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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 26, 2011 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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just come in legally. >> host: to that end we'll get a response from joshua keating. go ahead. >> guest: well, you know, i don't think that, you know, obviously, expelling the number of illegal immigrants in this country is really practical in the long term. there's thousands of people here sort of an intrical part of our economy right now. it's hard to say, you know, we can kick people out. obviously, reform is needed. and there are going to be differing proposals on that. but, you know, a lot of what's discussed in this bathe is prevention, in terms of security and putting more agents on the border and putting fences which i don't think is a long-term solution to the problem. >> host: this is what michele bachmann had to say during the debate taking a hard line on the mexican border issue. >> we leave this conversation now. you can find it online at c-span.org to take you back live to the reagan building for the
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vice chief of staff for the u.s. army, general peter chiarelli. >> well, good afternoon. thank you, sir, for that kind introduction. i'm truly grateful for the opportunity to join you all. congressman edwards, i know you're here someplace, sir. it's great to see you, sir. this is truly a terrific forum. i've always gotten some feedback and it's focused on a very, very important issue and that is the reintegration of america's servicemen and servicewomen and in particular those serving in the reserve components. as vice chief of staff of the army, i deal with a wide array of programs and problems. simply stated, i'm the guy who's supposed to worry about everything. and i worry about it. and as you might imagine, i worry about a lot of different stuff. that said, there is no question that my number 1 priority is the
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health and well-being of the force. the rest is important. network, to our fleet of combat vehicles and other equipment. cost-saving initiatives for sure. however, unlike the navy and air force, which are platform-centric and i'm not in any way knocking the navy or the air force. i'm just saying they are more platform-centric, the united states army is, in fact, people-centric. we're a people-centric force. and the rest simply won't matter if our people aren't cared for properly. what i'd like to do this afternoon is discuss a couple of challenges related to the health and well-being of our soldiers, army civilians and family members and then i'll open it up for questions. i'd like to hear from you. what issues do you see from your perspective? what ideas do you have that might help us all? i'd like to start the discussion by showing you a slide with
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three pictures. if i ask you which of these soldiers suffered an injury while serving in iraq or afghanistan, how would you answer? email, in the middle left lost a leg. has been replaced with a prosthesis, the young man on the left suffered burns, more than 40% of his body has undergone several reconstructive surgeries. what about the soldier on the right? most will probably conclude he's one of the lucky ones who came home unscathed. but that's not the case. reality is this individual represents many. like him, who are suffering from the invisible wounds of post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. these injuries are affecting a significant portion of our population. in fact, as of 1 september, 66%
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of our most seriously wounded soldiers were suffering from post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury. i frequently refer to them as signature wounds of this war. and the fact is there are many, many others affected who are not enrolled in our army wounded warrior program or have yet to be diagnosed. we must get a handle on this. the reality is as we continue to draw down in iraq and eventually in afghanistan, we're going to see more and more individuals return home. and stay home for more than 12 to 14 months. many of them dealing with physical and behavioral health injury. including depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress. of course, we must also consider the possibility that the current wars will end but a requirement will still exist for large ground forces deployed to other
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locations around the world. i carry a chart around with me called the failed assumptions chart. it shows the numerous times over the past 10 years when we've made assumptions either about the war or projected structure reductions and been wrong and i'm here to tell you we've been wrong 100% of the time. as the saying goes, expect the unexpected. you must also be prepared to a scenario due to an unforeseen contingency requiring ground forces demand remains high and our soldiers, many of them dealing with physical and behavioral health issues don't have the time. they desperately need to rest and recover. we need to find ways to help them as well. now, take a look at this next chart. as i mentioned, the vast majority of our wounded warriors, our wounded soldiers are suffering from post-traumatic stress or brain injury and most of us don't recognize these injuries when we
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look at the pictures i showed you. in fact, the injuries we believe are most common, namely amputations and burns, only represent 10% and 2% of the population respectfully. the truth is, because we cannot see these injuries affecting the brain, they don't receive the same level of focus and attention as amputations, burns, shrapnel, injuries and other readily visible wounds. there is simply a bias. i really mean that. there is a bias. they're conscious or subconscious of visible wounds and injuries versus those that are not visible. i would be careful in qualifying that bias. it's everywhere including in the medical community. part of it i believe lack of understanding the physiology of these injuries and they are, in fact, real, no kidding injuries.
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no different than bullet wounds, amputations or severe burns. that is why nearly everywhere i go i give a tanker's explanation of these injuries. i will spare you that today. a big part of the challenge is the comorbidity of symptoms. both post-traumatic stress and brain injury may display simply including concentration problems, irritability, personality changes and memory impairment. we need to better understand how to differentiate between them and most effectively treat them. recognizing that it may be -- that it may very well make matters worse if an individual is misdiagnosed. certainly, the lack of improvement or in some cases the worsening of symptoms can be incredibly frustrating for the patient and for his family members, and underline family members. another challenge we're seeing with respect to injuries of the
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brain is the latency of symptoms. unlike a broken leg or a shrapnel leg injury and may be treated or healed in a relatively short period of time, the latency of symptoms that is common to brain injuries often results in diagnosis and treatment. unfortunately, the period between when the injury is incurred and when it is actually diagnosed and treated properly can be fraught with related symptoms such as irritability, problems concentrating, anxiety and depression. and from the onset of whatever the element, whatever the incident is that causes post-traumatic stress that it takes 12 years before someone seeks treats. 12 years and a bunch of bad stuff happens in that 12-year
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interval. most of our bright men and women in had academic, dod and government as a whole are working tirelessly in this important area. together over the past decade, we've made tremendous progress in what has been largely uncharted territory with the development of effective protocols we put in place down range, new treatment and imaging methods, therapies, technologies, and protective devices. we've also made great strides within our own ranks, we've established a pain management task force and campaign plan to adopt best practices army wide. we've issued much-needed guidance, critical areas such as polypharmacy management and in pain management. medcom, our medical command changed several policies regarding the number prescription medications and the duration for which a prescription may be considered
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valid or legitimate. these important changes have led to a decreased use prescription medication. specifically, narcotics and psychotropic medicines across our force. at walter reed, for example, transition units and narcotic usage has decreased from over 80% to 8.5% in the last year and a half, among our wounded warriors. now, this is a good news story and we're doing our best to replicate it at other army installations. the problem is having people who are trained in alternative pain management who can work these reductions. this type of challenge will help us to decrease the number of accidental overdoses, medication diversion and drug abuse. these are important elements of the army medical department's holistic pain management campaign plan. overall, we've made great progress and although i could
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talk for hours about the tremendous effort by individuals and organizations, that's not to say there aren't problems or areas where there's still significant room for improvement. the reality is, we as a department and as a nation will be dealing with the symptoms and effects of these injuries for decades to come. make no mistake, this is where your money will be spent. if you're one of those people that's the only thing that turns you on, okay, this is where it's going to be spent. you look at those numbers, you look at 66% of my most severely wounded soldier who have traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, that is where you'll be spending your money. this should be familiar to you, we learned many lessons coming out of vietnam. we all have seen veterans
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penniless, homeless, living under bridges. that was and is unacceptable. the reality is, these are not new injuries or injuries unique to this war. they've been around since before the civil war. and we know this from research that's been done on the topic of post-traumatic stress. for those of you who have not seen it, i highly encourage you to watch the hbo documentary "war torn: 1861-2010" it provides an amazing account on the impact of injuries of individuals in past wars. the segment of film with a group of world war ii vets that is especially interesting. particularly, for someone like me whose father fought in the war and would never talk of his experiences. now, i'd like to show you a short clip, though humorous, also gets to an important point in my opinion, part of a routine
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by the late comedian george carli carlin. >> i don't like words that hide the truth. i don't like words that conceal reality or uism an american english is loaded is euphemisms. americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. americans have trouble facing the truth. so they invent the kind of soft language that protect themselves from it. and it gets worse with every generation. for some reason it just keeps getting worse. i'll give you an example of that. there's a condition in combat, most people know about it. it's when a fighting person's nervous system has been stressed to its absolute peak and maximum. can't take any more input. the nervous system has either snapped or is about to snap. in the first world war that condition was called shell shock. simple, honest, direct language, too syllables. shell shock. almost sounds like the guns
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themselves. that was 70 years ago. then a whole generation went by and then the second world war came along and the very same combat condition was called battle fatigue. four syllables. it takes a little longer to say. it doesn't seem to hurt as much. fatigue is a nicer word than shock. shell shocked. battle fatigue. [laughter] >> then we had the war in korea in 1950. madison avenue was riding high by that time. and the very same combat condition was called operational exhaustion. [laughter] >> hey, we're up to eight syllables now. and the humanity has been squeezed completely out of the phrase. it's totally sterile now, operational exhaustion. it sounds like something that might happen to your car. [laughter] >> and then, of course, came the war in vietnam, which has only been over for about 16 or 17 years. and thanks to the lies and defeats surrounding that war i guess it's no surprise that the
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very same condition was called post-traumatic stress disorder. still eight syllables but we added a hyphen. [laughter] >> and the pain is completely buried under jargon. post-traumatic stress disorder. i betcha if we still called it shell shocked some of those vietnam veterans might have gotten the attention that they needed at the time. i betcha. [applause] >> so the person who tried to educate america about battle fatigue after world war ii was none other than audi murphy. audi murphy got hooked on a sleeping pill called perkdill and locked himself in a hotel room over a week so he could get himself off it and he went around the nation to veterans groups talking about what was called battle fatigue back then. he did not have a lot of success in rags awareness.
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now, overcome the stigma that exists related to these invisible wounds and to avoid the same outcome on the other side of this war, we must continue to study and learn while raising awareness of programs and support services put in place to ensure the men and women who selflessly serve our country are cared for properly in the event they are injured or in need of help. and as the focus of this forum highlights, this is particularly important as it pertains to our reserve component soldier. the reality is we're able to more effectively influence those soldiers serving on active duty and help to mitigate the stressors affecting them. conversely it's much more difficult to do so in the case of individuals not serving on active duty because as you well-known they are geographically removed from a support network provided by military installation. they lack the ready camaraderie of fellow soldiers and daily oversight and hands-on assistance from members of chain
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of command, experienced while serving on active duty and in many cases these soldiers have limited or reduced access to care and services. meanwhile, they're more vulnerable to the challenges of an adverse economy and a troubled labor market, especially, for our young people. we are continuing to work this issue very, very hard. and we're not going to rest until we figured out how to bridge the divide in the reserve component. we're looking for further ways to expand the reach and accessibility to services that are positively impacting the lives of soldiers serving on active duty and their families. this is an absolute priority. that said, we recognize that the best long-term solutions are at the local level. with the citizens of our nation's community, towns and cities, support networks, colleges and universities, foundations, industry and health
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care groups. there are private-public faith based, governmental and nongovernmental organizations whose sole desire is to care for veterans and their families. members of the military to include senior leaders like me are limited by law in what we can and cannot do with respect to supporting our promoting these organizations. we rely on others to help spread the word and rally around our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, our marines and our coast guardmen so when a young men and women leaves the military and returns home to duluth, minnesota, or des moines, iowa, we can be certain they will be embraced by the community, given the support to reintegrate back into the lives of those they left behind. i'll quickly mention one final topic and then open it up for questions and discussion. as i mentioned, after nearly a decade of war, our soldiers are feeling the effects and many will be dealing with the
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injuries they sustained for decades to come. and this clearly represents a readiness issue. consider, january of 2008, the number of soldiers in the army's disability evaluation system or des has increased 169%. so right around 20,000. the reality is that number is actually probably closer to double that factor if you figure in the number of soldiers who are not yet enrolled in pes but are nonetheless not deployable with either temporary or permanent medical profile. some people are going to be given a p4. they will get which is a permanent profile. they will have that profile for up to six months. they will heal and they will enter back into that portion of the service we can deploy. others won't. they will remain in that population and finally enter the des. you take 40,000 soldiers out of the active end strength of the united states army, that is one
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of the effects of 10 years of war. that's what happens. you have ask 1% of the population to five a 10-year war. meanwhile, the average time it takes to get an active duty soldier through the disability system is 373 days. needless to say, this is too long. and the system is complex, disjointed and confusing. dod continuing to work closely with the department of veterans affairs. along with the military services to make needed improvement. i will tell you that i am pleased and encouraged to see the level of co-location and collaboration to date. the new integrated disability evaluation system or ides is not perfect. however, it does represent a step in the right direction. as we work together to address the issue. all of them affect our readiness
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and we must address them accordingly not simply as an army or a department but as a nation. certainly we recognize there will be a requirement to reduce the size of our force in coming days as we work through forecasted budget cuts and the drawdown of forces of iraq and eventually in afghanistan. that said, we must make these reductions smartly. whatever the size of the army, it must remain highly trained and ready. we cannot accept anything less. as i said in the start of my remarks, history has shown us to expect the unexpected. we must always be ready and prepared when called upon to meet our obligation to the american people, and that is to fight and win our nation's wars. i appreciate the opportunity to join you. thanks to all of you for what you do each and every day and i'll be happy to answer any questions. [applause]
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>> thank you. question questions? >> general, carol, i'm a retired marine. in the panel before lunch we had a wounded warrior tell us that he thought one of the things that needed to be done was for the services medical systems to talk to one another. they don't do that today. and i know there's been a lot of work -- dod talking to va. that's still got some ways to go but what about the services talking to each other? is there any work happening in that arena? >> well, general amos is who i started with on this long journey three years ago in working the protocols we put in place down range. those protocols affect all services. general dunford is my new partner today. i don't think the relationship between the ground forces has ever been any greater and i will tell you the air force and the
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navy are, in fact, asking us and they have participated fully in the development and implementation of the protocols down range. like anything, it takes time to do those things but i think we are a lot further down the road in ensuring that as a joint force we recognize post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. but the problem, you know -- we like to point out ourselves and beat up on ourselves but the problem is the stigma associated with these things is in civilian life. i mean, it's real, okay? and i'm talking to, what, 500 people in this room today. 400 of you really get it and really believe it. there's another 100 of you saying, yeah, but not really. some of these folks are just playing the system. they're just playing the system. i know that's true. 'cause i brief every formation that leaves in the united states army and i always know there's about 10% of the folks -- it's kind of like when you talk to the reserve components. no matter how wonderful the army
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is toward the reserve components, there will always be 10% who believe they're not getting what the active component guys do and on the other side, okay, the reserves have that same problem in looking at the active component guys. i mean, it's just the way human nature works. and the stigma associated with these is very, very difficult to get people to understand when you can't see that injury. now, we can see with manying techniques -- we can see traumatic brain injury. we're starting -- at least i'm hearing in some of the research i'm seeing we can see changes in the brain with the post-traumatic stress but the comorbidity is hard. but back to your question, i think we've really come a long way in the last three or four years in all the services looking at these but that's not to say there aren't still folks out there who just don't believe they're real.
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sir? >> i'm a marine and retired, sir. one of the things that i'm wondering is there any thought afoot of coming up with some special line items to cover these costs that you're going to incur because they're going to be enormous relative to what they have been in past wars? and you still have to maintain a ready force and hardware because that line item no one is going to insist you reduce, i wouldn't think. >> you're exactly right. i mean, we're just beginning to understand the second and third order of effects of 10 years of conflict. we're just beginning to understand the second and third order effects of fighting a war for 10 years with the first all-volunteer we ever fought one. there's always been volunteers with our forces but we've never done it with all volunteers and
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we've done it with all volunteers and we asked folks to do it three, four, five, six -- i even ran into a soldier the other day who's had seven deployments. so these are real no-kidding costs that we are going to incur. i think the absolute thing i would ask this group to do is if you see anybody fighting back on brain research, you raise up like a phoenix and attack them. [laughter] >> that's really a problem, okay? get on google and find me an article where the services are criticized for not taking proper care of folks who have lost an arm or a leg or limb. you cannot find an article. all you will find is what a wonderful job we are doing with prosthetic innovation. but every week there's an article about how we're uncaring when it comes to the treatment of post-traumatic stress and
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brain injury. and i submit to you we don't have a bunch of doctors i'm only going to take care of people who lost a limb. no, they're not doing it. the problem is the science is so immature. it is so immature. there's no biomarker for a concussion, yet. we think we're about a year away to get a biomarker we can get using a device like a diabetic looks at to check blood sugar that we're going to be able to administer between two hours and 24 hours after an explosion it's going to say definitively for us that this individual has a concussion. do you know how huge that will be? to know that they have a concussion, okay, or do not have a concussion? what we need to do is to continue to push forward the research in this area and understand the brain. and i believe we'll start doing unlock a lot of our other problems. if you're familiar with what ann mckee is doing up in boston. i mean, she's looking at the
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accumulation -- the mutation of protein in the brain and people that go through significant concussive events like football players and boxers. and that also has a tie to, she thinks -- i think she likes i don't want to put words in her mouth, i have to do the doctor thing and say nothing is certain in life but it could have a direct connection to alzheimer's and what happens to folks with alzheimer's. we need to be forcing everybody to continue all the research and good stuff that's being done to understand the brain. tomography and what it does in looking at concussions. put up that slide real quick, will you, the first one about brains. yeah, this is a picture using emission tomography. three brains from three different individuals. this is part of my tankers explanation but i like it because it shows that this is a
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no-kidding injury. the brain that you're looking to -- i'm really getting old here. on your right is the normal brain. 2% of your body mass, it burns 20% of the energy created by your body. that's what it looks like when it's functionally normal, okay? 15 to 25% of the injury created by the body is burnt in that brain. the brain in the center is an individual who has been comatose for five days in a car accident, we're not missing those folks. those folks injured on the battlefield we're getting them there. and a football player hurt on a field of 100 yards long -- somebody told me it's really not 55 yards, it's 55.79 or something but let's just go with 55, okay? 55 yard wide with cameras and angles and everybody can look and doctors and everybody that
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rush out. they bring him in at half time and they say you're good to go play the second half and he plays the second half as he's dressing out that night, okay, somebody comes up to him and says, one of the trainers, listen, if you have any display any of these symptoms tomorrow morning, i want you to come in, in the emergency room. that was a pretty nasty hit you took, guess what? he went in. he goes to the doctor, explains his symptoms, they take a picture of his brain using positron emission tomography and he's walking around and that's what his brain looks like. that's a problem. ..
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he was medically retired at 70% permanent nent and he is 100% permanent total with the va. my question to you, is there in the works any system which will financially protect us when we are forced to be medically retired? for a lot of us, april, included, she was on the first panel this morning, we are getting put out of the military with your husbands unable to work and we're having to leave our jobs to take care of them. our financial future is threatened. my husband was put out at 70% permanent which is a $1300 check after four years. april's husband was, you know, put out at the same rate with a few more years in and we're having to leave our jobs too. while we wait for that va rating we're burning through our lifetime's worth of
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savings waiting for something already been decided on one side of the house. what are, we don't have any financial protections in that situation and we're at the mercy of a va system that says wait for us. is there a look at reforming that retirement wage for people who are going to be permanently medically disabled and aren't going back into the workforce? >> the whole idea, ids reform or des reform or disability evaluation reform is one that is very, very difficult for people to tackle. it's a huge issue. and i could go on for a long time but, you know, when you get a chance, come up and ask the congressmen about the reform. [laughter] there are so many anti-bodies out there that believe that any form of reform is trying to take away from soldiers that rights that they have and
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somehow after 10 years of war that the country has decided it is too expensive to do the kinds of things we're doing. we also have a system that really rewards those individuals who don't want to get better. i mean, you know, i have run into soldiers, okay, i only say soldiers, who are at the military advanced training facility who say, why should i rehabilitate now before i have gone through the va system? all i'm going to do is lower my disability rating? that to me is a flawed system. it was a system in my opinion, that was designed for a world war ii army, a totally different army. not an all-volunteer force. we need to holistically i think blow the whole thing up and start all over again. but it is probably one of the most, that's, pete chiarelli speaking. boy, that will get me in trouble, i can tell you. [laughter] i really believe it is a system that is needed to be reformed.
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>> right. >> and that i know was before the house veterans' affairs committee this summer too with a mental reform. >> but i do want to say, we have never, we're closer with the va to try to get away from the kind of situations that you are describing. the participation has never been better than it is today. i'm doing a video teleconference once a month with the va, my mission commanders at all my posts and my medical commanders to ensure we're all over this but it's a big problem. the problem is huge and there's always going to be stories like your story that need to be brought to our attention so if we see if we can't do something about it. >> if i can piggyback on that. with the medical benefits when we are leaving active duty because we're medically retired on our military treatment facility, we become way down the list. then we have to transition into a va system where are,
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until we have a rating we're level 6. you know, we are, while there is supposed to be some transitional help, we aren't seeing that it's available to servicemembers. is there a bigger push to, for, i understand the active duty component should have priority but when we're, one day we're priority one on active duty and we get our medical retirement papers and we're pushed right out and we're bottom level priority when we're -- >> i really like to talk to you about that. wounded warrior with disability you fall in line with all the other retirees. >> yes. >> i really, let me take that one back. >> great, thank you. >> general, we do have time for another question and the -- [inaudible] and i'd like to ask you a question. >> thank you, general. >> i have a, there is a
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doctor neurologist on staff at the university of florida and with the va medical center in gainesville who is currently conducting a study on tbi in soldiers. you can google it. it is dr. david fitzgerald. anybody out there, if you suspect tbi or confirmed it. bi, they are doing a study right now. they're trying to work hard to make sure these cases are brought to light. i want to say earlier we talked about how the military branches are not talking. my husband was placed in a fort gordon. he is actually air force but because nobody in the air force gets hurt we didn't have any place for him to go. so he went to fort gordon and was there for three months. when he left there he was given a form from the army that said he was medically unfit for duty. so we took that back it our home base and in georgia, gave it to our pcm commander and they looked at us and said this is an army form.
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they wouldn't accept it. we had to go through the actual evaluation air force again we had already done with the army. so obviously people talking is not happening. i really would like work to be done on that because there are people down the line whose husbands have just been injured or are working and they not to have to go through those hassles. >> you're right. >> thirdly i also -- >> but i can tell you if air force doctor wrote up the soldier for same thing would take it to the soldier's base and soldier's doctor would say that is an air force form. >> i agree. i agree. i certainly like to point out to everyone we talked about the wars in vietnam and korea and how we're only hearing about tbi and traumatic brain injury and ptsd with this war. but i'd like to remind everyone our military has, the state of the line most effective, body armor and
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weapons systems available. that's why more of our spouses and family members are surviving these types of horrible incidents is because the army, the air force, the marines are trying to take good care of them on the battlefield. and we appreciate that i. i am so thankful my husband is alive but, when he comes back home and he has these wound, i need him to be taken care of at home as well. >> well, i appreciate that. and i, i'm sorry for what you had to go through, but i hear these stories time after time after time again. and i honestly believe it relates back to the stigma issue. the medical community is as much stigmatized by these injuries as anybody else. i never say pts, i never say the last letter, i never do. to me words mean things. when you say that you make it sound like someone really
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had this affliction before. and i don't believe that. i believe that post-traumatic stress is a no kidding injury. but if you were to get 10 psychiatrists and 10 psychologists in here you would have maybe six to seven, who would agree with me and other four would say nuts. how dare you even say that because you haven't studied as long and hard as we have? the stigma is everywhere. it is throughout the service. we still have a problem. it is throughout civilians. and it is throughout the mefl community. and once, that is why unlocking secrets of the brain so we have no kidding empirical evidence we point to really understand these things is so absolutely critical that will change so much how this is handled today and stop folks like you from having to go you there the pain that you've had to go through. >> thank you, general. >> thank you. thank you all. [applause]
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>> just remember. that was pete chiaralli that said that. not the vice chairman of the army. >> thank you for your passion on this topic and we want to have present you this book, confronting al qaeda, new strategies to combat terrorism. >> thank you, sir. [applause] >> we have a bit of time. >> [inaudible]. >> we have a bit of time to take a break and visit exhibits before 1:00. before we break i would also like to take a minute to acknowledge dave mcintire and scott seeley of tri-west who are our patron sponsors. and khaki, who was the sponsor of our hundred of today. we have time to take a break and see you back here at 1300. thank you.
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>> c-span is live today at the reagan building here in washington, d.c. for the 2011 defense forum on returning vets.
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the next panel will discuss deployment to employment and the challenges of getting employers to hire wounded warriors. we'll hear from a cnn pentagon correspondent, officials from veterans assistance and employment groups and the u.s. chamber of commerce. and that next panel is expected to start at about 1:00 eastern. before it begins, let's take a look at some of the viewers calls and comments from this morning's "washington journal.". >> host: hear is the item. i we have it from the huffingtonpost.com. erica westerner of associated press, writes, president barack obama charged sunday that the republican vision of government would, quote, fundamentally cripple america as he trotted out his newly combative message on thege liberal west coast. w aiming to renew the ardor of democratic loyalists who have grown increasingly disenchanted with him the president mixed frontal attacks on republicans withs words of encouragement intended to buck up the
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faithful as the 2012 c campaign revs up. quote, from the moment i took office what we've seen is a constant idealogical pushback against any kind of sensible reforms that would make our economy work better and give people more opportunity. the president said at an intimate brunch, fund-raiser at the medina, washington,n, home of former microsoft executive john shirley. about 65 guests were paying $35,000, $35,800 per couple to listen to obama at the first of seven fund-raisers he was holding from seattle to hollywood to san diego on sunday and monday. they. three-day west coast swing ended, ending tuesday in denver offered him the chance to try to reassure some of his most liberal and deep-pocketed supporters. so, republicans only this, morning. we're going to be talking g about the president's statement, the republican vision of government woulden fundamentally cripple
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america. and, as we wait for the phones to heat up we're going to check in this morning first with lori o montgomery of "the washingtonon post." she is an economic policy reporter and want to talk with her about this afternoon's senate test force regarding the continuing resolution. talk to us, lori montgomery,, if you would for themb strategies of the september 30th shutdown deadline. it is approaching at the end of the week.om lori, welcome to the program. >> guest: thanks for having me. >> host: you have d a headline, in the post this morning and" looms s and nation section as congress returns. congress was supposed to be off this weekend, and they're back. why is that? >> well, they were supposed to have resolved these issues over agency spending in the big debt limit fight we had in july and august. this was part of the deal that passed and staved off economic disaster by raising the debt
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ceiling. and then it all seemed to start to unravel. and so we had been told, everyone expected that this debt ceiling deal would prevent this. we had already decided how much money we were going to spend in 2012. therefore, we were not going to shut the government down on september 30. but now they're having a fight over disaster relief, and this has thrown everything into chaos again. host: also in the article this morning, the democratic-led senate, which on friday blocked a g.o.p. house measure to fund the government through november 18, will vote late monday on its own version of the bill. the bill includes dollars for disaster relief without offsetting spending cuts elsewhere that the house republicans demand. so, sort of explain to us how this is working back and forth between the republicans in the senate, the reps in the house and the democrats on both sides as well. >> well, it seems to have
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become something of a political football, because initially there were several democrats in the house who said they were going to support the position of house republicans, which was to increase disaster relief in the c.r., the continuing resolution that they're voting on, but to offset it by cutting a loan program for advanced technology vehicles that has been very useful to democrats in michigan. in the auto industry. so, initially, you have this sort of sense of acquiescence by democrats that, all right, we don't normally offset emergency funding, but to get this through and to avoid another big fight, we're going to do it. but then democrats seemed to sense an opening. there was a newly combative attitude coming out of the white house thaw referred to earlier, and they decided to hold the line on their troops, and they voted against the c.r. in the house, sending the
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original, in the original vote it we want down to defeat. republicans rallied. they made cosmetic changed to get their people on board. and then the senate, which had been expected to sort of swallow whatever came over from the house, decide that had they would get their back up and that they would block, which they did. so now we're supposed to have a vote on the democrat i go version, which provides extra money in disaster relief without cutting the loan program or the other things that republicans threw in, but that's expected to fail as well. so over the weekend, what we've been told is there has been communication between the two sides and they are beginning to work on a resolution that would not offset the emergency funds. it would not cut spending elsewhere, but would somehow allow both sides to save face and get the extra money to fema before the funds run dry tomorrow. host: in an article that viewers and listeners can find on the website,
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washingtonpost.com, your honor the headline "partisanship flares again, forced passage of stop-gap funding bill," you mentioned that this afternoon's vote is a test vote. what is it exactly that they're testing? >> i think they're testing to see whether the two parties can hang together, particularly republicans, because of a number of people obviously from disaster-hit states who previously voted for a democratic bill, 10 republicans voted for a democratic bill that increased fema funding without offsetting the cost. so, this afternoon, what we're going to find out is whether those people will, in fact, vote against fema funding or not. host: lori montgomery, economic policy reporter for "the washington post." you can find her articles online at washingtonpost.com. thank you very much for being on the program this morning. guest: thanks for having me, robb.
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host: we're going to continue this segment with our topic for the first 45 minutes, president obama this weekend, in a speech in seattle, said republican vision of government would fundamentally cripple america. we want to find out what our republican listeners and viewers think about what the president had to say. our first call comes from detroit, michigan. harry, you're on the "washington journal." go ahead. caller: yes, thank you for c-span. unfortunately, i think the president is right. i'm continuing to search and search and trying to find out -- because i can't find anything positive that's coming from the republican party anymore. i'm disturbed. i live near detroit, and because the president stepped in and saved the auto industry here when we had people,
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especially the person running for president, his suggestion was that we should declare bankruptcy. what i saw what happened in california with herman king, something is wrong here, you know? i think there was some way the congress could get the whole country straightened out and get us back on the right track because it's nothing positive. i can't see one single thing positive. like i told my wife, we're going to switch parties. we're going to have to find something positive, because right now i can't find anything positive about the republican party. host: let's move on to somerville, south carolina, just up the road from charleston. phil, you're on the "washington journal." caller: good morning, robb. how are you? host: what do you think about the president's statement about the republican vision of government would cripple
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america? caller: well, you know, robb, when you get down to it, the vision of both parties is going to cripple america t. has been crippling america for years. our problem is just what you and the other caller were talking about, all the infighting and bickering and back and forth that goes on with politics, we need so badly to limit the terms on these idiots. so that you don't get this situation where the congress turns around and says, if they're going to do this, i'm not going to do that, and you don't have to worry so much about the $35,000 meals that people have to do to raise money in order to perpetuate their control over everybody's lives. host: you think that term limits would reduce the rancor between the parties? caller: absolutely. there's no doubt about it. what you've got right now are people who are entrenched
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politicians. they've been doing it all their lives. they have no idea on either side what it's like to get out here and work for a living. host: that's phil in somerville, south carolina. let's move on to fort collins, colorado. david, you're on the "washington journal." go ahead. caller: hey, what's up, robb? just got to say, i saw the -- what your segment of the titled, and the very first thing that popped in my mind is, i guarantee you hank from michigan is going to call you and is going to pretend to be a republican. this is really -- i don't know if one of the call screeners is his cousin or something, but this guy calls -- it's been a couple of weeks now, and i know it's the end. month, his meditation's probably running out. he's probably waiting for the welfare check, typical obama supporter. but he's called his wilson, he's called his fred. i'm waiting for him to call henrieta one of these days, i like obama, he's a strong man. he's called as -- host: david, you want to
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address the topic we're discussing? caller: no, that's a major topic for a c-span junkie. he even called one time as a saudi arabian immigrant. that's how screwed up he is. host: we're going to move on to cooksville, tennessee, cal on our line for republicans. go ahead. caller: good morning. happy days today. we're unhappy with what's going on obama. i don't blame him. his talk about he said that the vision for republicans like that is bad for america. well, let me tell you something, his spending, which he has been doing, is bad for america. when you're $14 trillion in debt and a possibility over the next 10e, 15 years or 20 or $30 trillion in debt, hey, that to me is total collapse of a government altogether, total collapse. can't have that. got to have some physical responsibility. that's why i like the republican party. host: more from the item we got
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from the huff huffingtonpost.com, being reported by the associated press, talking about a speeched president made in seattle yesterday. he said 2012 would be an especially tough election because people are discourage and had disillusioned with government, but he also said he was determined because so much is at stake. the republican alternative, obama said, is "an approach to government that will fundamental 8 cripple america in meeting the challenges of the 21st century, and that's not the kind of society i want to leave malia and sasha." back to the phones. dayton, ohio, bill, you're on the "washington journal," go ahead. caller: good morning. i am a republican. i just want to bring your attention to something someone has already brought to your attention is that fool that called in from detroit or wherever else there in michigan and makes up the name and doesn't respect the 30-day rule.
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host: ok. we've got that, and we're working on that. thanks for bringing that up. now, what do you have to say about the president's comment regarding the republican vision of government crippling america? caller: are you there? host: i'm still here. go ahead. caller: clearly the president is going to say and anything he can at this point to stay in office for re-election. what that he says doesn't seem to matter anymore as much to even his liberal followers. they're kind of tired of his talk as well. thank you very much. host: asheville, north carolina. william, you're on the "washington journal." caller: yes, i'm a republican. and i would like to say to obama's statement concerning the republicans would cripple
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america, he's already got it on life support, and i'd like to know what it's going to do to bring it out, because he's not trying. he wants to try to put them back in office. that's his biggest concern right now, and as far as he's concerned, i don't think he has his country's heart. the things that are necessary to keep the country running, he's out campaigning, wasting money to campaign, and i think it's time you leave washington. thank you, sir. host: is there anything the president can do in the next 18 months to change your opinion of him or are you pretty much -- you're pretty much in the republican camp, you're going to go with whatever the republican candidate is? william's gone. let's move on to edith. you're on the "washington journal." edith, you're in -- where are you?
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edith? caller: yes? i'm here. host: pronounce the name in south dakota for me, please. so tell me what you think about the president's statement regarding the republican vision of government. caller: he's a farce. we got to stop spending money. i hope he gets impeached, and i do not care for him at all. he has the wrong attitude for the united states. he's going to ruin us. host: we've got an op-ed this morning from the "new york daily news" by mike lupica with the headline, "he's waving goodbye to a second term," showing president obama arriving in seattle yesterday under gray skies, and he may see a lot more of them if the economy doesn't turn around. lupica writes, obama was dealt
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a bad hand. only the politically challenged would suggest otherwise much the problem is he has played even worse than his cards and turned an electoral college map that was a blue state dream for him against john mccain into a minefield, no matter who the republicans run against him. if he wants to believe it was just the economy that did this to him or the bug-eyed screamers from the right-wing media or even republicans in congress general you're flecting in front of the tea party, then maybe obama doesn't make it back to grant park in november of 2012. grant park is where he made his first acceptance speech after being elected president. caller: i just wanted to tell our democrat friends from michigan the president didn't save the auto industry, the taxpayers did against most of our will, and that was for his union that got him in there in
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the first place. you have to look at the state of the top democrats and where they're from. i don't know how democrats think we can go on spending and not cutting anything. according to my democrat neighbors, they just a couple of days ago got a range on free stamps. why are they getting a raise on food stamps when they already get too much? host: john in seattle, washington, what did you think about the president had to say? caller: thanks for taking my call, kind of nervous. well, the president said we've been -- we went from clinton to bush, obama now, and all three presidents have been doing a very good job of crippling america. bill clinton signed w.t.o. in
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seattle, and that's one of the reasons we have no jobs in this country. i'm a republican because i support ron paul, and a lot of democrats agree with what he's saying. so just take a look at that. . . i mean, it's going to cripple america. obama has done nothing but spend everything he puts his debt, patriot ads, the wars, spending bill, like obama did everything. the republicans should be very happy with him. host: what's it been like the last 24 hours with the president in town? caller: well, he's been here before. it's one of his favorites spots. host: we got another op-ed from the "new york times," pennies from many.
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>> 2011 defense forum on returning vets and the panel of the challenges of getting employers to hire wounded veterans. this is live coverage on c-span2. >> from section 60 at arlington. we're honored to have ms. starr with us today. robert has also worked for abc news and for james defense weekly magazine. it's an important discussion for us this afternoon to talk about the action that goes with some of the reality that we talked about this morning. to discuss the challenges and the barriers to providing meaningful employment opportunities to our wounded warriors. and in our panel, we've tried to construct corporate, government and a veterans perspective. so let's get on with our panel
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and i'd like to introduce ms. barbara starr. >> thank you. [applause] >> i want to share something about your lunch speaker, general peter chiarelli. i am totally biased because i think he is one of the most remarkable-serving general officers in the u.s. military at the moment. and i want to tell you why. it was maybe a year ago one night i was looking at my blackberry before i went to sleep and i suddenly had a long torturous email from a young army captain that i had come to know. he had served in dialla province in the worst of combat. you got to wonder all these americans when you said to them, triangle of death would even know what you're talking about. so anyhow this captain emails me and i had met him at fort hood. he was suffering from a good
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deal of post-traumatic stress. he had been involved in an incident where he called in a strike. it had resulted in a number of civilians being killed but the investigation had fully cleared him. it was a series of circumstances his unit was put in that led to this. and he emailed me saying, this is the -- tonight is the third anniversary of my event. i knew exactly what he meant. and he had a new baby, and he said my son is five weeks old. and tonight i wonder if i deserve to have him. and if you want to talk about having your heart stop when you read an email to you, that will do it to you. what do you do as a reporter that late at night. after so many years we've come to know so many troops and this young man emails me and i'm like what do you do? well, what do you is you cut-paste at 1:30 at night and you email general peter chiarelli and you say i need help. help, this young man is in
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trouble and i will tell you that general chiarelli is also on email that hour at night and immediately got this young man what he needed. so i just have to share that because your lunch speaker is a remarkable officer. and we'll come back full circle on that in a minute. when i started -- just more briskly here, the question of veterans unemployment. you start looking as a reporter at the numbers and you find a lot of different statistics out there which we're going to have one of our panelists address. and they're all different but the latest round that i found when i looked it up this morning was younger male veterans, 18 to 24 years old face unemployment rates as high as 26%. nearly 2.5 million of men and women have left the active duty military since september 2001. that's 2.5 million that need
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meaningful work. 9/11 veterans generation more likely by all accounts to be employed in things like construction, mining, manufacturing, transportation, utilities, information services, professional and business services. all the sectors in the economy that one is told that has experienced employment declines. less inclined to be employed in education and health services which have added jobs during this period of recession. so some of the questions we want to look at today are the basic ones, where are the jobs? how does -- all these statistics are totally meaningless to the young veteran that you meet who says, i need a job and where do i find a job? all the statistics in the world, all the training programs in the world -- while they have tremendous value to someone who needs work, that is what they
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need. so we'll talk about some of that. we'll talk about some of the cases that i'm sure we've all run across of young veterans coming out of the military looking for work, some -- i'll give you two examples of veterans that i stay in touch with and i think this will give us is bit of the scope of the problem. young iraq veteran marine, home for many years now, could not find work, post-traumatic stress, fell into not only joblessness but homelessness, nowhere to go. it has taken him a number of years. i saw him last month in san diego. he has finally turned his life around. he is going to start manufacturing his personal hot sauce recipe and it's going to be marketed at whole foods. this is a kid who was sleeping in the park when he came home from being part of the first marines reconnaissance unit in
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baghdad. on the other hand i can tell you of another young marine that i know who's an amputee. 100% disabled. he is enrolled at harvard looking at getting a joint degree in business and law. for those of us who consider a good drag when we drag ourselves out of bed to get to work in one piece, these stories are remarkable. i'm going to stop there because what i want it would be really useful to talk about the programs, the trends but never forget there's a young veteran out there that needs a job and all the washington talk may be fairly meaningless to them when they are looking to pay next month's rent. on that note, we're going to start with our panelists. i'm not going to introduce them. they're going to introduce themselves. and talk about -- we're going to walk -- move right down the line. they're going to talk about who they are, and what they're doing with their company or their
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government organization to answer this question, where are the jobs? and so, captain, you're first up. >> hi, my name is chris. do you have my bio? i'm just kidding. [laughter] >> my name is chris ayers. i'm the first battalion first marines in fallujah. i was wounded in 2004. i was in an attack sustained in excess of 50 rpgs. i had one ripped off my gunner and one ripped off my thigh high. the driver became conscious and punched out of the kill zone only to end up having the engine seized because the rocket that went through my leg went to the engine compartment and we were still dead in the water in enemy territory, the ambushing force that hit us in the kill zone.
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our marines bailed out of the track and found a house to fight from and one of my gunners pulled me from the track and pulled me in the house. doc worked on me and put a tourniquet on my league and two shots of morphine and my staff sergeant was in charge at that point. he was coordinated and repealed three assaults and did a liaison with a quick reaction force they had to fight their way in to come and get us. and pretty much lost all my blood, bled to death. had field transfusions. my doc wasn't screening blood packs and i don't remember any of that i just remember weighing up on some heavy dope. i spent 75 days in brooke army medical center and ended up taking me six months to learn how to walk again and then i eventually retired in april of -- april 28th, 2007.
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and, you know, during that course i was pretty upset. i didn't feel like doing anything. i was retired. i was 36. what the heck does a 36-year-old do retired now? so kind of like forrest gump, he ran for a couple of years so i hand cycled. i came really good as an elite hand cyclist and a disabled athlete and put my aggression through and tried to win some races. but still, you know, that didn't solve everything. at some point, you know, i realized that as a male i esteemed myself which i believe most of do on providing for their family and working so at one point, you know, i figured at some point i'm going to have to go back to work so i started interviewing with a lot of companies. i started working with military recruiters and i was having a tough time, you know, i even had one recruiter look at my career
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path and all my education, all my fit reps and he goes, you know, you're just not the typical candidate. you're an atypical candidate. wow, if you don't have the intellectual capacity to understand ramming an rpg through your legs might change your things then i seriously don't want you to represent me, goodbye. i was hopefully able to provide a perspective after i just reprimanded him, but i don't think he cared, but anyway, you know, we got to work together. so i interviewed with other companies. and eventually i came across operation impact which is a program for hiring wounded -- severely wounded service members or their family members within northrop grumman corporation. i had a lot of success and i
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grilled karen stringer and i grilled her continuously for three weeks before i accepted a position with northrop grumman because i had to grill her about a lot of concerns because in my experience i've seen a lot of organizations that hold themselves out, hey, we want to hire wounded vets. we want to hire wounded vets and that's great. it's like a trophy piece. i don't want to be a trophy piece. i don't want to be coming into your organization. i want to work. yes, i'm wounded but i'm not a rock star, you know, i just want to be able to get back to work and provide a functional aspect in society and contribute to the rest of society. and a lot of companies and organizations have great programs. i just think sometimes they're a little bit immature in their experience in realizing what exactly are you going to do with this individual now that you hired him? i was the first marine officer to be retained on active duty in the marine corps under the commandant retention combat wounded but great program but it
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was in it's infancy what are we going to do with captain ayres at that point and i was stuck in a headquarters marine corps in a cubicle with three lieutenant colonels and i was like, you know -- i wish some things would have been different about that program but at the time i was a sick individual, unhealthy and i ended up going and accepted my medical retirement and i got out. so here's comes the northrop grumman and like i said, i grilled karen and she put me at ease. and what's good about karen is she's married to a marine corps veteran who lost his leg through vascular surgery from agent orange and he was a staff sergeant in the marine corps so having a program manager like karen that can be a liaison between the veteran and the family member and also the corporate organization to get the support that they need to
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implement a program like this, it was huge. that even within the program i'm not going to sit here and paint a pretty picture. i've had my ups and down this in this program but, you know, it's a great program. northrop has bent over backwards to help me out and support me so i kind of relate it -- if you want to have a decent program, then you have a program manager that can be that liaison that understands the veteran and can be a liaison between that veteran and the corporation but also the corporation needs to give that program manager the support just like we were trained basically in recruit training; whereas, an officer enlisted in an officer you go through basic training. you go through some other training you go through an mos-producing school and then you go ojt just like we do college graduates out of school that have no military experience. we put them on a rotation. if you can implement those types of programs within your companies, that veteran is going to be take the shirt off their back to do anything for you and they will continue to accomplish anything that you put in front
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of them. so operation impact will not -- if the veteran is too severely disabled to work, will also hire family members and that's been a tough crowd because usually if the veteran or spouse or family -- or parent is taking care of someone that's so severely disabled, it's really tough on that individual to actually work and perform so that's a tough crowd to actually -- trite trite hire. but we do have those -- that's part of our program as well. so i'll hand it over to you, sir. it's your turn. >> now i know you were first to speak because you got quite a story there, chris. i'm paul, i'm the ceo of taci and i'd like to begin my comments not with my own words but with those of a disabled veteran who works for our company. and here's what he says. i was a little worried about being a productive member of
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such a high level technically diverse team but i had on the job mentoring that let me hit the ground running. i don't expect to be treated differently and i don't let my disability keep me from doing the job that i enjoy. so if i could leave you with more than one thought that's what our program is all about. helping people find meaningful careers, disabled veterans find meaningful careers that they enjoy and it brings out the very best in them. [inaudible] >> for caci this journey really began in 2007 when we decided that it would make sense for us to do our part to help not repeat the complacency and even the disdain shown to returning vietnam veterans. it started in the '70s but really continues till today. with too many veterans who have never really been reintegrated into your society, many of them
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never fully treated or diagnosed even for their symptoms and their wounds. and sadly, making surprising disproportionate percentage of homeless people in our country today. one of the great shames of america in my opinion. so we decided that this generation of war fighters needed better help in reintegrating and we launched a program as i said to do our part by offering meaningful employment. we called our program -- or call our program deploying talent and creating careers. we set a goal in 2007, which seems small now but then it seemed pretty good to hire 10 disabled veterans that year. and we began by assembling a team of people who were committed to this idea or this goal from around the company and as you might expect they're mostly headed up by our human
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resources and recruiting people with a few managers who -- some of whom were out of that vietnam era and understood the problem and wanted to help. so we started working with walter reed and bethesda, later we worked with the medical folks at fort belvoir and at quantico. initially, those interactions were met with some suspicion because there's a lot of interactions that happen around wounded warriors. there is much about publicity or feeling good as there are about real efforts in helping in the recovery process and the reintegration process. but eventually because we had some past experience with walter reed through a program called c.a.u.s.e. which stands to comfort to america's uniformed services we had a little bit of
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credibility and worked into their good graces and we began their program along with the other medical facilities i mentioned. we also worked with a number of other organizations in building a network that would provide us is resource -- a resourcing of people who were interested in employment, disabled veterans who were interested in employment. we worked with the warrior -- the wounded warrior foundation, the navy safe harbor program, the department of labor, became a good partner of ours with their career centers around the country. and the marine wounded warrior regiment is another organization we are working with. we also work with the nro which has an amazing intern program where they're bringing wounded veterans in and helping them get -- learning the job skills to have a good career and we'll also work with maguire air force base in fort dix their employment centers and build our network. today we have also joined a
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network of some 60 other companies that share job needs or skills needs and resumes for disabled veterans. so after four years where are we? i think the word is out. both externally and internally within our company and then out there amongst the veteran community that we're serious about this and anxious to help. we met our goal that first year of disabled veterans. since that time, though, the program has really ramped up. we've now -- we now have 4% of our population are disabled veterans. 585 people. 90% of those do direct contract work so they're not solely doing staff-type functions. we developed an intern program of our own and a mentoring program. the intern program, of course, helps disabled veterans in terms
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of acquiring skills on the job. mentoring program helps them to intergrate into our culture and make that transition. and our rate now is over 100 disabled veterans are being hired in our company for a year and 15 to 30 of those are combat disabled veterans so we're proud of what we do and we're proud to be associated with so many other companies. we think if we could just get the fortune 1000 all to take that kind of challenge, 3, 4, 5% of their population would be veterans we would knock the heck out of this issue. some of these challenges we found along the way that i'm sure others have experienced as well is that finding the right skills that match the job requirement. and the right clearance levels, of course, as well. also, location is an issue.
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many returning wounded veterans aspire to go back to their home towns where they feel comfortable and can get restarted in their -- in their lives and many of the jobs we have to offer here in this area. so it's a little more difficult. one of the other problems we've run into is that there's not much flexibility in the job skill sets that we are issued by our government clients and there's not much ability to relax those to give somebody a start. give them the benefit of the doubt and a start. we have to take a lot of the burden of helping those people acquire those skills ourselves. i think i'd stop there. >> i'm going to stick my nose in for a minute. junior, as we come up on you and the rest of the panel, broaden it out a little bit for us as vital an employment as an issue of the employment of the disabled combat veteran. broaden out for us to all
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veterans coming home who are impacted by the recession, the economy, the lack of jobs? what you're seeing in the department? what works? what doesn't work? and my suspicion is that mr. proffitt and mr. schmmegle will have other thoughts of the broader picture. let's just broaden it out here. >> is there anything else you want me to do? >> that would be nice. [laughter] >> i can write some other stuff, too, if you'd like. >> if you can sort out the statistics for my next story. >> you know, first of all, let me thank you all for being here. i appreciate it very, very much on behalf of my secretary, secretary solis, the department of labor, i want you to know that although we are the only piece in all of the department f of labor that handles veterans
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specifically and i'm honored to be part of that. secretary solis has basically said -- made it across-the-board and others. we will do whatever it takes to take care of them. to put them into meaningful employment. to get them jobs and so on and so forth. so i want -- i want to be able to put that out there because i want you to know that a commitment doesn't just come from one level. it comes from the top. across-the-board. statistics, now, you said 18 to 24, 26%. you know, as of august, as of august of this year, we had 877,000 veterans unemployed. out of that, with an unemployment rate of 7.7% is actually what -- what the total
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percentage is right now. it gets up to about 26% for the 18 to 24 years old at a certain level when they get out. however, after a while, that percentage starts going down. specifically, i wasn't prepared to give you that -- >> oh, no, no. that's okay. >> i promise that i will at least get you all -- whoever is interested, let me know. so the bottom line on this is before i get started, i want you to understand who is our veteran? every one of you knows what our young men and women are going through right now. and when i say young men and women i'm not just talking about the 18 through 24 or 18 through, you know -- through 30 and everything. i'm talking about the -- from the 18-year-old to a 64-year-old. the person that's been out there for all these years and have done what needed to be done and have -- and have put their lives
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out there for us and now find that they're 54 years old and they can't find a job and they haven't add job for 10, 12 years. so they go into homelessness, they go into different things. that's what happens. that's reality of life. whether the economy is good or bad, it happens. even during the bad times we still had veterans on the street. that's a travesty. we shouldn't have that. we should never have that. secretary solis is part of the homeless council and so is secretary shinseki and they said in five years we're going to try to eliminate homelessness. we are working on as hard as we can. in drl we are work on the veterans training employment programs. we have hvrp which is the veterans home reinto agration
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programs. bringing veterans to a certain site helping them not only deal with the fact that they're unemployment and they're off the street but the first thing we got to do is we got to get rid of those, quote-unquote, demons. and let me tell you, i'm going to use chris for a second. i'm sure that when he first went into -- >> i'm the demon. [laughter] >> one of the demons. >> the point being is when he first transitioned in, coming from such a hard life that happened to him, those first few months, correct me if i'm wrong, chris, were a little tough to get over. >> a little. >> he's still the same way. he hasn't changed. [laughter] >> the fact of the matter is you have to be able to deal with all those issues, if you will, before you can actually get a person to move on. before you can actually do anything.
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and i don't care if you're the best employer in the world. if you don't understand that, if you don't understand that culture, if you don't understand where they're coming from, you can have the best employee in the world. but you're not going to be able to retain him or her and you're not going to be able to make him work effectively. you have to understand who they are first. whether they're wounded or whether they're not. whether they were in combat or whether they never even saw a fire -- something being shot at them. i'm very passionate about this, you can tell. why? because i have four sons that are in the military. between my sons i have 12 tours in iraq and afghanistan. i understand what it's like to be a parent waiting for a word from the kids.
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i understand what it's like having one of your sons come back and call you at 6:30 in the morning on a saturday morning and ask you, hey, colonel, you think dad calling you by your rank saying, do you have nightmares? when you walk down the street, do you smell a certain thing and flash you back to something else? having a three-hour conversation with a marine, an f-18 pilot, a phenomenal individual have a three-hour conversation and you spend -- you spend five minut minutes -- [inaudible] >> i tell you that because that is part of what we're looking at. the other piece is -- i'm going to start turning it around and say i have to give an overview.
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let me give you one of the biggest things that's happened to us that we've noticed. what we've noticed is that we have an education problem, ladies and gentlemen. not with our troops. but with the people who employ them. i have two gentlemen over here to my left who i'm very honored because of the fact that what they have done within their respective areas to help break that barrier down. then there's a second problem. the second problem is our troops. and our people, our young men and women coming back. ..
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>> maybe not the air force, but everybody else -- [laughter] you understand what it's like that first day, if there is fear, apprehension that you don't know what to do. and as the weeks go by, or the time goes by, it gets a little better, yelling, you can understand. you can actually understand what they're saying to you. [laughter] you get a little easier, you actually move a little sharper. you look a little better, and so on and so forth. and then the moment of your
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life, the moment of truth is the day you graduate. anyone of you who have served, forget about if you serve. remember that day when you graduate from high school, graduated from college, that feeling you had inside. your chest was a lot bigger, you spoke a little deeper. you were somebody. and at that moment you going to conquer the world. that's our guys and gals. we have to make them understand that when they get out and they get rejected the first time by an employer, that we will bring them right back to the date they graduated from boot camp with her chest up, their voices and that strength that they will call to the world. hell, i conquered -- i ended
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vietnam war all by myself. i did. i graduate from boot camp. i said i'm ending it. i said, my point being is, ladies and gentlemen, that's the culture and we have to understand it. for the employers, understand what it is that these young men and women bring to your table. whether it be a small company, medium company or large company. how do you bring them into your company and make sure that they see themselves in that company? how do you make that work? wal-mart has done it. by having an employer group all of veterans. all right? to be able to turn around and talk to each other. chamber has done it by being able to reach out to all the other people and make sure that the other, other chapters and everything understands what's going on.
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we've gotten together to make sure that the resource managers, the actual hiring people, understand what an 11 bravo is. i sure as hell didn't know what 11 bravo was. i didn't. until somebody tobin, that's an infantry guy in the army. why didn't you say that? well, we have to teach the human resources individuals to ask the questions. because if you don't ask the questions, as the old saying goes, resume will get you the interview. the interview will teach you the job if they don't ask the question, you are missing an opportunity. with that i will stop. sir. >> well, first of all, barber and paul, i just realized that we are up here with three marines. >> exactly, sir.
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>> so i think things are about even. [laughter] >> that was a good one. >> on gary profit and i'm senior director of military programs at wal-mart. and just by way of introduction, i think i think i would like for you to know most about me is that i've been at wal-mart for about three years, and the reason that i accepted an opportunity to join the wal-mart team was twofold. first of all, this isn't about wal-mart feeling good about itself, or the feeling good about myself. this is absolutely about the prospect of creating positive business outcomes. i think the military community constituencies represent arguably the largest the first talent and ritual in the world. and it has most of us believe
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that the future will belong to those that when the taliban or, if you're not operating in the space, then i think you probably are missing an opportunity. so it's about business outcomes. but for me the personal aspect of this was a chance that i get to give back in terms of career opportunities and contributions, family financial security, with those whom i've had the privilege of serving. so, that's my way of introduction and i think is enough for me to share with you. and you can ask anything that you would like of me afterwards, but when i accepted the invitation to come and be with you here today, i wanted to make sure with the organizers that they understood that i probably was going to gain more from this
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opportunity that i was going to contribute in value. because we are, i think in the very early stages on the threshold, if you will, of our commitment to wounded, ill, injured veterans, and their families and caregivers. but let me just share some of the things with barbara's suggestion that i think we are doing, let me begin by offering a little bit of context. for those of you who may not know, our relationship with the military dates the u.s. army intelligence officer captain sam walton who served during world war ii. and that relationship has grown dramatically over time. and i think that's important because that allows me to talk to lots of people about the
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compatibility of the wal-mart culture. and for those who are serving in uniform. our three basic uses many of the same words as i remember from army values. and so if you can have a cultural foundation that begins the transition, then i think it's very helpful. others have said this, this is, and i don't need to tell you about the challenging economy, the difficult employment market, but we at wal-mart feel a certain urgency to act now. because as i was talking to kevin about earlier, the prospect of continued drawdown in iraq and afghanistan, the fact that there are dramatic pressures on for sizing, i'm not sure we can feel confident that it's going to get any easier
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sooner here so i think, i think we have to accept a certain bit of urgency. also need to recognize that this is very much a marathon. we need to begin this for the long haul so we need to get it right. as you see played out in front of you here, i hope one of the things you recognize is the fact that i am gratified, and they tend to be anyway, but this is a very growing and deepening public-private partnership. we all need to work at this together because nobody can solve it on their own. and i can talk at some length about the fact that we feel a responsibility because of our size and pervasiveness to lead with respect, to civic and social responsibility, and the wal-mart foundation does a lot of work, one of my greatest partners and they are doing some very cutting edge work that i can talk to you about in the wounded warrior community.
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and for those of you who, that realize as i do, wal-mart is mostly everywhere. and so, unlike what paul was sharing, we think we can make an impact in communities across the nation, which is what kevin is doing in high regard he was at the committee level is very important to us. but the reason that we have been very deliberate in the subject of today's session is i learned what i visited with my wife during my last assignment on active duty, every 90 days or so, that this is a very vulnerable population, and we can't make any mistakes here. we've got to get this right, and so urgent yes, but a place we can make mistakes, i think not. i think kevin probably will talk
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about joining forces so i won't do much of that other than to tell your that i think one of the things that are very, editor important there is what the white house and the president and first lady have done is raise awareness, which is a big thing. and have done a lot of things to i think educate people that i think is important. but i will say something, and i heard it in the panel this morning about portability of jobs and entering jobs into careers. one of the things we thought was important that we did that day is be a part of an announcement where we highlighted what we call the military family promise, which essentially guarantees a job for a spouse who is now to another part of the country as a result of their
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uniformed spouse being pc as were transferred. and so trying to turn jobs into careers we think is an important thing for us to do. we are engaged throughout the spectrum. we have direct transition point engagement. cabinet are going to talk of hiring our heroes and the important work that they're doing with the uso and hiring heroes u.s.a. we think that spouses are just as important as the uniform number, and so we are very much involved in a military spouse employment partnership. and we were just beginning some work with the wounded warrior project that we think is very promising and it has the potential to scale so that wal-mart will feel like it's impactful. and we're beginning in the northeast and in california, and
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oregon and washington to get some lessons from that, and then we will actually migrate it to the other parts of the business. let me talk real briefly about the wal-mart foundation. some of you may know last veterans day we made a commitment to address unmet needs for military families and veterans at $10 million over five years. in a speech that bill simon to skate at the american legion at the end of august, we double that to $20 million. and it's important because the philanthropic peace with the corporate peace is something that goes hand in hand. and specifically, there's a great program that some of you may know that is led by senior
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university and is called entrepreneurship, we will camp with veterans with disabilities. and as a companion effort that deals with families, represents a consortium of universities that are devoted to make, to make entrepreneurs out of veterans with disabilities and their families, and to make them successful. if you don't know much about it, i would encourage you to learn about it. it provides some of the flexibility that we think is population needs to not have necessarily a typical career with wal-mart or with anybody else but i would want to start their own business. i heard some discussion about my good friend, barbara, and given an hour this way, the work she is doing is very important, and very important to us as we go forward with our work in this
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space, because one of the things we realize is we must take away any of the hindrances for leaders in hiring managers. and so with the support of her network, advising our people on some of the behavioral issues that they might confront as managers, we think is an important effort, but her work in the community loop it is pretty exciting stuff. and then, the coming home series that the american red cross just announced which is all about reintegration and in some of those things we think is pretty important. just a couple of observations and then i look forward to your questions. to add something to my friend junior, we do have a great challenge on our side. i spend 50% of my time teaching the military about wal-mart and other 50% teaching wal-mart about the military.
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we can't expect our associates to understand this space for which some of them have no exposure. and so we are very invested in making sure that we do that, and just an example of bad, at a very high and, captain and mrs. smiley will spend veterans day with this, and for those of you who don't know them, he's still i think the first and only blind army officer serving in active duty. and we live -- live broadcast this throughout the wal-mart network across the united states and live streamed it on the web. and we just want people to see the caliber of the people we are talking about. we want to put a face on all of this, and so that's one of the ways we do it.
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but also i think it's very important that we do work on the military side to better prepare our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guardsmen, and transition from uniformed service. and i'm off active duty so don't have the same problems that general chiarelli may have when he goes back to the pentagon, wanting to blow up something. i think where the transition assistance framework that's very mired in the past. i think the whole discussions about reverse boot camp and all those kinds of things are very enlightening and i think got to get some serious consideration to that. there's a communication problem here. people leaving active duty that are looking for a second career can't express to us what their career aspirations are, or why they should be considered with a portfolio preparation expense they had.
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and then conversely on the other side, the people that are listening don't know what they're hearing either. so we've got to i think do some work on both of those areas. and a final thing, i just would say that we at wal-mart believe that when we see an impediment to hiring of veteran or military family member, we must take it on immediately. because today's things get viral pretty quickly, and it's true inside of organizations as well as outside so we address any of these things that arise pretty quickly. i think i've taken more time than i should, but i will -- >> we have like 25 minutes left. we want to get to some questions. don't feel any pressure spent i knew that was going to happen. at least i got lunch today. [laughter] just a background about myself as good help from some of the issues you brought up with numbers. i was a marine for 20 years. i retired in 2009.
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i was very fortunate when i left the marine corps. i had a mentor, a guy named jim jones who is president obama's national security adviser. i was lucky to be at the right place at the right time, and i was very lucky that tom donahoe is at the chamber understands about of hiring a better. at a marine with him, inactive duty bring with them for several years in a program in court had which was essentially an internship program where people were in active duty, and it kind of hot people in the private sector and ngos and nonprofits about the valley of hiring a better. anyway coming is always part of that. not everything is that lucky, which is really the reason we started this program at the chamber. if you look at the numbers, there are 12 million veterans in the workforce, and million of them are unemployed, a lot of people say to me what's the big deal, that's roughly the same average as the national average. i have to bite my tongue. as a veteran myself i really
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want to give them an answer, are you kidding me? someone leaves their family for a year at a time and you're asking me why we should be doing a program for veterans? you've got to be kidding me. but i bite my tongue and i don't say that. and we make the business case for why hire a veteran. the fact is even though veterans are suffering, on average, about 9% unemployment there are specific population of veterans that are really suffering. if you look at iraq and afghanistan veterans is roughly 13%. in the ages of 18-24 which is part of that cohort, it's close to 30% unemployment. that may be swayed a bit by folks who are in school right now, but trust me, it's double digit and it's nearing 20-30%. if you look at guard and reservists, they are suffering from a 14% an opponent rate. and in some rural areas it's again 20-30%. so yes, they are at 9% but we are at a moment in time if we
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don't do something about it now that 9% will grow to 10, 211, 12% for the whole population because if we're drawing down the force and we have 100,000 guard and reservists demobilizing this year alone, that 9% number will grow. we have to do something about it now. when i first came to the gym in '09 i was tom donohue's chief of staff. i traveled everywhere around the country within. and i heard hundreds, hundreds of fortune 500 ceos say, hey, you're a veteran, how do we get more veterans in our company? so when tom asked me what i wanted to do next at the end of the two years i kind of connected to things. when i left the marine corps i served as the head of enlisted assignments. i was actually at enlisted assignment in the marine corps when we started the wounded warrior regiment. it seems to me if we are seeing this problem in our society and you have ceos say they want higher veterans, you might as well start a program to address the to. and it's really been a
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successful program because as barber said, this is not about washington talk. the chamber made a mistake and hired him a ring to do this because this is all about actions on the ground. and it's really not going to happen in washington. it's nice we all meet like this and talk about it but if you look around limits are going to raise their hand, most of you have serve. most of you get the issue. most of you understand why it's a good business proposition to hire a veteran. right? this is going to happen in the local communities. if we are really going to have an impact, if you talk to 95% of the kids lead the service they have no idea what they're going to do next. they always talk about where they are going. if we are going to solve this problem it's going to require a movement across the country. companies like wal-mart, companies like fedex, companies like dry west who have a presence across the country can actually impact actions on the ground. we're not going to solve if
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you're talking about in washington. what does the chamber duplex we started a year-long nationwide initiative to do hiring fairs in 100 committees across the country. listen, i will be the first person to say that hiring there is not going to get hundreds of thousands of people's jobs. at the end of his 12 month period, 15 to 20,000 veterans and military spouses will have jobs. this is not just about the numbers. this is creating a movement. we believe those communities, core groups of leaders have stepped up and he'll go to the next two or three adjacent cities. we don't have to worry about that local chamber because trust me when they see this, we never have to go back to that city again. so next year we will be in 500 communities. i can say that with confidence because after we did the first five events, 13 chambers that were not on the list in the first 100, called and said we know you're doing the first 100, we will do our own. just sent us the hiring our
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heroes logo. because we want to be a part of this. we are on the verge of creating a movement. and i'm confident, i'm confident with the chamber, with companies, with the government, because we're doing this with the department of labor come we're doing this with the employers support of the guard and reserves. we will create a movement. in addition to that we are working on those populations that are suffering the most, the chain has a program for student veterans. waiver program for iraq and afghanistan veterans. we have a program working with the guard and reservists focus on local communities and their yellow ribbon program to quit a program for women veterans and military spouses that we are working with business professional women's foundation to create a network of 10,000 women in business mentors because those populations have issues also. listen, my wife served with me for 15 years. when we say hiring our heroes, a lot of people sake don't use the term he was picked its overuse. trust me, spouses, 93% of whom
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are wise are that he was picked people cannot forget that in any program that helps veteran should also have spouses get jobs because most of our men and women are leading the military had the dual incomes when they go back to the committee across the country. and the last thing we are working on is a program for wounded warriors which is really why we are here today. the chamber will do this in a very measured way. there's lots of people talk about doing programs for wounded warriors. a lot of them are not doing it for the right reasons. we have decided we want to highlight it will work in a very targeted way to address this population because it is significantly different from all the other populations we are talking about. so we're working with the uso and higher heroes u.s.a., and import cars and. and we did very targeted workshops to get him ready. we do mock interviews with them so that they don't feel this intimidating environment and they get the care they need from the companies that are committed to doing this with us. we also engage the dod.
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great we have a program called operation warfighter, but what about doing that in the private sector? we engage dod to have an internship program for wounded warriors and i can guarantee you we can do 30 companies tomorrow to sign up to do that, passes the house, we'll start that as early as this thing. we also believe it's important that we educate employers and will look to work with shrm on the. ptsd and tbi is not just a stigma in terms of come in terms of what general chiarelli address. i also think that in doing a service to our servicemembers in terms of telling people about ptsd, we also create a stigma in the employer community where people are not hard because they're afraid they'll get, there are a lot of people with ptsd who are my friends that are fully functioning in the workplace and we need to educate human resources managers about that. and the last thing we're doing is we're creating a network to the local chamber so that the
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local chambers of commerce stations across the country can be connected with other chambers when a wounded warrior is getting ready to leave. so that when we test these pilots, that we can scale them in a significant way once we look at what works, we will scale it to the 1700 chambers of commerce that we have across the country. the last thing i would say is that the chamber is not going to stand and just be happy with what we do in the first year. we are going to great a private sector, veterans employment advisory council comprised of 25 biggest companies in america. wal-mart, tri-west, fedex, siemens are all founding members of the. on veterans day we will launch that, and those companies, not on what they represent millions of jobs, but they will drive this issue in the private sector. we will tell the public sector what we need to do to make an even bigger impact in the years to come. we will create an architecture
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to support the high touch events we're doing in local communities so that veterans are help the day before, the day after. we would ever let a small business strategy because i really think if we're going to have an impact on this, it's not just the company's. the chamber in 1700 local chambers as neighbors. with 3 million small businesses. if we can get 10% of those 3 million small businesses, and 10% of the three and have million veteran owned businesses are mated to hiring one veteran by 2013 we can cut the unemployment rate in half our veterans. and that's something the chamber will be working on with our partners on the veterans employment advisory council, and we will drive this for as long as it takes to address the issues of veterans unemployment. thank you. [applause] >> i think we've heard some really good practical items that these copies are working on. we have about 15 minutes left. i want to get in as many
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questions from the audience as we can. so please, you know, move to the microphones. and just do the time constraints only if we could keep the questions as short as we can. and we would just start right over here. >> hi. i want to thank all of the presenters. i am here with an organization called bright star technology. and we higher veterans. we are very interested in this forum because we really need the information that you are sharing about how to make a workplace and integrate lives of veterans. i've got to question. i think primarily for captain ayres and mr. ortiz, but anybody is welcome to answer. it's really one, two-part question. what can we do to put some additional pressure on that centers and department of labor to provide better employment
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readiness pro-guns for veterans reentering the workforce. and with that, also what do we need to do as an organization to provide a truly integrated and supported environment? like what are the top three things that we need to have in place? >> the first one is a difficult one because, you know, i've got my opinions about the tap process. i think it could be much more, but again is just one of the things. you know, we recognize i think everyone in this room understands that there's things we need to continue to work out, and that's the beauty of this. we get here and talk about it and try to better the process. you know, the bottom line it boils down to leadership. boils down to leadership and that's both on the bed inside and that's on the employer side spent anyway she can think of that an employer can be supportive of local labor department? >> you know, i think -- working
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with you again? >> well, the department we have as an employer had some difficulties in getting veterans in when we needed them to perform our work processes. and we are i.t. high-tech consulting and records combined management. just kind of trying to work with local service agencies to get really employment ready people into the organization. >> maybe junior has a thought about that. >> i was think about marine for life and there's other organizations like that. >> one of the things i want you all to kind of take away, veterans employment training services also has what we call our force multiplier out there. and we work with the state workforce agencies. those agencies have specific one stop centers which is what i think you're talking about. >> yes. >> okay.
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there are specific individuals in their that are, that is their job to help veterans that come through. one of them is the disabled veterans outreach personnel, and, of course, the leader is the local veterans employment record. the lever is the one that reaches out to you and says, what do you need? >> gotcha, okay. >> no, the problem that arises is that a lot of people know with a one stop, the one stop center takes care of all, of everyone, to include veterans. but they don't know is that veterans have priority in that one stop. the leader is supposed to reach out to you and teach you, what do you need? what are you trying to achieve, who are you looking for? and then be able to match that with what you need. so, if you don't have that, i can provide that for you. because we have, we have about
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2000 levers throughout the country. in every single state. so i can provide that. >> follow-up meeting in the back of the room. let's keep it going. next. >> christie, army wife. we worked with kevin in a recent national launch, and the chamber of commerce across the country were spectacular in helping us with that effort. i've wanted to say to gary, too, now, mike has this institute for veterans and military families, and i think when you all talk about the education piece of it, both from the spell side, the servicemember side, the veterans aside and actual companies themselves, that's probably going to be the most important. and that's have anything to do you talk about it, that mental health aspect to it. and i think the peer-to-peer type of opportunities that you'll have in these companies fostering those is going to be
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in the end one of the most important parts of all this. because if you can get us in the door, and chris you are talking about the challenges of trying to get the spouses in, you know, particularly if they are caregivers, one of the most valuable things we can provide to you as the caregivers and as the wise without expense and living with 10 years of war not because you have an entire generation now military offensive don't know anything but war, you can use us as consultants and how to communicate with the veterans come how taking the cake with the spouses and get the best out of them. the last thing i would say is magic. everybody is so well intended and i've seen so many much money is so much passion just basically be flushed down the toilet because no one seems to be keeping track of what you get these veterans and you get the spouses, what's actually happening. >> you make a great point there. i just wanted to add on, you know, the education piece. i think it really goes to say
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that the person you of implementing that, in the liaison need to be engaging and outgoing individual who understands that and can execute. if you just hire someone who doesn't know it, put them in there, it's going to fail. so, you know, having that liaison, you have to put forth the effort to make sure that individual is a stellar performer and connects with you spent i want to go way over there. we have six people stand and i really want to get to everyone's question. so way over to the end of the room. >> thank you. did not veterans of america. first of all i want to thank all of those representing of the private sector out there for all you're doing, particularly the u.s. chamber, wal-mart, et cetera. because much of the impetus that was totally missing when we came home from vietnam, that was right after the polynesian more, those who are young in the audience, i commend you for what you're doing because it's going to take that kind of private leadership at every level in our
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nation and our society to get the job done. by and concerned about what's not happening at a governmental level. and this gets directed towards junior, you're on the hot seat. the workforce investment act is supposed to have priorities services for veterans, and it does not. and it has been no enforcement for the last 10 years. and, frankly, the tax credits the president is talking about is part of the jobs for americans act. in and of itself is not going to tip the decision to get people to higher veterans. they will take it on the backend but it has to be money up front. we can take workforce investment act, and if there is the political will, force those delivery areas to start putting veterans in and use that money as a ojt. number one. number two, we can take the federal contract job listings which is an office of federal
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contract compliance which basically doesn't help anybody at the moment, and they seem to be engaged in finding employers more than anything else, it's not supposed to be a revenue enhancement mechanism. it's supposed to be a behavior changing mechanism for federal contractors to get them to list into higher protected groups, beginning with disabled veterans. so the question is twofold. one, what is department of labor doing to ensure that veterans priorities service is in force and implemented and every service delivery area and every community in the country, working with employers, to have ojt programs that are funded and the money is already appropriated? and secondly, what is the department of labor doing to make compliant, not an onerous burden on its employers but to help people change their behavior so that they higher veterans, particularly returning wounded veterans. thank you. >> i'm on the hot seat across the board.
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and rick, we discussed this in previous times also. i can't speak for osc cpn ally, and in this case, i'm going to have to go back and actually find out a lot because unfortunately i can't answer those questions to you directly. but i would be more than happy to go back and check. >> okay. >> john, retired. one thing i have heard much about this morning or even this afternoon is faith-based communities. this is an untapped resource that is begging to find an opportunity to serve, and not on the reintegration but also to employ veterans. this is where you're going to find the doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers. you will find the active guard reserve people. you're going to find veterans. you're going to find your retirees, et cetera. it seems like this is an untapped resource, just like i
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had 60 more families sign up this sunday asking what they can do in my small program, to help with working with the walter reed, the new walter reed wounded warriors, et cetera. but i would like to ask all of you to consider this untapped resource, especially when you consider the u.s. chamber, wal-mart, et cetera, that can be very much integrated in the community. >> i think you make an outstanding point. you know, three years ago when i ground my wife by the throat and lifted or three feet off the deck and got arrested for domestic violence because i was a sick individual, educated myself on a lot about ptsd. it was my new enemy. i knew everything about it but still bottom line, i had to give it something else. i have to find the lord. and that's where i started my healing process, and i still worship him 100%. [applause] spent the bottom line at the end of the day, accountability is on
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the as well as veterans. at some point i have to say you know what? i've got to stand up to the plate. it doesn't get the virtual impunity to sit here and acting have a certain behavior that i was exhibiting. at some point have to get up off my reader and take accountability for my actions, and did what else needs to take accountability as well. its twofold, good relationship. >> it wouldn't be too hard in northern virginia to grab less than four churches and come up with 30,000 people. we've got a large congregation, 40% of the organize volunteers come from faith-based organizations. so it's there. take advantage of it spent i do some work with the christian men's bible campus, out of nebraska. and i know he is done some work with in the morning court and a senior champlin within the ring core. instead turned to drugs and alcohol for a returning veteran that are having difficulty, turn to jesus christ. >> let's see if we can squeeze in our last four.
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we have people anxious enough to get up in front of the microphone, i want him to be heard. we will go for some short questions and short answers. >> im market are not on a multi-veteran, i am -- [inaudible] one of the afford lessons learned from this war was the importance of culture. as was alluded to, great cultural society is between civilian and military culture. and only 1% of the population actually serves in the military. and that makes them particularly isolated and vulnerable population. so my question is, is there a resource, maybe a handbook or a field manual, that bridges the cultural divide and educates, as mr. ortiz suggested, service members so that they can own their psychological, their own psychological adjustment and well being, both belonging in
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getting back. and by the way, i will leave mr. schmiegel with the following suggestion, and that is luck is not a reliable source. [laughter] >> if anyone would like to answer that question. >> let me just tell you something that is important to us, because before we hire anyone at wal-mart, whether it's a very senior person or very junior person, we feel very confident that they can make, that they will be comfortable in our culture, and that we will feel comfortable and confident that they will be successful. and the most important asset that we have in that regard, frankly, is our cultural foundation in what we understand to be service cultures. and the people that are the purveyors of that on our site
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are what we believe when we finally get the results of some polling done is, well north of six digits of veterans that are at wal-mart. and they are the best people to be able to take care of that for us spent okay, let's move on. we're going to run out of time. >> kathleen carroll, nine-year marine, bascom recently transitioned to amazon as a military relations manager. just really directed to you, chris. what are some specific examples that companies like amazon or wal-mart, northrop grumman, what is northrop grumman done to specifically help you in your transition and make you successful? >> one was workplace accommodations, and then he recently, i moved my family up here, and i retired in texas. that's where i was born in raised and living a. and we have three girls, our
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oldest has down syndrome and then i am disabled as well. and i was working full-time with northrop, and you know, my wife might as well have been a singer mother of three. it was tough. so i chose to move my family back home, got permission from management to work remotely. i work in health i.t. a lot i can do remotely in what i need pashtun women need to travel i can come out and visit with my folks in the program. they been able to accommodate me there. the program is not perfect. it takes action on both might -- i can get ticked off here and say, i met with the program, i'm leaving. well then, two wrongs don't make a right. it doesn't better the program. or i can sit down and say i think we have some areas we continue, continually need to improve and hey, here's my input. and then cultural differences is huge. i came from a military culture, an organization, and you draw me into the corporate world.
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i was like what? but is that? and i was an education mismatch. i have a bachelor of science. it was completely tough. so having that understanding, having seen management, middle and senior management that understands that and provides just been linked up with a mentor within the program that will work with me for the next year in program management. in taking actions like that and stepping up to the plate, you know, bringing 50% effort on both sides is really going to help. >> let me get the last two people way over there on the in. >> we've heard that there may be as many as 85% of g.i. bill users dropping out of college, and my question is, if the education crisis linked to the unappointed crisis, and if so what can employers do with universities to build a bridge?
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>> well, we do, as you might imagine, we have a pretty aggressive cancers relations program, generally. we have a fairly long relationship with student veterans of america. we are actually looking to better integrate the military aspects of what i have done into our larger canvas relation programs. we have a very aggressive intern program. and so, we take pretty seriously, you know, how we interact with the academic community in a lot of fronts. i know that doesn't completely answer your question but we're
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pretty aggressive in this space. >> and i just add? i think there's one other thing we need to do. if you look at the forest is leading them when they're making their decision they have to understand what path, they'll have to go down to get the qualifications they need to do what they have to do. in our transition process right now, there is no bridge plan for these young men and women that are leaving so they make an uninformed decision. the question earlier, veterans will hold three jobs in the first three years they leave. it's not because they're not being assembly and the culture. mentors will help, and if they make an informed decision. these are smart young men and women. they just need to make a better decision. maybe we need to push community colleges to start. but we absolutely have to show them the path and give them maybe 20 or 30 options and what they will have to do to get to what they want to do in their second governors spent that's what jumped out on the screen to me. they are not getting the leadership. if they don't have a plan for
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this post be executed when believe in being a part of the transition these huge. >> we will make you the last question. >> i'm scott huff, inc. recorded with the army wounded warrior program. not the wounded warrior project. i'm a federal employee with the army. right now we have about 9000 severely injured wounded and ill veterans and servicemembers that have medically or will be medically retired. everything i've heard here today, everything, is right on cue, right on target. and just like the gentleman who stood at this point and said what's going on. i would challenge labor to do one thing. revisit the apprenticeship program, make it work. i would challenge chamber of commerce one thing. three years ago we had a reintegration some of her veterans here in d.c. held by survivor core. one of the things that came out of that was a veteran friendly concept, like malcolm type of thing. come up with a branding program, stick to it, make employers
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responsible for hiring veterans in a standardized format that they can police themselves. thank you. >> i'm going to take a reporter's prerogative and i'm going to have the last question. and my question is going to be to the audience. as i have sat here and listen to everybody, i want to know is there an unemployed veteran industry and? is there a veteran in this room that needs a job? and i don't see a single hand, which tells us of course -- >> military spouse. >> is there a military spouse? is there a military spouse in this room that is here to look for information because they need a job? and i'm looking around, i don't want to miss any hand. okay. spent i'm a military member that would be transitioning out medically separated or retired centcom and that's why i came, to find out what's out there, what's available. because i have no idea what the heck am going to do. i haven't had to look for a job
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in almost 11 years. >> do you think you've learned something here today? >> most certainly. thank you very much. i'm a u.s. marine. >> tell us your name. >> robert keith. combat logistics battalion two, stationed at camp lejeune in north carolina. spent marine was enough, but i'm biased. [laughter] >> no worries. no worries. >> first, we wish you the best of luck. we're glad you learned something. a lot of resources here today. >> i will give you my card right after this spent we will all give you a card. [applause] >> and i say this because, and then i will stop talking, i went with admirable, chairman of joint chiefs of staff to a meeting similar to this in detroit, and then we went to cleveland and then we went to a few other places with him. and everywhere we went, it was businessmen and bankers and organizations and all kinds of people in the audience, but
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there was always one or two, if you only open your eyes and ask, in the back of the room who came because they read about a meeting and they need a job and they need work. and people will do what they need to do for veterans. they will do what they need to do and go to any meeting to find that job. so mostly it's a reminder to me when i sit in a large media ground in washington, real people, real veterans, real needs. and so we thank you all for coming. and we wish everyone the best of luck, and we thank our vietnam veterans in the audience for their service. some of us are old enough to remember they peloponnesian war's. and i guess we will be back next year. >> thank you barber and thanks to all our panel members. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
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>> you are watching c-span's live coverage of the 2011 defense forum, one of the last because that will be coming up, the keynote address by allison hickey, the department of veterans affairs undersecretary for benefits. that will be coming up just after a short break. in the meantime let you know what's going on on capitol hill. today the house was in for a pro forma session at noon eastern. no legislative work on the house side of the capital. the senate will be coming in at 3:30 p.m. with work on fiscal year 2012 federal spending starting an hour later, and a procedural vote on that matter expected at 5:30 p.m. eastern. you can watch the senate here on c-span2. >> most all of google's problems are self-inflicted because they don't play by the rules of the game and they don't obey the law spent if you're one of whether
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you're getting an honest results from google, all you got to do is move the mouse and go to being or yahoo! or facebook, and you can figure out whether or not you're getting a fair result spent a look at competition and google's business practices with google monitor.com scott cleland and former federal trade commission bureau of competition director david balto. tonight at eight eastern on "the communicators" on c-span2. >> and join us tomorrow for the latest on campaign 2012 when david axelrod, senior strategist for president obama's reelection campaign will participate in the new hampshire breakfast starting at 8 p.m. eastern on our companion network c-span.
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>> we provide coverage ofntlemar politics, public affairs, nonfiction books and americanly history. this was look for congress to continue federal spending into november including funding for recent natural disasters. keep tabs on the deficit committee as they formerly a plan to lower the debt and follow the presidential candidates as they campaign across the coach. it's all of able to you on television, radio, online and on social media sites. search watch ensure all our programs anytime with c-span video library. we are on the road with our digital bus and local content vehicles bring our resources to local communities and joint events from around the country. it's washington your way. the c-span networks created by cable, provided as a public
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service. >> congressman tim walz is the highest ranking enlisted soldier in congress. he served 25 years in the national guard. in remarks to the american legion for minnesota democrat said that when it comes to budget cuts veterans benefits should take priority because of what it took to earn those benefits. he spoke to the veterans group a day after president obama unveiled his plan to help unemployed veterans. this is about 20 minutes and we will show you as much of this as we can before returning to the reagan center for the discussion on veterans issues. ♪ ♪ >> well, good morning, and commander, thank you so very much for the info tatian to be in i would argue the most special place in america today.
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and for the kind words of introduction. good morning to each of you, my fellow legionnaires, and especially my brothers and sisters from minnesota. thanks for putting on this party. [applause] special thank you to each of you. the service that you and your families have already given put you into a very, very small minority in this country. we know we have less than 10% of the population that our veterans. we have less than 1% of the population currently serving us and protecting freedom from around the world. you did your time, you could have come back and you could do for furthered your careers as many of you did on that side, but you also take your time, your energy, and your expertise to be involved with the american legion for one very, very simple, eloquent and, and i would say the most noble of reasons, you love discussion with all of your hard. you choose to come here to try
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and further things that make this country stronger, make this country more prosperous, make this country fairer. and because i view this country stands head and shoulders above because of the work of what you have done. and for that i thank you deeply. i have to tell you, the honor of serving in congress is a singular honor, but i have to tell you, if you get to so put in place very quickly, shortly after i was elected i got the opportunity to go out to walter reed army medical center and visit some of our wounded warriors. there was a young man coming back from iraq, recovering from his injuries come and they said this is congressman walz. is a retired sergeant major in the army. and this kid never missed a beat. and he said oh, i'm sorry to hear that. and i'm thinking to myself, my first thought was this kid is a marine. these tough. [laughter] but he set me straight. he said why is that what she said i'm sorry you took the demotion to congress, sergeant major.
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[laughter] and i have to tell you, right now the sense of frustration that many of us feel, i saw a poll the other day. it said 12% of america approves of what congress is doing. my first thought was, who the hell of a 12%? they are not in my family. but that frustration level, let me be very clear in all seriousness on this. the sacrifice that each of you and that our warriors throughout time have made was for the very purpose to allow a high school teacher and a citizen soldier to run for elected office to govern ourselves. truly, a government of the people, by the people and for the people. the sacrifices of blood and life that have been left on battlefields across the world, that allow us to govern ourselves, and allow us to go to congress. i have to tell you, the sense of
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just almost, just disillusionment that we could disrespect the memory of what it takes to govern and what it takes to have us in the united states congress must hold us to a higher standard. .. the most realistic people in this country are sitting in this room. people that i've seen and as we
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heard nasty speaking, had seen what tierney can do. we've seen how it can crush the human spirit and we also understand that that he can and shining knight that the united states must always be there. so, when people stand in front of you and talk to you about responsibility and talk to you about shared sacrifice and talk to you about how we can do better, they certainly are preaching to the choir. and i have to tell you, when i watch this and see the things you do and the focus you burying, this room is far more than a group of people advocating for veterans benefits. this is their advocating for american values. this is a group advocating for done right. this is a room advocating that we have no choice but to get this right. and congress, everything is so polarized in black-and-white. we could not vote today integrates wednesday. that would be the situation we're in.
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and you -- [applause] and what you understand, this polarization doesn't strike this nation. it doesn't make us more prosperous. it doesn't make us better and it doesn't make the american people happier. and the model that you present here in the way we go about our business is exactly the way we should be doing business across the board. when i watch her commander and folks of knowledge and come forward and come forward to washington to testify about the priorities of national security and veterans issues, they do it in a manner that it dignified end in a matter that is based on facts. they do it in a manner that when you come and watch that, many of you have been there, you don't know what the democrats is that a republican. you they are all americans working for the same cause. that model -- [applause]
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that model works. and again, i don't need to take the most realistic and pragmatic country. security falls on many fronts and just because one side of that ledger were taking care of business and our warriors are doing their job, there's different sides of that ledger and things like fiscal responsibility that everyone talking about, there's a reason we're talking about it. it's important. our national security depends on us getting it right. this nation has done so time and time again. but let's be very clear. this polarization that sets up false choices, be very, very clear. there are no two choices when it comes to national defense because the choice to get it right is the only one this nation can pursue. actually make a false choice and say we don't have the ability or we don't have the financial security to defend this nation,
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that is an unacceptable option. they cannot be pursued and will not be pursued. with that in mind as we talk about security and we talk about our veterans, let's be very commit very honest peer-to-peer multiple ways to solve this problem. i can tell you that this is a group that is failing and a fast were every bit of the way. as i tell my friends in the va and when you see secretary shiitake in front of you in a few moments, this group is his staunchest supporters. because of that, will also be the harshest critics. if there is waste in the viewing will find it. if there's inefficiencies you will find it. if there's better ways to serve our veterans, will find it. this idea of false choices, this idea of coming up and running and talk about, we need to increase co-pays for veterans health care tri-care. the thing i say about that was that co-pay was paid a chosin reservoir in the jungles of
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southeast asia. it was paid in iraq and it was paid in afghanistan. [applause] before you come in front of this group or send your to congress come the u.s. that better is every tax loophole on mortgage interest deduction and cut every redundant useless program before you come and ask this very same people who paid that co-pay and has sacrificed to make that payment again. this nation -- [applause] is the greatest nation the world has ever seen, to tell our veterans we don't have the financial stability to help them with their health care or to tell our veterans who are going to have to ask them to increase the co-pay or wait longer to get their care is absolutely unacceptable. it is not a road we can go down and i say this for one very simple reason.
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that will not in any way make us more financially secure, but it will undermine our moral authority and that ask this country was founded on. there is no group of people more deserving of this nation's care that our veterans. i'll have to be very honest with you. i will stand against and stand firm with supporting things like medicare and social security. but even those programs in those benefits were not gained in the same way that veterans benefits were earned. veteran benefits were earned with blood, sweat, time away from family. because of that, they hold a separate place where we prioritize for them and the american legion knows it. [applause] let's be very clear. because of your advocacy, i'd like to mention two things over the last couple years of the american legion did. one of them once you've advocated more, helped produce, held past and helped improve the
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21st century g.i. bill, and incredibly smart program that is a benefit to the individual warrior and to their family, but the investment in america's future for our best and brightest as they leave the military and transition to civilian life, to make sure they are able to take questions they learn about loyalty, about country, about hard work, translate those into civilian skills and move forward. that is what's going to make our country. that investment in the g.i. bill will do more to pay down this deficit than anything else we can do and it's because of the american legion that's now a law. the next thing is that with like -- [applause] the next model that you advocated for could not happen. you watch for 21 out of 22 years for a budget was put forward, an independent budget said we had this much care that needs to be
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delivered to veterans and this is what it's going to cost. year after year to year we fail to meet it and fail to deliver on time. 21 out of 22 years the va health care system was sitting, waiting to see what would happen on budgeting, not being able to put money into research or prosthetic intermarried reinjury. but the region gathered together and said we should never in this nation allow politics, bickering and brinksmanship to delay the care of our veterans. so you advocated for, helped craft, help build a coalition unanimously passed and signed into law against appropriations for the veterans health care. that's incredible when for this country and it's because of you that it happened. [applause] as we move forward, we're going to have decisions to make. this organization spends countless hours and like i said the time and talent of america's most talented people
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mr. advocating for policies that make sense, policies that move us forward on the care of our veterans in terms of mental health care and physical health care. you move those things forward in a way that respects our democracy. you move this forward in a way that respects the facts and economics. you leave those stored in the best tradition of what we were founded on. i know it gets frustrating. i know the decorating gets frustrated, but i have to be honest. churchill knew this. winston churchill made a quote once that this democracy is the worst form of government ever accept for every other one that's been tried. you have provided in our warriors have provided the nation with the greatest freedom and the greatest privileges the world will ever know. turn on your news on any single day and you will watch young libyan stymieing for the chance to have the basic privilege of free speech and self determination that we have here. you understand these are not
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given, that there will always be tyranny trying to push them down. but the other side of the coin, the american legion also understands. with great privilege and great rates comes great responsibility. and that responsibility to combat her business, and defend this democracy, to conduct ourselves in a manner that is was like as of the sacrifice that was given on battlefields across this country is with incumbent upon me. i only need to look at this room and watch what you do here. what's right about america, what's right about moving america forward by what is right about closing the division among staff sits right here in this room. without the american legion, that anchor the jobs americans together, the pragmatic common sense and i would argue this one, america -- >> you can find the speech online at the c-span video
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library. back to the veterans foreign and today's keynote speaker, department of veterans affairs undersecretary for benefits, allison hickey who we will hear from in just a moment. >> it's my pleasure to introduce alice in a hickey, undersecretary for benefits department of veterans affairs. secretary hickey is that 90 states air force academy of 1980, the first class to include women. as an air force officer she served with distinction, cumulative 1500 hours in multiple aircraft. she served in several positions of responsibility to include director of the air force tv future total or for us. as undersecretary for benefits, she is a tremendous responsibility of leading over 20,000 employees in an effort to improve nonmedical benefits and services to veterans and their families. important issues such as disability compensation, education, home loan guarantee, vocational rehabilitation and employment and life insurance
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programs. ladies and gentlemen, it's my honor to introduce secretary hickey. [applause] >> well, good afternoon. admiral north, thank you very much, sir. i want you to know if i do a good job over my tenure here, and it's all because of you. if i do a bad job it's all because of me because i believe you were on my confirmation board in the selection process and that's the first time we met, so i thank you very much sir for your vote of confidence in that environment. i'd also like to just acknowledge retired vice admiral peter daly as well. thank you for your sponsorship of this event as well. and then i don't know what they're vice admiral added is still here, but if not please extend my appreciation of appreciation. when you start by saying the most important thing.
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you noticed in the buyout said air force academy. so while my navy friends coming yes we will repeat history this weekend in annapolis. now, the other thing i tell you is i'm a retired officer but i have a long dna military background. my dad was also a retired army officer. i have been is a retired officer. i got several folks in my family who are retired officers, so i appreciate what the military's officers association of america does in securing and continuing to secure the benefits that our military members need long into their veteran environments in the future. thank you for all you do and strong partnership you have a fast and being with their veterans and service members. but i wanted to love the state that my dad who is the army veteran used to say, à la thing you were born out of the signal corps. support of the cigna corp. means i get to adopt army practices. aim high just doesn't do it for me. so let's go.
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so let me just also -- i know that general carelli was that these yesterday -- i appreciate their commitment. i just let you know i'm always a little more than 90 days on the job, but i will just tell you that he is singularly the strongest advocate that we know we had for veterans and service men and women are trained visioning into our hands in future environment as a veteran into their new careers. i can't thank them enough for the dedicated effort that he does. he is literally from the day-to-day observations i get, working the integrated disability evaluation system process. hand by hand, face by face, right along with us to make sure we do this right by all of our retiring service members and separating our wounded warriors in the system as well.
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let me tell you a little bit about my life in 90 days. if not i'll try to connect that to the things you have, which is where are we and how do we take care of wounded warriors and transitioning folks and how do we take our national guard and reserve service members and veterans as well. so i have been in the 90 day to 13 were different regional offices. i have done to -- i spent time at all of our veterans service organization senior folks and i think i've seen a few in the room. so i look forward to continuing to work with them. i've been to all of our business lines, so i've talked to her education guys, pension guys, insurance guys and gals, call centers. i'm missing a few. our vocational rehabilitation and employment books and books and have in every circumstance looked at them and said, make me one of those things are one of those people that goes through your process and explain it to
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me every single step of the way. in doing that, i learned some valuable things that will guide our transformation for how we provide governments and services on the nonmedical side. but it will also say to you on behalf of secretary shinseki who expenses one greetings to you all, we do a lot on the health side as well. we extend the access which is one of our key initiatives across the board to all of our veterans and ways we've never done before. we are moving away from a centric model that has said medical centers into getting further forward into the environments where our veterans live and where their families are. the number of the boxers stood up over the last two years is in excess of 90. to working with our medical centers, where we are extending our reach by creating satellite environments, they'd be expanded, expanded capabilities we are demonstrating and i now
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see seeing the rich benefits of that and the ease at which that releases burdens for our veterans to have to drive to limited appointments and limited spaces and sometimes on distances for those appointments. and the same way, we are in the benefit side, making roadster access environments. if you have not heard it he benefits yet and i get nothing else into your ear and into your psyche and into your heads in your future, i will tell you that he benefits is the dod va lifetime electronic or paper records. we have not talked about it that way, but when i see and watch it that way that's what it is. if the integrated health record is the velar aspect of the health side, then someone is where we will see from start to finish for our servicemembers who then transition to the veteran all of the benefits they can get from the moment they get their combat boots and a
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rucksack and their cathcart, below can say stick it in the machine and get your e-benefits premier ds login account because from that moment moving forward, they will elect their service group, as shia led benefits and beneficiaries inside e. benefits. they'll execute insert their payments are for the post-9/11 g.i. bill and for guard and reserve. summer in the post-9/11 g.i. bill, some of the montgomery g.i. bill and some still in the reserve education environment. i'll be able to elect options, see how the payments went, make sure they got the appropriate payments into all that activity not on our schedule cannot be necessarily picking the phone and calling us, but it's many of our young folks are at 2:00 in the winning play world of warcraft or whatever else they do, you know, they can pop up to e-benefits and see what claim or appeal of the things they do a servicemen and women before they even get into our world.
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one of my big, big things i've been saying since day one is to break down the door for getting on a e-benefits account and we've been working hard with their deity partners at the asl to get that done. the best and fastest way to do that is catch them while they are still in uniform, active guard and reserve. get them to stick the card in. look it up right away. otherwise the next best way this got to do that despite we've changed our processes of not coming to prove on the benefit side. we are letting him call us on the 18,271,000 number. there is a hydrops cholerae, but we've added capability to say we were getting you e-benefits account. we went 78% of our veterans and service members want to meet us on nine. 73% means i can drive down the dropped call rate when i gave him the access and capabilities. to find out the information they want to find out at their time
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in choosing. so forget them on the e. benefits account to get less people calling me for what we know are our top issues right now, which is what is the status of my claim, explain this confusing letter i just got on my claim to me and the third is, what is the status of my appeal? they can get the first in the third one of those right now today online on 30 benefits account. so that's one of the other was from a benefit side of trying to increase access. just to show you have a level of impact, when i should have. couple months back, june 6, d-day. i thought that was kind of interesting. d-day is the first day started, so i, so i get to stay d-day forward. when i started redeveloped 250,000 people in e-benefits. this week we're watching awaiting and everyone is earmarked for the millionth e-benefits account holder between servicemembers and veterans. that is significant because also on the e-benefits side is all
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the details about which are entitled to the people just never had exposure before two. also on e-benefits is a four hour online tax program. so while general chiarelli is helping us immensely by giving mandates for tap for our army folks and i appreciate his support in that film, i will tell you we have an award-winning four-hour course right now on e-benefits that your servicemembers can take if they've argue that they can still get on and learned that they missed and what they don't know today. i know it's award-winning because we got her voice of the veterans surveyed back from jd powers and associates. it was a rating of 930 points, which is the highest thing they've ever found for a customer quality service index. so my after the wall that i ask everywhere i go is to please, please encourage your membership and others to get on e-benefits
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and we will have access and information in their hands that will expand their abilities to leverage the entitlements that they have and should take advantage of. let me spend -- so i talked about e-benefits. let me talk about a few other things. one of the ways we afford to do all these things is because since 2009 we have enjoyed a just better just through the roof. they are much needed. we've needed for decades and decades in your health is made that happened. so i applaud you offer everything you have done in support of our budgets moving forward. but just to give you an example in 2009 the budget was 99.8 billion. the following year president of him increased by 60% to 115 billion, the largest single year budget hike in more than 30 years. this year das budget grew to 126.6 billion the president's 20 total budget before congress right now is 132.2 billion.
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i don't have to tell you. you've heard the secretary say it before, but it's critically important to him. we are enjoyed for our veterans the much-needed resources we again and still have a ways to go. as we commonly say, there's no time yet to take to me. in fact, let me give you some stats i know from our veterans since it tends to be a focus for what you're talking about this week. both g watt and national guard and reserve of the 110 -- 1.5 million folks who have -- who had served him a g watt environment, oif, owen d., 43% of those are national guard reserve. i saw that start the first week i was on my job. as many of you know i have the total force background so those kinds of things catch my attention. when i looked if they do know what, we haven't done that since world war ii.
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we have not had that kind of a mobilization impact since world war ii. something is changing. by the way, the other thing we've had is a dramatic increase in the service of our women veterans. that is changing the whole makeup of the demographics of our future veterans and their needs. either way, they are coming home 10.7 times more likely to have experienced a significant issue related to their health and future quality of life medically and physically than they ever did before because we've gotten really good at saving lives forward. that is good, but we need to think about what's the impact of the strategically long-term? what our disney is quite the one that within a general. you know the top three or four of them claims that have three or four things i get it and i'm sorry for all the docs here. i heard it tomato tomato kind of thing depending on who you are.
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the second one is muscular skeletal. they are carrying packs, wearing gear, riding in trucks with no springs than those supported matters have been a huge impact on the claims that we see i'm support medically on the va site to reggie white veterans. one of the things i will tell you is 42% of our research and to be equally split and taking care of va health environments. so they are taking advantage of the va medical capability provided to them for the five years after their service. the question will be, you know, in the future from a strategic, is not enough? are there folks in the national guard reserve we need to think about the long-term implications of considerations they've gone through through multiple deployments. they are also older, by the way. healing and recovery and needs
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on the average four to five years of their active-duty counterparts over there. so other can do things we are thinking about. let me tell you from the dba perspective what i'm thinking about. i'm thinking about the fact i can't get hands-on service treatment records. thought to publicly acknowledge the great work that dave mcginnis and general mckinley at the national guard bureau and others will do to help us get our hands on them. when i go out to the 13 regional offices had been tipped and asked them to show at the worst cases are committee are typically national guard and reserves and the reason that they can't get a hold of service treatment records. the service treatment records are ending up in somebody's basement. the dave mcginnis is going to do a tremendous effort and i'm sure the guard and reserve chiefs will pile on anything you can do to help us is wonderfully
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received and well appreciated. we've got to get away this national guard and reserve service to record them up in the right places at the right time so we are not looking for them and spending valuable time and effort that the veteran needs their claim done on a hunch. so i just ask your help in that area. the other thing we're having a hard time doing it sometimes can in the personal as well. original objectives are getting smart because 70% are national guard reserve and vba. at about 50/50 split between active duty and guard and reserve in the house because they all have their little buddies and they know what a state joint headquarters looks like and how to reach up and find the assistance person who is helping them at the national guard state level and also the national guard hero. but i would say the one complaint i hear in the one concern i have a keeping up that night, what about individual mobilization on them to but
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don't have that kind of the unit centric model? they come home, aren't received in big yellow programs via they say thank you for your service and more like the world war ii model where they rolled off the plane and jumped on a train or a bus for some demon got home and disappeared into the fabric of america. in some ways that's good because they are the fabric of america. in other ways it's bad because we don't want to get ahold of them, get the claims process, get the information and take care of them. the major help in the angle is well figuring out how we do that with our reserve folks. i'm really focused on this and i such a vast dave mcginnis and general mckinley to work with me to help set up a national guard and reserve summit, to go after some of these hard issues of the national guard reserve to get them back into a way in which we could get their claims done, take your medical needs all at the same time.
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i have another issue that keeps coming up, so i'm going to raise them because i'm kind of having a conversation with the well to tell you it's on my mind and what i see. and that is when we get to the point of doing the integrated disability and evaluation system process, there seems to be some things that were differently when we get to guard and reserve into the active duty folks as well because the guard and reserve folks don't have a place to go back into the unit while they're waiting to go through the process they end up in the warrior transition unit waiting and waiting and waiting. here is what i'll tell you from a deep respect it. i'm sure somebody else has addressed this to you from the dod perspective. ..
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>> i was a little concerned because the first in number 70,000 but it looks like only 18,000 what the end of the environment. that makes it easier for us to absorb that process into our normal capability. so, we are working closely with duty and i really appreciate the partnership they are providing under the leadership of transit and others. and i appreciate all they do. another partnership were doing with dod, and as is i mentioned
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it already before was the transition assistance program. we are going to revamp that thing. when we do, it needs to be not just a class or of course. it needs to be an entire experience to secretaries in sexy will tell you we need to gracefully take people out of the surface into their new career as much in with as much focus and as much process and as much dedication and deliberate action as we did bring it on. we all that to them. are that to our nation be able to leverage the great capability and to be able to take advantage of the experience and the maturity and depended the that they bring to our nation's business. but we talk to you a little bit about how we prepare them on the va site for the. i mentioned we had a little for our thing but we also partnered extensively with those out there helping us to tap sessions across the nation. i look forward to not only continuing that but expanding
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that. one other thing i did need to be built into that process is a prescreening of medical records which sounds a little bit like going to an many process. let's get prescreening of medical records or benefits of discharge sites. let's do prescreen sarver knows what this post be looking at and what they're asking. in the same respect i'm going to ask everybody, including all of our state directors, everybody who touches a submit to claim, to help us with something. you guys hear the million claims issue all the time, right? so let me put a little education because i've asked all those kinds of questions in the last 30 days, or 90 days, sorry, three months. we have a million claims in immature but our backlog is only about, all the commissar, i know dozens of good, only about 480,000 of those. that meet isolate and the 480,000 of them on day 126. still need 125 days to do a good
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piece of work on those and that's appropriate anybody agrees that's appropriate. but the backlog is the 480 some odd thousand that we are holding onto on day 126. but what i find interesting, and so counted up to the new gal, what i find interesting is that those claims are not just one issue. you know, each claim comes income is used to be with about three-four issues which means we are handling three to 4 million exams on those million new claims. we are handling three to four evaluations of that particular body issue on each of those claims. we are searching through personnel records to look for service-connected issues associated with each of those claims, but it is growing. it's growing from three to four issues per claim, in many cases, over 12 issues per claim. some of those absolutely legitimate. but asked as from the input side
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and to really scrub that, really make sure we are giving legitimate service-connected ability claims for specific body issues that our veterans have suffered from, and not just giving us a big huge laundry list. we will do our due diligence. if it's 12 or if it's too. we're going to work hard and do our due diligence on everyone of them. but if they are not legitimate to coming in the door or our true service connection ability, and you know coming in the door it's not going to get service-connected because it's not something that can be. i ask you to doublecheck that, please. for two reasons. when we tell veterans to go ahead and submit it, and we know it won't be service-connected, sending an expedition in the mind of that veteran that their service was important over that issue. and then when we have to tell them now because the law says is, this and this doesn't line up, then they think we don't care about them.
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and i'm going to tell you if i've anything at all that i have learned in my 90 days, va cares about these veterans, and they're trying their very, very hardest to take care of them. so i asked for that reason. second is when we have is in the mix it slows us down getting to the rest of those claims that are service-connected ability and the like. so i would just ask for a little thought, and a little consideration on that as you work with others, working for to just think about that just a little. let me just say some other good things that we've got going on. we have literally in two years from a cold start put $2.5 billion into more than 95,000 vietnam era veterans hands for agent orange claims as of now. we will finish up the agent orange cases. we will finish them off largely i this week. we have a few extra, not much, a few extra into the first weekend in october. but they will be done.
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that was a huge effort for us over the last two years and they'll be done. i appreciate all your help and support for these veterans of our vietnam era environment to really needs us to take care of them. and it's a long time coming but we have done it and i appreciate, thanks, seeing you over there, for helping us in all that respect. we have come in the last two years from a cold start for the post-9/11 g.i. bill, we put over $13.3 billion into more than 680,000 veterans and their designated representatives hands in order to give them good education. not just for the sake of the education, but especially in this world environment right now, to prepare them for their next job, to prepare them for their next career, to do what the same thing that happened after world war ii, which is build the nation on those people and their capability, to help us to restore our economic vitality and our nation's goodness. let me tell you what we have
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learned though. not everybody wants a degree. you know that? not everybody does. i was just reading the bloomberg i don't know whether there's any political bias in that from get that if there is. i saw interesting statistic that said 47 million jobs that would betray between now and 2018 are not bachelors degree requirements. they are certificates. they are credentials. they are licensing. they are tradecraft. they are things that our servicemembers do today that with the right help in the right connection moving into the future and taking advantage of the nice tax breaks and a nice capability that is keyed up and already on the books in teed up in the american jobs act, we will have the capability to say hey, you used to be heavy equipment operator? guess what? we have heavy equipment operator required to build this highway in iowa or west virginia or name
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the place. i don't know if they're building highways there, forgive me if i got it wrong. but can we get you certified in licensing? can we work with the -- the teachers are doing great work with us getting veterans into hardhat construction environments. microsoft is coming for with some really great initiatives to get them certified in their computer system capability, to carry them over into those type of career fields. doctors, nurses, medical, construction building, all kinds of things like that, but they require a certain amount of, you had the skill in the military, let's make a transferable and translatable to our business partners, or our partners out in a commercial environment. our other government agency environments. we are doing some great work. i think in that area under this expanded tap environment but also va is making a major push to grow its capabilities through
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a va for veteran invited. i had about three years in industry. and my three years in industry was a great company but they didn't have a ton of people who understood military resumes. so i started becoming the resume translator. and that was good for our veterans because as soon as i look at them, they would say we don't have anything for them because they didn't talk the same mileage as our industry partners. out what i can say, you know what, that thank you, that's a requirement developer for a new i.t. system. oh, i didn't know that. let's translate. let's get some jobs in that environ. hey, by the way, that's a trainer. if they can do something that teaches them how to take apart an m1 tank and put it back together again i think they could probably teach them how to do a flow diagram and they can describe a standard operating procedure proud to do this and teach somebody how to do it. and we don't have enough of that going on so i need your help making that happen as well,
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being that translator for our veterans, of their service to the future career military opportunities. so, so let me think of this other thing that i thought i would share with you real quickly. by the way, our reserves, take it ticket there's a lot of our benefits right now today. 290,000 are doing a va loan right now. 290,000 of them are va loan with more than $40 billion, our guard reserve guys and gals. we have come this one is kind of, i scratch my head on. a fabulous fabulous program that gives you a face-to-face counselor, your own personal vocational rehabilitation and employment counselor who is not much more need than about a 20% disability for an employment handicap. they will walk you through everything, pay for everything. they have job programs and in workshop programs that you get you working with employers. while we pay part of their salaries.
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i don't know what people are not signing up for this. maybe we have a branding or in marketing, you know, issue. but i would ask you all to look at that and see how we can get our veterans to sign up for vocational rehabilitation and employment environment to facilitate their ability to get good, meaningful, respectful, dignified future careers the way they want and need. searches pass that on to you. by the way, in addition to telehealth, things that we are doing will require you meet with is the first time face-to-face. but after that you don't want to drive to see as? we get it. so let's come up online together. we have a capability right now is electronically to give skype like a capabilities, a bit more secure than skype can be, but capabilities where you sit across from me with a little camera on your laptop or your home computer or on your ipod or iphone or whatever it is that you want to talk to me about, and we meet again in we
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create plans for your future and we focus you on the educational needs that you need, or on the requirements that you need. and i don't understand why more and more people don't take advantage of that. every person i've talked to that comes to the backside of that, not just going into basic basic jobs, the our ph.d's out there. are our masters degrees, mbas and the like they're doing work with businesses that have gone to this program. so i would encourage you to have those kind of conversations with your veterans as well. the other thing i will tell you is 8100 of our national guard and reserve for veterans are participating right now. another 2500 have already been through the process are now well on the way and graduated. what i'm concerned about in the future, while our numbers look good for fiduciaries, i'm concerned about this as the secretary is a we've done some major action recently to make sure we've got some stronger internal controls. for those of you don't know what our fiduciary program is, this is a program where we check on and administer the financial support to a fiduciary for our
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most vulnerable veterans who can't take care of themselves and can't talk to us in some cases and can't tell us what the treatment is like. we have recently taken and did this at a separate entity. we're consolidating hubs, very better oversight over. we're looking at this from a case management perspective to expand our capability to be face to face and to check on them in ways like we've never done before. so numbers look good. we just have one of those things that happens where the little hairs stand up on the back of your neck. we'll be focus on that effort as well in that environment. so, bottom line, need from guard and reserve perspective on this going to can't get to the point here. helping to get anyway to get a hold of the treatment service records. we will need them in the next little bit. so at the end of the day, where are we on transformation? i'm the kind of person that kind of puts it all out there, and i
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am kind of noted for saying i'm all in but i'm also all out. so here's where we are. we are making some really significant inroads to be able to start our major transformation model from a people perspective, a prospect, and a technology perspective, may next year. we are going to be in a tough year in 12 and 13 doing this but it's necessary. from a people perspective we're moving to the case management environment and by going to move to a segmentation model for more with the teams of people together that manage that veteran from start to end and they don't just pass over to the next person when they do their little part anymore. when they do that we will have them work in an environment where it matches their skill set for the amount of the abilities they have been trained and experienced they have had. i will give you an example but 50% of my workforce right now doing claims is under two years experience. so we're doing a lot of
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training. so it helps if i put them in on some of the e.u. claims and but put them on the most complex claims, which is sometimes what can happen today in the model we are in. second thing we're going to do is specialized those claims according to complexity. we're also going to specialize those claims accord some of our most sensitive issues. we've got to nationally do something about this, a great veterans and people who care about people in uniform. but one in five women who comes to us and screams, screams positive. i'm handling of missing to make sure we get the services and our folks are taken care of, but we need to do something to enlarge about taking care of all of our military service members and leaving nobody behind. what that means, i'm having a lot of claims that coming for military sexual trauma and ptsd associate with it. and by the way, not just women. 25% of those are males. that might shock you. it did me a little.
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25% of those are males. we are specialize in banning of those things so that we make sure that we are careful about those issues be we're going to people specifically trained. right now we've claims developer specifically trained to handle them. we're about to switch and also make great are specifically trained to handle them and now those people and those claims and do understand the unique nature of those claims. so we are working that issue. the other things we're doing, creating a processing center which means i'm not just any mailroom people send out claims to different folks. we are taking highly experienced people who have seen every possible claim that could be in the world and we are putting them right at the front after the mailroom and sank to make sure this claim gets in the right lane, the right time the first time. that's another effort we're doing. from a process perspective, the number to asia i get called about was laying that letter to me that we are confusing in the way we send our letters to our veterans. now, yes, i heard that.
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i not. i've had my letters. why do i have to of these letters? what does this letter mean? which one takes precedence but they don't, they're just to let us. so we're working on that hundred i'm going to tell you honestly working on it with our appeals folks. is definitely the way we've done it before, and is beneficial to them to understand how we thought about things when we did that claim. so what we're trying to do is automate as much as possible. on any pretext, where we need to add more fidelity back in to help everybody get what they need out of the letter. but then we need to do that and here's why. our claims the raiders spent 33% of the time writing what i will call to return papers a day. i want you to remember the last time it was like when you wrote a term paper and imagine doing three a day when none of that letter is automated. they literally sit down and start writing. it means from scratch.
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doesn't make a lot of sense. they sit there, worry about it, we end up reading them a talking about the quality relative to style and not substance and i didn't hate him to be grammar writers and didn't hide them to do those kind of things. we are working on that. we are working on it with the people who care about us doing it right and we all care about doing that right so we will give do that. but at some point in time i can get left out of that to do middle-class better with a cleaner letter that tells our veterans that we are really saying in a much better way. next thing we're doing is also putting county leaders, automated calculators into our technology system but let me tell you why. we took one of our medium complexity claims and give it to some of our very senior, most experienced writers. we said rate this without the benefit of calculators. so they did and they got about an 82% quality. we took the same case and took it to our brand newest raiders and we said rate this case with these characters, these new
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calculators. they rated it at 92% quality. simple use of attack later that walks you very deliberately through a process and how you need to ask yourself the right questions and make sure you did it all right is significant in our ability to increase our quality. that's where we are focused on that particular effort. we are focused on workflow capability automated and not a day with it is today. that was what comes to life next year. comes to life december this year but i don't have big enough for all of you i.t. guys, i don't have the utilities on the bottom that allows me to get 20,000 plus users on it right now. that's where we grow from december of this year in may next year is that capability, and we get the have to there's built in and start have a paperless environment. but i only to have a paperless environment if i get folks to help us submit claims online. at dod folks giving it to their benefit and discharge, state
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directors give it coming in electronically through a stakeholder emigrate in the benefits of they can do claims submission online. i've got to stop the paper flow. if i don't stop the paper flow and move into a paperless environment, i've got $1 billion standing problem i can't close. so we've got to do what you do when you get the broken pipe in the basement which is just don't go in and start getting out water. you've got to stop the water flow. with a strategy to stop the water flow, start printing out. we have inherently to us to get into that paperless environment so we can do things better and faster and more effective. for our veterans, for the families, for their survivors. so that kind of keys you that far technology. the lesson of just her let's talk a little bit about call centers because i don't have any other called the number and hunger for and after 30 mins can
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we can't call you back now, call us back later, right? let me tell you the strategies. it's gotten ugly before it will get better. i made the decision to take risks on the benefits, folks on the calls which takes almost double the amount of time for a call now to get people to start self-serving, and to get off the phone because we get the same information in e-benefits. so that made it slightly worse because i went to call you get the object is if you want an e-benefits? we will block you to accommodate you done over the phone. we are getting help from our eso also by the way to allow them to do remote proofing for us so that they can outdo and on spot. we will get help from others to do the same thing. but here's the other things we're doing on what we call a better relationship management which is more that our call center. national call center. it's also e-benefits but what i would say what we're doing right now today, some of this capability hits in october, callbacks. you can leave us, it'll ask you,
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you want us to call you back and we will call you back if you latest information. even what time. if you want to schedule and appoint a woman call you back. this is like if you don't ipads and iphones and want them to call of a service on your ipod or iphone and use economy between four and five to more you can schedule an appointment. we will call you at that time. those are coming in right now in october. so that will help relieve some of that pressure on our veterans when they call us with your questions. the e-benefits does a big bit of that from my perspective. moving downstream. so i've sort of given you a just of the few i've seen of the world in terms of where we are going and what i am seeing in the like. i really truly believe we will get through this transformational model. we are preparing out that i'm putting change agents at every regional office. i'm putting quality review teams in the recent office on the longer will just be one starting roles in four months after you're done the work to give you
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an assessment that is four months old of the work you did. we will have a regular week to week capability to assess the quality of our folks in that region office. so all those things we are doing to knock down this issue of the claims backlog, and is invited, some of the other benefits were doing. what i'd like to do is hate, i said i'm all out and i'm all in, right? so i'm going to open it up and say if you got a question he wanted us to come if i answer it i will. if i can't i'm not going to tell you i will can. i was taken into and get back to the rest of you. we will go from there. yes, sir. >> my name is michael parker. i'm a wounded were advocate but i've had my own issues as well. one of the conditions that is reactive arthritis which is i can for rheumatoid arthritis. it's rated under diagnostic code 5009, which is generically labeled arthritis, other types. you will not find the word reactive arthritis or other
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forms, it's like, arthritis and differentiated come anywhere. that's the problem. took me five years to get that ready quickly all the way up, and yada, yada, yada. if they would just simply say other types of such as reactive arthritis, it would get done right the first time. to me this is very important because these types of diseases, the anthrax vaccination expert community has said they believe there's a link between that vaccination and the onset and/or aggravation of these types of diseases. the va has put out a presumption that if you served in the middle east have been exposed to the type of bacteria that trigger these type of bacteria -- diseases. the first thing that he did was say we don't know what it is and they change it. so that took about a year to fix. >> michael, right? michael? michael, do me a favor and send
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me an e-mail. i will not be able to retranslate what you just said. i vaguely understand that i industry in general what you are saying. sending an e-mail. i sent it last year that i asked the same question to the aipac i've been sending e-mails and letters threat. i'm hoping you're the one who can break down the wall. just list the dangers is that this code coverage. and be done. >> thank you. sending the e-mail and say that also. >> one of quick points. by the way, allison pat hickey at va.gov. i got a buddy. they find out what it is anyways i will tell you. >> it is working great. big e85 quick. the va doesn't mean that many get put on. 18 months later to be a palace and it goes back to a legacy system and ratings are just as good as they were under the old legacy system that i got folks 40% via, 20% really. pages recovery act as the biggest question to we need you to stay involved with these raced out the process or these
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guys are going to lose their business. i don't know if that issue has been brought to you are not. >> that surprises me because my understanding is where the last to touch it. >> you are the first time but if you put on temporary disability they get reevaluated 18 months later. the va will not play in the free evaluations and it reverts back. >> i will take that one and look at it. thank you. >> i'm sharing reaching open, retired army nurse. >> thank you for your service. >> i would like to ask you get any opportunities for those who do have problems in terms of military sexual trauma where they can report their claims confidentially and privately? i have a female veterans in the community who are working with other veteran offices and they don't want to go to their fan 11 and talk to them. >> is with windows, bsos is a great option but a veteran can file directly. you don't have to go to a veterans service officer at all. it about direct with us if the
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answer to online they can show up at regional office at the front desk area. they will help them file right then and there. doesn't require, i want to make sure i say this. our vsos are tremendously helpful in doing that very they also go to the state department of veterans side as well as if they want to go that way. but they don't have to do anything. they can show that the office in 25 a claim and do it privately. >> thank you. >> yes, sir, ma'am. yes, ma'am. >> my name is april. my husband was medically retired from the air force in may of last year. he is currently on tdr status and just recently got a joint va rating of 100%. my question is, you mentioned telehealth. we live to in a half hours from the closest va that can meet our needs.
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care is limited. the va came in and salt tasha and so telehealth and a home at probably great extent. we have this pitiful system, secured system can we can go anybody we want and talk to them for an appointment. nobody wants to schedule an employment on telehealth. none of the hasn't providers will schedule an apartment on telehealth. >> okay, i will carry that back. >> is a problem for us. another process, like as if we live two and a half hours from the va. we had five appointment in one week it had to go back and forth every day, five hours in the car with my husband who has ptsd spent let me tell you where you -- where we are on that. so this is one of the issues i care a lot about because i've heard a lot of this discussion, and so we have part of the we're done some of these new initiatives is to a thing called a design team. one of the new things i just put on the design teams played, working close with the vha,
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because, frankly, i went to my own exams. i kind of know what that is like. i asked the question, i said listen, for the exams i got, i'm a 50 plus year old woman, someone touched the only ones for those exams. do we really have to have people driving for an exam when, as the undersecretary for health will say, i'm already seeing 50% of those people for existing condition and providing them clinical services, so why can't i just write it up and send it back to you? to we have to do an exam? can we do a tele- exam, many can you just call and can we fill out a form and send you and results to the? can i review the exam record and see if i need to even do an exam? or if i can use with clinically done right now, to try to get exactly are situation result and get you off the road. for as many of those exams we can do. they are literate in that process right now looking at how we can do that and how we can, which once we can say --
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>> we do have to leave this conversation now. you can find everything from today's forum online at the c-span video library. take you live now to the floor of the u.s. senate where members will be gaveling in shortly. let they will be working on fiscal 2012 spending, and at 5:30 p.m. eastern they will hold a procedural vote on the continuing resolution to fund a federal agencies and programs. you are watching live coverage here on c-span2. the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. sovereign god, our lips sing your praises and our souls rejoice in you.
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we pause now in prayer to enter your throne room and seek your face. thank you for the opportunity you give our lawmakers to protect our freedoms and to share with others the hope that is ours as a free people. use them to increase joy and peace in our world and to bring hope to the hearts of the dispossessed. as they move from crisis to crisis, help our senators to see more clearly the spiritual values that are the heritage and guide for this land we love.
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let their thoughts, words, and actions be acceptable to you today and always, o lord, our strength and our redeemer. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, september 26, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby
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appoint the honorable christopher a. coons, a senator from the state of delaware, to perform the duties of the chai. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: following leader remarks, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 4:30 p.m. today. at the time, the senate will resume consideration of the motion to concur can in the house message to accompany h.r. 2608. filing deadline for second-degree amendments to the house message is 5:00 p.m. today. at 5:30 there will be a cloture vote on the motion to concur in the house message with the reid of nevada amendment. mr. president, two weeks ago the senate passed a bipartisan bill to fund the federal emergency management agency known as femme mavment and for two weeks house republicans have been sitting on that bill taking into afntle the howrnt refused to on a bipartisan bill that funds fema for the next year.
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not only have they not moved that bill in any way, but they've left town. the house of representatives as we speak on the eve of the government shutting down next saturday, just a few days from now, and fema on the verge of having no money, they left, they're gone. they're not in washington. it's real hard to negotiate with people who aren't here. it's hard to do legislation when one part of our bicameral legislature is not here. democrats are not giving up on funding fema and keeping our government open. we're here. the national is in session. house republican bill that would have killed 45,000 american jobs did not have the votes last week to pass the senate. it wasn't even close. 36 votes. but that doesn't mean we have to shut down the government or abandon americans in need. democrats have made a good-faith
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effort to compromise. today the senate will consider compromise legislation to fund fema and keep the government open without killing jobs. our compromise includes a clean continuing resolution, a bill to fund the government for the next few weeks. republicans in both chambers have already agreed to and voted for the funding levels in this continue resolution, so this shouldn't be a controversial vote for them. they've already voted for it. the legislation also includes $3.65 billion in funding for fema, which would give american communities ravaged by floods, wildfires, tornadoes and other disasters the funding they need. the house republicans voted for it last week. democrats would have given fema more, as we did with our vote last week. it's interesting, senator obama -- i'm sorry, president obama has declared disasters in 48 of the 50 states this year.
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unfortunately, though, this bill would force us to revisit this issue in a few weeks when fema funds will be depleting again. but this compromise legislation will cure fema's immediate needs. i urge my colleagues to do the right thing and support this good-faith compromise to help disaster victims now. in effect, what we've done, mr. president, we're waiting for the house to take action on the bill that funds everything for a year, which they should do, but in the meantime we have the opportunity here to vote today on legislation that takes the level that has already passed the house -- i don't know what more we could compromise, how much more fair we could be. so i urge my colleagues to do the right thing and support this good-faith compromise to help disaster victims and help them now. the folks on the ground in states that have been hard-hit by disasters, people who have seen the devastation firsthand
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are all saying the same thing: there's no more time to waste. the u.s. conference of mayors has begged us to act. a bipartisan group of governors has pleaded with us to act. and tense of thousands of americans are demand for us to act. republicans must not continue to block fema. block them from et going the resources it needs to help disaster victims. this compromise legislation should satisfy house republicans and it includes our own much-lower fema funding number and it satisfies democrats because it does not include a $1.5 billion cut that would kill jobs. the united states chamber of commerce has warned us that this cut would kill 45,000 jobs at a time when our economy and our country can least afford it. mr. president, here's what the chamber of commerce has said. now, the chamber of commerce --
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they're not a lap dog for democrats. i appreciate the work they do, but certainly, mr. president, we need to listen to what they're saying, and my republican colleagues need to listen to what they're saying. this is a direct quote. "this loan program promotes manufacturing in the united states and is an important component of america's energy security." promotes manufacturing. here's what the national association of manufacturers also, mr. president, certainly not anyone out there promoting democrats all the time. they try to be fair. the national association of manufacturers -- quote -- "defunding this program will hurt manufacturers and their employees." how much more direct could it be? putting this offset in here is absolutely wrong. democrats believe and american auto producers agree we
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shouldn't have to choose between saying "no" to disaster victims and killing american jobs. so, as you can see, this legislation is fair to both sides. it will give disaster victims the help they need without killing jobs. it is a commonsense solution that should pass both chambers with bipartisan support. we'll vote on it shortly. so, mr. president, i'm consciously opt -- i'm cautiously optimistic that my republican colleagues here in the senate will not force a government shutdown. by not voting for our bill, that's what it is. earlier this month when the senate passed bipartisan legislation funding fema that i talked about earlier, 10 republicans joined democrats in voting for the bill. it would have given fema nearly twice the funding that this compromise legislation gives fema. at a time when those 10 republicans said they believed disaster relief should be immune to partisan politics, they believe that their constituents shouldn't wait a moment longer for help. i can only assume those
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republicans are as angry as i am over the delays by the republican colleagues in the house. in the week since that vote, it hasn't been long -- very short period of time, matter a days -- the disasters have not gone away in the home states of missouri, louisiana, massachusetts, maine, nevada, north dakota, alaska, florida, pennsylvania. these are the states where republican senators voted for this bill, rightfully so. roads and bridges, homes, schools in those states and many others must still be repaired and replaced. yet millions of dollars -- in fact, this restoration work, most of it has been stopped in those 10 states. nationwide work on nearly a half a billion dollars worth of reconstruction has been delayed because fema is out of money. but even with construction projects at risk in communities that were only just beginning to get back on their feet, fema's disaster fund will still run out
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of money this week. as to what day, that's debatable. fema has devoted every penny in its coffers to pay for food and shelter to families who have lost their homes. there is not a dime left for anything else. even now that money will run dry if we don't do something quickly. we must remember that we are not talking about zeros on a budget spreadsheet. fema takes care of people that have lost their moms and dads, sons and daughters, spouses and friends and others. without additional funding, thousands of people who have lost literally everything they own will be forced to go without food and shell term of the reconstruction will be delayed in communities where homes and schools, roads have been wiped off the map by tragedies so terrible, they're difficult to comprehend. mr. president, i brought a chart here just 10-to-show some of the devastation.
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-- just to show some of the devastation. the upper left hand corner is a picture of part of joplin, missouri. there's some of it that is just wiped out. now, we see a few structures, a few cars left in the rubble there, the fire is still burning -- this picture was taken just hours after that storm hit. i have now -- i have talked on the floor here about the windstorm. i said winds of almost 300 miles an hour. i said winds of 300 miles an hour, not almost. now, one of my senator friends came to me said, that couldn't be true. so i knew i was right because i went to -- in the last week or 10 days -- a briefing at the national science foundation, that was put forward about some of the new things they are now developing. one of those is how to gauge how hard the wind blows.
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and it's interesting to note that we have a number of recorded storms blowing more than 300 miles an hour. this one they don't have that exact number down, but probably that. this is one of the worst storms ever to hit our country. here's a picture, mr. president, on the -- of nags head, north carolina. this is hurricane irene, it not only washed homes out to sea, it washed out other facilities out to sea, devastated homes under water. you can see the picture of the two people sitting on those steps. that was probably one of the seaside homes, could have been some structure on -- right on the coast. but it's gone p. homes have been washed into the sea. not only in south carolina but other places.
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you see here in the lower right-hand corner just a small picture of a fire in texas. the fires in texas burn more than 2,000 homes. we've had thousands of fires in texas. devastation is -- look at it. you can see in the background there are homes burning. hard to comprehend the destruction that took place there. cairo, illinois, a unique place because it is spelled like cairo. that's a picture of cairo, illinois, a good-sized city. the mississippi river has floafer e. overflowed its -- the mississippi river has overflowed its banks. swept out everything in its
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path. this, mr. president, is a victim of politics. tornado, hurricane, drought, floods -- that's just some of the devastation that's affected our citizens. and here we are having passed a bill, sent it to the house, they've done nothing with it. we had overwhelming, bipartisan support here. and they're gone. we had that two weeks ago. they're gone. what we're doing here should be more important than partisan posturing. every member of the republican party and, frankly, every member of the democratic party. i know it is to me. president truman once said -- quote -- "america was built on courage, on imagination and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." if there were ever a time when we have the obligation to do the job at hand, it's here. and to think that work in
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joplin, missouri, has basically come to a standstill, work in nagg's head, north, work come to a standstill. cairo, illinois, and of course all through texas. only a few of the projects with irene and tropical storm lee are being worked on now. so, no one can understand, i don't think, the devastation unless you've been there. i know i can. no amount of money can ever replace what the people of joplin or cairo have lost. when i say "be there," i'm trying to be as empathetic as i can be, but i've never been involved in a flood like that, anywhere near that, certainly not the fires that we've seen here. not a tornado, not a tropical
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storm. so, mr. president, no amount of money can ever replace what the people of these devastated areas have lost. but at least we can help them get back on their feet. we can help them start over. that's what fema does. that's fema's job. it's up to us, congress, to give resource -- fema the resources it needs to do their job. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 4:30 p.m. with senators permitted to speak therein for up to ten minutes each.
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ms. landrieu: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: mr. president, i'd like to speak for up to 15 minutes and may extend my time as the debate goes. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. landrieu: thank you, mr. president. i'd like to follow up on the remarks of leader reid by reminding everyone how this unfortunate but in some ways necessary situation is that we're in. this whole debate which, in my view, is worth having, it's unfortunate that it's so close to the end of the year because the senate actually offered a bill, as you may remember,
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earlier in september to try to avoid getting to this last minute. but this whole controversy started when republican leader cantor just a few days after hurricane irene had raked the east coast and wreaked havoc from north carolina through connecticut into vermont and new hampshire, which people are still reeling over, a few days after that the way this controversy started was when representative cantor said, "before we can provide help, we need to find an offset in the budget." in other words, before we can help the victims of irene, the thousands of homes that were flooded, the electrical wires on the ground, the businesses
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flooded out, we have to go to washington and find a program to cut. i strongly objected then. i've objected every day since then to that cantor doctrine. and this is an argument and a debate worth having. this could have been completely avoided if the day after, with the outcry from representative cantor's own district and newspapers across the country would have just said, i'm sorry i made a mistake. i've had to say that in my political career. i'm sorry i made a mistake. but instead of saying that, he doubled down. and he doubled down on the backs of people from pennsylvania to new york and actually to louisiana and ph*eus, because it
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is -- to louisiana and mississippi because it's our projects that have been stopped. fema, as far as louisiana is concerned, was out of money six weeks ago. this is what the cantor doctrine looks like to a very clever cartoonist. and i'm going to put this up in my office and keep it forever. he says "welcome to the republican disaster relief hotline. at the tone, please tell us the emergency and how you plan to offset the cost of your rescue." and here's grandmother sitting on the house with her little cat on the chimney, with a television and her cane calling fema. now i'm the appropriation chair of this committee, as you all know. it's a good thing i'm chairing this appropriations committee because i happen to know a lot about disaster leave, having to lead the effort for the gulf coast in the wake of katrina, rita, gustov and ike. this is not a little matter, as
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some of the press has reported over the weekend. i've read most of the editorials from coast to coast. some of them have written why is congress arguing? this is such a minor matter. i don't think the $40 billion that it took to rebuild the gulf coast is a minor matter and i don't think any taxpayer in america would think $40 billion is a minor matter. now, this cantor doctrine must be rejected. i'm not the he only one that believes this. there are wonderful articles and editorials in papers all across the country. i'm going to read some of them today. and i'm so glad that people were working through the weekend and focusing on this debate. from colorado, the "denver post"
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writes, "and some members of congress are so bent on budget cutting" -- they're referring to the republicans, of course, "that they happily seized the opportunity to demand concessions despite the larger impact on our struggling economy. in this case it's demanding that money for federal emergency management agency to provide emergency disaster assistance to communities hit by flood, fire and other manner of natural disasters, be offset by comparable cuts to the federal budget. demanding such offsets is unprecedented in terms of emergency relief and it has again manufactured the prospects of a shutdown. to be clear, we're not supporting a blank check." and, mr. president, neither am i. i've been an appropriator since i was 23 years old. i'm 56. i understand about balanced budgets and debt limits and curbing government spending. i've been a part of those
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efforts. the last time we had a balanced budget, a democrat was in the white house, bill clinton, as you know. we understand there is no such thing as a free lunch or a blank check, and we're going to pay for these disasters. but we don't have to pay for them while grandmother is on the roof. we can figure out how to pay for it later and send help to her now. the article goes on to say, "but we think any near-term spending cuts are best dealt with by the supercommittee as opposed to a standoff that sends ripple effects from washington. in vermont, they say though individuals eligible" -- this is the brattle borough vermont reformer. those tho*e individuals eligible for state disaster aids are still receiving funds, projects dating back as far as hurricane katrina are once again waiting for money.
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tkhou house majority -- how did house majority eric cantor respond? he said, quote -- and i'm quoting the newspaper. he says change is hard. the paper goes on to say, however, not as hard as waiting for power lines to get restrung along the auger hold road wondering when you might be able to move back into your water logged home or when your road might be passable again. though congress has a week to get everything ironed out, we can expect everything to go to the last minute. i wish we weren't here at the last minute. i want to remind everyone the senate passed with a bipartisan response to this which provided the money that fema needed without the offset, was passed by a bipartisan, ten republicans and all the democrats, and sent to the house. they could have passed that bill, and we would all be gone now with fema retphrepb
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tpheurbd, set -- replenished, set up for the next year and the jobs program, which is really a private-sector effort to create jobs in america, would be untouched and would be moving forward. but this whole argument started when representative cantor came up with a new tea party agenda, which is for flood victims to let fema know what offset can be required before they're rescued. other newspapers throughout the country: pennsylvania, it says, "much of northeast pennsylvania needs federal assistance to recover from flooding, but two of the region's representatives -- in this case both republican representatives -- offered an unacceptable condition." they go on to say, they list the members. they say "the problem isn't the senate, which earlier had passed a bill by a positive vote that
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included ten republicans, to appropriate more than $7 billion for fema that handles disaster relief. that fund could run dry. the house responded with a bill that would provide $3.7 but only if two loan programs for energy development projects were rescinded. senator harry reid, they say, goes on to offer a compromise with the house." but i guess we're in the time of no compromise and take whatever hostages you can. in this case, the tea party and the republicans want to take grandma hostage, who's on her roof asking for help. even the new york newspapers, "congress shouldn't allow disaster aid for people devastated by tropical storm irene to be stalled over a fight about how much is enough and how to cover the tab."
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now, we're willing to negotiate with the house over how much. this is an argument that we believe that our number of $6.1 billion is not enough for the year, and i think the records will show as we move forward that i am accurate. but given the situation that we're in, we don't need to fight over that amount because if $6.1 billion isn't enough, most certainly $3.5 billion that the house has offered isn't enough. and we can work that out later on. that's what leader reid has offered. but requiring an offset, particularly an offset from a program that republicans themselves supported, that was signed into law by president bush, that is supported by the chamber of commerce, the national manufacturers association, the league of cities, the national conference
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of mayors, an offset that's created 40,000 jobs, that is a road, mr. president, i don't think we should go down. if it's a manufacturing program today that the new cantor doctrine requires as one of the great articles this weekend said, maybe next time we have a disaster we have to offer up education programs. and the next time we have a disaster, we have to offer up a fourth of our transportation budget. and the next time we have a disaster, we have to offer up aid to israel. or maybe the next time we have a disaster we have to offer up something else. when did the offering stop? and the worst time to negotiate how to do -- how to find funding after a disaster is when emotions are high, when people are really at their sort of emotional limit, particularly the disaster victims themselves. you want to argue and debate
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these things when cool heads prevail. and also once you get your estimates in. it's hard within a week or two or three of an emergency to even know what those estimates are. you've got to spend time for the insurance adjustors to go out, for the fema adjustors to go out, for people to even get back to their communities to assess the damage. believe me, i have been through there. there were months after the sphat of -- aftermath of katrina before people in my city of new orleans and parts of my state could even get back into their neighborhoods. months, not days, not weeks, months. i remember people along the gulf coast having to come in on foot with chain saws to try to get back. it took them days. so that's another reason why you don't want to have to find an offset to fund disasters.
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you want to do a couple of things. you want to budget as carefully as you can in advance, and i want to answer this argument, that, oh, the reason congress is in this pickle is because they didn't budget for disasters. i'm going to put up a chart and the staff will grab that one for me in a minute to show that we have budgeted for disasters. we have not budgeted as adequately as we should. this has been a problem for democratic presidents and republican presidents, but i have to say as chair of this committee i have doubled the amount of money, more than doubled the amount of money in anticipation of disasters to try to get in front of it, but no one -- you know, unless had you a crystal ball -- could have predicted that 48 out of 50 states could would have had diss this year in america. mr. president, it's unpress depthed. you -- it's unprecedented. you would have had to have a crystal ball that was always
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right and never, ever wrong to be able to predict that we would have had that many disasters. so what can we do in the future? and i have offered to my colleagues, senator blunt, senator snowe and others, i will work with you in the future to get a bill that mandates that democrats and republican presidents, regardless of party, would have to send to us budgeted and paid for at least a 10-year average of previous disasters. but i have to say even if we would have had that law in place, which is the best that we can all collectively think of and would be recommended by universities or businesses would do the same, we still would have underestimated this last year, and we still would have underestimated katrina and rita. and that's why i'm on the floor making this argument. i know it's inconvenient for members to have to come back this week. i know people wanted to be away this week to work in their districts, but this is an argument and a debate worth having.
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i hope that our side will prevail, but if not, at least we put up the fight that i think is necessary to make the argument to the american people. but even if we had had a crystal ball and even if we had had budgeted more than the the $1.8 billion that we budget every year approximately out of the homeland security, look what happened, mr. president, when katrina and rita and wilma had hit. this went up to $45 billion. katrina, rita and wilma. wilma, you will remember, was one of the storms that hit florida in the year before, florida had four storms. dennis, ivan, francis and charlie hit florida in one year. i believe that's why senator rubio and senator nelson
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understand the hollowness and the danger of the cantor doctrine, because had this doctrine been in effect when these four hurricanes hit florida back in 2004, the people of florida would have had to come to congress and before we could spend one dime to help them, we would have had to find a $3 billion offset. so maybe, mr. president, we would have gone to your state and taken the money out of your transportation program or gone to my state or somewhere to find the $3 billion, but we didn't. we sent florida their $3 billion, and we will pay for it over time, and i don't know what we would have done in the gulf coast had the people in the united states enforced the cantor doctrine which was to find $45 billion like that, like
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that before we could have sent money to mississippi, alabama or louisiana or texas. and i could go on and on and on, and the -- one of the more disappointing positions that republicans are holding, particularly representative cantor, which is very disappointing, is that we have to scramble to find offsets for americans that are in trouble but we can just send free money to iraq and afghanistan. we don't have to send an offset to rebuild iraq. we don't have to find an offset to rebuild afghanistan. but we have to scramble around here and find an offset to help the people of our country. third point. some of the house members have stood up and said senator landrieu is wrong, we have offset emergency funding in the past. that is correct.
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we have offset emergency funding. but emergency funding is different than fema funding. you have emergencies like dams break and levees break and the corps of engineers needs extra money, and so over the course of time we have occasionally, because we want to be responsible with the budget when we can and when we have time to figure it out, we most certainly can find offsets and programs that aren't working as well and so we can eliminate that and push some of that money to emergency funding. we have done it in the military, we have done it for the corps of engineers, but, mr. president, if we do this, this will be the first time we have required an offset for fema funding in the history of our country. i think it is a road we do not want to go down. and it can be avoided. we don't have to walk down this road. we can eliminate the offset completely. fema may under the last 24, 48
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hours, may be able to stretch their money through friday, and we can even accept the house number, which is a lower number. it is not going to be adequate. we're going to be back here literally in eight weeks having the same debate, but they are hardheaded and insistent that they want to continue to have this debate week after week after week, but at least the $3 billion will jump-start all of our programs that are stalled , about 500 million, and many of them are in my state, which is why i'm spending a lot of time on this but i'm also concerned about everybody else's state, and will give us enough money to get through thanksgiving, maybe the first of the year. it is not going to be enough for all of next year, and that is a reasonable compromise, and on the side of that compromise is the chamber of commerce, the national association of
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manufacturers, four governors of disaster-hit states, two republicans and two democrats, the national league of cities, and the national conference of mayors. that's just to name a few. there are editorials across the country from pennsylvania to new york, louisiana, "the times-picayune," my own newspaper i'm very proud editorialized for this position, that to require an offset before you can be rescued is not the american way. we don't require it when we declare war or disaster. we go ahead and we fund -- we don't fund the effort. we send the troops, so we fund them later. i don't believe we want to go down this road. so leader reid has brought us back here to try to work through
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this again. the senate in september passed a bipartisan resolution to this. the house rejected it for their own reason, insisting that we have an offset. we are back saying that is a wrong policy to adopt. this is not the right time in america to adopt it, and if you were going to adopt it, this is definitely the wrong program to eliminate. this program was created with the private sector. this isn't government jobs. these are private sector jobs that have been created, and republican leaders in the house, and i'm going to read these letters for the record this afternoon again. supported the program, wrote letters to the secretary asking for this funding to be spent in their districts, and then they turn around and offer this up as an offset when it is unnecessary, unprecedented and absolutely wrongheaded.
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and for the legislators, congressmen and women along the gulf coast, it's particularly disturbing. after receiving $45 billion, mississippi, louisiana and texas, after katrina and rita, not one penny offset while it was going on, we're all going to be paying for it for many years to come in our regular budget budgeting process, to then turn around and say when the east coast needs help, oh, no, we have to find an offset today. and that's how this argument started. you know, i don't like to fight. i like to cooperate. i'm one of nine siblings. i have two children. myself, i have been happily married to my husband for 23 years. we resolve things in talking and
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negotiating in our home. we don't like to fight in our family. but i've learned one thing, mr. president. some things are worth fighting for, and whether i lose -- i've led this effort, i have been proud to lead it. i am so grateful to the colleagues on the democratic side, both in the house and the senate, that have spoken on this point, that have changed their schedules to support this. win or lose, this is the right thing to stand up against the cantor doctrine and the tea party agenda. i guess this is where this comes from. we have never seen this before, never have we offset a dime of fema funding. we have offset emergency funding, we have offset defense emergency, corps of engineers emergency, h.u.d. community development block grant money we've offset, but not fema. but the republican caucus in that house has just run us right down to the wire, not willing to
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negotiate, not willing to even recognize the bipartisan bill that we sent over there. and sometimes we say bipartisan around here, mr. president, if you have one republican on it and all the democrats, we kind of brag because we have bipartisan. this was ten, ten republican senators. that's a big number today, and we broke a republican filibuster on this with ten republican senators that said eric cantor was wrong, now is not the time, we don't have to find an crofton for this. let's negotiate, let's work through this. and they were right. i hope they'll stand strong. i hope the leadership can work this out. but again, if we can't, it was worth, in my view, the fight over this to say this is a cantor doctrine is dangerous for the country. and let me just remind everyone because i have spoken about the gulf coast. this is 48 states represented here that have been hit by disasters. the only state that has been
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spared a natural disaster is michigan and west virginia. but as the senators from michigan will tell you, they have been experiencing their own economic disaster now for almost six years, an economic meltdown in michigan because of the crash of the auto industry and the foreclosure disaster and the crash of some of the wall street banks and other banks. michigan has been very hard hit. and west virginia is always one of our poorest states, with great assets, but they struggle all the time. so you could honestly say that all 50 states is in need of help. why don't we just help them? we have a super committee set up. many of us are working hard on closing this deficit gap. we have already cut trillions, literally trillions of dollars out of this budget. over the last two years, we have trillions more to cut, and we
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have revenues to raise. but every time we have defined money in this budget, in this case for something that is wholly unprecedented and unnecessary, they recommend a program that is actually helping to turn around a very weak job outlook. it's creating jobs, it's created 40,000, it could create more public-private partnership, promoting loans to auto companies that are creating new and different kinds of automobiles so that we can minimize our dependence on foreign oil. we can start building again in america. we can start manufacturing again in america. and again a program, some of the newspapers reported, that's a program that democrats support. mr. president, this is a program that george bush signed into law. this is a program that republicans and democrats have supported. this is a program that actually works to put americans back to work. why would you pick this one?
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why would you pick any one, but why would you pick this one? because you wanted to pick a fight and you knew you weren't just going to say okay, fine. so we didn't pick this fight. i didn't pick this fight. representative cantor decided it when he decided on a cantor doctrine that would make disaster victims find an offset before they would be helped. i'm going to close with where i started with this cartoon that says it all. welcome to the republican disaster relief hotline. at the tone, please tell us the emergency and how you plan to offset the cost of your rescue. this is not america. we've gone too far. if this kind of government is on the tea party agenda, i suggest they remove that item for consideration. this is not the way we operate our government in the united states. we are there for people in their time of need. we do not ask them to find an
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offset. we will pay for this. we are working to have our budget balanced. but we do not put this kind of pressure on tax-paying americans who hardly ask us for anything, really, but when their home is washed away, when their business is destroyed, they expect fema to be there and they don't have to scramble around with their congressional delegation or their mayors or council members or their local representatives to wring their hands and say what program can we suggest that congress cut so we can get our, you know, our meals today, or our shelter for next week? it's just not the way we do business. so i hope that as members come back tonight to talk about this we can find a way forward, keep our government operating, and do the right thing for americans in our country today. and i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a
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quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call: the
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senator from louisiana. ms. landrieu: let me ask unanimous consent to dispense with the reading of the roll. the presiding officer: without objection. ms. landrieu: there are other members that are coming down to speak but i wanted to add a few other things to the record on this. first of all, over the weekend there was some reports and some statements made that this was a manufactured crisis that. that was said by one of the crisis -- one of our colleagues on the big talk shows on sunday morning. first of all, that infers that this is not a real crisis; it was just made up because we enjoy, you know, fighting here in washington. nothing could be further from the truth. this is not fun to do.
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sometimes it's necessary to draw sharp contrast between policies because the outcome of which has effects on people's lives in a significant way. again, where would we have been along the gulf coast had the canter doctrine been in effect and use use routinely when katra hit the gulf coast? where would we be? instead of new orleans being rebuilt, instead of biloxi being rebuilt, instead of large portions of the gulf coast being rebuilt today, we would still be probably debating where we're going to find the money to do the work. now, that's number one. number two, the crisis may not be real for the whole country right now today as we speak on monday, but i can promise you, for people in many, many, many states -- and i'm going to find
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this document in a minute -- in every state. this document here, which of i've used on the floor several tilesometimes in this debate, wh is thousands of pages, too numerous to mention. these represent line items-- --these line items and budget items have already been shut down. so government is still operating through this week, and we are going to work this out. we are not going to let the government shut down over this, i promise you. if i have anything to say about it. i might not, but my caucus may overrule me. but it is worth arguing about to try to see if we can come to some reasonable compromise, which leader reid has offered. but there's already a crisis for those that think this is manufactured. why don't you spend some time this afternoon calling some of
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these small business people who have shut down their operations. they were building a road in alaska. they got stopped because fema stopped their funding weeks and weeks ago. this isn't made up by mary landrieu. go call craig fugate. go call anybody on this list. if you think this is manufactured -- they stopped their projects. why? because fema ran out of money, technically ran out of money months ago. they're operating on fumes. in other words, they sort of stopped paying all of their regular work that was going on, rebuilding lots of places in america, so they could give out their emergency aid to the east coast. they had no choice because we didn't give them enough money really to make it through the year. now, i sent a letter on this to the leadership months ago because, of course, i know this. i'm the chair of the committee. they report to me regularly. they keep saying to me, senator, we're running out of money.
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we're running out of money. i've been saying this and i'm going to present letters to the record. anyone that follows this, knows this is true. so this is not a manufactured crisis. this whole issue started when representative cantor decided that the way to fix this problem is to cut something in the budget and have to offset something in order for us to move forward, and then the gears stopped. it was like he just threw a wrench in the gears. everything was actually going along quite smoothly. i know that the american people are tired of the fighting, tired of the name-calling. look, i'm proudly a centrist democrat. i am a still proud to say that. i've negotiated probably every major deal that's been done -- or compromise i've been somewhat a part of, for 15 years since i've been here. some people don't like that about me, but i actually think it's good, and i'm proud of t so
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i am certainly not one of the ones that likes to start a partisan brawl just for the heck of it. but this is an important principle. this is an important principle. and the principle is this: should americans have to scramble to find offsets while the water is rising and the wind is blowing, when we don't require the same for emergencies overseas? we don't scram to believe find offsets when a -- we don't scramble to find offsets when a drought hi or a famine hits in e part of africa? yet our people are calling for help at home and this has gotten on the tea party agenda that somehow you need to find an offset, an offset that everybody agrees to. good luck. there are very few things up here that two people agree to, let alone 535.
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if i had to do that, mr. president for katrina and rita, i don't know what i would have done. i don't know what i would have done. so, we are in a crisis. it may not be for everyone in the country right now, like it could be next week if the government shuts down, which it won't;, we're going to find a way forward. for these people, it has been a crisis for months. the bridges and projects are shut down, the libraries are shut down. all the workers have been shut down or told, you're working on this project; don't expect a paycheck. i don't know how many people will continue to show up without receiving a paycheck. maybe some people are still doing that. nenumber two, we sent $1.3 trillion to iraq and afghanistan in the last six years -- seven years. $1.3 trillion. not requiring one offset.
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and yet people of florida are looking for help, people in vermont are looking for help, and the cantor doctrine says, no, we have to find cuts in the budget. and finally -- and i know the senator fromful facilitate wants to speak -- i want to correct, because i want to be accurate in this debate -- i want to correct one thing that i said. i said that never before have we offset fema money. my staff corrected me and said, one time in the history in recent memory we did that for a small amount of fema money when president clinton was the president because the republicans had just come into power and argued back then, president clinton, to his -- well, to his credit, whatever, found an offset they could both agree to and did it. so it's been done once. i just don't think we should make this a routine exercise here. it's not right for the flood victims. it's not right for taxpayers in the long run. and like i said, eventually we will find a way to pay for these
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things. so let's come and reason together. harry reid has sent a reasonable compromise. i think the house should focus on this and try to take this compromise, if we can. it's been worth discussing because this is going to go into law one way or another. and we're going to be living with the consequences, and those of us along the gulf coast who are in hurricane alley dish showed this chart; it's quite disturbing, if you look at this champlet but i'm going to put it up again. this is one of our faifortsz. the senator from florida is here. this is from 1851 to 2008. this is every hurricane that has hit the lower 48. and these large colored spaghettis here, hurricane rita, gustav and ike, show the hurricanes along the gulf coast.
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this is just what happens. just like when i had a tornado -- just like if i had a tornado chart that shows where the tornadoes hit or the earthquakes, every part of the country at some time experiences some disaster and we don't want to have to run up to washington and gut the education programs overnight or gut our transportation programs overnight or try to call a special committee meeting to find out where we can come up with $1 billion, you know, by friday, to send money to femme mavment you send it and we make these decisions over time. it's the way any corporation would operate. it's the way any family would operate. and it is the way our government should operate. and, again, if you take this cantor doctrine to its ridiculous extreme, you would have firetrucks coming up, screaming down the street while the house is on fire. and before they turn the hose on asking the family to come out, decide what do you want to cut in the city budget before we can
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turn the water on because we actually didn't have this disaster budgeted. because you can only make reasonable assumptions about what the disaster is going to be, their frequency, their rate. and if you go under a little bit, then you've got to just provide the money until you can fix it in the long run. so i'm going to yield the floor, suggest the absence of a quorum, and i thank the members for engaging in this important debate. i'm sorry. the senator from florida is here. i understand he is here to speak on this subject. the presiding officer: morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will resume consideration of the house message to accompany h.r. 2608, which the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to concur in the house amendment to the senate amendment to h.r. 2608, an act to roy for an additional temporary extension of programs under the small business act and
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the small business inslevment act of 1958 and for other purposes with an amendment. the presiding officer: without objection, sunderthe previous oe until 5:30 will be equally divided between the two leaders or her designees. the senator from florida. necessarily nem mr. president, i just want to comment -- mr. nelson: mr. president, i just want to comment before the senator from louisiana leaves the floor that it's kind of like we've seen this movie before. if i recall it was friday, the senator from louisiana and i were out here with this chart talking about the same thing, showing all of these paths of hurricanes and how those folks that live along the gulf and the atlantic coast understand what natural disasters are. we are playing with people's
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lives when we threaten not to fund fema that can respond to all of these. and how many of these do we have to have to get through to these decision-makers that are blocking the funding of fema because of some ideological position that there are people out there that are hurting in tuscaloosa, alabama, in joplin, missouri, all throughout new england, through the atlantic coast, and who knows what's going to happen? hurricane season goes until the end of november. and so i want to tell the senator from louisiana how much i appreciate her bringing this to everybody's attention and over and over again we need to remind people, there are certain things that only the government can do, and this is one of them.
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when people are in need, they have to rely on emergency functions from their government. that's one of the main reasons of having a government. and hopefully that message will get through. well, mr. president, i wanted to speak about basically this budget conundrum that we find ourselves in. in a little less than an hour, we're going to vote on a motion to cut off debate just to get to the bill that would continue to fund the government after this friday so that the government can operate. now, speaking of movies that we've seen before, didn't we see this movie back in early august?
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then over a different question of whether or not the government could continue to pay its bills but in essence it was the same thing. in that case it was the lifting of the debt ceiling. in this case, it's to keep the appropriations going starting october the 1st. so if we've ses movie before, didn't senators and members of congress go home in august? and didn't they hear from their people, and the people said what in the world are you all doing? what are you thinking? have you guys gone off the rails that you would threaten the shutdown of the government and all the necessary functions of the government that would then
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imperil our economy already more than how it's being imperilled now in this recession? well, you would think that members of congress got that message. and yet, here we are again in late september, after we went through that drill in early august, and we're going through the same thing again. this brinksmanship, this partisan ideological brinksmanship that has all the vestiges of being all balled up in election-year politics in a presidential election. now, that's not any way to run a country. let me tell you why i think if the folks out across america
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will start letting their elected representatives know that they have had enough, why we might see some change. with that cataclysmic confrontation that we went through in early august in order to get the government to pay its bills, we set up a structure, a process in law. there was immediate deficit reduction of some $1 trillion, but there's supposed to be another -- and i'm rounding -- another $1.5 trillion done by this super committee that's supposed to report by thanksgiving, and we are to vote on it. you remember, mr. president, a week and a half ago you and i and 34 other senators,
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republicans and democrats alike, went to the senate press gallery and we stood up and we said we want a big deal of deficit reduction. and a lot of us were suggesting that what we want is tax reform in the process, getting rid of a lot of the clutter in the tax code that is so inefficient in the tax preferences to individual special interests that have grown exponentially over the last 20 years since the last tax reform measure, which was 1986. and instead utilize that revenue, which would be revenue gained, to simplify the tax code and lower rates, and the actuary's tells us that that would -- and actuaries tell us
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that that would in fact crank up the engine of growth and from that growth would come additional revenue. now why is that so hard? every constituent that i have talked to seems to think that that's a fairly good idea. you know what they say? they say it sounds like common sense. and i see other senators on the floor that would like to speak. i want the senator from new york to know that i've been speaking to some of his constituents, the titans on wall street, and they're saying the same thing. what in the world are you guys doing? have you all lost your minds? all right, we've got an opportunity to do something. if we will have as our north star common sense,
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bipartisanship and what's good for the country and not for our particular little ideology, then we can get something done. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: first let me thank my colleague from florida. he knew that i was waiting and i know he cut short his remarks, and i appreciate it. but more importantly than that, i appreciate his insight, his articulateness and his desire to help the people of florida. nobody works harder for the people of florida than the senator from florida. and they know disaster just about better than anybody else given their geographic situation. and so his fight for fema dollars is a fight for every citizen of that great state of florida, where i must say many of my former constituents now reside. so i care especially about florida as well. so thank him for both his courtesy and his insightfulness. now, mr. president, fema runs out of money very soon.
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and already recovery projects in more than 40 states have been halted so fema can focus their last dollars on responding to the latest disasters. to have fema not working in joplin, missouri, where we all saw the pictures because of the dangers that hurricanes irene and lee created that,'s unheard of in this country. it is unheard of. the senate has already passed a bipartisan bill to replenish fema's coffers, providing $7 billion in immediate relief not just for fema, but the army corps. from my state we need army corps relief as well as fema relief because so many of our riversville changed course. they're -- rivers have changed course. they're flooded. the erie canal, the locks are no longer by the river because the storm's course changed the course of the mohawk. the great historic erie canal.
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so we provided this $7 billion. and a reasonable person might say, all our constituents are saying get government to work. the most logical thing to do would be quick passage by the house so we could begin to get those dollars out the door. but instead house republicans decided to take emergency disaster aid and leverage it to force cuts to a jobs program that they themselves used to support. if there's ever playing politics, that's it. they didn't like this jobs program, fine, fight it out in the regular course of business. but don't hold fema dollars hostage to cut jobs. the american people don't want that choice. help those who are in the middle of disaster. but the only way you can help them is to cut jobs in michigan or louisiana or other states at a time when our country's hurting for jobs? that's not america and that's not what they asked us to do.
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the jobs program they want to end before they're willing to provide more disaster aid is not some radical program. it was started under the bush administration. it was passed with a bipartisan majority. and i understand their anguish, we have to cut funding. but you don't do it like this. you don't do it on the backs of the people of schoharie county whose homes have been blown away, of the people of binghamton, who are in shelters because there's no rental housing for them. you don't do it on their backs. that's not fair. you want to have a fight over a program you used to support and now you say the circumstances have changed, fine, we should have that. that's what we're here for. but not holding disaster aid hostage. and i want to say this, lest people think that the democratic stand is some way out-there left-wing stand, guess who
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supports us? the u.s. chamber of commerce and the national association of manufacturers because they know that what we're doing is right. and those are groups that are almost always supporting republican initiatives. so when they say that we're right, doesn't that send a shot across the bow to my colleagues to back off this ideological, narrow "my way or the highway "position. most importantly, the house republican approach would require that we kill 40,000 jobs in order to help our fellow americans put their lives and businesses back together after this year's record disasters. that is not right. it is unprecedented. and i would say it is not the way we have done things in this country in the past. mr. president, the c.r. we're going to vote on this afternoon is a fail-safe measure. it is a bill that will keep the government running at funding
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levels agreed to by democrats and republicans in the debt ceiling negotiations. it is a good-faith effort to compromise and contains the same exact amount of disaster relief funding that house republicans supported. it falls short of fully funding fema as we did in the bipartisan bill passed two weeks ago with ten republican votes. but we're working to meet our colleagues on the other side of the aisle in the middle in order to break the impasse. will they move a little to the middle to meet us? or will they insist the only way to go is a bill that failed in this chamber with bipartisan vote against it by 59-36? is speaker boehner saying to us a bill that fails in the senate 59-46 is the only -- 59-36 is the only way to go when it is so wrong it is not supported by the chamber of commerce? when it is putting job holders and the future of this country in terms of energy independence versus the disaster assistance,
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pitting those two against each other, that's not fair. the only difference between our bill and senate bill is it doesn't require the job-killing that the chamber of congress opposes and that our fragile economy can't afford right now. now we know there's been a lot of pressure on the ten senate republicans that joined us two weeks ago to fight full disaster funding and not cave to pressure, and pressure on them to cave to the extreme minority in the house. that demands job cuts as a precondition for disaster relief. i would urge them not to do it f. they can't resist that pressure, what is their solution? they know that the house bill is a dead letter here. so the path forward is clear. the senate has already spoken on the political bill sent to us by the house. now we must pass this commonsense measure, compromise
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measure, middle-of-road measure now before the senate. it will provide disaster aid to hard-hit communities across the country immediately and provide an unnecessary government shutdown. we shouldn't even be talking about a shutdown. why are we? because the other body decided to attach disaster relief to government funding. another -- we're not just holding jobs hostage. we're holding government funding hostage in a "my way or the highway" presentation. take it or leave it or your government shuts down. take it or leave it or 40,000 people lose their jobs. that's not right. every aspect of our plan received major bipartisan support. voting for it is the right thing to do. we must put politics aside at the times when the economy of this country is so fragile. we must avoid even coming close to a government shutdown. we must do what is right for our
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country, and what is right for our country is to pass the compromise measure that has had bipartisan support in the past and vote for it on the floor of the senate in the next half-hour. thank you, mr. president. one other thing, mr. president. i'll continue to take my time. my great colleague from louisiana who has done an incredible job here, she's been showing this. but in case people missed it over the last half-hour, it's a great little cartoon. there's a nice lady with a gray bun and little glasses talking on the telephone. there's her tv. she's on the roof of her house which has obviously been flooded. this cartoon is humorous but i've seen flood levels up to this level on house after house in the eastern part of new york. she says -- she's on the phone -- welcome to the republican disaster relief hotline. at the tone please tell us the emergency and how you plan to offset the cost of your rescue.
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does the next disaster, are we going to have to debate while people are struggling how much to cut education funds? in the next disaster, while people are -- the next earthquake, are we going to have to debate how to help those people while we talk about how much to cut border patrol funds? in the next disaster, when fires are ravaging across texas or new mexico or california, are we going to debate how much we have to cut food safety inspectors? that is not our way, and that is why we need to support the bipartisan bill. it's not a bipartisan bill. it has bipartisan elements. elements of it have been support bid each, by both parties, members of both parties. so that bill, compromise bill, middle of the road bill that's on the floor of the senate. i'm going to yield my time and thank my great colleague from louisiana for the great job she has done. ms. landrieu: mr. president? the presiding officehe

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