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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  February 22, 2016 2:30pm-3:01pm EST

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party. right now there is one union that is part of the government. if you believe those changes i going to be real, they should occur in meaningful ways before we vote and most importantly if there's any credibility the vietnamese government has to stop beating up people who are trying to form an independent union. >> want to thank you for doing this, appreciate you coming back. >> i appreciate, you work by the clock unlike congress. so i appreciate the chance, keep in touch because there will be more and more activity here next week as various groups come in
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to lobby. thank you, sir. >> what is the difference his winged democrat and a socialist? >> what is the difference? >> betty wasserman shultz refused to say. can you tell me what the difference is? >> i think traditionally there have been major differences between socialist and the democratic party. the role of government. >> more specifically. >> we are at the end. if you want to talk afterwards. >> there has been a major major difference, as to the role of
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government, at the role of the private sector. i mean, i think liberal democrats like myself have dedicated ourselves to try to make the free enterprise system work, to change it, to make it more responsive to the needs, to find a blend between individual initiative and ingenuity and innovation and the role of government. to find the right balance. socialism has traditionally had a different balance. >> the u. s. senate is back in session today after the
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president's day recess. table gavel in at 3:00 eastern starting with annual reading of george washington's farewell address is delivered by delaware senator chris koontz. at 5:30 eastern you will see the senate vote on president obama's nominee to be the new fda commissioner. live coverage on c-span2. tomorrow members will debate bills, travel by terrorists or fighters to the u.s. and you will watch that live on our companion network c-span. pennsylvania governor tom wolf delivered the annual address on his eighth budget called the general assembly to come to a budget agreement and address the state's $2 billion budget deficit. just under half an hour. >> governor, it is all yours. [applause]
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>> thank you. thank you. thank you so much. thank you, please. thank you. lieutenant governor, leader corman, leader reid, members of the general assembly. members of the judiciary, members of the cabinet, recognized the auditor general, the attorney-general, the treasurer, and my wife frances. [applause] >> most importantly, my fellow pennsylvanian its. this will not be an ordinary governor's budget address. usually this speech is an opportunity to lay out and the bishops agenda for the year
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ahead. under ordinary circumstances i outlined my 2 cousins 16-17 budget proposal, a proposal full of ideas to move forward. new measures to impose every child in pennsylvania, it starts before kindergarten and goes all the way through college. in public and private sectors to create jobs and grow our economy. i talked about the new innovation that can build on the progress we have already made to modernizing our state government so it works better and costs bless. i talked about long overdue steps we can take to lead the commonwealth fulfills promise of equal opportunity. the legalization of medical marijuana. raise the minimum wage, criminal justice reform that will bring
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fairness to the system and save tax dollars. i can give that speech. not under these circumstances. my fellow pennsylvanians, our commonwealth is in crisis, a crisis that threatens our future. today i want to be clear with each member of the general assembly and every pennsylvanian about the actions we must take to resolve this crisis and the consequences we will face, all of us, if we don't. first let me be very clear about the nature of the problem. the problem is not republicans in the general assembly and i don't see eye to eye. after all pennsylvanians are used to seeing political leaders disagree strongly. in 2014 the people of pennsylvania chose divided government, democratic governor, republican legislature. i doubt anybody was surprised by the turn out that we had, different priorities.
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this crisis is not about politics at all. pennsylvania and now faces $2 billion budget deficit. that is not a democratic factor or a republican fact. is just a fact. it is a fact supported by standard and poor's, an independent rating agency. they agree pennsylvania faces a massive structural budget deficit that will only continue to grow if we fail to address it responsibly. this deficit isn't just a cloud hanging over pennsylvania's long-term future but a time bomb ticking away right now even as i speak. if it explodes the people in this chamber, if you allowed to explode, pa. experience a fiscal catastrophe the likes of which we have never seen. please understand we are not talking about the long-term budget projection. pennsylvania failing to meet its
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basic obligations, and we are talking about pain that can be felt across the commonwealth. if the general assembly, a responsible plan to solve this crisis every pennsylvanian, every pennsylvanian will suffer the consequences and those consequences will be real. they will be immediate and they will be severe. three quarters of pennsylvania homeowners will see there too high property taxes skyrocket. a top member of this body would stand up and propose a tax increase on property taxes, property tax increase, he or she would be booed off the floor by democrats and republicans but in fact that is exactly what will happen if we do not act. we have seen this played out for the last four years. since 2011 school districts have been forced to increase local property taxes by $1.2 billion
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all because of our irresponsibility right here in harrisburg. in the last year alone 83 school districts increased property taxes above the index because harrisburg did not produce a responsible budget. and another 175 contemplating additional tax increases this year for the same reason. this tax shifting is not sustainable and it will only continue to squeeze families and seniors if we do not stop passing the buck on local communities. meanwhile even as pennsylvanians pay more they will pay less on the state government. far less. for example, it is already thread after years of underfunding at the state level taking a ruinous hit. thousands of teachers will be laid off. guidance and career counseling will be handed pink slips. in all, more than 23,000 education professionals would be
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immediately yanked out of schools. across pennsylvania already crowded -- crowded classrooms even more so, class sizes balloon by 30% to account for teacher layoffs. the consequences will not be evenly distributed. classroom crowding will be more severe, for schools that the least afforded. all across our commonwealth children will receive less attention, less instruction, less opportunity to gain skills we all need them to have for the 21st century. technical education, those programs will be cut. special education programs will be cut. head start programs cut. tens of thousands of pennsylvania children will lose access to free kindergarten depriving them of the early childhood education we all know is key to their future success. this is not a threat. this is not political posturing. this is simply what will happen if this crisis is not resolved.
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this is the reality teachers and parents and children in our commonwealth will face if the general assembly does not act and the damage will not be limited to our schools. and face devastating cuts. we will lose $200 million in services including prescription drug assistance and community-based services. pennsylvania seniors who defend done that assistance will be forced to pay more out of pocket. some will choose between paying for groceries and paying for the medicine that keeps them alive. these are our elderly parents, these are our neighbors and counting on this money to pay for the medicine they need. if we don't have a budget we can't help. we will lose $180 million in assistance for people living with mental illness or intellectual disabilities. these pennsylvanians are the most vulnerable among us and they are counting on our help
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for full lives and contribute to their communities but if we don't have a budget, we will be denied significant opportunities to improve their lives. we will lose $40 million of state funding for child care and forfeit another $50 million in federal -- a total cut of $90 million. that is hundreds of thousands of working parents counting on our help to have some peace of mind and ability to earn a living upon which they can raise their families. if we don't have a budget, 211,000 pennsylvania children will have nowhere to go. $11.5 million funding in domestic violence shelters and refreezes, survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault rely on these safe havens to have somewhere to go in the midst of unthinkable pain and unspeakable terror. if we don't have a budget those shelters and crisis centers have to shut their doors to people who need them. critical programs such as these
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make a three quarters of our human services budget. simply put the commonwealth of pennsylvania cannot meet its obligation to its citizens if the general assembly does not meet its obligation to pass a responsible budget. my administration will always strive to tackle fraud, not be as efficient as possible in government operation even these harsh cuts that we're talking about it you are talking about will harm single mothers and seniors on fixed income and those down on their luck. even those cuts will not solve a mathematical crisis. anyone in this chamber claims to simply cut our way out of this mess, we have and also increasing rate, just ignoring the math. they are also ignoring history. if we don't have sustainable revenue sources in our budget the result will be billions of dollars in new property tax hikes at the local level. pennsylvanians need to prepare
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for these consequences. i don't say this with any joy whatsoever. someone in harrisburg has to tell the people in pennsylvania the truth about the mess we are in. before i ran for governor i ran a business and in challenging times i know you can be fiscally responsible. they are closely linked. you can't ignore the problem or wish away. take pride but how the program rose, you won't be in business for very long. pennsylvania businesses don't have the luxury of pretending their problems that exist. needed to pennsylvania family sitting around a kitchen table trying to make ends meet and the truth is neither do we in harrisburg. let's be honest about where we are and how we got here.
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after all this fiscal crisis did not appear from out of nowhere. this was no act of god. we are in a whole, we dug ourselves, right here in harrisburg. if the consequences i am describing sound familiar it is because pennsylvania has been building up to this moment for years. for years our leaders have tried to balance our state budget on the backs of our children and our schools. when i took office pennsylvania ranked near the bottom of the country in percentage of state level k-12 investment. burden of funding our schools fell on local communities and that in turn meant but huge spike in property taxes for pennsylvania homeowners. that is a bad way to solve budget problems although it is a great way to create an education problem. we were left with tens of thousands of teachers laid off, crowded classrooms across most of the school district and that was just part of the problem. even cute cuts to education were
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not really enough to balance the budget but instead of finding a sustainable way to deal with the real deficit, harrisburg chose to paper over the problem with a series of budgetary gimmicks. maybe you can get away with that for a middle while but sooner or later the rent comes due. the folks in harrisburg fought this sleep of and was a real long-term solution to the budget problem and the only people they were fooling are themselves. because nobody else bought it. three major ratings agencies, standard and poor's, each downgraded the credit of total of 5 times over the last five years. credit has been downgraded three times in the last two years alone. each time each time the rating agencies have explained that the downgrades are a direct result of these little tricks pennsylvania has employed to avoid facing the reality of its fiscal situation. harrisburg doesn't take the
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budget seriously, folks to rate our debt don't take harrisburg's seriously. today because of years of budgetary irresponsibility the commonwealth of pennsylvania is considered among the least creditworthy states in america. this is embarrassing. but embarrassment is not the only thing because our credit has been downgraded so much we pay a higher interest rate on the $17 billion of debt that we have. this is going to eventually cost us an extra $139 billion a year. if interest rates don't keep going the. that is $139 million a year that doesn't go to improving our schools. it doesn't go to making our business environment more competitive. it doesn't go to reducing our taxes. it is at $139 billion penalty that the people of pennsylvania pay for harrisburg's fiscal irresponsibility. that is how we got here. it is why when i took office last year i propose a different kind of budget.
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instead of shortchanging our schools i proposed historic commitment to education beginning to restore the $1 billion under the previous administration making new investments in early childhood education and community college, increasing state share of funding for public school and directing more of that funding to the districts that needed it most. and instead of using sleight of hand to avoid dealing with the deficit by propose a series plan to balance the budget and set us on a more sustainable course. no more gimmicks, no more quick fixes, new approach in harrisburg, fresh start for pennsylvania. i expected that republicans would not agree to everything in my proposed budget. what i didn't expect was what i got. the budget was evenly balanced. incredibly the budget they sent me relied on the same gimmicks, quick fixes that had gotten us in trouble in the first place. in that case, june '32 budget,
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$1.5 billion worth of optical illusions that would have made our actual budget problem even worse. if you were running a business and took a budget like that to your banker you would be laughed out of the room. pennsylvania's creditors don't have a sense of humor about this sort of thing. neither should we. while i was disappointed with the republican proposal i wasn't discouraged so i came to the table ready to talk, ready to negotiate. ready to compromise. it took months of bargaining, took some painful sacrifices from both sides but in the end all our work paid off. we had deal. we had a compromise budget that worked at which members of the legislature last year including some of the things i wanted, not everything but had historic investment in our schools. included some of the things the republicans want but not everything, including changes to our pension and liquor systems and i continue to believe we should solve these decades-old
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problem this, taxpayer savings and stability in pension system and we need to bring the liquor system into the 21st century. these improvements by themselves are not magic bullets and changes in these programs will not mitigate the consequence to continue to acknowledge the basic problems we face. it included a republican priority is the most important of all, most important of all the compromise budget balanced. it solved the financial problem. passing it into law would diffuse the fiscal time bomb and sent us on a more sustainable course. it passed the senate, the majority of democrats and republicans and had bipartisan support in the house. of the remainder was of final vote before i could sign it into law and we could move forward.
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i was ready, house republican leadership walked away. they walked away from the table, without holding that final vote. they still have not held that final vote. i understand the frustration you almost feel looking at this huge mathematical problem but yelling it will not make it go away, wishing will not make it go away. we need to do what is right for the people of pennsylvania. we need -- [applause] >> we need a budget. because we still have a budget
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crisis. the fiscal time bomb is still taking. our teachers still hear it, our parents here it, creditors definitely.. you need to hear it. the time for games is over and now is time to finish the job we should have finished last year. democracy entails disagreement, compromise is hard. we had those arguments, we worked out our disagreements, we reached a compromise. republicans and democrats sitting in this chamber right now, sat at the table with me and did the hard work to find common ground. we had a deal and house republican leaders walked away. only in harrisburg could that be seen as an acceptable way to do business. i am not interested in the inner workings of the republican party or politics. this isn't about politics. this again is about mathematics.
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so here is what is really frustrating. some republican leaders bailed on our agreement i was handed another budget where the numbers and that up, it would cut $95 million from our schools, a budget that would zero out funding increases for institutions of higher education and worst of all budget that still did not balance. and it was a $2 million hole. some folks in the chamber. i can agree index if we can disagree about the importance of education. i get that. i can except we can disagree about the proper role of government and securing a more prosperous future for our commonwealth and i can accept the we won't get everything my way. i cannot accept, pa. cannot afford another irresponsible
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budget that ignores the fact this fiscal crisis and pretense our problems simply don't exist. [applause] >> i did not run for this office to be party to the corner cutting, budget gimmickry that got us into this mess. we can't afford to play political games while this crisis is passing such a dark shadow on our future. there is too much at stake. the train has been careening down the tracks for years and now the moment of impact has arrived. whether or not we crash is up to the people of this chamber. it is to the chamber to save our seniors, save our most vulnerable populations from bearing the brunt of devastating cuts. it is of to the people of this chamber to save our taxpayers from getting handed the bills'
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first bird was not responsible enough to pay right here. it is of to the people of this chamber to save pennsylvania's future, time for the people of this chamber to get back to work. [applause] >> the good news is i still have my pen. we still have a budget that reflects much of a hard-working and honest negotiations, a budget approved by bipartisan majority in both chambers of the legislature, a budget that averts this fiscal catastrophe and gives us a chance at a fresh start. we can get it done. sent that compromise budget to my desk and we can put our commonwealth on more secure footing than it has been for years but let me be very very clear. we are going to have to stop playing games with our fiscal future. we have to stop closing our eyes
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and just hoping that our problems are going to go away. we have to face hard facts. don't send me another budget full of gimmicks that too cute by half where the numbers really don't add up. i am not going to be amused by that or fooled by that. i will not be convinced dime store magic tricks are a substitute for a real, responsible budget and more importantly -- [applause] >> more importantly, neither will our creditors nor the people of pennsylvania. if you can't agree to the budget reforms are proposed and help me find a sustainable alternative but if you won't face of to the reality of the situation we are in, if you ignore the time bomb ticking, if you won't take furiously your responsibility to the people of pennsylvania, find another job. [applause]
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>> because this is not the time for the nile. this is not the time for obstruction. this is the time for leaders to come together and honestly and sincerely take on the crisis we are facing because if we don't solve this crisis, whatever partisan game you think you may win will be dwarfed by the enormous losses this state will suffer. nobody in pennsylvania will care one iota about the politics of a disaster that cost the commonwealth so much. i refuse to let that happen but i cannot stop this catastrophe alone. the people of in sylvania need you to do the right thing. i am not asking people to give up their political beliefs. i am asking them to join me in the political courage to meet this crisis head on. i am asking they do their job to devote to the promise of the constitution we all took to
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defend the commonwealth of pennsylvania's constitution. that is what we did when we took our out both of office. vix doesn't require anyone to walk away from his or her principles. it merely requires each of us declare our highest principle is the responsibility each of us has to the people of pennsylvania. the people of pennsylvania deserve squills that teach, jobs that pay and a government the work for them. they deserve leaders who are willing to work hard and sacrifice to build a better commonwealth because that is what the people of pennsylvania do every day to build a better life for their families. their strength, their resilience, their spirit illuminates our path forward and gives me hope that when i stand in this chamber to give my budget address next year it will be under far happier circumstances. after all i ran for this office because i'd believe deeply in our commonwealth, in our spirit of innovation and
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entrepreneurship and longstanding tradition of tackling our challenges and seizing opportunities with boldness and courage, with integrity and honesty and our potential to build a bright future, as bright and prosperous as our past. i know many of you entered public service for the same reasons. last december in number of republicans and democrats came together to prove there are leaders in this body can put their differences aside and get things done. after a year, despite the overwhelming challenge we now face i believe in pennsylvania. the possibilities before us are still women less. a bright future is still within our grasp. i still believe in it enormous potential of our commonwealth and i am counting on everyone in this chamber to do the right thing so we can fulfill that potential. i am ready to do the hard work to build a brighter future for pennsylvania. i hope you are ready to join me. thank you. god bless the commonwealth of pennsylvania.
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[applause] >> the u.s. senate returning from a week-long presents a recess, beginning with the annual meeting of president washington's farewell address. this is live coverage of the u.s. senate. senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. our father in heaven, your counsel stands firm and sure. fashion the hearts of our lawmakers so that they desire to do your will. today, as we remember george washington's farewell address, may we not forget that o


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