of florida is expected to give his maiden speech. and now live to the senate floor. by the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn. who yields time?
no one has yielded time. time will be charged equally to both sides. ms. klobuchar: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota. ms. klobuchar: mr. president, speaking on this amendment, i oppose this amendment and urge my colleagues to do the same. there is going to be a change with biofuels in this country. we're going to see phasing out of the support for biofuels in terms of federal policy, but the time to do it is not in the middle of the year, after seven
years of federal support, with five days' notice. senator thune and i have an alternative bill that actually takes the rest of the year -- the last six months of this year -- the funding and puts $1 billion into deficit reduction, and then allows the industry to keep its footing so it can actually compete with oil. i would remind my colleagues that this is now 10% of our fuel supply. there have been studies done that shows the price of gasoline would escalate up to $1 more a gallon, if the rug was slid pulled out from under this industry. and it is the only competition with oil. so while this industry, unlike the oil industry, has acknowledged that there is change ahead and that they are willing to be part of this change and actually put money on the table, the time to do it is not now on an unrelated bill with no discussion of a comprehensive energy plan nor this country. and i know senator thune is also
would like to talk about his opposition to this amendment. mr. thune: mr. president, i would urge my colleagues to vot" on this motion. there is a better way to do this. and i think we can all work together in a constructive way and accomplish what the proponents of this amendment want to do but do did in a way that doesn't disrupt this industry. in december 81 senators -- 81 senators -- voted for tax policy and here we are six months later and we're saying we're going to pull the rug out. after giving them a commitment back in december that we would have this tax policy in place until it the end of the year. that's not the way to do this. this can be done in a right way, and i would urge my colleagues to defeat this motion and we will work together to try and get to where we have a solution in place that is good for jobs, good for the energy industry in this country, and good for the taxpayers of america. i yield the floor. mr. coburn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the
senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: we have introduced into the record the industry that gets this tax credit, they represent 97 mr of all ethanol that's blended. they don't want the $3 billion. it's $3 billion that we cannot afford to pay. it is something that already is accomplished -- has accomplished its purpose through a government mandate. i'd yield the rest of my time to the senator from california, senator feinstein. the presiding officer: the senator from california is recognized. mrs. feinstein: thank you very much, mr. president. i thank the senator from oklahoma. i think everybody in this body now knows that i am strongly for this measure. unfortunately, it has created, i think, a lot of feelings that really don't work to the benefit of this body. it is my understanding that there is an offer from the leader that we will have a vote by friday next, which means a
week from this friday. let me -- i tend to just say what i think. on our side, i think there are real concerns about the process used to bring this amendment to the floor, and i think that has created some, unfortunately, very bad feelings which even are enough to affect people's votes. my view has been a little different. i've watched this ethanol amendment go from $1.5 billion in the early part 26 of the 200. it is a triple crown, a subsidy, a mandate, a protective tariff t should go. i have no question about that. i also want to see this body have an ability to work togeth together. it also gives us a little bit of time to see if we could
negotiate some agreement between the senator from minnesota and the senator from south dakota. that would be the best of all worlds. whether we can do this or not, i don't know. but i'm certainly willing to try. what i hate to see is this vote get so caught up, which it is now caught up in process, that we've got no chance of sorting it out. i've asked the senator from oklahoma, would you consider withdrawing this amendment so that we could try and see if we can -- the presiding officer: the senator's time has expired. mrs. feinstein: just a couple seconds more. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. feinstein: so -- the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mrs. feinstein: thank you very much. so we could try to see if we could work something out with senators klobuchar and thune. i would implore him once again. i think for the best interests of our body as a whole, both sides, we ought to take the time to try to work it out.
i think we lose votes right now on the basis of the process alone that we would not lose on just a straight vote. i believe if it weren't for the process, we would have 60 votes. that's my belief. so i want the senator from oklahoma to know that right up front, and i would implore him to let us withdraw the amendment, try to negotiate a solution, and then take this up as the leader has pledged by friday next. mr. coburn: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from oklahoma. mr. coburn: i ask unanimous consent for two minutes. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. coburn: the reason this amendment ended up the way it is is because we don't have an open amendment process in the senate anymore. rule 22 gives every senator the right to offer an amendment. we have no senate unless we have the right to offer an amendment. there's no usurpation of the
power of the majority leader. he gets to set what bills are on the floor. every senator has the right to file cloture on their amendments. every senator. they also have every right to offer amendments. and we would not be in this position if we did not have a closed amendment process instead of an open amendment process s. i would like to solve this problem. i recognize that this is going to be blue-slipped anyway. i thank the majority leader for his offer. i don't think it accomplishes what we want. i think we end up losing what we can get and what should get, and i think the american people deserve to have us taking this $3 billion now out of the hand of the large oil companies, not to the benefit of any american except to their detriment and their children. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke clomp.
the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the pending amendment number 436, to s. 782, singed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on amendment number 436 as modified offered by the senator from oklahoma, mr. coburn, to s. 782, the economic development revitalization act of 2011, shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from florida. mr. rubio: thank you, mr. president. i have the honor of representing the great people of the state of florida, and i'm here in the senate, and today i speak for the first time on this floor on their behalf. the senate is a long ways away from where i come from, both literally and figuratively. i come from a hard-working and humble family, one that was neither wealthy nor connected, and yet i have always considered myself to be a child of privilege because growing up i was blessed with two very important things. i was raised by a strong and stable family and i was blessed to be born here in the united states of america.
america began from a very powerful truth, that our rights as individuals do not come from our government. they come from our god. government's job is to protect those rights, and here this republic has done that better than any government in the history of the world. america's not perfect. it took a bloody civil war to free over four million african-americans who lived and slaved. it took another 100 years after that before they achieved full equality under the law. but since its earliest days, america has inspired people from all over the world, inspired them with the hope that one day their own countries would be one like this one. many others decided they could not wait, and so they came here from everywhere, to pursue their dreams and to work to leave their children better off than themselves. and the result was the american miracle. a miracle where a 16-year-old boy from sweden came here with
no english in his vocabulary and $5 in his pocket, but he saved enough money to open up a shoe store and today that store, nordstrom, is one of the global -- multibillion-dollar global retail giant. a miracle that led to a young couple with no money and no business experience to open up a toy company out of the garage of their home. today that company, mattel, is one of the world's largest toy manufacturers. the miracle of a french-born son of iranian parents created a site known as auction web in the living room of his home. today that auction company known as ebay stands as a testament to the familiar phrase "only in america." these are three examples of americans' whose extraordinary success began with nothing more than an idea, but it's important to remember that the american dream was never just about how much money you made. it is also about something that
typifies my home state of florida. a desire of every parent to leave their children with a better life, and it is a dream lived by countless people whose stories will never be told, people, americans that never made a million dollars, they never owned a yacht or a plane or a second home, and yet they, too, lived the american dream because through their hard work and sacrifice, they were able to open doors for their children that have been closed for them. it is the story of the people who clean our offices here in this building, who work hard so that one day their children can go to college. it is the story of the men and women who serve our meals in this building, who work hard so that one day their children can accomplish their own dreams. it is the story of a bartender and a maid in florida. today their son serves here in the senate and stands as a proud witness of the greatness of this land. becoming a world power was never
america's plan, but that's exactly what the american miracle made here. most great powers have used their strength to conger, but america's different. for us, our power always has come with a sense that to those that much is given, much is expected. a sense that with the blessings that god bestowed upon this land came the responsibility to make the world a better place. and in the 20th century, that is precisely and exactly what america did. america led in two world wars so that others could be free. america led in a cold war to stop the spread of and ultimately defeat communism. while our military and foreign policy contributions helped save the world, it was our economic and cultural innovations that helped transform it. the fruits of the american miracle can be found in the daily lives of people everywhere. anywhere in the world that someone uses a mobile phone, email, the internet or g.p.s.,
they are enjoying the benefits of the american miracle. anywhere in the world where a bone marrow, lung or heart transplant saves a life, they are touched by the value of the american miracle. and on one night in july of 1969, the whole world witnessed the american miracle firsthand, for on that night an american walked on the surface of the moon and it was clear to the whole world that these americans could do anything. now, clearly, america's rise was not free of adversity. we faced the civil rights struggle that saw governors defy presidents, and saw police dogs attack innocent, peaceful protesters. saw little children murdered in churches by bombs. we faced two oil crises. america faced watergate. america faced american hostages in iran. i grew up in the 1980's, a time when it was morning in america,
and yet even then we faced the war on drugs, we lost soldiers in beirut and astronauts on the challenger. we faced a devastating oil spill in alaska and a terrifying new disease called aids. through challenges and triumphs, the 20th century was the american century, a century where america's political, economic and cultural exceptionalism made the world a more prosperous and peaceful place. but now we find ourselves in a new century, and there is this growing sense that for america, things will never be the same, but maybe this century will belong to someone else. indeed, we do now stand at a turning point in our history, one where there are only two ways forward for us. we will either bring on another american century or we are doomed to witness america's decline. another american century is fully within our reach because
there is nothing wrong with our people. the american people haven't forgotten how to start a business. the american people haven't run out of good ideas. we americans are as great as we have ever been, but our government is broken and it is keeping us from doing what we have done better than any people in the history of the world -- create jobs and prosperity. if we here in washington could just find agreement on a plan to get control of our debt, if we could just make our tax code simpler and more predictable, if we could just get the government to ease up on some of these onerous regulations, the american people will take care of the rest. if this government will do its part, this generation of americans will do theirs. they will give us a prosperous, upwardly mobile economy, one where our children will invent, build and sell things to a world where more people than ever can afford to buy them. if we give america a government
that can live within its means, the american economy will give us a government of considerable means, a government that can afford to pay for the things government should be doing because it does not waste money on the things government should not be doing. if we can deliver on a few simple but important things, we have the chance to do something that's difficult to imagine is even possible. an america whose future will be greater than her past. but sadly, that's not where we're headed. we have made no progress on the issues of our time because, frankly, we have too many people in both parties who have decided that the next election is more important than the next generation, and our lack of progress on these issues has led to something even more troubling. a growing fear that maybe these problems are too big for us to solve, too big for even america.
well, there is no reason to be afraid. our story, the story of america, it is not the story of a nation that never faced problems. it is the story of a nation that faced its challenges and solved them. our story, the story of the american people, is not the story of a people who always got it right. it is the story of a people who in the end got it right. we should never forget who we americans are. every single one of us is the descendant of a go-getter, of dreamers and believers, of men and women who took risk and made sacrifices because they wanted their children to live better off than themselves. and so whether they came here on the mayflower, on a slave ship or on an airplane from havana, we are all descendants of the men and women who built here the nation that saved the world.
we are still the great american people, and the only thing standing in the way of us solving our problems is our willingness to do so. and whether we do so or not is of great consequence, and not just to us but to the whole world. i know that now some say that times are so tough here at home that we can no longer afford to worry about what happens abroad, that maybe america needs to mind its own business. well, whether we like it or not, there is virtually no aspect of our daily lives that is not directly impacted by what happens in the world around us. we can choose to ignore global problems, but global problems will not ignore us. you know, one of my favorite speeches is one that talks about our role in the world. it was the speech that president kennedy was set to give had he lived just one more day. it closes with these words."
we in this country, in this generation, are by destiny rather than by choice the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. we ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength of wisdom and restraint and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of peace on earth, goodwill toward men. that must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength, for as was written long ago, except the lord keep the sitting, the watchman waketh but in vain." almost half a century later, america is still the only watchman on the wall of world freedom, and there is still no one to take our place. what will the world look like if america declines? well, today, people all over the
world are forced to accept the familiar lie that the price of security is our liberty. if america declines, who will serve as living proof that liberty, security and prosperity can all exist together? today, radical islamic abuses and oppresses women. it has no tolerance for other faiths and it seeks to impose its will on the whole world. if america declines, who will stand up to them and defeat them? today children are used as soldiers and trafficked to slaves. dissidents are routinely imprisoned without trial. they're subjected to torture and forced into confessions and labor. if america declines, what nation on the earth will take these causes as their own? what will the world look like if america declines? who's going to create the innovations of the 21st century? who will stretch the limits of human potential and explore the
new frontiers? and if america declines, who will do all these things and ask for nothing in return? motivated solely by the desire to make the world a better place. the answer is, no one will. there is still no nation or institution on this planet that is willing or able to do what america has done. ronald reagan famously described america as a shining city on a hill. now some say that we can no longer afford the price we must pay to keep america's light shining. others like to say that there are new shining cities that will soon replace us. i say they're both wrong. yes, the price we're going to pay to keep america's light shining is high, but the price we will pay if america's light stops shining is even higher.
and, yes, there are new nations emerging with prosperity and influence. that is what we always wanted. america never wanted to be the only shining city on the hill. we wanted our example to inspire the people of the earth to build one of their own. you see, thee nations, these new emerging nations, these new shining cities, we hope they will join us. but they can never replace us because their light is but a reflection of our own, the light of an american sentry that now spreads throughout the earth, a world that still needs america, a world that still needs our light, a world that needs a new american century. and i pray, with god's help that that will be our legacy to our children and to the world.
mr. president, i yield the floor. thank you. the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, on behalf of all of our colleagues, i want to commend our new senator from florida for his remarkable speech. no one is a better example of the american dream than he is, and no one expresses american exceptionalism better than senator rubio. and i congratulate him on behalf of all of our colleagues for his maiden speech. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the leader. mr. reid: i join with my republican counterpart in congratulating my friend from florida who are his fine -- for his fine speech. but i wish in his remarks he would once in a while mention where he spent a lot of his youth: slays las vegas and north las vegas, nevada. i note the absence of a quorum. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: will
the leader withhold his question? the leader withholds his request and i recognize the senator from florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, i want to congratulate my colleague from florida, and i want him to know that it is a great pleasure for me to serve with him. it has been a tradition in florida that the two senators get along. this has been a great tradition that goes back when bob graham and connie mack were the two senators. it continued with mel martinez and me, and now i have the privilege of continuin continuit kind of relationship with senator rubio. the maiden speech is a big deal for a senator, and it is always
a memory that is forever etched in my mind. i was in one of those desks over there as a very junior member, and i'll never forget, in the course of my speech -- and it was mostly an empty chamber -- that i mentioned that it was my maiden speech. and in a few minutes all of a sudden those side doors flung open and in strode senator robert byrd, and so here i'm giving my maiden speech and senator byrd is sitting his his seat, and as i finish, he says, "would the senator yield?" and i said, "of course, i yield to the senior senator from west virginia." and, senator byrd, on the top of his head, gives an oration about the history of maiden speeches in the senate.
now, of course, that is indelibly etched in my memory, and surely the senator's maiden speech today is indelibly etched in his, and i congratulate him. i thank him for his personal friendship, i thank him also for the privilege of the professional relationship that we have. the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: mr. president, very briefly, i've come to know senator rubio. we have early morning seminars. and we've come to know one another a little better. but i want to especially thank you for that speech because it was compleerl a speech with a lot of personal reflection on your own life and on the life of america. what you said will endure. there are things in there that we all should remember about this nation and about our responsibility as senators. thank you for that fine speech, and i'm glad i was here to be a
mr. durbin: i ask contessa the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to a period of morning business for until 5:00 p.m., with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each, and at 5:00 p.m., the majority leader be recognized. the presiding officer: is there objection? without objection, so ordered. mr. sessions: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i thank senator durbin for his courtesy in allowing us to proceed and discuss issues at this point in time and wanted to recall for my colleagues we're now at 776 days since the united states senate
has found itself with a budget. we haven't passed a budget in 776 days. this is not responsible at a time in which we're having the largest deficits this country has ever seen. this year, it's projected our deficit as of september 30 when the fiscal year ends will have been $1.5 trillion. $1,500,000,000,000 deficit. so i think it's a big issue. last year, the budget committee moved a budget out to the floor of the senate and senator reid chose not to bring it up, the majority leader. this year, he declared that it would be foolish to bring up a budget to the floor, and even though he has a majority in the senate and you can pass a budget with a simple majority, it's a -- a priority item, he is
asking apparently asked and the budget committee has not even had a markup. the budget act requires a markup to be begun by april 1 and a budget to be passed by april 15 so we can go about the business of funding next year's government. but when you do that, you need a budget. states have budgets, cities have budgets, counties have budgets. no city, county or state that i'm aware of is anything like close to borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend as this united states congress is doing. we're spending $3.7 trillion. we're taking in $2.2 trillion. that's a stunning number, and one reason we're so out of control is we don't have a budget. so i have been harping away at
that, and i have been talking about the -- its impact on jobs. rogoff-rhine hard -- reinhart study makes it clear that when your debt reaches 90% of the economy, the entire economy of the country equal to that much debt, that your growth drops on average 1%. really, it's above that in median numbers, i believe. but at any rate, 1%. so we had 1.8% growth the first quarter. could we have had 2.8%? we're talking about more than 30% reduction in our growth and 1% in growth in our economy equals to the creation of one million jobs. so that is the kinds of things i have been talking about and going into some detail and have been unhappy and disappointed
that my majority leader would have the gall to attack the house members -- let's see. i think i have a chart here. we don't want to forget this number. it's a pretty big number. i had planned to have that here, and my fabulous staff will give it to me. it's 776. that's how long it's been since we have had a budget. so i have complained about that, and i felt like my good friend, senator reid -- he's got the toughest job in washington. being majority leader in the senate, i don't know how you do it, but you have to lead. as my wife says to me, don't blame me. you asked for the job. well, he asked for the job, to be a leader. he announced that it was foolish for us to have a budget just a few weeks ago. when will we ever have one
gruesomably? so just today, earlier this morning, i guess he got a little tired of my harping. he said -- quote -- "i heard my friend, our ranking member on the budget committee" -- that's me -- quote -- "come here and talk for hours and what he is talking about has no bearing on what i think is important to the country today, and that is we know that the republicans have put forward a budget that destroys medicare." well, the republicans didn't destroy medicare. give me a break. and that's not the only problem we have got facing the country. medicare's going broke and we need to do something about it to save it. that is true. but there are big issues here, and one of them is the surging debt that erskine bowles, appointed by president obama to
head the fiscal commission testified before the budget committee just a few weeks ago and said we are facing the most predictable economic crisis in our nation's history. this has the potential to put us into another double-dip recession, the economy is not doing well. the things i have been talking about do have bearing on the future of our country, and i'm disappointed my good friend the democratic leader doesn't agree. housing prices continue to drop. they are expected to go down another 5% or 6% this year. we thought we had hit the bottom on housing. gasoline is still close to $4 a gallon. unemployment just went up. we had a most meager increase in 54,000 jobs last month. you need to have about 200,000 to actually reduce unemployment. as a result, unemployment went up. it's the lowest and worst job
numbers we have had in some time. so the debt, the economy, gasoline prices, jobs, those are matters that have no bearing on what is important to our country. i think they have a bearing on what's important. what does the majority leader believe? what does he think we should be doing? this bill that we have been fiddling with for weeks that have no monumental, significant ability to alter the debt trajectory that's taking us on a most predictable course to fiscal disaster, that's what we need to be addressing. it's the most important issue facing our country, of that i have no doubt. i don't think anybody has any doubt. listen to the news programs, listen to the business channels, read your newspaper. the debt that we're facing is -- is critical to our country. the instability of our
entitlement programs like medicare are issues that we have got to talk about. we can't deny that. and so we have opposition here to doing things that make sense. like producing more oil and gas so we have a permitorium, a blocking of permits for oil and gas off our shore presumably so we can buy more oil and gas produced offshore in brazil or nigeria or venezuela but not off our shores. transferring our wealth abroad, it could be creating jobs and tax revenue for the united states government. but what about this medicare problem? let me just talk about it because it's a part, it's one of the difficulties we have got to deal with. certainly not the only one. the biggest problem we have is discretionary spending that's out of control, not medicare right now, not social security
right now. in the last two years under president obama, nondefense -- not defense, nondefense discretionary spending, not social security, not medicare, went up 24%. at a time when the deficits have been $1.2 trillion, been $1.2 trillion, $1.3 trillio n, this year $1.5 trillion perhaps. we have never had deficits that large, and the problem is it's systemic, and we have never had this kind of challenge. and i know there was a big fight in the mid 1990's and government was shut down and newt gingrich and his team fought and said they wanted to balance the budget and they balanced the budget. the country didn't sink into the ocean as that little shutdown occurred, but they balanced the budget. but now we're in a much deeper hole.
i'm telling you, i have looked at the numbers. i'm the ranking member of the budget committee. it's not easy for us to get out of this fix, not easy at all. it's going to take some real effort and leadership, and the president submits a budget that came before the congress and was voted 97-0 down. not a single member voted for his budget that would have doubled the debt over the next ten years, made it worse than the baseline we were already on, which was utterly unsustainable. so is medicare something that absolutely cannot be discussed because it's going into default? let me say to you what some of our democratic leaders have said about medicare. steny hoyer, he is the house whip, one of the top leaders in the house of representatives -- democratic leader in the house.
he said this, "do i believe that there are other things we can do related to medicare? the answer is, i do. i'm not going to get into articulating each one, but my expectation is they will be under discussion by the biden group." they have a little secret group down there meeting in the bhows with some republicans and white house, and we're supposed to all relax now because they're going to solve our problems and put it on a silver platter for us, and we're just going to vote for it, and it will be good for the country. i'm a little dubious about it, but i'm anxious to hear what they're going to produce. the longer they wairkts the more critical our situation is. what about the house minority leader, former speaker, nancy pelosi? she was on larry kudlow's cnbc business channel. mr. kudlow is very articulate
moderator and he asked this question, "is medicare on the table? are entitlements on the table?" he said to the former speaker, pell low sivment answer, "yes, i think medicare son the table. "quhation about president obama and his health care summit on february 25? of last year. "almost all of the long-term deficit and debt that we face relating to the exploding cost of medicare and medicaid." close quote. that's his direct quote, the president of the united states. it goes on, "almost all of it -- that is the single biggest driver of our federal debt and if we don't get control over that, we can't get control of our federal budget." what about former president bill clinton? i guess maybe the spiritual head
of the democratic party, one of the most respected democrats. quote, "i am afraid that the democrats will draw the conclusion that we shouldn't do anything. i completely disagree with that. the democrats may have to give up some short-term political gain by whipping up fear. if it is a reasonable social security program, if it is a reasonable medicare proposal, you cannot have health care devour our economy." close quote. well, that's the truth. of course we've got to talk about it, because it's -- it's on an unsustainable path. let me talk a little bit more about that because congressman ryan and i wrote a letter to the president today asking him to do his duty with regard to medicare on a matter that just came up. so on may 13, the medicare trustees issued their annual report on the financial status
of the medicare program. medicare is a trust fund. they have trustees that are committed to preserving the program, trying to make sure they can pay the recipients what they've been promised in the years to come and to make sure the money is well-handled. okay? they do annual reports on this massive program. the medicare hospital trust fund -- that's the h.i., the medicare hospital trust fund -- ran an annual cash-flow deficit of $32.3 billion last year in 2010 and will continue to run deficits throughout the decade. that's what the trustees say about medicare. they went ton say this. "the medicare trust fund will become insolvent in 2024, five
years earlier than last year's date of exhaustion." can you imagine that? they redid the numbers, and they have concluded that it's going to be in default, being insolvent five years sooner than they were predicting just last year. they went on to say, "if current law remains unchanged, medicare's unfunded obligation is $24.4 trillion over the next 75 years." in other words to put this on a sound basis, investing today, you'd need $24.4 trillion. like last year, the nonpartisan chief actuary for the medicare-medicaid services, richard foster, used his statement of actuarial opinion
at the end of the report to warn -- quote -- "the financial projections shown in this report for medicare do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program ormses in either the -- operations in either the short range as a result of the unsustainable reductions in physician payment rates or in the long range because of the strong likelihood that statutory reductions and price updates for most categories of medicare provider services will not be viable." close quote. on may 20, a week after the trustees' report was released, the chief actuary, mr. foster, produced his i will us will tr e projections. those estimates indicate it is under a more likely scenario for
future spending, medicare's unfunded obligations is $36 trillion over the next 75 years. a figure that's far larger than the official trustees' estimate of $24 trillion. mr. foster has been there a long time. he is a very serious man. he understands his responsibility to tell us the truth. he understands the responsibility to medicare recipients, and he's telling us we need to do something about medicare. it goes on. "the trustees projected that the total medicare spending will draw more than 45% of its funding out of the treasury's general fund in 2011." a lot of people think that medicare is funded by the medicare tax we pay on our paycheck, the withholding taxes that are paid. and that's a significant amount of money, no doubt about it.
but the medicare trustees just reported to us that they will -- the total money that they spend of that amount 45% is funding directly out of the general funds, general tax revenues, not the payroll beholding. as a consequence for the sixth dpleer a row, they say -- 2006 through 2011 -- the trustees made an "excess general revenue medicare funding determination." two consecutive "excess general revenue medicare funding determinations trigger a medicare funding warning." this medicare warning requires that the president submit a legislative proposal to address this crisis within 15 days of
his next budget. so -- well, for six years we've been running that apparently. president bush submitted a proposal when he was president to deal with the shortfall in medicare, but the democratic majority in both houses, i guess, at the time, failed to act on it, do anything about it. but now we've gone further and deeper into debt. so the trustees issue add medicare funding warning for the fifth consecutive time in their report this year, 2007-2011. president obama has not responded. so who cares about the medicare? i think all of us do. but does anyone dispute that the trustees, the people that are statutorily required by law to
superintend this fund don't care about it, aren't worried about the recipients? they have a lawful obligation to try to ensure that the program is on a sound basis. your honor the medicare prescription drug bill that was passed here in 1973, congress established the medicare trigger to call attention to the program's growing fiscal imbalance. if, in their rorkts the medicare trustees project that medicare will draw more than 45% of its funding out of the treasury's general fund within a seven-year period, the trustees must make and -- quote -- "excess general revenue medicare funding determination." by law-to-two consecutive excess revenue general funding determinations produce a medicare funding warning triggering action by the
president. under public law, u.s. code, the president is required to submit legislation -- submit legislation -- to who? the congress, us. -- in response to a funding warning within 15 days of the next budget and the proposal would then receive expedited consideration in congress. so when we have this 45% level breached, the president is supposed to submit us a plan and we're supposed to give it expedited attention. why? because medicare is important. that's why. and when it's not on a sound financial basis, congress has the responsibility to do something about it, not do nothing. not criticize somebody like congressman ryan, who proposed a sound, well-thought-out long-term approach to medicare. if may not be the one that i
would agree with or other members would agree with, but no one can doubt, in my opinion, that it was a serious, thoughtful effort that would have put medicare on a sound footing. but if it's not plan we want, let's have another one. what's the president's plan? that's the one that's required by law-to-, to submit a plan. while medicare funding warning has been issued each year since he has taken office, president obama has failed to submit a single proposal to congress in visa sponse to the warnings. -- in response to th to the war. so i join today with congressman paul ryan, young chairman of the house budget committee -- nobody
has worked harder, nobody is smarter, nobody loves his country more, nobody is prepared to stand before the american people, explain what he thinks is best for the country and be prepared to defend it with facts, with integrity, with responsibility; what a refreshing face and ability he is. i've come to have the greatest admiration for him. and so what happened to congressman ryan? he helped write this budget. and part of the budget, after ten years, he proposed some changes to medicare that would put it on a sound footing. well, when we came over to the senate, where is the senate budget? the house has produced a budget. it reduces spending in the short run and had a responsible approach to dealing with some of the long-term entitlement issues that threaten us in the long
term. it was a sound program. -- it was a sound program that the congressman had. and i thought -- but we could disagree. so we're looking forward what would happen over here. well, the majority leader said we think it's foolish to have a budget. we're not having a budget. don't let the budget committee commence its hearings. we haven't even begun a markup in budget committee. we don't have a budget. so we're having secret talks. a committee, you have to stand up before the world, offer amendments, debate the issues, express your views. you can't hide. it's on the record. they take down your words. you can meet in the white house and you can just talk over there and talk. so i don't know what's going to happen out of that. i'm nervous about it, frankly. i'd rather to us do it by the regular order. maybe something goodwill come out of it. i'm not going to prejudge it. if it's good, i'm going to celebrate. if it's not good, i'm going to
oppose it. so we wrote the president today, and we called on him to show some leadership. we noted that the trustees have projected that revenues would be more than 45% for the sixth consecutive year. they've issued a funding warning that requires within -- the president to submit a legislative proposal. he knew this was coming. everybody -- the numbers have been there for several years. they knew it was coming. he's supposed to submit a legislative proposal to get medicare on the right track. you'll raise taxes, cut benefits, you're going to ration care, are you going to create a more competitive system that does the job with a little less money. what are you going to do? what's your plan?
so, as chairman of the ranking member as house of the senate committees respectively, we are deeply disappointed that the administration continues to ignore this legal obligation in 2008 the previous administration submitted a proposal to congress that took steps to address medicare's fiscal imbalance. your administration has not provided a response to the medicare trigger, ignoring the law in each of the past three years. this year your budget did not even acknowledge the existence of the medicare funding warning. mr. president, i think i had here -- my staff did -- some papers from the medicare trustees. far from saying we shouldn't do anything about medicare, far
from saying no changes are necessary in medicare, the trustees have pleaded with us in their reports. the trustees' chief actuary has noted that in his official reports to us, said do something, congress. this cannot continue. so, here we are, we're going down the road with debt the likes of which the nation has never seen before. the gross debt of our country is now 93%, 94%. by the end of the year it will be 100% of g.d.p. i mention when you get to that level of debt, your growth goes down. and growth means loss of jobs.
you're not creating the jobs you should have. how serious is our debt situation? well, look at the chart for those around the world. greece is in this critical crisis, is above 100% there. 142%. their debt equals 142% of their kpheurbgs and -- of their economy and they are in a state of virtual collapse. experts say they're not going to be able to work their way out of it. i hope that's not true. what about ireland? ireland, the pigs as they call them, these countries that are also in debt, what's there? 96%, two or three percent higher than ours. they're second in the european union. portugal is next. you've heard about portugal being in financial trouble.
their debt to g.d.p. 183%. spain, you've heard them talked about as being in trouble financially. their debt to g.d.p., gross debt is 60%. we're well above that. i'm worried about the country. what's critical now is we need a budget to contain spending now. we need to demonstrate a commitment to reform the unsustainable path of entitlement spending. and we need to do it in a way that focuses on creating economic growth and jobs in this country. growth and jobs. that's what our future should be focused on. i'm confident that this country is not -- has not seen its best days, but we are on a path of decline now. i truly believe it. i hate to say it, but our
policies, if they are not changed, will lead inevitably to economic decline, as witness as witness has told us. how do we get out of it? we send a message to ourselves and the world. we got the message. we're reducing spending and putting us on a path to a balanced budget. we also know it's not just short term. it's long term. many of these unsustainable programs need to be changed and strengthened. the way to do that is to make the changes now. you will have massive impact in the years to come. modest changes now will be good. so those are the things that i think are important. those are the things i think should be talked about. those are the things i think my good friend, mr. reid apparently thinks is not important because he said -- he's come down here and talked for an hour, and he
keeps talking about things that really have no bearing on what i sympathy important for our country today. i submit to my colleagues and the american people, are the things i'm talking about important? are they not? he wanted to talk about how the republicans have put forth a plan to destroy medicare. that's what the majority leader wants to talk about. change the subject. well, i wish it weren't so. i wish medicare was healthy. i wish it had the money to continue to honor the commitments that we made and want to continue to honor in the years to come. but it's not. it's just not. we don't have the money to continue it at this rate, and it's not impossible, though, to fix it. and it's even more possible to fix social security. medicare is a little harder than
social security, but both of these can be fixed and made permanent and sound. we just need to talk to the medicare trustees. we need to be honest with one another and see how we can reinstruct or refigure -- reconstruct or refigure what we do here to make those plans solid. but that's just one part of the problem. in the immediate time we've got to reduce spending across the board and discretionary spending. i really think we have to. i wish it weren't so, but it is. governors are doing it. this congress has done nothing of the sort. indeed, as i mentioned, last two years discretionary spending, non-defense has gone up 24%. did defense went up -- defense went up, it was up 2% or 3% a year for the last few years. non-defense went up 24%.
so, mr. president, i thank the chair for giving me the opportunity to share these remarks. i can't tell you how deeply i believe that our nation is on a perilous course that needs to change. i want to say again i have great affection for my friend,. mr. reid:, he's got a tough -- mr. sessions: i have great affection for my friend senator reid, but he asked for it. when the country is in financial crisis, we expect the majority leader of the united states senate to effectively lead and not to attack people who are trying to do the right thing and to bring this country on to a sound path. and to say it's foolish to have a budget, what he meant was it's foolish politically. he was saying it's foolish politically to have a budget. it's not foolish for america not
to have a budget. it's foolish for america not to have one. certainly not foolish to attempt to have one. i just feel like we in this congress haven't quite assimilated the severity of the situation in which we find ourselves. we remain in denial about how seriously we are being impacted and what substantial changes are going to be necessary. we're going to have to do like the brits, who are turning their country around. we knife do like this did in estonian, to the estonian people, cabinet members took a 40% pay cut. i don't know whether that would happen around here if we talked about taking a 40% pay cut. their debt to g.d.p. is 7%, not 94%. they intend to keep it that way.
and their growth succombing back already. they were telling us they had a 6% growth. our gross was 1.8%. if we do the right things, get this country on the right path, reduce our spending, watch every dollar we spend, make our country more productive, focus on creating jobs and growth, the natural capabilities, work ethic, integrity legal system of america will allow us to continue to be the most prosperous nation in the world. i thank the chair and would yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: ident?
the presiding officer: the senator from alabama. mr. sessions: i would ask that the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, i would offer into the record the letter that congressman ryan and i have submitted to the president today dealing with the medicare warning and the need for a statutory response to that. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. sessions: mr. president, i note the absence -- i would yield the floor and note the
the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i would ask unanimous consent to vacate the quorum call. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: mr. president, i would ask unanimous consent that senator coats, who is on the floor, that he and i be allowed up to 15 minutes to pursue a discussion about tax reform as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. wyden: thank you, madam chair. senator coats and i have introduced bipartisan tax reform
legislation. it is the first comprehensive overhaul of tax reform law in 25 years, since 1986, when then-president reagan and democrats got together and worked on a bipartisan reform that cleaned out scores of special interest tax breaks in order to hold down rates for all americans and keep progressivity. and senator coats and i, having worked also with senator gregg, i had that good fortune for a number of years; have picked up on some of what was done in 1986 by president reagan and a large group of democrats. and he and i intend in the days ahead to come to the floor of the senate and talk about some of the most offensive aspects of our totally dysfunctional tax system. and today we thought we would
begin by discussing the alternative minimum tax. it seems to be pretty much the poster child for what is broken about the american tax system. it was enacted in 1969 after the congress learned that three years earlier 155 wealthy taxpayers had paid no tax at all. the alternative minimum tax was designed to hit what amounted to a small group, really a tiny group of tax evaders and not the millions of middle-class taxpayers that get shellacked by the a.m.t. every single springtime. the problem has been that congress never indexed the a.m.t. brackets for inflation while the regular tax brackets, standard deductions do get adjusted for inflation, the brackets and exemptions of the alternative minimum tax do not. as a result, millions of middle-class taxpayers whose only fault is their incomes grew with the economy now slip into
this nefarious alternative minimum tax zone each year. and i would be interested for purposes of starting this colloquy to get the reaction of my friend and partner on it. we're going to bring up a number of these aspects of the tax system that indicate, that really cry out for overall reform. but i wonder what my friend's sense is about starting today with the alternative minimum tax and how important it is that reform is done there for the middle-class folks in indiana and around the country. mr. coats: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from indiana. mr. coats: i want to thank my colleague from oregon, senator wyden, for working with me and particularly working for senator gregg, who is now retired from this chamber. but they spent an extraordinary amount of time, very productive
time but very time-consuming time trying to put together a comprehensive tax reform, which as senator wyden has said, has been 25 years since we have tackled the tax code to try to simplify it, to try to take out egregious things that have been put in there over the years that may benefit a special few but don't begin to address the average taxpayer, the middle-income taxpayer who is bearing a very substantial burden of taxes paid in this country. probably the most egregious provision in there, as senator wyden said, the poster child for the current dysfunction of the tax code in our tax system is the alternative minimum tax. senator wyden and senator gregg, the program that they put together -- and senator gregg urged me as i was coming into the senate and he was leaving, to work with senator wyden in terms of keeping this bipartisan
effort going forward. and i've had the pleasure of doing so. we do have a comprehensive bill that we would like to debate and share with our colleagues. but we also want to point out the reason why tax reform is so necessary. a tax code that now comprises of more than 70,000 pages with more than 10,000 special exemptions and preferences is certainly something that is way beyond our founders' intention or any intention of taxation of the american people. and the complexity of this is literally driving everybody nuts, including the tax accountants and cpa's and those who have to deal with it every year. but more importantly, the tax filers, american citizens who each year start getting the sweats along about mid-march in terms of how they're going to get their tax return done. and if they try to do it themselves kh-rbgs they ought to be able to do, and which under
wyden-coats, in the past wyden-coats would give them the simplicity of reduced rates, easy filing information, and the ability to do their taxes at home. we spend an extraordinary amount of money -- i think it's nearly -- americans spend nearly $6 billion a year to have tax preparers prepare their tax returns. the alternative minimum tax is particularly egregious, as senator wyden has said. it's grossly unfair. it hammers working americans. the temporary fix that congress has added in subsequent years from its initiation now protects individuals with incomes up to $48,000-plus and couples up to $74,000-plus. but taxpayers who earn more than that get totally whacked by the
a.m.t., the alternative minimum tax. and the problem just gets worse. as senator wyden has said, it started with just a few taxpayers trying to evade taxes and not paying -- in the high-income brackets not paying any tax. that's how that came into play. but in 1997, several years later, from the initiation, the a.m.t. has hit 1% of all taxpayers. and next year, after this current fix expires, it will hurt more than 20% of taxpayers. and to be exact, that is 34 million hardworking americans. it's a poor fix that is currently in place on a temporary basis. in my state of indiana, 42,700 taxpayers had to pay a.m.t. taxness 2008. and without another extension of the patch, or the fix, that will rise to 372,000 in 2012.
if you are a family with a number of children, if you live in a high-tax state or local tax state, you are thrown into the alternative minimum tax computation. that means a double process by which you or your preparer has to file your taxes. and it means higher taxes never intended to hit the working class. continuing this, i would like to just reaffirm my thanks to the senator from oregon for allowing me to be part of this effort. and we look forward to many opportunities to discuss some of the more egregious portions of the tax code and reasons why we need to continue to work for comprehensive reform. and so i would ask my colleague if he would delve a little more deeply into this colloquy that we currently are undertaking.
mr. wyden: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. wyden: i hope that folks paying at toepbgs this tax -- paying attention to this tax reform debate picks up on what senator coats has just described. whaet -- when the alternative minimum tax was just debated, the country was talking about 1 55 people, wealthy folks who were paying no tax at all. and what senator coats has just described was next year what started as a program to try to make sure that 155 people didn't end up getting a sweetheart deal, that now we're going to see 34 million people crushed by this inequitable kind of tax, sort of bureaucratic water torture. we've got some of the same numbers in oregon that senator coats has in indiana. in 2008, 44,000 taxpayers had to
pay the alternative minimum tax. without some kind of extension, or as senator coats and i essentially want to do, abolish the alternative minimum tax, it's going to rise to 400,000 next year. and the people that are getting hammered by this alternative minimum tax certainly don't fit that small class of the so-called free loading, wealthy folks who are figuring out ways to pay nothing. for example, a woman who earns $65,000 in 2010 will say she phaepbgz a health -- she managing a health club, has three kids, had to file independent of her husband because they are in the middle of a divorce. as someone married, filing separately, she would have been hit by the a.m.t. in 2010, according to the american institute of certified public
accountants. think about that. a woman who manages a health club making $65,000 with three kids, is filling out her taxes twice and going through the unbelievable headaches being singled out under the alternative minimum tax. and i just ask my friend from indiana, is that woman who is managing a health club in oregon -- and i'm sure you have very similar people in indiana -- is that the kind of person that the alternative minimum tax was designed to scoop up back in 1969? mr. coats: absolutely not, i would say to the senator from oregon. clearly if you go back to the origin of the alternative minimum tax, it was designed to go after those handful, in comparison to the total number of taxpayers in this country, those handful that found creative ways to avoid paying any taxes whatsoever. wealthy taxpayers had simply been able to manipulate the tax
code in a way legally, but in a way that allowed them to avoid paying taxes altogether. and that's how all of this started. but what has happened is we are now in a situation where it is grossly unfair to the majority of taxpayers in this country simply because they fall in categories that throw them into having to be -- having the a.m.t. calculated in their tax returns. and it's costing them a lot of money. it was never intended to address the middle-class taxpayer. and it has grown exponentially since it started. mr. wyden: would you agree that the difficulty of projecting your a.m.t. tax liability makes it tough for our taxpayers to compute their estimated tax payments and creates a situation that just because of its complexity, they can get hit with penalties.
i think the reason that oregonians are concerned about this -- and we've heard about it in the senate finance committee -- is the a.m.t. is essentially a separate tax system with its own tax rates and deduction rules which are less generous than regular rates and regular rules. this sort of contributes to the tax filing nightmare. the only way you can tell if you owe the alternative minimum tax is by filling out the forms or by being audited by the alternative revenue service. if it turns out you should have paid and you didn't, you owe back taxes plus any interest and penalty the i.r.s. wants to dole out. my request is: how in the world, i would ask my good friend, how in the world is a typical taxpayer going to be able to make sense out of something like that, which i will tell you lots of accountants tell me they can't even sort through? mr. coats: the senator from
oregon is exactly right. i took three tax courses in law school. i can't do my taxes with any assurance that i'm doing it right because the code has become so incredibly complicated. and the alternative minimum tax adds a different set of calculations that could make it even more complicated. today 80% of the tax filers have to get help to file their taxes. 80%. 20% of those buy software and hook it into their computer and try to work through it that way. 60% take it to a professional. now, if you're not working as a professional in a career as a cpa or a tax return specialist, you cannot keep up with this 70,000 pages in these 10-,000 plus exemptions and the
complexity of filing a return. it should not in any sense of the matter be a tax collection system that requires 80% of our taxpayers to have to seek professional help at a significant cost, as i think i indicated earlier, $6 billion a year are spent on transferring money from the tax recipient, the person taeug the taxes -- paying the taxs to someone just to prepare their returns. small businesses face a similar problem. small businesses don't have the big back room with the hired accountants and others to handle all their paperwork. small business men and women have to be out front selling the product and have to be talking to the customer. and yet, they now also are caught up in this web of complexity in terms of how to file their taxes. and they are having to ed